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Who Are They?

At the beginning of this century a vision was found. First, a symbol of joyful rebellion: The Winking Circle. Then a simple philosophy: The Wisdom of the 3 Beans: Create Everywhere, Redeem Everything, Be a Fool. And finally a call to action: “Eccentrify the world!”

A group of kids took this vision and at a condemned house in the middle of nowhere The Winking Circle was born. Old bikes were collected, paint acquired and a welder borrowed. Soon a small army of hand painted chopper bikes, tallbikes, tireless bikes, low bikes and all sorts of rolling art machines were cruising the streets of their sleepy little town. The spark was ignited. Before long a fire of eccentric self-expression was burning bright. These brave kids refused to listen to the jeers of those stuck in the mire of conformity and began to create everywhere, redeem everything and gladly took on the label of fools.

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They began to travel to the nearest city and took part in critical mass bicycle rides. They started bands, made their own clothes and screen-printed their own logos. Shows were organized and held in halls, basements and bedrooms. Mind-blowing BMX trails were dug and barn ramp environments were built. Working with the local township they raised money and constructed their dream ramp – “the Tsunami ramp” for all to enjoy. They were invited to take part in a renowned artist’s festival and participated in the annual fall fair as stunt bikers. Movies were made and shared, inspiring others to eccentrfy their worlds as well. All the while everything was being filmed and compiled for a documentary that was to spread the message around the globe.

Over time TWC found out that when you stand against conformity, apathy and consumerism, the world fights back. The first barn ramps were burnt to the ground by local idiots, the second barn ramps were constantly vandalized. The dream ramp was, without warning and justification, sawn in half and moved out of town to a secret location to rot. A national TV show ran a Winking Circle produced and created short film and took all the credit for it after the show won international awards. A multi-national company ripped-off the video for their marketing campaign. As some of the winkers grew up, the daily onslaught of consumer culture began to numb them into apathy. The Winking Circle was being assaulted from all sides, within and without, yet a new phase was about to begin.

A lone filmmaker refused to give up. He believed in the message too strongly. He laboured over hundreds of hours of footage. Editing and re-editing over months and months. Creating the perfect cut. A documentary of the beginning of The Winking Circle. An audio-visual celebration of everything the 3 Beans stands for. A premiere was organized, the movie was shown at film festivals and shared in living rooms across North America. The audience wasn’t large but the response has been overwhelming.

Everyone who sees it is impacted in their own way. Kids have been known to shut off the TV immediately after watching it to draw or build bike jumps. Jaded TV executives are moved to tears, people make their own Winking Circle t-shirts. It has been a springboard for people to remember old dreams and envision new ones. Numerous people have said that it permanently affected them and the way they think about their place in the world.

The impact of TWC is not contained to those who are now seeing the movie. The people directly involved are going on to make a positive difference in the world. Many have become talented musicians and songwriters. A few bands have been formed, have recorded and gone on tour. Two separate charities have been created. One selling handmade clothing and art to raise money for the poor, another collecting and repairing used bikes to send to Africa. A number of the people have gone on mission trips all over the world to serve those in need. Artistic self-expression remains important for many of those involved. Art cars have been painted and driven. A few entrepreneurial spirits have started their own business. People are going on to study for careers in international development, art therapy, medicine, theatre, graphic design and the music industry. The impact of TWC has been undeniable but it must not end with a documentary that came and went. The life changing potential is too great. There is no reason more people cannot experience the joy of positive self-expression in a community of unconditional acceptance. It is in this type of environment that they can dream of a world where all individuals and individuality is valued. The Winking Circle is a proven avenue for this dream to become reality. The video zine is just a start.