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Spiritwalker review – stylish South Korean body-swap actioner
An amnesiac wakes in a new body every 12 hours in Yoon Jae-geun’s bruising thriller already set for a Hollywood remake
W ho is he? What happened? After watching this high-concept body-swap thriller from South Korea , I’m still scratching my head. Bourne Identity-style, it begins with a man in an expensive designer suit (Yoon Kye-sang) waking up in a car crash: he’s got a gunshot wound and no memory of who he is. But the instant he claps his eyes on his reflection he knows one thing: he’s in someone else’s body. You might wonder how he can be so certain what with the memory loss; but start picking at the plot holes and the entire movie falls apart in your hands.
Things get worse for our amnesiac: at noon he wakes up in another body. Then at midnight the same thing happens – again and again, every 12 hours. After one switcheroo he finds himself in the basement of a sleazy upmarket strip club in the body of a gangland boss halfway through a nasty spot of torture. All the hosts seem to be connected to the criminal underworld – and the noirish Seoul setting provides plenty of glass and mirrors for him to cop a look at his new reflections. Interestingly, Yoon plays the hosts when the amnesiac takes up residence in their bodies, while different actors portray them at other times. I wondered whether the already-confirmed Hollywood remake will stick with that casting choice.
The memory-loss device in Spiritwalker feels like exactly that: a device. It’s entertaining enough, with some well-executed car chases and bone-splintering fights. But the movie doesn’t have an awful lot to say about memory or identity, and Kye-sang’s character seems weirdly untroubled by existential terror given his predicament. My first instinct after it finished was to watch it again to try to put the pieces of the puzzle together. But then again, I’m not sure that would add very much.
- South Korea
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2020, Action/Mystery & thriller, 1h 49m
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Spiritwalker videos, spiritwalker photos.
After waking up from a car crash unable to remember anything about his life, a man begins regaining consciousness in a new body every 12 hours. He must piece together his identity, all while evading attacks from pursuing agents and dangerous criminals alike. But with no memory--and no allies--his time is running out.
Genre: Action, Mystery & thriller, Fantasy
Original Language: Korean
Director: Yoon Jae-geun , Jae-Keun Yoon , Yoon Jae-Keun
Producer: Jang Won-seok , Billy Acumen , Lee So-young , Kim Hyun-sook
Writer: Yoon Jae-geun , Jae-Keun Yoon , Yoon Jae-Keun
Release Date (Theaters): Nov 26, 2021 limited
Release Date (Streaming): Mar 18, 2022
Runtime: 1h 49m
Distributor: Well Go USA Entertainment
Production Co: B. A. Entertainment, Saram Entertainment
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After waking up from a car crash, unable to remember anything about his life, a man begins regaining consciousness in a new body every 12 hours. Now, he must piece together his identity, all while evading attacks from pursuing agents and dangerous criminals alike. But with no memory—and no allies—his time is running out.
- Yoon Jae-keun
Yoon Kye-sang Lim Ji-yeon Park Yong-woo
- Yoon Kye-sang
- Lim Ji-yeon
- Park Yong-woo
- Action & Adventure
- Thriller & Mystery
- Cast & crew
- User reviews
A fantasy action film that revolves around a man who loses his memory and subsequently wakes up in a new body every twelve hours. A fantasy action film that revolves around a man who loses his memory and subsequently wakes up in a new body every twelve hours. A fantasy action film that revolves around a man who loses his memory and subsequently wakes up in a new body every twelve hours.
- Jae-geun Yoon
- Yoon Kyesang
- Lim Ji-yeon
- Park Yong-woo
- 17 User reviews
- 30 Critic reviews
- 1 win & 1 nomination
- Moon Jin-ah
- Director Park
- (as Yong-woo Park)
- Go Joong-Sa
- Go Joong-sa
- (English version)
- (as Hong Ki-joon)
- Baek Sang-sa
- Director Hong
- Chairwoman Jeon
- Ji Cheol-ho
- All cast & crew
- Production, box office & more at IMDbPro
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User reviews 17
- Mar 16, 2022
- How long is Spiritwalker? Powered by Alexa
- November 24, 2021 (South Korea)
- South Korea
- BA Entertainment
- Saram Entertainment
- See more company credits at IMDbPro
- Runtime 1 hour 48 minutes
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Spiritwalker (2022) Stream and Watch Online
Watch 'Spiritwalker' Online
Need to watch ' Spiritwalker ' on your TV, phone, or tablet? Finding a streaming service to buy, rent, download, or watch the Yoon Jae-geun-directed movie via subscription can be confusing, so we here at Moviefone want to take the pressure off. We've listed a number of streaming and cable services - including rental, purchase, and subscription options - along with the availability of 'Spiritwalker' on each platform when they are available. Now, before we get into the various whats and wheres of how you can watch 'Spiritwalker' right now, here are some specifics about the BA Entertainment, Plus M, Saram Entertainment, ABO Entertainment thriller flick. Released March 18th, 2022, 'Spiritwalker' stars Yoon Kye-sang , Park Yong-woo , Lim Ji-yeon , Yoo Seung-mok The movie has a runtime of about 1 hr 48 min, and received a user score of 67 (out of 100) on TMDb, which put together reviews from 38 knowledgeable users. You probably already know what the movie's about, but just in case... Here's the plot: "A man loses his memory and wakes up in a new body every 12 hours, each time forced to discover who he is anew. This condition begins when he wakes up in the middle of a car crash, in the body of someone he doesn't recognize, without any knowledge of who he is. He begins to realize that his spirit is stuck to a different body and moves every 12 hours. In his desperate search to find himself, he comes across a woman who claims to recognize him. As he bores deeper into the mystery, he comes across a secretive organization that appears to be chasing him. Before it’s too late, he must find a way back into his own body." 'Spiritwalker' is currently available to rent, purchase, or stream via subscription on Microsoft Store, Rakuten Viki, Google Play Movies, Amazon Video, Vudu, Kocowa, Hi-YAH, Peacock Premium , Plex, Tubi TV, YouTube, Apple iTunes, and Peacock .
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2020 ‘유체이탈자’ Directed by Yoon Jae-geun
No memory. No allies. Nowhere left to run.
Unable to remember anything about his life, a man begins regaining consciousness in a new body every 12 hours. Now, he must piece together his identity, all while evading attacks from pursuing agents and dangerous criminals alike.
Yoon Kye-sang Park Yong-woo Lim Ji-yeon Yoo Seung-mok Park Ji-hwan Lee Seong-wook Hong Gi-jun Seo Hyun-woo Lee Woon-san Ju Jin-mo Kim Min-kyoung Hyun Bong-sik Cha Hye-rim Jeong Yoon-ha Baek Do-kyeom
Executive Producer Exec. Producer
Production Design Production Design
Set Decoration Set Decoration
Visual Effects Visual Effects
Kim Nam-sik Jeon Min-gyu Jo Gyeong-hun
Kim Yong-ho Choi Kwang-rak Kim Cha-i
Costume Design Costume Design
BA Entertainment Saram Entertainment Plus M Entertainment ABO Entertainment
Original language, spoken languages.
Korean Japanese Russian
Releases by Date
17 oct 2020, theatrical limited, 17 oct 2021, 24 nov 2021, 25 nov 2021, 03 dec 2021, 10 dec 2021, 17 jan 2022, 18 mar 2022, 12 apr 2022, 22 aug 2021, 17 nov 2022, releases by country.
- Physical DVD & Blu-Ray
- Theatrical limited Fantasy Filmfest
- Digital 18+
- Theatrical NC16
- Theatrical 15
- Premiere Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival
- Physical New York Asian Film Festival
- Digital Hi-YAH!
- Digital VOD
- Physical DVD
108 mins More at IMDb TMDb Report this page
Review by LeSchroeck ★★★½ 2
Großstadt-Gangstercop-Körpertausch-Drogenhandel-Mystery-Rache-Thriller mit schönem Heroic Bloodshed-Finale. Verliert selten an Tempo oder Verwirrung, besitzt fähige Darsteller (vor allem Park Yong-woo dreht herrlich immer weiter auf) und holt viel Dynamik oder Schmerz aus den vereinzelten Feuer-, Auto- oder Nahkämpfen raus. Kommt natürlich aus Korea, geht das alles dementsprechend selbstverständlich an und mag nicht wirklich zum Klassiker taugen. Als willkommene wie unterhaltsame Abwechslung ist er aber so entschlossen effizient wie ein 5 Millimeter vor die Halsschlagader gebohrter Schraubenzieher.
Review by Flynch ★★½
Der Körpertausch ist nicht nur im Pornobiz sondern auch im Komödien- oder aber auch Horrorbereich ein gern gesehenes Thema. Der hier vorliegende Film bedient sich bei keinem der genannten sondern legt eher Wert auf gepflegte Spannung mit einem Schuß Action. Die anfängliche Verwirrtheit, wer den jetzt wer und vorallem warum ist, legt sich im Laufe des Geschehens und man bekommt langsam den Überblick und zum Schluß dann noch die Antwort warum das Ganze geschieht. Nach der Hälfte des zurückgelegten Körpertauschmarathons geht dem Ganzen zwar etwas die Puste aus, ist aber dennoch interessant und spannend genug, um bis zur Zielgeraden durchzuhalten. Am Ende wird man noch mit einem fetzig blutig bleihaltigem Showdown belohnt und fertig . Die an sich frische Idee…
Review by More_Badass ★★★½ 3
Like Freaky most recently or Edge of Tomorrow’s Groundhog-Dog-meets-alien-war premise, Spiritwalker is a deft fusion of a well-trodden concept with another genre’s trappings. A mystery of body-swapping identity filtered through sleek action thrills, the film is best when leaning into its amorphous protagonist’s unusual situation. The multiple actors playing our dissociated lead believably carry his personality across changing faces, even as confusion about his fate gradually becomes clarity and then cunning towards using the rules to his advantage. Similarly, Yoon Jae-Keun’s direction constantly finds striking ways to visualize each swap and the disorientation that follows. He’s certainly more successful at the intrigue and intensity than at ensuring the narrative dovetails together without a few muddled plot threads or pacing roadbumps.…
Review by deMicha ★★★½ 2
Ein Mann erwacht verletzt und ohne Erinnerung an einem Autowrack. Schnell merkt er das was nicht stimmt. Seele und Körper passen nicht zusammen. Als er eine Frau trifft die er glaubt zu kennen, beginnt die suche nach dem Sinn in dem ganzen.
Südkoreanischer Thriller-Mystery-Fantasy-Action Film von 2020. Man wird sofort am Anfang genau wie der Hauptcharakter, ohne Wissen in die Handlung reingeschmissen. Nach und nach findet man mit ihm die Wahrheit heraus. Diese Vorgehensweise hat mir hier gut gefallen, und ich blieb gerne dran und hab mit gerätselt. Die Charaktere haben mir in ihrer Umsetzung auch gut gefallen. Spannend ist es mit dieser Ausgangssituation auf jeden Fall. Sie bringen es im Film auch gut rüber. Wenn Action ist rumst es auch gut, und der Finale Kampf ist auch hart umgesetzt wurden. Für Fans von Südkoreanischen Filmen geeignet, und Leute die gerne über ihren Filmichen Horizont hinaus schauen.
Review by Buzz ★★★½
So basically it's Beauty Inside ....with drugs.
Review by HKFanatic ★★★
The global power of cinema has diminished to such a degree these past few years that not even the once mighty Korean action/thriller is quite what it used to be. I mean, what was the last one of these that really bowled you over? Don't get me wrong, it's not all doom 'n gloom: "Spiritwalker" makes for a perfectly fine evening's entertainment, particularly if you're already subscribed to the HI-YAH! channel. It kind of feels like 'Nolan on a budget,' with the vaguely "Memento"-esque conceit that our hapless amnesiac protagonist is forced to hop bodies once every twelve hours (unfortunately, nobody ever utters the phrase 'you're a...spiritwalker,' a real missed opportunity).
For better or worse, writer/director Yoon Jae-keun's idea of…
Review by Geoffrey Broomer ★★★
An amnesiac (Yoon Kye-sang) crawls from a car wreck in a body he is sure isn't his own. Every twelve hours our protagonist will jump into a new body, that all seem to be increasingly interconnected, and decidedly dangerous.
On paper Spritwalker looks like some beautiful high concept thriller combining the mysterious layers of Momento with the fish out of water quirk found in the body swap subgenre, for a Crow/Darkman narrative. Combining just enough of the familiar to forge an original idea that beckons Hollywood to remake it. While I can see a remake being successful, there are (spoiler heavy) aspects of the premise that undermine the initial promise. To avoid ruining it, let me state that the macguffin…
Review by André Hecker ★★★½
Ein Mann wechselt alle zwölf Stunden den Körper. Wer diese Männer sind, weiß er nicht. Und auch nicht, wer er selbst eigentlich wirklich ist. In diesem südkoreanischen Hochspannungs-Thriller werden Fantasy-Elemente mit geerdetem Crime-Thriller kombiniert. Dabei wird ein hohes Tempo vorgelegt und trotz der Einführung vieler Charaktere auf kurze Zeit, verliert man nie den Überblick. Nach und nach lüftet sich dann das Mysterium auf und im letzten Drittel mutiert das ganze dann zu einer Rache-Story. Sobald man den Kniff kennt und der Film die Hintergründe in einem großen Flashback aufzeigt, verliert Spiritwalker leider kurzzeitig an Tempo und Dynamik. Zum Finale fängt er sich aber zum Glück und bringt die Geschichte blutig zum Abschluss. Audiovisuell stimmt hier, wir im südkoreanischen Kino inzwischen…
Review by Ivica_Pusticki ★★★★½
So...unlike YAKSHA: RUTHLESS OPERATIONS , another Korean movie which I reviewed before this film, which is a good action film but far from some Korean classic...SPIRITWALKER IS a Korean CLASSIC in my book!
I heard some really good things about this movie before I watched it, so I had certain (high) expectations! But maaaan...this movie blow my mind how good it is!! In short, SPIRITWALKER is like THE BOURNE IDENTITY meets a GROUNDHOG DAY, and its unbelievably intense and complex action thriller with whole bunch of fantastic action and twists and turns. We follow this mysterious guy who wakes up next to a crashed car, not knowing who he is and how he get there....but to make things even more interesting…
Review by loxliki05 🎞️ ★★★½
Um die Qualität von koreanischen Actionfilmen muss sich mittlerweile niemand mehr streiten und Spiritwalker ist das Paradebeispiel dafür, wie ein guter Actionfilm mit toller Idee funktioniert. Spiritwalker hält dabei das sehr stramme Tempo konstant und verliert nie an Luft, da dynamische Actionszenen in verschiedensten Variationen abgefeuert werden, die einen hohen Maßstab setzten, welcher nie unterbrochen wird. Doch es ist nicht nur die Action, die bis aufs Letzte überzeugt, sondern auch die schöne Geschichte hinter dem Ganzen, welche eine frische Note beimischt und für überzeugende Spannung und ein schönes Erlebnis sorgt. Irgendein Mann springt alle 12 Stunden von Körper zu Körper, ohne Informationen wer er ist oder werden wird, welches aus Spritwalker einen wahrlich spannenden Thriller mit hohem Actionanteil macht, der…
Review by joshrowley ★★
Clumsy; confusing; curious; loud; repetitive; underdeveloped; unengaging; well-made.
Review by DonnieDarko666 ★★½
They could have done much better with this premise. What is left is nothing more than a standard okish Korean thriller.
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Through his Spiritwalker costumes, Appleton's Brandon Johnson has 4.3 million TikTok followers and just performed with Doja Cat at Coachella
APPLETON – Brandon Johnson has 4.3 million followers on TikTok . He doesn't post dances, cooking tutorials, comedy skits or any of the typically popular types of videos on the social media app. Instead, the 31-year-old Appleton native gained his following by sharing videos of a homemade costume.
Known as Spiritwalker, Johnson's social media fame started with a viral video he shared to TikTok in 2020. The costume features a white mask, black fur, stick-like antlers and four stilts, giving the appearance of a 9-foot-tall, nightmarish woodland creature.
Since gaining widespread recognition, Johnson has created three more costumes, collaborated with well-known influencers and performed onstage with popular hip hop artist Doja Cat at the Coachella music festival in California in April. He says he has more prominent projects on the way.
But while Johnson has paved his way into the world of superstars and A-listers, Spiritwalker's roots remain in the Fox Valley.
How a home haunted house and a motorcycle accident led to Spiritwalker
Johnson's love for the bizarre and unpredictable started with his family's free haunted house held on their porch each Halloween. He and his dad would try to add increasingly spooky elements each year to scare neighborhood kids.
The haunted house porch pop-up has become so popular among locals, Johnson said some people who grew up stopping by each year have since moved away from Appleton, but return with their own children.
"We set it up in one day. We take it down that night," Johnson said. "The kids that walk past the next day never know what house it is."
In high school, Johnson attended Renaissance School of the Arts , a charter school that allows students from Appleton West to spend half their day focused on arts like costume design, figure drawing and dance. After graduating high school, Johnson started his audio company, Fox Valley Audio Visual .
In 2014, Johnson shattered his heel, broke both ankles and broke his collarbone in a motorcycle accident. He was in a wheelchair for four months. Because of his collarbone injury, Johnson wasn't able to move to crutches. He instead used an alternative mobility device that involved kneeling on a peg. Johnson quickly found he was easily able to balance and maneuver with the device, leading him to learn he had an aptitude for walking on stilts.
In 2016, Johnson got the idea for the costume.
"I can balance on stilts, I've taken ballet, I know how to create big things. So everything was a culmination," he said. "There was no motivation other than creating something that nobody has seen before."
Johnson enlisted the help of his father, Dean Johnson, who assisted in building the structure of the costume.
"(Brandon) didn't have any tools at the time," Dean Johnson said. "I was able to show him the basics, if you will, and he took it from there."
Johnson said his four-stilt costume took about 100 hours to make in his basement. It was a long process of trial and error. The result requires its wearer to plank while balancing on the stilts. In 2017, he started taking it to Neenah's Bazaar After Dark , where it caught a lot of attention and earned the nickname "The Spirit of Bazaar" among locals.
It wasn't until Halloween 2020, though, that a 10-second video clip brought Johnson's creature to a global online audience.
Overnight fame comes through a video on Halloween 2020
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Johnson's family wasn't able to safely host the haunted house. Instead, Johnson dressed in his costume and stood outside his parents' house to interact with people passing by.
Johnson's girlfriend took a brief video , and later that night, while sitting around a campfire, Johnson uploaded it to TikTok on a whim. That night, his phone died and he went to sleep. When he awoke the next morning, Johnson checked his phone to see 750,000 TikTok notifications, with millions of views on his video.
Seeing the support, Johnson quickly filmed and posted another video showing and explaining the pieces of his costume. By the end of the day, he had 50,000 TikTok followers.
Johnson had stepped into overnight fame. He began regularly posting videos and interacting with viewers interested in his creature and the costume-making process. His company, which does audio and lighting for live shows, wasn't doing well in the pandemic, and Johnson said the TikTok gig was a financial lifesaver.
"Quite honestly, TikTok and the money that I made from the viral videos, the first 10 or 15 viral videos, saved me from bankruptcy," Johnson said.
It almost never happened. Johnson said he nearly threw away the costume, which was collecting dust in his garage attic, about two months before the video went viral.
Johnson's costume gained the name Spiritwalker, inspired by mystical creatures from folklore. As he continued to post videos, his following grew.
"It just got really big. And I kept getting viral hits," Johnson said, "I mean, I would hit 30 million, 40 million on videos. I hit a million followers about a month after my first viral video."
For Halloween 2021, one year after his first viral video, Johnson created another costume — taller and bigger — which he called the Wraithwalker. To create it, Johnson experimented with new building techniques, most of which he learned from watching videos about the making of the dinosaurs in the "Jurassic Park" movies.
The first TikTok video Johnson posted of the new costume became his most viral one yet. It was reposted by popular Instagram accounts, spreading Johnson's homemade creatures to an even larger audience.
Two days after posting the Wraithwalker video, Johnson packed the costume in his Volkswagon Jetta and took a three-week trip to Los Angeles, where he collaborated with other creators who were contacting him through social media, he said. Along the way, Johnson stopped to film in picturesque locations in places like Colorado and Utah.
The Spiritwalker costumes caught the attention of some big names — including Doja Cat and Italy-based fashion designer Rick Owens .
In January, Owens invited Johnson to fly to Europe and make 10 of his Spiritwalker costumes for Paris Fashion Week. A few days after that, Doja Cat's creative team asked Johnson to perform with the superstar at the Brit Awards in London.
Johnson had to pass on the Brit Awards invitation after he determined he couldn't get done everything he'd need to do in time for the performance. He began making plans for Paris Fashion Week with Owens, when Doja Cat's creative director, Brett Alan Nelson , asked if Johnson would perform at Coachella .
"He contacts me and says, 'Doja Cat wants you to be with her. She is obsessed with your costume,' " Johnson said.
He immediately began building a new, improved version of the Wraithwalker costume.
When Johnson told Owens about his plans to perform with Doja Cat, the fashion designer gave an ultimatum: Paris Fashion Week or Coachella.
"I was in the most insane decision of my life," Johnson said. "I was pacing my house back and forth for eight hours straight because I had to choose. Do I go work with one of the biggest names in fashion in the world? Or do I go to Coachella at one of the biggest shows in the world with one of the biggest female artists in the world?"
Johnson said Doja Cat then called him and asked him to set up a meeting with Owens in an attempt to work on a collaboration.
"I was like, you want a boy from Appleton, Wisconsin, to set up a meeting between one of the biggest names in music and the biggest names in fashion? Me?" Johnson said.
On the call, Owens declined the collaboration, and Johnson had to make a decision within an hour.
"It was a painful hour. I was calling everyone I knew," Johnson said.
With the help of friends in the entertainment industry, Johnson chose the Coachella performance.
Wraithwalker performs with Doja Cat at Coachella
For Coachella, Johnson made a new Wraithwalker costume — similar to the one he had already created, but with materials from a much higher budget — and trained friend Vincent Landowski for about two months. The two would perform onstage with Doja Cat April 17. He also built a personalized shipping crate for the costumes, which would be backstage at the music festival.
Johnson and Landowski flew out a few weeks before Coachella to train with Doja Cat and her dancers. Both men had their own choreographer, Johnson said.
"The entire time, me and Vinny were just jaws dropped," Johnson said. "Kids from Wisconsin, thrown into A-list celebrities everywhere, walking into massive studios where you recognize everybody, but you've never been there.
"And I mean, every direction you turn, there was somebody else. I turned right and there's Tyga. Turn left, there's Rico Nasty. Turn right again, there's The Weeknd."
During the performance, hundreds of thousands of people were in the crowd. Despite nerves beforehand, Johnson said he felt a wave of calm the minute before he went on stage.
"It was perfect. Flawless. The whole performance," Johnson said. "I remember being in the costume on stage at Coachella, about to walk out and I'm feeling the bass from all their subwoofers, and I'm in stilts, which magnified the bass. I thought it was just going to vibrate off stage. But yeah, we went out and it was absolutely perfect. It was unlike any feeling I could ever explain."
Johnson and Landowski were on stage for two songs, as well as the last minute of the finale, Johnson said.
The Coachella experience didn't come entirely without hiccups, however. Johnson said, an hour before the performance, he discovered that his TikTok account was permanently banned.
TikTok bans accounts for a variety of reasons, if videos posted violate the app's "community guidelines," which include violence, nudity, bullying and hateful behavior. Other users can report videos and accounts they believe violate the app's rules, which are then reviewed by TikTok. Sometimes, however, videos may be taken down or accounts may be banned for no apparent reason, either through a mistake or many reports from users.
Johnson, who adhered to the app's community guidelines, said he was devastated to find that all his videos were no longer online, one hour before the biggest event he had ever been a part of. It was like all his hard work was gone in an instant.
Nonetheless, he felt great about the Coachella performance. Afterwards, he got in contact with TikTok support and friends who had insight about TikTok's operations, and his account was revived three days later.
After showing his costumes on such a public stage, Johnson's account continued to grow. Since then, he has built another costume — a small version of Spiritwalker, nicknamed Sprite, which is run by a friend's son. He has four more costumes planned — including one titled Wind Walker that will be made of thin, holographic-like material, and another that will look like a tree until its wearer moves, revealing four separate legs.
Fans of Spiritwalker can purchase merch on Johnson's website , some of which feature designs made by Johnson's sister. He has started venturing into YouTube and now has a manager, photographer, videographer and graphic designer on his team.
The original Spiritwalker, now about six years old, is about to be retired for good, Johnson said. The costume, made from materials Johnson found at thrift stores, is falling apart.
"He's dying. It's sad," Johnson said. "But he's going to rise from the flames as a much more well-built costume."
Johnson remains tight-lipped about upcoming projects, but hinted that big things are coming. And despite his newfound stardom and relationships with big names in the entertainment industry, he continues to make all his costumes from scratch in the town where he was born and raised: Appleton.
Contact Kelli Arseneau at (920) 213-3721 or [email protected] . Follow her on Twitter at @ArseneauKelli .
East Bay Times
Share the Spirit: Stepping out of the darkness and into the light
Posted: December 25, 2023 | Last updated: December 26, 2023
Dec. 24—Life had grown so painful for Michelle Walker by early 2022 that she felt like she wanted to just end it.
"I definitely was suicidal," remembers the 41-year-old Richmond resident. "I felt like I lost everything."
She had gotten to this place after years of drug addiction, which led her to leave her young son behind, and focus squarely on getting high.
"I stopped coming home," Walker says. "I would just stay out for months at a time. Eventually, I moved into a tent on the train tracks, because I thought I could get comfortably high there."
She was wrong. The result turned out to be anything but comfortable, as she spent most of her time trying to score methamphetamines to feed her towering addiction.
Somewhere along the way, Walker stopped showing up for work and eventually lost her job. With no source of income to draw from, Walker says she felt like she "had to do things degrading to myself" in order to get the money for drugs.
Her life had gotten dark — real dark. And it was getting harder and harder to see the point of going on.
It was at that bleak moment that someone threw her a lifeline and introduced her to the Bay Area Rescue Mission, a faith-based nonprofit that has served the Bay Area community since 1965.
The Richmond organization is reportedly the Bay Area's largest privately funded homeless shelter, offering more than 80,000 nights of shelter, 90,000 hours of counseling and 1.6 million meals per year. It also provides emergency shelter, transitional housing and one-year programs for recovery from drug and alcohol addiction as well as domestic violence.
The goal is to help get lives back on track — which is certainly something Walker knew she needed. Thus, she decided to sign up for the Bay Area Rescue Mission's Life Transformation Program in early 2022, committing to a year of classes, training and discipleship to help her get off drugs and get prepared for a new life.
"She was in really bad shape when she came in," says Barbara Wallace, Bay Area Rescue Mission's director of donor engagement. "She had just given up on life."
Yet, the program ended up working for Walker, who is now drug and alcohol-free, has a promising career in the construction industry and a place to call home. Perhaps most significantly, she's been reunited with her son.
"I get to watch him grow and just see what God allowed me to create," Walker says of being back with Dominic, who is 14 and in eighth grade. "I love it."
Through the East Bay Times' annual Share the Spirit campaign, which seeks to raise money for the most vulnerable in our communities, the Bay Area Rescue Mission is hoping to raise $5,000 to help people like Walker and others get a fresh start on life.
The funds would be used to provide 20,000 hot meals for those in need of food during a six-week period. Currently, Bay Area Rescue Mission prepares and serves 600 meals — breakfast, lunch and dinner — per day. The meals are served 365 days per year to residents in the nonprofit's shelters and to unhoused people in the area and those on the verge of being homeless. Everyone is welcome, regardless of faith.
Not having to worry about where her next meal was coming from as well as having a safe place to stay certainly helped Walker focus on getting clean from drugs and taking the next steps to get her life in order.
She'd take full advantage of the number of classes and offerings available through the Bay Area Rescue Mission's Life Transformation Program, which range from computer training and life management skills to financial literacy education. Participants also work — such as in the onsite beauty shop, kitchen or warehouse — to learn job skills.
"That's actually vocational training," says Stephanie Sewell, the Bay Area Rescue Mission's vice president of development. "When they work in the warehouse, they're learning how to work a forklift and do the inventory and all that. So, they are doing a job — they are helping us, but at the same time they are learning a skill."
That training paid off for Walker, who quickly landed a job in the construction field after graduating from the program.
"I got out on April the 7th and I started working on April the 17th," she says.
Walker also marked her 41st birthday clean and sober — which she says is the first time she's celebrated a birthday in that fashion since she was a young teen.
"She's absolutely amazing," Sewell says. "She's really turned her life around. She's great a role model for her son."
Walker credits much of the remarkable turnaround to the faith-based teachings at Bay Area Rescue Mission.
Mulling the situation over, Walker says she's not sure that the program would have worked for her without that element. She says she had tried to get sober before at another program and it didn't work. The difference maker, she says, is clearly God.
"I think this time around, He took the desire and want for alcohol and drugs away," she says.
If you or someone you know is struggling with feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline offers free, round-the-clock support, information and resources for help. Call or text the lifeline at 988, or see the 988lifeline.org website, where chat is available.
Share the SpiritThe Share the Spirit holiday campaign, sponsored by the Bay Area News Group, provides relief, hope and opportunities for East Bay residents by helping raise money for nonprofit programs in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
How to helpDonations will help the Bay Area Rescue Mission provide 20,000 meals for those in need of food during a six-week period. Meals are served 365 days per year to residents in the nonprofit's shelters and to unhoused people in the area and those on the verge of being homeless. Goal: $5,000
How to giveGo to www.sharethespiriteastbay.org/donate or print and mail in this form.
(c)2023 the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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My lucky birthday is on the 23rd December, and I'm obsessed with snowy and cold destinations.
I was planning to go to Moscow this year because I always planned my lucky birthday to go to a new country and also somewhere where snow is guaranteed.
But I'm also A HUGE Christmas lover!
I know the Russians celebrate their Christmas in January, but if I go to Moscow during those dates, will I still find Christmas markets and decorations? Or will it be empty without any Christmas feeling? Thanks!
The main winter holiday in Russia is New Year, so here is more "New Year spirit" than "Christmas spirit". But yes, you can feel it 18-24 December.
Oh yeah! The atmosphere of the approaching holiday will be compulsory!
show is high possibility, but not guaranteed
New Year spirit - yes;
'The Nutcracker' - definitely;
snow - highly likely :))
This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity.
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