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Monday, October 23, 2006

Video premiere show, the Airliner

We finally had our video premiere show this past Friday, an event which was supposed to happen back in August and was fraught with all sorts of delays, disasters, complications, and compromises. But happen it finally did, this time at The Airliner in Lincoln Heights. I'm afraid we were running around so much that night that I don't remember too much about the event, except of course that E>K>U>K, The Mormons, and 8-Bit also showed their new videos and that we got the pleasure of playing with not just Andy but also Wendy from The Sweet Hurt on keyboards. I gotta say that I was rather impressed when she showed up a few weeks ago with her keyboard and already knew how to play our entire set all the way through without mistakes. I think she can play every other instrument with equal proficiency as well--I think she can play guitar, drums, bass, umm, oboe maybe? Tuba, grand harp, yodeling choir, that thing that you turn the crank on while the monkey dances, and, oh, I dunno, contrabass ocarina or something. Well maybe not that, but seriously she can play just about anything well. I am jealous, I can barely manage a few chords on the guitar and a smattering of kazoo riffs if the spirit moves me.

For those of you who didn't get a chance to attend, here is the video for "We Fell Dead," directed by the charming and debonair Mr. Locke Webster:

PS—yes, that really is Mary’s hair, not a wig, and no, she doesn’t usually wear it like that. There’s enough Aquanet in there to hold up a comatose rhinocerous.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

We Fell Dead

From Mary:

We kept forgeting to post these pictures of our video shoot for "We Fell Dead" but now we have no excuse. We are premiering our video tomorrow nightso it's time to get them up!

Jess, Tasha, Joe, Cody, Toni & Mandy

Row 1: Jeff, Arlena, Alexis, Jade

Row 2: Matt, Dasha, (I'm sorry. I can't find your name. Please email me.),Stephen, Sal

Conner, Cody, Tasha, & Toni

Sal creating Anti-Monolator propaganda

Sal getting manhandled by Tony and Andy

Joe & Locke

Joe & Eli

BTW, Joe got his butt touched while filming this.

Demonic Mary

Us in the Oval Office

This was a super fun video! Sorry, we don't have a real good pic of Mandy Freund who played our "anti-Monolator voter". Also, didn't get a real good pic of Jess Kepner who played "stylist" to the dictators. They did a bang-up job though!

If you want to see the finished product, we are showing it tomorrow October 20 at 10PM at The Airliner.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Strawberry Roan: the horse, the cupcake, the video

I am still waiting on some pictures to show all of you our most recent video shoot/exploit...words aren't really enough to describe the experience...but you'll have to bear with me for the time being.

This last Saturday we shot our bits for our third music video, for "Strawberry Roan." Since this was just two days after Penny died I wasn't sure if I was in extactly the right frame of mind to do it, but it turned out to be a good thing: it kept us busy rather than moping around the house.

John Doherty directed this one. He's an ex-student of Mary's, and he's a young dude, so he had a vast and enthusiastic pool of fellow students to draw upon for crew and extras. Do you think anyone our age would be willing to work 14 hours straight on a Saturday running lights and a fog machine? Nope, they'd be asleep, or maybe watching old Gumby reruns. At best. So anyway: my advice for all of you bands wanting music videos is that the optimal age for your cast and crew is right around 17 or so. Just feed them pizza and they keep on going!

It was shot in a cavernous private middle school gymnasium out in Chatsworth. I'm not sure how it happened that John secured this place: it was massive. Just the boy's locker room, where we had to change our costumes, was bigger than our house. Possibly bigger than the White House, I don't know: it was big. I gather this is also where the private middleschool children of Chatsworth put on their various theatrical productions, because there also was a stage the size of Estonia in there, and that's where John shot us performing.

We shot all of our stuff on Saturday. It wouldn't have been too spectacularly interesting to watch: it was 14 hours of Mary and I lip-synching and miming our song in different silly costumes (cowboy, biker, priest, etc.) in front of a greenscreen. I gather the idea is that there will be about 10 versions of us up onstage all at the same time, all playing different instruments. Lotsa dry ice. I almost passed out when I tried to play the alto saxophone while dancing around in heavy biker boots. Mary accidentally smashed our ukulele, Pete Townsend-style. We had over twenty costume and makeup changes that day, with an average of three minutes' time allotted for each one. Many, many thanks to Erica the costume designer and Sonja the makeup artist who helped us through that...I can still feel the sponge used to put on the fake stubble...and I got an amazingly cool cowboy shirt out of the deal, too!

No, REALLY the exciting stuff was on Sunday, when the dancers/extras arrived. There were, on top of the crew of 20, at least 40 dancers involved in this thing--and it was choreographed by a proper choreographer, not just someone saying "okay...um...dance!" which is probably how I would have done it. I wasn't around to witness this (I was out running around buying food for everyone) but my understanding is that there's a 'Beat-It' style dance/fight between dancers dressed as pirates and dancers dressed as ninjas. Plus lots more dry ice (so much so that, in fact, it set off the smoke alarms and the fire department showed up). There was also:

-a breakdancing rabbi (leading to one moment when the director could be heard yelling "Jews! Where are my Jews?!?")
-a terrified, crowd-surfing nun
-poodle-skirted 1950's girls
-dancing priests
-dancing bikers (our babysitter Jade is one of these)
-ghosts, consisting of people wearing sheets with eyeholes cut out, à la "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"
-a lumberjack doing back flips

I'm sure there's also more stuff I'm forgetting. Cripes. I should be getting some pictures back from the lab today or tomorrow, and if any of them turn out I'll post some.

I just have to say that we feel very, very lucky that so many talented and nice people were so enthusiastic and generous with this project. That goes for all our videos: 3 exceptionally cool videos in two years is pretty amazing, I think! John, Locke, Cody: many, many thanks.

Oh yeah: I could hear a lot of discussion among the extras about what a "strawberry roan" actually is. One dancer thought it was "some cupcake flavor." Well no, it's actually a kind of horse. I'm not going to say anything more than that.