Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dances With Wolves

While in Montana, and knowing this was big sky country with beautiful scenery that Lewis and Clark traveled through, I thought it would be a funny idea to do a Dances With Wolves Shamus and I put it together real quick, just as a laugh. To my surprise, I discovered that Kevin Costner is rolling into Missoula in a couple weeks to play with his band, Modern West. Hopefully he'll see this and Shamus can get his autograph (ha, ha)!

My Trip to Montana

In June my friend Rob and I took a trip to Missoula, Montana to visit our friends Shamus and Jess who had just moved there a year ago. What a country! Beautiful hikes and wonderful people. They live in the cutest house, right by the train tracks, that reminds me of the shotgun shacks I saw in Mississippi. Shamus attends and teaches at the university and I met a lot of his fellow TA's. We drank at the local bars and breweries and shopped at the farmers market.

I met a jovial guy wearing a beret who sold hand-made sausages. When he found out I was from Brooklyn he said he had spent a good amount of time there himself and proceeded to impersonate the accent, which I informed him sounded a lot more like a Boston accent. Rob bought a hand-carved flute made of walnut from a local guy and I bought a mandolin. The mandolin was bought at a pawn shop, there are a bunch around town, and I also checked out the gun collection he had. The guy approached and asked if he could help us, and I asked, "what can kill a bear?" He said a lot of people use the 44 handgun, which is a beautiful antique-looking revolver. As I held it in my hands he explained that the 44 is more of a deterrent and if you wanted to really take care of that bear he suggested a much bigger gun displayed on the wall. It looked like a sawed-off shot gun, much like the one Rico Tubbs used in Miami Vice. He said I wouldn't be able to take the big gun back to nyc anyway, so I just walked out with the much cheaper mandolin.

We went on a day hike through Glacier National Park, and because the week before a man had been mauled by a Grizzly, we bought a can of bear mace. This is some major mace, not be used on a human being. To our surprise you only get one shot on this thing, so if you're attacked you better aim well or no second chance! Mountain Cats supposedly attack people too. Their tactic is to creep up behind you, jump on your back and bite your neck! Luckily the only large animals we saw were deer.

What a great place.....Missoula, I shall return!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cast Iron Gates

This was the second music video I did for Francis Friday, this time with my good friend Jarred Alterman of Fly Away Films. We've worked together several times over the years, but he had never done a video for any of my Francis Friday ventures. The pieces fell into place and in April of '08 we got together one evening, just before sundown. Jarred had a great camera with a lens that's in focus in the middle, while the edges are blurry, which is a great effect! Miguel Drake-McLaughlin handled most of the camera work, while Jarred directed. It was entirely Jarred's concept....use old 8mm footage (from my family's archives) interspersed with the hazy, in-out-of-focus material, to give a dreamlike, whistful image.

We shot some footage by the cemetery near Greenpoint, which had some old iron gates (more wrought than cast though) and did the rest in his house. Besides the lens, the other effect he used was to project images onto my face while I sang along to the song. After the shoot, Jarred bunkered down in his editing room to cut it together with the 8mm footage. I don't know how it happend so fast, but in a couple days it was done and on the web.

Yay, trees

So, the other day a lovely gift was left in front of my window. Oh joyous, arbor, a tree! This cute little thing and a couple others just like it, was planted only a few weeks ago to spruce up the old street. My block is full of old brick warehouses, as well as an ugly new glass addition across the way, and at certain times of the year gets very dusty and dirty. I think to myself, if there was only some greenery. And now there is! Welcome, tree. You are my friend. I look out my window and see you there, sun glistening in your leaves. You are small now, but someday you will grow up big and strong. Things are just a little bit brighter.