lextopia

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Archive for the ‘Music’

You Can Smell Onions From The Plane

October 13, 2010 By: admin Category: Happiness, Living, Love, Molly, Music, Nik

There’s something that used to happen to older Macintosh computers. They would lock up/crash in a way that would require the user to perform a fixit action called “de-fragging.” De-fragging was actually beautiful. All the colors of the spectrum would appear on the computer’s screen in little rectangles. They would push forward and forward until the whole screen was filled with colored blocks. The different colors represented different things that were wrong with the machine, and the progression of them across the screen was the “de-fragging” action trying to fix them. You literally watched a broken thing try to fix itself.

I always liked watching the de-fragging process, even though it meant that my computer was probably pretty fucked. I was so hopeful that the colors meant the process was going really well and that my machine would emerge like new. But that didn’t usually happen. Once the de-fragging process was finished the computer would display a message basically saying, “I’m really fucked. You need to do something drastic or I’m going to die.”

Well, it looks like I need a little de-fragging myself. You saw that one coming, didn’t ya? :) This morning I got another “Alexia was abusive and an aggressive and insurmountable horror in our relationship” song from Molly. Seems to be no end of them and their message has finally done it’s work and wiped me out. I’ve hit bottom and literally can’t take any more negativity being thrown at me. Molly’s morning email came on the heels of a night of fighting with Nikki, with whom I haven’t been in a relationship for months. She’s mad as hell at me too and let it out last night. So I’ll be going to Europe in a couple of weeks to see if I can’t reconnect with the lovely person I was then and find a little joy. There’s none for me here at the moment. Boston is all tangled up and needs to be de-fragged.

May 2005

May 31, 2009 By: admin Category: Faith, Family, General, Happiness, Health, Love, Mom, Music

I believe in love and hope, but I’m also a realist so, in addition to love and hope, I believe in inevitability, in the certain awfulness that one day I will die. What concerns me today, though, is the inevitability of the death of someone else: my beloved mother.  As I write this she is having x-rays of her chest and kidney looked over by a urologist to see if the masses there are cancer or not. “Malignant” is what everyone has said so far, but none have yet elaborated or confirmed. My mother is 75 and has lived as full a life as anyone can hope to. I am proud of her. She is proud of herself. Sadly, our pride and strength and love and hope, even combined, are no match for the inevitable.

I can’t conceive of a world without my mother. Neither could you if you met her. This is the woman who taught me the distinction between Caravaggio and Rafael, Kirkland and Plisetskaya, composers and Mozart. This is the woman who cries when she tells the story of an opera or remembers a stanza from a favorite poem, who is as comfortable sitting with kings as she is pulling weeds in her garden. In French, English, Italian, Swedish or her native Spanish this is a woman who changes lives meerly by her presence in them, and who doesn’t deserve this.

You can probably imagine how strong my mother is, and so you can probably imagine how strange and frightening it is for me that my mother is now afraid. I think she’s terrified, and I would pay a lot of money to the miracle-worker who could make it all go away, who could take away her fear and her pain and her death. But inevitability has my family and me by the short hairs, and so all I will ever be able to do, once again, is rely on hope, and maybe pray that my love can make miracles happen.

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Newfoundland

May 2009

I wrote the above as it says, while my mother was on her way to death. I was living in CA at the time, and was working hard on a job. I was too stressed in my work to see clearly what was happening to her and so when the time finally came in July for her to die, all I had with her were 10 days.

I’ve always believed in love, in it’s power to deliver truth and help us overcome anything. My love couldn’t save my mother, though, no matter how much I “put out into the universe,” and that’s been a monkey on my back for a long, long, long time. I can see the nuances of love a bit better now–not completely, though. I still see things in black and white, as most of you know (and love…? ;)) about me… I am not as strong as everyone makes me out to be, and yet I did just order some books on abandonment issues and am here in public telling you all about it. Fuckit. This thing has been kicking my ass long enough and I’ve had it! Living things do better in company than in isolation, and this will be the Summer of my Great Content or I’m going to break something (hopefully not furniture or my own neck…;)).

I’ve been facing things all my life. Hopefully this will be the last major thing I have to face and deal with for a while. I need the universe to give me a break. I’ve been working really, really hard and just need a bit of a break… So, if anyone has a direct line to The Universe, I’d be pleased if you could convey my message. :) Happy Go-Fuck-Yourself-Retrograde, everyone. We fucking made it. :)

Exporting Video

March 20, 2009 By: admin Category: "Nice Boy", Music, Video

Exporting Video is like watching paint dry. Or waiting for a prom date to “get the courage.” Either way, this was inspired by a Facebook status post of mine where I wrote “If any of you musician types could write me a punk song about exporting video, I’d be grateful.” This is my pal, Mary Bichner, of Box 5, doing just that:

http://www.boxfive.org/misc/Exporting_Video.mp3

Enjoy!

At Long Last

December 08, 2008 By: admin Category: Beer, House, India, Music, The Film, Video

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The film is DONE. It’s amazing. DJ & Christy saw the latest version this morning and cried. They love it. They’re coming this week to finalize stuff and then we’re dropping in the mail to the Rochester Film Fest! I think that’s the one… Anyway, I look forward to sleeping again. It’s been a month. :)

Next steps are to get Molly unpacked and sift through all our combined stuff to see what I can use for the house. I’m excited as Molly has a keen eye for decoration and knows how important efficiency is for me.

So, things are happening. It’s the next phase “in all this.” I’ll be able to write more once I’ve gotten a few days of sleep. :)

In other news Molly and Mali’s pictionary party was last night at Cloud Club – tons of fun! It’s great to have Molly out here and bonding with kick-ass musicians in this cool, new scene. One guy makes his own beer and had some at the party – it was amazing!!! Anyway, more later. :)

Molly

November 21, 2008 By: admin Category: Love, Mom, Music

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Listening to Molly sing again after 3 months of silence is incredible. Like stepping into a warm bath after a hellish day.

We’re at Mike and Laura’s so Molly can use the piano to practice before her show. Her voice breaks me. It sounds like my whole life: past, present, and everything that will happen (or that I hope will happen) in the future.

Right now she’s playing “Refuge.” I helped her with that title… Mom was dying when Molly started noodling around with this one riff. Then, after Mom died, she wrote simply the most beautiful song you’ve ever heard in your whole life. I was re-reading Terry Tempest Williams’ “Refuge” at the time and hoping to turn it into a screenplay. In addition to telling the story of the fluctuation of Great Salt Lake in Utah, the book described the journey of the loss of Terry’s mother to cancer. The same things that happened to Terry happened to me, and when I heard this song coming from the living room I burst into tears. I ran into the room after she was done and feel into Molly’s arms.

Hearing this song right now and finally having Molly here – moved for good – brings me back to CA and I find myself nostalgic and sad. I had a good time there. There were pressures the likes of which I’d never felt and hopefully never will again, but, in all, it was a transforming time for me, personally and professionally.

I have this thing about cities: I think they have personalities. New York is hard and direct, but honest and loving and loyal if you pass all the tests up front; Boston is sweet and nurturing and completely honest and relaxing and beautiful; and L.A. is professionally challenging, well-meaning, and always wants you to do well, even in the face of fucked-up Hollywood. I owe a lot to L.A. and will always think on her favorably. I can’t ever live there cuz the people are too varied and it’s too hard to find the good ones, but the city itself is there for those with a strong work ethic and solid passion about their dreams.

The next few nights are devoted to editing this short film and getting it ready for the Dec. 15th fest deadline. If anyone ahs any spare tanks of oxygen out there, I might be needing them soon. 😉

“Los manos arriba! Arriba!” “They’ve GOT them up!”

October 21, 2008 By: admin Category: "Nice Boy", Music, Video

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So, I had this great (and then not) dream the other night…

I’m working on a music video inspired by my favorite movie, “Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.” It’s the first time I’ll be DIRECTING, which is to say it’s the first time I’m doing fiction. No “follow the story” type stuff this go ’round, just straight-up “I am responsible for every single element in evey single shot” type of stress. Awesome.

Anyway, as the story is set in the Wild West (why?????) and has the heavy “Butch & Sundance” influence, Paul Newman and Robert Redford have been on my mind. And, as my mind has a tendency to skip around in an “A.D.D. Bunny” kind of way, naturally I found myself dreaming about present day Robert Redford at none other than the Sundance Institute for film in Utah…

Okay, all the sickos out there who are picturing me doing fabulous things with “Bob”… you go right on picturing it…;) Girl, if any man could make me straight… whew!

Anyway, so the dream was much less exciting than what I just alluded to. In fact, it was downright humiliating. Here’s what happened… I’m sitting in an office. I’ve somehow been brought into the guts of the Sundance world because it seems someone liked the video. A lot. Great, right? I’m thinking I’m being tapped as “the next big thing,” right? Wait… So, Bob comes by. Fuckin’ BOB REDFORD. I do, if I might say, a phenomenal job of masking my “I’m not worthy” flop sweat as the God of Indy Film sidles RIGHT THE HELL UP TO ME. He smiles and says he really liked the video. I smile (then throw up… no… not really…) and tell him thanks. Then, without missing a beat, Bob tells me that “Maryanne”–a woman who has just MIRACULOUSLY appeared beside me–is going to take me somewhere to get “set up” in some way. “Set up???” I’m thinking I just won the lottery and that Bob somehow just hired me to direct his next big something! Except, no… that’s not at all what happened… So, I follow Maryanne as she winds through a series of hallways (someone quickly remind me what long, windy hallways in dreams mean). Again, I think we’re going to end up on some gorgeous indy soundstage somewhere where I will be trained on the latest wicked-cool camera, yadda yadda yadda…. but no, again, that’s not at all what happens. Instead, we end up in a makeup and hair room.

Confused? So was I until Maryanne–

showed me to a chair.

The punchline: Bob wanted me to get a haircut. I shit you not. Robert Redford’s impression of me wasn’t “genius” it was “scruffy.” I was to be, literally, groomed.

As you can imagine, I woke up feeling even more unfashionable than I usually do and desperately wanting to make that appointment with the expensive Bostonian hairstylist that I’ve been putting off.

Sonofabitch…

Anyway, the really, really, really good news in all this is that Caren and I had a nice sit-down, our first official production meeting, about the video. I played her the song and she threw out some great ideas. Now it’s up to me to come up with shots for the whole goddamned thing while she finds locations.

“Who are those guys???”

Joe LaFors, out. 😉

Exploring My “Creativity” With Photoshop…

October 01, 2008 By: admin Category: "Nice Boy", House, Music, Video

These are all studies in layers and a few very, very, very simple techniques I learned from reading a magazine. This first one started out with trying some self-created brushes. I took a photo of trees and a photo of some website text. I muddied them up, trying to get a feel for 2D balance, then the lines just came to me. The busy-ness of the design called out for a message that was straight forward, edgy, and challenging. Like the text was saying “fuck you!” to the design…

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This next one started out playing with motion blur on a photo of my feet looking out from Michael’s boat to the harbor. The stripes are created by adding motion blur and then turning the value of the blur WAY UP. I like the results of this filter but needed something more for this image. I LOVE the American Flag and the one abused in this photograph is one of the famous ones by Jasper Johns. I cropped it and then made the top one a brush, doubled it, and made it black & white. When the whole then felt unbalanced, I added the bottom one and took down the opacity.Again, the text just popped out.

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Lastly, this is the first study I’m doing for what will eventually be the look for the band “Box 5’s” video “Nice Boy/Blow My Cover” which I am fortunate enough to be directing in the coming months!!! I want a heavy, stylized sepia quality to the final look and this is me testing light and brightness & contrast so I’ll know how to shoot this thing…

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In other news Caren arrived yesterday!!!! We stayed up late talking and running around the house. Today we cleaned up her room so she could unpack her car. We got it all done with enough time for me to rush off to my acupuncture appt. I only have 2 more before I’m “righted” again. 😉

With Caren and her stuff here, the place is really filling filled out. :) The studio now has the file cabinet (a thankless, crazy-making task that I’d stab myself before repeating), and I’m slowly dealing with all the magazines from “The Bag Of Shame” as well as those I keep for reference. NOTE: I’m not a hoarder, these are magazines I actually use.

Alright. I have an FCP gig at a small recording studio tomorrow!!! I’ll be interning there for a little bit so I can learn how to use the 10-channel mixer I just bought… :) Wish me luck!!!

Installing New Trampoline On Bruddah’s New Boat!

September 22, 2008 By: admin Category: Family, Happiness, House, Michael, Music, Video

Yesterday was a terrific day. After an awesome evening of new music at Mali’s show on Saturday night, I woke up, did some yoga and weights, and then drove over to Mike & Laura’s to pick up Mike so we could head out to rig HIS NEW BOAT (photo gallery below…)!!! He bought a catamaran a few days ago and the new trampoline arrived and needed to be installed.

On the way to his house I listened to the “Best Of…” CD of Box 5, my new favorite band and one of the bands I heard at the show the night before. Mary Bichner (pronounced “BEECHner) has a vocal styling similar to Thom Yorke of Radiohead, and, indeed, when I looked at a video gallery of Box 5 through the years on YouTube I saw a very young Mary wearing a Radiohead shirt… just sayin’… 😉

Anyway, so the CD KICKS ASS and everyone reading this has to listen to the tracks online and then buy the thing. Not one bad song in the 7-song EP.

So, as I listened and drove I got more and more inspired to make a video of one of their songs. Images came at me with a vengeance and before the trip to Carlisle was over I had a full storyboard and format/style in my head. I’ve written to Mary and will be calling her later today to pitch the idea. Very exciting! :)

Also, for the last few days I’ve been storyboarding “In The Cemetery Wher Al Jolson Is Buried” and that’s been going very well. What I hope to do there is to finish the storyboards and then shoot the first “scene” as a test. If the test looks good after I’ve done some post-magic then I will pitch author Amy Hempel for permission/rights to shoot the whole thing. I’ve had a passion for this story since my freshman year at Tisch and for some reason the mojo to do it right, and as a film (I had originally tried adapting it for the stage) has arrived now, while I’m settling into the tiny town of Hudson, MA. :)

Lastly, following is a photo gallery of Michael and me installing the new trampoline on the catamaran her just bought. We had hoped to get the tramp installed and then go for a quick sail, but the former owner didn’t come by with the sails, daggerboards or other rigging necessary, so we just spent the time making sure everything we could do was done well. We’re looking to go sailing later in the week.

The day rounded-out with a nice dinner at Mike & Laura’s while watching “Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle.” I’ve always loved Kal Penn, but he was inspired in this movie, and the movie itself is fuckin’ hilarious. Not a good choice for those who don’t like smart-stupid humor–as opposed to the stupid-stupid humor of Ben Stiller–hate it–or the romantic-stupid humor of Adam Sadler–love it–but it had me on the floor.

Anyway, here’s the Michael With Catamaran photo gallery. Enjoy!

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Installing tramp 1.

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New Molly Zenobia Fan

August 19, 2008 By: admin Category: Music

Check out this beautiful write-up by a new fan of Molly’s. He came to an open mic, heard her sing one song, and bought “November Antique” on the spot.

BusyBusyBusyBusyBusyBusyBusyBusy

May 21, 2008 By: admin Category: Gadgets/Tech, Living, Music, Propeller, Video

Actually, I’m burnt out. I need a break. I’m hoping the move drive will give my mind a rest, and settling into Michael and Laura’s house for a few weeks will give me some time to just relax. I have too many irons in the fire right now and need to shove things off my desk. Some of that will happen this weekend when I finish an old, old project. That’ll feel GREAT. It’ll also give me a chance to play with my new editing toy, Magic Bullet Looks. By the way, yes, I know that not everyone is a video editing geek, but you would be if you played with everything I own for about five minutes. Cameras, software, G5–OH MY!

Anyway, so things have been very crazy pour moi. Shooting, editing, packing, making deals… It’s all very time-consuming and exhausting and reminds me that usually there are about 3-4 people doing the same amount of work I’m currently doing by myself. I know, I signed up for this, I have only myself to blame… Okay…

The good news is that two of my Big Projects for work are starting to get off the ground. I’m very excited about them and so will you be when I finally have a chance to show them off. Once will happen fairly soon — end of August. You’ll get links, don’t worry. The other one probably won’t launch until after Jan. 2009, but that’s okay. By that time I will have finished the Soma Girls film so the timing will actually be very cool.

Some other recent cool news is that Molly and I have a new friend who’s amazing. He’s a musician who just put out his first solo CD. He was with a very famous band for 14 years and now has gone out on his own cuz he wants to spend more time with his family. This I completely understand. Anyway, his CD is just beautiful. I listened to it all day yesterday and just blissed-out. It actually gave me a great idea for a screenplay. Actually, there have been 2 screenplay ideas floating around in my head for a while. Someone recently gave me a trick to how to write screenplays, so I might give that another go. It’ll be easier to do that in hotels during the move than to edit anything. I’ve been spending so much time on my big machine that it’s hard to go back to editing on a 15″ screen.

Hey, check out these guys called Stars of Stage and Screen. They KICK ASS. Listen to their cover of “Born To Be Wild.” It’s featured in the new movie “A Previous Engagement.”

I heard about the film and the band on KPFK yesterday as I was driving into the city. The one good thing about L.A. traffic, btw, is that it gives you a shitload of time to enjoy great radio. If y’all have not tuned in online to KPFK, I urge you to do so immediately. Best shows: “Democracy Now!,” and “Uprising.” For the more esoteric, there’s also “Inner Visions,” a very cool show about spiritualism.