Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ladies & gentleman, Jeremy Blake..


Jeremy Blake - Berkshire Fangs ('01)


Jeremy Blake - Berkshire Fangs ('02)


Jeremy Blake - Mod Lang ('02)


Jeremy Blake - Chemical Sundown ('01)


I'd like to, if I may, introduce you guys to some of the most visually stunning artwork I have ever seen (above).

I remember the first time I saw the movie Punch Drunk Love and being so in love with that movie for so many different reasons.
I thought the music was just magical, and oh so lovely.. so much so, that I bought the soundtrack the next day, particularly for the song "He Needs Me". To my surprise I discovered the soundtrack had been done by Jon Brion, who is my dream producer and at the top of my list as far as producers go (Elliott Smith, Fiona Apple, Rufus Wainwright, Kanye, Keane, Dido - all artists I love.. you can see him every Friday at Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles).
I also found that the song "He Needs Me" was written by Harry Nilsson for the movie Popeye and was sung by Shelley Duvall. Harry Nilsson is one of my all time favorite artists for having what I think is one of THE most beautiful voices of the century (though I love them all, my favorite album is Nilsson sings Newman). The soundtrack overall though, just has an old world charm to it, and a little bit of a foreign film feel to it. It is a delight.

As for the cinematography, breathtaking.. I couldn't stop watching it. I love it when a movie grips me the way that Punch Drunk Love did, it wasn't just a sweet story, which it most certainly was, but the characters involved were all really kooky, and exuberant.. with Adam Sandler in a a way we've never seen him before and Emily Watson who was lovely and refreshing.

In my opinion, the past 10 years has seen a whole spate of films by a new kind of director, guys that want to tell a story in a whole new way and shoot film in a very different way, that to my mind, has made film so much more interesting and engrossing, directors like;

Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia)
Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore)
Michel Gondry (The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
David O Russell (I Heart Huckabees)
Tim Burton (Sleepy Hollow, Big Fish, Edward Scissorhands)
The Hughes Brothers (From Hell)
The Wachowski Brothers (V for Vendetta, The Matrix)
The Coen Brothers (O Brother, Where Art Thou, Fargo)
Ryan Murphy (Running with Scissors)

But the thing that always set Punch Drunk Love apart for me was how visually stunning the film was. The film was literally interspersed with these out of focus, really colourful, beautiful shots and I always wondered how the hell they did that, I thought maybe they just make the camera go out of focus and that was what you'd see, these colourful shapes but I've asked people in the industry about this and they all say no.

I think I might have seen that film in 2003..
Fast forward to 2008..

I'm sitting in my Dr's office waiting to be seen and pick up a copy of the New Yorker Magazine. It was a special fashion issue and it had very beautiful clothes in it, all designed by relatively unknown designers. When I was ready to leave, I asked if I could take the magazine with me and they said yes. I carried it around in my bag for weeks. It was full of all kinds of interesting stuff but one of the last stories I read in it was the story of Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake.

Their story went a little something like this; 2 young and amazingly gifted artists meet in their early 20's in New York and find an immediate attraction between them. Before long they are inseparable, Theresa becoming a successful video game creator (Chop Suey, Smarty Pants, and Zero Zero), and Jeremy beginning to find his way in the art world. Theresa begins to write screenplays and the 2 eventually move to LA, where Theresa begins to shop her film ideas. Jeremy in turn begins to find his own voice and style through a somewhat new medium that he is partially credited with creating. I don't know that I really understand it, but it would seem that it is a kind of graphic design using film and computers. Some of the works he created are used in the film Punch Drunk Love (the ones I always wondered about). The 2 are beloved by many and seem to be at the center of their own universe when after 12 years together, the unthinkable happens, Theresa commits suicide. One week later Jeremy follows in her footsteps. Their untimely deaths rock the art world, film world etc.

It is possible I may not be telling their story correctly so I mean no disrespect to any who might read this having known the couple, nor do I mean for this story to be a downer. I just finally found the answer to a plaguing question and in finding Mr Blake, have discovered a brilliant artist who's work deserves to live on.. Let's celebrate him shall we?
You can see his works here http://www.ktfineart.com/artists/jeremy_blake/

Epilogue..
Sometimes being an artist is not at all glamourous, it is hard fucking work.. but if you love what you do and are good at what you do, there are rare moments of dreams being realized and of stunning beauty..
Sometimes that is enough for the artist, sometimes not..
What we hope, is that the beautiful works will live on..


Thank you for reading

“In many ways the work of a critic is easy, we risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves for our judgement. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read, but the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations and new… needs friends..”
-Ratatouille

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Indy Star Adventures (ISA): ep2


Viv, Jen & indie artist J. Henry

Hey everybody,
Viv here with the next ep of the ISA.

Today I’m going to talk a little bit more about prospective managers.
Using The Secret and all the other principles I know to draw the right manager to me, lol, I’ve been spending time talking to people, asking questions, brainstorming, etc.
What I’ve been finding is that the best candidates are coming up in the most unlikely places.

Part of the reason for this is that most established managers in the industry are looking for a very established artist (mainly in record sales and or following) to work with, thereby missing out on the potential great artist that may unwittingly cross their path. Of course this is understandable, tried and tested is always preferable albeit not always available these days.

While most of us musicians and music lovers have heard nothing but how much the industry is changing for the last 3 or 4 years, and indeed it has changed greatly, I still think that it has changed in our favour (independent musicians). I think there are more opportunities available to indie artists than ever before, but it’s also harder to know what’s out there, when we probably have more artists making music now than ever before in the history of music.

Another reason to look in unlikely places, is that being independent, you can probably be better guided by someone who isn’t chained to outdated modes and ideals. Someone thinking completely out of the box at this time, is probably just the thing that’s needed, considering the fact that at this time in the music business, almost anything goes.. fresh ideas, new approaches and independent thinking are welcome.

With that, I’ll tell you about my 2 latest prospects.
Long shots to say the least, but two very different people who I believe with the right amount of hard work & vision could be absolutely perfect partners for steering this venture.

They are both women.

The first is a seasoned former exec with many years of experience in the music industry, having worked at Viacom, Sony, a few other companies I cant remember and lastly as the GM of a large independent record/management company. She quit because she didn’t care for the label heads business practices and modus operandi (INTEGRITY, gotta love her for that). She has an entrepreneurial spirit which she showed in opening up her own restaurant a few years ago (which means she has valuable experience in other areas of business), she’s funny, and smart, charming as hell and a true people person, which for me is an absolute plus since I’m a shy type. Plus she’s a go-getter so it’s almost a no brainer. The downside is she has a young family and lots of family stuff happening (which isn’t a downside for me at all, but could be hard to balance as a wife and mother). Still, she’s a woman who carved out a niche for herself in a predominately male run industry and climbed up the corporate ladder all on her own.

I should preface this next paragraph by stating that the second candidate doesn’t seem to want manage, or rather doesn’t know if she’d make a good one, although it’s pretty much what she does all day. Let’s just say she’s an amazing coordinator and/or orchestrator. She works in marketing outside the music business but has a deep and intuitive love for music and musicians. She is one of those keepers of the flames so to speak. It’s crystal clear to me, as it probably is to most everyone that come into contact with her, that she should be doing something in the entertainment industry, but just what that is, she’s still unclear about. Still she is one of those people that enters a room and will know a little something about everyone before she leaves it and what’s more, everyone that comes into contact with her wants to know her and enjoys her company as she is knowledgeable in just about everything. That’s a gift. You can call her up and ask for a contact to any person anywhere in the music business and she will either know someone or find someone who does. Now that’s what I call SPARK! Plus she’s a people person as well and has a natural curiosity and a sharp wit. The downside as I said earlier, is that she doesn’t see herself as manager exactly.

2 brilliant and accomplished prospective managers none the less.

Stay tuned and look for the first video blog next week featuring new music.
Thanks for reading,
Vivian

remember.. music can change the world.