About a month ago over the course of two weeks, singer/songwriter Reesi Rocca filmed assorted scenes for her opulently deluxe "Never Afraid" song video. I was there to film stills for two nights of same, the green screen work with the brand-new-on-the-market Polaris Slingshot (the futuristic vehicle above,) and the night with the full band and chorus line of enthusiastic 11-year-old girls dancing their hearts out to Reesi's positive messages for them. Both evenings featuring a Michael Jackson that isn't a hologram, and Reesi's beloved Golden Retriver Miss JJ.
What I love about about Reesi's songs/performance is her all out passion placed directly into a commercial style normally reserved for the latest pop/rock formulae. What I love about Reesi's professionalism is her adeptness at actually executing her ideas however wild, a rare instance of follow-through for Tinseltown!
Thus when she outlined the video for me to shoot stills for in which her Golden Retriever JJ would be joining her in a flying bed launched aloft by the former's prayers and dreams, which then morphs into a batmobile-y Polaris Slingshot in which JJ, "Michael Jackson" along for inspiration and Reesi also take flight into into the heavens, this is exactly what happened in the production. Her Michael Jackson impersonator (real name: Scorpio Spier) was spot on in looks plus fancy footwork and even made jokes in character in the downtime between takes.
Ready for their close ups:
Bring on the dancing girls!
Reesi's "Never Afraid" video directed by Basil Moore (seen above with Reesi) is due to be released late October or November 2015. It should be a great pastiche of positive messages born of the artist's modern Christian faith, the wild fantasy sequences of her imagination come to life, a heroic Golden Retriever, talented young pro dancers, credible "Michael Jackson" participation and of course the exceptional songwriting and singing/dancing performance of Reesi Rocca herself. Watch for it on Youtube and elsewhere soon!
Reesi Rocca "Never Afraid" video Executive Producer Darryl Bocage; Producer Carol Joyce; Director Basil Moore; Cinematographer Bob Hayes; Choreography Terry Bixler
Reesi Rocca "Never Afraid" song produced by Jamie Jones and Jack Kugler
Reesi Rocca, "Michael Jackson" and Miss JJ relax between takes; "Michael Jackson" greets Donna Balancia, editor of California Rocker
I only just learned that my favorite performance artist Chris Burden passed away this last May. He was the Iggy Pop of the art world, a factoid I noted in my book "Punk Rock 'n' Roll," written in 1977, published in 1978 during the week the Sex Pistols broke up.
from PUNK ROCK 'N' ROLL by Heather Harris, 1978
Chris Burden, now acclaimed for his magnificent installation of oldskool city street lights in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art was a performance and installation artist who specialized in personal risk, personal violence and personal vulnerability. Known for having himself shot in the arm or crawling through broken glass for assorted pieces, the one depicted above, The Visitation, 1974, was much more personal and clandestine. As his contribution to a group show, he sat unannounced in the basement of the art museum in very little light, and would talk to anyone who found him there for as long as he or she liked. He only had about 15 viewers of this piece.
Below, Urban Light, Chris Burden, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, photographer unknown.
Below, four fair use excerpts of his book Chris Burden 1974-1977. (click pix for full compositions and to read his explanations
of these specific pieces.)
Another personal fave was "Full Financial DIsclosure" wherein he did just that, making himself incredibly vulnerable to the Internal Revenue Service of the United States who are known to mad dog fine artists even without such provocation. Rest in peace Chris Burden.
In tribute to him, I humbly offer my just created piece "38 year old phone numbers of well known Punk musicians that were contacted for my punk book." Are the numbers still viable? Will I get sued?
My friend Amy D'Allessandro wed James Stolz in an outdoor ceremony with her National Show Horse Bella Nova as a vital part of the ceremony 9.5.15. Amy rode Nova from her nearby house to the park where the nuptials were held, and Nova was a very good girl throughout, despite racket from a nearby freeway and firefighting helicopters overhead. Below, Amy and Nova arriving at and during the ceremony.
"You may kiss the bride." (the happy couple ↓) "You may kiss the horse." (the groom's mother! →)
Amy D'Allessandro, now Amy Stolz was the film director of "The Making of Re-Licked" feature for the dvd that accompanies James Williamson's solo album Re-Licked, and also of the video shot in my photography studio of one of its songs "I Got A Right" (click LINK) starring volcanic singer Lisa Kekaula and acclaimed dancer Cleo Viper. James Stolz was the cinematographer for both as well.
Why no Fastfilm photos of Hendrix? I was too young to go see him without pre-arranged rides (L.A. did not and still has no reliable after hours public transportation.) Plus the one time I was supposed to see him live at the Shrine Auditorium's all ages show, my date showed up doing a wasted, face first pratfall into the doorstyle, emerging groggily to my parents intoning "We're going to see a hot ----!" We needless to say went nowhere and I was grounded (which merely translated to my sneaking out the second story by chimney-climbing down a 3-cornered eave when restless.) And we wouldn't have seen Hendrix that night anyway even without the pratfall: wasted date had gotten the night wrong any how.
I actually liked All Is By My Side. One has to approach it as a bio-flick with real rock and roll heart, not cast-in-cement accuracy, then it's a quite enjoyable account how the major guitar titan of the 1960s got his rags to riches start, which should remain of interest to any aspiring musician. Plus you get Waddy Wachtel going crazysickwild playing Hendrix' almost impossible combo of licks, feel and innovation.
Below, here's my favorite scene in the film with God ("Eric Clapton is God" was a common graffito of the 1960s) sweating bullets backstage asking "is he really that fucking good?" Lastly, even if considered superannuated for the role, Andre 3000 gets Hendrix' persistent humor dead right; i.e., "Let's play the unreleased as yet song 'Sgt. Pepper' tonight!" and promptly doing so perfectly with 3 minutes' impromptu band rehearsal backstage. You never saw any photograph of Hendrix not smiling offstage unless specifically posed to do so. It was fun being that fucking good! video link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yc_tuTxtCE4
We're watching the PBS biographical-series on Walt Disney currently being broadcast in the U.S. because, you must remember, as a visual artist Fantasiawas my Chuck Berry. I would not have gotten the above vintage shot of Ron Young in Little Caesar (LINK) without my recollection of the lighting in the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence in that film. No one else there captured it.
Trivia/irony: Besides with Little Caesar, Ron currently sings with an all-soul/funk/Motown side project called The Blue-Eyed Devils. He still looks great in dramatic lighting two and a half decades later.
Trivia: my late father sang in the chorale featured at the end of this sequence.
in a series of tales told out of school, both literally and
figuratively, how my Swiss Cheese brain remembers such events which may
or may not be accurate at all. Preface: I attended a girls' private prep
school in the 1960s with a student body who often mimicked the
creativity of that era with its own high spirits, a pendulum reaction to
the heavy course load and voluminous homework from which many of us
still haven't caught up on lost sleep some forty-plus years on and from
which many of us still retain permanently stooped posture via carrying
heavy textbooks. Well, it's not like there existed alternatives to those
heavy textbooks. We didn't have personal home computers because no one
on this particular planet in this galaxy had them yet. So let's roll
back the roiling mists of time to The Pleistocene of my youth.) She was my immediate classmate at the Westlake School for Girls but she was more everything than me: a better, purer fine artist, prettier, better hair, better figure, more outgoing, more eccentric, with an even more dysfunctional family than my own, chock full of catastrophic deaths, evil step-parents and utter abandonments. With a class full of non-artistic science, literature, history and maths scholars, we just had to click as friends and did. As yearbook art director, I even made her photos the "theme" of every section's graphics with my friend doing something interesting each time.
Despite the machinations of our unaccountably inept college advisor who sent every student as far away to hither and yon no matter how inappropriate the locale to each one -- arty Karin had been sent to the rust belt of Pittsburgh PA (!) and promptly skedaddled as had virtually every other student transferring away immediately -- we managed to keep somewhat in touch over the intervening 45+ years since graduation and class diaspora.
So imagine the delight when my friend from prep school all those eons ago invited me to her solo singing debut. I had known she had a resonant, bigtime pro voice, something of an improbable mashup of Nina Simone and Patsy Cline with just a soupÇon of melismatic trill: I had recommended her to my late friend Mason Buck to sing on his demos as far back as the 1970s. What I didn't know, despite her frequent jams with Los Angeles mainstays like singer/songwriter, slightly retro, all exuberant Suzy Williams, is that my friend never had tackled a solo gig heretofore.
So on 8.22.15 at the Unurban Cafe in Santa Monica, California, Karin Spritzler sang a great,
genuinely eclectic repertoire of unusual covers and originals backed by a jazz
trio consisting ofPeter Marshall on standup bass, John Rosenberg and Brad Kay on keyboards, drummer, and Karin on keyboard for two of her own compositions.
The sterling material absolutely transported her and the audience along with
her via very emotional delivery of works
heretofore associated with Peter & Gordon, Randy Newman and Perry
Set List:GOSPEL SHIP - gospel standard
CATCH A FALLING STAR - Paul Vance/Lee Vocknis
I'M SORRY- Ronnie Self/Dub Albritten
I'M JUST WONDERIN' BABY - Suzy Williams
MAYBE -- Freddie Ginns
LOVER MAN -Jimmie Davis/Roger Ramirez
NAKED MAN - Randy Newman
IF YOU CAN DREAM - Karin Spritzler
WHO YOU ARE - Karin Spritzler
WHAT KIND OF MOON - Karin Spritzler
WORLD WITHOUT LOVE - Paul McCartney/John Lennon
DON'T KNOW WHY - Norah Jones
Entitled "I'm Singing For You With A Heart That's True," it really was a pretty cool show. She exhibited a performing tic similar to one I observed in the late, extremely great Laura Nyro: she babbled a trifle neurotically before the show began, disarming the audience who then would be ill-prepared for the full-throttled blasts of vocals and emotions to come. But respond they did and how: two flower bouquets and an on their feet audience for her encore. Note that happy girl above! Of my photos herein of my contemporary from the paisley mists of the 1960s, a former major label PR bigwig noted,"She looks like Stevie Nicks wishes she looked today."