The day of the MST3K Turkey Day Marathon seems like the perfect time to tell folks about Mary Jo Pehl‘s (aka Pearl and so much more from MST3K, as well as Cinematic Titanic) Kickstarter for Awesome Music For Awful Movies. This is a project she has planned to record (as described by her) “an album of original songs that pay homage to bad movies of Mystery Science Theater 3000 . . . The songs will be written by veteran Twin Cities musicians Michael Warren, Claudia Hankin, and Tony Balluff, and performed by yours truly in a variety of genres such as power pop, ballad, pop-country”. There are seven days left in the Kickstarter, which seemed like the ideal time to chat with her about her plans. I consider myself fortunate enough when I get to catch up with Pehl.
Tim O’Shea: When and how did you decide you wanted to team with Michael Warren, Claudia Hankin, and Tony Balluff to pursue this project?
Mary Jo Pehl: Over the past several years, many people came up to me after Cinematic Titanic shows and told me how much they loved “When Loving Lovers Love” from “Overdrawn At The Memory Bank.” I’d been trying to come up with a new project that might push me past my comfort zone, and let me work with people who were smart and funny and whose work I admired.
As promised, here is the direct link to Everyartist’s Kickstarter, which has launched.
Before you donate to the Kickstarter, you will likely ask–where is my money going to be utilized? Here’s the plan:
“In 2013, Everyartist will create a national, collaborative art event that engages elementary school children across the country – the largest art event in history.
We’re raising money to launch and facilitate this national collaborative art event. Included in this is building a downloadable kit that will make it easy for parents and teachers to register and become local event coordinators. The kit includes instructions for staging an event, group lesson plans with the rudimentary elements of drawing designed by a professional art educator adaptable to every age group, stickers and other incentives for the participating children, and a press release that can be shared with local media.
We can bootstrap this event for $30,000, but the more money we raise, the greater our impact will be and the more kids we can reach. We need your support!”
This interview has been a long time coming. I have been wanting to interview professional artist Brendan O’Connell for years. O’Connell and I went to high school together–and thanks to social media, we got back in touch with each other back around 2007 or so. I have covered him here a few times at the blog. While most of this interview is focused on O’Connell’s work, O’Connell and I finally got together to talk because of his latest educational and artistic endeavor, Everyartist. O’Connell is one of the founding partners of Everyartist.
“In 2013, Everyartist will create a national, collaborative art event that engages elementary school children across the country – the largest art event in history. Our platform of events, digital content/tools and retail products empowers ArtTeachers, ArtMoms and ArtAngels to spark and sustain the creativity inside every ArtKid.”
Article first published as Musician Sara Hickman on The Best of Times on Technorati.
During 2010, in the wake of the Texas Legislature’s budgetary cuts for arts funding, Sara Hickman, the Texas State Musician of the Year, decided to use her position to raise funds and awareness for the importance of arts education (and the funding of it) for children. More exactly, she spearheaded a collaborative effort–with a variety of Texas artists including Shawn Colvin, Willie Nelson, Rhett Miller, Robert Earl Keen as well as many more–to record a collection of Hickman’s own songs. The project, The Best of Times, was recently released as a two-CD, 38-cut collection by Waterloo Records. All proceeds from the sale of the CD set go directly to the Theatre Action Project, a non-profit that supports unique arts programs for more than 16,000 young people. To fully grasp the drive behind her charitable efforts, I recently email interviewed Hickman.
How did you go about getting all of the many fellow talented people who contributed their musical talents to Best of Times?
I knew I had, at least, a year to start lining up musicians to record for The Best of Times because Willie Nelson, who also recorded for the album, was the State Musician before my position took place. So, I immediately made a “wish list” and began calling/emailing/asking in person. I kept a giant chart on the wall with the names of artists/bands I had contacted, the titles of songs I had sent, if they had responded, if they were in the studio, if they had finished recording, if I had the recording.
As described by Cabardo: “The movie is about Jeff’s life and involves other well known comic book artists who serve as the storytellers in the movie. The film covers the period of 60s comics in NYC, and the Studio years in the mid 70s as well (Go to macabfilms.com) … At present, we are editing the film and hope to finish a first rough cut by the 14th of next month.”
Jones has fascinated me since I met her back at a small comic convention in Atlanta in 2004. In the coming weeks, I intend to do an email interview with Cabardo, finding out the scope of the project and her progress on fundraising.
Longtime readers of the blog know how much I love music–and Americana music, in particular, has really grown on me in recent years. So when I found out about Beth Harrington‘s musical/historical documentary in progress, The Winding Stream: The Carters, the Cashes and the Course of Country Music, I immediately sought Harrington out for an interview. As noted at Harrington’s website: “The Winding Stream is the tale of the dynasty at the very heart of country music. Starting with the seminal Original Carter Family, A.P., Sara and Maybelle; this film-in-progress traces the ebb and flow of their influence, the transformation of that act into the Carter Sisters and Mother Maybelle, the marital alliance between June Carter and music legend Johnny Cash, and the efforts of the present-day family to keep this legacy alive.” Below is a Kickstarter video about the project. While the initial fundraising goal was recently met, as we discuss in the email interview, there’s additional work that needs to be funded. My thanks to Harrington for her time, as well as her willingness to discuss her own musical career.
Tim O’Shea: How far along are you in the production of this documentary? While you have met your Kickstarter goal, can you estimate how much more you hope to raise to help cover “Editing, sound design, music and footage rights, animation, graphics and titles” expenses?
Beth Harrington: The Kickstarter funds will allow us to film our last several days of interviews and performances if we’re careful. Beyond that we need to raise several hundred thousand more to do all the other things I mentioned. But that sounds daunting and has been counterproductive until now, so we’re trying to deal with the film in chunks. 1) Finish shooting. 2) Refine the edit. 3) Complete the graphics, animation and titles. 4) Deal with the rights issues. 5) Finish sound design and other post production. We’re waiting to hear on a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. We’re also looking for one or more corporate underwriters (sponsors) who would want to be associated with the film. And then there are a couple of possible distribution deals we could access when we get close to being finished. But meanwhile we’re mostly relying on crowdfunding – individual donations – to get us to the next steps.
I first became aware of Peter Bradley Adams‘ musical acumen back in 2005 when he was one-half of the musical duo, Eastmountainsouth, and one of the duo’s songs was featured on the Elizabethtown soundtrack. More recently, Adams has pursued his solo interests, including (as detailed at his website) “Gather Up, Leavetaking, and his most recent, Traces, in October 2009 on Sarathan Records“. If you’re looking to get a taste of Adams music for free, you’re in luck as currently Amazon is offering a sampler of three of his songs here. He’s currently back in the studio, recording his next release–and has established a Kickstarter page to collect funds for it. Before getting into the interview, one last tip–Adams will perform live on WUMB (Boston, MA) next Wednesday, May 26, at 2pm. My thanks to Adams for his time and Sarathan’s Marc Ratner for helping to arrange the email interview.
Tim O’Shea: Over the past several months, your songs have appeared on CBS’s The Mentalist, WB’s One Tree Hill and ABC’s Brothers and Sisters. What do you think it is about your music and/or lyrics that makes it so clearly appealing to TV producers?
Peter Bradley Adams: I think the producers for those shows are just looking for the right mood from a song. And of course lyrics that fit but don’t describe the scene too literally. And I just happened to have a few songs which fit the bill and got in their hands at the right time. I’m lucky.
Mixtapes were a part of my high school and college years–as they were for many folks of my generation. So when I found out about Jason Bitner’s book, Cassette from My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves. As detailed at the book’s website (which features many of the essays as well as the mixtapes as well), the book is described as follows:
“Cassette From My Ex marries confessional culture projects like Mortified, PostSecret, and Six-Word Memoirs with the nostalgia and heartache of Rob Sheffield’s Love Is A Mixtape and gathers these tales of being young, in love, and making mixtapes for your crush.
CFME compiles stories from some amazing writers and musicians: author Rick Moody, The Magnetic Fields’ Claudia Gonson, This American LIfe’s Starlee Kine, The New Yorker’s Ben Greenman, Blender Magazine’s Joe Levy, Improv Everywhere’s Charlie Todd, Mortified’s David Nadelberg– even a new story from the godfather of the genre, Rob Sheffied.
Bitner is “the co-creator of FOUND Magazine, and editor of DIRTY FOUND and the FOUND Polaroid Book.” Also, in a follow-up to his 2006 book about LaPorte, Indiana–Bitner is producing a documentary of the same name (directed by Joe Beshenkovsky), set to hopefully have some screenings this summer. We get to discuss that project as well. My thanks to Bitner for his time and I wish him the best of luck with his upcoming production, a baby daughter.
Tim O’Shea: What are some of the biggest logistical challenges when collecting a book like this?
Jason Bitner: You’re the first person to ask me that question, strangely enough. It seems like a pretty simple project, but there’s a lot of work behind the scenes to bring it all together.
The short answer is communication, lots of communication with all sorts of writers, editors, designers, and press folks. A quick look through my inbox shows it took around 5000 emails from the beginning of the project til today to get everything together and out to the world.
And specifically with Cassette From My Ex, we had to get people to track down these old mixtapes. There were many parents searching through attics and basements on the hunt for these dusty tapes.