Minnesota Short Film/Video Showcase II

19 April 2000 at 9:00 am (Film, News, Press, Spoken Word, Videos) (, , , , , , , , )

Minnesota Short Film/Video Showcase II
Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival
Intermedia Arts, Friday at 8:00 p.m.
Friday, April 21

Co-sponsored by IFP/North and Intermedia Arts, this second of the fest’s three Minnesota shorts packages is highlighted by Matt Ehling’s “Access,” which roughly does for the cable-access artiste what Driver 23 did for the underground metal musician. Using a studiously droll, Errol Morris-like style to examine some of the more ambiguous virtues of freedom of speech, Ehling zooms in on a trio of natural-born hams spreading their gospels through Fridley’s ETC Channel 33: Homer Giles, an amateur evangelist with a steadfast belief in the power of his own negligible celebrity; Richard “A-Bomb” Klatte, a Deadhead performance artist-cum-public-access shock jock who’s running in the 1998 gubernatorial race on the so-called Strong Party platform; and Mark Hanson, a reactionary libertarian and overzealous prairie-dog hunter whom the liberal Klatte eventually recruits as his running mate. (Together, the pair promises to legalize drugs and prostitution while offering free Subway and Pizza Shack coupons to the several-or-so viewers at home.) At 45 minutes, Ehling’s short could use a trim (especially as the current cut has him seeming to lose interest in the preacher). Yet the filmmaker’s underlying respect for these tireless camera cravers–whose passion for broadcasting would put most professionals to shame–makes this one of the smartest and most entertaining local films to come out in a year. Among the other noteworthy works in the second showcase are Benno Nelson’s “Moment One,” Freya Rae’s “Palisade,” and Ayesha Adu and e.g. bailey’s “Village Blues.” The third and final showcase, which includes Paul Moehring’s 40-minute “Welcome to Cosmos,” screens the following night, Saturday, at 8:00 p.m. at Intermedia Arts. Rob Nelson

Originally posted on 19 April 2000 on CityPages.com.


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village blues

23 February 1999 at 7:00 pm (Film, Music, Poems, Shows, Spoken Word, Videos) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Nu Ark Experiements presents:  village blues

an improvisational cinematic collaborative

produced by e.g. bailey and Ayesha Adu
music produced by Jeremy Ylvisaker & Kitundu

“Amma I have lost another child.

Amma my child is gone…”

Intermedia Arts
2822 Lyndale Avenue South
Mpls, MN  55408

Tuesday 23 February

village blues, an experimental improvisational film that deals with the disintegration of interpersonal and social relationships within the Black community.  The nature of the improvisation is centered around three poems written by e.g. bailey, and serves as the common link within the process between the artists involved.  The images are based on the poems, as is the soundtrack.  However, each was done separately.  Ayesha produced and shot the images, while e.g. produced the audio––neither was allowed to see the other’s work.  Both elements of the film would then be brought together at the moment of presentation, hence the improvisational aspect of the film.  Often in improvisation there is a common structure or theme, or a musical line, upon which everyone improvises.  The goal was to bring this method to filmmaking and explore the possibilities.  And further explore the relationship between spoken word and filmmaking.

Artists Include:

Ayesha Adu
e.g. bailey
Rachel Flomo
Mankwe Ndosi
Leah Nelson
J. Otis Powell!
Jeremy Ylvisaker

evening will begin with 20 minute open mic

a post-film discussion will follow

$3 suggested donation

“even in death,

there is birth”

This series is supported by a grant provided by the MN State Arts Board through an appropriation from the MN State Legislature.  In addition, this activity is supported in part by a grant from the NEA.

Co-sponsored by SASE:  The Write Place, Intermedia Arts, KFAI Fresh Air Radio, KMOJ, the Powderhorn Writers Festival, Da X-Factor Newz and KFAI’s Write On RaDio! (Thursdays @ 11am).

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village blues

23 February 1999 at 7:00 pm (Film, Music, Poems, Spoken Word, Videos) (, , )

village blues

village blues is an improvisational exploration into a discovery between spoken word and film.  Even with the proliferation of music videos, and videos made of poems, which has brought an intense visual element to our interpretation of music and lyrics, or poetry, there is still another, deeper, relationship between spoken word and film.  village blues is an attempt to define this process and relationship.

It is also an attempt to explore the possibilities, and perhaps test the limits, of improvisation within the filmmaking process.  Therefore, we wanted to make  this work an improvisational process, where all artists involved were inspired by a common element from which they were able to create their part of the whole.  All these parts would then be brought together to simulate, or actuate, an improvisation.  We do not know if this has been attempted before, but we were  interested in collaborating with other artists to make this process work.  Often, in improvisation, there is a common structure or theme, or a musical line, upon which artists  improvise.  Therefore, the goal was to bring this method to filmmaking and explore its possibilities.

The subject matter of village blues deals with the disintegration of interpersonal and social relationships within the Black community.  It is based on three poems written by e. g. bailey.  These pieces served as the common elements that unified the work of the artists.

The inspiration of the poems have created two larger elements––the film and the soundtrack.  The poems were given to each individual involved in the process––including the filmmaker, the actors, the musicians, the vocalists and producers.  Each artist then completed their part of the work.  And they were brought together and presented as a whole for the first time on opening night.

the title is a reference to a work by john coltrane of the same name…i take the title literally (and metaphorically).  it speaks to a problem, concern or crisis in the village.  and i take village to mean home, city, state, nation, world, planet.  if we continually reference the proverb that it takes a village to raise a child, then i want to speak to that understanding.  our village is in crisis.  and our children are dying…this story is not linear.  nor is life and living.  so i am not so much concerned that it is linear.  however, it is connected and relates.  it is essentially a movement.  from self to community.  from the relationship of two to the circle of many.  and the links that lie therein.  it is about a crisis within an individual/personal relationship.  to a crisis within an outer/familial (i.e. brother to brother, black man to black man) relationship.  to a crisis within a universal/communal (i.e. village, planetary) relationship. – e.g. bailey

In with working on village blues, I was able to completely free my mind of everyday conventions of filmmaking and concentrate more on evoking emotions strictly with images.  When I edited the piece I had to use a different kind of music to set the pace because as an experimental part of this project the Visual Director––myself––and the Musical Director––e.g. bailey––decided to make a film where neither of us could see or hear what the other was doing.  We were just going to bring the elements together and see what we came up with…I like what happened quite a bit because it gave me a different way to see my job as a director and allowed the kind of freedom artistically that isn’t really passionately present today…My images came from a very personal part of me. a very passionate deeply felt place.  It’s the first time out of everything I’ve ever done that completely encapsulates my emotions of the moment love, freedom and vulnerability. – Ayesha Adu

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Nu Ark Experiments: In Conversation

1 September 1998 at 9:00 am (News, Press, Spoken Word, Theatre, Work Notes) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Nu Ark Experiments : In Conversation
September 1998

The Nu Ark Experiments, a series of experimental spoken word performances produced by e. g. bailey for the Minnesota State Arts Board in collaboration with S. A. S. E:  The Write Place and Intermedia Arts, began in May of 1998 and will continue through April of ’99.  To help explain the Nu Ark concept, an excerpt of a conversation with e. g. bailey and Genesis, bassist of Arkology, follows:

E.G.:  The Nu Ark Experiments is a series of spoken word performances to showcase the different ways that spoken word can be presented.  We have a strong and lively spoken word community but most of the time they tend to be poetry readings.

Genesis:  At small venues.  I’ve noticed that the Nu Arks, they’re all different places.  They’re not places that ordinarily have spoken word.

E.G.:  But (again) most of the time with spoken word events, it’s usually just a straight ahead reading.  It’s usually with a poet reading their work.  But one of the things I’m trying to do with the Nu Ark Experiments is expose the different ways that it can be done.  Not just with poets and musician, but stretching that too.  Starting with that foundation and that mix of bringing poets and musicians together but then looking at presenting it in a performance art vein.  Looking at presenting it in a film vein.  And focusing on various themes like community.  Focusing on concepts, like with Soft Red Read that we did at Nautilus Music-Theater, where it was focused on non-linear music, non structured music, non melodic types of things, and looking at working with the concept of space and with some of the ideas that Sun Ra talks about.  And creating a soundscape and a landscape of sounds and music for the words to be a part of.

Genesis:  And work with movement.  That was important.

E.G.:  Part of the Nu Ark Experiments is to also give others in the community an opportunity to perform.  Give other artists in the community an opportunity to work with spoken word.

Genesis:  Recognize the new format.  And they might work better in the new format than the traditional format.

E.G.:  Looking at collaborating with Truth Maze (Brother Heru), who also organizes and facilitates readings.  Working with Siddiq of the Rhyme Sayers Collective and giving him an opportunity to work in another vein other than just as a DJ mixing hip hop and able to find other things musically that he wouldn’t normally be able to find.

Genesis:  And he could bring that back to the Rhyme Sayers.

E.G.:  And hoping to complete the collaboration with Ayesha Adu (on Village Blues), who is a filmmaker, who has worked on just about every major film that came through here in the last couple years and a couple independents, and written a couple screenplays.  But again working with other artists.  Not only allow them another opportunity to present their work, another vein to present their work through but to also showcase them and bring them to the attention of the spoken word community.  And say this spoken word is not a monolithic thing.  Poetry readings and poetry itself doesn’t just have to be isolated to just reading your poems in front of a microphone in front of an audience.  That it can involve music.  It can involve movement.  It can involve film.  It can involve just about anything that you want it to involve.  It doesn’t just have to be read.  Spoken word gives poetry the freedom of being.  Being sung.  Being musical.  Being a straight forward reading.  Being just music even.

Genesis:  We have started things where the rhythmic part of what’s being said turns into the rhythmic basis for the music so that it’s still there (and) echoes that line and whoever’s hearing they’re still aware of what made that line that made that rhythm and everything else that’s said on top of it carries a different weight because of it.  So it’s not just like the band is playing some rhythm.  No they’re keeping a chant behind.

E.G.:  And what comes through, in having seen Trekteh Beam Express and working with Arkology doing the work that we do, it really opens up spoken word away from this idea that it’s just about reading poems.

Genesis:  Bitter poets in coffee shop.  That old idea.

E.G.:  It says spoken word can be anything.  It can be more than this.  That’s not to devalue that, it’s to give it another path that poetry can take.  And that’s the essence of it right there.  The Nu Ark Experiments developed out of the concept  of arkology.  Of ways of travel.  Of means of travel.  Whether that travel is musical.  Whether that travel is words.  Here is a new ark.  Here’s a new…

Genesis:  A new beginning?

E.G.:  A new beginning.  And again with just the word ark.

Genesis:  All those associations right off the bat.

E.G.:  The Ark of the Covenant, which aligns with a new beginning.  The arc.  The shape of something.  The Ark.  Noah’s Ark.  And taking that and working in the concept of experimentation.  Of it allowing it to be different.  Allowing yourself freedom for it to be other things.  To develop into other things.  And most of the time we are not sure exactly what the outcome of it will be.  But it’s matter of putting the experiment into place.

Genesis:  It makes it more of that journey.  We know we’re gonna start here.  We don’t know where home is, if it’s gonna be home.  What the end’s gonna be.  It’s the joy of discovery.

E.G.:  And really working within that idea of traveling.  Allow yourself the freedom to travel.  Allow yourself to find other spaces.  Allow yourself to become other things.  Allow yourself the freedom to express yourself.

The next Nu Ark Experiment will be September 15th is titled Open House Under Sky and will explore the sense of community.  See the listing on page ____ for dates of other experiments and workshops and/or call xxx-xxxx for more information.

This series is co-sponsored by SASE:  The Write Place, Intermedia Arts, KFAI Fresh Air Radio, Da X Factor Newz, Powderhorn Writers Festival, Write On RaDio! and KMOJ Radio.  It is supported by a grant by the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature.  In addition, this activity is supported in part by a grant from the NEA.

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