A Recent Screening of the Motorcycle Art of Linus Coraggio

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My film The Motorcycle Art of Linus Coraggio has recently screened at two festivals, including the New York Indie Film Festival in the beginning of May (Click here for a link to the blog post about that). A number of dear friends showed up and I got to meet a some of the other filmmakers (which is big part of attending festivals!)

 

We also did two Q and A’s and fellow filmmaker Marianne Hettinger was gracious enough to record the second one, which is included in this post.

 

 

SRL 8818 – A short film about Survival Research Laboratories

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In 1988 I shot super-8 film and recorded sound of a performance by Survival Research Laboratories. Eventually I made a Low Rez digital video transfer and the files sat dormant. Thirty years later, in 2018, Mark Pauline returned to NYC for a gallery show (first time) of his infernal machines. This film explores the footage from each of the events, 30 years apart, constructed in a way that I hope engages, raises questions about art and the work of artists, and also creates a sense of completion for myself. Special thanks to Mark Pauline for his lifetime of visionary work and to sound designer Matt Heckert for his generous interview at the Shea Stadium show in 1988.

Survival Research Laboratories was founded by Mark Pauline in the late 1970’s. This 19 minute film is a Sound/Time/Image montage that explores the continuity and meaning of how we experience and understand art.

And here is a festive trailer for the film:

First U.S. Screening of The Motorcycle Art of Linus Coraggio

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Moto Ad NYIFF V2 April 1

My film about Linus Coraggio and his Motorcycle Art will screen twice at the NYC Independent Film Festival on May 9 and May 10. This is the fourth film that I have worked with Linus on and the first one that is out there to be seen! Since the screening in Nice I’ve done a few updates – the black and white 16mm film at the beginning has been retransferred to Hi-Def, there is a nod to Indian Larry with an image of him and one of Linus’s choppers, I’ve added an image of my biker brother in the dedication and the soundtrack now includes a musical excerpt by Linus’s father, the experimental composer Henry Brant.

The links below that will get you to the festival for information and to buy tickets. We hope to see you there…

Here’s a short festive trailer:

About the Festival

About the Film

To Buy Thursday Afternoon Tickets

To Buy Friday Evening Tickets

And here is a link to the French Riviera Moto Festival, where the film was an official selection.

The Campbell Brothers – A Love Supreme – Summerstage 2014

I was fortunate to be at the world premiere of The Campbell Brothers‘ A Sacred Steel Love Supreme, celebrating the 50th anniversary of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. A skilled blues and gospel band!

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Summerstage, 2014: the world premiere of The Campbell Brothers‘ A Sacred Steel Love Supreme celebrating the 50th anniversary of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme Photos by Thomas W. Campbell

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Rosanne Cash – Summerstage 2015

Here are some photos I took during the inspired performance by Rosanne Cash, John Leventhal and the incredible band.

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Rosanne Cash and her band played at NYC Summerstage in the Summer of 2014.

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John Leventhal and Rosanne Cash at Summerstage, NYC in the summer of 2014

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John Leventhal and Rosanne Cash made sweet music at Summerstage, NYC in the summer of 2014.

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Photos by Thomas W. Campbell – Special thanks to Summerstage, NYC and the artists for allowing photos to be taken. Always give credit where credit is due.

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Photos by Thomas W. Campbell – Special thanks to Summerstage, NYC and the artists for allowing photos to be taken. Always give credit where credit is due.

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Photos by Thomas W. Campbell – Special thanks to Summerstage, NYC and the artists for allowing photos to be taken. Always give credit where credit is due.

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Photos by Thomas W. Campbell – Special thanks to Summerstage, NYC and the artists for allowing photos to be taken. Always give credit where credit is due.

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Reed, Anderson & Friends at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

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This is all true!

On Wednesday evening I arrived home from work and went for a walk in my Upper West Side neighborhood. Strolling along, listening to music, past the Cathedral, through Columbia University, taking in all of the sights and people on Broadway, I thought this is great place to be – write, work on my projects in the apartment, go for long walks, find the music and art and good meals that are all within walking distance (even long walking distance) from my humble little home.

When I got back to the apartment I plugged in an old radio tube amp and a more modern Fender, split a signal through a cheap tube distortion pedal, and started to see what sounds I could get from the beautiful 1966 Kapa (American) guitar I was so fortunate to come across recently. Got through this recording:

Then a text came in from a friend in the know: Lou Reed’s guitars and amps are droning in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine until 11:00 this evening!! What? Two Blocks away? Another chance to hear these instruments at work? The neighborhood surely does call…

I’ve heard and recorded music over the years at the Cathedral – it is a remarkable building run by great people who understand the value of art and humanity. I loaded up my portable recorder with the freshest batteries I could find and went next door.

There were four (or maybe five) sound stations in the Cathedral, with Lou’s gear in the pew area at the back, an open space, a keyboard, a guitar, and finally Laurie’s performance as one moved toward the front of the structure.

The recording below, of Lou Reed’s guitars and Amps in feedback mode, was recorded on the iPhone and is in mono.

Here is another mono recording, a front angle:

And here is a stereo audio only recording of Lou’s gear from the Pew, with mics facing the amps sitting to the right, about 15 feet away:

The sound design was inspiring and seemed to work like this – each section of performance  had access to a live feed of the of Lou’s guitar and amp feedback and Lou’s section also had a bit of live access to the other performers. It was subtle and allowed each of the performers to play with and react to what was coming from Lou’s gear.
Below is a stereo audio only recording of Laurie performing with an electric violin (of sort):

My recording technique is to go to a space or place, hold the recorder in front of me, and just stand there, occasionally glancing at the device to be sure nothing is distorting etc. Remarkably, people generally just ignore me. Finding a nice spot between Lou’s feedback and the rest of the Cathedral, I set the recorder down at one point and stepped back a few feet. Oddly, or not, people thought the recorder was somehow part of the event – a few people, including a woman and her entire family, came up to study it,

Below, I believe, is one of the recordings made from this spot.

One of the musicians played some subtle and tasty licks, while the cathedral filled with sound around him:

I spent some time in the space near where Laurie was playing, which also included the guitarist (on her side of the space) and a keyboard performer on the other side. Everyone was playing in minimal style, riding the wave of Lou’s feedback and drone. Below is a stereo spatial recording that concludes with movement through the space and an exit through the front door to Amsterdam Avenue.

And here is an older post about a day of celebrating Lou’s life at Lincoln Center a few years back:

https://twcampbell.net/2016/08/07/lou-reed-day-at-lincoln-center/

 

Easter Sunday 2017 in NYC

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I went to the Easter Sunday parade in Manhattan with a friend on April 16 and we took lots of pictures. What a great day filled with cheerful and friendly people. The weather was lively, fluctuating between sunny and overcast, making for an ever changing tapestry of shadow and light. We shot on the RAW format, which photographers have used for years but, as a filmmaker, I began working with about three years ago. It’s true, as a few cinematographers I have spoken with have said, that it is more like working with film than video as there is a great deal of latitude and information that can be digitally controlled and tweaked. As a documentary film maker I always work in RAW because I’m often shooting and directing at the same time and am unable to get the lighting “perfect”.  And so much of what you are shooting in documentaries simply isn’t meant to be controlled – you are a guest in the doc world as a filmmaker, not the other way around.

Here are a few shots from the Easter Gathering.