Looking back at Lyle Lovett and Summerstage 2015

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Summertime and outdoor music – a real treat.
Here’s a link to more pictures, as they are added:  More photos by Thomas W. Campbell

Lyle and bass man for web

Lyle Lovett performs with his Big Band at Lincoln Center Summerstage, 2015. Photograph by Thomas W. Campbell

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Lyle Lovett performs with his Big Band at Lincoln Center Summerstage, 2015. Photograph by Thomas W. Campbell
Lovett Sax for web

A member of Lyle Lovett’s Big Band plays at Lincoln Center Summerstage, 2015. Photograph by Thomas. W. Campbell

Lyle sings red for web

Lyle Lovett and his Big Band at Lincoln Center Summerstage, 2015 Photograph by Thomas W. Campbell

Lyle and singer 2 for web

Lyle Lovett and his Big Band at Lincoln Center Summerstage, 2015 Photograph by Thomas W. Campbell

Lovett full band for web

Lyle Lovett and his Big Band at Lincoln Center Summerstage, 2015 Photograph by Thomas W. Campbell

Lyle at camera for web

Lyle Lovett and his Big Band at Lincoln Center Summerstage, 2015 Photograph by Thomas W. Campbell

 

Birth of the Sun – Grady Alexis and the East Village

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Grady Alexis drinks coffee in the kitchen of El Taller Latino Americano during the late 1980’s. Image by Demian Palombo.

Birth of the Sun is a short documentary video about Grady Alexis and the East Village of the 1980’s/90’s. Using interviews, art, and archival footage, the film explores the life and times of the Haitian artist who moved to New York City when he was a young teenager, lived on the street while he sold his art in Tompkins Square park, found community and shelter with other artists and outsiders, and finally died in a traffic scuffle with an off-duty policeman at the age of 26.

Grady lived on the edge, bonding with the artists and activists he met through the downtown community, developing a style based on his own experiences in New York City that also became firmly rooted in the tradition and culture of his native Haiti. Grady never had a legal address, living in squats, on the street, at El Taller as “Resident Artist”, and with friends and lovers. He was a collaborator, which brought him into touch with many people, movements, and cultures. Birth of the Sun examines these distinct sides of Grady’s life. It looks at the family that he found when he became “artist in residence” at El Taller Latino Americano, when he was involved with the artist known as “the Maroons” and his time with the artists who convened at the Mars Bar.

Grady Alexis Freeze side

Grady Alexis at an art opening at El Taller in late 1980’s. Freeze frame from video shot by Bernardo Palombo.

Grady’s life was also on the street during a time when violent crime was at a peak and police-community relations were strained and tenuous. That is where his life ultimately ended. On the evening of May 6, 1991, Grady Alexis and two others were confronted by two men, one an off-duty policeman, at 8th street and Fifth Avenue. Grady died hours later from the eruption of violence that ensued. His untimely death on the evening of May 6, 1991, was swift and had a lasting impact on those who knew him. When he died El Taller seemed to collapse beneath the tragic weight of the event. The Maroons had already broken up, although Thom Corn and Grady had continued to collaborate. The film is about the many people who still remember their friendship with Grady.

The filmmakers use many narrative and stylistic techniques to examine the life and death of Grady Alexis and his lasting impact. Working from a photograph of his long-lost mural “the Birth of the Sun”, people who knew Grady, and artists from El Taller have gathered to recreate the mural. The completion of the mural, which is documented in the film, culminates in the celebration of Grady’s life – a gathering of people from past and present at the first retrospective of Grady’s painting and sculpture. The filmmakers sorted through hundreds of hours of archival material that spans the entire duration of El Taller’s rich history to find the small bit of video documentation that exists of his life. Birth of the Sun is in many ways an investigation. The filmmakers are interviewing numerous people who knew Grady and were active in the arts and political culture of the time, attempting to put his life – and death – into a broader social context. The film uses subtle and artistic re-enactments to explore the relationships that defined Grady’s life and death. The filmmakers also documenting much of Grady’s surviving artwork – paintings, sculptures, masks, murals, and installations. The film has a rich and completely original soundtrack that reflects the many musicians who knew Grady.

Birth of the Sun uses an artist's rendition to represent the events of May 6, 1991. Richard Pliego was the artist.

Birth of the Sun uses an artist’s rendition to represent the events of May 6, 1991. Richard Pliego was the artist.

Although Grady’s life ended almost 25 years ago, his death was part of a turning point in the city’s cultural and social landscape. Birth of the Sun, which was produced in 2008, is about that time and will shed light on the life of Grady Alexis and this unique moment in the life of New York City.

Film Stills for Rooftop Serenade

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Rooftop Serenade Still 1small
I was looking through a box of old photographs and came across some production stills from the 2002 Rooftop Serenade shoot that were taken on film. It was a really hot and bright day that was full of visual contrast. The photographs were taken by Holly Leavy.

Gretchen  ColorGeorge ColorGretchen and G shadow300Tom and LightTom and Light CU Hand

Misenus – Trumpeter of the Trojans

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Misenus is the fourth video production, produced in 1991. It followed Giving Maury the Treatment (1989), The Perfect Girl (1990) and No Parking Any Time (1990).  J. Henry Fair was a partner in the first three and an inspiration in the last one.

Misenus stars Neal Keating. His music is also featured. Michael Benson contributed a strong Nagel (inspired by late night horror films of the early 20th century). And Billy Lee was an imposing Mr. Lowery.

Shot in wonderfully primitive Video 8 and reanimated in After Effects.
The password is:   trojan hero

 

Catching up – Q and A’s with Almodovar, Turturro and Healy

Time to catch up a bit.

We are finishing a new film that we shot last summer and is finally in the last stages of post production. It is called Better Love and stars and was created and produced by many of my favorite people. The film is a short (35 minutes) comedy and there will be plenty about it in the near future.
Here is a link to the web page, which will be updated over the next month.

Two Recent Q and A’s:
In late April I had the pleasure to talk with two talented actors – Pat Healy for his starring role in the creepy funny Cheap Thrills and Writer/Director/Actor John Turturro, about his latest film Fading Gigolo. Here is a link to the National Board of Review web site and an excerpt from the discussion with Pat Healy. And Here is a link to an excerpt from the discussion with Turturro.

I also finally got to watch the Q and A for Almodovar’s I’m So Excited, which I did with him and three members of the cast after the screening at Sony Studios last year. It is included as an extra on the DVD release of the film. I’ll post a link if it ever appears on youtube 🙂

Oscar Bohórquez plays Ugarte

This is the first set of live performances in the 64-minute music documentary “Strad For Lunch” that I recently edited and helped to shoot and produce. The film, directed by Marianne Hettinger, is about the US concert recital debut of the young German born violin virtuoso Oscar Bohórquez . In the performance which took place on March 7th, 2012, he plays a very rare Stradivarius violin. The concert took place at the WMP Concert Hall in New York City, with an all-Argentinian program of works by Ginastera, Ugarte, Beytelmann and Guastavino.

Oscar Bohórquez plays Floro M. Ugarte: Sonata for Violin and piano

1) Apasionado y Expresivo, 2) Tiernamente melancolico

3) Vivaz y bien ritmado

“Strad for Lunch” recital, WMP Concert Hall

New York City

Rooftop Serenade – Short Film


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Shot on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Rooftop Serenade is about an unusual and fortuitous meeting between two people (Gretchen MacLane and George Vlachos) on the roof of their building.

The soundtrack features the voices of Holly Leavy and Thomas W. Campbell, and original music by Mr. Campbell. Rooftop Serenade was shot on a single roll of Kodak reversal film with a Bolex camera and is two minutes and twenty five seconds in duration.

Update 1: 
I recently found the 16 mm master of this short film so will be producing an HD ProRes HQ version, based on a film to PRoRes transfer made through Color Lab.

Update 2: The HD transfer of Rooftop Serenade played at the Extremely Shorts Film Festival in Houston, Texas in early June, 2015. It played at the Carnegie Museum of Art, in Pittsburgh, in July. Stills from the original shoot can be found here.

The film can be seen here.  The password is: west