Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Washed Up

"So the story is about this woman - this young woman that lives on this island in Ireland... The village wakes up one day to find out that a shipwreck has happened and all of these things from the shipwreck has washed up on the beach..." That's how Tammy began telling me about the book she's now reading.

(For the rest of the talk, check out A Short Conversation about "Away" by Jane Urquhart to listen or download for free.)

Books. I love books. Books can have the power to grip your soul. It can have the power to transport and transform the Reader. Tammy is currently reading Away. And she's so taken by it that she's found a way to work it into her new song...

Meanwhile, I'm delirious. I'm sick and "away" myself. Thinking about this video is draining me. But I'm also whipping myself out of bed. I'm getting excited. Yes! Well, no. Now I'm tired. Boy, do I feel it now. Washed up, burnt out, good-for-nothing...and you can't even make fifty videos!

What? Relax! Gee, I'm so hard on myself. I'm just under the weather. I'll bounce back. Just wait.

Somewhere, I hear crickets chirping in the background.

It starts out as an Earth Hour concept. Can we do the Instant Video unplugged? Let's film a video in the basement that's completely candle-lit. We even suspend a candelabra with metal wires for Tammy's light. No cheating. Stanley Kubrick eat your heart out. I sloppily tape a magazine to the wall to give Tammy a place to look when she's singing the song.

I edit a complete basement-style Instant Video #49 that will now only show up on a future blooper reel. Blooper reel? That's it!

I'm not failing...I'm working on the Blooper Reel.

The next day, it's a completely different concept. Where going high-style here, baby. Make love to the camera with your eyes. I'm thinking about shooting Tammy's face like that Fiona Apple album cover. Something is working better. But still not quite right.

I think I need some ocean shots. I check out my regular first stop online: Internet Archive ( and I quickly found Hills and the Sea by Mr. and Mrs. Ray Garner and it seems to work. But my computer is getting so slow... What will happen next? Epic journey.

I may need a big big rest after this. We may just postpone shooting the 50th Instant Video until the live stage show at the Arlington on the 16th of April, have a bit of a break and work on the show. I'll work on putting together a blooper reel. It'll be...therapeutic.

Away (I Hear You)
by Tammy Lin Foreman

You're love it is the ocean
mysterious and deep
I dive right to the bottom
for joy my heart will weep.

They don't understand this
I hear them when they say
her body may be with us
but her heart it is away.

I hear you
I hear you
I hear you

I hear you in the dawning
and in the afternoon
I hear you in the darkness
underneath the moon.

My love it is the ocean
mysterious and deep
dive right to the bottom
for joy your heart will weep.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tammy as Landscape

Wiring up Tammy with a wireless mic.These pictures are production stills from a video that will not be seen. Sunny took the photos. Here I am trying to adjust a wireless microphone I've hidden inside Tammy's dress. The video would have been the first outdoor shoot of the year. Jackson Park, a couple of days ago. Warm enough to walk around without a coat. We found a nice spot with the location dowser. We cleverly carved a heart into a tree.

First outdoor shoot of the year.But timing was off. The microphone was too sensitive. Tammy had to go. We had one take left in us. It was a good take except near the end a crow started squawking in the background.

Lester and Tammy at work.Things in general didn't quite come together that day. I have to learn to accept when something is just not working. Could I publish something not quite "there" just to meet a self-imposed deadline? Please don't let me fall into that trap again. How can I follow up the great feature in Pearl Magazine by Carol Lawless with a video that somehow felt wrong? I'm going to have to live with this video. I might as well take the time. If I make myself happy, there's a good chance I will infect everyone else around me.

Still, I tried to edit something together. Dark moody moving trees. I'm tired. I call re-shoot. Do something else. Do something completely different. Let's do something after I come back from Barrie. Who knew, a few days later, I'd be seeing Tammy as landscape.

If Things Don't Change (Song for Dad)
by Tammy Lin Foreman

Nice day for a car ride
A trip across the country
And I wanted to be there
Talking for hours
just you and me

But I got so caught up in things

If things don't change
they'll stay the way they are
But they've been changing pretty fast
so far
If things don't change
they'll stay the way they are

And I'm learning a lot here
the city treats me fine
But I still miss being close to you
besides you there's little that
I ever call mine

But I get so caught up in things

If things don't change
they'll stay the way they are
But they've been changing pretty fast
so far
If things don't change
they'll stay the way they are

I'm walking and I notice
your bounce in my stride
And I think of the lessons
you taught
To always be patient + kind
To always make the best of
what you've got

But I get so caught up things

If things don't change
they'll stay the way they are
But they've been changing pretty fast
so far
If things don't change
they'll stay the way they are.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wake and Bake

infinite regress n. 1. (Philosophy, Logic) A causal relationship transmitted through an indefinite number of terms in a series, with no term that begins the causal chain.

Yeah. Let's have a big potluck. We can celebrate the 50th Instant Video. It'll be the half-way mark. Tegan blurts: Half-way mark? You're only making a hundred? Why not a thousand?!

I stop, smile. Start to think about making the commitment to make a thousand Instant Videos. Yeah. If I've got nothing better to do, why not?

The concept reminds me of fractals, reminds me of an episode of Nova on Mandelbrot or maybe it was an episode of Lost.... What would happen if the Instant Video began to eat itself?

Could I possibly tell the story of the Instant Video as the video gets captured, edited and uploaded to YouTube within the construct of an Instant Video itself. That's ambitious. Perhaps as ambitious as a live Instant Video show... THERE! As soon as you think it, it begins to exist.

And behold, the live Instant Video show is born and premieres next month! (No joke.)

Where else? The Arlington Hotel in Maynooth, Ontario on Friday, April 16, 2010 with the inimitable Sarah Mangle and Rae Spoon. Wow. It's going to be a rare preview of a the Instant Video (live) show. Live camera feeds and video loops to recreate the videos on stage. The same thing only different. Live/playback. BTW, what is your techno-bondage?

The "Instant Video" audio CDs are also going to be available soon...with already 3 CDs worth of material. The songs perform really well as audio pieces actually. It's a new incarnation for the Instant Videos and you must really listen for yourself to believe it. Will keep you posted an let you know as soon as they come out of the oven.

by Tammy Lin Foreman

it's so hard
lather sweat + pour
mixing heart + brain
hands drop to the floor
but I won't give up this time

- sugar baby bake
as slow as you can
I'll wait for this cake.

Coz I was never satisfied
with the fast fix: swallowed pride
no heart just hands of some one-man-band
crashing in my night
it sometimes quells the cravings
but it don't shed any light.

It's a raw deal
hard to chew
when your half-baked hero
comes back on you
face to face with the awful taste
this time I know what I need
I'll graze with grace.

Charlie you know I need to take it slow
trust is a must when you're looking for light
this takes time so I'm stirring I'm stirring
I'm gonna get it right
won't give up this time sugar baby bake
as slow as you can I'll wait for this cake.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Post Apoc-Olympic

Quick email. Brian - thanks so much for that bucket of green paint. I finally got to use it...Here's a link to the movie. cheers, Lester

Another email. Hey Sekoiaa, again, thanks for your film, it was the inspiration. The film didn't get used in the end but it is there in spirit. Tammy played that same musical score she performed for your film and I live-mixed video of flames rear-screened behind her. I then printed frames from the video and filmed them burning on top of green screen boards I painted last week.

The idea, was actually for last week's video. But it was a last minute switch as usual. The rear-projection screen was for an impromptu test screening in my living room. I was just going with the flow; it was an easy homemade thing to do.

Fire. Much respect to the element and its powers for purification. Layers are revealed. Like molting insects. We burn our old selves off. And start anew.

by Tammy Lin Foreman

Fire, fire, fire...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Floor Model

I imagine I could add a few tarantulas lose on the floor and that would be something to watch. Don't we have that mechanical bug somewhere? It's dead. Oh. This might be a good time for a snake. Or something that crawls on the floor. I might just know who to call.

Haha! I had scheduled an hour to shoot a different video we had planned ahead of time. Switcheroo. Do it on the floor. Yeah. Un-rehearsed on the the floor until the camera started rolling. Woops. We are now 2 hours overtime. It doesn't help that I accidentally erased the first good take. Digital mishaps. By Take 9 or 10, the clapboard is broken again and the natural light has drastically changed.

Time to bring in the lamps. We need to hook up the wireless lav for the whisper moments. It's a hassle to rig up the regular mic. Unless we hang it from the ceiling. How 'bout the Edirol. Yeah. Off the floor. And mix it all together in post. You can be the floor model. I'm floored.

Slowing to Still
by Tammy Lin Foreman

Charlie, with your shaking hands
seems like no one understands
silently, we sat and you touched my face
your hands, so still, grazing me with grace


I have felt the will of providence
I have seen the turning of events
and I have burnt myself just ashes to the ground
and I sifted and I found, I found, I found...

that the things that burn slow
they are continuing to glow
and the things that took off fast and bright
well, they're nowhere in sight, nowhere in sight

and I am wondering if they'll ever know
that there is so much beauty in the slow (slow)
it calms your shaking hands so they are still
and I keep praying someday they will

'coz look at how they've numbered all of the days
ticking as they roll by still counting the ways
section all their time but they don't need none to breathe
Charlie, that is way I had to leave

'coz they're all running to meet their maker
running to meet their maker...

And I'm slowing to still, slowing to still,
to still...

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Letter to Tammy

No. I think you need to do this song and not the other one. Why?

Well. I think the song goes better with what I'm doing here, flipping recipe cards. What are you doing? You won't even let me read what you have!

Tammy, I say, I don't want you to read this until you see the video. This is my video Valentine's to you. Okay.

I don't tell Tammy that it's actually based on a letter I wrote her twelve years ago on Valentine's Day. The presentation was elaborate. There were sixteen heart-shaped pages inside a heart-shaped basket filled with pink confetti. What a romantic! *groan* And this museum artifact is just sitting here on my desk right now. It's hard to even believe it myself...

I pick up the basket to examine it while Tammy rehearses one of her songs. I sift through the heart-shaped notes and read through them. Suddenly, it hits me when I get to a page with a scribbled word at the bottom, awkward and out-of-place. It's a message from the past.

Just one word: video. It's a single word non-sequitur scribbled with a seemingly automatic hand at the bottom of the page. What? I have to use this somehow. That's the only way I can interpret it. Hmmm... Valentine's Day is really about writing. So maybe do the first hand-written Instant Video? That's how the brain train went choo choo!

So, instantly, I was there with the Sharpie inking the cards. This reminds me of Bob Dylan in Subterranean Homesick Blues with the cue cards in the alley way. I'm tired but I can do this. And only this. Tammy will score it live. I'll need to pan up to her playing at the end for the reveal. Ready? Let's do it in one take. What are you going to sing? Tammy, please. Just make it up. But not too many words, okay? Let's go!

My Heart
by Tammy Lin Foreman

My heart
is full of love for you
Don't you know
you're everything to me?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Song for Dark Highway

This ain't Hollywood-style Fake. No lipsyncing here. Tammy is live. Either she nails it or she doesn't. Just outside the camera's gaze, her hands are busy working overtime. She's using keyboard, guitar, and looper. And I'm right there with her with my right hand on the tripod and my left hand waving a work light in an arching swoosh over her face. It's Saturday night...Live!

We meet this way, after dinner, upstairs, we dare each other. I have no idea what I'm going to do. But when Tammy asks "What about you?" I say "I'm ready whenever you are." I bide my time. I think. Think. I keep working uncertainty into the process. And we're getting better and better at this all the time. Instant Videos every week: this is like ninja training.

Tammy again surprise attacks me with a new song. And it's in that element of surprise, that's where it happens. The surprise creates a spark; I see something flash by. I set off in the direction of the flash...

Yes. I can shoot this now, I say, but we have to go for a drive afterward. I want to shoot fresh road footage and we have to find a heart. Tammy is tentative. Hmmm. I try again. "C'mon. I'll take you to Country Style, I'll buy you a donut." She winces. I don't have time to explain that bad coffee and sugar is really what makes nighttime 2nd unit shoots so much fun.

The clapboard breaks after Take Five. Whoops. What are we gonna do now? Wait a minute! There was that toy clapboard we got from St. Vinny's that came from a McDonald's Happy Meal. Oh yeah! Still in its original plastic. It says "Makin' Movies - Clapboard with Chalk (Collect all 4 while supplies last)" I stare at the object for an extra minute. And smile.

Yes. After all, we're just Makin' Movies.

We have to go. It's a song for dark highway. It's appropriate to go for a midnight drive to find a heart. There must be one somewhere in Peterborough. Drive there. Wherever. Go. Where do we go? Go for the original Country Style idea. Maybe somewhere near there. We'll find...

There are no hearts in this city - it's heartless! And, we are running out of gas. At the gas station, I get out of the car to draw something on the dirty windshield.

85 mph
by Tammy Lin Foreman

Eight-five miles an hour
Speeding for you
Taking this car on the freeway
turning this wheel towards you
I'm thinkin' I may make it tomorrow
I'm hopin' I will make it today
'Coz all I know is I am on fire
And you are a like a monsoon rain

I'm comin' now
I'm comin' now
I need you

I'm comin' now
I'm comin' now
I need you

and I can see
the Holy Grail