Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mirror, Mirror

I'm up early. I send Sunny off to school and find myself alone with a double espresso WiFi surfing at the café. I'm looking for an article I read a long time ago. I'm wondering if I can find it somewhere on the internet.

Tammy's new song reminds me of something I read by Deepak Chopra. I type in: "The Mirror of Relationships" and get the page I want right away on a website called Knol - it's Google's answer to Wikipedia with articles licensed under Creative Commons so it allows me to copy, distribute and transmit the work.

Deepak Chopra believes we can use "the mirror of relationships to transform our consciousness." He says "Each of us inhabits a private world although our private world is enmeshed with each other to create a consensual reality."

"As applied to relationships, the mirror of relationship becomes an important tool for personal transformation and ultimately social change as well. There is one simple principle to follow: those that we love and are emotionally attracted to, and those that we are distressed or repelled by emotionally, are both mirrors of our own self. We are attracted to those people in whom we find traits that we have and we want more of and we are repelled by those in whom we find traits that we deny in ourselves."

Chopra has some exercises to help integrate this principle. Read the full article here: The Mirror of Relationships.

Reflector is a totally new song without a previous incarnation as anything else. The seed for the song came out of a spontaneous jam Tammy did when she discovered that she actually had two loopers working simultaneously. Tammy built up song and put it together for this video only world premiere just like previous videos Is it Alright? and Stars!

I don't know if Tammy was inspired by the Chopra idea but I think it's worthwhile to share these thoughts. I'm glad the internet makes it easier to share these little "units of knowledge." Anything that could possibly promote positive social change is worth spreading.

by Tammy Lin Foreman

oh wah la la la la la lo la
talka talka talka talka talka all day
talka talka talka talka the things you say
talka reflect me
and your words are a looking glass
to my present, future, and my past
and it's all becoming clear
your heart and your soul
they make me feel whole
the more that you are near
you're my mirror
you're my mirror

you're my mirror

so talka
talka to me
i love to see
what is real
what is true
what is coming through
the mirror that is you

oh wah la la la la la lo la

you're my mirror

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Now is the Time

We start off with a glimmer of an idea: a whim. It is unclear what will end up happening. All I know is that I want to finally take the Instant Video outside for a walk. Maybe even do that after dinner. We can take the kids to the park and maybe they can play while we shoot the next video...

Tammy suggests that it can just be a straight up song with no looper needed. She's got a song in mind. She says she can plug her electric guitar right into the battery-powered Edirol R-09 audio recorder that fits nicely in the side pocket of her black jacket.

She suggests I use a wireless lav for her vocals and just marry the two parts of the audio in the editing. I say, "Okay. But where are we gonna go?"

"There's Beavermead Park. There's downtown." Our eldest daughter Sunny is almost twelve years old. She hears all this and says "You're going to film this in public?"

Tammy and I promise the kids that there will be reward for good behavior later at home after the shoot. "Let's go to Beavermead..." I tell Sunny that she can be in charge of the digital camera and take the production stills. She agrees.

On the way to the park, we start thinking about how to include this week's heart in the video. What about that temporary tattoo? Hmmm...

"Is there a place somewhere in Peterborough with a heart?" We are silent in the car for a while thinking about this. For this particular concept we need a location with a heart built-in. "Doesn't TCBY have a heart in their logo? What about the Heart & Stroke foundation? A greeting card store?"

"What about the cemetery?" Tammy says "What if there's a heart on a tombstone? The cemetery fits the theme of the song really well."

"You guys are going to film the video in a cemetery!" Sunny exclaims. "OMG. I'm so embarrassed."

I'd done some filming at a cemetery nearby. We get there and we drive around slowly. Tammy puts the girls to work. "Keep an eye out for hearts!"

Nothing. Nope. Nada. No hearts. And we're losing the light.

"There!" says Georgia from the backseat. "Where?" Tammy stops the car. She backs up a little bit. There it is. Unmistakable. So now, I say to myself, we got to fit this in somehow.

Sunny manages to take one picture and the camera's batteries die instantly. I won't find out until later what she took a picture of.

I want a picture of my two girls but I don't have a way to take it right now. I imprint a mental image into my head. It ends up looking like a Norman Rockwell painting he forgot to paint. Two girls amongst the tombstones. It's called "Waiting for their Parents to Finish Filming the Video."

We have a family TV night planned for when we get back home with chips, pretzels, orange juice and the season finale of Amazing Race. I can't wait. Let's get going. It's getting dark. And the bugs are starting to come out.

No Time Like the Present
by Tammy Lin Foreman

no, no, no, no time like the present
makin' it known
no, no, no, no time like the present
feelin' full blown
somethin' in me
somethin' in me
smiles alone
somethin' in this heart of mine
saying go go go go go oh!

hoo hoo wah oh...

notice, notice how it bends
the way way way way high high high above
the rainbow ends and i say
no! time like the present
makin' it known
we won't be here forever
blue, blue
into the blue
blue, blue

hoo hoo wah wah oh...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Let the Memories Unwind

We're back! After some false starts, we take off...and let the memories unwind. We enjoyed the hiatus and now we need to get back into this. Without the constant tug to create these Instant Videos our lives are, honestly, less rewarding. We re-charged ourselves and thought about the project (a lot). During the break, we also wrote some proposals to get funding for the latter half of the Instant Video project (from #51 to #100) where it will transform into something else again... We are so excited to have fun with these, so we hope you stick with us as we build this online video sculpture performance poem over the next couple of years...

Try to Fly
by Tammy Lin Foreman

let's decide to be good friends
i know that we can make it
fit around each other, in between
anyway we choose to take it
fill those white colourless days
just crash into each other's minds
talk about the simple, the bizarre,
let all the memories unwind

i would rather try
than ask "why?"
i would rather try
than say goodbye
try to fly

we could gallop through the city
stopping just to graze and drink
flare our nostrils laughing
as we trot by garbage cans that stink
chase each other 'round the park
or nuzzle when we're lazy
toss our manes triumphantly
when nasty people tell us we're crazy

i would rather try
than ask "why?"
i would rather try
than say goodbye
try to fly

then we could get cozy and
rub noses when the north winds blow
catch the flakes with open mouths
in January when it snows

sleep together under furs
we wouldn't have to wear no clothes
hold each other as we dream
of one day eating vegetables

i would rather try
than ask "why?"
i would rather try
than say goodbye
try to fly

let's decide to be good friends
I know that we can make it.


The Instant Video project is myself, Lester Alfonso (filmmaker) and partner Tammy Lin Foreman (singer / songwriter) in our attempt to answer a creative challenge: to produce a brand new “instant” music video every week until we make 100 videos (or more.)

We started the project on September 30, 2008 with Instant Video #1 and we consistently uploaded a new episode to YouTube every week despite coughs, off-days and holidays, etc. Each week was a challenge to get up and do better. And it kept us alive through the winter.

It was a six-month non-stop schedule that culminated with a 25th installment to the series on March 26, 2009. Then, we told the 253 members of our message group that we needed a break. We needed to reassess the project, write some grants and develop some ways to take it to the next level.

We decided to take April 2009 off to plan the next 75 Instant Videos on our way to completing one hundred Instant Videos in the next couple of years.

I am in charge of the camera as it tries to "capture" the moment of creation. The variations in video design are often decided just moments before the camera starts rolling.

The challenge for me is how to make an "event document" appealing to the cinematic senses. A live performance has to be kept intact from beginning to end somehow. Variations can come from post-production visual effects, practical effects, situational performances, costumes, etc.

It becomes less of a production and more of a "happening." The time constraint keeps our creative juices flowing. The creative brain is forced to come up with solutions only when it is up against stiff rules.

Like one of our rules: each video has to have a heart.

Sitting down to watch the first 25 videos is awe-inspiring at a total running time of 90 minutes.

When we hit 100, we could host a screening that will show the entire 9 hours of material and in seeing them all in a chronological order, one after another, perhaps one can glimpse something there that was never planned, never thought of, was heretofore unspoken or undocumented.

We are about to embark on the next 25 Instant Videos that will take us to the end of October 2009. We are planning the next 25 to all be completely lit by available light. We are now aiming to collaborate with artists within our arts community and seek sponsorship for "hour long residencies" to film in various locations around town.

The project in scope is unlike anything I’ve seen or heard of. Our desire to make this into form probably stems from being exposed to music videos as our only way to receive alternative music as teenagers. We have grown up not wanting to make records or to perform live onstage but just want to make “music videos.”