Sunday, December 27, 2009

Not for the Holidays

For the Christmas upload, we decide to shoot on Tammy's birthday. It's only minutes before her birthday party is supposed to start. This is a first. Being a Christmas Baby, it's usually more difficult to get people together on her actual birthday because of family stuff around this time.

I can only do one more take, says Tammy, I think people are going to start arriving soon. Okay. Ready? Yeah. It would be great to upload #38 on her 38th birthday. It's a reworking of Lullaby for G.

In a split-second, I hit the wrong button on the camera and the image becomes inverted. It's in "negative" mode. Tammy keeps singing. I don't stop her. This sounds like a good take. Maybe this can work. Just maybe.

I think someone's at the door. So this is it. It can't be. I hit the wrong button! Can I stand to publish this? It's so...ugly. On the other hand, it could just be the "ugly one." Could I stand to let this go?

If the concept was really all about the "negative effect" then, by the end, it would have to evolve somehow. At this point, there's not enough here to sustain an audience. I can't do it. Maybe some other time. But not now. Not for the holidays.

I realize suddenly that I have a limit to the amount I can let the elements in an Instant Video devolve to its default position.

We'll have to think of another way to shoot this. Sometime after the party. After recovering from a possible hang-over. We'll have to re-shoot.

This Light
by Tammy Lin Foreman

This light of mine
Gonna let it shine
Gonna let it shine
This light of mine
Makes no difference
What they say
I'm gonna be happy
Come what may
Have you ever
felt that way?

Have you ever
felt that way?

Won't hide, no
Gonna let it show
Gonna let it glow

Makes no difference
What they say
I'm gonna be happy
Come what may
Have you ever
felt that way?

Oh, this light that shines in me
Shine your light for all eternity
and in my darkest hour
Shine so bright with all your power

Makes no difference
What they say
I'm gonna be happy
Come what may
Have you ever
felt that way?

Have you ever
felt that way?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cut and Paste, the Old-Fashioned Way

The event is called "CUT 'N TASTE." Invites were sent out and several Instant Video friends show up at our house ready to make a collage and eat birthday cake. My birthday.

We have boxes of old magazines, glue, and a bucket full of scissors. Right away, guests want to get busy; they are quiet. Everyone gets into a flow. And I promise everyone that I will use these collages in an upcoming Instant Video.


And I'm just finally getting to it. I wanted to get this done before the end of the year. And, it's been so long, I've already started to forget who did what! All this time I've kept these "works of art" in a folder on my desk, unlabeled.

I know there's work here by Julia Fenn, Brian Mitolo, and Michael Martyn... There's work by Ray Barker, Hartley Stephenson, Marly Francoeur, Dave Stewart, Wayne Elliott, and Jay Plouffe. And Michael Fredrickson... Maybe someone else I'm forgetting. Thank you for your brilliant cut-ups.

By the end of the night, we have over twenty works. Cut and paste, the old-fashioned way. Using patience in selection with intuition in placement, a pair of scissors and some glue.

No real idea for the video yet. No particular song in mind. No theme. But I'm sure we can do something...

One idea is to plaster an entire wall with the collages and have Tammy perform in front of them. But I feel strongly about doing service to the artfulness of these creations. I want to see them CLOSE-UP.

Maybe I'll do it with a hand-held camera; CLOSE-UP. Maybe I'll use a tripod or maybe I'll just scan them...EXTREME CLOSE-UP.

I have to focus on this now to make it happen. Thursday's the day to shoot. Friday to 'pload. Instant Video style, I have to include one live unedited take. Maybe I'll project a slide-show on top of Tammy, shoot that, and then, graft the shot back into the slide-show in the editing. We'll have to see what images randomly match up with words.

I know I'll have to steal some time to prep. Shoot it late. Then, render it overnight. And who knows if it'll actually work. But I've got to try it. Friday morning... I'll wake up and see.

Late! It's been seven months in the making. I guess another few hours won't hurt.

Houdini Style
by Tammy Lin Foreman

I can't come yet I'm still underwater
Houdini-style, Denial's daughter
trying to undo all these knots I have tied
hands busy on the inside

Charlie you know that I love you
our eyes are like mirrors and our souls are like two
birds of a feather we talk together
and we fly so high

And you're in my heart like the stars and the moon
are in the night sky and I'll be there soon
as these maiden's hands of mine unravel this fear
until then I am here

So I can't come yet I'm still underwater
Houdini-style, Denial's daughter
trying to undo all these knots I have tied
hands busy on the inside

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes

This is a test. This is a test of will, patience, and on-the-spot creativity. This is only a test.

The pair of 3-D glasses is a relic from the summer. It was an air-conditioned matinee screening of Coraline. Definitely one of the top five movies I saw in 2009. (The list would also have to include, Ponyo, Star Trek, and Up.) Mm. Maybe the glasses came from Up.

I punch out the thin plastic lenses from the frame and I use a pen to trace the shape on a sheet of green screen paper. Use small scissors to cut out the shapes and use Scotch tape to stick them on.

Zip zip. Wear this! :) I'll somehow try to turn this into Lucy in the Sky with Post. Tammy laughs.

It's only a test.

The idea is to sync up the audio at the it would enable the camera to wander around a bit BEFORE revealing the source.

I don't know what's happening to the music as I'm puttering about in the kitchen. I'm just hoping for the best. I'm trying out this flash. This whim, this dream. I can't think of anything else to do. And this is something we have to do in the next hour. All that daytime was eaten up by making and testing the glasses.

Only to get to that moment, when the camera gets to Tammy... And realize, a lot of power is gone because I can't see her eyes!

And there's a kind of Stevie Wonder swagger there. Not quite what I had in mind. It's an exercise. It's a "make something right now" moment. It guess it's less of a test and more like a pop quiz.

wrap around
by Tammy Lin Foreman

work like dogs
until we die
complicated knots to tie
need more fingers
so that I
can wrap around my
wrap around my wrap around my
thoughts sometimes
in such a mess
only when I second guess
feels better when I confess
it is so endless is so endless is so endless...
waves wash over me
watered down words we
catch myself confused
should have refused
should have refused
the temptation to
tie my tongue
hang-over from being young
do what you're told
and you'll get some where
it's just not fair, it's not fair...
that we work like dogs
until we die
complicated knots to tie
need more fingers so that I can
wrap around my wrap around my wrap around my...

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Meaning of Dreams

At long last... I feel like myself again. Bless me. It's been four months since my last confession. We had four months to plan this next season of Instant Videos but when it comes time to shoot, all the elements come together on-the-fly anyway. No different this time around. Just go with the flow.

We have an hour of daylight left. It's a rush. Oh man, these old feelings again! My heart is pumping loudly. Adjust the tripod. And the heart! Quick, says Tammy. Get my make-up bag. On the shelf, right-hand side. There's a black eyeliner pencil... Six year-old Georgia takes pictures with the digital camera.

We missed doing all of this showtime business. Last month, I had to give the calendar a cold hard look. I had to use a ball-point pen to mark it down. Make a commitment.

Four months ago, we were at the beach, at the peak of our talent for spur-of-the-moment creation. But we got busy with other stuff and I have yet to come up with an angle that will convince arts councils that this project is worth supporting. Meanwhile, our lives are not complete without doing this crazy one-a-week deadline. So we're making another run anyway. I call it Season Two.

Today I wake up sobbing. I don't remember the dream. I don't know what this means. There's a book on the shelf. I don't like what it says.

I really want to picture myself going into the new decade working on something I love and believe in. I think ten years is about enough time to get used to the 21st century and now we can get on with making this world a better place. I know 9/11 threw everybody off. It came out of nowhere. And I think we've finally moved past it now. I hope so! There's no more time to lose.

I improvise by mixing video clips. Tammy likes to play guitar or keyboard, sing, make up words on-the-spot and we record it all together feeding through red, white and yellow RCA cords into the back of the DVD recorder... I used a webcam to record an improvised jam we did on Nov. 20. I uploaded a clip ( where the song "Dreams" had its beginning.

I want to write about the process because that's a big part of it. I want to show everything and tell all. The Instant Videos must remain as live unedited performances. The viewers will have to look for a heart in each one. I hope more people will tune in to see how we can live up to the challenge - one video per week. It's a study in sameness and variation fueled by artful sincerity. When we stopped making videos, the quiet few who are out there watching just wanted to give us our space. I hope they will tune in again and hope to gain more viewers.

As Tammy sings on camera, I think about the Sinéad O'Connor music video I had in mind for the art direction. But I can't imagine Sinéad O'Connor singing this song. I also play the guessing game. I imagine which celebrity could sing one of Tammy's songs. I've imagined Jack White singing Sweet is Low and Madonna singing Reflector. I couldn't think of one for Dreams.

I think Tammy finally hit some kind of nail on the head.

by Tammy Lin Foreman

Someday you're gonna wake up + find
That all the things you thot you'd left behind
They are creepin'
When you're sleepin'
And your heart it is holdin' them tight
All thru the night.

You thot that you forgot
But you can't stop, no you can't stop
You got them into your heart
And it's pulling you apart
From the things you thot you were needing
Now you're bleeding.

I am. You are.
What do I do with this
It's on my list. It's on my list.

What do I do with this
Follow my bliss.