Friday, August 17, 2012

My Feature Film Debut...Maybe

One night a little more than two years ago, I went to a show at the Middle East Upstairs. Joel was sitting in for a song with a band called Humanwine.

You can listen to the song, Wake Up, here. (It's pretty great!)

Also on the line-up for the evening was a bass and drums duo that, quite frankly, scared me a little bit. Called Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, they played dark, loud songs based on episodes on the 1960s spy-fi show The Prisoner. Due to the style of music, they seemed rather unapproachable.

Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling
Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling

You can hear some of their songs here:

Turns out I was 100% wrong; they're ridiculously nice and not scary at all, and the fact that Joel met them that night (and I guess I probably briefly met them as well) has impacted my life in ways I never expected. Joel became friends with them on Facebook, and a few weeks later, he saw a post from the bass player, Michael J. Epstein, who was recruiting female musicians for a new band. I've been a serious musician my whole life, but during college and after moving back to Boston for grad school, I didn't have much time to play, and I definitely didn't have an outlet. Meanwhile, Joel was playing frequently with his own band, and I was starting to feel a little sad about not having anything musical going on, so Joel told me about Mike's post and encouraged me to contact him. At first I was doubtful that an all-girl band was something I'd want to do, but the musical itch got to me and thus The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library was born with me as the flutist and seven talented female musicians on other instruments, plus Michael J. Epstein himself on vocals and guitar. (Sophia, pictured above in Do Not Forsake, also plays drums in the Library. She is also married to Michael, and they have a zillion side projects going on at any given time. I don't think they sleep.)

Photo by Kelly Davidson - That's me on the far right with the red glasses!
Two years later, the band is going strong. We've toured twice, released an album and a couple of EPs, collaborated with ballerinas, and a lot more. Honestly, I never expected to be in my mid-20s touring with a band and recording albums and having fun on stage in front of hundreds of people; I thought I missed the boat on the whole rock 'n' roll thing. Or baroque-folk-pop, as the case may be. Here's our debut album, Volume One:

Through getting to know Mike and Sophia via the band, I've gotten roped into a variety of their strange video projects, and usually I die. On a horrifically freezing day in January, for example, we shot most of the footage for a 25-minute silent film that we've shown at several performances as the Library plays live in sync with it. I don't want to give too much away, but...I die. Here's a teaser trailer for the film, which we have not yet released online. You might recognize me as the freezing beggar:

Later, I participated in a music video for one of their other projects, Darling Pet Munkee, in which all songs are based on items you could order off the back of old comic books. In it, I die. Again.

To make a long story short - or I guess it's too late for that, huh? - a few months ago, they decided to participate in a trailer competition at the Brattle Theatre, in which teams make trailers for fake movies based on a variety of specifications. As usual, I volunteered to participate, because at this point I'll pretty much go along with whatever crazy things Mike and Sophia are doing. It's always an adventure. Here's the trailer:

Kind of creepy, right? Well, Mike had kind of a crazy idea: what if he could make a full-length feature film based on the fake trailer? Obviously I said yes as soon as I was asked if I'd participate, and now I'm officially signed on for both the cast and the crew.

As the plan starting coming together, it became clear that a bare minimum of $11,000 would be required to make this happen, so like so many artists with crazy projects they want to do, he took to Kickstarter. If the Kickstarter campaign fails, this movie will not be made, and I will be sad, as this is my first-ever (and maybe only?) chance to be in a feature film. As usual, I'll probably die...but we'll never know for sure unless the movie gets made. We're currently nearing the $4000 mark, so we have over $7000 left to raise in less than a month. Every single dollar helps, as does every reshare, retweet, etc. Please help this crazy idea come to life. Mike and Sophia work tirelessly to create fun, magical things and to support the music and creative arts scenes, locally and beyond, and this is possibly the biggest and most exciting project they've tackled to date. Even if I weren't involved, I would love to see it happen. Here I am talking about it (with a guest appearance by my ultra-creepy basement steps):

So here's where I beg you for money. Please, please, make me a movie star! Even a dollar helps! Give Mike and Sophia the chance to kill me off in yet another video! (Should I be worried?) The Kickstarter campaign also comes with a wide variety of neat rewards - including some of Mike and Sophia's musical instruments. Really.

And since this is primarily a food blog, I'll keep you updated on my "movie star diet plan" in the coming months. As this will be a grueling production, and since the camera allegedly adds ten pounds, I want to be in peak physical condition by the tentative shoot dates in early December. (I'm not actually dieting - I'm working on making healthy, permanent changes. I'm also one week into a couch to 10k running program.)

That's all for now. If the Kickstarter campaign is successful, I look forward to sharing all about the experience in the coming months. Thank you for any support you can provide, including spreading the word!

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