Anthony Bourdain is a Pesimistic Druggy Slacker

Brentoji
Brentoji

Its Tuesday once more and Monday passed us by before I could post an update. I did manage a decent practice with Brandon on Saturday and we got down the demo for a new song called, “Carried By Angels.” As soon as we can get all 3 guys together at some point I’ll make a quick video of it. Grant had, as he put it “mechanicin” to do on Saturday, so he didn’t come jam with us.

I’ve recently watched just about every program featuring celeb chef, ex drug addict, social commentator and drunkard, Anthony Bourdain available on Netflix. Of his shows, and he’s had 4 or 5, my favorite is “Parts Unknown.” The typical format of the show is the host walking around this or that distant country and sampling the food and booze with a sympathetic host, usually to the point of getting drunk and in some cases passing out. It’s at once funny and sad to see this admitted former crack and cocaine addict disavowing the AA approach to sobriety and being apparently fine with getting stoned and drunk as a recovering crack addict. Of course the fact that he’s probably still using isn’t lost on me. Then he’ll make funny commentary over the video. He’s pretty funny in the moment too, like a liberal comedian. Notice I’m not calling him “Bill Maher-like.” I said he’s funny.

I think he’s a lucky chef who was in the right place and the right time and by some miracle didn’t overdose himself to death. He basically admits as much in the show. Talk about a craggy old, rough looking dude. He’s lucky to be where he is and it seems like he knows it. And for any smokers, take a look at that guys face and THAT is where you are headed. Smoking is not kind to the skin my friends.

Moving right along, when I discovered that I’ll have a lengthy layover in Raleigh town again this coming weekend, I decided to make sure I wasn’t stuck in the car, waiting on check in time again. I reached out to some friends and now have a micro short film project to shoot on Saturday night. Yeah! This one is based on a story by Jason Wheeley and I penned the very short script. I intentionally kept it small and manageable. This will be my first time handling all aspects of lighting, shooting and editing. I’ve ordered some new lights, since this will be shot indoors in simulated moonlight for the most part. It may fall short of any level of quality whatsoever, but I know we will have fun with it and it’ll be great practice. The cast and crew will consist of Jason, Jeremy Mulis and myself, so I know that it will be low key and fun.

Nancee will be back taking another class at a training center up there in her every expanding quest for continuing education. She’s dedicated to giving her customers the best, I’ll grant her that.

I got into the Wells Fargo 3 at 7 am this morning and will be heading off to Rock Hill to return ANVIL to it’s creator for some repairs. It has sucked being deprived of my main work machine for weeks now. Yargh! Read more “Anthony Bourdain is a Pesimistic Druggy Slacker”

Working Out Plans for The Weekend and Expanding my Vocabulary

With The Mojos
With The Mojos

Lots of commuting this week kind of threw me into a period of slight sleep deprivation. The alarm sounded yesterday morning at 5:00am as it always does, but for some reason I didn’t hear it. I did notice the OS updated overnight.  I supposed there is a chance that it never even sounded. In any case I crawled out of the bed a full 53 minutes too late. Instead of heading out right away and enduring an extra 20 minutes stuck in rush hour traffic, we took Liam to school and stopped at one of our favorite breakfast joints.

I finally arrived at work about 9:45 and didn’t leave out until 7 last evening.
Last night I caught the tail end of the Wed night service and picked up Nancee then we swung by Thai Spice to get Liam and I some dinner.

I settled down and watch Sons of Anarchy and The Ultimate Fight for the week. The meal went down good but I needed time to unwind so I didn’t get into the bed until 11:15. The plan was to sleep in and go in late again today but since Liam won’t ever seem to get up on time to catch the bus if one of us parents don’t  get up and basically wake the house, I decided to go ahead and jump in the bath about 5:15 am. Big picture, I was here at 7:00 this morning and only got about 5 hours sleep. I’m not too sleepy at the moment but it doesn’t seem to be cumulative. A couple of nights not getting my sleep 8 I and I really feel it.
In my spare time this week I’ve been working my way through a course I purchased on CreativeLive.com called, “Guerilla Filmmaking with Ryan Connolly.” It’s been priced at $129.00 forever and I’d had my eye on it. This week they dropped the price to $99 and I was sold.

First Class Film Maker Training
First Class Film Maker Training

Here’s the class synopsis “In this course, you’ll explore the step-by-step process of making a film from start to finish. You’ll learn how to script, storyboard, location scout, and cast films. Ryan will offer insights on how to best work with your crew to make your sets fun, collaborative, and professional places to be. Ryan will demonstrate the process of getting the light you want for the shots you’ll need, whether you’re working with DIY lighting structures, available light, or gels and diffusion. Since lighting and sound are equally essential to professional-level work, you’ll also explore both production and post-production audio skills, including integrating music and sound effects. You’ll build a post-production workflow for editing, adding visual effects, and more to ensure you’re getting the pro look every time.

Whether you’re a first time filmmaker or a working professional ready to sharpen up your skills, this course will give you the tools you need to create superior quality films that reflect your unique vision as an artist.”

It’s divided into two full days’ worth of lectures with a bunch of useful forms and example footage to follow along in the projects. I’ve been a bit of a fan of Mr Connolly’s Revision Network, Youtube show, “Film Riot” for a number of years now. It’s probably the best indie film making how-to show on the planet. Connolly and graduate of Full Sail’s film school really realized some very impressive results in his weekly or bi-weekly short films that accompany the show. The irony is not lost on me that he and his show actually achieves what I think Mutantville was aiming for with our site and web channel for so long with our various MVP Guerrilla Filmmakers’ Cookbook videos & DVD’s.

Anyway, at this point in my life I’m basically done with the “fake it until you make it” approach. I’ve got the creativity in spades but now I need to have the technical aspects on lock down. Courses like this that go into detail can really help since I cannot dedicate $20,000 and two years to going to film school.

My film making interest definitely skews toward the music videos and short films. Maybe one day a feature but that day is way off. I need to be able to do everything myself because when it comes to no budget cinema you really can only count on yourself.
So, this weekend I hope to check out the new Liam Neeson thriller, “A Walk Among The Tombstones.” I’ve got a practice with the Late Summer Trio scheduled for Saturday and hope to get together for a little jam session with Todd on Sunday. Hopefully, there will be a cool video to share come Monday.

Also, today I met my first Iconoclast. Don’t feel bad. I had to look it up too. There are new perspectives and a universe of things to learn all around us. One has only to look.

Artist Amuse Thyself!

Brent with a Blocky Background!
Brent with a Blocky Background!

Bill Shakespeare said it more eloquently, “To Thine own self be true.”

This weekend wore me completely out. Not because I did a lot but because, apart from driving, I was forced to do so little. There was lots of waiting for this or that in the car, waiting for Nancee to get out of class, and waiting for the hotel room to be ready for check in, too much waiting.

To hear Nancee tell it, a great time was had all around. She loved the place we ate dinner and it was pretty sweet, if a little pricey. She enjoyed being out of town and the constant engagement of her customers. I can see why this trip would be fun for her. Trying to be supportive, I don’t mind it so much. I just wish it could go the other way sometimes, like us going to a music convention or something.

I tried to entertain myself by shooting a small bit of video and a few photos.  Perhaps it will entertain you as well. I even recorded myself doing a few songs for the channel since the trio hasn’t gotten together in a few weeks. I’m having issue with my work machine, ANVIL, so until I can get that repaired I’m editing on the laptop which is not so beefy. I’ll try to get a few of those tunes out this week, but they won’t be as processed or fancy. In fact, the two I’m linking to in today’s post are %100 edited on the iPhone. That’s fun in its own right, but I cannot use multi-layer angles and such with the precision I prefer.

I shot a few of the songs with two angles simultaneously using my Canon 70D and the iPhone. I’m going try to get at least one properly edited video out of that. I had hoped to have The Late Summer
Trio in tow for this next round of album making, but with or without those musicians, I need to focus on making some hi fidelity demos of all the new material I’ve been turning out these days. I want to make some polished videos for these tunes. Read more “Artist Amuse Thyself!”

Always Remember. Never Forget.

Always Remember. Never Forget.
Always Remember. Never Forget.

As I waited for my wife to get ready this morning, I watched a few minutes of a program called, “Hero Dogs of 911.” I must admit listening to the stories from owners of those amazing rescue dogs that scoured the rubble saving only God knows how many lives and then when the survivors were no more, recovering the shattered bodies of those that remained really touched me. Still today’s anniversary didn’t occur to me until I got in and pulled up a web browser.

There was that only too brief glowing period of brotherhood where everyone had a flag hung on their rear view mirror and people were kind, really kind to their fellow man. A decade on, I wish we could have held onto that.

Bin Laden is dead having died at the hands of the US Navy Seals and Al Qaeda is essentially no more, though we have these ISIS jack asses to deal with now. In the grand sum of things, the attacks of 911 United us and indeed the world against terrorism. A vulnerability was removed and our preparation level to deal with such cowardly tactics has never been higher. 2,977 died on that day. Their deaths were a horrible cost to pay for our lack of security. Today I believe that those victims did not die in vain.

God bless America!

An Old Tune Played in Public Only Once

Braids Run Wild
Braids Run Wild

I wrote this one on the way to a songwriters showcase where I was being featured. Weird, this one. It was my second time playing at this bi-monthly event and I thought to myself, Hey, they all have heard my go to tunes. I need to break off something completely different a new. Hence this little country ditty. I wrote in the car, played it that night on stage and then forgot about. I might need to break this one back out for my folk trio, What do you think?

I see that I employed the use of a capo which I’ll sometimes to do make it sound as if I’m playing more outside of my little box than I really am. I do remember that the crowd gave generous applause and was of a pretty good size. At under 2 minutes it seems like I need to write another verse and maybe a bridge but that can be done easily enough.

Lastly, please try to ignore that ridiculous hair style I’m sporting. Oh yeah, thanks to Braden Harwood for putting those events together. They were fun while they lasted!

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.

I still haven't found what I'm looking for.
I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

The title of the famous U2 song seemed so appropriate. The irony of course being that the folks who founded the church we’ve been attending probably started it up for the very same reason I now, sadly must go. The search for a new home congregation to worship with has begun.

What I’m going to say next is said purely out of love. I’m not calling them out or even mentioning the church by name, but if certain eyes ever fall upon these words, perhaps there will be a lesson taken to heart that can improve things with future members. As for my family, I think we fought the good fight where we’ve been attending for a few years now and out of a desire to not hurt the feelings of folks we genuinely care about, we tarried too long.  I know stagnation when I see it and I know what it feels like to have my talents on offer be generally disregarded. I’m not angry or even upset about this. It’s just an observation. Either this organization has no use for my talents or they don’t believe I have anything to offer.  Either could be the case, but when I see family after family serve a while and then leave, I begin to think that perhaps the reason we have been here as long as we have is that we were never used in any official capacity and thus never had any sort of falling out. Read more “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”

Invicta 8, Throwback Acoustic and Mini Comics

Monday is here once again. This time there’s no new music video. Old Johnny B tried very hard to get the gang together this weekend, but as you might imagine everyone seems to have a lot going on. I’m still developing new material for a folk album and if I can’t assemble the musical avengers soon, I’ll be back to performing the songs solo for the weekly videos. It’s not as interesting for me, but at least I can share the material. Actually, I got the word this morning that one of the guys can’t make our previously scheduled Oct 5th studio date and since I’m committed to doing live recordings only this time, I’ve had to push that date out, which I hated to do.

Of course, with hundreds of performance videos posted to date, I’ve dug into the archive to share a tune I performed at the now defunct Prevue club in the Noda district of Charlotte. The song is called, “Amelia.” It’s actually on the Faster album, sang by Jodi Essex. This is my live version of the song. Read more “Invicta 8, Throwback Acoustic and Mini Comics”

Blinded Eyes – As Performed by The Late Summer Trio

The Late Summer Trio
The Late Summer Trio

The final song from The Late Summer Trio for the week is a re-imagining of an old song from myself and Neil Mabry. It’s called, “Blinded Eyes.” We’ve given it the Americana Folk Treatment. Check out my custom painted Ibanez Nylon string guitar beautified by Vicky Galloway with some amazing painting. Yes, it’s the famous Rose & Dragon guitar you’ve all heard so much about. I’ve been itching to work this into a live show. Now we’ll be unleashing it on the world. LOL! Read more “Blinded Eyes – As Performed by The Late Summer Trio”

Who Likes The Beatles Anyway?

The Late Summer Trio
The Late Summer Trio

The plan for The Late Summer Trio is to get our proverbial act together enough to play a few shows this fall. On that note we’ve started messing with a few covers you might have heard. Check out this George Harrison classic. It’s always a scary prospect to attempt such sacred music but we’re trying our best to make it something new and our own in a unique way. Hence the mandolin solo as opposed to the crying guitar. Read more “Who Likes The Beatles Anyway?”