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#25- Arrica Rose and the ...'s video shoot



A peek at the monitor while a shot is being set up during Saturday's video shoot.

 Wow, seems like forever since I sat down to write one of these here entries.  My computer has been on the fritz and I just got it back.  Only two real musical events have happened since I last blogged, and since one of those was Saucy Monky's fifth consecutive Wednesday at midnight show at The Kibitz Room, I think I'll mostly leave that one alone and focus on the video shoot I did last weekend with Arrica Rose.  I'll probably drop a photo or two of that Kibitz show at the end, maybe have a couple quick things to say for posterity.  But in the meanwhile, let's talk videos, shall we? 

Toys R Us
So the idea for the video is that Arrica is a music box ballerina that comes to life and the band are a bunch of toys in the room with her.  Simple right?  Mark was a toy sailor, Ryan was a toy bear, I was a toy cowboy, and Arrica was, of course, the ballerina.  Keep in mind as I describe all this that I haven't actually read the treatment or any sort of summary and that I was only present for the day of shooting where we did the interior stuff with all of us.  There was a full day of shooting with just Arrica the next day and I wasn't around for that, so it's possible I won't get the big picture properly pinned down here.  

The loft on arrival, pre-creepification.  I spent most of the night in the chair towards the left that you can barely see playing a toy guitar.  

The Set

Really cool loft in downtown L.A. called Studio 528.  They use this room for videos all the time, that's what it's for, turns out it was perfect for what we needed.  Wood floors, big windows, plenty of space, interesting furniture.  I showed up for my call time at 5pm on Saturday and helped load some of the gear into the building with the crew.  We actually got into a little trouble with the owner of the loft for not using the freight elevator, but that got straightened out.  At the end of the day we loaded everything back downstairs properly, lesson learned.  Anyway, once everyone showed up and the gear was all upstairs, Cory, the director (well, co-director as I understand it; Arrica went to film school and was sharing that hat for this venture), started getting things organized, set up, planned out and dialed in with Arrica.  Lighting rigs going up, furniture rearranged, props pulled out of bags, shots discussed, all that good stuff.  

A bad photo of a postcard of the facility.  If you look close you can see the view from the window of the loft into downtown Los Angeles.  

Makeup
We were extremely fortunate to have Amy as our makeup person.  She does makeup for one of those dancing TV shows, I think it's "So You Think You Can Dance".  She'd recently done some cool toy makeup on her show and was able to use her skillz on us.  Arrica went first, then me, then Ryan, then Mark.  I got some rosy cheeks and some artificial dirt on my face, neck and hands.  Camoflagued some of my wrinkles, a little eye-popping twinkle, and I was ready to roll.  It was pretty cool to watch the transformations happen, they were pretty elaborate makeup jobs, not the usual rock and roll thing I'm used to where you don't really want to notice it.  This was full on, overt, big-part-of-the-show kinda stuff, and Amy did a great job.  We were creeping each other out with our weird looks, had a good time with it.  

Getting into character.  How would a toy cowboy rotate this photo?

Costumes
Then it really starts getting good.  I had Big Al's cowboy boots, a bright red hat, a white shirt with Roses embroidered on the shoulders, a red handkerchief around my neck, toy guns on a makeshift holster, and a plastic mini-guitar.  I was fully done up.    Arrica's Dad Al kept having me draw my guns and say "I got a hankering for some pasta fazooooon!", I think that's a family favorite dish.  I did my best but probably still don't have the name of the pasta right.  I got some laughs, the biggest were from Al himself.  Good stuff. 

"Howdy stranger.  I've got a big hankerin' for some pasta fazooooon..."

Arrica's ballerina costume really came together, tutu and everything.  They apparently aged a lot of her getup by soaking it in tea leaves.  Or something like that.  Darkened it up and brought out the dark, haunted quality nicely.  

Mark's blue sailor costume was very authentic, thirteen buttons (one for each of the original colonies!), little white hat, shiny black shoes, the whole works.  Amy gave him white diamonds around his eyes to really bring out the "toy" part of "toy sailor", plus it gave him just the right amount of Ace Frehley.  

Ryan came close to stealing the show with his bear costume.  Full on, head-to-toe fuzzy bear outfit.  It was pretty spectacular and totally creepy in the right light.  Coupled with the makeup it was really something to see and kept cracking me up all day.  Have a look...

If I were a bear, I know I'd wear Converse All-Stars too...
Props
They had scrounged up a bunch of cool props to help set the scene; a rocking horse, fire engine, glowing globe, cool old lamps, tamborine for Ryan to play, antique banjo thingy for Mark to play, and some other assorted paraphernalia that all really worked.  But the centerpiece of the whole shoot was the music box that Dan Garcia rigged up.  It had an actual, working, spinning platform that Arrica stood on, surrounded by the four sides of the box so you couldn't see the mechanism at work.  All painted very rustic and cool looking, it was pretty spectacular and quite functional.  

Performances
Arrica was a total champion in her ballerina role.  It was most impressive, she's spinning on this platform, going through this strict regimen of ballet poses in time with the music, occasionally looking into the camera, taking direction from Cory, and making it all look smooth and easy.  Had to have been exhausting but she never complained once that I could hear, she was a real workhorse and did a killer job.  

The rest of us had it much easier, sitting in our designated spots, doing our best to have a faraway look in our eyes and make subtle, "toy-like" movements.  I was air-bassing on my toy guitar, Ryan was rocking the tamborine with even, mechanical arm movements.  Mark did his air guitaring on the weird banjo-thing he had.  It all looked really cool to me under the dull glow they were putting on us.  Very spooky and effective.  Whenever I wasn't in a shot I tried to get a look at the monitor and it was very impressive the shots they were getting.  

The Crew
A great team of peeps, they worked hard, got shit done, had a good attitude about it all, totally delivered from where I sat.  Good ideas came from everyone about angles and lights and props and everything.  Arrica's folks brought some snacks and then later got everyone Subway sandwiches that really hit the spot at about 11pm.  Dan was there to keep the music box working when it had problems and also to provide sound for playback.  Room full of talented pleasant folks, my kinda people.  
I didn't get a good shot of the music box, but you can see part of it in the foreground here.  The spinning disc is in the middle, you can barely see a sliver of it if you squint.  

And That Was That
We finished up shooting, put it all away, washed off the makeup, changed out of our getups, loaded up the trucks and got out of there around 2am.  I think it went swimmingly, haven't yet heard how the following day turned out, but I have high hopes that it's gonna be a real good-looking video, very artistic and powerful.  I'll be sure and setup a link to it once it's available for public consumption.  

Next Up
Saucy Monky has a gig this Thursday night in San Diego, I think the night is called Flawless and the bar is called Universal, but I might not have that right.  Then on Saturday I'm playing the Knitting Factory in Hollywood at 11pm with The Cherry Bluestorms.  

Hey, speaking of Saucy Monky, here's a shot from our show last Wednesday at The Kibitz Room.  It was a good night but not a great one musically.  I'll give myself a B.  Our residency there is over, but we're talking about hooking up some Saturday nights there in the coming months, I'll keep ya posted.  

Okay cool, gotta run.  SO FRIGGING GOOD to have my computer back, you wouldn't believe how fast I'm typing right now after a week of doing it all with my thumbs on my little blackberry.  

Talk soon,
-s

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