Archive for the 'video' Category

13
Nov
09

Jon: Target Women, Broadview Security…

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Target Women, which used to be my favorite online video series, has been sort of *meh* recently. It seemed like show host Sarah Haskins was running out of ideas. If the newest episode, which tears Broadview Security a new one, is any indicator Haskins may still have a few gems left for us. Fingers crossed!

for more from Target Women, go to www.current.com

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14
Oct
09

26 Interviews: (C)asey Parks…

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Casey Parks is a writer, videographer, and photographer for the Oregonian newspaper. Her work there is largely focused on covering both city government and schools. A major emphasis of the stories she chooses to tell involve writing and filming about the experience of Oregon teenagers.

In addition to her work for the Oregonian, Casey also creates short video interview series about the people in her life, usually based around a singular topic or idea.

 

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Oregonian Videos:

 

When I was 14:

 

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Jon Miller: What style of story do you find the most interesting to cover?

Casey Parks: Some of the other videographers at the Oregonian prefer to create a video by first securing solid visuals. I was a writer long before I was a photographer though, and I like videos that have a good story. To get that, you need someone who is a good interview. It’s hard enough getting people to open up to you for a written story. But in an article, you can work around that by just hanging around long enough, or pulling things out slowly, or inferring, or talking to other people. With a video camera, you’re not only more intimidating, you also can’t work around any holes. What the person says is what you have. That said, I’m most interested in reporting about teenagers. Sometimes they don’t make the best video subjects (such insecurity! so many “likes” and “ums”) but I have found a few who were really candid and comfortable being themselves. Or maybe they were uncomfortable, but they let you see that in a compelling way. Those are my favorites.

JM: The adolescent experience does seem to be a recurring theme, not only in your work for the Oregonian,  but also your personal creative projects. More so though, it seems that you are fascinated with the idea overcoming expected mediocrity. What are your feelings on contemporary youth culture? Does there seem to be much of a shift in the way young people identify as individuals now vs. the experiences recounted in your When I Was 14 project?

 CP: Portland is such a different town than the ones I grew up in (mostly in Louisiana). So, yeah, the teens I meet through work are much different than I was. But I don’t know how much of that is growing up now as opposed to growing up in Portland. But they do all seem to be more savvy. They’re more clued-in about the world, more clued-in about themselves. I could just be choosing savvy people to interview, though. I’m not sure. Either way, I wouldn’t say I’m a modern teenager expert. I just like interviewing them because no one else at my paper really does, and the teens themselves are usually pretty excited to be in the paper.

JM: How do you imagine hypothetical When I was 14 interviews with modern teens would differ from those with the adults you are currently filming?

CP: Oh, I think they’ll be embarrassed by themselves just as all my friends are embarrassed of our 14-years-old selves. They’ll also, I think, like us, feel amused and probably some kind of weird love for their own self. For instance, one of my 25-year-old friends talked about how her parents were divorced and how sad she felt, how she watched her brother play video games and felt lonely. It’s hard to really express all that while you’re in it, to put all the pieces together. I do feel like kids start that nostalgizing fairly early, though. When I did a story about Miss Junior Gay Pride, who is 18, she talked about being 14 in ways not so different than I might. She regretted her hair and clothing decisions. She longed the crazy sleepovers or lunch-time antics she had then. At 18, she feels like she already knows the world so much better than she did then. I imagine that feeling will just grow. The same was true of an 18-year-old I interviewed who was training to become a sheriff’s deputy. His parents were deported for selling methamphetamine, and he spent age 14 in Mexico. But when I asked him about it, what he remembered was how ugly his hair was, how into skateboarding he had been, and how the music he had liked was cheesy.

 JM:   It’s strange how similar the coming of age experience can be despite the seemingly substantial changes in the physical setting and circumstances. What are your memories of being 14? Were you an over achiever like the kids you interview?

 CP: When I was 14, I was an overachiever in school but not in other ways. I didn’t really join clubs or do things outside of myself or school. I read a lot (I even wrote reports from encyclopedias just for fun!) and went to church a lot. I had an awful hairstyle. I used this product Sun-in to “highlight” my hair. Instead, it turned it bronze. I spent two years growing it out, so my hair was bronze on the bottom, brown at the roots. I was really awkward and bossy. My parents were separated, and I lived with my dad, which meant I got away with a lot more than I should. My curfew was something like 4 a.m. Unfortunately, I didn’t really have friends, so I didn’t take advantage of it all that often.

JM: Have you ever done any film work about your family and your experiences with them? 

 CP: Yes.  The first was with my little brother. Last year, he got out of the military and got really involved in anti-war demonstrating. While I was visiting him in Texas, I interviewed him on video. There were so many things I could never ask just as his sister, but with the camera wedged safely between us, I asked everything I ever wanted to know. We ended the shoot with both of us sobbing. He has a funny way of talking, but he’s so open with his feelings. He talks about seeing a friend killed, about how he can’t get over the war. I learned a lot. And then I cried a lot.

The second is my grandma talking about the little community where she grew up. It’s full of one-liners (“I didn’t see a box of Corn Flakes till I was 7 years old. Now does that tell you something?”), and she also talks about how she truly, truly believes she saw a UFO once. It cracks me up every time I watch it; I still can’t believe I got her to do it.

 JM: What future projects are you developing at the moment?

 CP: Over Christmas, I’m going to go home to Louisiana and try to do some work on an audio story I’ve wanted to do for a long time. On her deathbed, Audrey Ellis confessed to my great-grandmother: “Rita Mae, Roy is as much as woman as you or I am.”

Ellis was Roy’s mother. Or at least that’s what everyone in Delhi, Louisiana thought. She had raised him, anyway.

Back then, Delhi had a population of 1,800. Everybody knew everybody, and though people liked to gossip, nobody asked any questions when Audrey Ellis and her husband (whose first name no one seems to know) showed up with a 26-year-old son. It was 1953, the day Hank Williams died. My grandma remembers her brother listening to Hank Williams records on repeat. “Then they just showed up across the street.”

As an adult, Roy wore Dickies, work boots, birth control glasses and a crew cut. He mowed everybody’s lawn by pulling a manual mower behind his bicycle. He never married, and if people had suspicions, they didn’t voice them. His obituary — run in the Delhi Dispatch in 2006 — ran as Delois “Roy” Hudgens. Secondary references called him “Ms. Hudgens.”

Small towns — even those in the conservative South — accept people without question. Town drunk? Well, that’s just Jim. Town cross-dresser? Well, that’s just Roy. No one knew exactly why Roy — clearly a woman — dressed as a man. And no one asked.

My own grandmother often told me stories about Roy. I usually had to beg her — She never wanted to seem like she was talking bad about him. Until college, I didn’t know why I was so fascinated by the story. It was strange, but my family had plenty of strange stories. This one was different. I, too, grew up in the South, but the cities I lived in were bigger. They lacked the small-town, accept-everybody-because-they’re-just-like-family feel. And when I confessed — at 18, in church on Easter Sunday — that I’m gay, most people didn’t take it well.

I never felt like a man, but I did long for some town where I could be me, Casey, no questions asked.

 

 

For more from Casey Parks, check out her 78 (!) videos on vimeo.

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26 Interviews  by Jon Miller

365 days.

26 interesting people.

1 alphabet.

23
Sep
09

Nickey: Compare and contrast!

Nickey Robo

Lady Gaga has gotten a lot of attention for her over-the-top bullshit fest from last weeks VMA’s. At first I was going to write about Gaga vs. Courtney Love and the meaning of authenticity… But then I realized that my thoughts were getting too complicated for this blog and I wanted to write a longer essay. So! I encourage you to watch both these videos in rapid secession and draw your own conclusions.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

16
Aug
09

Jon: Delusional Downtown Divas…

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I may be showing my age a little, but I have to say that my favorite magazine of all time is interview based Index Magazine which stopped publishing in 2005. Though many of them are nearly 9 years old, I still regularly read interviews from my collection of old issues. I actually think that really says something about how well done Index was that it still feels relevant this many years later. The magazine is hard to find, even on ebay where issues sell for about $10 a pop. Luckily, you can read every interview they ever did for free at there website.

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 Not much new content is ever added to the website (even though it technically never stopped being “active” after the magazine went under), but I did just find out about an online TV show they started called Delusional Downtown Divas. It is hilarious and somehow has not  gone viral yet, though I’m sure it will. This show seems particularly topical for Gaycondo seeing as we just added feminist/fashionable/artistic Brooklyn correspondant Gaby Moss as our newest writer. 

 Most of the episodes are on youtube as well as the Index site, but I’ll start you out here with episode #1.  You might want to grab a pen and paper, as this is one of the most quotable  online videos in recent memory….

11
Jul
09

Jon: Hey!

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12
Jun
09

Jon: OMG! Candice Breitz has a website!

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I mean, of course celebrated modern film maker Candice Breitz has a website, it just never occurred to me to find it before today. I had read about her in several magazines, but didn’t experience her work first hand till last Fall when Paul and I visited New Orleans. When I saw a small article in the new issue of Art in AmericaI got to googling, and am so glad I did!

Though Breitz has experimented with several different video and photographic themes, she is most famous for her large scale  installation tributes to modern pop singers. Each installation features 30 television screens stacked in a 5X6 grid which have synchronized videos playing of people singing along to recordings of different performers. The subjects in each video hear the music through earbuds so that in the resulting video the only audio track the viewer experiences is that of the sing along. Each of the singers were videotaped separately of each other, and as a result strange and unexpected harmonies are created,

The one Paul and I saw in New Orleans was titled “Legend”, focusing around the work of Bob Marley. It was, in a word, overwhelming. The screens were placed in an otherwise blackened room, with the volume blasting. The tall stack of screen looming impendingly over you seemed almost shrine-like. I found that the most captivating moments in the installation would occur during musical interludes and pauses in the song where the singers would all suddenly and in unison become silent, leaving you surrounded by other spectators in a deafeningly quiet space.

Each of these installations features an entire albums worth of songs, but on Breitz’s website she only includes one of the songs off of each. My favorite video is to Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”, which you must must MUST see.. I would have loved to post it directly, but the site is all in flash and I couldn’t imbed it.

So, if you want to have your mind blown, just follow these directions:

Go To:

http://www.candicebreitz.net/

click: Work

then click: Video

then click: Queen

breitz 

26
May
09

Jon: Andy Blubaugh’s first feature length film…

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Completely by coincidence, I happened to google local film maker Andy Blubaugh to see what he was up to. Apparently I am psychic or something, because today just happened to be the day when he posted on-line the first trailer for his upcoming film The Adults in the Room. Not only does this look to be one of Blubaugh’s most provocative films to date, it is also going to be his first feature length. Blubaugh has been one of my absolute favorite local film makers for a while now, and I am totally excited to see what type of mojo he can work when given a larger pallet to paint on.

Blubaugh’s films largely focus on autobiographical narratives that unfold through unconventional and postmodern methods. From what I gather on the official site for The Adults in the Room, the film is going to examine the dynamics of Blubaugh’s first romantic relationship; a relationship he had with a 30 year old man when he was still in High School. Where a more conventional film maker might tell this story wholly through scripted and edited acting, Blubaugh has instead chosen to go in a different direction. The film appears to tells it’s story through a combination of performed narrative as well as interviews with prominent thinkers (*swoon* Dan Savage) about the implications and social realities of such a relationship. To make things even more meta-rific, the film is also going to analyze the emotional and intellectual roller coaster of Blubaugh’s experience in making the film. That’s right, Adults in the Room is also going to be a documentary elements about the making of itself.
I think the currently topical relevance of this subject can do nothing but help the film succeed. Here’s hoping that Andy Blubaugh will come out in favor of our Mayor, but either way I’m sure his analysis of the whole Sam Adams thing will be worth taking in.
So, here is the ridiculously pre-mature trailer that Blubaugh put together using mostly dialogue from the script as read by actors during auditions:
ps: Why am I not best friends with Blubaugh yet?
Dear Andy: Let’s go get drinks sometime!



Got any good leads?

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