When we talked in the fall, he wanted us to start doing some touring together. He recognized that I would end up doing all the work in terms of booking and organization, so he offered his expertise and contribution in a different way. He decided to make several films of my poetry and a duet that we wrote to use in press kits and for general awesomeness. I flew out there in January, and we spent a nerve-wracking ten days with a jam packed schedule of filming, live shows and photo shoots.
In the beginning of March, I was fired from my restaurant job of the last six years, which was a drag, but also a blessing. I probably would have been very depressed about the whole thing, but it happened to come at a time where I had this exciting new project in the works, and I was finally taking some definitive measures to put my hat back in the ring. So fuck the job. I have since then made no effort whatsoever to find another one, and have instead buried myself in grant proposals and publication submissions and a whole lot of writing.
So you can say, and you would be right, that these films, which aren't even done, are already doing some very good things for me. Their very potential made it possible for me to look beyond my comfy income towards my actual life. OK. I'm getting a little sappy about it. Let me just tell you about the films.
Firstly, we have a badass duet that Jamie and I wrote about feeling old, or being perceived as old by the younger poets we meet. It's funny, it's mean, it's full of archival footage I dug up (spoiler alert: oompa loompas!) and it will involve music composed originally for the film by the most awesome Carnage the Executioner, and his cohort and equally awesome partner in crime, Mike Michel, two of the three unbelievably talented components of Minneapolis' own Saltee.
Next we have a rendition of a piece I wrote, called "After the Bowling Stopped" that was published in Rattle. It's about a musician I used to date and how I still feel too close to the situation to write about him. We took this folk musician out all day and got him drunk, and he and I played pool and skee ball and took photos in a photo booth. That one barely felt like work.
And finally, and quite possibly my favorite of the three, we filmed another piece of mine called "Waiting," about a restaurant job. This one took a lot of work. I had to make a wine bar look like a breakfast joint. I went to Safeway (California's Rainbow) and bought all sorts of frozen breakfast food and went back to the place I was staying to make it all look cooked. I still have burn scars from this feverish prop cooking session. You will see Minnesota's very own Wonder Dave as my fellow waiter, the incredible Jason Bayani as my fry cook, and Chicago's Tristan Silverman as a coffee addled diner. My neighbor from when I was seven even showed up to be an extra. That was a crazy surprise. And as a byproduct of the massive amount of props I hauled around for this one, I accidentally stole a knife from my host in CA (actually caught myself on the way to the airport almost bringing it in my carry on) and had to mail it back with an apology and a present.
So when and where can you see these films, I hope you are asking? We should have them done within the next month, if not very much sooner. I will be putting them on my website and announcing their arrival on Facebook when I do. You can also check out my Youtube channel, where they will make an appearance, and I have been talking to Sam Cook about getting Button to use some of them. Oh, and of course one will assuredly be nominated for an oscar, if you want to wait until next winter.
So that's it. That's the current new project I'm excited about. I went to film school and worked on a hell of a lot of films when I was in my early twenties, so this is a very fun revisiting of an interest I had back when cavemen worked as my extras. And I get to work again with an old friend who I used to do a lot of crazy projects with. And I have something totally new and interesting and really cool to show for it. I hope you check them out and enjoy the hell out of them.