“Ode to Joy” flashmob at the IDS

The Wayzata Symphony Orchestra did a flashmob performance of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” (the final movement of the Ninth Symphony) on Monday, November 16, in the Crystal Court of the IDS. They hired me to create a video of the performance, which is now up on YouTube.

This was a really cool thing to witness and be a part of, and I learned a lot from it. I’m sure my next flashmob will be even better. The symphony had been planning this for a long time but there was a sense of serendipity in the air after the horror of the terrorist attack in Paris. How wonderful it is to see and hear this beautiful piece, celebrating the brotherhood of all mankind, after questioning how people can be capable of such disregard for their fellow human beings. It filled me with hope and I trust it will do the same for you. There may always be horrors but beauty is remembered and endures in ways that evil cannot. Evil is only evil because it detracts from the beauty of life. Let us all do more things to bring that beauty to the forward.

A special note of thanks to Keith Kopatz, who recorded and balanced out the sound. His role was key to our success.

First Avenue: Hayday (2006) at First Ave

Last night I attended a special screening of the concert documentary I edited, nine years ago, First Avenue: Hayday 1985-92 (2006). The film was directed by Rick Fuller, who made a lot of music videos back in the day as one half of Harder/Fuller Films, with Phil Harder. I first met Rick when I returned to Minnesota from four years in Texas, attending graduate school and working on TV Junkie (2006). Rick liked the effects I had done for TVJ and wanted that same aesthetic for the First Avenue film he was planning.

Hayday was compiled from footage that was originally shot for public access television in Minneapolis and club promotions. There were no releases or anything signed by the bands – nobody thought of such things at the time – and the old three-quarter inch tapes lay in the First Ave basement and a few other locations for more than a decade; many of them unlabeled. Rick literally saved this history from the dumpster and convinced a few other people to volunteer their time and talents to help create this labor of love. For me it was like a surreal dream. I was a teenager in the late 80s and I would hear people older than me talking about this great club in Minneapolis where all the cool acts played. To play a central role in preserving this time capsule of a great era in Minnesota Music History was an honor. I only wish the copyright issues surrounding Hayday didn’t prevent more people from enjoying it.

Watching a special screening of First Avenue Hayday at First Ave! Can't believe we made this film 9 years ago.

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Rick spoke briefly before and after the screening, with some generous praise for me. I think that’s the first time I’ve been singled out in a crowd and have everyone clap for me. But the most moving part of the night was Rick’s hesitation. He was genuinely choked up over the people in the film who are no longer with us and the audience understood this, they felt it too, even if many of us didn’t know those people personally, as Rick had. We all spontaneously began applauding in solidarity.

When we were working on First Avenue: Hayday, we hoped it would be somewhat on par with Urgh! A Music War (1981). Not a big, successful, well known movie, but a real document of a time and place, of a feeling and a community, that people can look back upon and learn from. Rewatching the film last night I felt proud that we were so successful.