Sunday, May 27, 2012

It's The Word, Love

It was a gorgeous spring day out today... but I was stuck inside by my computer. That can mean only one thing: yup... I have been busy creating visuals for The Spoken Word Almanac Project again. 

Actually, I have budgeted my time fairly well this go-round. I have visuals for a good number of poems already gathered, so it should be an easy transition and completion in time for the New York City-based mid-year show next month. So yeah, while the sun was shining, and birds were chirping, I was busy watching footage of Rush Limbaugh insulting a college student, and Mitt Romney declaring his indifference to poor people... to make poetry out of these dissonant topics will be no small feat. 

Google is my best friend when I am working on these shows. Basically I brainstorm possible visual ideas by combing through the Google Images database, and video elements through YouTube... it is hilarious what I have come up with at times (try it, any topic)! Other times I stumble upon something that is quite moving, thought-provoking or artistically done, like this video clip that was created to support the recent student protests over tuition hikes in Montreal, Quebec, and proposed law enforcement required before they take place:

Now that's what I call an effective protest.

After I have collected a number of suitable images for SWAP, I usually edit the works together in Final Cut, and then convert each individual clip into .mov files that we add a playlist that is run during the live show. I have been trying to get more abstract with my visuals, but for this show I am under a bit of a time constraint... so it is mostly straightforward visual representation. That doesn't mean that I am any less thoughtful in my construction of the clips, and still utilize my artistic insight in terms of the rhythm of the sequenced images, and effective storytelling structure that hopefully complements the spoken word.

For the Romney poem, I thought I had the killer ending visual... I had seen it going around: a photo of the Republican Presidential candidate seemingly staging a group of kids in t-shirts to spell out his name, but they mixed up the letters to read M-O-N-E-Y! 

However after trying to find the source of the actual image, I now realize it was actually Photoshopped. It's still funny, but I think I'll hold off on using it... there are enough strange but true photos out there that are funny enough. Speaking of the real Mitt, I once "met" the former Governor of Massachusetts when he did a whirlwind tour of the Museum. It was strange... felt almost like a choreographed dance routine in and out the door... I think it was all over in about ten minutes.

By this evening, I was ready to dance myself. After a day of staring at the computer screen, I was happy to get out into the open air of the Hudson Valley countryside. Everything smells so fresh and looks so lush... a great time of year. From there, Sarah and I drove on to the Berkshires to take in a performance by the dance group Noche Flamenca. It was a dramatic performance, with live Spanish guitar and often spirited tap/flamenco dance routines. I only wish they had more colorful costuming to match the mood outdoors... 

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, and we have quite a bit to do. One thing to add to our list: I would like to look into practicing some swing and/or ballroom dance again... it has been awhile, but it would be great to brush up on our moves in time for the wedding. Last night we went over some of the songs we are thinking about for the reception. Like everything, it takes some time... but I know a few "must-have" Blue-eyed Soul selections that should be there.

Related Links:

"Montreal Pots And Pans Video Of Protest Against Bill 78 Goes Viral," Huffington Post, May 26, 2012

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