Tag Archives: Jonathan Demme

Oscar nominee Kristi Zea talks Rockland, new project

When Kristi Zea moved to her hilltop home in Valley Cottage in 2004, she says, “I realized that it was really kind of perfect.” (Photo: Mark Vergari/The Journal News)

When Kristi Zea moved to her hilltop home in Valley Cottage in 2004, she says, “I realized that it was really kind of perfect.” (Photo: Mark Vergari/The Journal News)

Kristi Zea‘s work creating “environments” for film in her role as a production designer takes her around the world, but she always comes back to Rockland County, which she has called home for two decades.

She gives Upper Nyack movie director Jonathan Demme and his wife, Joanne Howard, the credit for that.

“I had been working with him for several years and he suggested that we come up here and have a look around,” two-time Oscar nominee Zea told me in a recent conversation.

While mainstream movie work pays the bills and has given her a satisfying career, Zea has a labor of love that is nearing completion after a decade of work: a documentary about a late modern artist, “Everybody Knows … Elizabeth Murray.

Read the whole interview at lohud.com.

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Remember Fab 5 Freddy?

Are the hip hop pioneer and one-of-a-kind filmmaker Jonathan Demme planning to work together again?

It was cool enough that Jonathan Demme was at the “Something Wild” screening at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y., on Sunday night.

I got to meet him as he strode out of the theater for a chat with someone 15 minutes before the movie started.

But his companion was someone just as exciting: Fab 5 Freddy, the hip hop legend and visual artist.

Demme stopped to say hello and introduced Freddy to my friend and me. At that point, my friend said his day was made, even before the screening and the live performance by The Feelies.

I regret not getting a photo of the momentous occasion, but I just wasn’t prepared to see Demme at that moment, let alone Freddy — pioneering “Yo! MTV Raps” veejay and star of the classic hip hop movie, “Wild Style,” the 1983 release written and directed by Charlie Ahearn. (If you’ve never seen it, or haven’t seen it in a while, it’s worth checking out. It’s readily available on streaming Netflix)

Here’s a classic clip from the movie, with Grandmaster Flash spinning while Freddy’s character, Phade, looks on.

Why was Freddy meeting up with Demme? I didn’t ask. But the two have a history. Demme has cast Freddy as himself in his 2008 release “Rachel Getting Married” and as a political pundit in ‘The Manchurian Candidate” (2004).

Stay tuned.

Jonathan Demme proves his love for The Feelies

Jonathan Demme introduces The Feelies at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y., after a screening of "Something Wild" on Jun 1, 2014. (Photos © 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Jonathan Demme introduces The Feelies at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y., after a screening of “Something Wild” on Jun 1, 2014. (Photos © 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

The promo line on the front page of The Journal News on Thursday  said it: “Jonathan Demme Loves The Feelies.”

On Sunday night at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y., Demme proved it.

“I guess I don’t get to the venues as much as I used to, because maybe I hit the sack a little earlier than I used to,” Demme told me when I interviewed him for lohud.com/The Journal News. “But definitely… I’d go anywhere to see The Feelies. I’d stay up late to see The Feelies.”

The Feelies onstage at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y., on Sunday, June 1, 2014.

The Feelies onstage at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y., on Sunday, June 1, 2014.

At the Burns Film Center, Demme had his dreams fulfilled without having to stay up too terribly late. The movie ran from about 7 p.m. to just before 9. It took Continue reading

Exclusive Interview: The Feelies’ Glenn Mercer and director Jonathan Demme talk about ‘Something Wild’

The Feelies in Jonathan Demme's "Something Wild."

The Feelies in Jonathan Demme’s “Something Wild.”

Glenn Mercer of The Feelies and director Jonathan Demme did me the honor of talking to me about the special bond between the band and the filmmaker ahead of Sunday’s special screening of Demme’s cult classic movie “Something Wild,” which features The Feelies as a high school reunion band. Please tap or click here to READ THE INTERVIEW on lohud.com.

Here’s how it’s promoted on the front page of the Thursday edition of  The Journal News of White Plains, N.Y.:

Demme

 

Jonathan Demme (Photo by Bob Vergara)

Jonathan Demme (Photo by Bob Vergara)

The movie is being screened at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday as part of “Something Wild: The Films of Jonathan Demme,” a festival honoring the Rockland County-based director at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y.

The Sunday show is going to be extra special, though, because The Feelies,  a band that’s a special favorite of Demme’s, will be playing a set after the movie. It should be a wild evening.

Tickets for the special Sunday show are  $30 for nonmembers, and are available online here.  More information and directions to the Jacob Burns Film Center, 364 Manville Rd., Pleasantville, tap or click here.

 

The Feelies perform on the silver screen and live in Westchester County

The Feeles perform as The Willies in Jonathan Demme's 1986 movie "Something Wild."

The Feelies perform as The Willies in Jonathan Demme’s 1986 movie “Something Wild.”

Music and film fans will get a rare opportunity to see some time travel at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y., on Sunday, June 1, when The Feelies take the stage.

The band is booked at the celebrated film center as part of “Something Wild: The Films of Jonathan Demme,” a festival that runs through June 11 to celebrate the director (and longtime Feelies fan) of “Something Wild,” “Stop Making Sense,” “Storefront Hitchcock,” “Rachel Getting Married,” “Philadelphia,” and many, many more.

The Feelies are taking the stage after a screening of Demme’s dark 1986 romcom (did that conflation even exist back then?) “Something Wild.” The truly wacky movie about two good-hearted, but not exactly honest, people (Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels) searching for truth and love, features The Feelies (playing The Willies in the movie), along with a superbly curated soundtrack of pop songs from the era. Continue reading

The Feelies on the Fourth

Glenn Mercer, Stanley Demeski and Bill Million of The Feelies at Maxwell's on July 4, 2009. (Copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

Glenn Mercer, Stanley Demeski and Bill Million of The Feelies at Maxwell's on July 4, 2009. (Copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

It would be easy to get used to making a tradition out of celebrating the Fourth of July with The Feelies.

Although their long-awaited comeback started at Maxwell’s in Hoboken

Bill Million and bassist Brenda Sauter.

Bill Million and bassist Brenda Sauter.

on June 30-July 2,  2008 (and those shows thrilled me) , they announced their return in a big way  two days later, opening for Sonic Youth in NYC’s Battery Park on the Fourth of July. The sun, sweat, humidity and the huge crowd just made the experience more intense. The band did not disappoint.

Percussionist Dave Weckerman seems content to stay in the background.

Percussionist Dave Weckerman seems content to stay in the background.

As you’ve probably read here earlier, The Feelies took over Maxwell’s for three nights this month, from July 2-4.

On that last night, thousands crammed the streets and waterfront of Hoboken to see the Macy’s fireworks, while dozens of true believers ignored the holiday hoopla and chose to watch the guitar pyrotechnics of Glenn Mercer and Bill Million instead.

I didn’t mind missing the fireworks outside, not at all.

Glenn Mercer

Glenn Mercer

The Feelies are a band that doesn’t offer too many surprises. Their shows are like your favorite jeans, well-worn, broken in  and perfectly comfortable. They feel good — and just right. They don’t throw many curve balls — even the multiple covers they did as encores over the three nights had little variation from night to night. But none of that matters to a true Feelies fan. In fact, curve balls might ruin the equilibrium.

At the July 4 show, I was positioned very close to the stage. That made for clearer shots of individual band members or pairings of players, but didn’t give me a chance to shoot an overview. So this will give you a very different perspective than the previous night’s shots.

Rich Barnes of Wild Carnation (and Brenda's husband) helped out on keyboard.

Rich Barnes of Wild Carnation (and Brenda's husband) helped out on keyboard.

My position made it tough to spot local heroes in the audience. But at the end of the night, I spotted Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo returning to the music room as the majority of the crowd was filing out. You can always count on them being at a Feelies show. The only other face I wish had been in the crowd was filmmaker Jonathan Demme, who featured The Feelies as “The Willies” in his 1986 movie Something Wild. I guess that was his payback for making  Stop Making Sense two years earlier about the Talking Heads instead of The Feelies!