By twhalliii | THE BACK ROW MANIFESTO by Tom Hall July 17, 2007 at 7:40AM
The über-talented rock star of a movie blogger Karina Longworth has graciously tagged me in the Eight Things blog meme, and I am more than willing to participate (and deeply flattered at her invitation). I don't usually write about personal things on my blog, but this seemed like a good opportunity for me to do a little "get to know your blogger" work, so I will play along. I think these web-based chain letter meme thingies are fun; besides, it's always so serious on here. Let's do this!
1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged write their own blog post about their eight things and include these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged and that they should read your blog.
Let's get personal...
I grew up playing the saxophone. I began in third grade, and when I was 14 I was awarded a scholarship to tour Europe with the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp touring concert band. The summer I won the scholarship, I was named 'Saxophone Player of the Year' at the camp but I knew it was a farce, because there was a 15 year old who was playing in the faculty jazz band: James Carter, who remains one of the most amazing saxophone players I have ever seen in my life. Oh, and he plays flute and clarinet, too. After touring Europe on the scholarship the following summer, I continued to play through high school (more on that in number TWO) and even played some jazz in college (including a few times with the awesome Craig Taborn) before drifting away from the instrument. I just never was good enough to be great and didn't have the discipline to get good enough.
When I attended Flint Central High School, my high school band was one of the best in the Midwest (even recording an album on vinyl) before a scandal broke out; Our band director, George Crear, was accused of sexually molesting girls in the band. This was devastating, because the man had been such an inspiration to us all and under his direction, we produced such great music; he had built up a cult of personality around himself and we all believed in his infallibility. He was allowed to leave town by the Board of Education and he got a job in Miami, FL, where he was accused of the same crimes. Although he was acquitted there, he was extradited to Flint and was convicted on molestation charges. He is serving life in prison in Michigan.
When I attended the University of Michigan, I designed my own degree in the University's Bachelor of General Studies program. It is an interdisciplinary degree program that allowed me to study film, philosophy, literature, etc. and focus on my own interests. My major was titled: 20th Century American Thought Across Media. Try explaining that one to your grandma at Thanksgiving. My advisor, Richard Cándida Smith, now teaches at UC Berkeley and I haven't spoken to him in years... A great teacher.
While in college, I was featured in a full-page photograph in DETAILS magazine (with Michael Stipe on the cover) for participating in an anti-Gulf War march. If you can find it, I'm the one in the glasses.
In 1989, I taught myself how to play guitar. In 1992, I started/was in a band called Marmite. Late in the year, we opened for The Verve Pipe at a fraternity party. They were a big regional band from East Lansing with a record deal on the way (remember The Freshman?) and we were, quite possibly, the worst band ever, but the cloud had a silver lining; one of our singers ended up marrying the bass player (an old friend of mine from high school). I still futz around on guitar and have always wanted to busk for just one day in NYC. You know, just to see.
In 2002, I directed several video shorts for Bob Mould's Carnival of Light And Sound Tour. A friend and I wanted to work with Bob on a Hüsker Dü documentary, but I truly don't believe that we will ever see anyone make that movie (a million reasons). Instead, we shot some live and rehearsal footage in the hopes of one day making a DVD; It never happened. Bob, however, did make a DVD called Circle of Friends and it is coming out this fall. I'm interested to see it, as I know it will be far superior to what we were equipped to make five years ago.
I have taken two levels of improvisation classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade with a prominent member of the NY independent film industry who I will not name. We may take another class soon.
I once sat next to James Cromwell on an airplane from LA to Salt Lake City. I didn't notice him at first, only his book (the name of which I cannot remember), which featured a bloody photograph of meat carcasses and caged animals. "An animal activist," I thought. He lowered the book and I immediately recognized him and we talked for a good hour about all sorts of things... He mentioned to me that he would be in New York in a couple of weeks. Two weeks later, I went on a date to Blue Water Grill and while we were waiting at bar, in walks... James Cromwell and his wife. Complete coincidence. I greeted him, he greeted me back, completely remembered the flight, introduced me and the date to his wife and we chatted again for 5 minutes or so. Of course, my date had no idea who he was. *Sigh* Anyway, a very nice guy.
Ok, those are little stories about me. On behalf of this meme, I now tag...