Lockdown Christmas: a short film

A few weeks ago we were asked to submit a pre-recorded piece for our friend Dalton Deschain’s Third Annual Honda Days Christmas Spectacular show. There were many ways to approach this – read something from the new book, play an old Joe Yoga song, gather up the usual suspects for some collaboration, etc. But we decided we wanted to do something entirely new.

We walked around the neighborhood shooting footage of the various Christmas goings-on in Astoria, and later sat down by the old window to collect our thoughts in writing. What eventually emerged was a story of Lockdown Christmas, and we put together this short film to document it. It went over great at the Honda Days show, and we’re happy to share it with you here.

unvanquished!

It’s been an insane year, obviously, and all we can hope for our readers is to remain healthy and safe. We hope you are managing, we hope you are able to reach out to friends and loved ones and we hope you are finding reasons to be optimistic when you look for them.

Video Week! pt. 3: The Trilogy, an introduction

Today we’re going to talk a little bit about a movie we didn’t make. This would have been 2012-2013. The idea was to do a novel, and album, and a movie all with the same three characters, but telling different stories for each medium. They would still be interdependent on each other as a trilogy. The whole concept is actually sketched out somewhere on paper and the plan is to revisit it at some point fairly soon – but that’s the not the point of this post. This post is about the movie: PRICK (tagline: it’s all in his bed)

We had a bunch of these sketched out: not 17 of them, but maybe eight or nine. These are the ones that survived. The movie basically revolves around three characters: Genevieve, Maxwell, and Deacon. Maxwell is the audience surrogate, a blackout drunk criminal who receives a strange gift. Genevieve sort of presents as a riptide to a stabilizing power, and Deacon is the manic, scheming, chattering in his ear, a sort of mix between Iago, Kramer, and Ratso from Midnight Cowboy.

Maxwell’s gift also comes with a judgement. In the movie, it’s bedbugs. So many great horror and existential mindfuck movies have some insectoid element. Them, The Fly, Creepshow, Naked Lunch, Arachnophobia, even slugs and leeches have had their moment. But there had never been an a movie that explored the existential mindfuck of bedbugs. As victims of an infestation in early 2012, we felt inspired. After it was over, we were eager to channel the dread and anxiety from the experience into our art. We’d been doing a lot of freewriting and that translated into a lot of rambling, philosophical monologues for Deacon.

Obviously the video quality is not great. Clearly our prepaid phone’s camera had problems in low light settings. We knew that there was obviously no way, with everything else going on, that we were going to be able to learn enough about video to do anything more than a back of the envelope sketch. But to us at least they come fairly close to the feel of what we were going for in those scenes.

We would still like to make the film someday, or at least finish the screenplay. Screenplays are hard, though. We have no idea where to even begin. The whole trilogy deserves to be finished in some form. We have maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the novel written, but it’s in poor shape due to only being worked on sporadically. The album is written, but not recorded (though demos of all of twenty songs and decent recordings of maybe twelve of them do exist). We’re grateful, at least, to have something to do.