I reside in the quirky town of Ventura California, which is located approx 50 minutes drive up coast from Los Angeles, and approx 30 minutes drive down coast, from Santa Barbara. If you do not know much about the place, you may not pull off the freeway. Why would you? (There are a lot of reasons to do so, actually)
One of my friends and colleagues, a young Brooks Institute of Photography graduate (read that: saddled with a large student loan) has been spending her time shooting and filming the music scene around California, and more particularly in our funny little town.
The reason I call Ventura quirky, is because it never really seems to find it’s way.
Saddled with a City Council, which has given rise to all manner of community embarrassment the past ten years, via large numbers of City generated actions, it has a history of perpetually seeking to validate itself through embrace of the various Arts. There are a few regular, valiant, “rogue dissenters” in City Hall, to be sure, but they are generally silenced by the majority via the power of an odd City Charter, which enables a few to rule and determine the fate of many. (The mayor is not elected as such. The council members choose the ring leader)
Recently, a predictable re occurrence was seen in the City’s attempt to brand itself as a “Music City”,¬† after the fine Artists took the former monicker: “Art City” out of the gutter, where City Hall had tossed it, and made Art marketing their own once again, after the City canned it’s fiscal involvement, officially.
The rebirth has been a largely privatized, independent success,¬† led by Bell Arts, run by Josh Addison via new Board Chair, Jim Rice, Green Art People, and Stoneworks Gallery, led by sculptor Michele Chapin, and the vast number of incredibly talented Artists who all generously contribute in whatever manner they deem fit and possible.
But back to that former Brooks Student and her film project, “Beyond Local”. Her name is Angela Izzo. When one meets “Angie” she seems a bit ditzy and unfocused. Not much different though, than many brilliant creatives I have worked with in Entertainment Industry based projects over the years. She came to me awhile ago after she developed a concept and trailer for the film, and asked me to help her get it funded.
I did not. This is why.
I wanted to see if the new Music City would get what her Film project was about. It seems to have been treated with a vote of no confidence, as after a fund raiser for her at the Museum of Ventura County, she managed to raise 50 dollars when someone handed the donation to her.
Consider how that would feel, if you were in Angela’s position.
Spend a fortune on education here locally (Brooks Institute) for an Industry career. Discover an amazing depth of musical talent in your Community, which stretches itself to reach towards the International Stage. Realize that your training and schooling enables you to tell a story that could empower those Musicians, further brand your town, and validate the modus of Brooks Institute. ¬† Ask for help to fund the film for a paltry sum of 8k which would make it happen. And someone hands you Fifty Bucks. A great gift, 50 bucks. But only one person, at a Museum event? Really?
There it is. The new Music City.
Money talks. The room really is sort of quiet, regarding Angela’s project. So this blog is my typically unedited view of my town and an effort to put a light on both the film and the path we as a Community may want to consider. If what I am saying makes you uncomfortable, I am sorry for that. Real Artists are funny. They typically like to see their fellows succeed, as it bodes well for the tribe.
Only a short time remains on the Crowd fund site, to meet the project goal. We should do this. For a large number of reasons. But really, I am supporting Angela because I see a lot of validity in her concept, and the story she wants to tell.¬† No Artist I know likes to ask for money. For whatever reason we tend to feel embarrassed by the act. (I too am no exception) I think the reason for this is because as artists we frequently do not comprehend the true worth and value of our life pursuit and passion. We need to.
As a Community, the Musicians could make this happen. So could the City. It is going to be interesting to see who really sees what this project means and gets behind it. Though I know Angela can complete this film for 8k, a 40k budget would be far more appropriate. Then Angela and her small crew would be paid to document what without a doubt, has got to be one of the deepest music talent pools that I have ever seen in a small(ish) town, and expose them on a more global stage through the Art of Cinema.
The bands and stories are the important thing. This film is the tale of people who deserve more support and recognition than we could ever give them by ourselves in the purchase of a song or album on itunes. It is the opportunity to provide a vote of confidence in our Artists. Whether this film funds or not, Ventura really owes the Arts a lot of loyalty, because in them, is health and security for the future of the town. And yes, Rock and Roll is a valid part of the Arts. It is the texture of a substantial portion of US popular culture.
Here are a few links to Angela Izzo’s work.
All the images in this blog were shot Friday night. Beautiful place Ventura, but really the only reason to live here is……..
It should always be about our people.