|News from the Film + Music Office
TAKE THE FILM + MUSIC BUSINESS SURVEY!
This survey is intended to gauge the current state of the film and music business in Seattle. It is anonymous, takes around five minutes and is invaluable to our office and to the future of our industry. We've received a good amount of strong feedback already, but we want to hear from you so please, take the time. Thank you!
HAPPY HOUR TONIGHT!
The Mayor's Office of Film + Music if proud to present Happy Hour at Moe Bar (925 E. Pike St.) from 5 to 7 pm tonight, Wednesday, January 30th. Come down, meet new people in our music and film industries and discuss current issues spanning film and music in Seattle. We have received a lot of great feedback regarding new business opportunities that have come from these events, so don't miss out. The Happy Hour schedule for 2008 can be found on the website.
INDUSTRY NEWS AND UPDATES
SEATTLE ROCK SINGER BEN MCMILLAN LOSES BATTLE WITH DIABETES
After an eight-year battle with diabetes, Ben Scott McMillan, legendary vocalist for GrunTruck and Skinyard died in his hometown of Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. at age 46. Complications from a related blood-clotting disease are said to have worsened his diabetic condition, which was severe. The survivng members of Gruntruck, as well as other Seattle rock luminaries are planning an assortment of tributes and memorial projects in his name; details to follow.
CHILDREN'S FILM FESTIVAL ON NOW!
Now in its third year, Children's Film Festival Seattle is pulling out all the stops with its biggest, boldest, and best celebration of international children's cinema yet. This year's festival features a whopping 88 films from 21 countries. In our cozy cinemas, parents and kids will find history lessons, whirlwind trips to faraway lands, sneak peeks at world premieres, and opportunities to chat with filmmakers and producers. Kids will also have the chance to delve deeper into moviemaking through exciting workshops. (Films made during the workshops will premiere on the festival's closing night.)
BURN TO SHINE: SEATTLE DVD TO BE RELEASED FEBRUARY 19
The city of Seattle, Washington sets the stage for the 5th installment of Burn to Shine. Benjamin Gibbard brings together 14 of his favorite Seattle bands to perform in a house that is about to be destroyed. A diverse cross section of Seattle's vital music scene is captured in a single day, celebrating a moment in time and place. Burn to Shine features performances by Eddie Vedder, Benjamin Gibbard, David Bazan and Tiny Vipers.
FIFTH ANNUAL POST ALLEY FILM FESTIVAL BEGINS FEBRUARY 23RD
It's that time again, Women in Film Seattle presents the Fifth Annual Post Alley Film Festival, at the Market Theater, Post Alley, Pike Place Market. Proceeds to benefit Women in Film/Seattle and Pike Place Preschool. Save the date!
CHINESE MUSIC RINGS IN LUNAR NEW YEAR, LEGENDARY JAZZ BASSIST AT CITY HALL IN FEBRUARY
Ring in the Lunar New Year, noon, Thursday, Feb. 7 with traditional Chinese music by Warren Chang Music Ensemble. Don't miss this rare opportunity to hear works by Chang, a world champion of the erhu (an ancient two-stringed fiddle-like instrument). An ensemble of accomplished Chinese musicians, composers and conductors, the group performs a wide range of intriguing musical pieces, taking the audience to the distant land of China to enjoy its ancient beauty and customs through music played on authentic Chinese instruments.
SJFF "BAR MITZVAH" 13TH YEAR FEATURES "COMING-OF-AGE" FILMS
The Seattle Jewish Film Festival will mark this Jewish rite of passage and celebratory milestone with an outstanding lineup of "coming of age" films, teen screenings, thematic special events, and special guest artists. By extension, SJFF will also commemorate Israel's 60th birthday and the "coming of age" of Israeli cinema @60 with a precedent-setting number of internationally acclaimed, award-winning classic and new Israeli films, including Etgar Keret's Jellyfish (winner of the prestigious Camera d'Or for Best First Feature at 2007 Cannes Film Festival).
NWFF EVENT: FILM SALOON, CRITICS CRITIQUED
The media have been full of stories questioning the relevance of print critics in an Internet era that has ushered in a new democratization of opinion. The prospect of babbling blogmeisters being the new kingpins of cinema has left many critics in a sour mood. This quarter our film saloon will round up a group of critics from print, television, radio, and of course, the blogosphere to ask them whether they think their role in entertainment is significant. Panelists include: Kathy Fennessey (SIFFblog, Film.com, various national publications), Charles Mudede (The Stranger) and Jay Kuehner (Cinema Scope, GreenCine Daily). February 19th and NWFF.
SEATTLE NON-PROFIT BRINGS INNOVATIVE PROGRAMMING IN LIVE, LOCAL MUSIC TO THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN
After four seasons presenting some of the region's finest acoustic-music talent at Meadowbrook Community Center in North Seattle, Puget Sound Production's flagship series migrates downtown to Seattle's true heart, historic Pike Place Market. On second Thursdays beginning in February Puget's Sound will offer best-of-both-worlds events in the funky, self-contained 'Museum Room' inside the Pike Pub & Brewery-an unparalleled, all-ages listening environment and, of course, terrific live musical entertainment. To kick-off the new series on February 14, local legends Baby Gramps and Eric Apoe will grace the stage for a 'Tinfoil Mardi Gras.'
DISNEY-ABC TELEVISION GROUP NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2008 TELEVISION DIRECTING FELLOWSHIP
Launched in 2001 in partnership with the Directors Guild of America, the Directing Fellowship gives aspiring directors the chance to "shadow" working pros on set over the course of 36 non-consecutive weeks. Three Fellowships will be awarded for a period covering approximately 36 non-consecutive weeks of the television season. Fellows observe different DGA directors during their Fellowship.
TOP 10 NW MUSIC FOR THE WEEK OF 1/21 - 1/27
Compiled from figures at Sonic Boom (Ballard and Capitol Hill) and Easy Street (West Seattle and Queen Anne).
- Blue Scholars - Bayani
- Eddie Vedder - Music for the Motion Into the Wild
- Brandi Carlile - Live at Easy Street
- Brandi Carlile - Story
- Black Mountain - In the Future
- Pearl Jam - Live at Easy St.
- Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
- Shins - Wincing the Night Away
- Cave Singers - Invitation Songs
- Siberian - With Me
LOCAL FILM SCHOOL DROP-OUT GETS INTO SUNDANCE
Calvin Reeder lasted just two weeks in film school, but he was fairly sure it wasn't the place for him after day one."On the first day the teacher said, 'You won't get into Sundance, you won't make your own film. The only way you'll get work is at a TV station,' " Reeder recounted. His tone is matter-of-fact, but it could be vindicatory: Since dropping out of Seattle Film Institute, Reeder has made two feature-length films, three shorts and has been accepted into the Sundance Film Festival - twice.
AWARDS GO TO LOCAL HIP-HOP ARTISTS
The Martin Luther King County Executive's Award for Excellence in Hip Hop was presented by King County Executive Ron Sims at Community Center at Mercer View on Mercer Island to Toddler Hip Hop and hip-hop pioneer Wyking Garrett. Toddler Hip Hop provides intergenerational learning opportunities for children. Garrett has worked closely with youth and the community, founding the Seattle Hip Hop Summit Action Network and heading the Umoja Fest African Heritage Festival & Parade.
SUB POP'S GOT SOME KIND OF RECORD
"Going out of business since 1988" is one of its slogans, but the demise of Sub Pop is yet to happen. Indeed, sales have never been better, as in recent years records by the Postal Service, Iron & Wine, Hot Hot Heat and the Shins became big sellers for Sub Pop. Of course, "big sellers" is relative, as the label has had but one "platinum" seller, Nirvana's "Bleach." Those who still dismiss Sub Pop as "that little grunge thing from back in the day" are missing the boat.
BALLARD STUDENT'S FILM SCREENED AT SUNDANCE
Sami Kubo wasn't in class at Ballard High School last week. She was at the Sundance Film Festival. The 17-year-old senior was one of a handful of students nationwide whose short films were featured in a festival screening sponsored by the Adobe Youth Voices initiative. That program collaborated with Reel Grrls Seattle, a non-profit program that teaches filmmaking to young women, to bring Kubo, three other students and two mentors to America's premiere independent film festival to see their work on the big screen. Kubo worked as director of photography and animator on the festival-featured short, "Disorder."
BON VOYAGE, MELISSA QUAYLE!
If you've been involved in Seattle's music scene in the last eight years, Melissa Quayle's work has likely touched you in some way. She started volunteering at the Vera Project at 19, eventually becoming the all-ages organization's Program Director in 2006. Other places you might recognize her from include Neumo's, where she spent a year in management. Now she's taking off to New York City-but not before saying goodbye to the West Coast and spending a month on the beach in Jamaica. Good luck Melissa!
A HEALTHY DOSE OF WTF
For 10 days in June, Seattle venues like the Rendezvous, Seattle Art Museum, R Place, and Chop Suey will be inundated with independent films, live music, and comedy. The source: STIFF, Seattle's True Independent Film Festival. Last year, STIFF added "STIFF Licks" to its programming, a series that combines a trio of arts-movies, music, and comedy-in an entertaining, interesting, and sometimes shocking way that sets it apart from other arts festivals.
PUBLIC TO SOUND OFF ON SEATTLE CENTER REVAMP PLAN
A hot button issue is now at the forefront again. Seattle residents will be able to sound off on a plan to revamp the Seattle Center. The city wants public input on the environmental impacts of new plans to spruce up the aging tourist attraction. Everyone agrees something needs to be done to spruce up the center. But the big questions are how much will these changes cost and how will they affect the environment?
PRESERVING ARTS SPACES IN SEATTLE
Over the past decade, several local arts organizations, such as the Empty Space Theatre and the ConWorks performing arts center, have folded because of space issues. Today, tenants of the Odd Fellows Hall on Capitol Hill are struggling with the possibility of rent increases that will make it impossible for them to do business. The crisis faced by small- and medium-sized arts organizations in Seattle comes down to two words: real estate. How to acquire, renovate and maintain one's own home isn't something taught in art school. Arts organizations produce art, not facilities plans.
KING COBRA IS ALMOST READY TO STRIKE!
As many of you know, there's a new rock & roll nightclub in town called King Cobra. As of this morning, our liquor license has been approved and we're on the fast track to get the place all pretty for you and for our special grand opening parties, scheduled for the first week of March. (More on those later). Our stage room is still being properly outfitted for rock and roll, and we've still got painting and decorating to do among a myriad of other things.
STAR PROJECTS UNDERWHELM SUNDANCE: SMALLER FILMS CONTINUE TO GENERATE BUZZ
While smaller projects and documentaries continued to generate buzz as Sundance started drawing to a close, star-driven vehicles like the Robert De Niro pic "What Just Happened?" and "The Great Buck Howard," which Tom Hanks produced and co-starred in, held all of the appeal of three-day-old fish. "What Just Happened?" -- in particular -- entered the fest with a roar and a great deal of enthusiasmAs for the overall deal mojo, although several films hovered on the verge of landing distributors, only one found a home in the past 24 hours. Sony Pictures Classics scooped up U.S. rights to the fest's dramatic competition entry "Frozen River," for low- to mid-six figures.
JUKEBOX COLLECTORS ARE STILL HUMMING ALONG
At the peak of the jukebox collecting craze in the late 1980s and '90s, John Bennett operated a 15,000-square-foot showroom on First Avenue South called Jukebox City. Bennett, who owns the Luna Park Cafe, recently downsized Jukebox City. Now the machines are housed in a restored, early 1900s horse stable in Georgetown. Collectively, his machines trace the evolution of jukebox design over three decades.
TODAY IN AUDIO STREAMING: FLEET FOXES
Local mountainfolk Fleet Foxes are featured artists on Pitchfork's Forkcast for their undeniably catchy tune "White Winter Hymnal." Pitchfork thanks their Sub Pop signing to Myspace buzz, but all of us in Seattle know they would've gotten a sweet record deal whether a hundred thousand teenagers clicked on their page or not.
AMAZON'S MP3 SERVICE ROLLING OUT WORLDWIDE IN 2008
Amazon.com Inc. said it will roll out its MP3 digital music download service around the world later this year. The Seattle online retailer launched the service in the U.S. in September, providing music to all types of music players. Amazon's MP3 site doesn't use digital rights management software, which means Amazon customers can freely move the music from their iPods or computers to any other device that plays music. Amazon officials said their service includes more than 3.3 million songs from more than 270,000 artists.
THE DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE GUITARIST RELEASES HIS SOLO CD, "FIELD MANUAL"
The Beatles, in their last years, grew tired of their hysterical fans and stopped doing live shows. The Texas singer-songwriter known as Jandek and a few other reclusive artists have released albums without touring. While Chris Walla is neither a hysteria-producing sex symbol nor a mysterious recluse, he is staying home and not giving tour support to his new solo album, "Field Manual" being released by Seattle's Barsuk Records today. He's simply too busy.
SEATTLE ARTS PATRON MARSHALL HATCH, 89
When revered Northwest painter Morris Graves died in 2001, several local museums pulled out their Graves paintings for memorial shows. But the biggest exhibition wasn't at Seattle Art Museum or the Museum of Northwest Art: It hung on the walls of a First Hill apartment owned by collector Marshall Hatch. There, Mr. Hatch displayed some 50 choice Graves works in private tribute to an artist he had long championed. Now Mr. Hatch is gone, too, at the age of 89.
NORTHWEST SINGERS WIN MET TRYOUT
Two young singers - soprano Simone Osborne and tenor Brendan Tuohy - won Sunday's Metropolitan Opera National Council Northwest Regional Auditions, held in Meany Theater on the University of Washington campus. Osborne, of Vancouver, B.C., and Tuohy, of Beaverton, Ore., tied for first place, each receiving $8,000 and advancing to the Met semifinals in New York City on Feb. 17. Baritone Michael Anthony McGee won third prize and $4,000. Encouragement awards of $1,000 each went to tenor Bray Wilkins (Moscow, Idaho), mezzo-soprano Margaret Gawrysiak (Seattle) and baritone David Lara (Seattle).
VOTE FOR THE PRESIDENTS
Fans will dictate where Seattle punk band The Presidents of the United States of America will play on their next tour. Using the Web site, users can vote for a stop in their hometown. The five cities with the most votes win a show. Fans can participate until 2 p.m. March 3. At presstime, the Seattle metro area was ahead in the poll.
FORGET SONY CLASSICS! TRY GETTING YOUR FILM PICKED UP BY ONLINE MOVIE PIRATES
Is Sundance really wasting its time trying to stop piracy? If it's a film that already has a major distributor, or is likely to get one, it makes sense to try to slow down the inevitable pirating of the film. But for films at Sundance that have virtually no shot at distribution, if the filmmakers want the film to be seen, they might be slightly better off letting people tape and distribute the film as they like-maybe someone will watch it. Even so, that isn't likely to happen. For that would mean accepting that your film isn't going anywhere, and at Sundance that kind of pessimism is strictly verboten.
SEATTLE OPERA PICKS TWO NEW DIRECTORS
Seattle Opera executive director Kelly Tweeddale announced Monday the appointment of two new directors at Seattle Opera: Janice Bondar, director of human resources, and Mary Kaufman-Cranney, director of development. Bondar assumed her post last November, following a career with Sound Transit, King County and The Boeing Co. She holds Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) accreditation, and is active in several community volunteer organizations. Bondar succeeds Julie Tatum.
TWO LOCAL COLLECTORS CURATE AND PRESENT VINTAGE RECORDINGS FROM HEREAND ABROAD
With their combined troves of old records, Wall of Sound Records co-owner Jeffery Taylor and Rob Millis, curated a series of cassette tape that ultimately grew to 10 volumes over a three-year period. Distributed via Anomalous, they garnered a modest but loyal following. One fan was Lance Ledbetter, a next-generation Harry Smith (creator of the American Anthology of Folk Music)-style archivist who had launched the Atlanta-based archival record label Dust-to-Digital, which specializes in historical compilations.
HIGH VOLUME: DIGITAL-MUSIC SALES ARE SOARING
Sales of digital music soared by 40% in 2007 according to estimates. Tracks downloaded from the internet generated revenues of $2.9 billion for the music companies compared with $2.1 billion the year before. But the way people obtain digital music differs from country to country. In Japan 94% is downloaded directly onto phones that double as digital-music players rather than via computers onto an MP3 player or iPod. In Britain, Europe's biggest mobile market, the proportion is just 29%. But music companies are not cheering. Overall music sales are reckoned to have fallen by 10% in 2007 as young people turn away from CDs. Music companies blame piracy.