This weekend at Lindyfest, Kevin and I compete in the Invitational Draw competition, were interviewed by Ryan Swift’s Inside the Dancer’s Studio along side Mikey Pedroza (video coming soon), but he and I also debuted our new routine! Check out the videos below!
Jo and Mikey at 2:54 (3rd place).
Naomi and Remy at 4:35 (first place).
Alice and Jon at 9:40 (2nd place).
Kevin and Laura at 11:02 (4th place)
The Floor Cleaning Routine 😀
Another highlight of the weekend: I was given the opportunity to emcee a competition! I was asked if I could help out as both Peter Strom and Jon Tigert were in the Invitational Swing Dance Battle Finals. I recommended Kevin as he’s done far more emcee work than I (and knew that he’d do a great job); however, it sounded like it was a great opportunity to have more female representation. Eeeep!!!
I was hesitant to accept, but I figured it’d be a great opportunity to try something new AND I had a great team of people that would help prep me.
You can only hear me a little bit – thanks to some very clever editing – but fortunately for me, the contest was about the music, the competitors, and the dance! I’m honored I was given the opportunity and that so many staff members took the time to walk me through the script. Thanks Team!!
Hello Ladies and Gents! We are three lasses from Brighton; Corrine (the sassy Blonde), Elizabeth (the sultry brunnette) and Nastazia (the fiery redhead) and together we make up vocal harmony trio ‘The Speakeasy Three’.
We gained the accompaniment of the best swing jazz band in Brighton ‘The Swing Ninjas’ along with our fantastic musicians to collaborate on an amazing track by Ella Fitzgerald, called ‘When I Get Low I Get High’.
We are filming on December 2nd at the Proud Ballroom formerly the Hanbury ballroom, a venue which has finally fulfilled its potential as performance venue. The music video will be very much a performance based one, centred around the collaborating groups but also focusing on the 20 or so lindy hoppers and jive dancers taking part, not to mention the 80 or so extras on top of that.
Production wise, we’ve already secured all equipment, venue is paid for, make up, hair, costume and art dept is all sorted as well, so things are progressing well. We are shooting on motion picture cameras (Sony F3 and FS700) and we’ll be employing industry standard grip equipment to allow us a truly cinematic feel (think track and dollies and cranes).What do we need from you? With the venue secured and equipment already sourced, most of the big overheads are covered, but with over 100 extras and crew not to mention the band shooting for 12 hours, we are worried about people running on empty. Because of all the hard work put in and no money being exchanged between anyone we want everyone to be well fed and at the very least cover their expenses as we feel its the least we can do. We dont expect to feed everyone breakfast, lunch and dinner, but a hot meal and a beer at the end of the day will go a long way!
The Speakeasies Swing Band from Greece just came out with a fabulous new music. Not only is there lindy hop, but there are zombies! Take a look!
Oh yeah, and Kevin and I are in it as well. 😀
I wasn’t really sure what filming a music video would be like, which meant I was able to walk in with no expectations of “normal”. I think I romanticized what the process was going to be like – and perhaps like most things, the end product is fabulous – but the creating process is time and energy intensive. Regardless of the time commitment, I had a blast. Here are some picture Kevin and I took during the three day we spent on the Speakeasies “Black Swamp” music video.
Kevin and I were supposed to leave Rome at 9am which meant we caught our shuttle around 6:30am. We arrive exhausted to the airport, only to find out our flight had been rescheduled for 9PM. Fucking excellent. The only thing we could think to do was head to the Hilton down the street and see how much money it was going to cost us to nap. Much to our good fortune, I am apparently a Gold Member of the Hilton Honors which allowed us to stay on the executive floor, have free internet for one computer, and access to food in the lounge. So not all bad. We nap most of the day, check out at 6pm, fly to Greece, and arrive at Alex’s house around 2am (instead of 2pm). Luckily (insert sarcasm here), we’ll get to sleep for 4 hours before the video shoot. Yeah! Long of the short of it is: we are exhausted.
It’s still dark out when we leave the house around 6am to drive up into the woods. Even though we are fully clothed, we are still cold. Luckily we’re excited to see what the set is going to look like and that makes everything better. Within moments of our arrival, I have a plastic bag placed around my neck and my makeup is being done by a professional. As the sun rises, my inner zombie awakens (see photos). Kevin snaps pictures of the morning sun warming the sky aaaaaand Scary Jo.
Kevin is first up to film. He wanders around at various tempos, takes a knee by the grave, and does more walking. When I’m ready, I sit on a rock in a cape-thing and hold out my hand. You can see in one of the pictures there are lots of people sitting around me making sure my hand “emotes properly” and to check my hair and makeup. 🙂 Finally, we film the ending where I pull back my hood to reveal Scary Jo!
That’s a wrap (at least for Kevin and me)! It’s about 10:30am and we’re done for the day. Alex takes us to eat crepes and we talk about what direction we’d like to go with the dancing and the who/what/where of choreography.
Kevin and I head to the Lindy Hop Greece dance studio to put together choreography for the slow section. After about two hours, we have something we’re happy with. We then move to the group choreography section for the zombies. We thought it would be fun to do a Michael Jackson tribute and to keep it swingin’, so we threw something together, showed it to Alex and Christina, and they liked it! In total, I think we spent about 3.5 hours on choreo.
After rehearsal, I needed to go shopping and find something to wear for the fast section. I didn’t really have anything I thought would read well on video, so I headed to Zara to try my luck. I found a white polkadot shirt with a peter pan collar and a black skirt with a nice amount of flair 😀 Perfect.
Before I went to bed that night, I put my hair in pin curls in hopes that my hair would have some much needed body to it (see photo).
Filming Day! We arrive at Block 33 around 10am and immediately start on hair and makeup. Even though the place was cold, I was charmed by the exposed brick, abandoned-factory sort of look. Kevin helped with set up as a transformed from “blah” to “yeah” (see pictures) and then we were first up to film. While all the dancers and crew looked on, we did 7 takes on the slow. We never hit it perfectly in any one of the takes, but we were close. Then we filmed closeups of our faces as we walked away from each other. At this point, we were hoping that all of the Zombie Dancers were going to be in full makeup, but mostly people had watched Kevin and me slow dance. Hahah…..that’s amusing to me.
As more zombies are created, I help run through group choreography with the “humans.” People continued rotating in and out until most knew how to “dance-support” Kevin and me during the flash back sequence. I change and redo my hair, and then did what I could to keep warm. At this point, it’s probably close to 2pm.
One of the fun/difficult things about shooting was the fog machine. Sometimes there was too much and sometimes the fog would dissipate too quickly. Regardless, it was awesome to work with and I think I’d love to have one for the house :p Something else that was difficult was keeping warm and keeping the energy up. The entire experience was exciting, but filming days are long days. What also elongated the day was that Kevin and I don’t speak Greek, so almost everything needed to be translated. We finally wrap up around 10pm that evening.
Coolest part: We talked to the director and crew and explained to them the importance of syncing the dancing to the music and they were totally receptive to it! Now, you might say “Well, yes, of course. Why wouldn’t you do that?” but if you look at other videos with dancing in them, you can find examples where the dancing is in rhythm, but not on beat. Seriously, it happens. So, that being said, it was freaking fantastic that we were able to tell the crew what takes we liked best, had opportunities to look at our lines and make some adjustments, and that they were receptive to our feedback. Woohoo!!
All in all, it was a fabulous experience and I would love to do another one. The days are long, and I can only imagine what it must have been like for the band and crew who had considerably more work than I did. So to all the members of the Speakeasies Swing Band, the crew, and especially to Lindy Hop Greece, thank you from the bottom of our heart for having us.
A tumblr called‘Pinuprdj’ has curated some very funny images of Robert Downey Jr, as pinup girls. The creator explains, “Vintage pinups are the pinnacle of art. Robert Downey Jr. is the pinnacle of sexy. It’s not rocket science”.
“Men-ups!” is a humorous project by photographer Rion Sabean featuring men doing pin-up-style poses. I love the poses the men have taken. In fact, I think I’ve done some of the same poses when I’ve done pinup shoots before! Thanks for the spoof on gender rolls!
Hollerado is a Juno Award nominated Canadian indie rock band formed in 2007 and originally from Manotick, Ontario, Canada and recently released their latest music video “Got to Lose”. They needed a bevy of ladies to help out, and who better to ask than the Atomic Cherry Bombs!! Nikki Marvin and Evonne Tan-Marvine worked their booties off to get the choreography done (and redone, and done again, and done again, and for a final time) in time for the shoot, working up until the moment of the shoot. I think they did a brilliant job with the choreography and I can only imaging how stressful it must have been to get costumes and change choreography for 18 girls up until the last minutes. What superstars!!
Here are some of the behind the scene photos that Stephanie Albo of Intuitive Image Photography and Evonne took during the excitement!
Congratulations ladies for a job exceptionally well done. I can only image what it must have been like behind the scenes. From the video and the pictures, everything looks fabulous, fun, easy, and a blast. I’m sure it was that, and more. 😀
Here is our new video. Just like Americanarama, it was directed by the president of awesomeness, Greg Jardin. Once again it was done in one take, with one camera. We love doing one take videos with Greg because they make us feel like we are in elementary school gym class. This shoot was basically a giant obstacle course that we had to try and figure out before our two days of shooting time expired. The cameraman also had a really hard job because he had to memorize the choreography for everyone so that he could follow it all.
The dancers are from an awesome troupe called the Atomic Cherry Bombs. They worked for weeks on this choreography and refused any payment besides flowers and cupcakes. Also, one of the dancers holds the world record for the largest collection of Bruce Lee paraphernalia.
We shot the video in the studio that Charlie Chaplin built almost 100 years ago. Later Jim Henson took over and used it to throw awesome muppet parties. This explains how our drummer Jake is so effortlessly channelling the ghost of Animal. I also found it funny that the two days of the year that it rains in Los Angeles happened to be the same two days that we shot a video where the only props were 53 umbrellas. Maybe it was Charlie Chaplin’s way of wishing us good luck.