Sunday, September 21, 2014

Meet the FILM MAKERS!! (and their icons and original visual artist)

Why the Kickstarter? The narrative film concept was the biggest inspiration for crowdfunding the project.

While traveling and touring I was meeting fantastic artists from all over (Europe) who I was excited to work with in some fashion. And, of course in my brain I had the desire to introduce my new artist friends to my creative posse in Boston.  Extending the community beyond the local geo.

I am thrilled, honored and psyched to introduce everyone to the FILM and ART people of BUYW. They all ROCK. I can't wait to see what they come up with -starting with NYC and Paris!


Nicole Witte Solomon (Brooklyn, NY): I met Nicole in August, in Louisville, KY when Michael J. Epstein and me were in town for the  Fright Night Film Fest (TEN  was screening there).  Nicole was there to screen her film, Small Talk-- we started talking about movies, projects-- and boom! I knew I wanted to have her be part of BUYW. She is a SUPER talented writer and filmmaker and she is taking on "Joan of Arc".  Nicole's website:
Writer and film maker. She attended Eugene Lang College (part of the New School University) where she received a BA in cultural studies. Upon graduating, she pursued writing and social justice activism while working as an office manager, childcare provider, and phone sex operator. She was accepted into the Downtown Community Television internship program, and went on to be admitted into the graduate film program at The City College of New York (CUNY) where she earned her MFA in writing and directing narrative fiction. She has written and directed many short documentary and fiction films, often working in conjunction with social justice organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace, Ma’yan, and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. Her music video for acclaimed Brooklyn band The Shondes’ “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” was an official selection of the 2010 Mix Milan Film Festival. Small Talk, her short horror comedy about the phone sex industry is currently screening at film festivals across the world. Her written work has appeared in AfterEllen, PopMatters, HEEB, $pread Magazine, Tits and Sass and New York Magazine, among many other websites and publications.  

Celine Fernbach (Paris, France):  I met Celine (Boulette) at a very clandestine, early cata-jam. I can't say too much about where we met or how we got there BECAUSE THEN IT WOULDN'T BE A SECRET ;) .  One thing for sure, Celine takes images and makes them beautiful films or photos. I was lucky to work with her on a few things in Paris including our secret concert in June which you can see here SECRET CATACOMBS CONCERT. Celine takes on 'Kali'. One of my  favorite new tunes.  Celine's website:

A Paris-based photographer/filmmaker. After having shot portraits in the countryside, she moved to Paris to attend Gobelins school, which she gratuated in 2010. She's been working with musicians for eight years, but she's more known for her portraits and documentary photo stories, shot in artists' squats, in Paris catacombs, or in Christiania. She started working in video by accident, while pushing the wrong button on her camera. For two years, she's shot documentary short films and music videos, and is working on digital mixed media stories.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Axemunkestra- introducing the vocalists/singers !!!

As most of you know, Axemunkee is an instrumental, psych, surf, gypsy guitar rock band. The guitar is the voice. The songs all tell a story and are inspired by some real life events but told through music,  a feeling, a vibe.

With BUYW, I wanted a mix of instrumental and adding some of my favorite vocalists to tell the stories of these iconic women.

There is some cross over (i.e. Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola are both producers and filmmakers for the film anthology of BUYW) as well as co-writers on 3 tunes.

Say hello to some of the voices that you'll hear at the live show and on the CD. I am fortunate to have each one of them participate in BUYW.


Mali Sastri: I don't remember where I was first introduced to Mali- but I do remember that when I heard her VOICE - I said: YES. I don't know what it is ..but it's THAT.  I have always wanted to work with Mali. I had this idea for an opening for BUYW  and knew that she would be the perfect collaborator to bring it to life. The Big Bang.  Please check out her gorgeous band Jaggery

Michael J. Epstein: Can I tell you how I 'suggested strongly' that Michael open the first BUYW with his take on 'Eve'? And he was terrified?  HA! Well, he didn't have a choice, really. To say that I immensely enjoy working with Michael would be a huge UNDERSTATEMENT.  I think Mike has super human powers. Or he might be an alien. It's the only way I can wrap my mortal head around everything he does, from music, to movies, to blogs, to ...??? Read Michael's take on 'Eve' and the first BUYW:

Christine Zufferey: (Paris, France) - I think Christine needs more than a paragraph to describe our long time working relationship, friendship and what she means to me. I credit her with making me take my 'trophy guitar' - my Brian May - out from under my bed to play it in public. But, brevity is best for the blog;). Christine has a voice that has always resonated with me, from the first time I heard her (with her band 'January'). It's more than amazing. Operatic, crazy (when she wants to) and gorgeous  every time. She's a friend, creative collaborator, bandmate and person who has introduced me to several unique 'never did this before' experiences. Oh, sure, we've had our 'Mick and Keith' moments - that goes along with any looooong term creative relationship. I dragged her into this because I wanted to bring her back to Boston for something larger than life. I wanted to write some new music with her and this was how we did it. We wrote 'Kali' , 'Tara', 'Isis' and 'Ishtar' together. I asked her to write lyrics for 'Virgin Mary' /Triste, 'Joan of Arc', 'Queen of Sheba'. She did and the end result is beautiful.  She is also responsible for bringing me into the catacombs of Paris ;)   Coming off of a 3 month european tour with her (April, May, June) - she released a gorgeous CD (art and music) in June. Please go to Mary Zoo and listen to her!!

Johnny Blazes: I didn't know who Johnny was until Axemunkee had a show at Precinct with  Johnny Blazes and the Pretty Boys.  Before I heard Johnny sing that night, I found out we were about to become fellow librarians in The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library. Bam! Johnny took the stage by storm. Who doesn't need a little glitter in their life? YES, everyone (except MJE) !! The consummate entertainer, performer and gritty soul vocalist. Always surprising (can I say watching Johnny on the FB gender of the day is something I look forward to?)  Johnny delivers the story of 'Delilah' for BUYW!

Sophia Cacciola: I play with Sophia in a number of bands (MJE Memorial Library) and my  secret favorite,  Darling Pet Munkee. (with MJE too). But I first heard her playing in her BAND. One of my absolute FAVORITES (across all genres of music). Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling . Sophia has IT. Whatever IT IS.  Raw, primal, coming from that place that you can't teach someone how to do, they either have it or not. I am lucky because I get to collaborate on cool STUFF with her. We worked on 'Sirens' and "Mary Magdalene' for BUYW.  Read her blog post on her experience with BUYW part 1:

Axemunkestra- strings and flute and...duduk??

As we slog through the final 7 days of the kickstarter - I want to make sure everyone is introduced.

Let me talk about the GIANT aural expansion of Axemunkee into Axemunk-ESTRA  (like an orchestra - but MUNKEE style ;)

In addition to drums, I love STRINGS. I started out my musical career on violin (I adore the violin) - so it's always been a dream to incorporate real strings into one of my musical projects. BUYW provided the opportunity.

Without further explanation here is the STELLAR string and flute section. Needless to say, it's an honor to have these kickass women taking the arrangements to a new level with their playing. Here's where we start to introduce the 'international' group that BUYW is ...


Rachel Barringer: I am so psyched to have Rachel part of this. Although I have been hearing about her for a number of years through another BUYW contributer (Carolyn Kepes) , it was a chance meeting at Diesel Cafe - (through Anthony 'Ants' Conley) that I actually met her. From her own website "a cello playing, yoga teaching, craft creating lady who happens to reside in the Boston area".
Check out  her website here- and listen to the awesome bands she is involved with including The Wrong Shapes (with her husband Bo Barringer).Go here: Lady Ray Cello

Emilie Cavallo: (Geneva, Switzerland) I met Emilie while on tour this past June in Switzerland with Mary Zoo and DAMN, to say she rocks is an UNDERSTATEMENT. A superb professional, able to handle songs thrown at her at the last minute during a show, her willingness to say "OUI" when invited to take her cherished cello into the catacombs of Paris for a once -in a lifetime- show--well, it was only natural to invite her to trek to Boston/'murica for BUYW.  Here is a secret peak at Emilie playing at the clandestine catacombs concert :

Susannah Plaster: Susannah is my bandmate in The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library  and my movie mate in TEN.  I have stolen her on more than one occasion to rock some tunes with Axemunkee  . An absolute professional, kickin viola player and awesome person- she has yet to steal 'Catherine Capozzi's Box of Light' but I think I might let her use it this year for some shows. Love her playing and psyched she is part of the -munk-ESTRA.

Rachel Leah Blumenthal: FLUTE!! How lucky am I to have poached not one, but TWO amazing people and musicians from the Library. Rachel is another co-librarian in the MJEML, a movie mate in TEN and the entire Los Locos Film Series AND I can bother her about HOT foodie places and she shares info 'cause she's the editor at EATER BOSTON.  Read more about Rachel here:

Christine Zufferey (PARIS, FRANCE):  Christine has to be in another section because she's LEARNING duduk just in time for the show. Also, she is my co-collaborator on too many things but makin' sure she has a listing here ;)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bring Us Your Women: Introducing-- Axemunkestra- drums and bass-laying down the ROCK

When I decided to do BUYW, I knew I wanted Axemunkee to be the core of the orchestra. 

I'm fortunate to have this group of killer musicians (and super people) as part of Axemunkee. 

So, a little secret: I used to be a drummer. All through grade school/high school I played drums (marching band, orchestra). I LOVE DRUMS. Especially big ones, loud, snappy, tribal, rock, groovy...drums. That's why Axemunkee has two drummers- I like the juxtaposition of different grooves working together.

Let me introduce you to the core group that holds the big beat bottom down, anchors the band and provides the baseline to jump from.

Yuri Zbitnoff (acoustic drums).  Yuri gives the best DRUM face in Boston. When you see him play you'll know why.  Love playing with Yuri, 'cause his enthusiasm for music is undeniable. 
About: Yuri Zbitnoff is a drummer/composer/arranger who has been simultaneously providing cutting edge musical entertainment and fomenting revolution of the mind for over 20 years.  In addition to his role in the dual drummer combustion chamber that propels Axemunkee, Yuri can be heard playing in Atompunk Go-Go Jazz pioneers Mission Creep as well as brooding art rockers Black Fortress of Opium. 
Yuri is perhaps best known for his nearly 10 year stint with the roiling cauldron of apocalyptic cosmic jazz thunder known as Enuma Elish. 

Tamora Gooding (electronic drums): truth -Tam and I have played together in MANY projects. She's a solid steady groove maker that never lets you down. Love playing with Tam and her and Yuri make an awesome team!
About: From the moment Tamora Gooding sat behind her cousin’s drum set at the tender age of eleven it was love at first beat. Since then she has played with numerous bands in 
varying situations. Starting with several cover bands in her native Connecticut, to the 
eclectic Boston rock-electronica outfit, All the Queen’s Men, to the highly revered 
Edith Piaf-tribute combo, Ziaf (featured in the French film biography of Ziaf’s long-
time collaborator, Marguerite Monnot, In the Shadow of Piaf), Tamora has traveled the 
world following her passion for music. Her talents have recently taken her beyond the 
realm of rock into the world of theater. She played the part of Schlatko in Hi Jinx’s 
2011 production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and kept audiences on their feet in the 
Gold Dust Orphan’s unique 2011 – 2012 production of The Rocky Horror Show. After a 
five-year spell since her theatrical debut in Samurai 7.0, she has reunited with Beau Jest 
for the production of Ten Blocks On The Camino Real. Tamora has been involved in 
writing/programming drum tracks for the movie TEN, a post-exploitation psychological 
thriller by Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola. These days she continues to keep 
herself blissfully busy playing in the instrumental rock band, Axemunkee, laying down 
hip-hop grooves with EJ Labb and keeping down the beat with one of Boston’s premiere 
rock acts, Gene Dante and the Future Starlets. She is truly a humble gem in the Boston 
music scene. 

Tamora is endorsed by Grover Pro Percussion.
Besides hearing Tam play with Axemunkee you can listen to her play with Gene Dante here!

Jason Adams- keeping it in the family. I've known Jason since well, a long time. He's Tam's nephew. He is the newest addition to Axemunkee a killer bassist and all around awesome person. 
About: Jason Adams was born and raised in a small town in Connecticut before being baptized in the blues in Colorado. Out West he cut his teeth in bands ranging from Gospel to Blues to Funk to Rock, and it was there that he fell under the spell of performing. Credits include playing with Sam Bass (SaBo DeTo), the Lite Blues, Syless Hope, and A Certain Urgency among others.
Leaving Colorado, Jason moved back East to study at the Berklee College of Music where he earned a degree in Music Synthesis. Having studied with the legendary Berklee Faculty, Jason sought new freedoms in music, which led to performing on bass, laptop and synthesizers with the Berklee Virtual Orchestra, as well as other solo bass and laptop performances in and around the greater Boston area.Locally, Jason has performed and recorded with the Dan Lawson Band, Dick Lourie, The Juke Joint 5, Adam Block, Sweet Baby J’ai, Joshua Rona, Soffie Viemosse and many others. He is currently proud to hold down the bottom in the Dan Lawson Band.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Bring Us Your Women- the FILMS and WHY AM I DOING THIS??

BUYW is something I have wanted to do for years.  Disclaimer: I am not a religious scholar or academic- as my true friends will attest. Inspired partly from my own family background (raised Catholic brought up by Italian Americans -with immigrant grandparents, great great parents, aunts, uncles, etc. ) experiencing the rituals for every occasion /holiday/life event.  From living part time in Paris for the past 12 + years and touring Europe, visiting cities with magnificent churches, mosques, temples and structures dedicated to faiths of all stripes- and being blown away by what I was encountering (the shock and awe factor of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome for example).

Lots of questions - what's the inspiration behind the structures? Faith? Power?

The common thread - they're all magnificent, bigger than life spiritual buildings that inspire something beyond our world.

Fast forward to news stories highlighting women being tossed under the bus (political pawns for a number of issues) and BAM! I  had the idea for BUYW.

Let's go back and revisit stories of historic, iconic, mythical female figures and bring their undertold or wrongly told tales to life via music, film, art, dance. The idea was to focus on three positive attributes of these iconic figures and tell the stories in a way that highlights the commonalities between them. Tolerance across the board for all faiths.

Here is a link to my 'artist'  statement at the test run for Bring Us Your Women in Nov. 2013.

The plan was to do this through music, original visual art and dance.  It was after a meeting with my co-collaborators in creative crime - Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein that the idea for a narrative film came up to drive the stories home for people.

That's how and when all these amazing film and movie people got involved with Bring Us Your Women. I am thrilled and honored to have all of these SUPER and TALENTED film people part of this adventure.

Here's a short list of who's involved and who they're taking on:

Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein- Sirens
Dan St. Germain - The Singularity- Protektor
Kristi Lyn (Zombie Romance) -Eve
Mark Phinney (Boston/LA writer, filmmaker) - Mary Magdalene
Celine Fernbach (Paris based filmmaker)- Kali
Nicole Solomon - (NYC based filmmaker)- Joan of Arc
Marlise Steeman (Amsterdam photographer/filmmaker ) -Queen of Sheba
Kelly Davidson (Boston photographer/filmmaker) -Delilah
Norah Solorzano (Brooklyn based filmmaker) - Isis and Harem 66

More names and info on each of these AMAZINGLY talented movie makers follow.

Thanks for reading and please, if you're reading this far and have not yet done so please contribute to the BUYW kickstarter now (less than 2 weeks left to go)!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bring Us Your Women -the Music

Ready, set, go!! The Bring Us Your Women adventure has started. Over the next 25 days (i.e. over the course of the  kickstarter for BUYW)  I'm going to introduce each of the icons, filmmakers, artists, musicians, poets and dancers participating in this immense project.

I'm coming from the music world, I'll start there.

I composed and collaborated on eleven new original works for BUYW.  Axemunkee is the 'axis' of the orchestra, called Axemunkestra. Led by me on guitar, we've got Yuri Zbitnoff (bombastic acoustic drums), Tamora Gooding (tasty e-drums), Jason Adams (big bottom bass) laying down the foundation while adding cello with Rachel Barringer and Emilie Cavallo, viola via Susannah Plaster and flute courtesy of Rachel Leah Blumenthal.

I knew I wanted to work with a number of different vocalists/singers/writers to help bring the stories to life. I'm so lucky and grateful to have these amazing people involved. Longtime bandmate/collaborator Christine Zufferey (based in Paris,France) whom I've worked with in several bands (old All the Queen's Men and Ziaf, current Mary Zoo ).  Christine and me wrote four tunes together in Paris while I was on tour (Kali, Isis, Arya Tara and Ishtar). I then asked her to contribute lyrics and do vocals for Joan of Arc, Triste/Virgin Mary, Queen of Sheba -where I already had the music written. A big shout out to Carolyn Kepes  who contributed stories and lyrics to a few of the tunes.

The dynamic creative duo Sophia Cacciola  and Michael J. Epstein (my bandmates in Darling Pet Munkee and The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library ) are both producers for the film anthology of BUYW and singers for 3 tunes!

'Eve' was taken on by Michael.  I strongly suggested that he open the first trail run of BUYW in Nov. of 2013. After much persuasion, he took it on and presented 'Eve' in a light that was unique to him as an artist. Pertinent, provocative and strong. Here's a link to his blog post on how he approached the subject matter and the tune

Sophia took on the myth of the Sirens and the enigmatic Mary Magdalene. You can read all about her take on this right here

I couldn't have asked for a more stylish, energetic genre-gender bending performer to deliver 'Delilah' than Johnny Blazes.

Finally, this new production will have a composition that I've collaborated on with Mali Sastri titled 'The Big Bang'. I've been a big fan of Mali's for a while so it's exciting to work with her on this smashing piece.

As you can see from the description above - it's a treasure trove of talent. I hope the project is funded so you can all hear the wonderful noise we are about to make.