Looking Through a Glass Onion – The Extended Edition

 

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Back by popular demand!

 

Scott Freiman combines his love of the Beatles with experience as a composer, producer and engineer to deliver unique lectures about the Beatles. He moves past the personalities of the four Beatles to uncover the reasons why their music continues to be loved by millions.

Scott’s presentations tell the story of the Beatles music using rare audio and video of the Beatles in action and populated with anecdotes about the recording sessions. Drawing on numerous first-hand sources, Scott walks his audiences through detailed analyses of the songwriting and production techniques used by the Beatles in recording their landmark albums and singles.

In Looking Through A Glass Onion: Deconstructing The Beatles’ White Album, Scott traces the creation of some of the Beatles’ most memorable songs, such as “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Revolution” and “Hey Jude”, the Beatles’ most successful single, from demo to final version.

Scott’s lectures have entertained audiences of musicians and non-musicians alike, from pre-teenagers to octogenarians. Once you’ve attended one of Scott’s presentations, you’ll never listen to the Beatles or any other music the same way again!

“WELL PRESENTED, PERFECT BLEND OF FUN AND ENLIGHTENMENT. YOU HAVE THE PERFECT BACKGROUND (FAN, EDUCATOR, MUSICIAN, WRITER). IT’S A FINE LINE YOU WALK, PRESENTED WITH AN AUDIENCE MADE UP OF CASUAL FANS WHO SIMPLY KNOW THEY LOVE THE MUSIC, AND THE OBSESSIVE BEATLES FANS. WHAT EMERGED IS A TRULY FINE PRESENTATION. EXPERTLY DONE!” - Dana Calderwood, Director/Producer (Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Rachel Ray)

Running Time
120 min
 

 

Broadway Idiot

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ABOUT

The tension could be felt in the rehearsal room when Green Day showed up to see if they liked what was going on ...Billie Joe Armstrong never – ever – thought he would end up doing a musical on Broadway.  Broadway is a long way from punk rock mosh pits and singing to thousands of Green Day fans in stadiums around the world.

So when Tony Award winning director, Michael Mayer, suggested turning Green Day’s mega-hit album, American Idiot, into a staged musical, something strange and wonderful was bound to happen.  No one, however, could have guessed what, and so following Billie Joe Armstrong into this strange world of theater became the subject of our film:  Broadway Idiot.

But from the start, filming the story was never going to be easy.

Even getting cameras inside a Broadway rehearsal room is hard.   Actors unions have long limited access to them, and for good reason, the actor’s rehearsals are the time to “find their performance” or in other words, it’s a time for them to take some risks experimenting with different ways to sing or act a scene with the hopes of discovering the best way to do it.  All of this experimentation is a necessary part of the process of theater to develop performances that are stage worthy, but the problem is that experimenting like that means making mistakes and potentially looking or sounding bad.   Few artists, of any medium, are eager to put their “sketches” out for public display, so if you bring cameras into the rehearsal room – and record some of those “mistakes” or early drafts –  are you violating that sacred space?   Or worse, getting in the way of the process itself.

Tony Award winning Broadway director Michael Mayer (right) stages 'Holiday'

While I respect what happens in the rehearsal room, I know that for a documentary, you need to show how things develop – not just present the finished performance.  After all, that is what you see on the stage.   And while the actors are developing their performance, the creative team is shaping the story.  So to really see how a Broadway-bound show comes together, you need to be in that “room.”

Thankfully, the cast and creative team were very generous and allowed cameras into their process, giving Broadway Idiot a unique window into the art of theater.

That said when filming began, we still didn’t know where it would go.   I wondered how these two very different worlds of punk rock and traditional Broadway would work together.   Would there be creative clashes?  How would rock stars and stage stars deal with different ideas and creative conflicts?

What surprised me, and I think everyone involved with the process, is how smoothly the collaboration went.  Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tre Cool of Green Day were very supportive of the original idea – but kept a respectful distance at first.  They were also touring during the early stage and could only check in from time to time, but their creative generosity impressed me even as it frustrated me as a filmmaker in search of a story.

billie joe armstrong, doug hamilton

Fortunately, if one thematic door closes, often another opens, and indeed another more interesting story began to take shape – one that was far more personal:  Billie Joe Armstrong’s own surprising reaction to the world of theater.     Early on Billie Joe wanted to step back and let the theater team do something different with “his baby,” the album of American Idiot.  What he never expected was how much he would fall in love with the world of theater and the community of actors in the show.

As the rehearsal process went on, Billie Joe started hanging out with the company and found a community of friends and fellow artists that reminded him of the early days of Green Day.

I never imagined at the start of this process, that one of the world’s biggest rock stars would let us tell such a personal story, but Billie Joe is ultimately an artist with a cavalier punk rock attitude.   He never put up walls with me and certainly not with anyone in the company.   He was shockingly open and helpful.   So too was his collaborator Michael Mayer – and much to my delight, I learned that Michael had a secret plan:  he wanted to convince Billie Joe to perform in the show itself.

Now Billie Joe had never acted and certainly never thought about performing in a Broadway musical.  Fortunately our cameras were once again in that rehearsal room and along for the ride.

Doug Hamilton, Director

 

20 Feet from Stardom

Filmmaker Morgan Neville pays homage to some of the greatest vocalists you’ve never heard of in this documentary. While the lead singers in rock, pop, and R&B are the ones who get the glory, knowledgeable music fans will tell you the backing vocalists often add the touches that make a performance truly memorable, and though many backup singers have the respect of their peers in the music business, they’re all but unknown to the average listener. Twenty Feet From Stardom pays homage to some of these unsung heroes, including Darlene Love (the uncredited lead voice on some of Phil Spector‘s most memorable productions of the 1960s), Merry Clayton (who contributed a striking vocal cameo on the Rolling Stones “Gimme Shelter”, Lisa Fischer (who has appeared on albums by Sting, Tina Turner, and Aretha Franklin, as well as touring with the Rolling Stones, and the Waters Family (they sang with Michael Jackson on the album {^Thriller} and lent their voices to the films The Lion King and Avatar). The film also includes interviews with such superstars as Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, and Mick Jagger on the role backing vocalists play in music and the music business, while a number of veteran singers share their stories of the ups and downs of their careers. Twenty Feet From Stardom received its world premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

 

 

Ain’t in it for my health

Director Jacob Hatley’s intimate documentary finds Mr. Helm at home in Woodstock, NY, in the midst of creating his first studio album in 25 years. Shot during the course of two-plus years, this highly anticipated film focuses in on the four-time Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member after his 2007 comeback album, Dirt Farmer, brought him back to the spotlight.

Quartet

Beecham House is abuzz. The rumor circling the halls is that the home for retired musicians is soon to play host to a new resident. Word is, it’s a star. For Reginald Paget (Tom Courtenay), Wilfred Bond (Billy Connolly) and Cecily Robson (Pauline Collins) this sort of talk is par for the course at the gossipy home. But they’re in for a special shock when the new arrival turns out to be none other than their former singing partner, Jean Horton (Maggie Smith). Her subsequent career as a star soloist, and the ego that accompanied it, split up their long friendship and ended her marriage to Reggie, who takes the news of her arrival particularly hard. Can the passage of time heal old wounds? And will the famous quartet be able to patch up their differences in time for Beecham House’s gala concert?