Documentaries consist of a very small slice of total consumer entertainment. After a comment was made on the subject, Bill Hader joked about how he, Fred Armisen and Seth Meyers approached IFC, “You know those movies not a lot of people watch? We want to celebrate those.”
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The 2014 Nelsonville Music Festival begins on May 29. Produced by Stuart’s Opera House, the festival will once again feature an impressive slate of performances in “the beautiful, rolling hills of Southeast Ohio”. In anticipation of the tenth annual festival, PopMatters interviews the organizers about its history and growing reputation.
Tim Peacock, executive director of Stuart’s Opera House, describes the event as “an unlikely festival in an unlikely town” and says, “Nelsonville, with its… hills and forests… is in the most beautiful part of Ohio.” Marketing director Brian Koscho speaks in similar terms of the festival as “a special event in a great place”. He says, “I’m biased, but it is. Southeast Ohio is my home and it is a beautiful part of our world. It isn’t the most obvious place for a festival to be, but once people make it down for the first time we hope they see why it is here.”
In the midst of an extensive New York winter, Tinariwen stopped through New York to promote their new album Emmaar (“heat of the breeze”). The falling snow isn’t something the Malian band is used to out in the Saharan desert. But unfortunately, their country is in disarray given that attempts to create a separate or autonomous area in Azawad as a home for the Tuareg people have resulted in an extremist Islamic presence escalating conflicts with the Malian government. Tinariwen was thus persuaded to record Emmaar in a different desert, California’s Joshua Tree.
It’s not an overstatement to say that Anberlin’s sixth proper full length, Vital, was one of the most criminally underrated rock records of 2012. The Florida rockers have developed a penchant for crafting alt-rock records that challenge the listener while maintaining a distinct accessibility, and Vital may very well be the band’s defining work. Chock-full of urgent guitar riffs and burning calls for hope amidst desperation, the album may be the band’s heaviest to date – both in terms of sound and content.
What is even more impressive than Anberlin’s ability to capture fiery emotion on tape is the band’s knack for stripping it all down in their acoustic live performances. Last spring, the band took their first official acoustic trek, showcasing a different side of a band already known for its diverse talents. Now, a mere year later, the band is treating any cities that missed out on last year’s jaunt with a new slew of acoustic dates.
Tom Jackson is a passionate teacher of performance, working with artists individually or in a classroom setting to electrify musical acts on stage. He tours like he’s still in a band himself, stopping in towns to offer words of wisdom and bring out the brazen confidence that lurks within any musician. In New York City for the recent New Music Seminar, Jackson’s session “Live Performance Workshop: Making the Band”, kept a rapt audience chuckling with witticisms such as “Guys like guitar riffs, girls like relationships,” and how bands need to ask, “Are you dating your audience or are you married to them?” Jackson’s website onstagesuccess.com details his philosophy, along with offers for his own merch of books and DVD sets. But Jackson is also proud of a profitable sideline, connecting artists with non-profit organizations through his Artist Tour Support program. Touring is expensive and Jackson’s program provides another revenue outlet for the band, while fundraising for organizations that he has developed a relationship with through meetings and research. There is a simple form on his website for artists to inquire about future opportunities and an expanded roster of charities that benefit from this collaboration, including Childfund International and Heifer International. Over a lunch break during the seminar, he chatted with PopMatters about the Tour Support Program.