The Drifters? Adrift? Drifting Things? Get My Drift?

Today we watched a rough cut of the film we worked on last summer. Apparently it doesn't have a name anymore. It used to be called Drift. But since many other things have been called that in the past, Matt and Joe decided to change the name. That's good. I thought of a couple of alternates, like, maybe, Mike Johnson and the Aimless Guy, or A Film Shot Around Scenes Featuring Mike Johnson, or how about The Mike Johnson Story (With Some Incidental Appearances By Joe Ballman And A Couple Of Other People), but they were all shot down. Anyway, I use the term rough cut loosely, because aside from technical issues, like unfinished audio, the film is excellent. I was impressed with the amount of care that went into the cutting of the film. Our friend Matt did it all himself, with the aid of this feedback session, and, I understand, an earlier one. For one, his shots really look good. I really liked the moments in the movie when things stood still. It opens with Joe just lying on the floor, which is great. Then he just looks out the window. Simple moments like that really made it nice. It's a sweet film. It feels much more mature than a first feature. The acting on the part of Lisa, who plays Kiera, is really fine. The whole cast is good. Joe is great to watch. I look a bit rough in some spots, but of course it's always jarring to see oneself on film. I don't even want to comment about my own work in the movie. in short It's an excellent movie and I'm very proud of it. Matt is a huge talent and I hope he asks me to do future projects with him. But hopefully I'll have less screen time. I mean, please. The movie was practically about me! Joe was hardly in it. Next time maybe he'll give me a more modest part. Anyway, this isn't supposed to be some kind of ameteur film review.

The point of my post was to talk about how much I've been itching to do some acting again. I just recently got back in touch (well, one email is hardly getting back in touch) with an old friend of mine from California who did children's theater with me when we were kids. Her name is Alisha. I got the jones to get back in touch with her back in 1997, when I'd heard that she waqs still living in our home town. What strange turns our lives take. I was genuinely interested in what became of her, because she was always one of my favorite people. It's a long story. You'll just have to trust me. Anyway, she told me that she's living back in our hometown doing plays. I couldn't help but envy her. Especially since she began to relate the news of her life to me with the terms "my dreams have come true." She has kids, is doing theater work. She's got it all. She was always extremely talented. I remember when we were kids I went to see her sing at some competition. She had such energy. Even at, um, I think we must have been close to 13 or 14. You could just tell she was going to do that forever. I look forward to having the freedom to do what I want with my time once school's done. That is, between punches of the clock, so to speak. I'm going to do some plays, our band is going to record, I'm going to get a job I like, etc. At least that's what I tell myself. Then I got a copy of Гамлет from my Russian teacher (who, by the way, I asked out! She has a boyfriend in Pittsburg, alas) and watched that. It got me all nostalgic about doing plays. Oh, and in San Francisco I learned of my friend Valerie's various acting jobs. She's an actress in San Francisco. I mean she's really an actress. She makes a living doing acting. She's brilliant. Anyway, so I miss it. That's the point.

In musical news, I finished another set of lyrics for the IHML, and I worked on some new Parks & Recreation songs. I'm also working on a new design for the Reclinerland website. I'd like to have finished more of the music for the IHML songs, but my attention is taken up by other things at the piano. I've got to do transcriptions for my lessons, and work continues on my solo recital arrangements. That means memorizing and being able to solo over the chords in four jazz songs. So that's pretty much all I have time for on the piano. I'll continue to work on lyrics and melodies until summer probably, when I'll be free to get into the piano arrangements. I want to have the album finished by the end of the summer. Do you think I can do it? 8 more songs in six months? We'll see. I've been getting inspired to go out and do some solo shows again, too, speaking of it. This probably was brought about by my whole "what am I going to do when school's out" thing, but nonetheless, I have my first show by myself behind an acoustic guitar in May. How will it feel? Good, I suspect. I saw some friends of mine play solo acoustic at the Dunes on Friday, and I really got the itch.

Oh, one last thing. I'm excited because a friend of mine got into the Portland Biennial. Actually, three friends of mine did. But this friend concerns me particularly because her artwork involves me! She did this really cool installation about a composer she invented. The composer supposedly lived in Russia and was a woman named Viviana Spokoinovich or something like that. The exhibit consists of a glass case with varioius artifacts from the composer's life, including some letters, her writing tools and whatnot. There's even a manuscript page with one of the composer's compositions in her own hand scrawled upon it. Well, the whole thing is made up, of course, and the music was written by me. In fact, two of the songs for the IHML came from that project, most especially the song Up On The Orange Moon. The exhibit even contains this pair of headphones, and you can listen to the songs that the composer (acutally that I) wrote. When you put on the headphones, you'll hear me singing "Lu lu lu" on the guitar. You'll also hear a piano piece I wrote especially for the piece. I even copied out the manuscript page by hand on old brown paper to make it look really authentic. It was awesome. It was kind of like the IHML 3D. So I'm thrilled to be a part of a real art installation! If you're in Portland during the biennial, and you plan on going, please please please stop by and see the piece by Mariana Tres. It's good work. Also, Brad Atkins, another friend of mine has a piece that's cheeky as usual. So go to that too.

Well, it's Sunday night, so I should get going. I'm writing this from a pub. It's smoky!