Tag Archives: TIFF 2012

The Connection Between ‘Greetings From Tim Buckley’ And Thrash Metallers Anthrax

Penn Bagdley as Jeff Buckley and Frank Bello being metal

Penn Bagdley as Jeff Buckley and Frank Bello being metal

Anthrax bassist Frank Bello’s appearance at the Toronto International Film Festival is going to be a whirlwind. He’ll be flying in on Sunday morning, attending the world premiere of Greetings From Tim Buckley, his feature film debut where he plays the role of punk icon Richard Hell, and then he’s right back on the road in support of Anthrax’s latest album, Worship Music.

It’s hectic, but that’s just the way Bello likes things.

“I’m not a downtime kind of guy,” Bello tells Spinner. “I get nuts when I’m home too long.”

It’s also appropriate, given that the making of Greetings, a film about the late Jeff Buckley’s life- changing performance at a 1991 tribute show for his father Tim Buckley, was also a pretty wild and fast-paced adventure. The theatrically-trained Bello auditioned for the Richard Hell role, who also performed at that concert, on a Thursday and got the role the very next day. By the following Monday he was on set.

With no time to spare, the thrash metal pioneer set out to learn as much as possible about Hell.

“Thankfully, the internet exists,” Bello says with a laugh. “I read up on Richard Hell. I did everything I possible could.”

He also discovered that some of the film’s crew members had worked with Richard on the original concert and talked to them at length about the experience.

“I asked them about all of his personality traits, little quirks and things you wouldn’t think to ask, but I just wanted to know how he reacted to certain things, and music,” he explains. “They had a lot of great stories.”

In the midst of all of Bello’s research and filming — not to mention teaching himself to sing in French so that he could perform Tim Buckley’s “Moulin Rouge” — he had to steal away from the set to play the biggest show of Anthrax’s career: a Yankee Stadium concert with Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer as part of the Big Four tour.

Bello had a major scene to film the next morning, but the crew were willing to accommodate him. At least a little bit.

“The people from Buckley rule. They knew that I had to play Yankee Stadium, so they took pity on me. They didn’t give me a 6 a.m. call time, they gave me a 7:30 a.m. call time! That night at Yankee Stadium, though, it’s the biggest show we’ve ever done. There’s a party after and you have to go to the party, be cordial, and all of that stuff. So I’m at the Metallica party after the show and all of the bands are hanging out, everybody’s talking and all of a sudden I get a tap on my shoulder and it’s my manager telling me ‘Frank. It’s 3 a.m. You have a 7:30 set call.’ And I just looked at him with big eyes. It went that fast.”

Getting up that same morning wasn’t the best experience.

“Let’s be honest, I had a couple of beers. I wasn’t drunk, but I celebrated a little bit and then I had two hours of sleep and I went right to set.”

Bello and the Buckley crew made it all work in the end, though. There was even a cot waiting for him between takes.

Greetings From Tim Buckley isn’t the only film about tragic cult hero Jeff Buckley that’s set to come out in the next while. Another film, which features Jeff’s mom, Mary Guilbert as an executive producer, is also in the works. Unlike Greetings, which focuses on Tim Buckley’s songs, the other film, tentatively called Mystery White Boy, has exclusive rights to the use of the younger Buckley’s music and the blessing of his family.

Bello is aware of the controversy surrounding the two films, but he stands by Greetings, both as a member of the cast and as a Buckley fan.

“This is a great story,” he says. “If I wasn’t in the film, I would want to see it. I’m a Jeff Buckley fan and I want to see the journey he took and, let’s face it, this really did start him off in his career.

“I don’t know what their story is [Mystery White Boy]. I know it has a lot of his songs in it. But this is a different kind of story. It gets you to where he started his career and that’s really interesting.”

Perhaps most importantly to the musician, though, Greetings From Tim Buckley cast a Jeff Buckley who could pull off the musical side of the role in Penn Badgley. The actor, best known as Dan “Lonely Boy” Humphrey on Gossip Girl inspired some raised eyebrows and doubt when he landed the role, but Bello wants to everyone to know that Badgley is for real.

“Penn kicked ass. I was so proud of him, man,” he enthuses. “This kid can sing. So I think that people will see that he’s actually got the chops, and this is from a music guy saying this.”

This interview was originally published September 12, 2012 via AOL Spinner

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Peaches Does Herself: Wants ‘Rocky Horror’ Cult Fame for TIFF Film

Peaches Does Herself

Peaches Does Herself

Long before Toronto’s Merrill Nisker stumbled into a career as the electro art provocateur Peaches, she had every intention of becoming a theatre director, at least until reality set in.

“I quickly figured out that I didn’t want to work with actors or all of these factors I thought would give me a heart attack by the time I was 30,” she tells Spinner.

Still, when Hebbel Hau Theater in her adopted home of Berlin asked her to do a production, Peaches was thrilled to have a chance to go back to her artistic roots. Assembling over 20 songs from her four albums, the foul-mouthed and sharp-tongued singer crafted a retrospective “anti-jukebox” musical loosely based on her life called Peaches Does Herself. She also filmed the show, which ran at the Hebel in October of last year, because she wanted to document it in some way.

Ten performances’ worth of footage, 1,500 edits and just under a year later, the film version of Peaches Does Herself is making its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The movie, as described on Peaches’ official site (we’d try to paraphrase, but there’s no sense in messing with perfection) “tells the story of a young woman who, inspired by a 65-year-old stripper, begins to make sexually forthright music. Her popularity grows and she becomes what her fans expect her to be: transsexual. She falls in love with a beautiful she-male, but gets her heart broken and then ventures on a path of self-discovery.”

The elaborate dix and tit-shaking spectacle is written and directed by Peaches, who also stars in the film as herself. Her supporting cast includes Naked Cowgirl Sandy Kane as the 65-year- old stripper in question, transgendered porn star Danni Daniels, electronica artist Mignon and a dance troupe known as The Fatherfucker Dancers. The flick’s set designs and props feature, among other things, various labia representations, laser harps and a gruesome exploded phallus that’s becoming notorious for its ability to make audiences squirm.

“It should be uncomfortable, like ‘Is this a joke?’ This has actually turned really gory, but it’s actually really weird-looking,” says Peaches. “It was actually done by Babes in Horny, a company that makes dildos and they made me two exploding penises.”

There’s also a pair of exploding breasts in the film, but Peaches is less impressed with how they come across.

“I must say the dick was much better than the boobs.”

A replacement pair of blasting boobs was eventually crafted for the stage, but logistics prevented them from getting their big movie break.

“One unfortunate thing is that we did have new boobs — new exploding boobs that were way better — but we had to use the shots of the old ones and actually we had to reshoot one scene where I had to put on the old costume for the closeups and stuff.”

The new, improved and more Cronenergian boobs are now in storage in Berlin, thwarting any temptation she might have had to wear them on the red carpet for the film’s premiere.

If things go well with Peaches Does Herself the artist says that she’d be interested in revisiting it as a theatrical production, but it would have to have the right funds behind it.

“I’m waiting for a mega-producer to give me money, and then I’m there. Let’s see… who should give me the money? Maybe if we say someone’s name, they’ll set us up,” she says with a mischievous grin. “I want money from… I want money from Snoop Dogg.”

“Snoop Lion,” a member of the documentary crew that’s currently following Peaches around corrects her. It’s one of the many projects she currently has on the go, including a new single (“BURST!”, which comes out next month), DJ gigs and her continuing efforts to support Pussy Riot.

“Snoop Lion? He’s not Snoop Dogg anymore?” she asks.

“He’s a reggae artist,” it’s explained.

Peaches shakes her head, unimpressed.

“Then I don’t want him. Forget it,” she says dismissively. “But really, in a real world, it should be Tina Fey.”

In the meantime, the singer is doing things the low budget way, trying to wrangle the cast of Peaches Does Herself for a Friday night performance piece at Toronto’s Drake Hotel called, appropriately enough, Peaches Does The Drake, and attempting to find family and friends who will let everyone crash with them during TIFF to save on hotel costs.

After that, it looks like PDH is primed to take on the film circuit. On the strength of the first press screening alone, Peaches has already received offers from other festivals. Beyond that, she’s hoping that the picture reaches the kind of cult status the live show was starting to cultivate in Berlin.

“I started to see people who came the second time start to dress up. If it went on longer, maybe it would have started to have that Rocky Horror kind of feel of yelling things and stuff. I think someone even threw something one night.”

In other words, does that mean that she’s hoping that her film will someday have its own callbacks and midnight screenings?

“Hell yeah!” she says smiling.

This feature originally appeared September 14, 2012 on AOL Spinner.

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10 Best Music Related Movies At TIFF

Snoop Lion, Rob Zombie's Lords Of Salem & Peaches

Snoop Lion, Rob Zombie’s Lords Of Salem & Peaches

Now that the excitement of the Toronto International Film Festival has died down, Sarah took some time to make a list of her favourite music-related films she saw.

Topping the list was PeachesPeaches Does Herself, but Rob Zombie‘s The Lords Of Salem and Snoop Lion‘s Reincarnated were also among those worth checking out.

To read the whole list head over to Spinner here.

 

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11 Lessons Learned From Spike Lee’s ‘Bad 25’ Michael Jackson Documentary

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson

Spike Lee‘s much-anticipated Michael Jackson documentary Bad 25 debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival last week.

It’s a pretty thorough though slightly fan-ish look at Jacko’s Bad album.

Sarah saw it and wrote about the 11 lessons she learned from the film for Huffington Post Music Canada.

You can read about them by going here.

 

 

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Picture Day Proves A Crossroads Reunion For Party Band Elastocitizens

Picture Day

Picture Day

One of the buzziest films of TIFF 2012 was the Canadian-made Picture Day thanks to the performance of emerging gal power actress Tatiana Maslany.

While she’s the star, the glue that holds the film together is the party rock band the ElastoCitizens and their real-life lead singer/actual movie actor in the film, Steven McCarthy.

Sarah talked to McCarthy about the film and his maybe reunited, maybe broken up, maybe on-hiatus band for Spinner.

You can read the story by clicking here.

 

 

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Ice-T Explains His Documentary ‘Iceberg Slim: Portrait Of A Pimp’

Iceberg Slim: Portrait Of A Pimp

Iceberg Slim: Portrait Of A Pimp

Ice-T recently brought Iceberg Slim: Portrait Of A Pimp, the documentary about ghetto poet Iceberg Slim he directed and starred in, to the Toronto International Film Fest.

Sarah spoke to him for Huffington Post Music Canada about Iceberg’s influence on hip-hop and himself personally.

To read the full article go here.

 

 

 

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Macy Gray At TIFF 2012: Says Black Roles Are Improving

Macy Gray

Macy Gray

Musician Macy Gray is one of the main stars in TIFF 2012-debuting film The Paperboy — a movie that’s getting a lot of attention in part because it features Nicole Kidman peeing on Zac Efron. (Good for them?)

When Sarah spoke to Gray for Huffington Post Music Canada they talked about that luridness as well as deeper stuff, including the improved roles in major films for black characters.

You can read the whole story by going here.

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