For a stretch last year and the year before I spent a great deal of time documenting the street art of my good friend Angelina Christina aka Starfighter. Since then I've posted the vast majority of photos (still a few up my sleeve) but what you haven't seen yet (and only a few have) are the all the videos I shot with Angelina of each project. Someday soon those videos will have a life to them but if you were lucky enough to be sitting in a cute little projection room with terrible sound in the Indio Performing Arts Center some months ago then you had the chance to catch the screening of those videos with myself and my beautiful muse/friend Kira Lawrence.
I was invited back in March to screen my films of Angelina's work for a small festival in the weird little town of Indio (most famously known as the host town of the Coachella Music Festival) hosted by Coachella Magazine. I am in no way trying to put down the efforts of the festival or those involved but this seriously had to be one of the oddest experiences of my life. Angelina was out of the country during the screening and could not attend, so rather than go it alone I invited my friend Kira to come join. Kira and I decided to make a day of shooting out of it which wound up working out for a small fun set, but the main focus was always the screening which was to be followed by a Q&A for the audience.
Kira and I left LA in the late morning and arrived in Indio several hours later. The drive from LA to Indio is a long one but one I have done on many occasions with Angelina for our trips out to the Salton Sea just past Indio. These desert trips were actually the main catalyst for my desire to agree to screen the videos out there. We arrive about 90 prior to the screening and realized that the festival resembled something closer to a craft fair of local vendors. Though it was the late afternoon people were still setting up. We waited for someone to greet us, though no one did. In fact no one was contacting me asking where I was or anything of the sort, so we decided to get some ice cream and take a few photos. When Kira and I arrived at the ice cream shop we were treated to some of the worst ice cream that we had ever had which for some reason also took forever to make as the big claim to fame of this establishment was making each ice cream order from scratch. This delay and relative distance of the ice cream shop put us slightly behind schedule to get back but still no one was contacting me asking where I was.
Upon our eventual return to the venue I asked around for our contact Jorge. I was pointed in the direction of a man wearing cowboy hat and carrying a camera around. I went and introduced myself and my associate. Jorge's first question he asked me was if I had brought a DVD copy of the film. Days prior to this conversation I had sent the film via Dropbox to Jorge with no mention of a DVD. This request for a DVD wouldn't have been so unusual in my film school days but certainly was a bit out of the norm in this modern day of high speed file sharing. I told him I did not bring a DVD and had mentioned previously I wouldn't be bringing one. I told him I had brought my hard drive just in case he hadn't prepped the file. He then asked me if I brought a laptop to screen the film. I had not.
Jorge went to get the projectionist, introduced us, and promptly walked away from the conversation. The projectionist proceeded to lead me and Kira to the projection room and asked me if I brought a DVD. After a moment of hesitation I repeated the same answers I had given to Jorge. The Projectionist, Kira, and I exited the projection room to find Jorge. Just as I had given up and assumed it was probably time for us to form an exit strategy Jorge revealed he himself had a laptop. He said he would go get it but then turned around began to photograph various people at the event while The Projectionist looked at me as if I had some dominion over the situation and it's leader.
In the meantime Kira and I went and befriend a punky/burner band couple in the corner of the room. We told them our situation and I began to show them some of the work of my beloved artist friend Angelina. After some time The Projectionist, Jorge, and a third man (who I later derived was Jorge's partner in the festival) approached with Jorge's laptop. The five of us walked up the stairs back to the projection room past a multi-colored wall in the stairwell. Jorge copied my movie file onto his laptop while the three men attempted to figure out how to hook it up to the ancient projection system. In the meantime I restarted my photo shoot and began taking photos of Kira in the multi-colored stairwell.
The three men could not for the life of them figure out how to hook up the laptop to the system and once again I had all but given up hope. I could tell that Kira was feeling just completely done with the situation and wanted to leave when suddenly a man from one of the bands came in with all the proper hookups and got everything ready to screen. I can't particularly recall if there was an announcement made that the screening was starting but a small group of people filed in to the cute little theater. Before I continue the story I should preface this next part by telling you that my film was an 80 minute compilation of music-video style videos documenting the various street art pieces by Angelina. The music element of the videos is hugely important and so when I heard the heavily distorted sound of the terrible speakers in the auditorium I was utterly heart broken.
Over the course of the screening almost every left the auditorium. At one point just Kira and I sat (even Jorge was missing) though I could hear a lone voice talking on his phone. I didn't have the heart to look around at who it was so I asked Kira to look. Kira told me it was the Partner of Jorge, who eventually left as well. Following the screening Kira and I were ready to get back to LA. As we started to exit the theater and encountered Jorge and his partner. I thanked Jorge for the screening because I knew though everything was a disaster his heart was in the right place. He then asked me if we could still do the Q&A (which was to be moderated by his partner). I told him that no one was in the theater and that I really didn't want to at this point. Jorge looked dejected. He asked me a few very general questions and then asked if he could record our conversation. I politely told him I did not want to be recorded in this situation which caused Jorge further dejection. The Partner started to ask a few questions that were clearly supposed to be part of the Q&A. His questions included "So did the artist just let you follow her around?" and "Is this a student film or something?". And with that Kira and I left for LA.
I hope you enjoy this set we shot in between all of the madness