This weekend, Live from Memphis will present its second annual Music Video Showcase, part of the Indie Memphis Film Festival (see Cover Story, page 19). Twenty-five music videos will be screened during the Saturday night showcase, held at Peabody Place's Muvico theater, augmenting main-theater music-related screenings such as Return of the Blue Moon Boys, which documents musicians Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, and the late Bill Black; Soul of the Delta, a 30-minute movie about the Mississippi gospel scene; and the fictional Stomp! Scream! Shout!, which follows the exploits of an all-girl garage-rock band, circa 1966.
John Michael McCarthy, who has cast local musicians such as Jack Yarber and Poli Sci Clone in movies such as Sore Losers and E*vis Meets the Beat*es, has a few videos in the showcase, including a scripted short built around California garage-rock group The Willowz' "Equation #2." Muck Sticky will screen his self-directed opus "Thingy Thing," while other offerings include videos for Lord T. & Eloise's "Million Dollar Boots" (produced by Old School Pictures), Mr. Sche's "Front Me Somethin'" (directed by Marc A. Dokes), Chess Club's "Devastortion" (directed by Amy Frazier), and Skillet's "Rebirthing" (directed by Darren Doane), as well as animated videos for "Linchpin" from Clanky's Nub (directed by G.B. Shannon) and Arma Secreta's "Segue/Debris" (directed by Clayton Hurley).
Additionally, Live From Memphis will screen footage culled from performances by The Secret Service, captured at the Buccaneer; The Reigning Sound, filmed at the Hi-Tone Café during Goner Fest 2; and Lucero, shot at Young Avenue Deli.
Live From Memphis founder Christopher Reyes also directed two music videos on the schedule -- Organ Thief's "Psychochauffeur" and a Ballet Memphis performance choreographed by Garrett Ammon, called "In Ways Ungrateful" -- while Sarah Fleming, Reyes' creative partner, will be showing "Can You Hear Me Now," a Spinal Tap-inspired video for John Pickle's mock rock group Mung.
"As a music lover, I would much rather see footage of a live band," says Reyes. "With live videos, we try to recreate what it's like to actually be at a show, to give a sense of what the band is about and document that moment. But as a filmmaker, I like the creativity of making a music video, which affords me a lot more visual leeway."
Reyes says that he shot the Organ Thief video on a zero budget, working at night with his Panasonic VX 100 camera and using a hearse belonging to the Memphis Roller Derby Girls as a prop. "It was fun and loose," he says. "I had a concept but no real time to create something with tons of thought-out shots."
He sees the final product as a marketing tool that the band can use on Web sites like MySpace and YouTube or send to MTV2 and cable-access video shows.
"YouTube," Reyes notes, "can be so beneficial for bands, but I'm seeing a lot of single-camera, shaky from-the-back-of-the-room footage. You can't really see the band, and the audio is distorted. I usually turn that kind of stuff off. So, at times, having a video can do more harm than good."
"Music videos are just another form of media that's available for exploitation," Fleming says. "If you have something that looks good, it can lend professionalism to the band's overall image."
Local musician and filmmaker Geoffrey Brent Shrewsbury also has an entry in the showcase: a video for Evil Army's "Friday the 13th." Shrewsbury is no stranger to the Indie Memphis festival: He won an award for Best Narrative Short in 2004 with 17-inch Cobras and snagged the Tennessee Filmmaker's Award with San Quentin, a series of static shots cut to the Johnny Cash song, last year.
"I haven't made anything in a while, and I wanted a new project to practice with, something more contained and quick to turn around," says Shrewsbury, who made the minute-and-a-half video using a camcorder and some blank tapes he had lying around.
Jeff Pope stars in the black-and-white horror flick, which, says Shrewsbury, was shot without spending a dime. "The goal was to make something as creative as possible with no budget and the least amount of stress on the band," he explains. "It sounds like I was cutting corners, but I intentionally designed it that way. It was really a creative exercise, a challenge to remain simple and tell a story in under two minutes."
Look for more from Shrewsbury later this fall, when he hopes to release a DVD of his short films, including videos from local bands the Lost Sounds, The Oblivians, his own group Vegas Thunder, and more.
Live From Memphis Music Video Showcase
Saturday, October 14th, 9 p.m.
Muvico, Peabody Place