Friday, June 30, 2006

8 Minutes of Heaven (in 15 seconds) [Original]

This is 8 minutes of glory in one of the world's most amazing places. Too bad it only lasts 15 seconds.

Zion [Original]

Zi·on P Pronunciation Key (zn) also Si·on (sn)
The historic land of Israel as a symbol of the Jewish people.
The Jewish people; Israel.
A place or religious community regarded as sacredly devoted to God.
An idealized, harmonious community; utopia.

Zion National Park is an American place. It is startlingly gorgeous, grand, one-of-a-kind and also over run with tourists and cars. It is as if we must mark our territory with asphalt instead of urine. We were so inspired, awed and threatened by such a display of natural beauty that we felt we had to make it our own. Now any one can hop a bus and caravan into and through the carved out valleys that are sheltered on either side by jagged, striped monoliths. All in the comfort of air conditioning and snack food.

I admit, I drove through it too. And took a hike. But being in that place made me wish I'd worked a little hard to get there. To see such amazingly rugged beauty so easily made me realize how easily we fall into taking for granted these kinds of places. Looking down from a cliff onto the snake-like curves of the road below also made me realize our smallness. We put a damn road right through one of the biggest mountains in the park (not to mention the one that looks the most like a church) but it means nothing. Big deal. The mountain still wins and its rock will stand longer than the asphalt of our silly roads.

Now if there were oil or gold in those hill, maybe those rocks wouldn't last. We'd be up to our destructive tricks. I just hope they don't lay down any more tar -- just more trails. More of us need to make use of our legs and work a little bit harder for doses of eco-tourism. Next time, I'll bring a tent.

A place with a name that means, "An idealized, harmonious community; utopia", in my book would be free of roads through mountains. But I guess this is why 'utopia' implies 'cannot exist'.

[Photos taken by Justina Mintz,]

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Open Microphone Trailer [Original]

This is the just the start -- much more to come.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Open Mic Documentary

Incoming [see trailer]

Open Mic Documentary: NYC

Target Length: 15-30 minutes

Goals: local screenings (Makor, Bar Bes, Brass Monkey Bar), documentary shorts festivals (i.e. Manhattan Short Film Festival, Brooklyn Underground Film Festival, and Docfest: The New York City International Documentary Festival), web release (Current TV, UTube).

General Overview:

From Live At the Apollo to American Idol to MTV’s Made, America is infatuated with the up and coming, unknown artist who takes the stage and captures the audience. As moving and inspiring as this experience can be, it is exceedingly rare in a true open mic performance setting. Equally as likely is a performance that has elements of extreme embarrassment, nervousness and fear. Open mic performances are just as likely to make one laugh and cover their eyes as they are to make one nod their head to the beat and cheer in support.

Our film will capture the underlying culture of open-mic nights. We’ll interview audience members and participants to get a sense of what draws them to open mics. We’ll find diamonds in the rough, and we’ll show performances that are less about talent, and more about humor or about community. Our style will be to understand each performance as a window into the hodgepodge culture of open-mic performance in New York City.

We are also seeking several performers to interview in greater depth. We’d like to capture them playing during practice sessions, on their ways to open mics and gigs and after a few of their performances. We want to find out what kind of musical community they are involved with and how they got there. This will ideally provide greater insight into why these aspiring artists are attempting to spread their art and why they are using the open mic scene to try and achieve their goals.

Mic Check

What is to come?
As I collect and refine my skills in the fields of audio production, documentary film making and journalism, I want to find ways to apply them. I want to tell stories, collect stories and share stories that need to be heard by anyone who will listen. As I learn, my focus will sharpen and there will be a stronger thread to my work. Currently I draw from those issues that resonate with the ideas in my mind and heart. Perhaps the biggest is the desire for the human race to find sustainability on this planet. Another one is the creation of music and musical communities. A third is developement of a new media stucture in this country and the world that is free from the corruption of corporate/governmental ties.

Sustainable Lifestyles / Musical Communities / New Media

I'm looking for stories to tell. I want to develope them using this blog (among other things) and then turn them into podcasts, documentaries and articles. I want to share these creations through this blog and raise awareness of issues and events that I know are important.

-Adam S Barton