Archive for the 'Music' Category

18
Jul
18

I second, Holy Shit, with When I Sing’s second review!

Well, it’s not the New York Times…yet. But it’s writers, publications, and movie lovers who are writing about When I Sing. And now for our second review, from New Jersey Stage magazine.

By Gary Wien

 

originally published: 07/18/2018

 

REVIEW: "When I Sing"

Most of the world learned of Linda Chorney in 2012 when her name was listed as one of the Grammy nominees for Best Americana Album. Her film, When I Sing, not only follows her rise from obscurity to the Grammy Awards, it goes much further.  It’s a love story between a die hard Red Sox fan and a Yankees fan; a spotlight on how indie artists survive on the road; and a deeply, revealing portrait of how the media and the music industry turned what could have been a wonderful Cinderella story into a very hurtful experience.

When I Sing was directed by Robin Russin and stars Chorney as herself, Maxwell Scott as her future husband Scott, Chris Mulkey as The Rock Doc; Bari Hyman as Linda’s mom; Mia Moravis as Rhonda/Rhoda, Eli Panero and Paul Chorney (Linda’s Dad) appear as themselves.  But the biggest star of the film is Linda’s music itself.  The songs in the film are wonderful and will lead many to wonder why Linda wasn’t a household name prior to the Grammy nomination.

The film begins with Linda performing at Apres Ski on a deck in Vail, Colorado.  It is here that she first meets Scott, a fan from the Jersey Shore who never knew Linda played shows literally in his backyard area.

The film shows how Linda took full advantage of a “companion pass” for an airline provided by a dear friend.  The pass allowed her to travel anywhere, which Linda used to help her perform all over the world.  Unfortunately, the pass only got her to places – she still needed to find a place to sleep after shows.    The hustle of an independent musician to find places to play, get paid, and get food and lodging (all while trying to keep costs to a minimum) is an interesting and important aspect of the film.

“What is it about a ballad that makes you want a frozen daiquiri?” she asks while performing and watching the bartender blend one up.  “But if it wasn’t for alcohol, musicians wouldn’t get paid, right?

Her path gradually attracts more and more “angels” along the way – people who would do anything to help her career.  One such angel helps her with the costs to produce her dream album – the recording that would be titled, Emotional Jukebox, and would change her life.

The album was so good people wanted her to submit it for Grammy consideration. This was an incredible long shot as no independent artist had ever been nominated before. Her odds changed when Linda learned about the Grammy 365 site, which allowed people to reach out and directly contact Grammy voters.  With the help of her teenage nephew, Eli Panero, she is able to invite hundreds of voters to listen to her album.  And many not only took her up on the invite, but loved the album and said they would vote for her.

When the nomination actually came, Linda thought people would love her story.  “I am officially starting my first documentary – my Cinderella story,” she said, holding up a video camera.  “Oh my God…. am I dreaming this?”

She runs through several opening segments, unsure of which road to go.  “Once upon a time there was an obnoxious Jewish girl who always wanted to be a rock star” was one take.  “Ladies and gentlemen, get ready to document the Americana story of the century of the self-absorbed artist’s ridiculous quest for validation!” was another.

“And what the hell is Americana?” she wondered.

Unfortunately, Americana was an established genre with a particular clique of its own and the establishment saw her as crashing a private party.  The film shows Linda having problems with publicists; Americana writers out to destroy her; and record label executives who bully her privately and publicly – accusing her of ‘gaming the system.’

In short, the film shows what happens when your dreams come true, but nothing changes… or things actually get worse.

Linda expects the nomination will help her career, but those expectations are crushed when she talks with a big time manager.  “Look, you have done great,” says the manager, skillfully played by Kiki Ebsen, says.  “What you have achieved on your own is amazing.  You sang in bars your whole life – why don’t you go back to singing in bars? It seems to be working for you.”

REVIEW: "When I Sing"

When I Sing balances that poignant lesson with a wonderful love story and lots of comedy.  The love story provides a nice balance to what could be a very sad story. The film is beautifully shot, moves at a nice pace, and offers interesting insight into the life of an independent artist.  A good part of the film was shot in New Jersey (where Linda lived for many years) and you’ll see plenty of logos for local businesses — The Windmill, Sea Bright Pizza, and 90.5 The Night are well represented. In fact, 90.5 DJ Jeff Raspe appears in the film as well. He is seen on stage at The Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park where Linda performed during a Light of Day Foundation concert.

Maxwell Scott is terrific as Scott, a huge fan of Linda’s music who wants to be romantically involved as well. Her nephew, Eli Panero, is often hilarious and, along with Linda’s father, adds even more realism to the story.  And Chris Mulkey provides a strong performance as the Rock Doc, but the film lives and dies with Linda’s performance, and she is good – very good.  Her performance reaches its highest heights in the closing moments after she finishes singing the title track.  Walking off stage, we see Linda begin to break down.  It’s a moment of pure pain, pure sadness, and pure honesty.  It speaks volumes.

When I Sing has been hitting the festival circuit and was rewarded with the People’s Choice Award for Best Feature Film at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival; Best Feature Film – Low budget at World Fest Houston; and was a finalist for Picture of the Year in Nashville Universe film competition. The next stop for the film will be Borderlands Film Festival in New Mexico in October. Additional screenings are being added and can be found at whenising.com. Here’s hoping that the film finds its way on to television where the world will learn that there is much more to her story – there is a tremendous artist as well.

 

 

 

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02
Jul
18

HOLY SHIT! FIRST REVIEW OF WHEN I SING! AND IT DOESN’T SUCK!

It’s about freaking time I got a review.  Yay!  We’ve screened “When I Sing” five times now.  Two screenings for Film Festivals – and we won both…and then three more, independently. Not only that, but our “little indie that could” has also received press.  Let’s do this!  

“When I Sing” Hits Many Sweet Chords 6-29-18

Review by
Jordan Rich
WBZ Boston, i-Heart Radio

 

For those who decry the lack of story, spirit or creativity found at

their local movie complexes these days, allow me to introduce

you to one Linda Chorney—-musician, writer, producer, and star

of her own inspiring cinematic story “When I Sing,” one of the

most endearing and entertaining indie films in years.

If you were to ponder, “Who the #@$%$ is Linda Chorney” you

would not be alone. It just happens to serve as one of the more

memorable taglines for the film. The question speaks to why

and how this “little movie that could” works as well as it does.

Audiences will find themselves (for a welcome change) cheering

for a real-life underdog, possessing tenacity and heart. And it’s a

sound bet that you will laugh, cry and empathize with the

characters along the way.

 

Linda Chorney has been a working musician for decades.

Gigging in clubs, opening for A-list artists, composing and

creating at a frenetic pace, she has managed to self-produce

several musically rich albums, albeit for limited audiences.

After many years of pursuing her dream of making it big (that

elusive dream shared by thousands of her fellow musicians) Linda

surprised the entertainment world in 2012 as the first truly

independent artist nominated for a Grammy award. While many

were excited for this talented artist who finally got some national

recognition, others in the industry attacked her for allegedly

“gaming” the system to acquire the nomination. The attacks

were often personal, demeaning and ugly. But through it all

Linda retained her unique brand of spunk and cutting sense of

humor. We witness her more delicate human side as well, as she

occasionally succumbs to the pressure, crying herself to sleep.

“When I Sing” is a film that musicians as well as plain

old civilians should find engaging.

 

The film spotlights certain friends and heroes she meets along her

way.  They include Jonathan, the “Rock Doc,” played by veteran

character actor Chris Mulkey. It’s Jonathan who encourages her

as a fan and offers a generous financial boost to produce what

would become the Grammy nominated album. Another key

character is Scott, played with warmth and likability by

actor Maxwell Scott. Scott becomes the friend and lover whose

adoration and support for Linda is unwavering and real. Her

journey is made easier and much more fun thanks to Linda’s

steadfast soul mate Scott.

 

A couple of actual family member of Linda’s, as well as genuine

music industry people in her story, appear in “When I Sing.”

There’s her teenage nephew “Eli” who aids Linda in navigating

social media during the run up to the Grammys. Eli Panero is a

scene stealer (which tends to run in the Chorney family). Linda’s

real life Dad, Paul, plays himself and adds a loving, humorous

touch alongside vivacious actress Bari Hyman portraying her

Mom. “When I Sing” is lovingly dedicated to Linda’s Mom,

Shirley.

 

The most important bit of casting however is that of Linda, the

central character. She’s energetic, exuberant, fragile and quirky.

We’re rooting for her from the opening scene, witnessing the

emotional rollercoaster this talented, complex, lovable musician

Encounters.

 

When asked about playing herself, the star of one of the most

original, heartfelt, hilarious indie films in years told a preview

audience that she tried hard to woo Sandra Bullock to play her in

the film. I was in attendance conducting the Q&A  that evening

and the consensus was that while we all agree that Sandra

Bullock is a superb Oscar-winning actress, no one could have

played the role of our fearless heroine with more conviction and

heart than Linda Chorney herself. She turns out to be one heck

of an actor.

 

Don’t see this movie expecting even the briefest of car chases

(although there are some hysterical moments involving Linda in

cars). Thankfully, there are no explosions or gunshots and

certainly no superheroes in tights to be found. What you can

expect is a movie about a real woman, reaching for her brass

ring, and dealing with identifiable setbacks and triumphs along

with a handful of well placed “F” bombs along the way.

The film concludes with Linda’s touching performance of the title

song “When I Sing,” an anthem for anyone who’s been bullied,

beaten down or neglected. Her lyrics address the hope that lies

at the core of the movie…

 

“There’s just one thing makes me feel as light as a child on a

swing, where no one can hurt me…when I sing.”

This “little movie that could” is well worth seeing and supporting.

For more visit http://www.whenising.com.

 

Maynard MA JR

SOLD OUT

Clap, clap, clap!  And now for the press so far!

ARIZONA DAILY STAR  

NEW JERSEY STAGE

TWO RIVER TIMES

THE AQUARIAN

METROWEST DAILY NEWS

WICKED LOCAL

And here’s what other folks have been saying as they leave the theatre on WHEN I SING WICKED AWESOME WORLD TOUR. Please request a screening in your town. And I’ll sing a few songs for you, too. (Enough Linda til ya puke!) Just go to whenising.com and sign up for tour dates, and say hello!

02
May
18

WHEN I SING WINS AGAIN! WORLDFEST

Houston, we have lift off! Special Jury Award for WHEN I SING – BEST FREAKING FEATURE FILM…again! – for Low Budget Category…which is anything under $500,000…which is most Indie Films, so WHAT AN HONOR from Worldfest.   Not only that, but Worldfest, you have spoiled me and and all of the other filmmakers with such a warm welcome, and an experience not to be forgotten.VICTORIOUS

Worldfest shows the filmmaker a great time, gives you a roof over your head, feeds you, and chooses films solely based on the films, the whole films, and nothing but the films.

I was only able to see a few, because of my busy schedule, (puff, puff), but managed to see 3 OUTSTANDING films, and I highly recommend you check them out when they come your way.

  1. LUBA   There was not a weak moment in the film. From the clever, beautifully animated credits, to the superb acting, great dialogue even mixed with humor, to the very real, semi-tragic story of basically a single Mom, trying to raise her kid on a shoestring, with a dead weight father, dragging her down, yet she manages to triumph against all obstacles.  Director, Caley Wilson slays this film with wonderful angles on an acute budget. Brah-fukn-vo!

    CALEY AND SUNSHINE BOY

    With Director, Caley Wilson  (I don’t know why this photo is messed up on blog!)

  2. VUIL WASGOED   (Dirty Laundry)  -In Africans. A hysterical, goofy, smart, dark comedy adventure of two regular underachievers with a dream, still working at a laundry mat, who inadvertently get tangled up with some really bad guys, and although they’re clothes got pretty dirty, they manage to come out alive, and fulfill the dream of owning a coffee/laundry shop. The acting, dialogue, color, characters, all superb. Brah-fuckn-vo!

    DIRTY LAUNDRY BOYS

    With writer/star Bennie Fournie and Director Morne du Toit  (I don’t know why this photo is messed up on blog!)

  3. PASTORAL SONG OF THE SPRING In Mongolian. Take a very inexpensive vacation to the most spectacular scenery of Inner Mongolia, while in the warmth and comfort of your seat, and glide through a different world, yet the same, when it comes to the innocence of love.  Director, Xurenhua manages to capture the beauty, and the sense of being there, feeling the wind on your face, as you witness the porcelain perfection of the faces of the actors, while going on an adventure through time, routing for the good guys, feeling their pain and love. A sad, believable story.Xurenhua

What I did not get to see, and must, is the winner of Best International Film, The Little God, from India. As well as The Italian Gaze, by Sandro Del Rosario, and The Butterfly Trees, Documentary, by Kay Milam.

Where is the next stop for WHEN I SING?  Just waiting.  We’ve struck out on most of the big time fests, and that hurts in the pocket, and the heart, but we realize there are a gazillion great films, and they can only choose a few.  (That sounded politically correct.)

That being said, I am taking WHEN I SING on the road, targeting a few places, most likely starting in Boston, and The Jersey Shore.  We had an extremely successful screening in hometown Tucson, to a sold out crowd at The Loft, where…get this…the film made money, instead of spending it. What a concept! So, I’ve seen the light, and it’s green.

I think the biggest compliment I’ve received is from filmmaker, producer, Jon Scheide, who compared WHEN I SING to Angelica Houston.  “It has a beauty all of it’s own. Not the classic, but one completely different and just as stunning.”  How’s them apples?!

I’m very thankful for the film festivals who have accepted our special film, and of course a little bitter about the one’s who did not. It’s only human. You can pretend that it doesn’t bother you, but it does. It’s tough out there.  So many great films. (So I made up a poster, which I think is hilarious, and that’s all that matters.  Fuck em if they can’t take a joke!)  Audiences are cheering, laughing and crying…and that’s also all that matters! No one can hurt me when I sing, and when you see the film! Sign up for our mailing list, and watch the trailer at http://www.whenising.com.REJECTED

 

 

11
Mar
18

WHEN I SING WINNER PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD – BEST FEATURE FUKN FILM!

YEEEEEEEEHAH! How’s them apples? No one can hurt me when I sing…and when we win! Our very first festival! Gosh, it feels good. It’s just the beginning, but it’s like being a rookie American League pitcher up at bat for the first time, and hitting it out of the park. BOOM! (Yes, I emphasized American League, when the DH is not an option.)

WHEN I SING WINNER PEOPLE’S CHOICE BEST FEATURE FILM!

Here’s the trailer!

So far I’ve worked 2 years, every waking minute on this film. (I am not exaggerating.) And then there’s the rest of the team.  I surely would have struck out without them. But imagine! Winning People’s Choice in the Los Angeles market?  Holy Shit! What an honor!

Click Here for your personal backstage pass video tour to our World Premiere of WHEN I SING in Los Angeles.

I’ll be honest, the film festival circuit is brutal. Why?  Because you drop a hundred here, fifty there…just to submit!  Then you don’t get in to most of them, because thousands of people are doing the same thing you are.  Being an artist is a tough road these days. Everyone wants to make money off of you, while you spend more…and time.  Time? What is it worth?  All of us artists know how much time we spend creating and promoting our work. Why? We have to. Passion and belief drives us.

I believe in this film 100%. I promise that 99% of artists will relate, 99% of underdogs will be cheering, 99% of women will be laughing and crying, and 80% of people will thoroughly enjoy it.  The rest of you..well…you can’t please everyone.

So now what do I do?  It’s nice that I’ve already been approached for distribution. But this is my baby, just like my albums. Who can I trust with…MY LIFE’S STORY?

Maybe it will be Coming to a theatre near you!  Then Netflix! Or AmazonHBO! Or Showtime!  (I say fuck a lot…so no Disney.) Did you know you have to spend like millions in promotion for a theatre release. I swear this could be a cult blockbuster! (See, I do believe in this film…or I’m delusional, and I’ll end up selling them in the back of my fucking car.)

Stay tuned.  But for now, FILM FESTIVALS everywhere, show WHEN I SING. I guarantee a sold out crowd, and lots of smiles.  Let’s do this!

Next stop, Worldfest.  Houston…we don’t have a problem! What an honor to be chosen for the 3rd oldest film festival in America! And we’ve already been informed that we’ve won one of the top awards…one of their coveted REMI AWARDS!  YEEEEEEHAH!

WINNER PEOPLE'S CHOICE

I’d like to congratulate all of the fellow nominees.

The IncantationBuckout RoadIn Echo ParkThe Evil Rises.

Also an honorable mention to my two favorite nominated shorts that blew me away!

The Obituary and This is Ed

BEST OF LUCK TO ALL OF YOU DISTRIBUTING YOUR FILMS SO THE WORLD CAN SEE!

10
Mar
18

KVOA, Roadrunners, and Marines, oh my!

I flipped on KVOA, local news at 5 a.m. on Thursday morning, restless from waiting for results to see if WHEN I SING  wins our first film festival for People’s Choice…when another contest arose. KVOA announced they were giving away 4 free tickets to a Roadrunners hockey game saluting the military, to the person who leaves the most “creative” reason why they should be the recipient, directly after showing a clip of the latest nasty snow storm in New England.  The contest took place on KVOA facebook page.

I was the first to comment the following:

“I just watched your footage this morning, of Massachusetts, where I’m from. I have to admit I was laughing out loud, as I sit here in the warmth of the old pueblo where I live now, and know that my brother is chipping ice off of his windshield, freezing his butt off. The least I can do for him is be close to ice – while watching The Roadrunners, and saluting the military at the same time. As we say it Mass – that would be WICKED AWESOME!”

Then I thought nothing of it, and finally fell asleep.

ROADRUNNER

Last night at 10pm, I got a call from my Dad.  “Linda! They said your name of the News and read your comment, and….you won!”

“What?”

We had a good laugh, and I shared the story with my brother, in fact, freezing his ass off in Massachusetts. (I refrained from using ass in my comment on KVOA. I was on my best behavior.)

For curiosity sake, I went to the comment section, to read my “competition”, and there was one comment that stuck out, from a Lisa Vavages.

“He enlisted into the United States Marine Corps, April 28 he turns 18, May 24 he graduates from Desert View High School, July 30 he leaves for boot camp…13 weeks away from home he’ll be transformed into a United States Marine. Who is he? He is my only son, with what few months we have remaining and all the hard work he’s put in,, he deserves to go see the Roadrunners!”

Awww.  I want her to go with her son, I thought. So I sent her a facebook message, and commented on the post as well, saying, please let me take you and your son to the game with us. And then I left her a private message…and then sent a friend request, to make sure she would get it.

She wrote back, and said her son and daughter would be delighted to join. I thought, “wahhhh, I thought she would go with her son.” So I asked her why she wasn’t going, and she said she was a single mom, and had another daughter, and couldn’t leave her alone at home.

Single moms are some of the biggest heroes on the planet, as far as I am concerned. So here’s my dilemma. I was feeling all warm and fuzzy, giving her two of the tickets, and now I wanted all three of them to go, but I still kinda wanted to go with my hubby, even though I am not really a huge hockey fan.  I’ve been to one Bruins game, and it was cool, but I prefer baseball and football. (I wonder if it’s cold in the rink? I hate the cold!) Maybe I should just give them all of the tickets.  But…ooh! What if I could get a 5th ticket somehow!?

I called KVOA to find out the section we were in, and then called The Roadrunners organization, and explained the story.  They were kind enough to GIVE me another ticket right next to the four I had won! How nice was that?

Lisa and her kids met up with us at the game, They are a lovely family,  and we had a blast. (And I was prepared with several layers of clothing.) Wishing her son Gage, a safe journey in bootcamp, and becoming a U.S. Marine.  Having him at The Roadrunners hockey game, saluting the military, surely was a good omen.  And we won the game in overtime!

MARINE

(And our photo was shown on the Jumbotron!)

 

23
Feb
18

Holy Shit! WHEN I SING World Premiere is SOLD OUT!

HOLY SHIT!  WHEN I SING WORLD PREMIERE…SOLD OUT!  at HRIFF! Hollywood, baby!

We just pulled up from Tucson on horses to Hollywood, to our Director’s house, Robin Russin.  I had the WHEN I SING backdrop thingy delivered there, known as a “step and repeat”.  That’s the thing on a red carpet, where everyone poses in front of – to say “I was there!”  (Of course ours is not gigantic, on our indie budget.)

Well, there is good news and bad news.  The good news is that WE ARE SOLD OUT!  Robin got a phone call from a friend, while we were there. “Man! I went to the site, and there are no more tickets to When I Sing!”  WHAT?! Robin and I just looked at each other, eyeballs practically popping out.  The bad news is not everyone who wanted to go, can see the movie yet, or pose like this…

 

(Consider these the “before” photos.  I’ll be dressing up for the premiere!)

Thank you Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival for selecting my little life’s story to premiere in the city of angels. Hopefully I will find the perfect angel distributor, so the millions of people just dying to see WHEN I SING (Hey, I can dream!) will be able to see it soon enough.

 

SOLD OUT

Stay tuned for more stuff you probably don’t give a shit about.

Check out the movie trailer here!

18
Feb
18

Holy Shit! World Premiere of WHEN I SING. Part 2: Thank you Robin Russin

One week from today, my life’s story, WHEN I SING, made with my life’s savings, and a lot of help from my friends (sing that line like Ringo), will premiere at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival. Hoo Ha. (And my jaw is clinched at 5 am as I write).

How self-absorbed is it, when one make’s a movie about….themselves?! I swear, it’s a great story, not because it happened to me, but just because it happened. And I hope that under the constraints of my meager budget, that we were able to pull off conveying the story.  It wasn’t easy.  But, to start, it wouldn’t have been possible without…me.  I’m kidding – Robin Uriel Russin, my cousin by marriage.  In fact, we call it “An Odd Cousins Film”.

Odd?  Well, besides the fact that he’s a road scholar, who graduated from Harvard, and I’m a University of Miami drop-out, we were at odds during the filming, because being my life’s story, and having lived every minute, I felt compelled to direct the director.  Oops. So, if there is an award for tolerating me, Robin gets it.  (Well, and everyone else.)  I did direct a few scenes when Robin couldn’t be around on certain locations, and it was fun…I had a good teacher…Robin.

Initially, because of the extremely low-budget, I figured I’d be doing most everything…because I don’t have to pay myself. And I wore so many hats that I’m surprised I didn’t break my neck. I mean, I made fucking sandwiches and dragged wardrobe and props and set up the scenes to save money, in between acting.  And I assumed I would be directing, because I had no choice…

BUT then Robin asked me “Who’s Directing?”

Linda: “Uhhh, I guess I am.”

Robin: “I’ll take a semester off of teaching at UCR and direct, if you want”.

Are you shitting me?!  Wow.  You’d do that for me? Well, he did it.  (Robin helped me edit my book, Who the F**K is Linda Chorney, which WHEN I SING is based on, thus, he was quite familiar with my story…and believed it was a good one to tell!) Not only did he make huge, personal sacrifices to direct the movie, but when we ran out of money, he received a grant from UCR, (which paid for my co-editor, Robert Murphy).  Of all of the projects he has done, Robin chose WHEN I SING to go for a grant.  Incredible. He saved me from breaking my neck, while I busted his balls.  It was a perfect match! And although we are, indeed, odd cousins, we are more like brother and sister, who fight, but love and respect each other, greatly.  (Thanks for marrying him, Sarah!)

When_I_Sing-Jan31-SET1-1024x640

(Robin and I having yet another discussion about a scene – while co-star, Maxwell Scott, playing the roll of “Scott”, hung in there. “Here they go again…”)

And WHEN I SING is our child.  (That sound’s really weird).  So, I don’t know if Robin is clinching his jaw as much as I am, mine,  but I do know he’s ready to hand out cigars next Sunday. February 25th!  If you happen to be in the Los Angeles area, come to the premiere! Meet Felix and Oscar on the red carpet, (guess which one I am?), and other stars of WHEN I SING, including Chris Mulkey and Marion Ramsey. See cast here!

When_I_Sing-Jan31-WaveLabs2

(Robin directing Evan Grae Davis, our DP, of live performance with Chris Mulkey and me.)

A tremendous thank you to University of California, Riverside. No one can hurt me, when I have money to pay the bills!  (For those of you unfamiliar with lyrics from title track, WHEN I SING, the chorus says “no one can hurt me when I sing.”)  Get it!?

Stay tuned for Part III!

 




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