Posts Tagged ‘Americana Music Association

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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24
Jun
17

Grammy’s change the rules again…because of the way James Comey treated Hillary Clinton.

As Ronald Raegan would say, “Well, there you go again.”  I learned, as someone nominated for a Grammy, that getting awards can be as bad, and full of shit as politics.

Ya know how bills are passed that have a lot of pork and earmarks? Well the latest from the Recording Academy is filled with oink and skid marks.  How so?

Here is the article from The Associated Press.    The headline?  “Grammys switching to online voting, changes top album rule.”

Okay. That sounds cool and reasonable, as long as the votes aren’t hacked, which I do not personally see as an issue. In fact, it would be nice if voting in USA for government positions could work that way..and actually be obligatory, to possibly prevent a total idiot from becoming POTUS.

What the headline from the AP neglects to mention, is the pork.  And of course, most people have A.D.D. and only read headlines.  (below taken from the AP article.)

“Bill Freimuth, the academy’s senior vice president of awards, said the academy expects to attract younger voters and touring musicians who are away from home during voting season.”

said of online voting, which comes a year after the Latin Grammys made the switch.

Freimuth said there were concerns about security issues, but added they have “done everything we can to make sure the integrity of the system will be preserved.”

INTEGRITY?

I read that word, and spit out my tea. Let’s talk about integrity.  (And by the way, I have met Bill Freimuth, and he is a really nice guy, and I’m sure his intentions are honorable, but….)

I repeat. Let’s talk about integrity, shall we?  Please allow me to dissect his statement.

“attract younger voters, and touring musicians who are away from home during voting season.”

99% of these touring musicians – and younger “voters” also want a shot at the brass ring. The academy welcomes these voters with open arms to pay their dues, and participate. But they don’t really trust the paying voters to make the right decisions. How can I say that? Answer? One word.

COMMITTEES.

When I was nominated, in 2012, there were no committees in “Americana” and all roots categories across the board, thus it was a democracy of the voting members who decided  the top 5 nominees, by majority vote, and then the winner, in the same manner.

The following year, without transparency to the voting members, they changed the rules, and put in a committee to decide the top 5, vs. the democratic vote, because, God forbid, another indie, like myself, gets past the gatekeepers. I put these facts in my book, “Who the Fuck Is Linda Chorney”, (I also mentioned it at the time to the Press, and they didn’t give a shit) – and then, the following year, after my book release, (read at least a thousand times!) all of a sudden, The Recording Academy decided to be transparent.  (My transparency? Yes, that was a slight plug for my book. tee hee.)

Then in 2013, Al Walser, another Indie, was  nominated for a Grammy in Dance Electronic category. At the time, this too was a democracy. Low and behold, the following year, they put in a committee to decide the top 5 in all Dance stuff.

Still, a few categories remained  true democracies, thus completely independent artists grabbed that brass ring, and some even won in New Age, Rap, and Contemporary Instrumental genres. And you bet your ass, lots of touring musicians joined, and paid their dues, in hopes of having their shot! Membership doubled after my nomination, alone, being the first in history to get the nod in Americana. (Imagine me taking a bow.)

BUT NOT ANYMORE!  (Say like Inspector Clouseau, after he trashed the “priceless Steinway”.)

The Below excerpt, is taken from the same AP article, for dissection number 2, also coinciding with spitting out more tea.

Other changes include nomination review committees added to the rap, contemporary instrumental and New Age genres. The committees serve as an additional layer of checks and balances, and for rap, could prevent wins like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis in 2014 over Kendrick Lamar, which were highly criticized. It could also allow rising acts to earn nominations over veteran performers like Eminem and Kanye West, who consistently earn nominations.

“We form these committees only when we hear from … those genre communities (when) they feel like something’s wrong, or that our nominations could be better,” said Freimuth. “For rap, what they were finding was that ‘legacy’ artists, almost no matter what they released, they would get a nomination because of their name recognition and fan base.”

 

“Layer of checks and balances.”  Bwahahahahhaa! = CONTROL.

Justification for committees – “It could also allow rising acts to earn nominations over veteran performers like Eminem and Kanye West, who consistently earn nominations.”

PA-LEEEZE!

Here’s the deal. “It could also prevents no-names, without labels, where no gatekeepers profit off of their nominations, and spares the Recording Academy the embarrassment of the likes of a Linda Chorney getting nominated.”  THAT’S ALSO WHAT IT MEANS.

Which brings me to the title of my blog. The Recording Academy’s justification for putting in these committees, is as valid as Donald J. Trump’s justification for firing James Comey.  (Because of the way he was unfair to Hillary Clinton. Such an outrage!)

Now the tea has come out of my nose.  (Maybe I should run for a governor of The Recording Academy and add my 2 cents.  I’m reading Al Franken’s “Giant of the Senate”, and cannot believe the bullshit he has to put up with. I don’t think I could handle it…or they could handle me. I am still a voting member. They have not yet kicked me out.) Again, I digress.

Of course, putting in committees to decide the top Nominees for President of The United States, might not be such a bad idea. Because, it would give Macklemore & Ryan Lewis a better chance than Kanye West.

 

 




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