“Independent bands have a hard time getting clout,” says Victoria Karol, who’s organizing the first Music Video Asheville event (in addition to her work handling publicity for local pop group SeepeopleS and managing new movie-and-dining venue Cinebarre).
The showcase is one part red-carpet schmoozefest, one part MTV awards—and one part a good excuse to hang out at Cinebarre while taking in locally made music videos.
“We have to break people to the idea that even if they’re not familiar with a band’s name and they haven’t heard it a thousand times, it’s still worth seeing,” Karol says. “This is a big two-and-a-half hour advertisement for independent music in Asheville.”
The showcase is presented by networking organization Future of Asheville Music, or FoAM. FoAM got its start about a year ago with a series of meetings attended by a revolving cast of local music makers and supporters. CX-1’s Jay Sanders who thought up the group’s acronym, and Jen and the Juice front woman Jenny Greer serves as the group’s central organizer.
“We had a musicians’ meeting where musicians wanted to network with filmmakers,” Greer explains. “It was a brainstorming session, and that was one of the most popular ideas.” Others included unionization (quickly shot down), health care for musicians (free information was distributed) and a nationwide ad campaign promoting the Western North Carolina music scene. That final point is still in the works, and next week’s awards ceremony promises to turn up plenty of fodder for that press kit.
Check out FoAM’s MySpace page (www.myspace.com/musicvideoasheville), and the video section turns up selections from Laura Reed & Deep Pocket, Sons of Ralph and Kung Fu Dynamite, among others. But none of the 48 short films available on the site will be screened at Cinebarre, Karol and Greer say. That pool was just a sampling to encourage submissions for the awards show. FoAM did receive some 40 submissions—a total of three-and-a-half hours of footage that must be whittled down by an hour. Still, the organizers are confident that all of the bands that submitted footage will be represented by at least one video. Greer says the possibilities include “hilarious documentaries that will make you like the bands,” “beautiful, artful videos by SeepeopleS and Stephanie’s Id” and a piece by keyboardist Chuck Lichtenberger demonstrating the benefits of music in schools.
As for the awards, don’t expect Teen Choice surfboards or gold gramophones. These prizes will be homemade and very tongue-in-cheek. From a number of far-fetched categories, the audience will be able to vote on which videos receive acclaim. After all, in this case winning isn’t what matters: exposure is. (There will also be champagne specials, a red carpet, photographers on hand and servers dressed like their favorite rock stars.)
“FoAM has two goals,” Greer explains. “To get musicians more mone and to bring musicians together for support.”
She adds, “The biggest selling point to get people to come to the original meetings was because, with all the economic development in Asheville, there’s not a voice for music. I know people like music here. What if there are people who want to give us money and they don’t know where to [send] it?”
For the world beyond WNC, Greer plans to open eyes to the local music scene by promoting Asheville’s eclectic, diverse sound. She’s calling for music fans to e-mail their ideas on the Asheville music scene (Greer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org).
For those currently helping the Asheville music story to evolve, Karol promises more events in the future. “The folks [who own] Cinebarre are huge music supporters and looking forward to doing more events like this,” she notes. Ideas include singer/songwriters in the lobby, musicians opening for movies, and using the parking lot for larger shows.
“I get really excited when it comes to my attention that somebody cares about my band other than the band themselves and me and our friends,” Karol says. “That’s that nugget of gold at the heart of this event.”
Well, that and the opportunity to be seen on the red carpet, of course.
who: Music Video Asheville
what: A tongue-in-cheek awards ceremony celebrating local musicians and filmmakers
when: Wednesday, Feb. 6, 6-10 p.m. ($2. Tickets available in advance at Cinebarre or by e-mailing Jenny Greer at email@example.com. www.cinebarre.com or 665-7776)