Sunday, November 16, 2008

A sketch of Stef for Trent Harris in Salt Lake City

When my buddy Lij and I were doing field recordings, we spent some time in the mountains of western North Carolina, like everybody else who has done any field recordings in this country.

We met a rural pharmacist down there named Jerry Adams, who divided his shop space in half and devoted the back space to a recording studio. This was before the advent of ProTools, when not everybody and their pharmacist had a recording studio in their basement or back room.

Being loonybirds who drove around the country with a mobile recording studio packed into a 1987 Chevy Cavalier and a cartop carrier, Lij and I were impressed with Jerry's recording setup. Lij, the technician, talked gear with him; the idea guy, I talked concept. I asked him what was his recording philosophy.

Jerry paused. He had a big, bushy, mountain-man beard and twinkly green eyes. He said, "I reckon if I don't charge anybody anything to record them, then nobody can get too upset with the result." His philosophy was to give it away.

In this spirit, today I am mailing one of my sketches to the Salt Lake City filmmaker Trent Harris as a gift. Trent reached out to me on FaceBook yesterday, saying he liked my sketches. That was about all it took to get a freebie - that and my respect for him as an artist. He is a highly accomplished independent filmmaker who makes liberal use of my friend Stefene Russell in his films, most recently in Delightful Water Universe.

As a matter of fact, more or less the last thing I had done before hearing from Trent about my sketches was discuss with Stefene the possibility of doing a Trent Harris movie night in St. Louis, maybe at The Way Out Club, and getting him in here from SLC for the occasion.

The gift sketch he is getting is this pathetic rendition of Stefene herself, wearing the late Pops Farrar's fishing hat at a Skuntry Museum mixer a couple of years ago. The sketch is destined for Trent's fridge, he tells me, and I'm to expect something in return. I look forward to that. I always did like me a little fair-trade culture swap. I reckon if I don't charge anybody anything, then nobody can get too upset with the result.

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