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HitRECord at the Movies! Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s labor of love-child
When REGular Joe (aka Joseph Gordon-Levitt) approached an audience member curious to know ‘why’ she booed so passionately when he mentioned the dying movie-going tradition. Our gal Sasha gave such an eloquent and rather cheeky response, I thought well this wasn’t your typical arse kissing crowd. When she then went on to sass him about her ticket price ( 20 bucks), my next thought was this should be a rather good night. It was s a very different L.A. scene (thank Christ!) I found myself in at the Sunset Vista last Saturday night. The main reason being the audience consisted mostly of members of the online art-community known as hitrecord.org. “What’s hitRECord Trixie!”, I hear you cry.Well, let me explain. Take your illustrators, storytellers, designers and editors, pour them in a bowl. Add a sprinkling of musicians and writers and stir. When you get just the right ingredient of each, hit record – then remix. What you get is a creative cocktail so delicious it rivals the 6 Appletini’s I had at brunch! Then if packaged and presented right, it might just make a profit, to be shared amongst the community that created it. Or at the very least, an artistic piece everyone can be proud of. All created by Joe, his colleagues, some of his closest friends and well – you. “Hippies and communists already tried this Trixie and it rarely ends well” you might say. Usually I would agree, but after the recent collaboration I attended I think Joe and his pals might just be on to something.
With Sasha’s banter aside, hitRECord began – literally. Participants were encouraged to shoot, photograph and film the proceedings, sacrilege at most venues. Not by a rowdy rebel-rouser, but by a charming Gene Kellyesque host at an old-time Hollywood movie theater. Odd – slightly, but also a brand-spanking new way to be entertained. Part art installation, part movie-night, part speak easy, all collaboration. Only it was nonjudgmental and welcoming, mmmm how cozy I felt in my new collective-creative womb. Shockingly my ‘warm and fuzzy’ was achieved without the aid of an open bar… or any bar at all for that matter! Shorts, or the collaborated RECords were screened, but it was the moments in between that sometimes stole the show. Firstly, I had made a new friend, unheard of in LA night life, the lovely Dana Dane (now there’s a naaarrm chile!). The show content sparked secret whispered chats between us. If there were any pauses in the program, our Joe would sing a Sesame St. song, strum on his guitar, or introduce everyone to Carl – his lawyer! Carl might even say a few words, then the music kicked in. These collaborations were IN-CRED-IBLE, one minute I was having a flashback to Glastonbury 95 with pulsating drum n’bass, the next Sean Lennon’s melancholy serenade was sending shivers down my spine. In an attempt to create an impromptu RECord, members of the collective were invited up to singalong to ‘The Garden Song’. When Joe asked for volunteers, there was no great stampede. No pop star wannabes, no panting girlies with a starf!*ker glint in their eye; and not because our host isn’t excreting the charisma juice from every pore I can tell you. Instead people came up rather gingerly, about 12 in total. Joe directed the newfound ‘Garden Choir’, all phones and cameras and out of nowhere, everyone began to sing! Is this some sort of cult I’ve stumbled upon?
Fear not dear reader, this was merely an unrehearsed demonstration of how a collaboration is actually built from scratch. What originally started as a recording of child-like singing months ago, had morphed online into a full-bodied soundtrack of instruments, vocal layers and beats. A highly skilled composer remixed it into a breathtaking arrangement which was now being played here, as the choir joined in – live. The results could have easily come from a film score, no seriously it was really that good. Remember kids, no bar. Hitrecord.org has already produced some incredibly touching work, I’m amazed by the poignancy one can fit into such a short amount of time. Stand outs for me were Forbidden Love, Dee on the Train, the hilarious Fake History of The World and the slightly heartbreaking Everything on Fire. A piece created in memory of ‘Burning Dan’, Joe’s late brother and original site co-collaborator. The animation and music interspersed with footage of Dan was mesmerizing. His silhouetted figure twirling fire wasn’t only a fitting tribute, but an image I won’t quickly forget. Truth is dear readers, as a sardonic (and usually slightly tipsy) Brit, I normally find these type of art shows, well… awkward. The work can be sub-par and the host’s rehearsed behavior is never warm, but there’s something inexplicable familiar about Mr. Gordon-Levitt. At only 30 he manages to have a sense of yesteryear about him, even if you were born in the 90’s (I wish!). He makes you nostalgic, you long for vaudeville and simpler times. You don’t know him, but who couldn’t trust a modern day Gene Kelly?
Which in turn makes you believe in his intensions with this growing site. Which seems to be attracting some really talented people who genuinely want to produce quality work. For only $20 I felt that I not only witnessed something new happening, I took part in it. Or, I had just been brainwashed by an artsy Los Feliz cult with fabulous editing skills.
You know what though, whatever the reason, the next time I log on I hope to feel that way again.
next T.O.T.T For the first time in months I attempt to get my kitty punched;) at LA hotspot club Voyeur. Meow!
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s HitRECord Comes To The Orpheum (kroq.radio.com)
- Independence (terrestrialbrooktrout.wordpress.com)
- Why Is Anne Hathaway Singing In French With Joseph Gordon-Levitt? (perezhilton.com)
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt on Hesher, Myths About Child Actors, and His True Creative Passion (popsugar.com)
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s LOOPER Make-Up Designed to Resemble Bruce Willis (collider.com)