3 days to go in the LIMPING TOWARDS BABYLON kickstarter (Nov. 20)

Therefore, please, please spread the word to your friends directly and on social media.

So, today’s creative update is about the music in the video and what I envision for the film as a whole. So, exactly how did I meet a Grammy Award winning composer?

Grammy Award winning Partch Ensemble.  Alex Wand seated lower left

Grammy Award winning Partch Ensemble. Alex Wand seated lower left

Los Angeles has a reputation for being a shallow, glitzy, materialistic, non-intellectual place. And there are certainly are many examples where the truth of that is as good as gold. But equally true is that LA is a complex city, with veins and pockets of other under-appreciated precious metals and gems.

So on May 5, 2015, at the rather unlikely location of Western and 2nd Street, I went to see a concert of “micro-tuned” guitars at Monk’s Place – from the outside, it looks like a small warehouse amongst, fairly downscale retail shops, and inside, likewise, industrial with exposed brick walls and uncomfortable, plastic white chairs for seating.

  Monk's Space exterior

Monk’s Space exterior

It reminded me of the funky little venues I would go to in the East Village and Brooklyn when I lived in NYC.
Exactly, what is “micro-tuning”? As I understand it, it’s an alternate tuning system of in-between notes rather than the standard system used in Western music, and thus sometimes the notes sound unusual and interesting and sometimes, to my ears at least, flat and unpleasantly “out-of-tune”. So, most of the concert was interesting, but too alienating, and for over an hour, just an intellectual curiosity to me.

And then at the very end, Alex Wand came out with a large ensemble of musicians to perform his song cycle “The Great Hunt” using Carl Sandburg poems as lyrics.

Immediately it was a different experience. I was hearing something both tuneful AND unconventionally micro-tuned, with rhythms that sometimes were smooth and sometimes deliberately jerky and syncopated.

I literally felt the excitement coursing through my body and brain. It was new classical music with inflections of folk, blues and rock lurking in the background that suddenly thrusting forward. I was having the rare experience of a true musical discovery, where I wasn’t just hearing a new song, but a new sound… familiar yet utterly unfamiliar.

Alex Wand (right) composer of Sandburg song cycle at Monk's Place 5-5-15 photo by Erin Barnes

Alex Wand (right) composer of Sandburg song cycle at Monk’s Place 5-5-15 photo by Erin Barnes

(Here’s the link to Alex’s full piece performed at Monk’s Place

And also, what I was hearing was so, so close to what I imagined the music major character, Marcus (played by Matt Mercer) in my script would be composing, In the screenplay, I have him performing Bach for Amandine, but also later composing a new classical concerto for marimba, violin and guitar, as a way of expressing his feelings for her.

  Matt Mercer as Marcus and Karen Sours as Amandine

Matt Mercer as Marcus and Karen Sours as Amandine

So after the Monk’s Space concert, I bee-lined over to Alex. My enthusiasm and praise must have made enough of a positive impact that when I invited him about a month and half later to sit in on the first full reading of the LIMPING TOWARDS BABYLON script, he not only came by on a Sunday summer afternoon but also was impressed enough by the actors and the script to get on board with the project.


“Limping Towards Babylon” excerpt – Thomas discovers George has facets…

Here’s an excerpt from the “Limping Towards Babylon”. We shot this scene during the teaser video shoot, but I couldn’t fit it within the time constraints of the teaser.

Limping Towards Babylon excerpt – Thomas discover George has facets from Julius Galacki on Vimeo.

For more go to


“No man is an island…”

Two days ago, over 40 people, mostly Muslims, died in Beirut because of an ISIS suicide bomber … their lives: as important, as real, as human, as the people murdered in Paris last night. Two days ago, listening to the radio, I thought “that’s awful” and continued getting ready for work. Now last night, as I listened to NPR and watched CNN and absorbed exactly what happened in Paris, it impact me, to my shame, in a much more concrete way, as after all, I’ve been to France; I’ve been affected deeply by French literature, art, film, culture and food; and intellectually I am well aware, America wouldn’t exist as a country without French help. But that’s not good enough. I should have been more conscious about the Beirut attack 2 days ago too. These extremists, who actually don’t follow/honor the religion that they claim to kill in the name of, WANT to divide us into Us and Them. That’s the point of terror. So, I can’t help thinking right now of John Donne’s beautiful poem that we collectively don’t strike at the innocent in the name of revenge against the guilty: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”


An Excerpt from the opening scene of LIMPING TOWARDS BABYLON

8 days ( !! ) left for the Kickstarter campaign, i.e. Nov. 20, 2015 – go to to pledge

.. so it’s time to go a little deeper into the script. I want you, my supporters, to get a better sense of “E”‘s character as well as the humor in the script.

The teaser video has just a tiny section of the opening scene where Adam interviews Thomas and Marcus for their suitability as roommates. Shortly after that, “E” interrupts the interview:

 Marcus (Matt Mercer) and Thomas (Josh Breslow) being interviewed by Adam

Marcus (Matt Mercer) and Thomas (Josh Breslow) being interviewed by Adam

”E” is really EILEEN SMITH, 23 or 24, in the grad Art and Architecture School, but she goes by “E” and signs her paintings / mixed media Combines as “E. Smythe”.

ADAM: Fine. I withdraw the question.

She speaks as she leans over Adam’s shoulder and starts reading his notes. Then, she turns the page, to read his earlier questions.

 Adam (T.W. Leshner) interviewing Marcus and Thomas

Adam (T.W. Leshner) interviewing Marcus and Thomas

“E”: You’re the two new roommates?

ADAM: “E”, please.

She puts her hand out to shake hands with Marcus and Thomas.

“E”: (To Adam) They look good. I don’t see any serious problems. (To Thomas) Sorry. I didn’t say…

ADAM: No, I haven’t said they’re… Will you please – (let me tell them…)

"E" (Miriam Korn) showing interest in Thomas (Josh Breslow) while Marcus (Matt Mercer)

“E” (Miriam Korn) showing interest in Thomas (Josh Breslow) while Marcus (Matt Mercer)

“E”: I’m “E”.

THOMAS: Thomas.

“E” nods to Marcus.

MARCUS: Marcus.

THOMAS: “E”? Uh, how do you spell that?

“E”: Just the letter. “E”.

THOMAS: Oh. So, like the poet: e.e. cummings?

“E”: No. Not like him. I capitalize my name….

*** **** ***

And finally, here’s a photo of Josh and Matt goofing on me during filming:

Yes, I clearly inspire fear and respect from my actors! LOL

Yes, I clearly inspire fear and respect from my actors! LOL