An Interview With Artist Jason Alacrity

The Hollywood Press Corps recently got a chance to interview music video director and comic book creator Jason Alacrity. Jason is an artist who is known in the music world for his directing. As a hobby, Jason has a project called the ALACRITY which recently toured in Japan. As an artist, he is well versed in directing, producing and editing music videos for bands such as Skinny Puppy ( “illiSit” ) and COMBICHRIST ( “Maggots At The Party” and “My Life, My Rules” ).  Jason Alacrity got the attention of Nivek Ogre from Skinny Puppy when Jason produced and directed the short film, “ASTRID”.

Creating the new video for COMBICHRIST
Creating the new video for “My Life, My Rules” by COMBICHRIST. Photo courtesy of Joe Letz

Hollywood Press Corps (HPC): What inspired you to become a director?

Jason Alacrity (JA): I originally wanted to be a special fx make up guy. When I was a kid I bought legendary make-up artist Tom Savini’s “Grand Illusions” book and studied it cover to cover. I’d spend days working on things in my basement and then test the makeups and kill gags on my little brother, while filming them on our crappy VHS camcorder. To justify the kill gags and monsters I’d make up little stories, and then as time went on I became more interested in the storytelling than doing the make up.

Director Jason Alacrity
Director Jason Alacrity. Photo by Rhiannon Royse

HPC: Who are some of your key influences with how the videos look?

JA: Depends on the project, but a few consistent influences are “Suspiria”, Richard Stanley’s “Hardware” and Jodorowsky’s “Holy Mountain.” Some of that is visible in ASTRID, especially with the shot choices and art design. This new “COMBICHRIST” video is in black and white, so with that I was going for more of a Universal Horror meets silent film look like HAXAN: Witchcraft through the ages.

HPC: What is your favorite Industrial band?

JA: My favorite band of all time is Skinny Puppy, which is why it was such a mind blowing experience to work with them and be a part of their legacy, all be it by proxy.
HPC: Are you happy?

JA: Most of the time I am. Although I don’t know how much happiness matters in the grand scheme of things. Seems that we put far too much emphasis on “happiness” when it’s so fleeting. I think being “satisfied” is far more important. To that point I’m satisfied in what I’m doing with my life and work right now.

Jason Alacrity on the set for the COMBICHRIST video in Atlanta
Jason Alacrity on the set with Skinny Puppy for the “illiSit” video. Photo courtesy Rhiannon Royse

 

HPC:Is there room in dark underground music for happiness?

JA: God yes. Or at least I’d prefer to think of it as “humor”. Humor is probably the most important element of life and art. Without it things tend to be too “one note”. Its great for movement and texture. Ironic how serious I just sounded talking about humor…the irony!

The ALACRITY performing live in Tokyo, Japan
The ALACRITY performing live in Tokyo, Japan

HPC: Your short film, “ASTRID”, seems to be an important point in your career. How did you decide to make this short film?

JA: I was moving out of an amazing building in downtown LA and was itching to shoot something there before I left. DTLA has a massive homeless population of forgotten people, half of which are suffering from untreated mental illness. So I came up with the idea of telling a story that was a “day in the life” of a girl with a deadly power. A girl that is growing insane under the weight of her power. And I really wanted to melt a face off.

More from the set of COMBICHRIST in Georgia
More from the set for the COMBICHRIST video “My Life, My Rules” in Georgia. Photo by Joe Letz

HPC: Your comic version of “ASTRID” is called, “VESNA”. Can you talk about how you and artist Megan Hutchison decided to make this comic?

JA: I had to change the name to “VESNA” unfortunately because of all the luck another book this year is beating us to the punch with the name. I wrote a feature script for “ASTRID” and it became too expensive to finance. Over a few million dollars, and that’s a bridge too far in terms of independent financing. For me anyway. Megan is a friend of mine that I met on set many moons ago while she was doing art direction for commercials and features. She had just released her book “Will O’ the Wisp” and I was blown away. I had always known she was an amazing art director but I had no idea she was such a talented comic illustrator. Then it hit me, we could make a book, a storyboard essentially and use that to raise money for a feature or TV series. So I showed her the short, pitched her the feature idea and she was in.

The Alacrity at a live performance
The Alacrity at a live performance

HPC: Is “VESNA” a comic or a graphic novel?

JA: Ooo good question. I believe its a graphic novel that thinks it’s a comic book.

HPC: When is “VESNA” expected to come out?

JA: Hopefully by September of this year.

HPC: What is your process like when you’re making a music video for a band like COMBICHRIST?

JA: Every band is different, but with COMBICHRIST, it all begins with an idea from Andy (LaPlegua). For this video he gave me a call and said his idea for the video was simply “I think it should open on a shot of a pile of bloody bodies. Then I crawl out from beneath, covered in blood. I find clothes somewhere, put them on and the blood seeps through the shirt. Then we go and do a performance somewhere. Oh and it should be in black and white.”
He then sends me the song, and I take those ideas and string together a narrative. Try to make a cohesive structure out of it. For this one I had to figure out how we end up with a pile of bodies? So I thought how about a ritual murder. OK cool, what kind? Well we are shooting in Georgia…and then the idea of the snake handlers and faith healers came to me. I then write a script and go back to Andy and he approves it. We work well together, usually on the same page pretty early on.

A page from the comic book, "VESNA" created by Jason Alacrity and Megan Henerson
A page from the comic book, “VESNA” created by Jason Alacrity and  Illustrated by Megan Hutchison

 

HPC: Can you tell us about shooting the “My Life, My Rules” video?

JA: Haha oh should I really answer that? Just kidding, It’s everything you’d think from a COMBICHRIST video. Strippers, drugs, booze, porn stars and dangerous snakes. What people might be surprised about though is how great everyone is. This is my second music video with these guys and everyone is super cool. All the locations we shoot at (this video and the Maggots) are donated for free, and most of the crew and all the talent are friends pitching in. Andy has a great community of friends in Georgia that are always game to pitch in for a video. It’s always a lot fun.

HPC: What is one thing that would surprise our readers to know about you?

JA: I grew up in a tiny farm town in the middle of Iowa. It had one stoplight, and was small you could walk from end to end in 15 minutes.

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

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Celebrated Actor Ford Austin and Actress and Noted Blogger Vida Ghaffari Hosted the Exclusive IberJoya Jewelry Show in Conjunction With Macy’s Topanga

To quote the iconic Marilyn Monroe, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” as celebrated actor Ford Austin of  http://www.actorfordaustin.com (Bosch,Dahmer vs Gacy) and actress and noted fashion blogger Vida Ghaffari (The Mindy Project, Jimmy Kimmel Live, www.soveryvida.com), of “Facebook Live with Ford and Vida”, co-hosted the luxury event of the season, the exclusive IberJoya trunk show at Macy’s Topanga Mall on Sunday, June 12th.


There were coveted gift bags for the VIP guests stocked with beauty products and fragrance samples from Proctor & Gamble’s P&G Prestige Products Line. P&G also had a raffle for a gift basket worth $500 and the winner was actress Holly Fields (The O.C., Jag).

“We were very excited about this partnership between Macy’s Topanga and the Iberjoya jewelry line and we hope to continue this thriving collaboration with Ford and Vida,” says Jon Albert, store manager of Macy’s Topanga.

“I’ve been dreaming of this collaboration with on-air talents Ford and Vida and this Iberjoya show was the perfect opportunity to showcase beautiful jewels with skilled influencers like Ford and Vida,” added a proud Marie-Rose Akiki, Executive Fashion Stylist and Corporate Sales at My Stylist @ MacysTopanga.

“There was a great buzz at this Macy’s surrounding this event and Iberjoya received a very strong social media presence as a result of this popular event,” said Iberjoya sales rep Michael Falvey.

“I had the opportunity to wear almost $200,000 in exquisite Iberjoya jewelry, and I felt like a million bucks. With all the black tie events I’ve attended, I’ve never seen any jewelry line that rivals this line in terms of elegance, style, quality, and sparkle! What a glitzy and momentous way to launch the first event that we co-hosted, which was at our all-time favorite department store Macys,” said an excited event co-host Vida Ghaffari.

Numerous celebrity and other VIP guests attended such as Ford’s wife, Emmy award-winning producer Lauree Dash, Laura T. Sharpe, Founder, Artists For Trauma, Laura Saltman (Correspondent, Producer The Insider, Access Hollywood’s Dish of Salt), actors Hank Garrett (Three Days of the Condor, Car 54, Where are you?), Pej Vahdat (Series Regular on Bones), Lisa Cash (Actress, General Hospital, Model, Maxim St. Patty’s Day girl), Anna Easteden (Actress, Junkie, At the End of Time), Michelle Bernard (Actress, Any Given Sunday, Grease Live!), Rico E. Anderson (Actor, The Fosters, Star Trek: Horizon), Suze LanierBramlett (Actress, Hills Have Eyes, Betrothed), Reatha Grey (Actress, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers, Betrothed), Tyrone Tann (Actor, Filmmaker LavanderiaBlooob, On-Air Host Stauros Entertainment), Alain Washnevsky (Septembers in Shiraz, Scandal), Entertainment attorney Nadia Davari, Legendary Iranian actresses Apick Youssefian(The Keeper: The Legend of Omar Khayyam, Cry of the Village) and her daughter Mary Apick (Homeland, 12 Angry Men and Women), as well as royalty such HRH Prince Emad Zand II (Persian Zand dynasty) architect, luxury interior and jewelry and accessories designer as well as the upper echelon of stylemakers and influencers such as Faith Boutin, managing director of FVM Global Magazine and others were in attendance to show their support.

Iberjoya is one of the leading diamond manufacturers and suppliers in the jewelry industry. Their specialties range from loose diamonds to finished jewelry. With over 50 years in the industry, they pride themselves as being highly innovative and adaptable to any market, allowing them to provide their customers with the best possible value.

Macy’s, established in 1858, is the Great American Department Store – an iconic retailing brand over 740 stores operating coast-to-coast and online. Macy’s Westfield Topanga Plaza offers a first class selection of top fashion brands including Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, CliniqueEstee Lauder & Levis. In addition to shoes and clothing, Macy’s has a wide variety of housewares, gifts and furniture.

Macy’s also had a private shopping sale from 3 to 8 pm and at macys.com where customers got an additional 30% off on select regular, sale and clearance clothing and jewelry. They also got an extra 20% off of select regular, sale and clearance home items and watches, an extra 10% off of select regular, sale and clearance electrics/electronics.

Actors Ford Austin and Vida Ghaffari bring their knowledge, wit and candor to “Live with Ford and Vida!” Ford is a celebrated actor and filmmaker who is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio and a SAG convention delegate. More info at  http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1284939/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1 Vida is also a noted voice over artist and blogger with So Very Vida. More info at http://www.imdb.me/vidaghaffari More info about “Live with Ford and Vida” at https://www.facebook.com/LiveWithFordAndVida/

Photos courtesy of Albert L. Ortega/Gettyimages, Guillermo Proano/PR Photos and Bob Delgadillo/WENN

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

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Don’t miss the premier of Animal Kingdom on TNT Tuesday, June 14th

Tuesday, June 14 is the premier of TNT’s Animal Kingdom, a bold new drama starring Emmy® and Tony® winner Ellen Barkin (Sea of Love, This Boy’s Life, Ocean’s Thirteen), Scott Speedman (The Strangers, The Vow), Shawn Hatosy (Southland, Reckless), Ben Robson (Vikings, Dracula: The Dark Prince), Jake Weary (Pretty Little Liars, It Follows), Finn Cole (Peaky Blinders, An Inspector Calls), Daniella Alonso (Revolution) and Molly Gordon (Love the Coopers, Ithaca).

Scott Speedman (Barry "Baz" Blackwell) and Daniella Alonzo (Catherine)
Scott Speedman (Barry “Baz” Blackwell) and Daniella Alonzo (Catherine)

The series centers on 17-year-old Joshua “J” Cody (Cole), who moves in with his freewheeling relatives in their Southern California beach town after his mother dies of a heroin overdose. Heading up the family is J’s estranged grandmother, Janine “Smurf” Cody (Barkin), whom he’s been shielded from for years. She is orbited by Baz (Speedman), her relatively level-headed right-hand man whom she adopted when he was a teenager; Smurf’s eldest son, the quietly menacing, mentally disturbed Pope (Hatosy), who has just gotten out of prison; her tough, hyperactive, recreational drug-using middle son, Craig (Robson); and the troubled and suspicious Deran (Weary), the “baby” of the family. Also prominent are Nicky Belmont (Gordon), J’s steady girlfriend, and Catherine Ortiz (Alonso), Baz’s de facto wife and the mother of their 4-year-old daughter, Lena.

Finn Cole (Joshua "J" Cody)
Finn Cole (Joshua “J” Cody)

On Wednesday, June 8th the show’s creators threw a screening bash that was equal to the party level the characters on the show are notorious for hosting.

Ben Robinson (Craig Cody)
Ben Robinson (Craig Cody)

The screening kicked off with a red carpet photo opportunity and was immediately followed up with a celebration at the The Rose Room in Venice Beach. Finger food, beer and wine were offered as Animal Kingdom played on the televisions throughout the restaurant as well as in a large screening room with plenty of seats for everyone to enjoy. The crowd was filled with actors, producers, friends and show contributors and sponsors.

Outside the screening
Outside the screening

After the screening, the party moved to a beautiful outdoor venue behind the restaurant. As you entered the party, you walked threw a room set up like a jewelry store that had been robbed. Glass cases were shattered and all but a few jewelry items were missing. Leather gloves were thrown askew throughout the room, a few biker helmets were left behind, and a true sense that a heist had just taken place was evident.

On the exterior, where the party took place, the DJ was backed up by a drummer, making for a rich musical experience. The bars packed with people who seemed more like long time friends as opposed to co-workers. Photo booths, photographers, mini movie makers and other fun and playful entertainment was sprinkled throughout the party. The center piece of the event was a life sized skate park with boarders and bikers wowing the crowd with their incredible stunts.

John Wells, Executive Producer
John Wells, Executive Producer

The production level and talent on this show is unequaled, and it is sure to be an instant hit. Cast and crew have put 110% into this one, and the comradery among the co-workers is a so apparent it makes the family aspect on the show completely believable. This is a show that will be on everyone’s watch list this summer.


Judy Hansen Pullos

Judy Hansen Pullos

Judy is a journalist and photographer. She lives in Southern California.

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The 80’s are Alive and Well and Living at Ultimate Jam Night at the Whisky A Go-Go

The Ultimate Jam crew brought us back into the major era of rock and roll on Tuesday night at the Whisky. Singing songs from the 80’s and dressing in shimmering gold Lamé, each and every performer gave 110% and transported the audience back three decades, to a time that fashion forgot!

photo by Judy Hansen Pullos
Paulie Z and company leading the crowd. photo by Judy Hansen Pullos

Paulie Z did not disappoint with his ensemble of tacky 80’s garb. The only thing missing on him was a “business up front, party in the back” hair style. Even his glasses were perfectly chosen to match his technicolor wardrobe.

Singing Blondie
Singing Blondie, photo by Judy Hansen Pullos

This week the ladies came out in full force with their diva rock style and stage presence. Their energy and intensity was devoured by the crowd and the Whisky was rocking without stopping.

photo by Judy Hansen Pullos
The 80s look was alive and well at the Whisky on Tuesday night. photo by Judy Hansen Pullos

This Tuesday night at the Whisky A Go-Go in West Hollywood seemed more like a raging party of good friends and talented musicians than a spectator’s event. Everyone got involved, performers and audience alike. It was an Ultimate 80’s Jam to be remembered for another three decades!

Matt Starr
Matt Starr, photo by Judy Hansen Pullos

Judy Hansen Pullos

Judy Hansen Pullos

Judy is a journalist and photographer. She lives in Southern California.

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Voices Out Fundraiser

Tonight, there is a black tie gala event in Los Angeles on Friday June 3rd, 2016 at the swanky Olympic Collection at 11301 West Olympic Blvd, #204  from 9:00pm-1:00am

Shani and Andy and a much loved 4 legged friend
Shani and Andy and a much loved 4 legged friend

Proceeds will go to the Voices Out charity created by celebrated International Recording Artist, Producer, Actor, Writer and Activist  Shani Rigsbee and her husband, legendary artist Andy Madadian, aka the “Prince of Persia” or the “Persian Elvis.”

The mission of Voices Out is to provide a voice and aid children and animals in neglectful, abusive and abandoned conditions as well as assist and provide programs with long term solutions for their welfare.

In addition to Shani and Andy, celebrities expected are Celebrities expected: La Toya Jackson, Master P, Mohamed Hadid (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), Shiva Safai, Lilly Ghalichi (Reality TV / Social Media Personality) and many others.

Come Enjoy a Spectacular Night of…

Full Bar and Appetizers ,Surprise Performers
Comedy ,Magic, Showgirls, Celebrities, Backgammon Lounges,DJ and Dancing, and a Silent and Live Auction. Valet parking will be provided. More info at http://voicesout.org/

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

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Epic Blues at the Maui Sugar Mill, presented by #1 Blues Promoter Cadillac Zack

It was a truly EPIC talent extravaganza at Cadillac Zack’s Monday Night Blues Party at the Maui Sugar Mill in Tarzana. There was so much talent all on stage at one time. It was a music lover’s dream come true, and the fans were pouring in the door as the night rolled on.

The Bad Jone's lead singer Jesse Ray
The Bad Jones’s  lead singer Jesse Ray.  Photo courtesy of Judy Hansen Pullos

The opening band was The Bad Jones, formerly known as Soul Pie, from the San Francisco Bay Area. They were sporting Golden State Worriers paraphernalia as the SF basketball team clinched the playoffs on the bar’s TV’s in the background while the Bad Jones rocked their bluesy tunes.

DSC_1111
Monday Night Blues legends at the Maui Sugar Mill. From left to right; Jimmy Vivino guitar, Michael Leasure drums, Michael Be Holden bass and Duane Betts guitar. Photo by Judy Hansen Pullos at the Hollywood Press Corps

Shortly after the opening band concluded, the small Sugar Mill stage came alive again with so many blues legends it was hard to stay focused. On the guitars: musical director of the Conan O’Brien Show, Jimmy Vivino and blues royalty Duane Betts. On drums: Michael Leasure of the Walter Trout Band. On bass: Michael Be Holden formerly of the Buddy Miles Band. On harp: Jimmy Powers who has played with nearly everyone imaginable.

The infamous Jimmy Powers Photo courtesy of Judy Hansen Pullos
The infamous Jimmy Powers
Photo courtesy of Judy Hansen Pullos

Just as the party was in full swing, “The Voice” finalist Laaith Al Saadi joined in and showed us why he killed it on the popular television show. Backed up by Johnny Stachela and Duane Betts on guitars, Michael Leasure on drums and local favorite Michael Be Holden on bass.

“The Voice” finalist Laaith Al Saadi Photo Courtesy of Judy Hansen Pullos
“The Voice” finalist Laaith Al Saadi
Photo Courtesy of Judy Hansen Pullos

This was an unbelievable night at the Maui Sugar Mill. Cadillac Zack has once again proven why he is the best blues promoter in the Los Angeles area.


Judy Hansen Pullos

Judy Hansen Pullos

Judy is a journalist and photographer. She lives in Southern California.

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