It’s Been a Year

OMG it has been a year that I have not published a blog. Not that it hasn’t been on my mind. A lot has been on my mind. Big thoughts. The big picture. Why am I here? What is my contribution to humanity? What is a feasible route to professional fulfillment? What kinds of things am I willing to put up with in my life and what is ripe for a change?

One thing I know for sure is that change, growth and progress will not happen unless I MAKE it happen. We can manifest what we truly invest our energy and heart in. I have to know what I want, say it out loud and acknowledge it, and then take steps to achieve it. “Name It and Claim It” as my friend Shane Kelly would say.

If Cultural Exchange is important to me (and it is), then I have to reach out and make that happen. If singing is important to me (and it is) I must reach out for bookings. If making a good living is important to me (and it has to be) I have to say ‘no’ to the jobs that take too much time for the amount they pay.

My time is limited. I’ve finally got that.

That ‘death thing’ that happens to us all will also eventually happen to me. (not any time soon but it will). As it has happened to EVERY HUMAN THAT EVER LIVED ON THIS PLANET.

The human race has succeeded in making such immense progress because we have learned from those who came before us. Whether it is the family recipe for tomato sauce or how to remove a spot from a shirt, we all learn and invent things during our lives; skills that we pass on to those younger than us. And so the vast body of knowledge and know-how that has created our world has accumulated, been written down, videotaped, demonstrated and replicated.

Education, it turns out, has saved the human race from having to start over every generation to invent a sharp enough tool to cut the flesh of a wild animal. We instead can build on the expertise of others, to make our lives better. And very complex.

Now of course the flip side — the invention of means of destruction. Yes, we’ve passed on that expertise, too.

So, I’m in this phase of re-tooling, trying to better educate myself on how to take the next steps in my relentless journey towards meaning. I’ll keep you posted better this year. 🙂

A shot from the DVD, Like A Bridge, my magnum opus that just keeps on teaching me.

A shot from the DVD, Like A Bridge, my magnum opus that just keeps on teaching me.


3 Days to Yoshi’s

Lua Hadar Blog

September 27, 2013

3 days to Yoshi’s

if you see a woman all dressed up and schlepping, that’s the singer.


I cannot believe that I have the presence to SIT DOWN AND WRITE SOMETHING three days out from singing at Yoshi’s, but this is what is going on and it seems to be what I need to do and what I feel like doing. It’s only happening because the Giants are playing, so I’m grateful to them.


It’s rosy twilight twenty miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge and there is silence except for the refrigerator and the clicking of my nails on the keyboard. I’m feeling exceptionally blessed when just two days ago I felt I was swimming in worries.


Here’s how my day ran today, and don’t get me wrong! it was a good day; this is a day in the life of a so-called ‘independent performing artist,” like many in this city and this country and this world.


I’m grateful that I am preparing to sing at the holy grail of jazz clubs, Yoshi’s, this Monday night.



I’m not suggesting anyone would actually care what time things happen but I think it is a slice of life.

 So, yeah, here’s how this day ran:


8:00 am with large espresso: I do Buddhist chanting at my desk to conquer the creeping negativity in my mind, and launch into  emailing close friends asking them to do me a favor and recommend my show to someone they know or share to social media. Bless them, they respond!  I’m panicking about ticket sales for a Monday night in Oakland.


8:40 am: I connect with my friend-who’s-so-close-he’s-like-a-brother who has just arrived at SFO from Pittsburgh. The one in Pennsylvania. I can scarcely think of anyone who I’d invite to attend the band rehearsal and stay at our house the night before Yoshi’s. But he’s like a brother.


9:20 am: I call the magician dressmaker. I’m wondering if I should change what I’m wearing. Feeling insecure about that little black dress. Chic but maybe not enough. Could she do an emergency hem on something I’ve excavated from my closet? Yes, she can. 11:30.


11:00 am: After shoving vitamins and a slice of ham in my mouth (low carb breakfast) washing my hair and gathering my postcards and posters, I race to San Francisco, listening in the car to my rehearsal tracks – the new songs I’ve been learning all month with Jason Martineau for this show. One in Portuguese, one in French, one in Italian. Several more in English that have only been rarely done by us. Jamming.


11:30 am Dammit I’m late. From the car I text friend-brother to meet me for lunch on 24th Street and Sanchez at 12:15. I call magician dressmaker and its still ok at 11:45.


11:45 am Magician dressmaker pins a radical hem on my purple velvet gown. We try to envision how it will be, pin, discuss, change. She will turn it around if I get back before her sewing class of young girls arrives at 2.


12:15 pm Lunch with friend-brother who has flown in from Pittsburgh to see me, the show, life. Catch up. We pick up where we left off last year, as if it were yesterday. It’s always like this.


1:40 pm Having devoured a massive salad with steak on it and an eggs florentine, we have the energy to trot back up 24th Street to the magician dressmaker who has indeed done her magic. But it needs an adjustment. The kids for the class are coming. A phone call arrives. The kids are late. They’re all together. They’re all late. I thank the universe.


2:10 pm Adjustment made. Good to go. I have something to wear at Yoshi’s that I feel good about. This is huge. I drop friend-brother in the Castro with a stack of postcards and go off to Oakland to put posters and postcards in music stores.


4:00 pm Having made friends at a couple of music stores, I drop in at Yoshi’s. I’ve received an email from the box office manager about a table for my video director, who is – may the Gods smile on him – attending with a group. But I haven’t heard if my videos play correctly on Yoshi’s screen or if they need to be in a different format. This is beginning to worry me.


4:30 pm I’ve taken a photo of Yoshi’s marquis and I check in with both the box office manager and the tech person, who’s in the middle of setting up and sound checking a very big band. He is still cordial to me and stops to update me. I leave more postcards.


5:00 pm  Perfect. Friday afternoon rush hour when there’s a Giants game. I’m sitting in it, but at least I’m finally moving slow enough to navigate my rehearsal tracks on the iPhone. So I sing along, trying to memorize the pattern of the Italian one, remember all the words in the French story song, and pronounce Portuguese like Tom Jobim.


And now night has fallen in Paradise and the crickets are louder than the refrigerator. 

The only light in the room is this screen and the keyboard that illuminates my clicking nails.


The dress is solved, I’ve at least connected with the tech man, and the box office manager was really sweet. The songs are beginning to stick in my head. Maybe it’s the low carb diet but I feel clearer. Or the feeling of friends around me.


Tomorrow I put all the music together into books.

Communicate with the French documentary maker who is coming.

Pack the DVDs and CDs up in the sales kit.

Write the checks and the love notes.

Make the dinner for the rehearsal.

Decide on jewelry.



I always say, if you see a woman all dressed up and schlepping, that’s the singer. It’s her gig.


And if only doing all this constituted a living, I’d be satisfied.




Slow Down and Chew: a cultural exchange odyssey in pictures

(slideshow at the bottom)

Since my first stolen kiss with an Italian bellhop at the age of 15, I knew cultural exchange was for me.

Ten years later, as an aspiring NY actor moonlighting in the travel business, I’d hop on a plane at a moment’s notice. I loved flexing my cultural muscles, meeting people on trains, trotting out my languages, trying to pass for anything but American.

When these cross-cultural encounters connected to theatre and music, I became rapturous. This happened for the first time when I performed in Russia with a college theatre troupe, entering a world that later provided an opportunity to tour in Italian Theatre for Youth for five years.

I collected masks from many countries, expressing my fascination with theatre, dance and story.  Folk music in different languages filled my shelves. I learned a mask dance in Bali, heard the koto in Japan, sat in on a mixing session in Milano.

In the last ten years, I’ve been blessed with opportunities to sing in Italy, France and Thailand. Equally as important as the music have been the chances to befriend the people: to talk and eat and drink together. To understand, even across a conversation fractured by language, that values are held in common, that unity across cultures is possible.

I thirst for these moments. This yearning has manifested in my “magnum opus,” (which I say with a wry smile) Like A Bridge: a live studio concert in seven languages and a documentary — the creation of which involved songwriters and performers from Madagascar and South Africa to Japan, France, Brazil and beyond.

The gift of our middle years is to realize that we do not have forever to do what we want to do. The circle of life continues relentlessly and the loss of dear ones makes me even more determined to connect to those far away who matter much to me.

Thus, seven weeks ago, I embarked on a journey long delayed. An Odyssey, both professional and personal. To not only see those friends and colleagues spread over three countries in Europe, but also to discover new places I had not seen before, to adventure, but no longer in my swashbuckling youthful style, more quietly.

Years of stress built up, I had resolved to SLOW DOWN AND CHEW – and this I did. Not all the news was good with friends. Some were happy, some had conquered problems, some were dealing with them. Some had experienced loss and pain.

But this journey of the heart and mind has refreshed my spirit. And I am so grateful.

If you want to see the story in pictures, including footage of our show in Paris, please enjoy the slideshow, underscored by three selections from the Like A Bridge project:

Scriabin Etude in D# Minor; arranged by Jason Martineau

San Francisco, by Maxime Le Forestier

Beyond the Sea/La Mer by Charles Trenet

You’ll hear:

In addition to the French vocals, Jason Martineau on piano, Dan Feiszli on bass, Celso Alberti on drums, Ian Dogole on udu (San Francisco) and Dave Miotke on jazz accordion (La Mer).

You’ll see:


Singing at a book signing at Villa Veritas, owned by descendants of Dante Alighieri

Singing at the reunion of theatre performers and arts administrators


Reunion with producers of the Festival of the Shaman and the Showman, Nini Giacomelli and Bibi Bertelli, at the Centro Culturale Teatro Camuno


Reunion with Grammy-nominated musician John Serry.


Rehearsal and Performance at the Swan Bar with Sheldon Forrest and Albin Suffys

Exclusive footage of the Paris Gay Pride Parade

Fête de la Musique on June 21

Renowned underground music cave Chez Georges, which featured our CD, Like A Bridge

The new American Musical Theatre Live in Paris

Author and man-about-town Terrance Gelenter


with special thanks to my partner Hamilton Everts


Cultural Exchange with theatre company Les Chantiers de L’Inédit and bassist Albin Suffys

Footage of Venice, Milano, Barcelona, Granada, Andalusia, the Burgundy, Beaujolais and Provence regions of France, Arles, Luzern and Zurich, Switzerland, and Tina Turner’s Wedding as seen from the Lake of Zurich.

My Reality Check Bounced


Cherry BlossomsIt is fully spring in our little town north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate. The cherry trees are in the full burst of Sakura and every day the rose bushes, cut back severely in January, look taller and stronger. They’ve made it through the winter, and so have I.

My Reality Check Bounced

My Reality Check Bounced

Sitting in Candace Forest’s kitchen after a session with an entertainment lawyer and a contract, Candy pulls this cocktail napkin out and we both laugh hysterically in the knowledge that this is true.

I’m in the throes of a big shift.

Readers of this blog may remember that almost 4 months ago in January I vowed to be like Athena, forging on to handle the tough stuff, the legal and organizational underpinning of what’s apparently necessary to get a DVD out into the world.

Like A Bridge

Like A Bridge

Yeah.  This is a major reality check:  I am required to be not only a publicist and producer, but also to understand the legal and financial ramifications of licensing and distribution.  Who bargained for this? If you are an independent artist, you get to do this too.

Face of woman whose reality check is bouncing.

OY VEY. This is not my cup of tea.

But I tell you, there comes a time when you just need to get some expertise on your team and then you can sleep nights! I will never underestimate the need of a trusted entertainment lawyer.

Then there is the big reality check of doing your taxes (do not underestimate the need of a trusted accountant) when one can deeply appreciate the cost of having created the product.

And do not underestimate the need for a trusted financial advisor to salvage what’s left so you don’t end up on the street.

Lua with Twist at Yoshi's - Curtain Call

Lua with Twist at Yoshi’s – Curtain Call

It was right about then, with big plans in my head for Twist, I had the realization that I had to put  Studio NPG on hold and use its space a little differently for a while. I’m happy to say a new studio mate is arriving to join Allison Lovejoy and I’m sure you’ll be hearing from them.

Billy-ElliotBecause I’m going on tour. Reality check: full time teaching on the road with a Broadway show, as a studio teacher to lots of kids – a responsibility and  NO KITCHEN.  I have many food intolerances.

Let’s Eat Home has taken on a new meaning. So I’m stocking up on gluten free instant oatmeal and rice cakes, packing vitamins and teaching materials. Talk about a change of reality!

with Nini Giacomelli

with Nini Giacomelli

Susanna Mariotti with me in Sausalito several years ago. Haven't seen her since

Susanna Mariotti with me in Sausalito several years ago. Haven’t seen her since

Verona, friends old and new

Verona, friends old and new

And then, my friends, with my hard-won frequent flyer miles, I am going to Italy and France and Switzerland to hug those who have known me since another time.

Paris_Eiffel_TowerAnd spend my birthday amidst the all-night French national festival of music making, La Fête de la Musique.

Swan Bar, June 29, 2013

Swan Bar, June 29, 2013

And sing a concert in Paris with my dear friend Sheldon Forrest and my dear friend Albin Suffys.

Studio NPG Music Pary

Studio NPG Music Pary

So Studio NPG, our classes, music parties and salon concerts, will be on hold for now. While, for my producing company, New Performance Group, “anywhere I hang my hat is home.”

Keep checking in.


If you know what’s good for you, then do it.

2013 New Year’s Blog – “If you know what’s good for you, then do it.”

AH! Finally got over to the right side of the brain with my nails short enough to type, to begin to articulate what has been percolating in me, and what I intend to do about it.

Like A Bridge

Like A Bridge

Having climbed my own personal mountain in 2012, I start 2013 again looking up from the bottom of yet another mountain. One which I don’t have a particular appetite for scaling, but one which is necessary if I am to bring to fruition a project that is an expression of all my years attempting to define myself through the arts.

Recording at Fantasy Studios in Feb.2012

Recording at Fantasy Studios in Feb.2012




Just about a year ago I was getting ready to record the project of a lifetime. Self-produced. In a year, I went from having a vague and naïve vision of what would be involved all the way into the deep trenches of finance, technology, manufacture and working relationships. I learned many lessons, as always, the hard way.

I need a staff

I need a staff

And thus I have become an (unwilling) independent producer.



Having realized years ago that waiting for somebody to ‘produce me’ would be fruitless, I had the fortune to work with Candace (Candy) Forest as a co-producer since 2005. She has mentored me in collaboration as I have learned on the job.

Co-Producer Candace Forest

Co-Producer Candace Forest




It has been a shock learning how much one really has to do and how much CAN be done in an industry that is way more open then it was when I was a kid. For those who persevere. I say that as a reminder to myself.


So, here’s what happened:


On the advice of respected voices in the entertainment business, I had decided to make a live recording. This means going back to the original style of recording where everybody is in the same room playing together, as opposed to in isolation booths. It is less clean and more exciting. You have a few tries to get it right and a little editing that can be done afterwards. But the pressure is on to get it right live.

Can't remember the words in Malagasy - writing cue cards for myself

Can’t remember the words in Malagasy – writing cue cards for myself

Having decided that, I naïvely said to Candy, ‘Well, let’s make a video too.’ Ha-ha.


We sought the advice of my partner Hamilton’s old buddy, Lawrence Jordan, who directed Tony Bennett and a million more. To our delight and shock, he offered to direct the project pro bono. The bar went up and so did the budget, as we planned a 5-camera broadcast quality shoot.


Meantime, on a personal level, I was experiencing the effects of as-yet-unidentified food intolerances, including for gluten, and was beginning to undergo a transformation due to radical changes in diet. Just to survive and feel ok. I mention this because it was, and continues to be, part of an overall transformation that is underway.


The lotus blooms and seeds simultaneously; it is a symbol for what we can achieve AS SOON AS we put our minds to it.

The lotus blooms and seeds simultaneously; it is a symbol for what we can achieve AS SOON AS we put our minds to it.

An important part of this transformation is my Nichiren Buddhist chanting, which is where I turn when I feel daunted, as I often do. This Buddhism says that we can all become Buddhas in this lifetime and that we will grow spiritually as we react with bravery, compassion and wisdom to the challenges of our lives.

The long and short of it is that my motto for this year has GOT to be: “If you know what’s good for you, then do it.” I cannot ALLOW myself to drop the ball now, and I must admit, I feel daunted.


A year ago, January 2012, and we were still scouting locations, having already learned too much the hard way and understanding that we needed somebody REALLY TECHNICAL on board to reality check what we needed. My partner reluctantly takes on the role and becomes the lynchpin in communications between the providers of equipment/personnel and the director. His contribution is integral and this is the first time we have worked together like this in our 14-year relationship. It’s complicated, as they say. And ultimately very rewarding.

This is what it looks like when you bring a 5-camera shoot into a recording studio. Nuts!

This is what it looks like when you bring a 5-camera shoot into a recording studio. Nuts!


I’m working like a nutcase, worried about my health and finances, stressed, and the shoot is scheduled for February 18-19, 2012, at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, where many idols, including Bill Evans, recorded. Everyone thinks that the shooting schedule is too ambitious and no one REALLY knows if we will be able to PULL OFF what I have envisioned: to record enough  material in 2 days to make a CD and a concert DVD. My co-producer is sick and cannot get well because she is working too hard and I feel very guilty about this but cannot get through the recording without her ears. The schedule will not permit me to hear back the takes, so I have to trust that if she says it is a ‘buy take’ then we move on to the next song. That is TRUST.


Between takes at Fantasy Studios

Between takes at Fantasy Studios

So, after an immense technical setup, we’re finally in Fantasy and I’ve never done this kind of video recording before and am juggling right and left brain tasks, performing the song, remembering the words in 7 different languages, working with the director, music director, crew, crying with joy and wonder that we are actually doing this. We do it. Fairly serenely. I’m triumphant and transformed. I continue paying bills for the rest of the year.


Yoshi’s calls. I’m transformed again. We play there, scrambling to get an audience in 2 ½ weeks.

Lua with Twist at Yoshi's - Curtain Call

Lua with Twist at Yoshi’s – Curtain Call

We mix and manufacture the CD, create the photos and designs to visually speak what is musically inside. This would not have happened without the artistry of both photographer Kingmond Young and graphic designer Paige Smith.



Somethin' Jazz Club NYC

Somethin’ Jazz Club NYC

We do CD Release performances in NY and in the Bay Area. I’m hustling audience attendance relentlessly.

They go well and I am relieved. I’m exhausted and can’t wait for a rest.

Which I do not get.


Summer 2012 arrives and I am at the beginning of another mountain, but I again naïvely do not see how high it is. I am under the impression that, because our video director called a “live switch” between the cameras as we recorded, the editing will be fast and cheap, and I’ll be able to produce the DVD in time to go to Europe in the early fall and get back for the DVD release in November. HA-HA-HA! WAS I WRONG!


I came to appreciate all that goes into creating not only the actual edited video, but also the navigation, the way it looks, the technical requirements, the manufacture and the packaging.


Picking up the DVDs

Picking up the DVDs

Having become an Accidental Film Producer I also learned how to produce a homegrown premiere in a movie house.

Entering the Balboa Theater for the Movie Premiere of   Like A Bridge.

Entering the Balboa Theater for the Movie Premiere of Like A Bridge.

In Blu ray, with a limo-searchlight-photo shoot, the whole band and many attendees.


Twist in the lobby of the historic Balboa Movie Theater at the Premiere of Like A Bridge

Twist in the lobby of the historic Balboa Movie Theater at the Premiere of Like A Bridge



Now in January 2013, I find myself once again at the bottom of a mountain, as I said at the beginning of this.



HOW WILL I GET THE MESSAGE OF WORLD UNITY that I see and feel, the message I tried to convey in the DVD, out to the people I want to have hear it??

New Year's 2013 Tarot

New Year’s 2013 Tarot

I gave myself a Tarot Reading on New Year’s Day, just before my partner and I walked out onto a beach upstate to hear a spontaneous bagpipe concert. The guy walked out onto the beach, unpacked the pipes from a suitcase, and proceeded to play nonstop for 20 minutes, ending with Auld Lang Syne, as we watched the relentless waves and the kids playing on the beach. It was a blessing of death and rebirth, closing a holiday season and a year that were not lacking for examples of that theme.


The beach with the bagpiper

The beach with the bagpiper

The Tarot told me, among many things, that I need to invoke the ‘Athena’ part of my nature now. Athena, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom, would be great at all the legal, financial, and organizational tasks I have before me right now. The ones it is so hard to face, but the ones whose lack will betray everything I have worked for so far.


Athena, Greek Goddess of Wisdom

Athena, Greek Goddess of Wisdom

SO WISH ME LUCK as I go forward to the plan to get non-profit fiscal sponsorship for The Bridges Project, book residencies and performances for the band, learn about DVD distribution, and sort out last year’s taxes.

I’m telling you that only the Buddhist chanting will get me through it; that, and actually DOING IT.


“If you know what’s good for you, then do it.”


What I’ve got to GET is that this applies as much to all that ‘Athena work’ as it applies to keeping gluten out of my body.

Stay tuned.

Do not remove eyelashes until 4am

Blog, Nov 16, 2012

Disoriented. Went to bed at 4am, got up at 8am. Had a dream I recorded a concert then made a movie. Dreamt I was riding in a limo that kept making K turns, took pictures in front of a theater holding the hand of a small Japanese girl. Woke up and it was true.

Lua Hadar with band Twist, (and mascot) entering the Balboa Theater for the Premiere of their movie last night, Like A Bridge. Photo by Kingmond Young

Gotta hand it to the Balboa Theater. As an accidental rookie indie filmmaker, I completely appreciated this historic theater’s staff and philosophy. They kept it simple, worked with my kookie vision of a mock-Hollywood launch to a movie I didn’t realize I was making until very recently. (And I’ve been at it all year.)

The plan was, rent a searchlight and a limo and a red carpet. Get the photographer who has been photographing not only this project as it developed all year long; the one whose creative guidance, good taste and sense of fun has been a guiding light since 2003, Kingmond Young.

Invite the crew and basically the entire Bay Area.

Then, get a team to pull off the vision. Ah-ha! That’s the important one. Someone fabulously classy at Will Call. Someone with kid glove leadership to wrangle the audience. Someone with experience to sell the merchandise. Folks to pour wine. And an army of assistants.

Load the car with  a case of wine, 150 cups, signage, posters, postcards, and CDs.

Remember to glue your eyelashes on in the right direction.

Get the band to the theater, in jackets, and into the limo. Very challenging, but thanks to smart phones, feasible.

Get the co-producer with the velvet whip to tell us when to go and stop and take a picture and pack up.

Pray to the Gods that it does not rain.

Flip out when you get to the theater with your father’s best friend’s daughter, to see the searchlights beaming all over the night sky and your name on the marquis. Get the team to help you schlep in the stuff that’s in your car.

Ask your photographer how your makeup looks. Try to remember to fix what he tells you to fix instead of getting distracted with the fact that you were supposed to be handling the food order for the band after the show.  And where IS the cellist???

Laugh with joy to see the audience crowding the sidewalk with cameras, having as much fun as you are. Laugh and pose with musicians you adore and revere.

Enjoy the trot up the very short red carpet, holding the hand of a small Japanese girl, daughter of the koto player, in one hand, and a red and black boa in the other.

Introduce the movie you didn’t know you were making and the director without whom it would never have happened. Forget to tell the audience that they are to see first a documentary and then a concert. Forget to introduce your co-producer, then fix it later.

Try to forget you have screened this umpteen times while you are watching it, and remove your focus from every vocal idiosyncrasy you wish you could have fixed.

Take in the fact that you have, amazingly, pulled this thing off.

Kiss everybody, pay the theater rental, get to the restaurant last, of course, late. Enjoy being with your band and telling stories in secret, because you are the only party in the restaurant. After all, it is 10pm on a weeknight in San Francisco. Miss your hometown that never sleeps.

Do not remove your eyelashes until 4am.

Wake up and figure out what comes next.

The Accidental Film Producer

Hallelujah, Baby! The DVDs are DONE! I can hardly believe it.

A little over a year ago, blithely, I said, “well, as long as we are going to record the new CD live, why don’t we make a video, too?” HA HA HA

Little did I know what that comment could imply, what JOURNEY (OMG I hate that word – perhaps PILGRIMAGE would do) that would take me on, HOW STEEP the learning curve would be, JUST HOW MANY things you can DO to a video AND HOW MUCH THEY COST, how to establish working relationships and share information. AND ALL THE POSSIBLE THINGS THAT CAN GO WRONG.

YES, I have survived ALL THIS! 🙂

Yesterday, I picked up the finished DVD’s from a highly competent Bay Area manufacturer, Isomedia. My contacts there, Greg and Charmaine, had been immensely patient with the production calendar, a barrage of questions and requests, changes, and even a petite freak out (mine) just the other day. They are HEROS! As well as their technical associate, Kevin Lu.

Also heroic have been my Editors at InVision Productions in San Rafael. Andy Neddermeyer and Elaine Trotter have really put all their creativity, technical knowledge and research into creating the best possible product at the highest quality, putting me also in touch with Acme Posts and DVD authoring guru Dave Smith, bringing in resources of many kinds (including the amazing Vince De Quattro, who helped design the main motion menu, when I didn’t even know what that was), and teaching me the ropes of how a DVD is constructed.

In this process, I could not have succeeded without the creative and unbelievably responsive Paige Smith, who not only did a fabulous job of creating our branding graphic, the CD cover and the DVD cover, but ALSO (who knew we’d need this?) created graphics for the menus and the splash page of the DVD.

At a certain point, our Director Lawrence Jordan, who has really become a mentor to me through this whole process (did HE know what he was in for??) said, “who is going to do the Q & C?”  “Duh, what’s that?” responded I, and he told me it stands for Quality and Control. You need a super-techie to do this, a person who has the equivalent of X-Ray vision and hearing, to look at and listen to the product and make sure that the best possible technical specs are in place. Where was I going to get somebody like that? This isn’t Hollywood. That person was none other than my Music Director Jason Martineau, who is an equally fabulous geek.

And when we needed extra footage of this, or a cameraman for that, or research on such-and-such, my partner Hamilton Everts was there, as Technical Producer of the live recording event, as cameraman for the interview that became the philosophical structure for the project, and in so many other ways.

And who has kept me sane throughout this process that can drive anyone insane? Candace Forest, my co-producer, who, even through the months she was back east caring for her mother, kept up on the dramas and trials of my video production saga, all through the summer. When she came back to the Bay Area in the fall, it was just in time to hold my hand on final decisions, help me get the Premiere venue nailed down, and help to spearhead PR.

Talk about “it takes a village.” And I, in the process, have become an Accidental Film Producer, learning every single thing the hard way, as I always seem to, but at least surrounded by teachers. When we decided that it was going to premiere in a movie theater instead of showing excerpts at a live performance, I finally got it that I had — with a team of dozens — created an independent – dare I say it? film.

Next challenge: how do I sell this thing?

Picking up the DVDs yesterday; I couldn’t believe it!