Archive for the ‘Season 5’ Category

Christian Kane: Biography

30 January 2012 Leave a comment

Christian Kane – Biography

Christian was born in Dallas, Texas and, with his family, moved around before finally settling in Norman, Oklahoma where he attended University. When he wasn’t studying, Christian could be found nurturing his love for the entertainment industry by performing in clubs.

He eventually set off for L.A. and here worked behind the scenes before landing his first TV role. Christian appeared as Lindsey McDonald, a lawyer at Wolfram and Hart in the very first episode of Angel. When the producers decided to enhance the theme of the evil law firm, Christian came back and, despite his dislike of wearing suits, became a recurring character throughout the first two seasons of the show. When creator Joss Whedon, asked him to come back for what would be Angel’s final season, Christian was reluctant as first, but Joss assured him the role would be much different than before and he agreed.

Since Angel ended, Christian has continued working, starring in Steven Spielberg’s western mini-series, ‘Into the West’, and appearing in several films, tow of which are due out this year. As well as all this, Christian has been performing and recording with his band, Kane, who recently won New Country Star Band of the year and Star of the year for 2006.

Christian can currently be seen in TNT’s successful drama, Leverage, which is currently filming it’s fourth season.


Christian originally auditioned for the role of Riley Finn on Buffy.

Chris went on to appear in ‘Summer Catch’ alongside Marc Blucas, who got the role of Buffy’s Season Four love interest, Riley, and Freddie Prinze Jnr – Sarah Michelle Gellar’s real life boyfriend (now husband).

Other than lead, David Boreanaz, Christian is the only actor to appear in the first and last episodes of Angel.


Charisma Carpenter: News

21 January 2012 2 comments

Charisma Carpenter – NEWS


10 Jan: Charisma to Reprise Her Role in The Expendables 2 

Charisma Carpenter Talks The Lying Game, Haunted High and Buffy with Collider

3 January 2012 Leave a comment

Charisma Carpenter Talks THE LYING GAME, HAUNTED HIGH, and the BUFFY Remake

by Christina Radish Posted: December 28th, 2011

When the ABC Family drama series The Lying Game returns on January 2nd, actress Charisma Carpenter (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) will be a recurring guest star as Char’s (Kirsten Prout) aunt, Anne Rebecca Sewell, who has come back to town after years of being estranged from her family. Having overcome being the girl who was treated poorly in high school, she wants a fresh start after her split from her husband, and returns with a confidence and success that makes a lot of people uncomfortable.

During a recent interview to promote her appearance on the popular show, Charisma Carpenter talked about her desire to find a home on a television series, that she hadn’t been familiar with the series prior to being cast but quickly caught up on episodes, the similarities between her character on The Lying Game and Cordelia from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, that working on the show is one of the best experiences she’s had, and how, although she’s been given ideas for where her storyline is going, she’s specifically asked not to have all of the details. She also talked about how her heart is in television but that she would also love to do more film, how doing a remake of Buffy without Joss Whedon could do more harm to the franchise then good, working with Danny Trejo on Haunted High, reuniting with James Marsters for an episode ofSupernatural, and how she would love to do an episode of Bones with her Angel co-star David Boreanaz. Check out what she had to say after the jump:

Here’s the show synopsis:

Inspired by the book series of the same name,The Lying Game follows long-lost twins Emma and Sutton (Alexandra Chando). Separated under mysterious circumstances, Sutton was adopted by the wealthy Mercer family in Phoenix, while Emma grew up in the foster system. When the twins reunite as teenagers, they keep it a secret so that Sutton can go in search of the truth while Emma takes over her life and discovers more secrets and lies than she could have imagined. And, Season 2 is a season of secrets, seduction and life-and-death stakes, as the twins continue to expose the skeletons in their family closet.

Question: What is it about this role that really drew you to it? Were you looking to do another television show, as a regular cast member, or do you prefer doing guest starring or recurring roles?

CHARISMA CARPENTER: I am definitely interested in finding a home, for sure. But, this was a recurring opportunity to be on a show. If more comes of it, it would be a welcome surprise, but that was not my intention. I was drawn to the complexity of a character that is not all that she seems, which I’m a little bit familiar with. With Cordelia, from Buffy and Angel, if I were to compare the two characters, she was way more up-front. She was like a soothsayer. She just said what was on her mind. You always knew where you stood with things. She’d give you advice, even when you don’t want to hear it. I think this character, Anne Rebecca Sewell, is not so forthcoming with what she’s really thinking. You know that there are wheels spinning, behind her eyes. I think that also happens with age. You filter a little better.

Rebecca definitely has her filters and her radar, highly tuned. She’s smarter, wiser and more sophisticated. Apparently, she’s a little moneyed up. She’s lived and survived a lot, especially socially. The way she was treated, when she was younger, affected her in a way that either you sink or swim, and apparently she swam. Now, she’s back to these choppy waters to navigate them and see what she can make out of it. I feel like her intentions are to set things right for herself mainly, but not in a vindictive, revenge way because then that gets into a whole other show, altogether. I think what her intention really is, she never turned heads in the past, and she was really mistreated by her peers, so it’s nice to come back on top. It feels good. I don’t think she’s really going to be willing to let that go, anytime soon. I think you’ll see a lot of similarities between Rebecca and Cordelia, but they’re not, by any means, the same character.

What characteristics do Rebecca and Cordelia share?

CARPENTER: I think they’re both very spoiled. I don’t think Rebecca was always spoiled, but she has come into money, and money changes you. There’s almost an arrogance that comes with it. And, I think that is similar to Cordelia. There’s this sense of entitlement. Rebecca has found herself. She’s made herself successful. Cordelia was very specific and very intentioned in her behavior, and protective of those people in her vicinity, that she grew to love and trust. Rebecca is a hard nut to crack. We don’t really know who she has an affinity for, if anyone. I think she will tell you the truth. She’ll say enough to make a person uncomfortable, which is very Cordelia, but she’s not as blunt as Cordelia. I think she just says enough. She’s like a garnish on a plate. She’s grown, she’s sophisticated, she uses respect and she uses her resources in a way that maybe Cordelia didn’t always know to do yet.

How familiar were you with the whole phenomenon of The Lying Game, when you were first invited to join the cast?

CARPENTER: Not at all. In fact, I had no idea what The Lying Game meant, and I’m still missing the last five episodes of the first 10. I’ve got the first five, and then I’ve got episodes 10 through 16 down, but I’m missing five. I was given the link, but I can’t get the link to work on my Mac, so I’m a little bit challenged, in that regard. I’m not that familiar with that. I’ve been exposed to it a little bit, but I don’t know in what sense it’s a game. I understand Sutton introduced it.

Was there anybody that took you under their wing and helped you get assimilated with the entire universe of the show?

CARPENTER: I would probably say that it started at the top with Chuck [Pratt]. I read the script and called him and told him that I had some questions about her like, “How does she fit in? How will that be explained to the audience? Will that be more confusing or less confusing? Who am I? What did I do?” So, he walked me through it and was pretty generous and willing to tell me whatever it was that I needed to understand, but there did come a point where I was like, “Okay, don’t tell me anymore. I don’t want to know any more than just what you said because I don’t want it to inform my performance, in a way that would reveal too much.” It doesn’t assist you to know more than you should because then you’re not playing it right. You can be informed and you can have the information, but then you have to play against that information, and it becomes more confusing and more complicated than it need be. I just like to keep it simple, and play it very earnestly and straightforward with the information I have at hand, unless I’m told otherwise.

Why has Annie been gone so long, and what is her relationship with her sister, Phyllis (Sydney Barrosse), like?

CARPENTER: It’s not about them. It’s about her. That’s the way I approach it. It’s about just focusing each interaction, one at a time, and knowing what my overall purpose is to be there. It’s a fresh start, so it’s positive and it’s a good thing. To play it any other way would just be a different show. Part of The Lying Game is that appearances aren’t always what they seem. If you go into it being difficult or giving too much attitude, there are not a lot of places to go with that. She’s optimistic. She wants a change. She’s open to befriending those people that weren’t nice to her when she was younger, and starting new. I think she comes from a place of confidence and success, and she has nothing to apologize for. She’s interested in opening those doors again.

What’s the history between your character and Ted (Andy Buckley) and Alec (Adrian Pasdar)?

CARPENTER: With Ted and Alec, my understanding of their relationship is that they were high school acquaintances. They were cruel and mean to me, but what that means, I honestly don’t know. They played games on me. Maybe The Lying Game started way before Sutton. I don’t know. But apparently, I was not treated well. I was not a confident person. I was not a charming person. I was not attractive, in any way. I guess they must have done something terrible to me, but I honestly don’t know what it is. It hasn’t been revealed to me, and I don’t even know if the writers know yet what it is that they did. More will be revealed, I guess.

How is the chemistry on the set, and how are you enjoying that?

CARPENTER: It’s one of the best sets I’ve been on. It’s probably on par with my experience onVeronica Mars. It’s a lot of young kids with a great deal of pressure and responsibility, just killing it, every day. They get it. They’re appreciative. There is no diva. There is no attitude. There are no hang-ups. Everybody has a fantastic outlook. And, in this economy, everybody is really appreciative to be working. It’s not lost on them. It’s really a wonderful thing to see such young people taking on such huge responsibilities and jobs and hours, and doing it with such grace. I really have been impressed, a great deal. And, Alexandra Chando is in her mid-20′s and she’s not one character, but two characters. It’s a fantastic environment. The chemistry is great. The crew is great. I love working with Adrian [Pasdar]. He’s crackly. He’s incensed, like he’s on fire and going to ignite, at any moment. One little bit of accelerant, and he’s just going to blow up. He’s so alive and his energy is impossible to ignore. Every time, he’ll give you a line and you might have in your mind a way that the scene would be going or the way he would say something, but no. And then, you’ll do the same thing again and it won’t be the same way either. That, for me, just brings my level of acting up. When you see the season, you will see what I’m talking about. It’s an amazing work experience for me.

Who does your character have the most chemistry with, and who will she cause the most trouble for?

CARPENTER: I feel like she has the most chemistry with Alec Rybak, but I think that’s on purpose. Some of my scenes are with him. I feel, though, there is very interesting tension between Ted Mercer and Rebecca Sewell. I feel like, whenever he’s around, he’s a cold fish and she revels in that. I think she likes that, but it’s not like it’s mutual. With Alec, it’s mutual interest. With Ted, I can tell that I can ruffle his feathers, and I love it. It is very interesting to see where that may or may not go. I think the most trouble I will be causing is probably with Kristin Mercer (Helen Slater) because she feels threatened, in some way, and she can’t put her finger on why – why I’m back and why I look different. It’s really fun to be back and turning heads. I don’t think that that’s conducive to something you say to a woman who you want to befriend and who’s married when you’re single. I don’t think that’s very comfortable for her. I don’t think Thayer Rybak (Christian Alexander) likes me very much. We don’t know why he’s so resistant because his sister, Mads (Alice Greczyn), is very happy to see me and thinks I’m cool.

Have you been given any ideas for your arc on the show, at all?

CARPENTER: Ideas, yes, and I have my own suspicions, but I don’t know what I can say without losing my job. They don’t like it when you give too much away. It’s such a difficult position because I want to give you stuff and make you happy, and I want to give you the interview that you want, but at the same time, I don’t want to lose my job. To be honest, I know things, but I don’t think I really know all of it because I’ve actually asked to not know past a certain point.

With the resemblance between you and Alexandra Chando, do you think you are the twins’ real mother?

CARPENTER: Obviously, I’m wondering, too. It would seem that I am, but I don’t know if I’m a red herring and we haven’t really met her yet, at all. I don’t know. I hope that I am. It would be nice to be around awhile. But, I don’t know for sure. They haven’t told me. We only suspect. Also, if I am the mom, who is the father? Apparently, I’ve had relations. I was a bit of a get-around girl. All I can tell you is that my feeling is that the adults are going to have their time, and they’re going to be competing hard for that storyline for the younger kids. The younger kids are very compelling and it’s the demographic and all that, but if you are a grown-up and are watching this show, you will have your own storyline and be into it. I have every intention of making it super-interesting.

Do you have a preference between working in TV or film?

CARPENTER: Yes, of course, I would love to do more film, and I will be doing more film, but I can’t tell you any more than that. My heart is in television, just because it’s been so good to me. I’ve had the joy of working on critically acclaimed shows, but unfortunately, those shows aren’t always in the Golden Globe or Emmy categories, which bums me out because they are really good, quality shows. So, television is my home. It’s a special breed of person that can do nine months on and three months off, with 22 episodes of one-hour shows. It’s very hard work. It can be a grind. It’s not a grind for me. I relish in that. But, there are very few of us that can handle that. When movie people go over into television, it’s a little bit of a shock. It’s much faster-paced. Everything is really last-minute. You won’t know your schedule for the next episode until the last minute. You don’t know if you’re going to be off for Christmas. But, it’s familiar and good for me. I like having a steady job, and all that goes along with that.

There were rumors this past year about a Buffy remake. How do you feel about that?

CARPENTER: I get asked that a lot. I talk about it on Twitter a lot because it inevitably makes it on my timeline. My feeling is, “Of course, they’re doing it. It was successful.” But, to do it without Joss [Whedon], it’s just going to be really disappointing. I feel like it could do more harm to the franchise than good. Maybe it’ll make people appreciate the original more. I don’t know. But, it doesn’t make much sense to do that, without any of the key players involved. Why call it Buffy? They should just call it something else because it’s not going to be the same thing.

What is Haunted High, and how was the experience of doing that?

CARPENTER: I’m in Haunted High with Danny Trejo. He is an amazing man, and he looks so fit. He’s on my favorite show, Sons of Anarchy. It’s just ridiculous. The man is so accomplished. He just is everywhere. I love him. He’s a doll. He’s bad to the bone. I want to be him, sometimes. I imagine, “What would Danny do?” If I could embody him, it would be really nice, sometimes. Who’s going to say no to Machete?

What was it like to work with James Marsters again on Supernatural?

CARPENTER: Oh, it was a lot of fun. What was so great about it was that we didn’t spend time together before, at all. I never really had scenes with him. We’ve been orbiting the same areas and various conventions since then. So, when we were on set, I really feel like I get backstory and I know what’s going on in his life. I know he has a kid. I know they love music. I know they play together. I know he’s involved. I really felt like I got to connect with him, and talk about the old days and what our experiences were, and reconnect, in a trusted way. It was really special to me.

Would you ever consider going on Bones, with David Boreanaz?

CARPENTER: I hear such wonderful things about that set. I have friends that have worked on the show. I am in touch with David, and Julie [Benz] and I have tweeted about doing episodes of Bones. I think it’s been brought up to the executive producers, I’m totally, absolutely game. I adore David. He’s like my brother. I know him really, really well. I love him so much. Julie is one of my closest friends. For us to get together again and play, whether independently or all together, would just be so much fun. I really want to work with Emily [Deschanel] because I hear wonderful things about her. She’s one of the nicest people around, and she and David have such wonderful chemistry. I want to meet this woman that has been so wonderful to my friend.

CARPENTER: I have had some fan encounters that were interesting, but most encounters are actually quite pleasant and endearing. But, it was a little unsettling when a very sweet young girl actually did pee her pants. That was a little odd. You hear about that happening with people like the Beatles or Michael Jackson, or something like that, so it’s a little unsettling to know that that level of excitement or emotional intensity is being caused by you. It’s flattering, but unsettling, at the same time. It’s like, “It’s just me. I’m just a person.” It’s a little odd. I don’t know how Justin Bieber deals.

Being involved with Twitter, how does the interaction with fans come into play with your projects? Is it a great way for you to not only interact with fans, but also promote the projects you do, or get that instant feedback about your projects?

CARPENTER: Social media is a double-edged sword. I’ve gotten in trouble for announcing, too soon, something that the network or the studio wanted to do, and it steals some of the thunder, so to speak. I don’t mean to do that, but it’s hard because I want to give my fans what they want to hear.

In addition to The Lying Game, do you have any other upcoming projects in the works?

CARPENTER: Yes, there is something, but I’m not allowed to say and I won’t get in trouble. I can’t get in trouble. It will be announced very soon, and it’s not TV.

 Original Interview at Collider

Charisma Carpenter The Lying Game with Small Screen Scoop

3 January 2012 Leave a comment

Charisma Carpenter Talks all about The Lying Game, Teases Spoilers

Posted by Jessica Rae

Best known and beloved for her role as Cordelia Chase, I am among the millions of fans who first loved Charisma Carpenter for this role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer andAngel the series.

Charisma Carpenter Interview / Q & A for The Lying Game

Joining a group of writers for a conference call, Charisma Carpenter talked about her new role on ABC Family’s The Lying Game.

All About Annie

For Carpenter’s character of Annie, she shared that this is a woman who was not treated well before. “Some very bad things happened to her.” And she will not be received with open arms by everyone in town. That is, if they recognize her. She’s arriving as someone who looks completely different in her appearance, and is much better off financially.

Her Lying Game character is, “a more grown-up, sophisticated version of Cordelia. You’ll see similarities between the two but they’re not by any mean the same character.”

As for the mystery surrounding the character, Carpenter is currently in the dark almost as much as fans.”It doesn’t assist you” she said, to know too much. Why? Because then you have to “play against information that you know.” So what does she do? She “play(s) it very earnestly and straight forwardly with the info (she has) at hand, unless told otherwise”

Is she the twin’s real mom? “It would seem that I am. But I don’t know if i am a red herring.” She also said, “It would be nice to be around a while.” The real question would still be, who’s the father? Of Annie, Carpenter reveals that she was a “get around girl.” Ahem.

We know that Annie was running a music company in Los Angeles, but has divorcedfrom her husband and wants a fresh start. The character doesn’t intend to cause trouble, although she will. She’s back and she’s  optimistic and wants to re-open some old chapters. “She’s open to befriending those people who weren’t nice to her when she was young,” Carpenter said. “She’s coming from a place of confidence and success. “She’s smarter, wiser, sophisticated, … a little moneyed up. She’s lived and survived a lot…”

The Lying Game Spoilers

How long will the character of Annie be on the show? That’s up in the air as far asCarpenter knows. “If more comes from it, it would be a welcome surprise,” she said. She also said she’s “definietly interested in finding a home” on a TV set.

Who will be the most threatened by Annie returning? Kristen Mercer! Carpenter repeated one line that her character says to Kristen: “Between you and me, it is really fun to be back and to be turning heads.” But whose heads is she turning?

Carpenter hasn’t seen all of The Lying Game episodes. She’s still missing the last five episodes of the first ten. She said she’s seen the first five, then episodes 10-16. Meaning she’s involved (if only off screen) in at least six episodes.

Loving those Cast Members

I’ve pointed out to Small Screen Scoop readers that Carpenter and Alexandra Chando (The Lying Game) resemble each other quite a bit. Had they talked about this? It’sdefinitely come up! Aside from thinking that her character might be the twins mother (although she has no idea if that is true) Carpenter has seen pictures of Chando for continuity pictures for makeup, and she’s gone “that’s me!” only to realize it was the 20-year-younger version of herself.

“Yes, we’ve noticed it. And this is actually not even with her around—they take continuity pictures of your makeup so they know what you look for a particular outfit and day, like it’s labeled like day 1 or night 2 and this is what you were wearing, this is your makeup and this is your costume. So the costume department has one, the makeup department has one, the hair department has a continuity photo.

So, I was literally going through, running through the wardrobe and they have thesepictures cut out and I literally thought it was me. I had to remember, okay, that’s a 20-year-old version of me; but it was like me. I really did think that it was me. Dang, I look good. Oh wait a minute, that’s Alex.”

And of Alexandra Chando, Carpenter openly praised her. Certainly impressed,Carpenter said that Chando was “bright and strong and capable” She also said:

“Well, I think she’s so beautiful, so I will take that as an absolute compliment and she’s so bright, so bright, and strong. She’s just a strong girl. You can just—I just love people from the Midwest. They’re just awesome. I just love them.

Grounded and bright and down to earth and get the job done and there’s no whimpering or whining. It’s just handled. She’s very capable and I admire her very much. She has a lot of responsibility at a very young age. So I will definitely be grateful for any comparisons to that young lady.”

Aside from Alexandra Chando, Adrian Pasdar also got a special shout out from Charisma Carpenter. “He’s crackling. He’s on fire. He’s gonna ignite at any moment – one lil bit of accelerant and he’s gonna blow up. He’s so alive. And his energy is impossible to ignore.” She said fans will see this on screen on The Lying Game when it returns.

“I was drawn to the complexity of a character that’s not all that she seems. ” Drawing a parallel to Cordelia Chase (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel), Carpenter revealed that Cordelia was more blunt and up front. “She(d) give you advice when you didn’t even wanna hear it.” The character of Annie says less than what she’s thinking because her filter is on alert.

Buffy, Angel and … Veronica Mars!

One of the specific questions I asked her was to imagine she could have had twitter technology for just one year during her experiences on Buffy the Vampire Slayer andAngel. What year would she pick? It was such a perfect answer for a BTVS fan that I had to ask he to repeat her answer. (Click here to read more on this!)

Veronica Mars also got a shout-out. For her time on The Lying Game she said, “It’s one of the best sets I’ve been on. It’s probably on par with my experience on Veronica Mars.” She said the younger kids “get it” and that they’re appreciative and there’s no diva on set. Everyone has a good attitude. “Everybody – I mean everybody – has a fantastic outlook.”

Future Charisma Carpenter Projects

New projects? Yes. Something will be announced very soon, but not by her (she said she’s gotten in trouble for going to Twitter to prematurely announce things.) She called social media a “double-edged sword.””I will be doing more film. I can’t tell you anything more than that. But my heart is in television.”

In random trivia, I learned that Carpenter is a big fan of Sons of Anarchy on FX. (We always provide extensive Sons of Anarchy Recaps for you guys.)

New Years Resolutions including “less cussing”, putting in more effort to train and work-out in Austin, travel more (Montana was mentioned), have more time for family, and to “re-appropriate spending.” As an example,s he said that in her 20′s she would have loved to buy several Chloe and Fendi bags. But now she knows it’d be better to take a mini Ski vacation with her family.

Something very interesting is that she said she wants to “brand out.” She’s interested in a perfume line. She has thoughts on beauty regimens. “I’ve got plans!” she exclaimed, explaining that “I have a book that I think should be written. I’ve got some stuff on my mind.”

“I want to go to Montana. I want to spend time in Montana. I got plans. I want to brand out; brand out like sell out. Who says that? So bad. But I want to sell out. I want my own perfume line. I have some ideas about beauty regimen and care and that sort of thing. Those are the things that I think a book should be written about. I have some stuff to say. I got some stuff on my mind. I would like to get started on those things.”

Lively, confident and as someone who comes across like the wise older sister whose opinions you want and advice you trust – Carpenter will have a legion of fans (new and loyal) following her to her next adventures.

Twitter picture of Alexandra Chando and Charisma Carpenter via Carpenter’s Twitter.

Original Interview at Small Screen Scoop

The Uncommon Bonds of Common Rotation from The Huffington Post

6 December 2011 Leave a comment

The Uncommon Bonds of Common Rotation

Posted 12/3/11

Discovering the Truth in Lying With a Rare Folk Trio

I am riding shotgun in a rented van crawling up Fourth Avenue with Common Rotation, a road weary L.A. folk trio who has taken a one-day respite from supporting the Indigo Girls’ American tour to back their favorite songwriter on a stopover in New York. The songwriter, Dan Bern, is not only one of the genre’s most prolific composers and thus the band’s hero and mentor, but also its neighbor — along with Bern’s fellow movie soundtrack songster, Mike Viola (Walk Hard and Get Him To The Greek), who lives a few doors down. For the moment, Bern is sprawled in the back amongst the instruments and duffel bags playing scrabble on his smart phone; a touring ritual that I discover later over Indian food has been going on for months between himself and members of CR no matter where they are or the hour of the day or night.

A mere five minutes have passed since our hurried salutations in front of Joe’s Pub near Astor Place, where the band would be playing a set before joining Bern on stage later in the evening. Normally, this would not be enough time to engage in a furious deconstruction of the Woody Allen film canon; the sudden cross-dialogue of which evokes a zeal usually found in the company of old acquaintances.

Crimes and Misdemeanors is the best Woody Allen movie,” pronounces the stout 34-year-old driver, Jordan Katz, Common Rotation’s all-purpose multi-tasker. Katz’s proficiency on trumpet and banjo, something he claims he picked up when the band wouldn’t let him play bass anymore, is only outdone by his more than credible maneuvering through rush hour traffic. His bemused smile and nifty tie and vest ensemble belies an almost wicked sense that his vehement choice of Woody film is not altogether serious.

A voice from behind intones, “Adam loves Celebrity!” The Adam in question is 33-year-old Adam Busch, a slight, enigmatic soul with a penchant to appear almost cranky enough to be lovable. Later, while riding in an elevator, I proffer that if I were in a band it would be Common Rotation, he leans dramatically toward me and whispers, “Run away… fast!”

Of course Celebrity, a film lampooning the Hollywood bullshit machine made by a New York wise guy, would fit Busch’s idiom as part-time actor. When informed that he looked so familiar that I was forced to remember him from an episode of the cult TV show, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, where he played a nerd villain, (he’s also played, among others, roles in Grey’s Anatomy and House) Busch sardonically replies, “Yeah, well, everyone has met someone who looks like me.”

As we quite literally run through everything Woody from Hannah and Her Sisters to Match Point, Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Love & Death (Bern’s favorite) and of course Annie Hall, a nearly apologetic voice chimes in with, “C’mon, Manhattan.” And with that, the 33 year-old soft-spoken, bespectacled, Eric Kufs enters the fray.

Kufs, guitarist and part-time handler of dobro (lap-slide) duties, and Busch, whose musical expertise ranges impressively from sax, harmonica and glockenspiel, begin engaging in a rapid-fire Woody Allen joke-off. I am, for the purpose of full disclosure, partly responsible for this mess, so I gladly join in.

This lively back and forth goes on for 20 or so blocks and a couple of avenues as Common Rotation heads up to the offices of a rock magazine to play live with Bern for a pod cast. One gets the feeling that this kind of stuff (chatting up relative strangers before donning instruments, clearing throats and whipping off a few ditties) happens routinely for CR; moving from one subject to another with the kind of ease in which they traverse the country, one town and one rented van at a time.

It is how it is done the old-fashioned way; plugging a new record, as is God Keeps an Open Gallery, the band’s fourth and latest full-length offering.

Open Gallery unfurls much like my short time with the band, familiar and lively; as if you’ve discovered something new that sounds as comfortable as your most well worn albums. There are teary ballads and gospel sirens, upbeat sing-a-longs and tender instrumentals, and across them all an enviable string of memorable melodies swept along on beds of wonderful three-part harmonies. Every note, Katz tells me, was rehearsed and recorded in the band’s living room.

“For some of the tunes, I was set up in my bedroom with the banjo, while Adam would be across the house laying down harmonica in his, and Eric was in the living room playing guitar. We’d just sort of roll out of bed, put on headphones, and start playing.”

The romantic notion of sharing suburban Los Angeles digs — Katz describes it as a sprawling California house, circa 1906, once owned by Gloria Swanson — brewing up the morning café, yawning out the cobwebs and getting down to making music together is not lost on Busch.

“Every one of our songs is basically a search for truth,” he says proudly. “I feel like you’re supposed to experience real things for people. I take it as a responsibility to share the experience with the audience. I would hope our live shows are always expressions of those little private moments that are sometimes forced to play out in public. There is nothing more fascinating than a couple breaking up at the next table or a man going through a crisis in an elevator; you’re invested in the wellness of that individual. Isn’t that where love starts, really?”

This search for truth is manifested in two of Open Gallery‘s first three songs, the aptly named, “It’s a Wonderful Lie” and “A Reasonable Lie,” both written by Kufs and Busch respectfully, and stark reminders that the search could be something of a chore. This not-so coincidental reminder is on the heels of the band’s previous full-length studio recording and de facto title of its web site; “Common Rotation is a Lie.”

So what’s all this infatuation with the truth?

“All storytelling is a lie,” Kufs weighs in. “It’s always from one perspective. Even the most even-handed documentary is going to be in some sense coming from its own perspective. So to get to the whole truth is in itself a wonderful lie. Adam’s song deals with what we have to tell ourselves or our friends and lovers that gets us through; a reasonable lie.”

“We all bring ideas in,” Busch adds. “Eric will come in with something and we’ll play around with it, and then Jordan might add a part, or I’ll have a lyric or musical idea. It’s a group effort, but Eric is the driving force behind Common Rotation.”

Kufs returns volley by making sure I understand that the trio’s relationship, as friends and fellow musicians, is an advantage to his compositions. “I know which of my songs will be for the band,” he states emphatically. “Because I know what everyone can bring to them and I don’t have to say much. After all this time, they know what I’m trying to achieve, what emotion, what theme.”

Open Gallery is by each member’s measure, the most complete vision of Common Rotation, yet the album is replete with guest appearances from the aforementioned Indigo Girls, which Kufs makes sure to mention are “the most supportive and giving artists and friends.” Contributions also include They Might Be Giants’ Marty Bellar and Daniel Weinkauf, neighbors, Dan Bern and Mike Viola, among others.

This atmosphere of the creative give-and-take provides the tracks of Open Gallery a sense of proper contemplation; craftsmen at work, selecting the right mood for a song, the requisite accompaniment, the singular phrasing.

“It was the economic realities of touring that brought us to this self-contained sound,” Busch admits. “We didn’t want to create something that the three of us couldn’t perform on stage. We forced ourselves to enhance what Eric was doing on guitar, whether it’s me and Jordon on trumpet and saxophone or adding the glockenspiel as an undercurrent. That’s why for the first time I think this record is a proper representation of what and who were are. I used to have to explain our records, but I just hand it to someone now and say, ‘This is us.'”

This type of “closing ranks” to produce an insular, singular sound that translates “the truth” of the band can only come from a comfort level provided by a solid background, relationships forged in youth and developed somewhere between the thick and the thin; the story of Common Rotation.

The band originated first in friendship and then an uncommon bond in musical talent. Hailing from the same neighborhood in East Meadow, Long Island, crossing paths at Little League in middle school to sharing an admiration for Elvis Costello, especially Kufs and Busch, led to a songwriting kinship, a developed sound, and the obligatory local gigs.

Soon, Busch’s acting career led the band to relocate to California, which brought about an expansion of the act in the famed Living Room tours of its early days when CR literally played at people’s homes, captured in Peter Stass’ documentary, How To Lose, which chronicles the trio’s protest of Clear Channel’s monopoly on the musical touring market. A more old-fashioned route of record promotion is hard to duplicate, unless one mentions the ingenious concept of Union Maid, wherein the band set up a web site to post new songs for fans to download for free. This gave birth to an Internet fund-drive to help the band complete the recording of “Open Gallery.”

This may be why a reluctant swoon into maturity, a strange seduction with materialism and the constant specter of mortality creeps into what Common Rotation believes is its best work; close childhood friends, playing, struggling, growing together as a movable feast for 20 years.

Finally arriving at the magazine on 29th street, the band uncoils like a machine, instruments out, tuning up, the voices warmed and ready. Bern counts off and it is as sudden as the Woody Allen debate in the van or the ease with which the scrabble bounces off cyberspace; four voices meshing beneath Bern’s staccato lead. “I just nod at these guys and they go,” Bern recounts when I marvel at the relative comfort in which CR melds into his back-up unit.

Much later, on stage at Joe’s Pub, the picture is complete; the rushing around, grabbing meals-on-the-run, the seat-of-the-pants scrabble fades beneath the polished sheen of the music. They put it all on display, the “private moments” in song and dialogue; witty, wistful and harkening to the days of dust bowl troubadours or vaudeville shtick; all of it as real as any lie.

For Common Rotation, this is the place where it breathes, a true band, a gathering of talents presenting its wares; old-fashioned, uncommon, familiar.

 Original Interview at The Huffington Post

Trailer for The Yellow Wallpaper Starring Juliet Landau

6 December 2011 Leave a comment

Emerald City Comic Con 2012

6 December 2011 1 comment

Who: Emerald City Comic Con

What: A three day convention for fans of sci-fi, comics and gaming, with special guests, exhibitors, gaming and more.

Where: Washington State Convention Center, 800 Convention Place, Seattle, WA 98101-2350

When: 30 March to 1 April 2012

How: Online Booking

Price: 3-Day Pass: $45.00 | Friday Only: $15.00 | Saturday Only: $25.00 | Sunday Only: $20.00 | Child (3-10) – $5.00

Whedonverse Guests:

Adam Baldwin

Summer Glau


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