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Amber Benson and Adam Busch Talk Drones with Fanboy Comics

5 January 2012 Leave a comment

 

Drones is available on DVD now.

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

Next Movie Q&A with David Boreanaz

13 November 2011 Leave a comment

Q&A: The ‘Mighty’ Fine Carla Gugino and David Boreanaz

By Jenni Miller | Oct 21 |

n “The Mighty Macs,” Carla Gugino stars as Cathy Rush, a tough-talking basketball coach who rouses a bunch of misfit Catholic school girls to victory. David Boreanaz plays her husband Ed, an FBI ref and wearer of awesome ’70s outfits who is occasionally frustrated — but ultimately supportive — of his wife’s dedication to her job, in a time back before it was cool for ladies to work after they got married.

In real life, they’re a friendly pair of folks eager to talk about the issues “The Mighty Macs” raises, and, of course, joke around about us still-rabid “Buffy” fans.

I keep reading this film being described as “‘Hoosiers’ meets ‘Sister Act.'” What are your favorite sports movies?
David Boreanaz: Being from Philadelphia, I always gravitated towards “Rocky.” For me, it was pretty big. And then I have to say “The Fighter”… I’m a really big fan of that film, just on all levels.

Carla Gugino: It’s an extraordinary film.

DB: It’s so good, just to be able to be someone watching it and actually rooting for these specific characters and feeling such empathy for them as well, to me, is such a mark of a great sports film. Really, it is. … “Slap Shot,” Paul Newman. Another good one. I mean, classic.

CG: “Bull Durham.” Another great movie.

DB: “Color of Money.” Put in all the old-school stuff, too.

CG: When a sports movie really works, it gets you on all levels, because the stakes are high. It’s black and white. It’s win or lose. It brings up every kind of human emotion that we all have, and ultimately, it’s almost in those contexts, like you were just saying with “The Fighter” — that it’s not that the sport isn’t incredibly important, but they’re almost interchangeable because the journey is what you care about more than the technicalities of it. And yet, in this particular case, obviously we’re dealing with something where women’s basketball was absolutely changed from that moment on, so it’s very specific to this sport. But they all do have a sense of a certain triumph of spirit.

I thought it was really interesting that a movie with such a powerful feminist message was written and directed and produced almost entirely by men. Do you guys know the story behind that? Was it a personal connection?
CG: He [director Tim Chambers] is from Philly, and I know that he knew the story very well and was really passionate about telling it. He also has young girls, and this to him was very important — that young women, and I think also to Tim’s wife, that girls have something that they can look at and go, “Oh, look what I can accomplish,” because there are more of those opportunities in film for men, those kind of movies.

DB: I know that he’s from the Philadelphia area, and he had such passion for the film and the story. Writing for female characters from a male’s perspective, you know, not to go off-gear here, but Joss Whedon was great at it. I mean, he empowers the female character.

I checked out the website for “The Mighty Macs,” and it’s partnered with a lot of faith-based organizations. One of the marketing groups, The Maximus Group, did a lot of grassroots marketing for “The Passion of the Christ.” Is that something you guys knew going in, or was of any interest or concern?
DB: From my perspective, it was always about the story, about the script. Reading it for face value, first and foremost, whatever comes across, and [to] understand what the line of the story is, where the characters are — that’s what’s important and that’s what I took on, as far as being involved in something I thought was very special and was a great story, and that’s where I left it at.

CG: Yeah, I guess I’m not a particularly religious person, but I do really believe strongly that we all need to believe in something, and that’s very personal to each one of us … I don’t think we were part of that process with it, because it was really just about telling the story, which obviously takes place at a Catholic girls’ school, so there is innately a certain aspect of that. But I also think it’s something they’re probably standing behind, because it is just a really great story that people of all ages can see and actually really enjoy and come out with probably a stronger sense of faith in whatever — in ourselves, even. So yeah, I don’t know a lot about that aspect of that either, other than I could understand why it’s certainly a great movie for anybody to be able to see.

Let’s switch gears a little bit. Carla, you are in “New Year’s Eve,” and David, you were in “Valentine.” What if you guys did a mash-up? A holiday mash-up? What holiday would you guys choose, and who would play the serial killer?
CG: That is very, very funny.

The next Garry Marshall ensemble movie. Which holiday?

DB: Which holiday? Well, that’s such a Hallmark holiday, isn’t it? Valentine’s, it’s so Hallmark… It’s like, St. Patrick’s Day.

CG: Do we go for Thanksgiving?

DB: Groundhog’s Day! That’s not a holiday, is it?

It’s a holiday!
DB: Is that considered a holiday?

We don’t get time off, but …
DB: Columbus Day?

Columbus Day! Definitely a bloody holiday, fits with the serial killer aspect.
DB: There you go!

Speaking of Joss Whedon, the “Buffy” rumors will not die.
DB: Trust me, I don’t have any answers for you.

What’s your take on that, and given the choice, who would you want to play Angel?
DB: Oh, whoever’s [the] best fit for the role. You know what, I really don’t have much to say about it, to be really honest with you, no. I was very fortunate to be part of something in 1997 that became something [with] a very cult following, and these two characters that were just kind of like these Romeo and Juliet characters, and I enjoyed it and I loved it. I don’t look to see who should play what or [who] should do anything. It’s all energy for me, so good luck. [laughs] That’s it.

You guys probably haven’t seen this, but there’s this really funny website called Angel Does Stuff [taking out iPad to show them].
CG: Oh, my gosh …

Someone has a cutout of you and she poses it doing different things around her apartment.
DB: Oh, wow. Look at that. That’s amazing.

CG: You’re life-size and everything!

You’re life-size. You do a lot of stuff.
DB: I just can’t change my coat.

Is this supremely weird? Or awesome? Here you are; here’s a life-size Spike …
DB: God, I don’t look too happy in that poster shot. It’s very dark.

Is that really weird?
DB: No, I think this is the perfect example of today’s media and how things get out of … It doesn’t do much to me as long as she’s responsible, fine. It doesn’t bother me. [laughs]

You visited the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.
DB: That’s exciting.

CG: And while you’re working so hard, it’s nice that at least your alter ego is taking trips and things.

Original Interview at Next Movie

Adam Busch and Tom Lenk on Pop My Culture Podcast

12 November 2011 Leave a comment

October 20th: PMC 57: Tom Lenk & Adam Busch

Tom Lenk and Adam Busch (Andrew and Warren from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) stop by to chat with Cole and Vanessa about Project Runway, Paula Deen’s butter-flavored lip balm, the Sonic Youth split, sleeping Belafonte, Frydaddies, Drones, Milli Vanilli, cassingles, Tim Gunn’s new catchphrases, faked radio kidnappings, The Dali Lama vs. Steven Seagal, Common Rotation, troll dolls, Mad Magazine, and Adam’s awkward double date with the Olsen Twins!

Leave your answer to the firsts question (the first thing you ever collected, and if you still have them to this day) on our website for a chance to win the new Common Rotation album, Keep an Open Gallery, signed by both Adam and Tom!

Freshly Popped

Listen to the podcast at Pop My Culture

Danny And The Deep Blue Sea

29 October 2011 Leave a comment

Who: Crown City Theatre Co.

What: A play by John Patrick Shelley, directed by John McNaughton. There will be  Q&A’s after the Sunday Performances and a party after each performance on Halloween weekend.

Where: Crown City Theatre, 11031 Camarillo Street, North Hollywood, CA 91602

When: 21st October to 18th December (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only) (Juliet’s understudy will perform 11-13th November)

How: Online Booking

Price: General: $25.00 | Students/Seniors: $20.00

Whedonverse Guests:

Juliet LandauDrusilla in Buffy and Angel

Amber Benson To Guest on Ringer

16 October 2011 Leave a comment

Amber Benson Amber Benson is set to guest on Sarah Michelle Gellar’s new show, Ringer, which has just been picked up for a full season.  Amber will feature in the 10th episode and will play a stripper and informant for Agent Machada.

Source: TV Guide

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