Tag Archive | Road Trip

Movie Review: My Way

My Way Movie Poster

Reminiscent of inspiring music documentaries such as The Punk Singer: A Film About Kathleen Hanna (which provided the Riot Grrrl movement founder with the substantial props she deserved), and Anvil, the Story of Anvil (a film that completely resurrected an unsung band’s entire career), My Way, focusing on singer/songwriter guitarist Rebekah Snyder-Starr, showcases one musician’s quest to find success in the music business while doing things on her own terms.

Directed by Dominique Mollee and Vinny Sisson, My Way centers on an engaging cross-country road trip taken by Starr and her close friend Annika, one of two tambourine players/back up singers in the all-femme Rebekah Starr Band, based in Starr’s home town of Kittanning, Pennsylvania.  Unsatisfied in her marriage to her childhood sweetheart, and having recently been fired from her own family’s corporate business, Rebekah is clearly a woman whose dreams have outgrown her small town environment. With little to lose, and no one else in the band able to leave their day jobs or family obligations, Rebekah and Annika map out their adventure from PA to LA, where their goal is to play a gig on the Sunset Strip, and, ultimately, to shoot a video for the titular song, which is Rebekah’s personal “My way or the highway” mantra which keeps her focused on getting what she wants. It does not hurt that she is completely adorable and has actual musical talent.

During the journey (which took place in 2010), the girls play impromptu acoustic gigs in whatever local roadside bar will have them, earn gas money and promote the band by selling their CDs to everyone they meet, reunite with old friends, and make lots of new ones, while working through challenges that arise in their friendship. The storyline is advanced by the appearance of various music industry insiders such as Poison drummer Rikki Rocket (also a Pennsylvania native) who keenly illuminates both what it really means to struggle as an unknown band, as well as the type of relentless effort involved in eventually making it professionally. Enuff Z’Nuff  songwriter/bassist Chip Z’nuff (who has written original material with Rebekah) and former Guns ‘n’ Roses drummer Steven Adler also add their insight, as does veteran Porn Star Ron Jeremy, who appears as comic relief in one of Rebekah’s music videos (available on the DVD as an extra).

Even if you have not heard the Rebekah Starr Band prior to seeing this film, you will become familiar with many of their songs due to the music’s near-ubiquitous presence on the soundtrack, playing like a car radio under almost every scene in the film, adding a kind of biographical narrative enhancement. Comparable to girl bands such as pre-fame Bangles (when the band was know as The Bangs) or Luscious Jackson, Rebekah has an appealing voice, knows how to write a catchy, pop-punk tune and is an accomplished guitarist. The music has both artistic and commercial appeal, and while she certainly cares about looking her best, Rebekah never tries to “get by” on her looks or exploit her sex appeal. Any woman with an ambition to be a rock musician or any genre of artist would take inspiration from Rebekah‘s story while being entertained and also hearing some good music along the way.

My Way opens at NYC’s Quad Cinema, located at 34 West 13th Street, New York, New York 10011 on Friday, February 27th. Run Time: 93 minutes. This film is Not Rated but is (probably) fine for ages 13 and up..


Video Clip of The Week: The Donkeys, “Blues in the Afternoon”

Oh boy, a road trip video soundtracked by music that recalls the mellow California sound of the 60s as epitomized by bands like Buffalo Springfield and The Byrds: just the perfect thing for enjoying on a Sunday morning while your coffee brews in the kitchen! At just One Minute, 48 Seconds, The Donkeys‘ video for their sublime “Blues in the Afternoon” reminds me of taking the train into Grand Central after a weekend spent in Connecticut, arriving back into the city and suddenly finding yourself heading down town on the subway like the trip out of Manhattan never happened. Maybe it was just a dream. Dreamy.

The Donkeys apparently carry this ‘California Dreaming’ vibe across eleven tracks on their new album, Ride The Black Wave, due for release on June 3rd, 2014 on Easy Sound Records. You can pre-order that at This Link. Enjoy!

Donkeys Band

Baby Jesus Takes Road Trip, Returns Home Safely

Baby Jesus Road Trip Leising
John Leising; his wife, Joan; and their daughter, Julia, return the well-traveled statue of the infant Jesus to its place in the Nativity scene in front of their North Buffalo home.

From The Buffalo News
Family’s decoration back after 8 months

News Staff Reporter

John and Joan Leising were quite upset last year when somebody stole the plastic infant Jesus statue from the lighted manger set outside their North Buffalo home. This year, they have the Jesus statue back – and a pretty weird story to tell at Christmas parties.

“When we tell people about it, they just look at us and say, “Wow, that really happened?’ ” Joan Leising said. “Then, we show them the photo album.”

The Leisings, residents of Depew Avenue, take pride in their annual Christmas decorations. They have displayed a brightly lighted outdoor manger set – with statues of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the Three Wise Men and other biblical figures – for the past five years. They were hurt Dec. 23, 2005, when they looked outside and realized the baby Jesus statue, a relatively inexpensive plastic model about 18 inches tall, was missing from the manger.

In the statue’s place, someone had left a note, saying they needed the statue for something and would return it in three days. The incident was disturbing to the Leisings and their daughter, Julia, 10, who are proud of their Catholic faith and thought the theft might be some kind of angry show of protest.

“It kind of shook my faith in our neighborhood. How could somebody do something like that to us?” said John Leising, a veteran Buffalo firefighter. “But because of the note, I thought there was a chance we might get it back in a few days.”

Joan Leising, a hospital nurse, felt the same way. But weeks passed, and then months, and the statue was not returned. Joan Leising started wondering if she might be able to find another similar baby Jesus statue at a garage sale.

Then, one morning in late August, John Leising opened his door and found the statue lying on his doorstep. With it were another note and a photo album.

“Please read this letter in its entirety before passing judgment on the actions and events that have taken place,” the letter began. “We are simply a group of young adults who wished to show the baby Jesus a better life than he would have seen cooped up in an attic crawl space. He has traveled over counties and states, met people and animals alike. We have done our best to show the baby Jesus the many glorious aspects of our world.”

The photo album was full of snapshots taken of their Jesus statue at various locations all over New York State. Someone had posed the statue in front of Thruway signs in Binghamton, Rochester, Albany and Poughkeepsie. The statue was photographed at the Rip Van Winkle Bridge south of Albany and at a psychiatric center in Rochester.

Baby Jesus RVW Bridge
Baby Jesus Visits the Rip Van Winkle Bridge

The Leisings’ statue was posed on a bicycle, on a horse and in a car, wearing a seat belt. It was photographed in a chair next to a campfire somewhere, with a can of beer in a cup holder attached to the chair. It was photographed in someone’s kitchen, next to all the makings for chocolate brownies. There was the Jesus statue again – on the campuses of Rochester Institute of Technology and Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

“We have done the best possible job we could to keep the baby Jesus safe and in loving arms,” the note continued. “During the course of the last eight months, the baby Jesus has become more to us than simply a plastic religious figurine. He has come with us to parties, on camping trips, on college visits and on multiple summer adventures . . . Having to say goodbye made today a sad day for all of us.

“The baby Jesus has made us happy at numerous times in the past eight months, so we hope the chronicles of his life with us can pass some of that happiness on to you.”  The note added that the prank was never meant to be “blasphemous or disrespectful.” It was signed “Creators of the baby Jesus chronicles.” The Leisings are still puzzled over why the chroniclers indicated the statue would be returned in three days but kept it for eight months. “I just wish that, at some point during those eight months, they had sent us a note saying, “We still have your statue. It’s OK. We’re still going to return it before Christmas,’ ” Joan Leising said.

“The real Jesus Christ would have forgiven them for that,” John Leising said. “And we do, too.”