With vaccines and stuff, it looks like things are slowly getting back to some sense of normalcy, which means… [drum roll] live music is picking up! [Insert crowd noise here.]
So yeah, my first public solo performance since my album release show in March 2020… about a week before everything went to shit… is coming up next month. I’ll be part of the “Garden Glow” series at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
The Montgomery Advertiser wrote about that series and the artists that will be performing. You can read that here. It starts this Friday, and there are four nights of music currently scheduled. (I’ll be joining Neal Lucas and my friend Megan McMillan on July 9… Speaking of Megan, here’s a music video I directed for her a few years back.
Next up is Towering Above. Our first public performance since the plague is set for July 17 at the Sanctuary. We’re joining One Like Son and Lonleysev. Details here.
There have been a few instances over the years where I have been asked where my film company name came from, and there have been a few misconceptions as well. I don’t remember ever writing about it publicly, so I figured I might as well take a few minutes to explain the origin of the name Terrible Master Films.
I’ll address some of the misconceptions first: It’s not related to the transatlantic slave trade, American chattel slavery, or really, any form of slavery at all.
I can see where that misconception may come from, though. I mean, I’m a white guy in Alabama who has directed films that involve race, history, and social justice like Remembering Anarcha, The Time is Now, and in·dig·e·nous, so maybe some people think the name is somehow used in irony or something. But no, that’s not it.
It comes from a quote that stood out to me during a period of deep depression a few years ago:
“The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master.”
Brain Pickings shared a graduation speech given by David Foster Wallace. The speech, commonly known as “this is water,” references the quote thusly:
“…Think of the old cliché about ‘the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master.’ This, like many clichés, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth. It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in: the head. They shoot the terrible master…”
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that this is not the first time I’ve discussed mental health, and as I said above, I stumbled across that quote during a deep depression I was in. I had finally started seeing a therapist and was doing a lot of reading about life, philosophy, and mental health.
That quote was powerful to me. The way I looked at it, when I’m in control, I can make my mind do the things I need and want to do, whether it’s writing a song, working on a film, or just trying to be creative in general. But when my mind was in control, it became the terrible master, leading to depression and feelings of worthlessness. (For others, it may be anxiety or a variety of other things.)
So the name Terrible Master Films serves as a personal reminder for me that mental health is important, and to attempt to keep the terrible master at bay.
Today, May 4, 2021, is the official release day for Remembering Anarcha! The film my team and I started working on back in 2018 is now publicly available to purchase on many video-on-demand platforms across the U.S. and Canada.
You can find it on Apple TV and iTunes (special thanks to everyone who pre-ordered!), Vimeo on Demand, Vudu, Google Play, Microsoft, some cable and satellite VOD channels, and more!
There are also DVDs and Blu-rays available through online retailers.
On this day, I’d like to share a portion of a recent Facebook post:
I want to take a moment to give a shout out to a few people. First and foremost: Michelle Browder. Her art, passion, and activism inspired me to make this film, and she continues to educate and raise awareness about Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey through her “Mothers of Gynecology” project. (Be sure to check out https://www.anarchalucybetsey.org/)
I also want to give a shout out to my fellow producers: C. DeWayne Cunningham and Royce Williams. They came on board knowing that this was a passion project with no budget, and they have been supportive every step of the way.
And through this project, I made friends with author J.C. Hallman. His research is fascinating, and I’m looking forward to reading his forthcoming book “The Anarcha Quest.”
Thanks to everyone who has supported this project and pre-ordered the film. I hope you both enjoy it and learn something new. I appreciate the support. Much love.
First things first – you should see “Sweat” at the Cloverdale Playhouse (it opens tonight!), and you should get your tickets soon. Tonight’s show is sold out. According to this Montgomery Advertiser article, “Early performances have sold out for this thought provoking American worker tale that runs Thursday through May 9, but you can still get in to see it”
“Set in Reading, Pennsylvania between 2000 and 2008, “Sweat” is a thought provoking look at the lives we build around ourselves. In this case, it deals with a group of unionized steel mill workers whose company is suddenly making changes. Between layoffs and picket lines, ordinary lives are suddenly caught in a war between community and capitalism.”
There’s strong language, by the way, so… you know… get a babysitter or something.
It’s been shared a lot on social media, so many thanks to everyone who’s shared it, pre-ordered the film, bought tickets to the play, and continue to support the art I’m involved with. It means a lot, and I am very appreciative of it.
The film will be available on-demand from multiple outlets across the U.S. and Canada, but pre-ordering on iTunes helps garner attention and get the film in front of more people. So if you use iTunes or Apple TV, this will help raise awareness of the film and the important subject matter the film addresses.
And while you’re clicking on links, be sure to check out Michelle Browder’s ‘Mothers of Gynecology’ project (click here.) Michelle appears in the film, and her art is what first caught my attention for this story. She’s gone across the country doing big things to raise awareness on this issue (and the shirt I’m wearing in the above video is from her project.)
As always, thanks for reading and thanks for your continued love and support. Much love to you.
A statue of Dr. James Marion Sims stands on the grounds of the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. The South Carolinian spent almost two decades in Montgomery, pre-Civil War, practicing medicine. Sims is known as “the father of modern gynecology,” but his detractors call him “Father Butcher” for his experiments on enslaved women – without anesthesia or what is now “informed consent.” His legacy – and the statues dedicated to him in Montgomery, Columbia, SC, and until its removal in early 2018, New York City’s Central Park – only tell part of the story. Remembering Anarcha explores this history and issues of ethics, race, and the lingering effects on modern society and medicine.
Was that title click-bait…y… enough for ya? Has the pure, unadulterated intrigue set in? “What does ‘THIS’ in the title – in all-caps, nonetheless – actually mean? Tell us, you bastard!”
Well, it means I’m doing something a little different, at least for me – I’m returning to the stage!
I’m talking about acting here, not a music performance… even though, with the whole pandemic thing, it’s been a while for that, too. But not as long. See, the last time I did stage acting of any sort, I would have been in either elementary or jr. high. And without doing actual math, let’s just say that it’s been a while, and that stretch of time can probably get insurance discounts and rent a car.
“But Josh, aren’t you an actor already?” you may be asking. Yes, but I’ve been acting strictly in film projects, not on stage. I always joke that I get multiple takes to get it right. And yes, while there is a good bit of overlap between the two, there are also some differences in how the craft is done.
So yeah… this will be different. I’m usually helping shoot the promo video or doing photography for the plays there, not actually getting into character.
I hope you’ll make plans to attend!
In other news… this past Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of the release of my fourth studio album Carry the Wounds. It’s kind of weird putting an album out and not being able to book shows to promote it, but again… pandemic. But hey, here’s a couple of music videos from songs off the album, if you haven’t seen them already:
OK, I think that’s it for now. Thanks for reading, listening, supporting, and being you. Spread some love. Check on your friends. And if you haven’t already subscribed to this here blog, you can do so below. Much love to you.
Hey! It’s been a while! Welcome back to my digital home. As the title says, it’s been a full month since my last blog post, so I figured I’d throw out a quick update.
It’s been the usual busy behind the scenes. I’ve been doing some video editing on a documentary project; I recently shot a music video that’s in the early editing stages… more info on those coming soon-ish. The Remembering Anarcha producers and I have been working on trying to get the film publicly available; I hope to be able to share some news on that front soon.
Towering Above is continuing to write songs while live shows are still a rarity due to the pandemic and all; we’ve got some new stuff I’m pretty excited about.
Aight, that’s all I can think of at the moment. Thanks for reading. Connect with me on social media. Keep in touch. Subscribe to this blog below. Check on your friends. Be good to each other. Much love.