‘Remembering Anarcha’ is up for pre-order!

You can now pre-order Remembering Anarcha on iTunes – click here. The film release date is May 4. Here’s a short video I made talking about the pre-orders, production, and the history:

The film has been acquired by Gravitas Ventures, a Red Arrow Studios company, for North American distribution. Read the news release announcement here.

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.

Official trailer for “Remembering Anarcha”

The Remembering Anarcha production team will be making some announcements in the coming days, but in the meantime, we have officially launched the film’s official trailer on the Terrible Master Films YouTube channel.

Follow the film on social media for more updates: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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.

From Terrible Master Films in association with 803 Films and Carolyn Jean’s Son Visions. Produced by Josh Carples, C. DeWayne Cunningham, and Royce Williams. Directed by Josh Carples.

Well… I haven’t done THIS in a while…

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 here are a few details – the play is called Sweat, and it is written by Lynn Nottage. This is a Cloverdale Playhouse production directed by Georgette Norman. They announced the cast and crew yesterday on their Facebook page (image below as well.)

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.

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New ‘Ab Aeterno’ lyric video for Towering Above

Last night, my band Towering Above released a lyric video for “Ab Aeterno,” a song from our acoustic EP Repeating the Moment. Check it out here.

Repeating the Moment can be found on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Bandcamp, etc.

Hope you enjoy!

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I haven’t blogged in a full month…

Photo by C. DeWayne Cunningham of Carolyn Jean’s Son Visions.

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.

Back in November, I posted a cover version of “Souvenir” by Boygenius. I did another cover that’s on my YouTube channel (be sure to subscribe!), but I apparently never posted it to the blog, so here it is:

Let’s see… what else… oh, here’s something else that didn’t make the blog – a hot sauce video taken by my shooter, C. DeWayne Cunningham of Carolyn Jean’s Son Visions:

And I got to do a fun photo shoot with my friend Thomas Tingle of Koi Photograph. Be sure to check out his page and his Instagram; he’s doing some really cool stuff.

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.

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Zombies? A hair salon?

Back in 2018, I wrote and directed an ad for Seville: The Basement Cuts, a hair salon in Montgomery, AL. They let me get a bit experimental with it, so now that they have a new location and are now known as Seville at Hilltop, we took it a step further… and added zombies.

See the journey from the Basement to the Hilltop:

A Terrible Master Films production
In associaton with Early Riser Films.

-CREW-
1st Assistant Director / Production Sound Mixer: Jeff McKinney
Makeup Artist: Amanda Brown
Production Assistant: Corey Miles

-MUSIC-
“Seville @ Hilltop” by Tequila Nylon
Score: Glorious 70mm

-STARRING-
Jacob Lee
Alex Rikerd

-ZOMBIES-
Megan McCulley
Sophia McCulley
Corey Miles
Olivia Varner

DOOR MAN: Chris Eckels

-SEVILLE STAFF-
Jen Powell
Malerie Bussell
Jessica Toole

-CLIENTS-
Jessica Bussell
Chris Eckels
Lucy Eckels
Jen Hoots
Nicole Johnston
Lydia Mann
Kelly Murphy

-SPECIAL THANKS-
Alaina Doten
Todd Souvignier
ALMEC

Appreciating connection (oh, also cult stuff?)

My friends have joked on me about my fascination with cults. It’s even influenced some of my art at times (like this music video.)

The whole Jonestown horror and the film The Sacrament by Ti West. The Invitation is another good one. The music video for “Premonition of the Hex” by Circa Survive. Bizarre belief systems like Scientology. (Watch The Master if you haven’t already.) Warren Jeffs, the child rapist and leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

I was reading the Rolling Stone article “Children of Scientology: Life After Growing Up in an Alleged Cult”, and it talks about people who were raised in that system as children and then leaving it. Of the many interesting aspects of that article, one thing kind of stood out to me – the differences between adults and children when it comes to cults, specifically leaving them.

The article talks about it thusly:

“People who join and leave as adults have the luxury of connecting with their past selves, [a cult expert and therapist] says. ‘For them, it’s about reconnecting, rediscovering, re-everything. But SGAs don’t have that. Their identity is the cult.’”

The term “SGAs” in that sentence stands for “Second Generation Adults.” Basically, a first generation adult leaves their family to join a cult. For the SGA, the family is the cult.

If you had to start over and relearn almost everything as an adult, how difficult and terrifying would that be? (For a non-cult documentary where someone had to start over in a different way, the film Tell Me Who I Am is good, maddening, and heartbreaking.)

All of this got me thinking about the idea of connection. Our connections with friends and family. Our past familial histories and how they can affect us. Even some of the nature vs. nurture argument.

Part of that comes from the same Rolling Stone article above where one of the former Scientologists is aware that her mother is Jewish, which means that according to tradition, so is she. The article mentions that “it’s one of the few things that she was before she was a Scientologist.” That’s the connection she was trying to explore.

There have been times in my own life where I have felt somewhat disconnected, not nearly on the level the people in that article must be dealing with by any means, but at least a little. There is so much I don’t know, even about my own family history.

But even with those moments of disconnect, I never had to start over from scratch. I never had to explore aspects of a previous identity that I never had. Even when I left the belief system I was raised in, I didn’t lose everything. My family didn’t disown me; my friends didn’t stop talking to me. (Many of my friends left belief systems as well though – some before me, some after.) 

But I’m lucky in that fact. I can be my authentic self without it costing me those connections. I understand that not everyone can say that.

Since we’re wrapping up the holiday season of such a strange, trying clusterfuck of a year, connection seems so important. Some people skipped out on seeing family during the holidays (not enough to slow this fucking pandemic apparently, but still…) More people are dealing with isolation, loneliness, depression, along with anxieties about whatever else is going on in their personal lives. It’s been rough for a lot of people.

I guess in this last bit of 2020, maybe it’d be nice for us to take a moment to appreciate the connections we have – to the friends and family that love us, to the strangers that show us kindness, and to the memories of those gone before us.

I hope you and yours have a happy new year. Thanks for reading. Much love.

-Josh

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Oh looky, another rambling post just in time for the holidays

Hi, and welcome to another blog post where I try to get my thoughts “on paper” in the digital sense of the word.

Sometimes I wonder how I come across to people. Not in an insecure kind of way, but in a curiosity kind of way. I saw something a while back on Facebook that talked about how there are literally multiple versions of you, and none of them are the “you” that you think you are.

Does that make sense? The person you think you are, the person you see in the mirror, that person only exists to you. Others see “you” in their own way, and that may not line up with who you see in the mirror.

Multiple times in my own life, I have had people look at me and say, “I wish you could see yourself how I see you.”

While I’m still not there, it did bring up a couple of things:

  1. It made me think of the saying “What others think of me is none of my business.”
  2. It made me think about authenticity – another subject I talk about regularly on here.

Damn, I use the word “think” a lot on here. Anyway…

For me to be authentic, I have to live by and act on my core principles and values. How that is perceived by others is not really my business. I think? (Did it again.)

That got me to thinking about an article I read a while back called “How to Grow the Fuck Up” by Mark Manson. In that article, he talks about three stages of life: child, adolescent, adult.

Basically, as a child, we do things for pleasure. As an adolescent, things are transactional; we develop principles and values, but we also try to make sure that we get pleasure at the end. We’ll do something to get something in return. (If you’re thinking that you know adults like that, he does argue in the article that many people never get past this stage their whole lives.)

Then we have the adult stage where we do things based on our principles without regard to pleasure. We do something simply because it’s right.

Now how does all this tie together? Good question. All this stuff floats around in my brain, and trying to make it all intersect into a post that makes sense can be daunting at times. But here goes:

I think principles are important. I care about people. I don’t show that I care in order to get something in return. It’s not transactional. I just care. When I think or know that someone is struggling or hurting, I try to check on them. Not for any reward, but because I care. I don’t want or expect anything in return. (And I’m not religious, so I’m not concerned about some post-earth reward either.)

But… I don’t always know how that comes across. Do some people think that I want something in return? Do they think that I have some ulterior motive? Do they think I’m being transactional instead of principled?

In the end, however, if I don’t do what I’m supposed to do (principles), then I’m not being the authentic version of myself that I think I am (that person I see in the mirror.)

Hopefully that made sense. [Insert shrug emoji here.]

Anyway, this year has been a shit year for a whole lot of people, and this time of year can exacerbate that with holidays, stress, seasonal affective disorder, oh, and this whole fucking pandemic that JUST. WON’T. STOP. So check on your people. Spread some love. Live by your principles and be your authentic self.

Thanks for reading. Subscribe, connect, follow, all that kind of stuff. Much love.

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‘382: Organizing for the Future’

In November, I had the opportunity to be part of a film crew working on a documentary celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The film debuted Saturday evening at a drive-in event at Montgomery’s Paterson Field, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sent in a video introduction for the film.

Many thanks to Khari Creative and WK Media for allowing me to part of such a great project!

The film, titled 382: Organizing for the Future, is available on the city of Montgomery’s YouTube channel. Enjoy!

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So… I did a cover.

I don’t do many covers. I’ve always been part of the original music scene, even going back to when I first joined a band at age 15. The bands I’ve been in might throw in a cover or two in a set, but we never did 4-hour cover gigs or anything like that.

I’ve kept the same aspect for my solo stuff; I mainly perform songs that I wrote, but every once in a while I’ll throw a cover in a set. And generally, it’s not a popular song by a huge artist on the radio, so in some cases I’ve had people think it was one of my songs anyway.

That long-ass intro brings me to this: I did a cover on my YouTube channel of the song “Souvenir” by Boygenius (which, if you didn’t know, is a band that featured the amazing talents of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus.) Side note: I really wish they would do another album together.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this (and I hope you don’t think I completely ruined their wonderful song as well [insert nervous laughter and self-deprecating humor here].)

Like. Share. Subscribe. Follow. Fitter. Happier. More productive. Comfortable….

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