I am a 36 year old woman who may not live in "The Big City" but I like the little city I live in and there is a lot that goes on around here too! This is a place where anything can happen..or be written about!!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"She Walks In Beauty"

Getting Ready For My Video Close Up (Photo By Sarah)
Delvis: The Star (Photo By Sarah)

I got to be a video vixen for a day...well ok maybe not a video vixen; I was fully clothed, and wasn't rolling around doing gymnastics on top of cars, or shaking "my stuff", BUT I got to be "the girl" in a music video..sweet!!
This post is a little different than my others for two reasons:
1. It will be the first time I am doing a reflective piece plus an interview with two people in one post!
2. It will be the first time an official music video is premiered on my blog..YAY!

So Let The Fun Begin! Rock On!

S: How did this song come to be?
Delvis: Sometimes I write songs that are inspired by title's of books or poems. This song was one of them. I was reading Lord Byron's" She Walks In Beauty", and it resonated with my song writing instincts. I then Googled "She Walks In Beauty" and discovered there are many other people who were just as inspired as I was to write a song around that title ;).  I wrote this song in 2005 and recorded it in 2006. It really is cool to see it in a video format now after all this time. I actually was going to leave this song off the album, because I was self conscious of my falsetto voice in it, but then my friend Fran always said it was his favorite song from the recording session (Fran McConville Jr
plays lead guitar on this track, as well as the other songs on my album), so it went on as the last song...glad it did!
Delvis in the video "She Walks In Beauty"

S:Why did you want to make this video Gary?
Gary: I heard Delvis’ album and really enjoyed it. There was something in particular about “She Walks in Beauty” that struck a nerve with me. It carries so much emotion and has a universality to it that works well as a visual story. That being said, I have to give credit where it’s due: I think it was my brother who actually suggested I make the music video. I contacted Delvis…and well… here we are. 

Sarah and Gary in "She Walks In Beauty" videoGary: Director and the "other man" in the video
S: Can you tell my readers what this music video is about?
Gary: It’s about the relationship between a guy and his girlfriend that falls apart. The girlfriend gets into an accident, and needs to be taken care of while she recovers. He stays with her at first, but gets tired of the responsibility, and misses out on the freedoms that other people have.  He finally decides to leave her, and ends up deeply regretting it. Unfortunately, it’s too late since she is with someone else, and would probably not forgive him for leaving her at such a difficult time. 

Gary Filming! (Photo By Sarah)

Doing this video was such an exciting project for D, because he could put his music out there in another creative art form. It was exciting for me, because I was proud/excited for D to put his music in a video format. I felt truly honored when D asked me to be a part of it (thank you so much D...you are the sweetest xoxo)! I also felt Gary "our leader" into the video world was also excited about this adventure. It was a fun creative trio, and it was really all laughs making this video, which makes the creative process even more enjoyable! Of course I toted my camera around to capture these moments!
Gary: The Leader/Director
Kitchen Scene  (Photo By Sarah)

Gary and D spent two days shooting footage of D singing around Salem (I didn't get to see what they did until the first viewing, and they rocked it). I came in on the third day of the shoot, which we spent all day working on.We shot in quite a few locations.One location was in front of Salem Hospital (accident scene), but you won't see the hospital in the video, but just know it was there ;).We shot at D's parent's house in Salem (the bedroom scene..LOL ;) ). We also shot the "kitchen scene" and our "fight scene" (where D and I had to put on our acting chops, because we never fight ;)) at our apt in Salem (now it is our old apt since we moved, but it will always be there to see on film..Awww!) . This is also where I cooked an actual full on tofu and mixed vegetable meal for the video (so appreciate the 3 seconds of footage of it ;)), but we all did get to have dinner that night!
It was a loooooooong day, but an unbelievably enjoyable day too! I got my first chance at acting (which was so much freaking fun..don't worry I am not going to go all "Hollywood" on you guys.....yet! ;)), and doing it with my boyfriend just made it even more delightful (even though I wasn't allowed to hardly wear make-up for this shoot..talk about stress ;))! We also made a new friend (shout- out to Gary), and just had a truly enjoyable artistic day!
My favorite video still moment from "She Walks In Beauty"

S:How did you start being a filmmaker?
Gary: I always had a thing for entertainment and the arts. I guess I watched a lot of TV as a kid and grew up having visions of doing creative work. When I was around ten years old, I set up a makeshift studio in my living room and taped fake newscasts about the breaking “news” happening in my family life. During high school, I filmed shows and edited documentaries using the school’s equipment and continued to do so throughout college. After I graduated, I briefly lived in New York City where I interned for The Colbert Report.

Me Rockin With The Wind! (Photo By Sarah)
(Photo By Sarah)
The Boys Getting Their Shot! (Photo By Sarah)
The second shoot I did with them was 3 months later, and we got a perfect day, sunshine and all. Devereux Beach in Marblehead was the location (it was my first time there since last summer). The water was sparkling, the sky was so blue, and there was a lot of wind which ended up making for some good video footage, as well as some fun photo's ops for me too :).  The last part of the video actually didn't take that long to film. We have been talking about it for months, so we pretty much new the shots we were looking for. Lets just put it this way, it took longer for me to do my own hair and make-up than it took to film on our last day of shooting. ;) I was so impressed how this footage came out...especially the very last scene in the video!!!

S:What did you learn from making this video?           
Gary: First, you don’t need a huge budget to make a quality piece of work, just some smoke and mirrors! Honestly, I’m proud to say we got this project done for just under $100,000! Seriously though,  I definitely learned to take advantage of the serendipitous moments of the process. When we were filming at the beach, it was so windy that I was getting sand blown in my eye every two seconds, and was nervous about having the sand get in the camera. But in the end,  it turned out great, the wind made the scene more alive and interesting!

S:What are your goals with your film making?
Gary: I would love to have more chances to get projects made and work with creative and talented people .  I can’t really expect much more.  Trying to get “famous” is like saying you want to learn to be charismatic;  you have no control over how your work is received by the public.   The best you can do is produce and create as much as you can and stay true to the vision.  If something big happens along the way, it’s a great reward, but more like a by-product of hard work.

Waiting for my turn on camera...no trailer (yet) just a Toyota Corolla ;) (Photo By Sarah)

Me and D (Photo By Sarah)
The process to make this video started in January 2011, but due to a very crazy snowy winter we didn't finish the video shoot until April 2011. In the end the change of seasons in the video make it even cooler, so it was worth the wait for the sunshine (and for the ALL the snow to melt). It really helped show the passage of time.

Gary came over the apt a few days ago with the finished video and I think I watched it eight times in a row (I could have watched it a lot more, but I think the boys had enough of the replay). I was so impressed with the creative talents of D and Gary, and felt very proud to be a part of the process.

It was funny after watching the video numerous times I realized
"Music Baby"
my brown sweatshirt I wear in a few scenes says "Music Baby". I literally had no idea it said that. I just grabbed an old sweatshirt, because they said to be as "un-glamourous" as I can be, just like if I was really going to the hospital. On another note before all my hip surgeries I have always made it a point to get my hair done the day before. I don't think going to the hospital means you always have to look awful ;)! I ended up giving a shout out to music, while in a music video, without even knowing it!

Final Shot Of Video! (Photo By Sarah)

S:How did you feel after seeing your video for the first time?

Delvis  (Photo By Sarah)
Delvis: It seemed surreal! It was like I was watching an MTV video, because the quality was excellent! For those of you under the age of 25 MTV actually use to have videos instead of all "un-reality" TV;). Perhaps you will be the new "Video Vixen" who will bring back the love of music videos. ;) I felt really proud of it, and of the whole experience. I felt really grateful that Gary wanted to make my song into a video!

S: How did you feel working with Gary as a Director/Filmmaker?
Delvis: It was a pleasure to work with him, because he was very open-minded to suggestions, and just had a very easy going attitude throughout the process. He understood the importance of letting the creativity flow naturally. 

S:How was it working with Delvis and I ;)?
Gary: Spectacular!  We did a couple days just with Delvis, and a couple with the two of you (and Sky, the dog).  I had a good time with you guys, and everything went smoothly!

S:Delvis do you have anything else to say to the world before people click on the link below to see your first music video :)!
Delvis:I would like to thank Sarah, Gary, Sky, and Vadim for devoting their time and energy to make this video happen. I would also like to give a special thanks to Lord Byron, because without him the song would not have been written and the video would not have been shot. May his spirit continue to walk in beauty. Oh yeah, you can also click on the iTunes link below and make "She Walks In Beauty" the #1 single on iTunes...hey why not! ;)

Well gang that's a wrap! Another thing I can check off of my bucket list..."Video Vixen"; Check! ;) Congratulations D on your first music video!!!

Lights, Camera, Action! (Photo By Sarah)

Me And The Director (Photo By Sarah)

*TO SEE THE VIDEO "SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY" CLICK HERE! http://vimeo.com/23670585
*To hear Delvis's Song "She Walks in Beauty" and the rest of his "The Road Is My Home" Cd you can find it on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-road-is-my-home/id389712354 
*You can also find Delvis's music, gigs, and live videos on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/DELVIS/129241610441998

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Isaaks of Salem/ The Mead Man Of Salem Massachusetts!

Ian Bennett The Mead Man Of Salem (photo from Isaaks Of Salem)
After a long day at work or relaxing on a beautiful summer's night, spending a night out or in with friends, or snuggling up with someone special by a fireplace, whatever the situation might be most of the time having a really nice glass of wine is a nice way to cap off these moments. It isn't always easy to find that right wine let alone find it being made in the city/town you live in, but here in Salem we don't have to look any further for that really good bottle of wine..I have found it! ;) Isaaks Of Salem is a local wine that is also quite delightful to the taste!

Meet Ian Bennett the "Mead Man" of  Salem, Massachusetts! Ian is originally from Rhode Island, but now he is a Salem man!  After learning about honey wine in college, he decided someday he would try to learn how to make it.  The opportunity came up for Ian around the time he moved to Salem and started making it in his basement. 

This was 5 years ago, but soon the hobby grew to be much larger than he wanted to handle at home.  So after his first few larger batches, the winery was founded on October 30th 2009.  He searched for all of the equipment, searched for a good space to produce the wine, and searched for the perfect honey for their local honey wines all winter of 2009 and 2010.  He finally found a space in March of 2010 that was perfect for his small micro winery in Beverly MA just by the train station.

Ian With His Mead!(photo from Isaaks Of Salem)
He then scoured all of Massachusetts for the best Honey he could find. He  opened up a Partnership with MVABeepunchers, and they get all of their honey from this exclusive source.  There bee's forage in the Merrimack Valley and produce a wonderfully delightful sweet honey that he turn's into Isaaks Of Salem.

With honey and all the other ingredients required for wine making at hand, his first fermentation started on June 30th 2010.  It was their Dry Honey Wine and it went great.  Isaaks Of Salem was ready in November 2010 for distribution.

So lets raise a glass... my interview with the mead man is here!!! Meet the man behind the wine....my interview with Ian Bennett!

Having A Delicious Glass Of Isaaks Of Salem Dry Honey Wine (Photo By Sarah)
S:How did your love affair with wine first begin?

I:When I was in college I read A LOT of fantasy novels.  Lord of the Rings, A Game of Thrones (way before the tv show), and many other books.  They almost always had Mead or Honey Wine in the stories's as a way for the characters to celebrate.  I wondered what this beverage was, because I could never find it anywhere.  Then one night it was on the menu at an English Pub in Rochester NY called The Old Toad.  It was being served mulled (hot), but I was so excited to try it!  However I was REALLY disappointed.  After all these mentions of mead in the books I read, and the references to mead being a drink of the gods, I couldn't believe the drink I had was even from the same planet as what was written in my books that I loved.  I then learned how to make my own from "GotMead.com" (It's a homebrew site, but dedicated completely to mead), and after my first Joe's Ancient Orange, I was 100% hooked on the hobby.

Isaaks Of Salem Dry Honey Wine is a big white wine. It is dominated by big honey overtones to create a real white wine with substance. (Photo By Sarah)

Me and My Isaaks Of Salem Wine (Photo By Sarah)

S:What is the different in taste between honey wine vs grape wine?
 I:Honey Wine has a distinctly stronger flavor in most cases.  Grape wine (especially white-style grape wine) is usually a light, crisp, flavor profile.  Honey Wine can be made cleanly, but it does have a stronger flavor than grape wine.  The comparison can be similar to the nationally distributed beer like Bud Light and Sam AdamsSam Adams has more flavor than Bud Light.  The same thing can be said (in general) about honey wine vs grape wine. 
S: What made you decide to move to Salem?
I:My wife and I have been living in Salem for 4.5 years now.  We purchased our home on Cross St., because of it's proximity to the ocean, and the great downtown atmosphere.  There is just so much going on in Salem, and we wanted to be part of it all. 
S:What was the turning point for you in your head where your hobby of making honey wine became more than just a hobby?
I: I actually wrote a blog post about this, and you should be able to find it here: http://content.corkd.com/2010/03/03/from-hobby-to-career-the-journey-of-a-honey-wine-producer/ . Somehow I just knew I wanted to try and show more than a few family friends what could be done with local New England fruit and honey.  The slogan of our company or it's catch phrase is on all our business cards.  "Turning the Fruit and Honey of New England into local wine".  It is taking what New England has to offer, and making it into something truly special that you can preserve, treasure, and enjoy with friends.
Relaxing while taste testing the wine! :) (Photo By Sarah)
S:This may be a "silly" question, but what made you decide that  "Isaaks Of Salem" would become your winery name? Picking a name for anything I find is more challenging than one may think...
I:That is a good question.  We were sitting around the living room in October of 2009 trying to name the company.  My mom was there and she pitched out Isaaks of Salem, because my great grandfathers middle name was Isaac.  I thought that was a great idea, and named the company after his middle name.  I was then on the phone a few weeks later (after doing a lot of the paperwork) with my grandmother, and when I shared the good news that we named the company Isaaks of Salem after Pop (my grandfather) she said "Pop's middle name was not Isaac, it was Isiah."  I almost died laughing, and just rolled with it.  So, that is how we got our name, it's no one in my family, it's not anyone I know, but it has stuck around.

(photo from Isaaks Of Salem)
S: Now that is funny!  
S:Where would you like to see Isaaks Of Salem..5 years from now?What is your main goal for your wine/winery?What would be your dream future for you and your wine?

I:The goal of the winery in 5 years is to be my full-time job.  Now that I have said that, let's get to the 'but'....it appears that the 5 year plan may be closer to achieving than I thought, and also further away than I thought.  Every hour I put into the winery right now, comes out of time I could have spent with my wife and son. They are the #1 priority in my life, and so if I were to make a go at doing the winery full-time, I need to consider how hard that would be on them.  How much time I would loose from my family.  The success of the winery is very important to me, I think I have the skills, experience and capabilities to make the winery my full-time job, but it is the time that's required to make that happen that has me wondering what may happen to me and my family in 5 years.
Love This Wine! (Photo By Sarah)
S:Why should people pick up a bottle of your wine over another bottle of wine?
I:The reason anyone buys a bottle of wine is to have a good time and explore new flavors.  Sharing that bottle with friends, sitting by a campfire, breathing in the hot summer night, that is my perfect 'good-time'.  A bottle of Isaaks of Salem gives our friends and fans a great local story to tell.  It is not well known, and not many people have tried any of our wine yet. The local story, and the passion for exploring new wines is why people pick up a bottle of Isaaks of Salem.  It is something you have never had before. The local story of honey from Massachusetts,and all the hard work the bee's and the bee-keepers do, and then comes my part. All of us together make the wine truly enjoyable.
S:What has been your biggest challenge with starting a winery?
The Three Meads! (photo from Isaaks Of Salem)
I:The biggest challenge in starting the winery was finding equipment with very little money.  If you want to buy our setup from a retailer of wine making equipment it would cost around 14,000 dollars.  That is a pretty nice used car, or a solid NEW car.  Never-mind the rent money and all the little costs that creep up, or finding honey from a reliable local supplier.  We needed to get all that equipment to make 800 gallons of wine for around 4,000 dollars. Our equipment is all hand assembled and hand-built.  We have an Window AC-Unit that was converted into a chiller for our tank.  A commercial one with the same capabilities costs about $3,000.  We had a guy on a PC-Overclocking forum build ours (custom EVERYTHING) for around $900.  All our equipment is like that.  We picked up a 1k gallon stainless steel tank for $1000 at a scrap yard, and then I spent 3 months inside the tank (think giant bell) grinding away at the steel with palm sander to make it sanitary again.  We use recycled HDPE tanks that were once used to ship natural flavors and mineral oils for bulk storage containers.  It takes a lot of careful planning to find all this equipment, because no one else makes mead, no one else has the equipment (at least not anyone within 600 miles).

I really like how on the back of the wine bottles it
give you food pairing and glassware recommendations
as well as a description of the wine
(photo from Isaaks Of Salem)
S:What has been your biggest reward so far from opening up your own winery (what has made you feel the most successful so far)?

I:The biggest reward so far, was having my wife join me in the company to help improve our communication with our Facebook fans.  Working with her, learning more about how well she communicates (and how poorly I do it) has been incredibly rewarding.  Probably the best part!
The second best reward is a project we are doing with The Gathering in Salem.  Phil the pastor of the church asked me to come in and do a mead day in the church.  So we helped people in the church make their own batch of mead at Christmas time, and we are cracked open the first bottles after the Easter Sunday service for the congregation.  The whole batch was made, fermented, aged, and bottled all in the church. It was a GREAT time for everyone, and very rewarding for me to be able to share my knowledge and experience with the members of the congregation.

CHEERS!!!! (Photo By Sarah)

(Photo By Sarah)

http://blog.isaaksofsalem.com     (the most general information)
http://blog.isaaksofsalem.com/p/video.html   (video work that we have done)
http://isaaksofsalem.myshopify.com    (our digital tasting room and online store)
http://www.facebook.com/isaaksofsalem  (our facebook account)
http://www.twitter.com/isaaksofsalem    (our twitter account)