INDIESTREET

Interviews with an underground NYC music legend, Milo Z, and his budding jazz saxophonist (Steven Frieder) give our creative community some insight on different ways to manage the ever-changing creative ecosystem.

    A rainy afternoon in the early 1980s: Soft rain acts the snare as a group of young boys add the kick drum on their leaps from truck top to truck top. Right behind CBGBs is where the old U-Haul trucks used to line up tight, and that is where the bright eyed young stompers would play their games and talk of the unknown. This is where the young boys would undoubtedly stumble upon some mischief that might just turn them into young men. In general these were the days when kids went out to play for the whole day without checking in ‘til the street lights came on.

     Milo Z was one of these boys, free to explore the East Village with no need to digitally check in or post a quick selfie to announce whereabouts. Humans were happy to share memories with a select few, but Milo still dreamt of big days ahead. It was one of the first days this particular group of boys had graduated from truck hopping to cab looting when the now local icon found an old practice drum set. Milo dragged that drum set home, and the rest is as Milo would say, is Razzamofunk!

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This past week, I had the chance to interview two musicians in different stages of their careers, different stages of their lives, and from different eras of the music scene. Even stemming from two unique ideological generations, these talents share the stage, perform together, and inspire each other in the types of ways that make crowds gather on Indie Street. Both Milo Z and the young jazz saxophonist Steven Frieder had lots to share about their values, their music, and their paths as independent artists.

The Who

Milo Z
A total professional, Milo Z sings, dances, conducts, orchestrates, and interacts with the crowd, all the while dressing and grooving in a style that is unique and all his own.. Showcasing his talent in NYC for decades, now 5 albums deep, Milo has the experience and grit that produces some truly authentic music and lyrics. His appreciation for originality is pretty obvious considering he has created his own music genre Razzamofunk (a blend of Rap, Rock, Rythym & Blues, Jazz and Funk).

Steven Frieder
Steven is only 24, but some consider him a sort of jazz prodigy. His saxophone will transport you back to a day of funky soul from before you were born, or may have forgot existed. Steven wales on the sax with Milo Z and a variety of other bands, and released his first album as a leader last year.

Steven and Milo seem to have a natural synergy with each other. Not just a student-teacher relationship, but one where both realize the great benefits of the others presence regardless of age or experience. The young generation has a lot to learn from the toughness and persistence of those who succeeded in the past, but now more than ever, older generations must keep an open ear to the young street for new ways to swing and sling in the market.

The two will be traveling with the rest of the Milo Z band to spread the funk in Greece later this month. Milo Z loves bringing in and bringing up young musicians, who he admits at times end up on even bigger stages than his. He becomes enlivened from the youthful vigor and reconfirmed by challenging Steven and others to perform at their highest level. Steven looks to Milo a leader who expects the most of himself and his band while committing himself to his craft and his crowd.

Distribution & Self Promotion

New School – Steven Frieder
The simple act of referring to this young talented musician “new school” is probably an injustice because his musical soul and spirit are from a different generation. In any case, his physical age is of the digital era, so we asked him about the new tools for getting out there. For the most part, Steven believes it is very different from musician to musician depending on their priorities, but he did reveal what he believes to be the most intriguing new digital concepts:

“I think that one of the most powerful social media phenomenas is that of the viral video. Do you remember this video of the subway street performers that went huge last year? It’s this trio with Bari Sax, Trumpet and percussion. Too Many Zooz. I know the horn players, good friends of mine that I went to college with. That video went viral overnight because someone posted it on reddit. Now, they are touring all over, playing in Europe and all over the west coast. I couldn’t be happier for them, cats that went to a major jazz conservatory, and got big playing “Brass-House” as they call it. It’s some great stuff.”

Old School – Milo Z
As an old school cat at heart, Milo Z (and many other humans on the planet) feel that the social networking and digital media have started a trend toward shameless self promotion:

“Nowadays everybody is a star, everyone is taking their selfies. There is no shame. It seems now the old expression there is no bad press has reached a new height.”

Lyrics from Milo Z song, “Bitch (for the camera)”:
“Nobody cares if they’re comin’ off wrong or right, as long as their name in the paper gets spelled right.

Even for artists who have some hostility toward youtube stars and the year of the selfie, there are still many ways to hit the avenues while still creating art. Milo Z for example, is taking advantage of his creative drive and rich childhood to write his first book.

“It's a coming of age story of a kid growing up in NYC and the (Lower East Side) in a time when the L.E.S. in particular was a very different place, a rough place that was untamed and untrendy. I’m exploring a different way to be creative and i'm excited about the process. Maybe I can drop my next album when the book comes out and one thing can cross pollinate the other, than who knows.”

We School – What can other cooperative artists learn
It seems the takeaway is that being genuine in your marketing is what matters. Even if you don’t want to write a whole book, you can tell your story without it being shameless self-promotion. Cross marketing, collaborating, and finding new ways to reach the audience is part of surviving for an entrepreneurial artist. Artists have always been entrepreneurial by necessity, and new tools like viral videos, social networking, and crowd funding, (while making it more complicated), do give more ways for creative to think a bit more about business.

Crowdfunding

Old School - Milo Z
When I asked Milo Z if he ever considered using a Kickstarter or Indiegogo crowd funding campaign, he was a bit taken aback. “Passing the can around just doesn’t feel right for some reason.” If you are from an era like Milo Z and myself where you feel weird to ask your friends and family for some extra scratch, then the odds are that they may think it a little awkward too if they are of similar age and upbringing. Crowd funding can alienate your core audience if your audience doesn’t think its cool.

New School – Steven Freider
Steven used IndieGogo to help finance his first album, After Time (Produced by Jake Hertzog, feat. Bob Meyer, Luke Franco, & Peter Brendler) and had this to say.

“I think crowd funding is a great idea for independent artist to finance their project. How much you can raise definitely comes down to your strategy and your audience. My audience was mostly friends, family, my fellow musicians, and people who kept asking about when I was going to make a CD! I kept the project within my limits, and still paid for most of it out of pocket.”

We School – What can other cooperative artists learn
If you have grown up in the age of crowd funding and to your knowledge your circles support the idea or would really enjoy your rewards, than what is the harm in going for it? Even if all your friends and family don’t have much dough, they can spread the word to others in similar circles so you can grow your audience (even if you don’t raise millions). There may be one new fan you get who may have some serious connects or a huge network of followers themselves. On the other hand, be honest about who your core audience is. If you think they would be offended by asking for donations, than maybe look toward other avenues of financing your next project. We have not used crowd funding yet directly for IndieStreet, but thre is surely value in it: some of our filmmakers have raised a good amount of money, as well as increased awareness for their projects.

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Creation – The School of the Insane Now

When I asked both of these unique artists why they made music, I got answers far from the realm of digital, all of the words were lined with human passion and grace. So rather than me go on about why they create, I chose a few of the most telling quotes from my talks with each of these talented musical creators:

Milo Z: I make music because I have to. If I wasn’t making music I would lose my mind. I think we are all a little bit crazy and what keeps us sane is our outlet.

Steven: My mother played and taught classical piano, played guitar and sang. She passed away when I was 17, and it is very much because of her that I play music today.

Milo Z: What has changed for me in the last few years is that I'm a father now and that now my daughter Sierra is the most important thing to me, even more than my art! If I never did another show I still be her dad so the rest Is gravy.

Steven: One of the greatest truths for any art, is that there is always more to learn, no matter what level you have achieved…

Milo Z and Steven Frieder are innately insane artists from different schools, but they both really live by the same code. Don’t fight the human need to create, don’t stop learning, create with your heart, and be authentic. The actual creation of art and its motives do not seem to change too much from generation to generation. No technology can stop our primal emotions and releases. No technology can truly engage a human audience without a human story behind it. Milo is building on his already rich story, and Steven is just starting to write his.

If Indie Street can help harvest discussion and keep the most talented (and by Milo Z’s definition the most insane) creators with sustainable outlets, then we can all stay a bit more connected to our human roots. By getting creative with technology and sharing the experience of truly unique individuals, the world gets to hear more great music, watch more great films, and keep some really awesome people from going insane.

-Jay Webb, Indie Street

Check out more and keep informed on Steven and Milo Z at the links below:

Milo Z Website

Buy his album on CD Baby

Milo Z Facebook Page

Milo Z Reverb Nation page

Steven Frieder's Website

Steven's Facebook Page

Last summer, for the inaugural Indie Street Film Festival, a new mural popped up in Red Bank on Monmouth St., celebrating film, the arts, the overall feeling of community and the vibrancy of beautiful, arts-centric Red Bank, NJ. Designed by artist Misha Tyutyunik, AKA MDOT, the colorful, eye-catching mural still shines in Red Bank for all to see and admire. To celebrate the second year of the festival, a new, just as colorful mural has materialized on the Catherine St. wall of Kitch Organic in Red Bank over the past weekend. MDOT returned, creating the design and directing a team of local children and adults to bring his vision to life. However, this piece of community sourced art doesn’t only just promote ISFF: it also celebrates the upcoming Crossing Borders Festival, a 5-day Latino-centric fest at the Two River Theater starting August 2! If you’re all for celebrating local arts and the community, check out more info on Indie Street Film Festival and the Crossing Borders Festival. To see pics of the mural painting fun in action, head to ISFF’s FB page or check out #more-111845" target="_blank">Red Bank Green’s coverage of the event.

Are you passionate about analogue film and photography? Lucky you! Indie Street Film Festival and Lomography are teaming up to offer an amazing opportunity for you to not only show off your passion and skills but to also give you the chance to win 2 ALL ACCESS PASSES to the Indie Street Film Festival (happening this July 26-30 in Red Bank, NJ) AND a pretty sweet lil' Lomography LomoKino, too. We know those two prizes alone are enough to blow your film lovin' mind  - but that's all: you'll also win the opportunity to serve as a guest LomoReporter for the festival, putting your new LomoKino to the test! Seriously, what could be a cooler setup?! "[Lomography and ISFF are] looking for some of the most unique photographers who are able to find a balance between cinema and still photographic styles, by using elements of classic and contemporary cinema such as wide angles, shallow depth of field or vivid colors. The opportunities and visual styles that qualify are endless as cinema varies to each interpretation, and has had many prevailing trends throughout history. Use your favorite films as inspiration, or study the techniques and be inspired by cinematic photographers like Gregory Crewdson. Remember, above all, what filmmakers are trying to do with their pictures is tell a compelling story." Sound like something up your alley? Read up on more of the contest rules here and remember the most important rule of them all: you gotta show us totally analogue and totally NOT digitally enhanced entries to be eligible! Act fast and get snappin' - the contest ends MONDAY JULY 10! 

Maria's Pick: Radiohead's MAN OF WAR

Sometimes you just need a refreshing 'going-back-to-basics video' in an environment that values more and more artifacts and visual extravaganzas. Stripping things down, keeping the protagonist's interpretation at the core and heavily relying on exceptional editing: all these are key ingredients that make “Man of War” a tremendous joy to watch! Might be nostalgia talking, but it's really beautiful to see basic filmmaking elements (no hats, no tricks!) being used to create a compelling narrative worthy of 2017. Part of the story is set during the day, part of it in the night. The mood and emotions vary: during the day, the protagonist seems calm and composed while in the night, he looks paranoid and terrified. Despite an alternating day-night scenario, his actions maintain continuity (with the exception, of course, of his mood). This gives the promo the feeling of one continuous take, even though there are different temporal periods. But that's just the catch! The appearance of continuity is exactly why, at some point, the shadows can no longer be contained only in the night setting, thus slowly but steadily invading the day narrative as well.  The conceptual approach of director Colin Read seems a brilliant choice for Radiohead's track. 'Man of War' is part of the band's 20th anniversary album but is actually an unreleased track from OK Computer. So the stripped back filmmaking style (but with a contemporary result), makes perfect sense! Even more surprising given the director's limited experience with music video directing. A broken pelvis left him unable to skate when he was 18 years old and prompted him to become a filmmaker instead - yet Read chose to specialize in movies focused on skateboarding. How he managed to step so much out of his comfort zone and achieve such a spectacular result, remains a mystery yet a clear indication we should continue to keep our eyes on him!  

  About Maria: "Multimedia in Human Form. Media researcher. Journalist. Filmmaker. PR and Social Media Mind. Cinephille. TV Shows aficionado. Books Lover. Music Video guru and former curator of the 2Pause.com project"

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re likely a huge fan of film and art. But are you a fan of science as well? If so, you’re in luck, because there’s a new graphic novel series coming out soon called Legend of Sumeria that covers the topic of hard science through the use of stunning, eye-popping art and new technology! And if you’re not keen on science? Well, get ready to wanna jump back into some textbooks because this is one series that will totally pull you in! Co-creators and best friends Dr. Biju Parakkadan of Harvard and (Indie Street’s own!) Jay Webb have spun a tale of identity, discovery and purpose through the lens of questioning the very fate and existence of our species. These two besties even have Sumeria-themed tattoos to prove their devotion to their creation! How often do you find that true level of commitment to art and innovation!? The two self-funded all 250 pages of artwork and story as well as the development of Zyndo, a new interactive app that’s a total game-changer. Zyndo brings the sci-fi graphic novel experience to the reader as a z-book: one of the most interactive and immersive ways possible to become part of the story via tablets, phones, gaming consoles and get this: even VR!  Now is your chance to preorder Life · Blood · DNA, the first installment of Legend of Sumeria, via Kickstarter! The crowdfunding campaign runs through the end of the week and is so close to meeting its goal! You can experience the synthesis of science and art AND contribute to two best friend’s dream of bringing this story to the world by heading over to the campaign NOW and preordering your own copy! Contributor rewards range anywhere from getting a copy of Chapter 1 to limited edition/digital copies of the full graphic novel to even receiving a personal karyotope of your chromosomes! Now how’s that for hard science!  Check out more about Legend of Sumeria, the creators and how you can contribute by heading to Kickstarter or keep up with updates via on Twitter! 

What a time to be alive if you’re a film lover! This year has seen a wave of innovative new works hitting the screens of festivals around the globe…and New Jersey's own Red Bank better get ready because it’s that time of the year again - their time to cinematically SHINE! The 2nd annual Indie Street Film Festival line-up has JUST BEEN ANNOUNCED and it features some of the best of the best in indie cinema from around the world. The Indie Street Film Festival will return to Red Bank from July 26th through the 30th featuring more than 60 independently produced narrative, documentary and animated films, panel discussions, Q&A’s with filmmakers, live art, an interactive community mural project, a community cookout, and both live and DJ music performances. Two sets of “Jersey Shorts” showcasing the work of local filmmakers and New Jersey locations and subjects will also be featured.     Narrative feature films in competition include: The Ring Thing, directed by William Sullivan (Provincetown Film Festival) Like Me, directed by Robert Mockler (SXSW) Beat Beat Heart, directed by Luise Brinkmann (Slam Dance, Filmfest Munich 2016) Life Hack, directed by Sloan Copeland (Brooklyn Film Fest, SoHo Int. Film Fest)  Documentary feature films in competition include: Barbecue, directed by Matthew Salleh (SXSW) Hotel Coolgardie, directed by Pete Gleeson (Slamdance, Hot Docs) Olancho, directed by Ted Griswold and Chris Valdes (Brooklyn Film Fest) Unrest, directed by Jennifer Brea (SXSW, Hot Docs, Sundance Special Jury Award)  The winning films will be selected by a jury consisting of noted film critics, producers and filmmakers. Industry experts including Aaron Hillis (Indiegogo), Alison Willmore (Buzzfeed), Dominic Davis (Rooftop Films), Heidi Reinberg (Producer) and Leah Sapin (Human Rights Watch) will join others in awarding the winning feature films with the prize of a 1 week theatrical screening in New York City and optional online distribution through Indie Street Media. Jury awards and audience awards will be announced at a live ceremony on the evening of Sunday, July 30th. Highlights include the NJ premiere of Unrest, an eye-opening documentary shot and directed by Jennifer Brea, as she tackles the very personal subject of chronic fatigue syndrome. Life Hack, featuring Sean Kleier (Odd Mom Out) and Devin Ratray (Nebraska, Blue Ruin), is an incredibly relevant comedic cautionary tale about our digital privacy or complete lack thereof. New Jersey talent will of course be showcased, including the world premiere of Brothers, the latest work from Jack Ballo, who directed the critically acclaimed 2016 documentary Destiny’s Bridge, about the plight of a homeless community living off-the-grid in the woods of Lakewood, New Jersey, and Pasquale’s Magic Veal, a dark comedy featuring Vincent Pastore, who played “Big Pussy” in The Sopranos. Donald Sumpter (Game of Thrones, Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) and Adam Long (Happy Valley), star in The Knackerman, a narrative short funded by Creative England and the BFI Network. In Cul-De-Sac, from the team behind the Academy Award-winning short Curfew, a married couple's bubble of suburban normality is punctured when they find a surprise inside their toddler's teddy bear. Cop Dog, the sixth animated film in Bill Plympton's Oscar-nominated Guard Dog series, finds its plucky dog-hero with a new occupation: patrolling our airports sniffing for illegal drugs. Several other shorts will make their NJ premiere, including films written by screenwriters for NBC's THIS IS US and SYFY's CHANNEL ZERO, as well as performances from actors such as Jimmie JJ Jeter (Hamilton) and Chris Carfizzi (Showtime's Billions). Indie Street Film Festival Artistic Director/President of Indie Street, Jay Webb, noted that in addition to the incredibly diverse films from around the world that will be screened and discussed, this year’s schedule includes events linked to films showcased in the festival as well as New Jersey themes.  “From a live art performance by local artist Ronnie Jackson, who carves New Jersey landscapes and scenes into surfboards, a cookout after the screening of the documentary Barbecue with local sponsors, to a Liquid Lights creative workshop, we know festival attendees will enjoy what ISFF brings to the community,” Webb added. “What sets this festival apart from other film events is the integration and cooperation of Red Bank’s venues, restaurants and bars, retail shops and the local arts community which all gel to make the ideal atmosphere to celebrate the creativity of independent filmmakers.”  ISFF is more geared toward cooperation than competition, so all feature films accepted into the festival are awarded the opportunity to join Indie Street as a partner filmmaker and be promoted through its VOD platform. Winners from each feature film category will enjoy a shared 1 week theatrical release in NYC. Films and events will be held at multiple theatrical venues in Red Bank, including the historic Count Basie Theatre, the Two River Theater, Bow Tie Cinema and Red Bank Middle School. For a complete schedule and to purchase tickets, please visit www.indiestreetfilmfestival.org. 5 day Passes are available for films only (Film Buff Pass for $99) or for all films and parties (All-access Pass for $169) and can be purchased by visiting the festival website. All-access passes are also on sale now that include entry to all festival events, open bar at nightly parties brought to you by sponsors Flying Fish Brewery and Prairie Vodka, as well as discounts at local businesses. Single event tickets will be available soon. Keep up with breaking news on social media: facebook.com/IndieStreetFilmFestival · twitter: · Instagram For more information on the Indie Street Film Festival or to learn how you can help out, contact info@indiestreetfilmfestival.org or head to indiestreetfilmfestival.org to check out THE STELLAR FULL LINEUP!! Be sure to check out highlights from last year’s successful inaugural year: 

Man oh man, how the months have flown by! It’s finally that day again - the final submissions deadline for the 2017 Indie Street Film Festival! Hundreds of film have been submitted - short, long, funny, sad, weird, honest, raw and everything indie-tween (see what we did there?)! If you’ve got a film, we want to see it! But act fast - you’ve only got a few hours left to be guaranteed those filmic darlings of yours will be considered! So, what are we looking for? Everything! Our goal is simply to program the very best films we can find. Remember: diversity is important as well as good storytelling. We are giving special consideration to New Jersey Filmmakers as we will have a special side-bar for Jersey films, too. We are also specifically looking for films that do the most with smaller budgets and are innovative either visually, conceptually or in their storytelling. Fit the bill? You can submit via Withoutabox and FilmFreeway NOW! For more information on the Indie Street Film Festival, head to our website or check out our recap video showcasing highlights from last year’s insanely successful fest! 

Some stories are so incredible, so powerful that they must be committed to some form of storytelling. Pen and paper, celluloid film, still image, music, dance, paint, hell even puppetry will do. A medium to bring words to life, birth little legends, and make sure stories are spread and shared with the world.  Now, imagine, you not only have an amazing story to tell, but you have a story to tell that you share intimately with your brother. A story that binds you. A story that must be heard. A story that literally gave life. This is what brothers Jared and Cameron Wohl share and it’s an inspirational gift to us all that they committed their story to film.  So, what’s the story behind their documentary "65 Percent"? At age 13, the younger of the two brothers, Cameron, was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease affecting his liver. Ten years later, when things took a turn for the worse, doctors declared that he would need a liver translate in order to live. Unfortunately, with the high demand for organs and a long waiting list, doctors had to pose another idea. What about a living-donor transplant? Fate would have it that his older brother, Jared, would be a match and would willingly give up over half of his own liver in order to save his brother’s life. In 2014, the transplant surgery was a success and last year, this insanely touching story of sacrifice, family, and survival was told in a documentary depicting the entire family’s journey through the process. Hence: "65 Percent". The brothers’ initiative The Wave Set is a non-profit organization that not only successfully crowdfunded to raise money for the production of "65 Perfect" but also now functions as a means to inspire second chances at life through educating and spreading awareness of the vital importance of organ donation. Their slogan, “We are Vital to Each Other”, couldn’t hold more truth to it. As humans, we need each other. We are bound by one major common thing: existence. And as a cinema lover, I’m beyond proud to see that the medium of film was chosen to visually give us that vital reminder.  Getting to attend the screening of "65 Percent" during the inaugural Indie Street Film Festival last July was something truly special to witness. Both their family and the local NJ community filled the theater with such an abundance of support and it was an honor to meet the Wohl brothers and see their success in action. If you didn’t get a chance to catch the film during its festival run, well, it’s your lucky day. Today, on April 26th, their story is shared with the world for FREE on Youtube. Amazingly enough, both brothers were born on this day - THREE years apart. Another unbelievable cherry on top of a well deserved celebration of life. So, here’s to Jared and Cameron - to a wonderful year of accomplishments and to many, many more to come. Do your part, watch the film (it’s only a short 50 minutes long and remember: FREE) and then head over to The Wave Set’s official site to donate or register as a donor. Spread the word, share the love! 

Got some free time, love the arts and looking for something to do in the city this weekend? Lucky you because the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival kicked off this week in high gear. From films, talks, games, music, TV, VR, new technologies and more, there’s pretty much something for everyone going down this weekend. Head over to the official website to check out the full schedule. Remember, grab tickets fast while you still can - many are already sold out or rush only. Good news is you have until April 30th to enjoy all of the innovative events Tribeca Film Festival is introducing!

Good news for nerds! Kill Screen has partnered up with this year's Tribeca Film Festival to bring NYC the new Tribeca Games Festival. Kicking off Friday April 28th, the opening night party will feature an arcade of games from indie to mainstream and a concert featuring Mura Masa. Two exciting days of programming and video games will follow. Remember, it's not all about the films this year! This is an event not to be missed if you're a game lover. Geeks unite! Read more about the event, which kicks off in two weeks, over on Kill Screen.

From simply being visually super stylized to actually defining the upcoming feeling/mood in a film, good opening titles sometimes have fanbases all their own. Interested in learning more about how the concept and usage of title slides have evolved over the past 100 years? Sure you are! And Danielle Del Plato has done all the work for you in her supercut “Evolution of Title Slides in American Cinema”! Check out the history ride below!