Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Every Girl You Meet

I pretty much have to write this post backwards, because while there’s a long and winding backstory, there’s a more exciting ending. “Parentheses,” a song I cowrote with Jen Foster, was featured in an instrumental on the online series “Venice,” and is now available on Jen’s website for download. And frankly, I could stop typing right there and that would be blogworthy.

“Venice” is a spinoff-that-isn’t-a-spinoff from the cancelled soap THE GUIDING LIGHT. But even if you’re not a soap fan, the circuitous new-media route “Venice” has taken is an object lesson on how the television business is changing before our eyes.

THE GUIDING LIGHT featured a budding romance between two female characters, Olivia (played by Chrystal Chapell) and Natalia (played by Jessica Leccia). Neither character was identified as gay (as a matter of fact, they were in love with the same man). But the producers decided to bring them together, on a very long arc, so that their relationship grew naturally, over time. They never quite got to being a couple on GL, as it was cancelled two years ago.

However, Olivia and Natalia had a huge fan base (google “Otalia” and you’ll see what I mean). There were a lot of women, gay and otherwise, who watched in amazement as a mainstream soap showed a realistic incipient romance between two women, that wasn’t portrayed as sensationalistic or unhealthy. Fans wanted to know that “Otalia” finally got together.

So actress Crystal Chapell and writer Kim Turissi decided to “put on a show.” They created a web-only series taking place in Venice Beach, CA, with the two actresses from GUIDING LIGHT playing two totally new characters (Gina, an artist, and Ani, a photographer). In this series, both characters are gay, and have a history, but as the series starts they are breaking apart.

“Venice” was done on a shoestring, with actors and technicians donating their services for a while, just to get it done, with the hopes it would become a viable entertainment in time, finding its way to cable or even network. The first season had short (ten minute or so) episodes, filmed in peoples’ homes.

Season 3 is now started; the production values are way up and the storylines are coming into focus, Music plays a big part in “Venice” and the fans follow every artist whose music is featured, including my friend Coles Whalen. The show is supported in part by selling subscriptions to the series – you need to pay for access, but it’s only $10 for the whole season.

But the main musical voice belongs to Jen Foster, whose song “Venice Beach” was chosen to be the theme song. Jen’s music appears often on “Venice” and when she performs, the fans come out to hear her. (Jen deserves – and will eventually get – a blog post of her own. )

So in Episode 2, which was posted tonight, Gina and Ani have a big scene on the beach, where Gina discovers that Ani’s current lover may have hit her. The music underscoring the entire scene is the arrangement for“Parentheses” featuring my lyric and Jen’s music (with some collaborative overlap). The music fit the scene like a glove, and the lyric (which wasn’t used on screen) could be their theme song.

It’s wonderful to watch the song finally see the light of day. Available now at!

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