Friday, April 25, 2008

THE NEW YORK STALKER RETURNS! (and then he goes away)

Today’s juicy episode of THE NEW YORK STALKER brings us to the final chapter in the series. In LIKE YOU DO, Ben’s attentions are focused on a mysterious blonde with whom he appears to be “excessively pre-occupied.” In a performance that channels the great Lon Chaney Jr., his few remaining strands to reality are visibly disintegrating as he follows her on the streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Who is this striking blonde and what is the secret of her allure that holds him in such a twisted grip? There are no safe answers in the demented fantasy world of LIKE YOU DO.

This video definitely required the most post-production work of the three videos and was the one I spent the most time on mentally mapping out in my head. In that sense it was a similar experience to General Queer in that I could see a lot of the edits before I began shooting any of the footage. However, as a result of our ambitious shooting schedule of the trilogy (3 videos in 4 days), LIKE YOU DO ended up getting saved for the last day of production so it got rushed and feels slightly compromised (at least to what it was like in my head). Still I think given our limited resources and budget, on the whole we did pretty OK for four days of work. And looking at LIKE YOU DO, I'm amazed that we knocked that one out in one single day of shooting.

Funny tidbit of trivia - Ben's object of obsession, the blond (we were calling her Lee-Ann), was played by four different people including Ben. We had our buddy from the neighborhood Peter Hood drop by to lend us his trenchcoat and don the wig for a few shots with Ben following behind on Guernsey St.. Then we had Bowls wear the wig and jacket for the final approach when Ben is moving in closer at the end of the video. Ben's girlfriend Gina Leone came out of her way to Brooklyn to play the feet in high heel shoes for the tracking shot in the middle of the video. With this many "actors" inhabiting the role, this character must be quadrophenic.

I need to thank everyone again who helped out and supported the endeavor and for making the whole process go smoothly and efficiently. And, of course, special thanks to B. Bowls MacLean who lent us his camera, talents, body and sense of humor.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008


In part two of THE NEW YORK STALKER trilogy, Ben Warren, serial killer/rock star, continues his search for fresh prey throughout the boroughs of New York City. This adventure finds him slinking along the side-streets of Astoria Queens after he sees an older woman riding a city bus. There’s something different about her that compels him beyond restraint and drives him to follow her home. What happens next is likely to shock, terrify and haunt you for years to come… VIEW AT YOUR OWN RISK!

THE NEW YORK STALKER is a three-part music video trilogy directed by Matthew Glasson adapted from the music of Ben Warren. It is based, in part, on the stalker/slasher sub-genre of horror films of the ‘70s and ‘80s such as the original FRIDAY THE 13TH, John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN and The Weinstein Brother’s THE BURNING.

And now a few notes from the director...

Of the three videos, this one was definitely the smallest scale of the lot, hence it was dubbed "the throwaway video." I had a basic conceit (Ben sings a love song about seeing a girl but his object of affection turns out to be a geriatric woman) but when I told him about the idea and we discussed who could play the part of the older woman, Ben's mom (Jeannette Warren) seemed a likely (and only) candidate. Suddenly, the whole piece took on an uncomfortable, oedipal sort of tone. Perfect! It clicked.

We went to shoot this up near Jeannette's apartment in Astoria, Queens without any sort of storyboard but I had a few basic shots in mind as far as Ben's "reveals" were concerned. The idea was simple and we didn't want to overshoot the video to keep it in line with the minimalist approach to the song. The worst part was definitely getting the bus scene in the beginning. Obviously we weren't asking permission prior to shooting so we were "winging it" both on the streets and off. As a result, the bus footage (nearly 30 minutes of it) was largely shakey, unusable and had no continuity. It's a minor miracle that the scene came out at all.

Jeannette's a sweetheart and was very easy to work with. At times she seemed a little impatient but ultimately I think she really loved doing this. I have no idea what she thinks of the final result, but like most moms she thinks anything her son does is gold, even if it's stalking her and nearly suffocating her with a pillow.

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Friday, April 11, 2008


Ben Warren has become unstuck from sanity.

THE NEW YORK STALKER is a trilogy of music videos following Ben Warren’s lurid journeys through Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens on a misguided quest to connect with humanity. Director Matthew Glasson (God The Band’s “General Queer”) creates a fractured and darkly comic portrait of Ben’s obsession as he succumbs to his madness. With each video, a new side of Ben’s deranged mind is explored as he stalks another potential victim and falls further away from his own sanity.

THE NEW YORK STALKER steeps in a nostalgia for the grindhouse slasher cinema of the 1970s and 1980s set on the mean streets of New York City such as MANIAC (Joe Spinell), DEATH WISH (Michael Winner) and Lucio Fulci’s NEW YORK RIPPER. It both embraces and sends up the genre that shaped the videos and is complementary to Ben Warren’s raspy voice and intense musical stylings.

OK enough PR pandering, here's the real deal...

"Broken Girl" was an idea so fundamentally twisted and wrong that naturally I was compelled to do it. The idea came to me as I was brainstorming different music video ideas for Ben, and felt the dramatic bleakness of the chorus in the song lent itself to some nice unbroken slow-motion shots of dead serial killer victims being discovered by innocent bystanders. I was actually pretty cautious about treading in the whole mysognistic/serial-killer territory because a) it's totally played, b) it's ethically shaky and c) it's a nasty place to mentally reside. Oddly enough, it was my then girlfriend Jen Rock who was most supportive of the idea and agreed to help make the video by taking on the task of handling the make-up. I discussed the idea with Ben (who is always down for doing anything that involves putting himself in front of the camera) and found a willing actor in Laura Baron (whom I contacted through myspace) as his newest target. The remaining cast was made up from friends and actors who either wanted to work with me or friends who were willing to get dressed up and play dead.

My tendency is to always inject a little bit of subversive (if not downright slapstick) humor in my work, so the challenge for "Broken Girl" was establishing and maintaining an utterly fatalistic and bleak tone. This was to be true "horror" and would not have any winks to the viewer to let them off easy. The initial cut of the video had some pretty hokey acting in it (priceless for a blooper reel) but after showing that to Ben and some other people and hearing them laugh out loud, I went back and found some more subtle reaction shots as his victims are discovered.

The biggest irony with this song and the video that it inspired is that, lyrically, it's about a guy who is suffering in a disfunctional relationship with his girlfriend ("broken girl/you're my world/every waking moment that you spend drowning by my side"). But that didn't bother Ben, who, by all accounts, enjoyed putting on his black hoody and sulking around the streets of Alphabet City as "The New York Stalker."

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The death of the XLII... the death of the mix tape...

Last night, I checked my email and was dismayed to see the following message from

"Maxell has discontinued the XLII series of audio cassettes-60.90, and 100's- please review your needs-there is still a limited supply available- but once they are are gone, there will be no more- thank you-"

So that's it? No more gold labeled XLII tapes to rely on for good audio quality when compiling an inspired collection of sweet tunes for your favorite crush? Yet another example of how the obsolescence of technology is forcing us to evolve in our efforts to woo a potential mate.

So long XLII's - thanks for the Memorex.

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