liz miele’s standup special murder sheets is necessary entertainment

liz miele’s standup special murder sheets is necessary entertainment

If you’ve stumbled upon Liz Miele‘s latest comedy masterpiece on Netflix and are expecting a horror podcast to come to life, you might be reaching from – or into – the wrong genre. As horrific as some of her personal anecdotes are to people, I’m sure, Miele finds so much humor in her everyday life that she is able to make even a laundry mishap sound edgy and crucial to a set.

In a 2012 interview with Miele, I asked her what up-and-coming comedians she was most excited about. She rattled off a list of people she worked with. This list included Carmen Lynch, Nate BargatzeDan SoderRory ScovelRyan ConnerJordan Carlos, Jermaine Fowler, Kelly MacFarland, and Myq Kaplan. Before many of them hit their true stride, she was cheering them on. I’m ready to watch each of them, in turn, champion her new special, as she has stayed so true to herself in her brand of comedy, yet exponentially elevated with each new comedy routine and standup taping.

What I love about a comedian so well-versed in their craft is how they can easily weave their inspiration into their work. Liz has effortlessly given space to her parents and their shared profession, her siblings and their mutual impact on each other’s lives, and all of the people and beings that are meaningful to her at this stage in her life.

Just when you think there is an established rhythm of jokes about her family dynamic interwoven with insightful commentary and the occasional birth order trope, Miele returns to cat-heavy storytelling. While this could otherwise drastically affect the momentum of a standup comedian’s set, it actually just re-confirms her status as a cat person. (Which I did note in my 2012 interview with: “Fair warning: She has a thing for cats.”) It’s a reminder – hilariously placed – of the single-mindedness most animal “parents” suffer from at times, and pulls in a demographic (animal lovers, cat people) that can relate to this stage work.

But the genius in the “cat work” is that she uses stories about her cats to propel her singledom (and willingness to date, change, etc.) into the forefront of the conversation. This expertly ties back to her modern dating jokes earlier in the set.

If you hang on through the credits – well earned, as they are – you will see the results of Miele’s intricate storytelling, a true testament to her authenticity. “I wrote an 11-minute joke about this whole process.”

Invested, talented, and deeply funny. Those are my takeaways on Miele’s character at this stage, with the release of Murder Sheets. Check it out now on Youtube.

byland’s heavy for a while will actually leave you feeling free

byland’s heavy for a while will actually leave you feeling free

With her first, deep inhale at the top of the title track – which just so happens to be the first on Byland’s new release, Alie Byland signals a deep sigh of relief for us all. “Heavy For A While” is the vulnerable, soft intro to this 10-track masterpiece release, which is officially out now.

Byland – officially a duo comprised of Alie and her husband Jake, surname Byland – has chosen to create an album so beautifully relatable, especially post-pandemic. Says Alie, “It’s more so my own unfettered journey of finding a sense of home and comfortability with myself, wherever I am.”

With songs like “Postcard” and “Settle My Mind,” Byland addresses isolation in an expansive and thought-provoking way. The dissonance toward the end of “Settle My Mind” feels almost like the chaos that has been occurring inside of every human over the past 4 years, as we all grapple with our emotions and identities in the wake of so many mind-blowing global issues.

Alie and Jake, in particular, zoom in on emotions and thoughts from the darker COVID days, and a time when they were contemplating a cross-country move. They both worked separately, then married some of their ideas together and refined their work as a team to really work through the aforementioned isolation organically. And you can feel it in the songs – the composition and the lyrics. Melodies and lines serve as organic puzzle pieces building toward the whole picture – a true masterpiece of an album. To extract us from the humbling events of today, Alie’s voice carries us to another plane.

“Two Circles” addresses space and time itself, and was one of the first tracks I connected with upon first listening to Heavy For A While. Explains Alie: “[The track] feels like it changes meaning each time I get to sing it. I see myself in this song. I see others. I see love, pain, anger, frustration, joy, shame, angst, everything and nothing.” Its simplistic lyrics are open for interpretation, though each version feels like it addresses a relationship — with yourself, another, an emotion, an event in your life.

The pace of “Temporary Everything” wakes you up out of the gorgeous melody in “Two Circles,” giving sonic momentum to this section of the album. It grapples with the acceptance that everything in life is temporary. Alie gets a bit cheeky with the line “The end of the fucking world,” but she’s only saying what we are all thinking.

“Darts” comes back in slowly, almost like a lullaby when juxtaposed against the tracks that come before and after it. Then “Monstera” comes in wielding a whole different energy, a song Alie wrote about her childhood best friend – the first person she had musical dreams with – and how she grappled with the change of a big move – and a lifelong dream together. This track has a sense of urgency about it, a bit more grit, and also a sense of beautiful acknowledgment of those people who helped to set you on your trajectory. Alie took such a liking to the track that last fall’s tour (2023) was titled the “Monstera Tour.”

Sonically, “Like Flies” feels like a Tim Burton movie, especially when compared to its predecessors. There is almost an eery tone to the melody, cinematic and beautiful in its own right. Last track “End Scene” comes in like a brisk walk a the end of a daunting journey. The piano is the centerpiece of the track, the simplicity establishing a sense of peace – a firm ending to this whirlwind of emotions (and talent).

Upcoming Shows
3/29 – Seattle, WA – Easy Street Records (Album Release Celebration)
5/2 – Tacoma, WA – New Frontier Lounge
5/3 – Portland, OR – Alberta Street Pub
5/7 – Reno, NV – Cypress
5/8 – Eugene, OR – Sam Bond’s Garage
5/9 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile (w/ Noah Gundersen & His Band)
5/11 – Santa Fe, NM – The Mystic (Alie solo)
5/16 – Everett, WA – Fisherman’s Village Music Fest 2024

of montreal just released a floral-forward video alongside new audioscape “yung hearts bleed free”

of montreal just released a floral-forward video alongside new audioscape “yung hearts bleed free”

It’s not difficult to hear the varying inspirations of Montreal (aka Kevin Barnes – he/she/they) so expertly pull together in what can only be called their new audioscape. “Yung Hearts Bleed Free” changes tempo – and complete feeling – a couple of times. This is a move that would otherwise feel disjointed but, in the context of the experimental nature of the musician and its unique video, feels to truly set a vibe instead.

Explains Barnes of the song: “[It was] influenced by the Leos Carax film “Boy Meets Girl”, Bootsy’s Rubber Band, and my recent purchase of a Yamaha TG33 and a Kawai K1M. I wanted to make a strutting, sexy little vamp of a song that just kind of chugged along and felt relaxed and playful and free.”

The lyrics could definitely be characterized as naughty, but they aren’t the standout facet in this track either. While the song is reminiscent of 80s greats, there is something still so psychedelic about the way it is presented, both audibly and in the music video. Director Madeline Babuka Black shares:

There’s a certain 60’s/ experimental spirit to Barnes’ songwriting that I love and by using analog techniques of paper cut out and direct on film animation I pay homage to that. The paper cut out animations and color palette of the film were deeply inspired by Larry Jordan’s experimental animations, most notably his 1968 film “Our Lady of the Sphere.”

The new album, due out in May, marks the last of Barnes’ recorded in Georgia, and perhaps you can feel that nostalgic sweetness in the remainder of the record as well. But “Yung Hearts Bleed Free” is a great treasure to have seen, and I hope you agree.

Directed and Animated by Madeline Babuka Black
Director of Photography Julie Orlick
Edited by Izzy Kross
Featuring Olivia Babuka Black and Scott Rosenthal
Scanned by Jack Tashdjian

Lady On The Cusp is available May 17, 2024.

examining erasure and groundbreaking art in searching for augusta savage

examining erasure and groundbreaking art in searching for augusta savage

As more nostalgia topics have cropped up since the beginning of the – let’s admit it at this point – ongoing pandemic, PBS has been top of mind for so many people who were able to grow up – or raise their children – with its expanse of knowledge ringing throughout their homes. Having educational experiences accessible to many different demographics – and on public access television – is an important resource for many.

Searching for Augusta Savage is the first film in a new series from PBS called American Masters Shorts. Augusta Savage was a Harlem Renaissance sculptor and art educator, whose work largely reflected the joy and expression in the Black community. She overcame numerous obstacles to further her own education and get her work seen. She captivated audiences long before her death, and her art stood to progress the inclusion of Black artists in spaces they had otherwise been excluded from.

A curious thing is that many pieces of Augusta’s work have gone missing, and her name is not as well-known as it once was, or should be. Why is that? Why has her legacy not been salvaged and taught as widely as other artists of her time?

This 22-minute episode is a deep dive into what history can tell us about this incredible black artist’s life and work.

Augusta’s work is included in a show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism through July.

“dreamspeak” by nisa is a relatable, sad yet comforting, audible treasure

“dreamspeak” by nisa is a relatable, sad yet comforting, audible treasure

Alongside its artful visual comes the new track “Dreamspeak” from genre-bending artist Nisa. The song itself comes across as hyper-aware, but of whom, you can only guess. Explains Nisa: “‘Dreamspeak’ is about the push-and-pull of wanting to fit in while growing tired of the artifice.”Most people can certainly identify with that idea. This song is easily relatable through Nisa’s lyrics.

Nisa sings as though comforting someone — is it her past or present self? Is it someone else? Either way, her vocal delivery makes this song feel both severely hopeless and carefully hopeful at the same time. (You have to hear it to understand it — or it’s maybe also just me. That’s fine.)

The video feels a touch 90s in its presentation, delivered with shots reminiscent of Paula Cole’s “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” and other videos featured on TRL at the time. The cool tones to the video create the coldness associated with the exhaustion the song is undoubtedly dealing with.

Feeling like you have to fit in is associated with feelings of comparison and high standards for your own life. It paralyzes people every day, and singing about it can and does help people destigmatize these thoughts a little bit further.

Get your first look at the song and its accompanying video below!

Catch Nisa LIVE On Tour This Spring!
Tour + tickets here
5/7: Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right
5/8: Washington, DC @ Pie Shop
5/11: Boston, MA @ Lilypad
5/12: Philadelphia, PA @ MilkBoy

samantha fish & jesse dayton make the crowd go wild at the truman | kcmo

samantha fish & jesse dayton make the crowd go wild at the truman | kcmo

I’m not sure I could think of a better pairing than the indelible Samantha Fish and Jesse Dayton. Luckily, not only did they partner on a phenomenal album titled Death Wish Blues, but they are currently touring together with their incredibly unique styles of alternative blues. A more electric stage – and a more excited crowd – I had yet to see in 2024.

That all changed on Thursday, February 22nd. The Truman opened its doors to a full house, welcoming Samantha Fish back for a truly delightful hometown show. The band came out to near ear-piercing screams, and excited cheers of recognition with the first notes of the very first song. Smoke filled the crevices of the stage as Fish and Dayton’s mindblowing musicianship took over the warehouse space.

Selects from the evening below.

cats, family, donuts: liz miele keeps it personal (and fun!)

cats, family, donuts: liz miele keeps it personal (and fun!)

We have big-time love for one of our favorites Liz Miele, but some of you might not be as familiar. So, here’s a little run-down. Liz is a stand-up comic with a strong personality and fabulous stage presence. Hailing from New Jersey, she has been active in the comedy world since the tender age of 16, utilizing anecdotes from her life as an avid runner, sweets enthusiast, and big, loving family. She keeps us laughing far longer than necessary, with her infectious attitude and ability to think on her toes. (Fair warning: She has a thing for cats.) So sit back, relax, and enjoy a cupcake while you read about your new best friend.

Serial Optimist: You talk about what sparked your interest in comedy in your article “Too Immature” in the April 2005 Issue of The Comical and you started doing stand-up at the age of 16. How did you get into the comedy scene so early?

Liz Miele: I was obsessed with stand-up. I always knew I liked being funny. I wanted to be Sandra Bullock when I was a kid. I just wanted to do funny movies but then at 13 I discovered stand-up and everything changed. I was obsessed. I watched, recorded and quoted it everyday. That’s what I wanted to do! “You mean everyone has to listen to me? YES!” I started writing my own jokes at 14 and did my first show at 16 in NYC.

SO: So you’re the second oldest of five children. How does your family react to your stand-up?

Liz: It’s changed over time. I’ve always been obsessed with animals especially cats and both my parents are vets who own two animal hospitals. So my parents just believed I would become a vet and take over so I think they were a little shocked. But they have been super supportive since day one. Even when I was punished and not allowed to hang with friends or leave the house I was still allowed to go to the city and do my shows. They got it was not just a hobby. Now it’s a little different. I’m brutally honest and curse a lot and I don’t think [my dad] likes it so he doesn’t go to shows. And I get my sense of humor and my sailor mouth from my mom so she loves it. She comes to any big show or show in NJ she can. And my siblings, Theresa, Emily, Sam and Greg are all supportive and have come to countless shows!

SO: Love that family love! Now let’s jump to a random question. If you could describe yourself in 5 words, which words would you choose?

Liz: Loud, Logical, Thoughtful, Crazy, Funny.

SO: Those seem pretty accurate! Before walking on stage, what are your thoughts? Do you have a routine? Butterflies? Just doing a bunch of cocaine?

Liz: Depends on the show. Regular shows I don’t think much. I just review my set and make sure I remember to do the new jokes I’ve been working on. Important shows and auditions I have to talk myself down and calm my mind. I’m not very nice to myself and often feel like a fuck up. So it’s me saying, “It doesn’t matter. This means nothing. You are a professional. You’ve done this a thousand times. If it doesn’t go well or you don’t get this it wasn’t meant to be. Just be you. People like you.” Lots of lies and very self-helpy!

____

SO: Tell us about your relationship with Carmen Lynch, how you all met, and how the idea for the awesome “Apt C3” came about.

Liz: Carmen was at the second show I ever did when I was 16. I remember seeing her onstage at Rose’s Turn. SO TALL! She doesn’t remember me. Many years later we just did a lot of shows together and I remember one week we did a few shows together and we were talking as we walked to the subway together and having a good time and I kinda asked her out. I was like, “Do you wanna be friends? Like hang out for real?” And Carmen was like, “Yeah for sure.” So we started hanging out. She’s just so funny and thoughtful. We became close fast.

“Apt C3” came from her moving in with me and my other roommate, Chris, about a year ago. Chris is a fashion photographer and videographer and he wanted to make funny videos with us and during Hurricane Irene we were all trapped together and Chris and Carmen came up with the “Hurricane Irene” sketch. That weekend we filmed three sketches and thus began our weekly web series of super short funny videos about us being roomies. We wrote, acted, and edited them all together and also took a weekly picture. It was a lot of fun.

SO: Being a comedy nerd, who are some of your favorite up and coming comics?

Liz: This is gonna come out selfish but it’s really a lot of my friends and dudes I came up with. The coolest thing about being a comic in NY is you are friends with some of the funniest people in the country. So Carmen Lynch (duh!), Adrienne IapalucciJusty DodgeMaria ShehataHari KondaboluGina Brillon, Nick Cobb, Leah BonnemaNate BargatzeDan SoderRory ScovelRyan ConnerMike VecchioneJordan CarlosBaron VaughnKelly MacFarlandMyq KaplanJoe List…dude this list could go on forever. I work with brilliant people daily!!

SO: It did kind of go on forever there towards the end, you’re a lucky cat (sorry had to) to be surrounded by a great group of people! You recently posted a video to your blog (people seriously follow it, it’s greatness) with your reaction to an audience member touching you mid-joke. Also recently, there was a video circulating with a heckler. How do you bounce back from that and get back into the mindset of your comedy?

Liz: Well during the set where the dude touched my thigh mid joke it looks like I was calm and joking but I was like, “What the fuck?” and even in a room full of people a little scared. I think that’s why my reaction was so funny because they were honest thoughts. That table had heckled me in the middle of my act and I had shut them up dismissing them as drunk cause what they were saying didn’t make sense but when I go touched I had the light and had to wrap up. I was just honest. “I don’t know what to end on cause I just got molested” and it was funny cause everyone saw it and I just told a quick one liner and got out of there.

As for the guy heckling me and hitting on me, I was legit angry. Fuck you dude for thinking you are so awesome that you can interrupt me and not even apologize. So I let him know he was being a douche and I have a job to do. So it was easy to go, I’m doing something. You are a loser and then show him that my jokes are worthy of listening to. And cause I’m angry and can’t let things go I kept bringing it up to prove a point and be a little bit of a dick back!

SO: Some comedians say hecklers can help a set, as long as they aren’t the drunk and ridiculous kind, but it can help take the set to a more improv level. What are your thoughts?

Liz: My thoughts are I don’t need your help! It becomes a train wreck more often than not. Those dudes in my videos were slightly drunk and surrounded by non-drunks to keep them in check. But there are so many different kinds of hecklers that you have to be careful and read the heckler to know the best way to respond because you can turn the audience against you if you are too mean, or lose the audience by giving this one person too much power and attention, or you can be too serious and lose the funny in the set and break that wall.

I always try to ignore them first cause that can stop them just from not giving them what they want which is attention. I only deal with it if its so loud and obvious it has to be dealt with cause it’s hurting my concentration and the show. But they can ruin a show for hundreds of people. I don’t need you to improv. I can do that on my own when I want to. I planned my act and decide what I wanna do in the moment. I don’t need help from the audience. I’ve been doing this every night for 10 years. I think someone that embraces it doesn’t have a strong act and needs a distraction from that fact. This is an art form about jokes and story telling, not about dealing with the drunk and the emotionally immature. That’s not why I became a comic. It’s not my job to babysit you cause you don’t have an outlet to speak your mind in your own life.

____

SO: Well said. Your official bio boasts that you love cats and that yours is named Pasta. Please, tell us more about Pasta?

Liz: Yes, I’m a cat lover since as long as I can remember. Like I said my parents are vets and I grew up next to my mom’s practice which was an all cat clinic called, Carnegie Cat Clinic. Pasta, is 7 years old. I got her as a kitten on my friend Ashley’s farm in NJ. She is an all black domestic short hair with a few white hairs near her tail. She is much nicer now but the first 3-4 year of her life she was a real asshole. And it was a running joke among my friends. Bite everyone, never cuddled. Wanted nothing to do with anyone and was real mean.

Then she started to calm and be nicer at 3 and then I was homeless for a few months during a bad break up and didn’t see her for 3 months and I must have messed her up cause she has crazy abandonment issues now. She sleeps next to me or crawls into my arms in the middle of the night. Sits on my lap as I work at my computer. Follows me from room to room and cries outside my door if I lock her out. She has done a full 180 from unaffectionate dick to over-eager friend.

SO: What would be your most creative argument to get people who dislike cats to change their mind?

Liz: Just give them one. You can’t convince anybody of anything with words if they have already made up their mind. If someone hates spinach they won’t change their mind until you make some amazing spinach and prove them wrong. Cats are easy to take care of, usually aren’t needy and if you love them they love you back.

Most people I know are accidental cat owners and lovers. They fell into cat ownership and love their cat but thought they sucked before. Cats get a bad rap cause they do their own thing but we are busy people. You’d be surprised how nice it is to have someone around when you want them and gone when u don’t.

SO: You like all things sweet. What’s your favorite sweet treat?

Liz: Donuts and chocolate chip cookies are a tie. The Donut Pub is my fav donut place in NYC and Insomnia Cookies is my fav cookie place. Both open late so I can eat them in between gigs.

SO: Your first stand-up album is set to record on Oct 2 in Boston. What can fans look forward to from the album? This is a huge deal! 

Liz: More stories. I’ve really gotten into fleshing out some crazy experiences I’ve had in the last two years. Also just a lot of new material. I was surprised myself when I was putting together my set how much was written in the last 4-6 months.

SO: The Cha Cha Slide or The Macarena?

Liz: What is this question? I don’t know what the Cha Cha Slide is and I remember The Macarena from elementary school but honestly it was dumb and embarrassing. Boo this question!! I like car dancing while driving with my brothers and sisters trying to embarrass them while other cars are near!

SO: What makes you smile on a daily basis?  

Liz: Cat pictures, my friends’ ridiculous Facebook comments and texts, quoting movies and jokes with my little sister, Emily, my cat doing something cute, Carmen walking past my bedroom door saying something ridiculous and funny.

SO: Hugs Liz, thanks for making us laugh!

____

SO Note: Follow Liz @lizmiele, and get excited for Liz’s live album recording in Boston next month! Check out her website for more info!

**Originally published to SO on 9/19/12. Unnecessary editor updates have been redacted.

upcoming releases, sentimentality, and a keen eye may make 2024 the year of keli price

upcoming releases, sentimentality, and a keen eye may make 2024 the year of keli price

You know that feeling when you sit down for a cup of coffee with an old friend. Someone it’s been absolute years since you’ve gotten to know. Part of you is nervous, but when you sit down and start chatting, the ease of the conversation dissolves all the stress and expectations around it. Before you know it, you are involved in their story again, rooting them on as you did before and invested in what is coming their way.

That’s a lot like how my chat with Keli Price, multi-talented creative (writer/actor/producer) panned out. To be fair, it had been since 2013 that I got my first batch of questions in, over a decade since we had connected with excitement over his burgeoning acting career.

In that first chat, we discussed falling into Youtube spirals and music as a really big passion of Price’s. Now, we build upon that chat, touching on his fast-paced emergence into the film production world and the attention to detail a sentimental man will pay to his work.

2024 is the year of Keli Price. If you don’t believe me, he’s currently on season 2 of Rap Sh!t, which is available on HBO Max. Plus, he has 3 film releases headed down the pike, and two east coast teams to cheer into their respective post-seasons, and that’s just the beginning. Below, words from our recent sit-down.

How have things been? It’s been a while!

Absolutely! It’s been a long time, and so many things have happened. It’s so nice to be in touch again.

You’ve gotten pretty heavily into the producing side since we last spoke, though really you have kept your toes in the acting and now producing pools as well it seems!

I was not expecting to get into the producing side the way that I did. It just kind of happened. We made this movie about my great grandfather who had this crazy sports story and people came to the screening and wanted me to produce their other movies. I did and then our company was born.

We make about 5 movies per year in the action space primarily, and we get into other genres too. It was to honor my great grandfather who lived to 100, so I got to know him pretty well.

How did you get involved with the upcoming Hellfire release?

Hellfire is coming out this year, in March or April. That movie stars Harvey Keitel, Stephen Lang, and Dolph Lundgren. It’s a really cool, sort of fun action movie. We got involved on the financing side and we’ve been taking a ride for quite a while with this movie from pre-production through post.

We’ve taken a look at the cut recently and it looks great. Saban FIlms is distributing it. I love them over at Saban, I have a lot of projects with them. They’re great. I’m excited to see what they do with it.

What was the timeline like from start to finish on this particular project? Because the adoring public might not know the ins and outs.

We’ve been involved with Hellfire for about a year and a half. Our highest profile movie Bandit, which was #1 on Apple TV and Amazon Prime and Paramount+ took about 2 years to make also. But it was because it was a period piece and a lot went into it.

The fastest movie we ever made was in 2 months. I don’t know how we did it, it was an enigma and it will probably never happen again. It was a weird scenario. It was called The Curse of Wolf Mountain. I was getting involved in another project and it kind of all fell apart. I just needed a script and I went and I wrote this movie within 2 weeks. We were on set 2 months later.

It’s crazy, but that’s how quick we can go when everything is firing. But it rarely happens that way, it usually takes years to make a movie. That’s just the way that it goes, and you put so much time into it. That’s why our company is so specific about the projects we take on. We know we’re going to be on there for what could be a few years. It could also be a few months, but movies could take time.

It’s true. This leads me to the Murder at Hollow Creek project because you told me that you’re writing, producing, and starring in it. I’ve been flummoxed by people who can do that. You come from a place where you’re kind of looking at every facet of the film. You have empathy with other people involved in the process — How does it feel different than when you are less involved in a project?

That is so true. And specifically on that set, I remember having instances where there were situations with PAs or whatever. I get very emotionally tied into people and their feelings. That’s just the way that I’m built. I’m all about forming connections with people on set, whether you’re a PA, another director, or a producer. To me, it’s supposed to be a safe place where we are literally making this piece of art.

It’s kind of like camp, we’re all together and gearing toward this goal. It’s a really special experience that you can’t explain unless you’re there and it is like summer camp. You make all these connections, you’re there for a couple of months, and then you’re just gone. And sometimes you stay in touch and sometimes you don’t but all of those memories are always there because you’re on location.

Murder at Hollow Creek was the second time that I really wore all three hats. So the cameras are rolling, I’m in a scene because I’m acting in it too. The scene ends and quickly I’m like, “Oh, shit. That light’s about to fall, can we get somebody to…” or, “Oh, God, like, we need to make sure that this actor is getting to set because their plane landed in Texas and they’re supposed to be in Mississippi and there’s a hurricane or tornado or whatever… are they on their way?” It was constantly stuff like that.

We did have an actress that got rerouted because there was literally a tornado in Mississippi. She couldn’t get to Mississippi so I was literally in a scene, I finished the scene and I walked up to the other producers. I was like, “What is going on with Penelope? Is she OK? Is she on her way? Who do I need to call?” So yeah, it’s a different experience. (laughing)

On Rap Sh!t, for instance, I was a recurring character on that show. I would just roll up to the studio and eat my Chinese food or whatever they had that day. They had EVERYTHING at the Sony lot, by the way. The best food. I’m a foodie, so when I’m acting at the Sony studio. There’s Chinese, Mexican, there’s these donuts. They’ve got a Zeppole truck. If you’re a New Yorker, you probably know what that is. (laughing) They’re the best food I’ve ever tasted in my life.

When I’m on that set, it’s so relaxing and a different experience and I just get to hang out with the other actors and not have to worry about making the day or lights falling or people caught in hurricanes. It’s just hanging out, eating Zeppole’s. Every once in a while I get a gig here and there and I’ll take it, and I’ll act, and I’ll love it. But our company, Price Productions, does take up most of my time.

Understandably so! You have so many different projects at any one moment.

I love producing. I was getting into the film business as an actor because that was the only way I knew how to do it. But if I was able to break into the business as a producer earlier on I probably would have. But I just figured I would go on auditions and I could get involved in movies that way. If I wanted to produce, I didn’t know what the first step was.

I made this movie, as I alluded to earlier, about my great grandfather where I wanted to honor him. Ended up going – in 2014 – and just started to shoot. We were at Ellis Island, getting footage there. It started to come together as a film.

Athletes were calling and saying, “We notice you’re making this movie on discrimination in sports, we would love to be a part of it and tell our story.” It ended up being something a lot bigger than I thought it would be. That’s what started our company.

But it was such a learning experience, making On Thin Ice. I packaged it, I financed it, I distributed it. I did everything on that movie – with a great team, by the way. It was really like a family project because it was a family member for all of us. My brother edited the movie. It was my mom’s grandmother, she was heavily involved in that movie. She produced the hell out of it with me. She did such a freaking great job, so it will always be special to me because of that.

How we got it done I have no idea, because we all had no idea how to make a movie. But we did. And that was our first one. And now I make about 5 per year in the action space. But everything I know came from that movie. As you go, you learn more. But that movie I had to dive in and put the talent together and put the financing together and put the distribution together in all these areas that I had no idea about, and suddenly I’m in it. That’s what gave me that education on film production in general.

Well, and also, it’s cool that you set out to kind of honor your great grandfather’s legacy and, in doing that, you kind of created a legacy of your own that you get to now build upon. That’s super dope.

Thank you! I never thought of it that way but it’s so nice of you to say. I guess there are such things as happy accidents, but they’re not really. Because, as I said, I wanted to be a producer and in film my whole life, but making this movie just to honor his legacy, it did kind of put things in place.

Out of all of the characters that you have played so far, which has been your favorite?

I like that question. That is a good question. The one I enjoyed playing… Bobby Love was so much fun to play. Just because it was the two-sider role, a guy that got to put on this facade. It was also my first role so I have to give it a shout out.

Do you have any anecdotes from filming that role that kind of sit with you?

Yeah! It was The Naked Brothers Band, if anyone needs to know. It was my first role. Bobby Love was a famous British rocker but he was really a surfer dude from San Diego. I remember we were having the balloon fight for battle of the bands. We had this scene where I was in a fight with Nat. My band was on stage, his band was on stage and we just started brawling and he was grabbing my hair, I was grabbing him. People were pulling my pants down and my shirt. (laughing) That was memorable.

Working with Richard Dreyfuss on Your Family or Mine was a highlight because I’ve always been a fan, since Jaws and Mr. Holland’s Opus. He was unbelievable in that movie. Such a powerful character and so relatable, too. That scene at the end of the movie when his daughter is on stage and he’s watching in the audience, it’s such a beautiful moment. He’s an incredible actor, so I enjoyed working with him.

It was fun working with David Walton and Dax Sheppard in About a Boy. That was a fun character. Zak on AwesomenessTV’s Side Effects with Lulu Antariksa, Meg DeLacy, Finn Roberts, and Chester See was a lot of fun. We had a few seasons of that series. Going to set with the same people all the time was fun. It’s like Rap Sh!t. When you are constantly going to the same set with the same people it becomes like a family.

Like Rap Shit, Side Effects incorporated music in the main storyline, another passion of yours. That’s great! I actually have a follow-up question to a conversation we had back in 2013. You had mentioned that you would love to work with Michael Fassbender or Robert DeNiro, which I totally agree with. But have your bucket list acting partners shifted at all?

Robert DeNiro is still the same. He will always be, probably, my #1. My grandfather and I talk about it all the time. We watch mafia movies together, we’re New Yorkers. My grandpa is from Brooklyn and he just started me on these movies early on. Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Al Pachino, Joe Pesci. I gravitate, naturally, toward Robert DeNiro. He is one of the greatest actors of our time. I grew up watching all of his movies.

I would love to work with Hillary Swank. She’s my favorite actress, she’s amazing. She’s got such vulnerability and power and she is just captivating to watch. I would add her to the list. Al Pacino, definitely, though he’s always kind of been on the list.

We can’t mention everyone!

(Laughing) Yeah, I know! Fassbender is insane. I can’t believe that was my answer. He’s unbelievable, already a legend.

Well, so seeing that list of people… when you were young, what were you guys watching at home?

Love that question. My Uncle Arthur and his husband Uncle Lenny were like a second set of parents. We were always around them. Lenny was really close with me, and Arthur too, and our entire lives, they would come over and it was always about horror like Chuckie or action movies like Die Hard. And those are primarily the movies we make now.

A Steven Seagal, a Bruce Willis, a Mel Gibson – which we have Mel in Bandit – so I grew up qatching movies like that. With my brother after school I remember Rocket Power and Hey Arnold! on Nickelodeon. Those were my go-to.

You mentioned Die Hard. We don’t have to delve into it, but is it a Christmas movie or is it now in your mind?

So funny. No. It’s not a Christmas movie in my mind. Just because movies are set during Christmas time, that doesn’t necessarily classify them as a Christmas movie. The writer definitely deliberately set it during Christmastime, but that doesn’t make it a Christmas movie. It’s an action movie.

Thank you. Alright. Time to ask you about Mad Props. It’s coming to theaters in February. I saw you worked with some big names on it. So, tell us about it.

I’m so happy that I got involved in that project, it was my second documentary. Like I said, we make a lot of feature films. But it’s been a while since I made a documentary. And I heard this guy’s story. It’s based on this banker in Oklahoma who always wanted to be involved in film, never really got a chance, and loves movies. So he started collecting movie props. Like BIG movie props, like the volleyball from Castaway. Like, Indiana Jones props. He would go around the globe finding the greatest movie props of all time.

Our movie takes us on this journey with him to find movie props. As a creative in the film business, you would get a kick out of it. It’s eye-opening to see how much these props cost, but it’s also like a history of movies too. Sometimes with a documentary subject, you’re not sure how their family will be on camera. But his family is really fun and engaging to watch!

Is there anything right now in particular that is inspiring your work?

My grandma passed in August of 2022. She is always an inspiration for me. My grandma had issues with other people, but she never had issues with me. It was all out of love, everything was out of love. I could play you voicemails where she’s like “Keli, where are you? This is my fourth call. Are you OK? I heard there was something going on in Los Angeles. Are you OK?”

And they’re so precious you never want to delete them.

Yeah, I have like 50 of them. I’m going to see if I can play you one.

**This was the piece of the interview where we paused to listen to his grandmother’s voice over his voicemail, adorable Brooklyn accent and all. We may have both shed a tear or two talking about our families. After a time, we got back on topic by speaking about Keli’s sentimentality:

I’m a very sentimental person, and I always look back at my childhood and things that I did and names of beaches and schools I went to, and I infuse them into my work life. If you look at Murder at Hollow Creek, the antagonist’s name is Bill Brooks. That’s my grandfather.

Aw. He’s an antagonist. How cute!

(Laughing) And my brother’s name in that movie is Nick. His name is Nico in real life. I’m just sentimental like that. So it’s always my family that is inspiring me.

But also, if I watch a movie or a show that can influence me. I’m really into success stories like Steve Jobs. andthat kind of stuff too. Underdogs who experience success inspire me. Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, Evander Holyfield, Allisyn Felix, Amy Mullins, and more.

OK but yeah, you like sports. Do you have teams?

I love baseball. But I watch basketball and football the most. Die-hard Knicks fan, always have been. They’re my #1. In football, it’s the Jets. I have to pause because the last few years have been a nightmare. (Laughing) Thinking that we would at least have a nice run at The Big Game…

**This was the point of the interview where I identified with his struggles as the fan of a losing team, and we went off on a sports tangent entirely unrelated to this. Spoiler: Keli Price does know enough about professional basketball and football to engage you in lengthy conversation.

Though bummed about the current performance of his teams, Keli ended our chat as graciously as ever. “It was great connecting with you and seeing where you are in your life, and expanding on where I have been. I like doing interviews with people I trust to do great storytelling.”

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Storytelling like Price does with every production he helms nowadays. If you learn nothing else today, understand that a next wave of independent entertainment moguls is surfacing. These people have touched many facets of the industry, and they want to tell stories with a sense of vulnerability and passion — and have fun and treat everyone respectfully while doing it.

If you haven’t caught up on Rap Sh!t, now is the time. Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming releases of Hellfire and Murder at Hollow Creek among others over at Price Productions.

they travel at night release inspired genre-bending release entropy

they travel at night release inspired genre-bending release entropy

On Friday, genre-bending duo They Travel at Night – comprised of Chuck Howard and Lou Scanlon – released their debut EP, a 5-track feat named Entropy. Veterans of the industry in their respective rights, Howard and Scanlon’s influence is wide-ranging, a fact that is evidenced by this release, if you weren’t already familiar.

Beginning with the first track “Go On,” you can identify the quirky and endearing ways they enhance their tracks. It begins synth-heavy – like, 80s realm synth-heavy – and blossoms into something that, toned down, just as easily belongs in a 90’s movie. Cymbal-led “Fare Thee Well” changes pace for a while for dramatic effect, and lands more in the “I may belong on one of The O.C. soundtracks” category.

“Moment” begins with a guitar riff worthy of an oughts indie/emo band. The electronic breakdowns at 1:42 and 2:42 are really fun, I’m not sure how anyone could get through this song without a smile on their face. “Into It” builds dramatically, a ballad-like track that could, in my humble opinion, easily find its way to a Broadway musical. Entropy lands on “Colors,” an instrumental track that feels celebratory and squared to welcome success. I feel privileged to welcome false spring with this release in my back pocket.

Check out They Travel at Night’s Entropy below, and let us know what you think over on Instagram and Facebook!