Blog Post

Mixtape Three: The "Mixtape" Mixed Tape

This is the imaginary soundtrack to a film that, knowing the film business, will never get made. You can read about the script online.

It opens like this:

"The winter stars, impossibly big and bright, fill the sky. We gaze on these ancient beacons of hope and inspiration; the same stars that stood witness to the birth of kings, inspired poets, gave hope to the hopeless. Then we trace a silver string of starlight down through the too-huge universe, to where this inspirational, ancient light comes to rest on...

"Beer cans. Milwaukee’s Best, to be specific.

"The beer cans float in a kiddie pool. Next to a broken trampoline. In a yard with a rusted pick-up truck. Surrounded by many other yards decorated in much the same manner.

"Welcome to SPOKANE, WASHINGTONa city comprised of churches and strip bars equallywho’s chief export seems to be its endless footage for the Cops TV series."

It’s about a poor(ish) girl, her outsider friends, her dead parents, the rock’n'roll scene in the Pacific Northwest, a discovered mixtape, some not-quite specified past in the early 90s (or thereabouts).

Some backstory on how I came by this story...

Twice in the early ’00s I made the unregrettable yet unwise decision to live in Los Angeles. Loved the fish tacos & fresh produce & afternoons at the beach. Hated the strategic socializing, Balkanized artistic scenes & overly siloed friendship worlds, and the creativity that went into people’s creative ambitions rather than into creativity itself. (Also: brunch.)

Basically, I found these things to be true: The Day of the Locust, Mike Davis’s City of Quartz, Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon, Charles Bukowski, What Makes Sammy Run?. They’re all true!

(Albeit maybe a bit less dramatic.)

(And, well, maybe I spent too much time in LA reading apocalyptic Hollywood literature.)

Anyways, one of my former LA roommates is Seth, who has become a big fancy Hollywood director. In addition to making big-ass budget narrative features, he previously made a sort of genreless documentary-like thing that is one of the best films of any sort I’ve ever seen; a very fine rock-doc that’s as much about mortality & Mormanism as it is about rock; he toured with a very admirable country band in the midst of a genuine crisis; and he contributed to all manner of long-forgotten shorts. Here is an interview with him.


Alec Hanley Bemis's picture

Alec Hanley Bemis lives in Brooklyn, NY but spends a lot of time in California. He obtained his B.A. in History from Yale University. His writing has appeared in LA Weekly, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Spin,, the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. In 2001, he co-founded Brassland, a record label that documents the work of a growing community of musicians, including The National and Nico Muhly. Currently he continues to run Brassland, consults for the UK-based music company All Tomorrow's Parties, co-manages The Dirty Projectors, and acts as general manager at Cantaloupe Music. In the past, he has taught in New York University's graduate journalism program, produced projects for the new media-design firm, Funny Garbage, and written for Faith Popcorn's BrainReserve.