Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Not Like the Shampoo

I had the pleasure of attending the 9th annual Phoenix Film Festival over the weekend and saw a lot of great movies.

One movie in particular named “Adventures of Power” caught my attention when I read the description: In the toughest of times, a small-town mineworker Power only wished he played drums. So after his father calls for a strike at the mine, Power heads out across America, discovering an underground subculture of “air-drummers” who just might hold the key to changing the world. Run time 89 minutes.

Plus I found out the movie had a cameo from one of the best drummers ever from my favorite-all-time, until-rock-is-dead-and-buried-beside-the-rotting-corpses-of-Hip Hop-and-Tejano. Forever and-ever,-Amen bands…Neil Peart of Rush.

So while watching the film, I kept noticing that some characters in the movie repeatedly mis-pronounced Neil’s last name. Every time one of the characters made this serious verbal flub, it was like picking a scab or rubbing vinegar into your eyes. It’s a simple mistake, many people make it, and that’s the difference between a casual Rush fan. At first glance, Neil’s last name looks simple enough to pronounce. Casual fans, or the ill-informed pronounce his last name PERT, like the shampoo. That’s incorrect. It’s pronounced PEER-T.

After the third time in the film, I was determined to find out how in the world could have someone, anyone allowed such a grievous error to remain in the film. I was going to demand overdubs and an apology to Mr. PEER-T, himself.

It never escalated to that point, since I made the embarrassing mistake in the Q&A after the movie of asking a wonderful actress who just happens to be deaf, Shoshanna Stern, was she or the director aware that characters in the movie kept butchering the pronunciation of Neil’s last name? She had no idea, and of course, I looked like a complete and total jackass for asking the hearing impaired girl about a man’s name who she’s probably never heard of, or would even need to know.

But, like the true pro she is, Shoshanna said through her interpreter that I was more than welcome to email the director who couldn’t be at the film festival since he was in Serbia showing his film at a festival there. I didn’t know Serbia even had electricity since the war, let alone a DVD player that was hooked up to a projection screen.

So I took her advice and asked for a business card for Ari Gold (no lie, that’s his real name. It’s even printed on the back of his card in yellow: yes real name thanks).

I emailed him that I loved the film, but how could you not get the last name of the guy who agrees to do a cameo in your film? I mean, really! During the hours and hours of intense editing of your film that took you three years to make, did you or no one casually listening to the dialogue, catch that you were sullying the good name of the guy who is responsible for the drum beats and lyrics to such classic tunes as Limelight, Spirit of Radio, 2112 and Rush’s seminal hit, Tom Sawyer?

Of course I was not that rude or direct, but I made darn sure he knew that I wanted an answer. And I hit the send button, expecting nothing. After all, this guy’s made a movie. He’s gotten some pretty cool actors to be in a good film about air drumming. He’s in Serbia, for gosh sake, showing his movie, for the love of sweet and sour! And he scored a cameo of Neil Peart. Why would he need to answer me?

Well, he did answer me in pretty short order. Below is what he said:

Hi Mac,

I actually know it's "peert" but I figured the character of Power, without access to Internet or TV and "in his own world", wouldn't know that! After I shot it the way I thought Power would say it, I thought about dubbing it "peert" because fans would be miffed by the multiple pronunciations, but decided it was realistic this way... who knows, Neil didn't seem to mind...!

All the best. Let me know if you ever want me to do a call-in!


After reading his response it made total sense. See, that’s why I do a little rinky-dink show in KTAR with Gaydos and this guy directs movies. He knows what he’s doing. Maybe, just one day, someday I will too….