Hilary Goldberg
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Hilary Goldberg

Band Spoken Word


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The best kept secret in music


"Giraffe Medicine Spoken Word CD"

"Giraffe Medicine-- Like a modern-day shaman, she conjures up images you've never seen before. Like a subversive beatnik, she tweaks the way you think about everyday reality. And like a word monger from Planet Thesaurus, she gives your brain a bounce. A good bet for anyone who has ever wondered about the connection between rap and E.E. Cummings." --THE G-MAN Hollywood Free Press - Hollywood Free Press

"A woman of many words...and talents by Michelle R. Anderson"

...Hilary found herself at the University of Miami (“Misogyny” she jokes) studying film and creative writing – that was a no brainer! However, even before she graduated she found herself collaborating with folksinger Ani DiFranco in creating a documentary feature “Render: Spending Time with Ani DiFranco.” This particular project took over five years and many miles traveled to create this telling portrayal. All the while, she finished her studies at the University, and moved out west. Goldberg and Difranco co-directed, produced and edited the piece wrapping it up in LA for its release in June 2002.
Once the DiFranco film was complete Hilary was a Southern California resident (though couch surfing rivaled yoga as her main form of exercise). It was a long year tourning with poets and musicians until she recently settled into a collective artist living space.
Her most recent venture, that of recording artist, was born out of the tragedy befalling the country on September 11, 2001. I think we all remember those images of the New York skyline filled with smoke and debris. For Hilary, the month that followed gave rise to a voice that needed to be heard. “I was frustrated by the political silence I was finding at performances. I felt wrong just complaining so one night I found myself up on stage at an open mic. Our voices are our strongest tools for promoting change in the current quasi-democracy. Ani encouraged me and told me to launch at the mic but make sure not to hit my teeth on it. After watching someone else sling words effectively for over five years, I thought I’d take a shot.”
This spoken word has been set to music on an upcoming CD as a result of her time in the recording studio with Producer/Musician Gavin Ross at Steady Studios. “Gavin had seen my guitarist Tina DiGeorge and I perform together at a Leonard Peltier Benefit last June. Gavin, and Tina both perform on the record along with other great musicians. It’s got hand drums, horns, keys, bass, and even a banjo – I thought I was going to have four hours, a few pieces of paper and a microphone to do the record.”
- Flavor Magazine

"Editorial Reviews Render: Spanning Time with Ani DiFranco"

Render isn't a documentary or concert video, but a combination of the two--bathed in the casual intimacy of a home movie. In the 2002 film (directed by Hilary Goldberg and DiFranco), the folksinger is shown backstage with her band, in rehearsal, in concert, in the studio, etc. The highlights are the vibrant live performances from Austin, Texas; Knoxville, Tennessee; and New Haven, Connecticut. DiFranco comes in to her own on stage--singing, chatting, relating--she has the charisma of Janis Joplin and the political savvy of Joan Baez, along with the punk rock spunk of Chrissie Hynde (her "Bad Boys Get Spanked" T-shirt testifies to that). Over 20 songs are featured, including such favorites as "The Slant" (from her 1989 debut) and "Cradle and All." Guest performers include Sekou Sundiata and Bitch & Animal, a duo on her Righteous Babe label. Render is the ideal accompaniment to DiFranco's live CD, Living in Clip. --Kathleen C. Fennessy --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition. - Amazon.com

"Render: Spanning Time with Ani DiFranco by Sal Cinquemani"

Render: Spanning Time with Ani DiFranco
Cast: Ani DiFranco
Directed by: Hilary Goldberg & Ani DiFranco
Distributor: Righteous Babe Records
Street Date: June 11, 2002
Running Time: 112 min
MPAA Rating: NR
Year: 2002

f Madonna is the mother of reinvention, Ani DiFranco is the mother of natural progression. With her documentary Render: Spanning Time With Ani DiFranco, the Anti-Folk singer gives us a glimpse at this progression with snapshots of performances shot by Hilary Goldberg between 1997 and 2001. There are no dates specified (the first shot says "20th Century"), though you could probably figure it out by looking at her hair (here, purple and white dreadlocks swept up with a bandana). While the film sheds little light on what life is like on the road for a touring artist, it does offer insight into the germination of DiFranco's ever-ambitious political endeavors as well as a rare peek inside the notebook of one of rock's most prolific singer/songwriters. The film also displays DiFranco's quirkier side, from her proposed "reluctant boyfriend holding-pen" to her occasional schoolmaster audience wrist-slapping (for anyone who's ever been annoyed at a concert by the ever-so-lit 17-year-old screeching and dancing next to you). While her recent compulsion to add horns to every song old and new is on full display, songs from DiFranco's slightly bloated double-album Revelling/Reckoning seem more at home here in their natural habitat. A live rendition of "Subdivision," the "controversial" song that kept the singer from performing on David Letterman last year, is particularly moving as DiFranco expounds on the peripheral effects of racism on architecture. At the end of Render, opening act Bitch & Animal sing a lyric that conjures DiFranco's own early days as a bald-headed feminist warrior with socio-political change on the brain: "I'm just a little girl-boy trying to make my way in a man's world." It's a striking juxtaposition with the woman who, for better or worse, never stops spanning time.

Shot on video over a span of five years, the image quality of this Righteous Babe production varies from scene to scene. Some of the more poorly lit performances are extremely grainy while the more controlled interview clips are never less than exquisite to look at (particularly a black-and-white shot of DiFranco with the Washington Monument in the background). Sound levels vary from segment to segment and while only a handful of performances seem to have been recorded straight from the board, most are far from dynamic.

Righteous Babe offers a fairly limited selection of special features on Render: "In The Way" is a bonus live performance of an unreleased DiFranco song; "Ani's Garden Of Simple," with DiFranco behind the camera, is pretty (and pointless); "The Southern Center" provides information on the Southern Center for Human Rights; and "RBRrrrists" is a gallery of every current RBR artist, from DiFranco to Bitch & Animal and Utah Phillips. There's an added bonus for DiFranco fans (and we're assuming that's what you are): the "RBRrrrists" page for the 'Til We Outnumber 'Em compilation features a full-length audio clip of the folksinger's cover of Woody Guthrie's "Do Re Mi."

Audio/visual quality and bonus features aside, Render is an in-depth, often moving, portrait of DiFranco as a touring artist. It's also more than serviceable as thought-provoking commentary on the American criminal justice system. It goes without saying: Render is a must-have for DiFranco fans.
Sal Cinquemani
© slant magazine, 2002.
- Slant Magazine


Giraffe Medicine (2003) - Spoken Word CD
Saferoom - (2003) Short Film DVD
Beyond Lovely - (2004) Short Film, Outfest Selection, Frameline Selection
Render: Spanning Time with Ani DiFranco - (2002) Feature Documentary


Feeling a bit camera shy


“There she was doing all 108 postures of a fetus in the womb curled up in her room like a cartoon balloon on an empty page
love didn’t mind that she was broke, she held up each dream thinking, ‘one of these might float me’” – 108 postures excerpt

Hilary Goldberg was born in Miami, Florida. Her early stomping grounds were laced with palm trees and parking lots. The most accessible art scene transpired at her grandmother’s house where an international contingent of women of a certain age as well as flamboyant men taught painting, played music and danced throughout the afternoons. Once the public school system took charge of her education - the world of possibility temporarily narrowed its vision. Hilary grew lost in a haze of curriculum, mini-malls, portable electronics and spray cheese. Then she stumbled upon writings from the Beat Generation and held them as an umbrella against the acid rain.

She studied film and writing earning a degree from the University of Misogyny (Miami). During her final year of college the idea of being on the road crept up in a pair of jackboots singing and playing guitar. Hilary fell hard for the poetic genius and politic of a roving folksinger. She inquired about pooling their visions in a documentary film that would eventually criss-cross the country intermittently on a five-year expedition. The resulting project was released as the collaborative feature film RENDER : Spanning Time with Ani DiFranco in June 2002. The film documents the performance of Ani DiFranco as well as the politics surrounding her art. Some of the topics include capital punishment, racism and feminism.

The filmmaking process is a slow one at best so Hilary sought out a more immediate venue for her art following September 11th. She elevated her poetry filled notebooks to the stage. She performed at open mics in Los Angeles and fell in love with the art form of Spoken Word. She took a brief tour up the west coast and the litmus test was an unparalleled experience. She continues to perform at bars, colleges, festivals including Oregon Country Fair as well as Bumpershoot and coffeehouses across America.

One night after a performance at a Leonard Peltier benefit show producer Gavin Ross approached Hilary to record an album. She suggested that they accompany each piece with its own sonic environment and gathered local musicians to join in the process. The product of this imaginative venture is Giraffe Medicine, Hilary’s debut spoken word record. The poems trace her preceding years roaming the highways of politics, queer life, love and friendship. Her hope is that it serves others in the same way the Beats inspired her own exploration.

Her passion for filmmaking takes precedent when she isn’t touring with poetry. She has worked as a Cinematographer and Editor on several productions following the release of RENDER. She is the Writer/Director/Editor of the short film SAFEROOM. And is currently touring the festival circuit with her latest short film project Beyond Lovely starring Guinevere Turner and Vaginal Davis.