Old Man Cabbage: The Live Experience
Gig Seeker Pro

Old Man Cabbage: The Live Experience

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | SELF

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | SELF
Band Jazz Rock




"Old Man Cabbage, Blair Crimmins and the Hookers"

Ninja Puppet Productions is a group dedicated to the creation of innovative multimedia puppetry-based experiences that has been on the cutting edge of adult-oriented puppetry for over 7 years now. The Ninja himself is Raymond Carr and for over 15 years he has been creating theater, film, and web content that entertains and inspires. Just a couple of his credits include Head of Voodoo Puppetry on Walking with Dinosaurs, The Arena Spectacular: North American Tour, as well as six-time writer/director for the Center for Puppetry Art’s Xperimental Puppetry Theater here in Atlanta.

His newest Ninja Puppet production is what they’re calling a Long Form Narrative Music Video. It’s a cross between a short film and a music video featuring new music from the band Blair Crimmins and the Hookers. The story portion of the film will feature new music from the band. At the end of the film the main characters reach their destination at a ghostly speakeasy, and there a more traditional music video is showcased, featuring the song “Old Man Cabbage.” Here’s a short synopsis of the film from the Ninja Puppet Productions website:

“In a fantasy version of the 1920s, Viola and Theodore are a couple of dust bowl farm kids who love to play circus. Their lives get flipped upside down when they are caught up in a violent exchange with Viola’s abusive father. They decide to run away and join a ghostly circus that appears in a 1920’s style Speakeasy.”

I recently had the chance to interview Raymond about this project:

Thomas: What about the song “Old Man Cabbage” by Blair Crimmins and The Hookers inspired you to make a long form narrative music video? What was the genesis of this project?
Carr: Ninja Puppet Productions had collaborated with The Imperial Opa Circus this past year on a couple of different projects, but it wasn’t until I saw them perform at the Goat Farm that I was truly inspired. I knew I wanted to do something in a similar vain. I had finished my last film “Wild is the Wind” which was a dramatic dialog-based film that took place in one room with two characters. I learned a lot from that process and was ready to do something totally different. I wanted to do something epic with strong visuals that could tell a story with little to no dialog. Doing a music video was the logical antithesis, but I’ve been so bored with most music videos I’ve seen in the past. I was a fan of Blair and his music to begin with. We’ve had tons of mutual friends but we didn’t really know each other until we started this project. I loved the song of Old Man Cabbage, it’s just so fun and jumpy, but dark and menacing at the same time. So I approached Blair with the idea of making a “Thriller-like” music video that would tell a story and showcase his music in a different way. He said yeah, and we moved forward. To be honest I don’t think he knew what he was getting himself into. Throughout the 4-day shoot we had about 80 crewmembers and dozens of cast members on set (all volunteers). The first time Blair stepped on set he was blown away with our level of production value. And that has less to do with me or my producers and more to do with the amazing volunteer, indie-filmmaking community of Atlanta.

T: How hard was it getting all the awesome 1920s costumes and set decorations? Who did you work with?
C: We had an amazing crew with us that really brought the entire film together. I definitely had to think and write strategically and make sure I had at least an idea of how we could pull this off. But once I got the ball rolling people jumped onto the project. Karen Freed is our costume designer. She has years of professional feature television and commercial experience as a costumer. She had taken part of the summer off from working for other people to do something cool and indie that she could get excited about. Her budget was about $250 and she estimated that she got about $15,000 worth of work out of that. The Clothing Warehouse in Little Five Points was a big supporter of this project too. Their addition to the project really brought the production value up to a whole new level.
Victoria Warren is our cinematographer for the project. She brought an amazing crew of professionals and is responsible for the amazing look of the film. I cannot say enough about her. She also really stepped up as a producer for the project as a whole.
Elizabeth Davidovich was our stunt coordinator. She is a professional stuntwoman who has worked on “Fast Five,” “The Walking Dead,” “Twilight,” and “Mean Girls 2,” as well as the new Three Stooges remake and tons of other amazing projects. She actually found the two performers that play our leads. She also choreographed an acrobatic performance that our leads perform in the film. When writing the script I had a basic idea of action, and she took those concepts and really ran with it.
Our production designer was Brandon Ross. He’s worked with The Imperial Opa on all of their major shows. He and I worked together along with our art director Michael Gluzmen to use the resources we had to make our sets look amazing.
But ultimately we could not have done it without Anthony Harper and the Goat Farm. His generosity grace and support of us, and the arts in general, constantly amazes me.

T: The miniature sets for some of the backgrounds in your video look super awesome! Can you tell me a little more about them?
C: I’ve always been a fan of practical effects, being a puppeteer and animatronics operator. So using miniatures was just the logical step. I think the first “behind the scenes” footage I’d ever seen from a film was about miniatures in Star Wars, and I’ve always wanted to try to recreate that effect. In the story we set the action in the middle of a fantastical version of the 1920s and 30s. Plus some of the locations I wrote might be impossible to find in the real world. So miniatures made the most sense. Our offices are at Studio Outpost in East Atlanta and some of my good friends are with Itaki Designs, which is also housed at Studio Outpost, so we’re working with them to make the combination of practical and composite effects sell the miniature world.

T: What exactly is your role in this project? I didn’t necessarily see any puppeteering in the sneak-peek video of the film; is this strictly Live-actor Theater or are there any puppets anywhere in the production?
C: I am writer/director/editor of this film. I have been a puppeteer for 15 years now but I also have a film/television background. Most of what we do with Ninja Puppet Productions has some element of puppetry in it; this project has very little if any which kind of makes me sad (just kidding… not really). When I started writing it, the story just didn’t’ need any puppetry in it. So I didn’t want to force it. So yeah this film is pretty much all live-action acting… with one costumed monkey character

T: According to your website, the film is due to be released this fall. Do you have any plans for specific screenings? Where and how will it be released?
C: The film will be pretty much released straight to web. It’s actually the first film I’ve done that is being released like this. Normally we do some sort of festival run somewhere, but since I knew this was going to be a “music video” that was meant to promote the band we made the choice from the start that this would be a straight to web video. We might do an extended DVD version with behind the scenes footage and other stuff, but right now that’s the plan.

The project is currently in post-production and they’ve set up a page over at Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects, to raise $3,500 by July 28th at 9:53PM ET. They’re really close to their goal and only have a few weeks to go! The money raised will be used to help rent equipment as well as help build miniatures for some of their effect shots. Go check them out and help support them and the arts right here in Atlanta! - Zombie Cat

"Politely Disruptive Old Man Cabbage"

Politely Disruptive returns in a big way after a long hiatus by welcoming filmmaker/artist Raymond Carr and musician Blair Crimmins into the AM 1690 studios. Raymond Carr, a longtime puppeteer and independent filmmaker, steps into the world of long-form narrative music videos with the song “Old Man Cabbage” from Atlanta’s own Blair Crimmins & the Hookers. Blair stops by to chat about his music and play a live version of his tune “Mean, Mean Man.” Of course, this show also sees the return of PDR staples like “Defending Your iPod” and “Victrola Moment.” - AM1690

"Old Man Cabbage Premiere Sells Out Astounds Atlanta"

Saturday night marked the official world premiere of Old Man Cabbage, the highly-anticipated creative collaboration between ragtime darlings Blair Crimmins and the Hookers and Atlanta’s everywhere film guru Raymond Carr of Ninja Puppet Productions. Over 375 fans and supporters flooded the Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, braving rain and precarious parking situations to see the film, which has been almost a year in the making. The event sold out in advance, and long lines of will call patrons snaked out of the theatre and down both sides of the building’s entrance. After the momentous task of getting everyone checked in, the crowd settled in for a unique experience.

The film, which Carr refers to as a “long-form narrative music video” tells the story of two runaways that join a ghostly speakeasy circus. Old Man Cabbage, an original Hookers tune, plays prominently in the story line, as Crimmins, along with the rest of the Hookers, play the spirit band at the party. Crimmins’ character plays the role of the trickster phantom Old Man Cabbage, as he brings the long-forgotten party back to life.

The performance is a special one, because the Hookers perform the musical score live as the movie plays. While it is extremely challenging, Crimmins and crew have almost perfected it, including the demanding performance of the actual Old Man Cabbage song, which is a fast-paced, romping number and the climax of the film. This time the Hookers nailed it better than ever.

Also featured in the film is the Imperial OPA, Atlanta’s favorite circus troupe. After the performance, the troupe entertained patrons with acrobatics while the band geared up for a special bonus- a full set for the happy crowd.

As the band started, the crowd which up until that point had sat politely in their seats, started to shift and get antsy- this was not a sit-down-and stay-down type of crowd. After a few brave souls stood up to dance, Crimmins invited everyone down himself. By the beginning of Lock That Door, the isles were flooded with dancers. Then it felt like a Hookers show.

The band played a substantial set, including new songs I Love You That’s All, a nice meandering love ballad, and Little Red Train, a delightfully dirty number full of double entendre. The patrons were joined by some of the girls from Davina and the Harlots, a burlesque troupe which also featured heavily in the film.

Crimmins had the following to say later on Facebook: “It took so many people and so much dedication to make it all happen Saturday night. I feel privileged to be around this much love and talent.”

The night also marked Crimmins’ birthday. This is the second year in a row that he and the hookers have celebrated together in their success- last year on his birthday, they threw a release party for the State Hotel vinyl release at the EARL. One can only guess at the great success the Hookers will be experiencing this time next year.

For now, Carr and Crimmins look forward to yet another premiere, as Old Man Cabbage has been accepted into the Atlanta Film Festival this spring.

- Examiner.com

"Old Man Cabbage Premiere at the Plaza"

Saturday night The Plaza Theatre was transformed when Raymond Carr‘s Old Man Cabbage took center stage. Lines extended around the block as supporters waited to be let in. The ‘Sold Out‘ sign hung prominently across the ticket window, but fans didn’t care. Jennifer Griffin, a set dresser that works in the Atlanta film community, said that her and four friends saw the sign but waited in line anyway hoping that they would be able to scoop up some leftover tickets. They weren’t the only ones to be turned away at the door. Tickets to this first screening of the short were spoken for several hours before hand and the theater was at maximum capacity.
The show began before the film ever started. A music video for Blair Crimmins and The Hookers shot in New Orleans by Atlanta-export Scott Mckibben, with help from Imoto Harney, played twice on a loop. The artful montage of the New Orleans backdrop gave the single, State Hotel, a soulful rhythm of scenery that exposed the historic melody of the 1920s styled beats. The other project on loop was a short-short. A silent film that set the stage for the main event with its bubble gum girl.
The film, based around a song of the same name from the repertoire of Blair Crimmins and The Hookers, was about twenty minutes long and full of pizazz. The silent experience portrayed on screen in a beautifully dramatic way was accompanied by the live performance from the band. Jeff Burdett, a member of the Atlanta film community that specializes in after effects and also a contributor to the the film, informed us that when Crimmins was approached about the idea he graciously offered to write the entire score. Band members jammed in unison to the events escalating on screen – climaxing with the lyrics to Old Man Cabbage which brought the piece to a close.
Actors and crew alike can be proud of the reaction from the crowd – a standing ovation. Audience members oohed and awed at the side show that followed. Dancers from the Imperial Opa Circus graced the crowd with a performance they won’t soon forget. The things those girls could do brought a new level to flexible standards! The theater turned into a dance club with people getting out of their seats to parlay their way into the evening. Energy was high and the tunes were equally in demand. Crimmins and his crew definitely know how to throw a party!
If it was your first time at The Plaza Theatre, you surely were in for a dramatic introduction to the historic landmark. And, if you weren’t familiar with Raymond Carr’s work, you should be. Carr is the Artistic Director of Ninja Puppet Productions. He has travelled all over the country as a puppetmaster. His puppet from Walking With Dinosaurs even made a cameo on The Simpsons!
Raymond Carr’s epicly original short that combined the flapper feeling of the 20's with the flexible freestyling of a circus act will be featured at the end of March in the Atlanta Film Festival where the party will continue. If you missed out on your first chance to enjoy this musical film experience, check them out at the fest and support the local Atlanta film community!
Check out the trailer for Old Man Cabbage! - Doobious.org


Still working on that hot first release.



Crimmins brings The Hookers out to blast the room with Dixieland horns, rowdy ragtime piano and gypsy jazz guitar. Songs jump with a 1920's gaudiness, reminiscent of tawdry, dangerous jazz. While devious lyrics can mirror the sinister Charlestons they accompany, Crimmins also has a grab bag of torch songs at his disposal, spotlighting the loneliness of a life spent in the shadows.

Blair Crimmins and the Hookers have joined Ninja Puppet Productions to bring a unique cinimatic musical experience.

See the band perform the sound track to the Film Old Man Cabbage live. Then stick around and hear the band do a full set. The film and musical set combined last about 90min.

In order to celebrate the unique, arousing 1920's-esque sounds of the new Blair Crimmins and The Hookers album State Hotel, puppetry and experimental film veteran Raymond Carr spearheaded the development of a 15 Minute short film that centers on the single "Old Man Cabbage."

"I loved the song 'Old Man Cabbage' - it's just so fun and jumpy, but dark and menacing at the same time. So I approached Blair with the idea of making a "Thriller-like" music video that would tell a story and showcase his music in a different way."

Mixing traditional approaches with experimental film elements like miniature sets, the team created a live action environment set in a fanciful vision of the 1920s/1930s. The combination of practical and composite effects sell the "miniature world" in which the live action is set, creating a unique visual vehicle for the music of Blair Crimmins and The Hookers.

THE MUSIC: Blair Crimmins and The Hookers

Blair Crimmins and The Hookers incorporate early New Orleans Jazz sounds, Dixieland and Ragtime to cleverly deliver lyrically dramatic songs with youthful energy. The song "Old Man Cabbage" appears on the band's most recent album State Hotel, and while the actual song appears in "the speakeasy" portion of the video, the band composed and performed the beautiful, haunting score for the entire short film.

Blair is a multi-instrumental virtuoso with an interesting story of his own (SEE THIS ARTICLE). You can learn more at: http://www.blaircrimminsandthehookers.com/.