I recall discussing the various members of our families with my wife when we first started dating. Americo, the man dating her older sister immediately stood out. A jazz musician with a flair for standing out, her description of him intrigued me. When we met I must say that he did not disappoint. He wore his hair in dreadlocks and sported Lycra bicycle shorts and a cat collar. Some people mistakenly call it a dog collar, but just ask him and he’ll tell you that it’s a cat collar, “cause I’m a Jazz cat.” He wore sweat bands and wrist watches on both arms and heavy black boots.
Americo is not just about visual style. His character runs deep. The character he plays hails from another planet and owes much to Sun Ra (of whom he is a big fan). It is often difficult to tell where the act stops and Americo begins.
This film was shot back in 2000 and much has changed. Much has not. If you look closely, you may notice the World Trade Center buildings. Hoboken has changed even more, has become even more gentrified that when we shot the scenes there. Americo and his wife Susan have been busy raising a family and continue to live in Connecticut. He continues to play and over the last few years has concentrated on reggae, playing with bands made up of many of the same characters from the film along with a few new players. Over the years he has mellowed a bit as we all have but in some ways has become a more concentrated version of himself. His style, both visual and personal, has remained largely consistent and he has continued to branch out into other music genres. This film highlights his experiences up to the year 2000. Perhaps a Seven-Up style revisiting may be required soon.
There is one more short film in this series. Although not really a sequel, Requiem for Piano was shot shortly after Always a Pleasure and will the subject of my next post.
Please see www.kajacircle.com for additional info.
In my professional career I design and build websites and apps as well as creating corporate and cause-related films. When I have a chance to pursue a personal project, I tend to gravitate towards music and photography. I have shot a few short films and music videos the first of which, Always a Pleasure, featured my brother-in-law, Americo Carrasco. It therefore seems the perfect video to share first.
A little background about the film:
Shot entirely on miniDV and without a budget, always a pleasure follows Americo Carrasco, a part-time musician and full-time character on his quest to spread his message of intergalactic unity and understanding. Filmed on location in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut between July 2001 and April 2002, the film is a combination of archival footage, interviews, live performances and time-lapse sequences that reveal the many sides of Americo: the history, the music, the hair.
This is a newly uploaded version of the trailer. The quality of the original trailer was not up to today’s standards.
For full information about the film, please see my website at http://www.kajacircle.com/always.htm. I will post the full 17-minute version of the film as well as its mini-sequel Requiem For Piano next.