Roots to Renewal

Episode Eleven: Melissa Auf der Maur on Art, Life and Rock 'n Roll

May 17, 2022 Hawthorne Valley / Melissa Auf der Maur Season 1 Episode 11
Roots to Renewal
Episode Eleven: Melissa Auf der Maur on Art, Life and Rock 'n Roll
Show Notes Transcript

Sponsored by Tierra Farm; Music by Aaron Dessner

Recently our Executive Director, and podcast host, Martin Ping sat down with Melissa Auf der Maur, an artist, musician, photographer and writer – probably best known in musical circles for her turn as the bass player for the band Hole from 1994-1999. Melissa is revered locally as social entrepreneur, she’s the co-founder and director of Basilica Hudson, a nonprofit multidisciplinary art center in Hudson, NY.  

We consider Basilica to be a sister organization to Hawthorne Valley. Not only are we neighbors geographically, our missions are very much aligned when it comes to supporting the arts and addressing the important environmental and social issues of our times, and we are grateful that Melissa said yes to sitting down with us. Hers is an intriguing biography and it was a fun, and wide-ranging conversation as she and Martin touched on everything from Melissa’s musical career, to the origin story of Basilica Hudson, to the impact of gentrification on the city of Hudson and its surrounding communities, to the role the city of Montreal played in her formative years. Coincidentally, Melissa also happens to be celebrating her 50th trip around the sun this year.

Visit Basilica Hudson's website. Make a donation.
Learn about their Basilica Green program.
Donate to Hawthorne Valley.

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Heather Gibbons (00:03):

Thank you for joining us for episode 11 of Hawthorne, Valley's 50th anniversary podcast, roots to renewal. I'm Heather Gibbons Hawthorne, Valley's director of marketing and communications. We started roots to renewal to share Hawthorne Valley's story and engage a conversation with friends from around the world who dedicate their lives to meeting the ecological, social, and spiritual needs of our time. We are thankful to Tiara farm, a family owned environmentally conscious manufacturer and distributor of organic dried fruits at nuts for their generous support. Without it, this podcast would not be possible. Learn more

Heather Gibbons (00:44):

Recently our executive director and podcast host Martin ping sat down with Melissa Auf der Maur an artist, musician, photographer, and writer probably best known in musical circles for her turn as the bass player for the band Hole from 1994 to 1999, Melissa is revered locally as a social entrepreneur. She's the co-founder and director of Basilica Hudson, a nonprofit multidisciplinary art center in Hudson, New York. We consider Basilica to be a sister organization to Hawthorne valley. Not only are we neighbors geographically, our missions are very much aligned when it comes to supporting the arts and addressing the important environmental and social issues of our times. And we are grateful that Melissa said yes to sitting down with us. Hers is an intriguing biography and it was a fun and wide ranging conversation. As she and Martin touched on everything from Melissa's musical career to the origin story of Basilica Hudson, to the impact of gentrification on the city of Hudson and its surrounded communities to the role. The city of Montreal played in her formative years. Coincidentally, Melissa also happens to be celebrating her 50th trip around the sun this year.

Martin Ping (02:00):

Good afternoon, Melissa. It is so nice that you were able to join us for our 50th anniversary podcast. It's a milestone 50 years. Frankie Moore Lappe on at the beginning of the podcast. She wrote Diet for a Small Planet 50 years ago, Dana Meadows and company wrote Limits to Growth 50 years ago. Gregory Bateson wrote his seminal book on systems thinking 50 years ago. So good stuff was coming into the world 50 years ago, including you. And I'm so glad that you're here and thankful that Basilica is here in the county and I'm still kind of stuck in Basilica on their 10th anniversary because that's sort of where we froze in time. And then COVID, but you're now into your 12th year, correct?

Melissa Auf der Maur (02:44):

I guess 2022 is our 12th year. Yeah, 2020 was our big milestone of a decade and we did have an exciting season planned and then it got frozen in April. We're using the world shift to our creative benefits. We are realizing there is no time to waste on so many of these matters. We already knew that very good work had to be done for people and planet, but it's only the stakes are higher. I feel like a lot of people have woken up from a bit of a denial, dead sleep <laugh> that systems are not working as they should. And that there's so much lacking especially in with all due respect to where I am standing, the United States of America. I, as a Canadian, I, I, I do always have an outsider eye on a lot of the systems. And I know you and I have spoken about this before on our little walks through fields, but I do feel like 2020 really was a wake up call for the United States. And it was not only COVID and it was not only the presidency. It was all the, it was Black Lives Matter. It was everything that sort of like the dirty that came up and exploded. And it's a vulnerable time for this country I believe. It's very, very strange and we're very lucky as you know, better than anyone cuz you don't, you, you live, breathe and watch children grow in one utopia in Columbia county. We're very lucky to be in the Hudson Valley. We know that.

Martin Ping (04:16):

Well, I agree. I often say if not here then where and if not us then who, and I'm just curious what inspired you to purchase that building the first place and what was the, what was the vision you were carrying then?

Melissa Auf der Maur (04:29):

Well, the world was very different in 2010. When my partner in life and Basilica, Tony Stone, and I acquired this 1880s factory with no electricity, no plumbing, which was at the time owned by a Steiner enthusiast. And connoisseur Patrick Doyle who, who had envisioned it when he took it on in the year 2000 as a frozen in time glue factory, he saw the potential for the community center. He had business plans, he had plumbing plans. He was a, you know, a visionary in that way. And he had begun to activate it. Most known activation he did was when a city of Hudson citizens group were fighting the St Lawrence Cement plant. Patty Smith played at the Basilica in those very early years that Patrick owned it to pay the legal bills to protect the waterfront. So she essentially, you know, in terms of origin story, that's the first real reclaiming and it's an environmental act to protect the waterfront and the air and the people of the city of Hudson.

Melissa Auf der Maur (05:30):

And it was the largest citizen campaign against a Swiss cement plant that I think their campaign was 67 million to try to get this plant made and a small group of citizens stopped it. So that was one of the first things I understood in the view outside my window. When I looked at this beautiful architectural feat with the Catskill mountains and the river behind it, and I, you know, right away, what is that building? And someone said, oh, this, this eccentric guy, Patrick owns it. And Patty Smith played there and they fought the cement plant. I mean that there's no more poetry than you need to fall in love with the building than that. And when we met Patrick Doyle, cuz I quickly said you know, we should bring music there. We should bring film there. Tony's a filmmaker, I'm a musician. And we met Patrick and said, what do you do there?

Melissa Auf der Maur (06:18):

We'd love to collaborate and start present, maybe bringing some of our community. So we met Patrick and he gave us a tour. And when I brought him to my top balcony from my, my house and I said, look at the view of this place. He looked at me in this, like I literally remember like fairy dust twinkling down from the sun said, "Melissa, this is your Oracle." And next thing I know, year later within the year he made Tony and I an offer. We couldn't refuse, which is that it was our time to take it on. He was completing his ten year milestone, had he'd had it from 2000, 2010. And he told us it was time for us to take it over and he would hold the mortgage and there was no needing to find a bank - there was a once in lifetime opportunity where somebody asked us, you know, we certainly did not come to upstate New York looking for a giant factory.

Melissa Auf der Maur (07:11):

We came looking for more time and space to be creative people and to maybe have a baby and a cat and you know, have a next chapter in life. It's been nonstop since we launched it. We have a wedding business on the side. We're like, oh well, but we'll have that to pay for the bills. And then we'll have our cool alternative music and art people that won't make any money, but it doesn't matter. We'll have the wedding. And that back of the napkin plan has worked out and just in many ways, grown faster than we can handle alternative culture in major cities is not doing well. Even worse post COVID. The corporate takeover is alive and well, and I whom a counterculture alternative subculture born and raised enthusiast. You can't do that in major cities unless you live in, you know, Scandinavia or Canada where the government protects spaces for that, it was easier for us at first to get people from the city to take a train up or drive up, to see an experimental art festival than it was for locals.

Melissa Auf der Maur (08:13):

And some somewhere halfway point a few years in, I started Basilica Farm and Flea, which was when I discovered as a socialist Canadian that black Friday or whatever this crazy big box sale thing is exists. And that people were not supporting local makers on this crazy. I, you know, buy everything day. So, so we, I started Farm and Flea as just a kind of socialist reaction to my corporate America environment. And that, that was such a success so quickly. And by the third year, I think we had 15,000 people in one weekend. The population of Hudson is 7,000 people. So I see farm and fleet as how I evolved with living in the region, allowing the region to inform the program. But when I came, I was bringing my own dreams, which was my heart and soul 24 hour drone experiments and sound and music, which is a 24 hour immersive experiential listening concert where it's 24 hours laying on the ground meditating essentially with abstract sound at the center.

Melissa Auf der Maur (09:18):

When we started in 2010, I was now I was A, a world traveler and B, hadn't done academics on, on urban development. I had no idea that in fact, our contribution bringing alternative culture, artisan marketplaces would be part of that complicated evolution. So the world has become much more nuanced for me, living in New York, living in upstate New York versus a major city because I've always been a deep believer as a musician who was saved by music and in school and gave me a direction and a deep connection to my spirit self and to the universe. I always think arts are magic and have the power to heal. I don't think of the world in economic development, which is what has been for me. The biggest change, being a brick and mortar owner, the responsibility one has when you have space business, all of a sudden that utopia kind of innocent world of an artist that I occupied before was rudely awakened <laugh> in terms of how much more complicated it is to put yourself out there in the world, it's really been taking our role more seriously. And when turning 10 and then just seeing the kind of rapid needs in the environment, not just locally, but on the planet, both in social and in ecological ways. So I guess the loss of innocence has occurred and that's okay. <Laugh>

Martin Ping (10:52):

When, when you said earlier about, you know, buying this, building that and your love of respecting and preserving historical buildings in and putting them in service to the future, it reminds me of our dear friend and Hawthorne Valley board member, Herbert Dreiseitl. He would see that right away in places that other people might look at and say, oh my God, that's so old and falling down and decrepit or it's embarrassing cuz it's representative of our industrial youth. We didn't know any better and playing with matches. And her would say, no, this is all a part of our story. And we just need to put it into our new story. And he would change buildings in the Ruhr valley of Germany and turn them into museums and interactive places for children. And he was in that building and really saw what you've now managed to accomplish what he would say. We have to make faces that save to especially young people. You, we love you. You are welcome here. I just, yeah, I think that's a great design principle to start with.

Melissa Auf der Maur (11:57):

Yeah. And connecting the infrastructure with the heart, like we said earlier, it's like the combination of taking responsibility for your material presence as well as deep mindful care and how you gather humans and souls and, and you know, that's obviously why the arts is so essential to us is that that is it's the connection to the, to the heart. And it's a way of hearing a story, a more emotional way than it say the academic, the building has represented that balance between real deal, physical infrastructure and conceptual, emotional heart. Then of course becoming parents and our legacy that we're leaving for our daughter. But of course all children becomes much more acute as you enter these kinds of phases. And as the world enters this kind of place. And so we, I guess we felt incredibly fortunate as a, like I said, Tony, a filmmaker and me a musician without realizing it by manifesting a physical reality, which is this building and a gathering place and not, you know, music and film is very kind of esoteric, you know, music, you literally can't even hold, you can watch and hear it.

Melissa Auf der Maur (13:16):

Film is that dark immersive thing with a cinema, you know, at least the way Tony likes it, old fashioned go to the movies, share it with a dark audience, but it's really different when you have a physical being like a physical, like I think of Basilica as, as being this entity, that is just this thing that is part of our family. Like, like our cat, like our it's a it's this strange living growing thing. And I do think because Tony grew up in lower Manhattan and I grew up in Montreal, like Herbert, who, who I've met along throughout the years, cuz he'd come through the waterfront. We knew how to imagine these buildings being places of magical people and gathering, you know, like that's what great cities in Europe and the greats do. You know, there's like a lot of creative mind and government grants.

Melissa Auf der Maur (14:09):

And I will say in terms of the state of New York and any complaints one should have about the United States government and what it does and does not offer its people, the state of New York is making this possible NIDA, the energy council of New York state is paying for half of this giant net zero campus because they recognize specifically that our reclaiming of the historic building on the waterfront with the social component, this is the model they want to support. So that's, you know, in terms of advocacy, we're also, I am on the New York state economic development council specifically for green advocacy to able to meet people like me before I knew about the grants to say there are grants to pay for this. So it's been, you know, that's also how it changed a lot for me prior to that, I was, you know, communing with my fellow alternative artists and trying to create music festivals.

Melissa Auf der Maur (15:07):

And, and when we had our net zero groundbreaking in the fall and we had John Bowermaster the environmental filmmaker, right. He's made a mini documentary we're launching tomorrow. So for the podcast, you can share that link, but he did a little mini documentary on our groundbreaking and there, it was blustery November with our elected officials and New York state energy council folks. It was a turning point for me in realizing how lovely as significant that gathering was for me as any of my momentous magical music events I've ever had that the shift into making an infrastructure difference in working with the people on a science infrastructure and finance side of things was as deeply rewarding and soulfully connected as anything I've ever done in music and art. And that was a very important turning point. <Laugh> for me as a grown up,

Martin Ping (16:04):

You as a grown up, makes me want to ask you about you as a child. You mentioned River's 10th birthday and I'm, you know, two things and, and also you as a musician I'm just really curious on your thoughts or reflections on how your early years in growing up in Montreal has influenced your current outlook on life. And then I would after, and I'd love to hear that. And then afterwards I wanna make sure I also ask you about, you know, reflecting on your career as an artist.

Melissa Auf der Maur (16:37):

Yeah. Well, it's good timing cuz I'm writing my memoir right now. I'm a year into writing my memoir and I just, this morning submitted my first ever Canadian council, government grant and only Canadians, no matter where they live can apply for a living wage grant to be able to put together a project, whether it's a book, a play, an album that represents their mission, which essentially is to get Canadian stories out there. And so I assured in this grant submission that my story is a Montreal story in a very, very significant way. And that reflecting on my roots at that time and culture and my parents is it has worked for me. I am not someone who had to pull away from, I was born into the right place in the right family, put it that way in terms of it fit.

Melissa Auf der Maur (17:33):

And I embraced it and I grew from it and I evolved from both of my parents. And in many ways I had to leave Montreal because their commitment to Montreal was both so passionate and deep, deep. And I grew up in the shadow of these committed cultural leaders. In many ways when I got my first ticket out, I recognize, you know, I'm never gonna be as cool as my parents in this town. So I might as well just go find my own place on the globe. <Laugh> so I really, you know, really look up to my parents, my father tomorrow it is the 24th anniversary of his death. So he's been gone for almost half my life. But he his 54 years of life was as big as many people, multiple people with hundreds of years, the man burned so bright and devoted his life to the city of Montreal.

Melissa Auf der Maur (18:27):

I grew up uh both my parents were broadcasters. They met at CBC when they were working. They both covered the cultural world of their time, deeply and passionately. They were both English speaking, my mother and ex pat from Boston who moved to do our French, her master's in French literature at McGill. And my father was born to Swiss immigrants, first generation Montreal. And they were in love with Montreal in the sixties and seventies. And at the time there's tumultuous for those who don't know Canadian politics, it was called the language wars, which was basically the French reclaiming their power in their territory. The English had wiped out the French language in Canada and Quebec, which had been founded by the French hundreds of years ago were having a giant social upheaval. And my parents, both English speakers took the side of the French and fought with them.

Melissa Auf der Maur (19:27):

My father was in jail. My mother was covering it for the, for the newspapers and they, they were really active in their cultural revolution then, but also everything you want Bohemian culturally active parents to be at that time. So I was raised an incredibly colorful environment, but beyond them, that city, that city is still one of the greatest international cities. I am just so lucky to have been born and raised in the, the immigrant neighborhood, which is now, you know, still, still put it this way. In 1975, I'd be walking around the corner to the Polish deli, the Jewish bakery, the neighborhood was the foundation of all the immigrants from the turn of the century, lots of Russian Ukrainian, every single one of those shops is still there. And I am not joking. That neighborhood has not changed since I grew up there since. And those were two generation family shops.

Melissa Auf der Maur (20:25):

So that Montreal was the world that, you know, was the north America history in on my block and it never has changed. And it made me everything I am. And I went to an art school, an experimental art school. My mother put me in the second year of its incarnation called face fine arts core education, where they believed that if you put arts first, the children would thrive. I loved school my whole life because arts were first and I never doubted. And I even got an opportunity to join the weird kooky high school side, which was called mind, moving a new directions for the wild artists who are like, actually I wanna do a citizen individual led super duper program of my own for high school. So my program was build a a dark room in a janitor's closet and become a photographer and supported to do that by my public school.

Melissa Auf der Maur (21:21):

I am incredibly fortunate. I grew up in an amazing city in an amazing time. My parents both went on to do incredible things. My father, through his journalism, both radio TV started as a college dropout copy boy at the Montreal Gazette wrote a three week, three day a week column until the day he died. So he was a voice, a big voice of Montreal writing about everything. He believed in the people. He was friends with the inmates, the nuns, the drug dealers, the bar owners. He was the man of the people. Everyone could approach him for help. And he through that became the city counselor for downtown Montreal on and off for 15 years. So he ran downtown because he was a man of the people. And I was raised on the campaign trail, going door to door. And I'll never forget asking him cuz the, the election nights that always panic.

Melissa Auf der Maur (22:18):

What if he loses? I'll be so upset. He'll be so upset. He worked so hard. He always seemed so fearless. Didn't matter. He, he would lose some time until he found his, his city hold his downtown city hold. Once he got that, he won year after year. But when I was getting nervous one night and I asked him, why do you do this? <Laugh> he said, because I don't trust those to do it. Someone's gotta get in there. <Laugh> so he was the best <laugh> he just, he was a, in an independent fighter till the end. And he he founded every party he ran in and everyone would say, but Nick, you change parties so much. He said, I don't change parties. They change. I stay the same. And he would found a new citizen's movement, a new independent Democrat movement, a new cuz he never compromised.

Melissa Auf der Maur (23:11):

And then that's how he died. Uncompromised at 54. Tomorrow is the anniversary. And there's a amazing book about, of his journalism that came out after he died. I can get you a copy one day, if you want Martin, cuz it's a timeless story of a man who just fought for what he believes in and a colorful city. This, the book is called A Montreal Life. And then my mother, oh my God. She always kind of falls into the, like the, the shadow because he was so big. But she in her quiet commitment to the Quebec theater has become the leading French Canadian literary translator. And her commitment to the world is to bring French theater, French Canadian theater to the rest of the globe. So that is her forte. And she has been awarded Governor General Award and Order of Canada, which is the equivalent of the, the nighting of in the Queen's room in Canada, in Ottawa, twice, she has committed herself to the French language story in theater.

Melissa Auf der Maur (24:10):

And they've never had a normal boss in their lives. No, but they were both freelancers. They never had a job in a normal way. <Laugh> they were always freelancers. So I'd say that's the biggest influence on me is the freelance. Do it yourself, do it your way. And they never once told me who I was. They just always asked who I was and that was it. I said, I like a camera, cuz I believe in, you know, I'm shy. I don't really like talking, I wanna take pictures, I hid behind a camera. So my mother like bought me at a pawn shop, a little crappy camera. So they just listened and they were very, they really supported my development as my own individual. And here I am in Hudson trying to, you know, I have a very similar relationship to Hudson as my parents did to their cities, but it's a different, different scale and a different story, but that's then my upbringing and then the rock music, I don't even feel like I'm kind of, so right now in my memoir, so deep in the childhood.

Melissa Auf der Maur (25:09):

And so here in the 2020s of the world with my daughter turning 10, that in between part of life, you know, the twenties and thirties, it's a time of decadence and exploration. And I was so lucky to get, you know, one way ticket around the world for over a decade. And I got to see the world through giant American rock bands. And also got to see a very dark side of like, I always knew didn't want anything to do with corporate America and fame. And it was just a, you know, a disaster in many ways in terms of my generations going through this, the darkness of anyone who knows the bands from that time Nirvana and the band that I was in, his, his widow Courtney Love's band Hole. And then later in the Smashing Pumpkins, it was just surrounded by death addiction sadness.

Melissa Auf der Maur (26:05):

Really when I joined the band in the wake of the bass player's death overdose that I replaced and the suicide of the singer's husband, I, I originally said no to joining cuz it was just a landscape of sadness and pain and powerful music and powerful movement of underground music going to the mainstream, but a lot of notable pain. And I said, no. And through that, the band had decided I was the one Courtney Love decided that's the one I want that. She said no. And she called me. I was, I was like, no, I'm in Montreal studying photography. I've got my own band. I am not interested. And she hounded me and got me on the phone. My roommates would say, she's calling, she's calling again. And she convinced me to get on a plane, go to Seattle and tell her to her face.

Melissa Auf der Maur (26:57):

She did not, I didn't wanna be in her band. And when I arrived in Seattle, I was coming down the escalator and I saw Courtney, Patty, the girl drummer, the nanny and their two year old Kurt, Courtney had a daughter when Kurt committed suicide and everyone knew there was this like widowed, single mother Courtney and this little daughter. And I came down the escalators and I saw the four of them standing there. And that was it. I realized it was my destiny and these women needed me and the landscape that was male dominated in rock music at that time needed me. What I didn't mention, my mother was a fearless feminist, a hundred percent. You know, women are equal to men. You will do every, you know, that a very, and she was the big rock music lover. So she raised me with her record collection and the rest is history.

Melissa Auf der Maur (27:46):

I saw those women and I saw the, the need and my opportunity to bring light and change in a way, oh I was 22 when I joined the band and it was epic and it was a lot of sadness though. There was a lot of my generation was plagued by a lot of broken children that miraculously made it in rock music, you know, so we know their stories through the screaming and the rage and the music. It's a very unique part of my generation that I'm still trying to figure out that I'm writing about now. And I am starting to see clearly 25 years later where I think that post Reagan golden years of the nineties, Clinton, everything progress where that rage and pain and red flags were coming from in us. I think we felt something coming and that's been fascinating.

Melissa Auf der Maur (28:45):

And I'm glad I've had that time to think about it, cuz it was palpable the, the pain in, in my generation. And I'm not saying that there isn't pain everywhere, but it really rose to the top in that mainstream moment of music, you know, and why. So I've been thinking about it a lot. So that was my, my PhD in humanity was was those that decade. Then I went off and made some solo records and that was so fun and so easy. And it was just me at the, at the center of it and I was ready to retire. I didn't have a baby and start an art center and there I am. <Laugh>

Martin Ping (29:24):

Wow that this this will require a whole second episode because there's also, you know, there's, there's an echo. I mean, clearly of that sadness and I don't know how it's, how it's able to find its expression now, except that we're seeing tragically way too many people who are choosing to take their life and to mm-hmm <affirmative> or becoming involved in, in substances that are, you know, essentially taking their life. And I'm so grateful for, for the insight that you bring coming out of all of that, that, that you get to share that now. And I can't wait until your memoir comes out. It's gonna

Melissa Auf der Maur (30:05):

Be when I did just do a kind, it sort of, because it started to kind of merge the memoir into my Basilica work right now and realizing I did a I was asked to to propose an op end for Rolling Stone. And I have a draft going right now about the climate catastrophe, but I'm twisting it. I'm, I'm reviewing how the alternative culture of my generation could be helpful right now in understanding both the abstract pain and fear, as well as the grassroots integrity movement that we had that moved people. I mean, before we were co-opted by the Coca-Cola corporations, we were motivated, we found each other, we were broken, lost, and found each other across the globe. It was a profound youth movement. That was strangely abstract. It was about the heart and music  so I actually been writing a you know, an alternative culture save our planet op-ed right now trying to figure, and I, and obviously the answer is yes, cuz we're all gonna have to do it grassroots.

Melissa Auf der Maur (31:13):

There's no way, <laugh> no way the corporations and government are gonna figure this out. So the answer is yes, but it's like that question of the pre digitalization. I'm writing a lot about that. About the, when the arts and, and lifestyle went from analog, you know, shift analog to digital are still pain, pain, and disconnect. And, and as we know the problems with social developments that are happening with those who were not one foot in the analog world, like we are, we have to take a step back. I think, I think it's the humility of understanding what, what a chaotic world we have a, ahead of us <laugh> of us.

Martin Ping (31:55):

We needs to go from hubris to humility. We're in many ways the kind of clever species in, in manipulating the natural world to our yes. You know, alleged will, but it's it's, we've certainly the genie added a bottle and, and, you know, just thinking of technology makes me think of Tony's recent film. Yes. And which I think is having an area screening this weekend

Melissa Auf der Maur (32:22):

Yeah. It's, it's having its area screening that came out last month digital, everywhere. So it's Amazon, apple, everything. He premiered it in Montana where he filmed it, where Ted Kazinski, the unibomber had lived in part of what's incredible about Ted K, Tony's movie, is that he has been fascinated by Ted K's manifesto, but also his writings and his warnings about technology and, and the natural world and humans. But Tony decided to make that film in a very subjective way, which is be in the man's subjective perspective of living in a cabin, a 10 by 12 foot cabin in the woods of Montana, which is where he conducted all of his manifesto writing. And so Tony managed to make that film and in a very immersive way where the, the town of Lincoln Montana, where Ted Kazinski lived for 25 years embraced Tony in the production.

Melissa Auf der Maur (33:19):

And he rebuilt the cabin on the footings of the original cabin and the actor. Who's a method actor, Sharlto Copley from South Africa, incredible actor became Ted Kazinski over the course of a year. And they worked with the locals to really be in the skin and in the body of this man who really loved nature, more than anything on the planet, that was his refuge. But he also, you know, in a mad scientist, as well as mentally ill way, despised the world and the world and where it was going, anyone who's interested in that dark dance between the rage against society and technology and the, the raping and pillaging of the earth and the need to be, you know, a compassionate, loving person who doesn't want to avenge, you know, it's a very complicated story. And he's told in a beautiful way where you don't, you're not told that he is right, or he is wrong.

Melissa Auf der Maur (34:18):

He's clearly wrong. He's a mentally ill person, but you're given an opportunity to actually see through the eyes and the pain. And when Tony started making this movie 10 years ago, no one wanted to touch it. The timeliness of this film, you know, the, just what I was saying at the very beginning 2020 took the blinders off of a lot of people I think, and his madness and sickness and foreshadowing is terrifying. <Laugh> and it's very, it's very chilling to the bone. What it's, the film is entirely made of his writings, his diaries. So you are in the mind and the diaries of this man who basically just wants it to stop industrial technology and industrial society. And just be at one with nature, anyone who's listening should sign up to the Basilica mailing list. We're kicking off our season Earth Day weekend, and we will be continuing all, all season.

Melissa Auf der Maur (35:17):

We're actually focusing on a weekly series. You know, we've always been known for these big, giant destination things where people from far and wide come to this big building and between COVID and this kind of question of what is our local creative community actually like in Hudson right now, not on the weekends, we're gonna launching Jupiter Nights, which is Thursday. The, the, the day ruled by the planet, Jupiter, the planet of expansion. It's going to be a day to expand your mind and learn something. And it's gonna be focusing on avant garde, local creatives conversations, poets, artists, and it's gonna be the the local Thursday nights. So we're excited to launch that on Cinco de Mayo. And we're gonna be encouraging people to come down to the Hudson waterfronts on Thursday evenings and see the sunset. It's kind of a new, exciting step for us, but the, you know, the big destination things are impossible to predict now, you know, you know, we can't plan for thousands of people on a weekend, so we're, we're going local <laugh> and it's great. <Laugh>

Martin Ping (36:19):

I love that Jupiter day and day of expansion is absolutely brilliant. And I'm gonna show up. So your openness is refreshing. I, I hope everyone listening can maintain the same level of openness and curiosity and create the space for what wants to emerge. You know, we're all gonna participate in that in one way or another, and hopefully in a way that allows us to also celebrate it in some

Melissa Auf der Maur (36:43):

Sense. Yeah. I think it starts with a lot of soft softening I think more soften and be flexible mm-hmm <affirmative> and that will help us at least navigate it. Thank you, Hawthorne Valley for being fantastic.

Martin Ping (36:58):

Thank you, Melissa. For being Melissa and fantastic.

Melissa Auf der Maur (37:01):

Yes. Thank you. Will speak soon.

Heather Gibbons (37:05):

If you'd like to learn more about Basilica Hudson and check out their upcoming programming, please visit their website Thanks for listening to Hawthorne Valley's Roots to Renewal podcast. We are an association comprised of a variety of interconnected initiatives that work collectively to meet our mission. You can learn more about our work by visiting our website at Hawthorne Valley is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and we rely on the generosity of people like you to make our work a reality. Please consider making a donation to support us today. If you'd like to help us in other ways, please help spread the word about this podcast by sharing it with your friends and leaving us a rating and review. Special thanks to our sponsor, Tierra Farm, who makes this podcast possible. Thank you to Grammy award-winning artist, Aaron Dessner for providing our soundtrack and Aaron Ping for his editing expertise.