ASHLAND — Ashland’s defunct Stillwater bar became a 1920s nightclub on a recent weekend, inhabited by a cigarette girl, mobsters and the Los Angeles band The Janks.
As the band played “Hands of Time,” local actress Danielle Kelly was whisked on stage to tango, only to be removed from the club minutes later by the mobsters. Meanwhile, hair and makeup artists who work at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival touched up about 25 actors and dancers backstage, and a camera crew darted through the crowd, with a hand-cranked 35-millimeter video camera.
The music video shoot was the work of a newly formed creative team made up of band manager Rich Rees, director Gary Lundgren and producer Gary Kout. The team, which calls itself Ashland Collaborative, plans to make more music videos in town, including several more for The Janks early next year.
“This is one of our primary goals — to encourage shoots to happen here that might otherwise happen somewhere else,” said Kout, who is also the executive director of Southern Oregon Film and Television.
Nearly all of the 25 crew members and 25 actors and dancers inside Stillwater that day were local to Southern Oregon, said Lundgren, who directed “Calvin Marshall,” a 2009 comedy shot largely in Ashland and Medford.
“We’ve identified some of the most talented people in the area and we love being able to work with them,” he said.
With the ubiquity of the Internet, music videos have become more important for bands, Lundgren said.
“They can be a valuable promotional tool and they can affect record sales,” he said. “We want to work with local bands that need music videos.”
The group joined forces in October, after meeting at a July 4 party in Ashland, shortly after Rees had moved to town from the Los Angeles area.
“We realized there was a lot of collaboration potential,” Kout said.
The music videos will be released in April with the band’s first full-length album, which has been recorded but not titled, Rees said.
One of the hair and makeup artists hired for The Janks shoot, Virginia Carol Hudson, who also makes wigs for OSF, said she was thrilled to see more video projects being shot locally.
“There is a tremendous, valuable glut of talent in this area and we’ve been waiting for someone like these people to tap it,” she said.