Tuesday, January 02, 2007

secret agent gal

Well, Happy New Year! This is the first blog post of 2007. I took a week off from teaching to recharge batteries, visit friends, finish projects, hang out with my cat.......I had a wonderful time at the New Year's Eve morning training at Aikido of Santa Cruz. After class, Linda sensei, Peter Ralls, other Santa Cruz students and teachers just hung out and talked about aikido for a couple of hours. This was continued over lunch with Linda sensei, Peter, and myself. What a wonderful way to end 2006. Yesterday we had a special New Year's Day training in San Jose with about a dozen people. After that I went to San Francisco to spend the rest of the day with family. Today(Tuesday Jan 2nd) I had lunch with Bob Frager. Hopefully we can schedule a class for him to come visit our dojo again very soon.

One of the projects I finished was this video I'm presenting. It is my first attempt to do a video outside of aikido. Some of the moves and throws in the fight sequences might have a relationship to aikido, but that was not my intent to connect it to aikido at all. I created a video edited from non-Avengers sequences of Diana Rigg(das diadem, mini-killers) and had to find a way to produce a soundtrack for it.

In the 1960's there was a tv show called "Secret Agent" starring Patrick McGoohan. It had a real cool theme song sung by Johnny Rivers that rose all the way to number 2 on the charts. I loved that song and thought that it would be perfect for the character of Emma Peel in The Avengers. Except, of course that it was Secret Agent "Man". So there were obstacles.

Apparently after Diana Rigg left The Avengers, she was approached by people figuring that there was the potential for a home movie market. So they produced vignettes of her sans any real plot or even dialogue where she plays an Emma Peelesque woman involved in various intrigues. Other than the fact that they represent footage of her being Emma Peel-like after the Avengers, there is not much to them. The fight scenes in "das diadem" in particular are grittier and more violent than generally presented in The Avengers. So I edited what I considered the highlights into an almost 4 minutes long video. Now I needed a sountrack. A couple of years ago during a Santa Cruz Summer Retreat, Linda Holiday sensei scheduled a karaoke night. One of the songs available was "Secret Agent Man" which I did karaoke-style. I got generally good reviews so I decided to try the soundtrack myself. I tried to get ahold of a good karaoke track of the song to record, but could not get a good version of the original Johnny Rivers version. Finally, I found a 1999 version of the song(post Austin Powers) that he did at a live concert. He had added a few extra guitar tracks and certainly evolved his delivery. So I recorded from this new recording with a digital recorder and sang over his lyrics. Hopefully I was able to transform things from "Secret Agent Man" to "Secret Agent Gal".

The process of trying a vocal was a challenging and very frustrating process. It gives me a great admiration for people like Johnny Rivers who can vocalize, phrase, hit the notes right, convey the spirit of a song......I want to personally thank Frank Silvey, who was definitely a co-conspirator in this projects. He watched countless preliminary cuts and helped me with the recording during one session. I am dedicating this video to a very special friend who has the same initials as Diana Rigg.


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