WORKAHOLIC // DREW DENNY
What do you do?
I’m currently mixing my first feature film “The Most Fun I’ve Ever Had With My Pants On” which I wrote, directed, acted in, made music for and produced. The film is an adaptation of a performance artwork piece I presented on Father’s Day last year in memory of my dad. Created in collaboration with my first band Big Whup and filmmaker Steve Drypolcher, it combined projection, a pre-recorded score, live musical performance, scripted narrative, and audience participation. It started with a drinking contest and ended with a sing-a-long of “Swing Low” led by a video of my dead dad singing! The film, which I made with Steve and a collective of friends I met back in film school, incorporates many of those elements but within the structure of a female buddy film/road movie. It’s about two childhood girlfriends – Andy (my character) and Liv (Sarah Hagan)- who reunite to scatter Andy’s dad’s ashes from LA to Austin where Liv will audition for the role of a vixen spy. Between performing mini-funerals in surreal Southwestern landscapes, the girls practice being bad!
I also write songs, sing, and play keyboards in a band called Bon Bon. We’re touring up to Seattle to celebrate the premier of the film on June 6th. We’ll be playing San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Olympia, Oakland, and Santa Barbara from June 3-13.
I’m the Arts Editor for LA Record and write about art and music for a few other publications from time to time. I create multi-media performance artworks and recently spent an evening underwater breathing from a scuba tank, which was quite pleasant though apparently some audience members thought I was either dead or a dummy. Dream response! In order to pay rent I deal craps in private casinos.
How did you get to where you are now?
Evangelical summer camp, schoolgirl uniforms, best friends, arrests, scholarships, and a few incredibly inspiring teachers at USC film school & Cal Arts grad school. Also: Hannah Arendt, Lucrecia Martel, Werner Herzog, Marina Abramovic, Laurie Anderson, Kate Bush, and horses.
How much of the week is work, how much is play?
I’d say 99.9% work and .1% super awesome pleasure, but my work often involves play and my pleasure often involves pain so in order to answer your question we might need to choose new terms.
How do you find your inspiration and do you find it easy to stay organized?
I learn by doing! I like to perform experiments in public and make big mistakes. I’m inspired by those who shoot from the hip and wear their hearts on their sleeves.
Staying organized is easy with today’s technologies! I keep nine separate gmail calendars and maintain an archive of my work online (special thanks to Hazel Hill McCarthy III). I communicate constantly with collaborators via email, text messages, phone calls and meetings. Anything is possible as long as you maintain an open dialog and an accurate itinerary!
How important is your work, and do you feel it defines you?
My work is the most important thing in my life besides my loved ones. I collaborate with friends whenever possible – That way we get to hang out!
I don’t believe that my work defines me… Yet. I understand myself through my politics, my emotional state, my aesthetic and intellectual pursuits, my desires, and the stories I can’t help but tell – these elements of my identity are certainly present in my work. As I learn to critique, celebrate and describe more effectively, I’ll approach a state in which my work defines me.
What has been the most exciting thing you have done with your work, and what is a dream situation you’d like to find yourself in?
I’m very excited to be premiering my film at the Seattle International Film Festival on June 6! Touring up the west coast with my band to watch my first movie on the big screen is certainly a dream adventure for me.
I’m also excited to be shooting another film with a group of children on a squatters’ settlement in Bolivia then participating in the School of Making Thinking in New York this summer. I’d have to say, however, that the most exciting thing I ever did in my work was to realize a performance just as I had imagined it - This has only happened twice.
And as for dreams - I constantly find myself in dream situations. I’m learning how to make the work I want to make by trying everything I want to try. I guess the dream situation would be to support myself by making my work rather than having to maintain a secret identity in the underground gambling industry.
How do you define your personal style, work and clothing, etc.
Easy breezy Southwestern casual. Most of my clothes are falling apart and I like to wear the same outfit several days in a row. My favorite dress right now is one that my roommate found on the sidewalk. My work style is something like a linebacker at an all you can eat buffet.
Do you listen to music during your work day?
Yes! I’m mixing my film this month, and it’s been a real treat to listen to our soundtrack on a big stage. I am very fortunate that amazing artists like Julia Holter, Emily Lacy, Nite Jewel, So Many Wizards, and Actually Huizenga contributed songs to the film.
What’s something someone may not know about you?
I’m covered in tattoos.
Anything else you would like to say or for us to know?
Check out my friends!
Lastly, Basic Info:
- Jenelle Campbell