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June 2024
Vol. 23, No. 9

Featured Stories

Page Against the Machine

by Blythe Garrie Effron August 2023

Gregory Page

Gregory Page’s feature film debuts at the new Digital Gym Cinema on August 26 at 3pm. This world premiere screening is 60 years in the making. In his own words, “Page Against the Machine is a collection of short films and music videos from the magical mind of a musician who has nothing better to do than to make a movie about himself.” With special guest appearances from Jason Mraz, Jack Tempchin, Billy Galewood, and Gregory’s uncle Dave Page, Page Against the Machine promises to have the audience listening and eating popcorn. Following the film, there will be a Q&A session with the filmmaker.

The worldwide pandemic that shut most everything down ironically opened a new door for San Diego’s international performing songwriter. The Covid era awakened Page’s desire to connect with an audience through film and television. Known in the press as a serious artist, he also has a sense of humor that heightened when the world needed it most. Page dove deeply into the laboratory of his imagination and emerged with the idea to offer an antidote to Coronavirus long before there existed a vaccine by way of a video series he titled Almost Live. This was a weekly virtual variety show with live music performances, vignettes, cameo guest appearances, whimsical characters, and plenty of comedy, all providing a pleasant distraction and escape from the isolation forced upon us. In his words, it was an attempt to “connect the dots” in a world that had lost human connection.

Page’s website, https://www.gregorypage.com/, has always been a hub for visitors to discover not only his music videos but also short films and documentaries. He once shared his family history, which he crafted into a beautiful documentary about the life of his grandfather and musical muse. Dave Page, Sr. was a Dublin born notable Uilleann master piper who recorded some of the earliest examples of Irish music on the Parlophone label in the 1930s.The San Diego History Center has interviewed Gregory to digitally archive his family’s four-generation musical history and substantial contribution to the local and international music scene.

Page has always considered himself a keen observer of the human condition. In his music, he has alluded to his eyesight and having worn prescription glasses since childhood: “My thick glasses got me teased.” His artistic vision, however, has off-the -chart acuity. A lyric excerpt from his song “Heart in my Hand” illustrates his sharp cinematic sensibility:

Watching the world go by
In tiny details
No one sees me
I am like a spy
Recording feelings

From an episode of Almost Live, Page’s virtual variety vaudeville series.

Just as his musical toolkit contains many guitars that he has lovingly named through the years, there are also gramophones, an Appalachian dulcimer, a six-string banjo, and an Omnichord; his films are a melting pot of colliding elements that work harmoniously. Page’s synergy in cinematography is an international recipe incorporating ingredients from live performance to graphics, animation an,d most recently, the use of Artificial Intelligence. “The World’s Gone Mad” is the lead song from his new release, Modern Man, written and recorded on Suzuki Omnichord and coproduced by Jason Mraz. “The World’s Gone Mad” is song and video on a mission, taking listeners on a journey that explores the entropy created by our insatiable need for speed. The stunning visuals were achieved entirely through the use of AI. In contrast to the pace of this interstellar autobahn, “Fall into You” channels a peaceful, personal inward journey. “My mind has a mind of its own. My inner quest to train my unconquerable mind to be more of a friend and less of an enemy is where the practice of meditation comes into my daily life. I didn’t walk into an enchanted forest like Siddhartha to find the words and write the melody. Truth be told, the song was born inside a tiny home next door to a century-old bakery in a Dutch village!”

This songwriter inhabits and depicts a dreamworld where canoes and bicycles fly, where cacti the size of sequoias become a musical meditation garden, and where he and his alter ego face off in a humorous but ironic soul-revealing repartee. Gregory Page is a collector who wears many hats, both literally and figuratively. He can be anyone from an “Astro-not,” wearing a space helmet on stage to a hilarious weatherman, a chess champion, a guru, an ornithologist, a crooner from a bygone era, or even a modern man! His cinematography displays imagery that runs the gamut from impressionistic, psychedelic, idyllic, romantic, classic, and enigmatic to realistic. As a songsmith and filmmaker Gregory offers us alternate views through, telescopes, microscopes, and kaleidoscopes.

A lyric from “My Revelation” from his first release, The Romantic Adventures of Harry, offers a trailer foreshadowing what the viewing audience might expect from the new film:

All I need is ground control

To guide me through
This late-night show

For I believe that life
is like a movie in rewind

Cameras all around me

Flashes in the air

I turn off my old friend
And then I fall back in my chair

Page and his camera have gone everywhere together, “recording feelings” from Lou Curtiss’s Folk Arts Rare Records on Adams Avenue to Alaska, Australia, Armenia, Asia, and Amsterdam. On August 26, San Diego has an opportunity to see Gregory Page’s Page Against the Machine, the culmination of his life-long fascination with film. There is a song on Modern Man titled “Dinner and a Movie” which has become quite the spontaneous singalong at live shows. This song evokes the fun and pure joy of those simple pleasures that are the finer things. So, have dinner and head to the movies—specifically “Page Against the Machine”!

Digital Gym Cinema is the brand-new state-of-the-art theater with a 58-seat capacity housed in UCSD’s Park & Market. With on-site parking, this destination is an excellent, convenient, and comfortable addition to San Diego culture.

Tickets are $20. $5 parking.

Ticket Link:
https://digitalgym.org/purchase/333464/

More Information:
https://digitalgym.org/movies/page-against-the-machine/

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