Massimiliano Adelmo Giorgini

Mass Giorgini: Producer/Engineer (Anti-Flag, Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, etc), CoProductions include Billie Joe Armstrong (of Green Day), Kris Roe (of the Ataris), John Strohm (of the Lemonheads), Paul Mahern (producer of John Mellencamp, Iggy Pop), and Anjali Dutt (producer of Oasis, My Bloody Valentine). Sonic Iguana Studios founder. Screeching Weasel bass. Squirtgun bass/b. vocals, Common Rider bass/sax. Occasional contributor to Punk, Rock Sound, and Punk Planet magazines.

Monday, May 31, 2004

>The Tornado

Yesterday evening, on a dinner break from mixing the new Methadones album, I went to a small dinner party at the home of Kate Agena, a friend of mine who is working on a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition at Purdue University. Within a matter of a few minutes, the severe storm that had been raging outside most of the afternoon took a turn for the worse when storm sirens became audible over the music on the stereo. Her apartment is in a former armory building that has been converted for residential occupancy, and still features many of the large windows of the original structure. This gave all of us an excellent view of the tempest brewing outside, which very much resembled news footage of hurricanes in tropical places. The wind was violent, and the branches of nearby trees were whipping back and forth so fast that their leaves were flying away like bats from a cave. We turned on the television, and the local station was reporting that funnel clouds had been seen in Tippecanoe County, and that a Tornado Warning had been issued. During the broadcast, they announced that there had been some as-yet-unconfirmed reports that a tornado had already touched down in the Lafayette vicinity. Widespread power outages were being reported statewide. We cracked open the windows, so as to prevent breakage under the pressure of tornadic winds, which can reach speeds of up to 300 miles per hour. Then, we took advantage of the fact that the building was a former armory, and finished dinner in the exercise room, which is located in what once served as the bomb shelter of the former armory. When the radio reported that the tornados had traveled eastward, and had reached Peru, Indiana, we returned to Kate's apartment to watch the television reports on the aftermath of the storm. Several Lafayette-homes were severely damaged, and at least one was completely gone from its original location. Electrical power to much of the city was interrupted, including Sonic Iguana Studios, as it turned out. When I eventually returned home, both Desmond and Daysi greeted me in a manner even more manic than their usual canine greetings, having been obviously frightened by the severe storm.
Of course, it could have been much worse... When Jessie Snaza called on her cell phone from Key West, Florida, she let me know that both she and Maricela Alvarado had overestimated the time they could safely sunbathe, and had gotten a bit sunburnt.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Lecturer Position at Purdue University

Yesterday I went in to sign a contract offer for a position at Purdue University. I will be beginning my duties as a Lecturer of Italian Studies in the Department of Foreign Languages & Literature in the Fall 2004 semester. I will be teaching one class, Italian Level I (ITAL 101).

This position is the result of a chance encounter. A few weeks ago, I ran into Professor Benjamin Lawton at a movie theater. I took a pair of Italian Cinema classes from Prof. Lawton during my college studies, and was very inspired by his knowledge and teaching abilities. He has remained one of my personal heroes ever since.

Prof. Lawton's 1975 book Literary and Sociopolitical Trends in Italian Cinema was the first textbook on Italian Cinema published in the United States. He is regarded as one of the world's foremost authorities on filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini. In fact, in 1988, Lawton's English translation of Pasolini's Heretical Empiricism won the Choice award for Outstanding Academic Book.

But Prof. Lawton defies simple descriptions. In addition to being an authority on Pier Paolo Pasolini (a very left-leaning artist, even by Italian standards), Prof. Lawton also attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in United States Army, earning numerous medals and commendations, including the Bronze Star Medal and the Special Forces tab.

Certainly, someone as free-thinking and liberal as Professor Lawton is the last person that comes to mind when imagining a person of his military experience. However, he is exactly the kind of person that I, for one, would hope would be in such a position of responsibility -- someone knowledgeable and open-minded who values human rights.

A few days after our chance meeting, Professor Lawton proposed the possibility of my taking on the position of Lecturer. How could I possibly pass it up?

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Surprise Birthday Party

Last night, Jessie Snaza threw me a surprise birthday party with help from Kim Milfort (my right hand at Sonic Iguana these last few months). I was greeted at the door by a houseful of friends (including my dog, Daysi) wearing party hats and tooting on party favors (is it just a coincidence that party hats look so much like dunce caps?). Dan Schafer was in the studio working on some Methadones tunes, so I even had a Chicago friend in attendance.
There was a great mix of people I know from around town, and the dinner table was a sounding board for many simultaneous conversations in English, Italian, and Spanish (in addition to the resident Americans (including our “star” Haitian-American recording engineer!), we had friends there from Colombia, Italy, Peru, Venezuela, Mexico, and El Salvador). Over the course of the evening, I showed some photos of my recent trip to Italy, we watched music videos, listened to CDs, talked about film, literature (mainly about Gabriel García Márquez, although we also read the poem “Vatos” by Luis Alberto Urrea), and politics, and had the additional privilege of hearing an impromptu recital of a poem entitled "Capricho" by Alfonsina Storni (1892-1938, an Argentinean poet, born in Switzerland of Italian parents) performed by our friend Alma Armenta Medina.

Later, I got the pleasure of having my first-ever birthday piñata! In what was undoubtedly an original technique with the traditional Mexican candy-stuffed birthday doll, Andrés Garcia swung the piñata at me, as I held a fireplace poker in my hands. We figured that the resulting gored clown effigy would be safer than swinging a sharp poker around in a room full of people and excited dogs. Naturally, with her canine instincts, Daysi thought that the clown piñata was trying to attack me, and felt the need to defend me by barking and growling at it!
Besides great food -- including pizza, lasagna, Jessie’s classic eggplant pasta, and cakes -- I also got some great gifts, including books, DVDs, and CDs. Kim went twice the proverbial "extra mile" and gave me a painting that she herself made of Desmond and Daysi. The surprise party itself was also a great present, and made for one of the best birthdays I can remember!

Thursday, May 06, 2004

On the Set of Loren Cass
My scene in the independent film Loren Cass has been shot. I played a scruffy customer buying lottery tickets with spare change from a convenience store clerk played by legendary punk producer and singer (of the Dwarves) Blag Dahlia.

Although I only acted in one short scene, the experience was exhausting. In much the same way as recording studio life, the schedules on the film set fell behind.. by seven hours! So, after reporting to my pick-up location at 6pm, I ended up standing around the set until 3am, when the cinematographer and director began "blocking" the scene. By then, I am sure that my scruffy look was enhanced by the extra hours of not shaving, in addition to general exhaustion!

The extra time on the set did give me a great opportunity to get to chat with Blag Dahlia, comparing production experiences and thechniques. I also got the opportunity to meet and chat with the leading female actor of the film, Kayla Tabish, whose credits include a role in the recent film The Girl Next Door.

Another recognizable actor in the film is Jacob Reynolds, who played the lead in the 1997 film Gummo, directed by Harmony Korine. Gummo was Korine's directorial debut, and his first screenplay following the success of Kids (1995), for which he co-wrote the screenplay at the age of 20.

Jacob is concurrently acting in a role in the film West Memphis Three, co-starring Michael Pitt. Supporting actors in that film include Gina Gershon, Sophie B. Hawkins, and Michael Madsen.

Loren Cass will still be in the shooting stage for at least a week, and then they plan to begin editing as soon as possible. There is no definite timeframe for its release, although they plan to complete the film in time to submit it for the next Sundance Film Festival.

While I was in St. Petersburg, Florida for the shoot, I also had the opportunity to visit the Salvador Dali Museum, which boasts the largest collection of Dali's works in the United States. The tour guide was very knowledgeable about Dali's works, and I learned quite a bit about the man and the artist during my visit.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Latino Cultural Center/Latino Student Union Recognition!

On Friday, April 30, I attended a year-end (school year) celebration dinner for the Latino Cultural Center and Latino Student Union of Purdue University. I am a regular attendee of their events, and expected a casual get-together, so they surprised me very much by presenting me with a letter of recognition and thanks for my help to the center over the last year.

Ever since the opening of the center, I have been excited about their programs and events. I attend their weekly Spanish conversation meeting, and support their weekly showing of Latin films. Both these program are free of charge. They also had a great Dìa de los Muertos event, with Mexican food and sugar skull painting classes for the children of the community. Their anniversary event, open to the public, provided a cook-out and "birthday" cake, as well as a celebratory piñata for the kids. The center provides a means for both the local community to discover more about Latino culture, and to provide assistance and a home base for the Latinos of the community. Because of these types of great services and events, I decided to do all I could to support the center.

Last December, Squirtgun headlined a benefit concert for the Latino Cultural Center, that I helped organize and run. Before that, I donated the use of the Squirtgun P.A. system for use at a benefit dance at the newly-opened center. Also, the Sonic Iguana Studios/Squirtgun van has often been volunteered for use by the Latino Cultural Center during their special events.

Latino Cultural Center director Maricela Alvarado gave me a beautiful hardbound edition of the newest translation of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, while Latino Student Union president J.D. Laboy read the letter of recognition aloud to me and the rest of the attendants of the event. I am still beaming with pride at their gesture, and am also excited to get started reading the new Don Quixote translation by Edith Grossman!