Arts Music

Ivy and the Wicker Suitcase

I am an official backer of this project, mostly because Glass Eye was one of my favorite bands when I lived in Austin

I am an official backer of this project, mostly because Glass Eye was one of my favorite bands when I lived in Austin1. Seems like they often came to the Magnolia Cafe too, which happened to be the place that, indirectly, paid my tuition, but that might have been more because the drummer was dating a fellow employee there. Memories fade over time, what I do remember is seeing Glass Eye perform live multiple times, over a multi-year span, and always enjoying it.

Anyway, not the point.

Here’s what Brian Beattle says about his project:

I’ve written a musical called “Ivy and the Wicker Suitcase”. It’s an epic surreal musical audio drama, a low tech extravaganza whose story is told complete with tunes, dialogue, sound effects and incidental music, packaged inside a beautiful 31 page fully illustrated book, not unlike the old Disney gatefold Buena Vista records. My wife, Valerie Fowler, drew the book, and I’m making the record.

The story is based in Austin, Tx., in 1938. The first day of summer vacation. Hidden away down in her favorite creek, 10 year old Ivy Wire sits with her battered guitar singing to the birds and the trees. Suddenly the sky darkens and she follows a mockingbird into a nearby cave. She hears a monstrous roar and sees a tumbling wall of muddy water rushing towards her. “FLASH FLOOD!!”. She barely escapes by scampering into a hole, but she immediately starts plunging into darkness. Thus begins her descent into the Underworld.

About 2 years ago, when the bottom really dropped out and the economy tanked, I got the spark of the idea. I started, much to the chagrin of my family, to watch depression era musicals every single night. By late summer 2009, my “spark” was named “Ivy and the Wicker Suitcase”. I’ve been working on it on and off since then, and I’ve been lucky enough to enlist my “Dream Cast”.

Daniel Johnston plays “the Big Boss”, the Lord of the Underworld.

Bill Callahan Plays “Everything”, a supreme deity.

Will Sheff is “Mister Kirby”, the Chief Admissions Officer of the Eternal Incarceration System.

K. McCarty plays “Celia Wire”, Ivy’s momma.

James Hand plays “Cosmo Wire”, Ivy’s daddy.

Brian Beattie plays the “Omniscient Serenader”, and also “Org”, an employee of the Eternal Incarceration System.

Grace London plays “Ivy Wire”, the hero. She’s 11. I met her at the Zilker Elementary talent show, where she turned a bunch of dozing parents into a standing ovation.

The record also features performances by Amy Annelle, Matt the Electrician, and my daughter, Ramona Beattie.

As of right now, 14 and a half of the 16 songs are recorded. The artwork is almost completely finished as well. If we meet our kickstarter goal, you will have financed the finishing of the project, which includes the composition and recording of the incidental music, finishing the dialogue/ foley work (the elements which make this an “ear movie”),  paying musicians, the finalization and scanning of the drawings, and the mixing and mastering of the record. Mostly, it will involve a good 3 months of straight work for me, and I need to finish or I will tear out my remaining hair. All of the composition and most of the playing is done by me all by my lonesome, so it’s mostly just a matter of me slugging away at it for a little longer here in my home studio.

If we exceed our goals, the money could go towards making videos based on Valerie’s drawings, and supporting the book and record store tours Valerie and I will be going on to support the record. We are soon going to look for a wonderful, savvy label to release the actual product, but if it seems appropriate, and if our kickstarter is very successful, we could release it ourselves.

Thanks for your curiosity. Please tell someone about “Ivy and the Wicker Suitcase”.

Project location: Austin, TX

If you’ve got a buck or two extra, throw it his way. What were you going to do with anyway? Piss it away on beer? Oh, that’s just me…

  1. from 1981-1994, for the record []

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