12 March 2011

It Happened Yesterday, Hooray Hooray!

What happened yesterday?… Well, nothing much… except that I attended the special screening of 8 videos for the songs from R.E.M.’s album Collapse Into Now. The event took place in London… oh and did I mention that Michael Stipe was the host of the event, and that he took part in the questions & answers session? big grin

But the story actually begins on Monday, when I received a message from my friend Matthijs:
Matt: “So, are you coming to London on Friday?”
Me: (clueless) “Er, no, why?”
Matt: “There’s a screening in London, and Michael Stipe will be answering our questions, and I just won two tickets for the event! Wanna go?”
Me: “OF COURSE I wanna go!! Squeeee!! Thank you thank you thank you!”

So, Matthijs and I agreed to meet in front of the BAFTA Theatre in London, where the screening was about to take place, at 6pm. A few other people who I’d known, either from various R.E.M. related events, or from online fan communities, had also won tickets, so I was really happy to see them there (hiya Sue, Lucy, Mark and Rob!). Before the actual screening, there was a Collapse Into Now-themed cocktail party, where we mingled with the likes of Bertis Downs (R.E.M.’s manager), Chris Martin (Coldplay) etc; however, we were polite enough not to disturb them, so we simply enjoyed our drinks and discussed our favourite songs from the new album (and took a few photos, which can be seen below).

Then, we were invited to go upstairs to the theatre, and as soon as we realised that the front row seats weren’t reserved, we sat our asses there, right in front of the stage! There was a cosy little table and two armchairs, and soon Michael Stipe arrived with his friend Jefferson Hack, the co-founder of the Dazed Digital who organised the entire event. [By the way, on Thursday our friend Auctioneer participated in the live chat with Michael, also organised by Dazed Digital, so please read his blog post here!)

So, Michael - who had shaved, thanx God! - and Jefferson played all videos that had been completed thus far, and discussed each video after we'd seen it. Later on, they explained that the video for "Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I" was almost ready for the screening, but they could not adjust it for the video projector on time; and James Franco is yet to complete the two videos that he is directing.

Instead of me retelling Michael's words, I have filmed all discussions and embedded them below, so enjoy! The highlight for me was Michael's confession that he was really worried about Mike Mills's reaction to the controversial video for "Walk It Back", so below you'll learn how he eventually persuaded Mike to greenlight the video. laughing

The only segment that I did not film was the final questions-and-answers session with the people from the audience asking questions; so I will retell it briefly. When asked why the band is not touring, Michael flatly said: "Because I didn't want to." And he added that these video screenings are actually his own tour! He announced that he would soon be hosting similar events in Austin TX at the SXSW festival, and in New York City. When asked how he felt about letting the directors interpret the songs themselves, without Michael's personal interference, he explained that it wasn't easy for him because he's a bit of a control freak; however, he said that a majority of the chosen directors are either his friends, or people that he had collaborated with before (or both), so he trusted them, and he was really happy with the final results.

I managed to ask two questions: the first one was whether they plan to release these films on a DVD. Michael said that they hadn't discussed this with their record company yet, but that he definitely intended to release them on a future DVD. I also asked him which song from Collapse Into Now was the most difficult to complete. Surprisingly, he said that "Uberlin" was the most difficult song, that he rewrote the lyrics at least eight times before he was happy with them. He joked that the band wants us to believe that all songs were done effortlessly; but that in reality, of course, it's not always the case.

As you will see, throughout the session Michael was very funny and animated. No sign of the "aloof, quiet Michael" that the journalists like to portray; quite the opposite, he is a very intelligent guy with a wonderful sense of humour.

This is just a brief recount of the events, so feel free to ask questions! And enjoy the photos and videos!

Love y'all, Ivana


Mine Smell Like Honey

It Happened Today

All The Best

Walk It Back

Alligator Aviator Autopilot Antimatter


Oh My Heart

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24 Responses to “It Happened Yesterday, Hooray Hooray!”

  1. Auctioneer Says:

    The whole event sounds superb. Thanks for filming it for us folks who have never seen Stipe in the flesh! tongue

    Interesting info about Uberlin – the lyrics themselves seem rather simple (yet effective), so it’s hard to believe that it took so long to write. I guess perfection takes time… happy

    Yours truly,

  2. Ivana Says:

    Thanks mate! I’m so happy that you had a chance to chat to Stipe, at least in the cyberworld, and I’m sure you’ll meet him in flesh someday!

  3. Remmo Says:

    Wow Ivana!!! this is a great event!!!! during this session was shown the video of Discoverer made ​​by Michael and Linda?

  4. Ivana Says:

    Yes it was shown. It’s just computer graphics – it’s cool, but not extraordinary. I guess it will be released very soon.

  5. Auctioneer Says:

    About that “Discoverer” video – is it like “Man-Sized Wreath” in terms of CGI style, or is this something else entirely?

  6. JamesRichardGolder Says:

    Absolutely fantastic. Great work! I’m guessing “Discoverer” must look a bit like the website michaelstipe.com? Also, was “Blue” not mentioned?

  7. JamesRichardGolder Says:

    Wait, scratch that last question! “Blue” is of course one of Franco’s


  8. Ivana Says:

    @ Auctioneer: No, it’s not like “Man-Sized Wreath”, it’s more abstract. Maybe they’ll release it tomorrow.

    I was really disappointed that they couldn’t show “Marlon Brando”, but apparently the video arrived just a few minutes before the screening, and they couldn’t make it work with the projector that they had. sad

  9. Linda Says:

    Wow!!!I must admit to a bit of envy Ivana, but it was sooooo great that you were able to see Michael in person! Thanks so much for filming and posting these interviews. I will have to wach “Walk It Back” again, to look for the “tippytoes” on the horsewinking

  10. Linda Says:

    Fabulous Auctioneer( I won’t use your given name) winking I would be just as excited to chat with the man!!!!!! First you chat with Michael, then Ivana sees him in person! Well tonight I am going to be at the 40 Watt in Athens to see the Baseball project. I saw Scott on the street yesterday( we both said hi to one another), and I was almost as excited as you are about Michael! Word has it here in Athens that a certain Mr. Mills will be joining the band tonight. Keep your fingers crossed please happy

  11. Jakub Says:

    John Micheal the Stipe, speak up for crying out loud because maybe there are some people who want to hear what you’ve got to say!
    I like it when he laughs because it makes him speak more clearly.

    Ivana, lucky you. You just get the tickets (this time even for free!), grab your coat and go on the spot. The envy rises as appears the awereness that REM doesn’t remember about fans east to Germany :C

  12. Kirsten Says:

    Ivana you lucky dog!!! puppy dog eyes
    Now that’s what I call awesome luck, being invited to meet Michael Stipe out of nowhere! silly party
    You were even able to ask him question directly, OMG…
    I think I would've been perplexed only from seeing Chris Martin standing next to me. Dude!!

    Great coverage with photos, vids and all, what more can we ask for! happy

    Well, Mike had better used his veto to save us from that Walk It Back video…

    BTW, aside from R.E.M. and stuff, I'm still under shock because of the events in Japan, I'm glued to the newschannels all day. I have a very special connection to Japan, so I want to know what's going on there every single minute. Let's just continue to hope that there won't be a nuclear disaster…

  13. Dol Says:

    #Ivana, lucky girl! big grin
    I’m happy for you, it doesn’t happen every day to see Michael so close! Thanks for the photos and videos.

    #Linda, where are you? Tell us something about you know who! Are you ran away with him? winking

    #Kirsten What happened in Japan is terrible. We can only hope and pray for them. I wait for a signal from my japanese friends…

  14. Linda Says:

    Okay kids…LOL…I had the most AMAZING time in Athens Georgia. Pics will follow as soon as I figure our how to send them to Ivana. All I can say is “Dreams do come true!!!” I had the most amazing experience in my life( including seeing the Beatles 3x in Toronto, Canada)!

  15. Ivana Says:

    Linda – hooray!! I’ll post your diary asap!

    Jakub, I perfectly understand your frustration. I grew up in what was then Yugoslavia, even more Eastern than you, and no bands ever came there… especially during the 1990s when the country was falling apart and all. The first time R.E.M. played there was in 2005.
    So, ever since I moved to the UK I’ve been catching up with what I’d missed. happy

  16. M.A. Says:

    awww I liked what he said in Discoverer about his family.

  17. Auctioneer Says:

    The only time R.E.M. play Scotland is when it’s festival time, and I’m not too endeared about going. You know… mud, sweat, heat – just not really that appealing. tongue

  18. Arek Says:

    REM played in Poland once, in 2003!
    Hey Ivana, Yugoslavia it is great and beautiful country and people there are fantastic, nice, smart and I’ve spent my vacation there for the first time in my life last summer (Croatia and Slovenia). Congrat. that you born there.

  19. Mark Says:

    Thanks, so much, for posting these Ivana. I finally got a chance to watch them. I chuckled every time I could hear you chuckle winking

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