Beyond Baroque: Night Flight contributor Pat Thomas talks with L.A. director Allison Anders

By and on July 16, 2019

On Thursday, July 25, 2019, from 8pm to 10pm, Night Flight contributor Pat Thomas will be hosting a conversation with celebrated L.A.-based film director Allison Anders and her talented daughter, music supervisor/singer-songwriter Tiffany Anders, at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, located at 681 Venice Boulevard, Venice, CA, 90291.

We hope Night Flight fans on the Left Coast will be able to make it to out to Beyond Baroque later this month for an evening of film/TV discussion and L.A. history — check down below for information about tickets.

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Allison and Tiffany (photo found here)

You may have read our previous interview with Allison about trailblazing women directors (if you haven’t, go here).

The award-winning director went to UCLA film school in 1984, and got her first break working for her film mentor, Wim Wenders, on Paris, Texas that same year.

Allison’s first film was the indie film Border Radio (1987), which she co-wrote & co-directed with Kurt Voss. Anders & Voss also directed Sugar Town (1999).

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Allison Anders

A few of Anders’ other credits include Gas, Food Lodging (1992), Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life) (1993), Grace of My Heart (1996) and she was one of four co-writers/co-directors on the anthology comedy film Four Rooms (1995).

Some of her other films include Things Behind the Sun (2001) and Strutter (2013), and her résumé also includes several made-for-TV movies and episodes of dozens of episodic network and cable TV dramas and comedies.

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Tiffany Anders

Anders and her daughter Tiffany Anders together co-founded L.A.’s “Don’t Knock the Rock Film and Music Festival” and Tiffany has kept busy as a music supervisor, working on TV shows like “You’re the Worst” (FX, 2014-2019), “Sorry For Your Loss” (Facebook Watch, 2018), “Everything Sucks!” (Netflix, 2018), and tons of indie movies.

Tiffany also has acting and musical soundtrack credits on several of her mom’s films.

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Pat Thomas

We asked Pat Thomas to tell us a little in advance of his conversation what kinds of topics he might be discussing with these two iconic women.

Night Flight: Hey Pat, do you have a name for this series you’ve been doing at Beyond Baroque? Can you tell us a little about your previous chats (Pat had a conversation with Robin Lane in May 2019)?

Pat Thomas: “Over the past several years — at various venues in Los Angeles, but primarily at Beyond Baroque — I’ve been doing something I playfully refer to as the “Indie-Rock Dick Cavett Show,” where I interview (although ideally it becomes a conversation) with various musicians, authors, and whatnot. I’ve done it with Ronee Blakley, David Amram, Ronnie Schneider, Amber Tamblyn and others.”

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NF: We already know you have a strong music background, as the founder of Heyday Records, and producing reissues for many years for companies like Light in the Attic, Omnivore, Water and other record labels, not to mention your own bands, like Mushroom, and Allison and Tiffany also both have strong music backgrounds, so this seems like a really solid pairing of three music-obsessed fans sitting down for a chat? Which, in particular, of Allison’s music-themed movies have resonated with you the most, and why?

PT: “I absolutely adore Grace of My Heart from 1996. It’s roughly the Carole King story in many ways — a female singer/songwriter growing up in in the 1960s on the East Coast, writing songs in the Brill Building — but when she moves to Los Angeles (Malibu, actually) in the late 1960s (and suffers a nervous breakdown), then it kinda switches a bit to the Brian Wilson story. For music nerds like myself, it’s really fun.”

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John Turturro, Illeana Douglas and some of the cast of Allison Anders’ Grace of My Heart (courtesy of Universal Pictures)

NF: Allison’s last feature film was 2012’s Strutter, which was billed as billed as the completion of an informal trilogy about Southern California musicians, following 1987’s Border Radio and 1999’s Sugar Town, and we probably agree that we’d like to see more music-related featured directed by Allison in the future. Let’s say you were a movie exec, and you were in the position to pick Allison’s next musical subject/topic for her, something that seems like the perfect film (or TV?) project for Allison, what would that be? What great music movies ideas have yet to be tapped?

PT: “Well, I’d love to see a biopic of Sandy Denny, there’s plenty of drama there, in her story, plus you could fold in the early days of Fairport Convention and all of their woes too (there’s a fatal car crash). Now, this would mean Allison has to relocate to the UK for six months, but I doubt she’d mind. I actually bonded with Tiffany on Instagram because her name is ‘Jumble Queen,’ which is the name of a Bridget St. John album, another 1960s era English folk rock goddess.”

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NF: Allison and Tiffany founded L.A.’s “Don’t Knock The Rock Film And Music Festival,” which over the years has been presenting all kinds of great music-themed documentaries, like MC5: A True Testimonial, The Wrecking Crew, You’re Gonna Miss Me: A Film Concerning Roky Erikson…, The T.A.M.I. Show, Ladies And Gentlemen The Fabulous Stains (a Night Flight fave!). Were you able to catch any screenings and, if so, do you have any particular DKTR favorites?

PT: “Well, I missed most of those because I didn’t move to L.A. until after the series was winding down, but I did see (which I think they sponsored), a documentary on Boyce and Hart (who wrote songs for the Monkees) and a doc on rock critics.”

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Matt Dillon and some of the cast of Allison Anders’ Grace of My Heart (courtesy of Universal Pictures)

NF: We loved a lot of the music Tiffany picked for the FX cable show “You’re the Worst,” and we were sorry to see it come to an end earlier this year? Did you see any episodes of that show? Are there any particular projects kicking around that you think Tiffany’s talents would be particularly suited for? Perhaps a screenplay you’ve got sitting in a desk drawer in your office?

PT: “Tiffany was born to be a music supervisor, as a preteen she was already around cool music and film making via her mom, then she became a musician herself — living in both Seattle and New York City in the 1990s — the last decade that anyone could afford to travel around and live ‘where-ever’ as a musician, plus she’s got a wealth of knowledge of 1970s singer/songwriters as well as all the most interesting indie-artists of the 1980s and 90s, several of whom, she knows personally.”

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Tiffany (photo courtesy of Dublab)

NF: Any parting comments for Night Flight’s loyal blog readers? Any hints about future Beyond Baroque conversations currently in the works that you can share with us?

PT: “Well, it may not take place there, but I am working on doing my “Indie-Rock Dick Cavett Show” thing later this year with singer/songwriter Amy Rigby of Diary of a Mod Housewife fame!”

Thanks, Pat!

Beyond Baroque is one of the United States’ leading independent Literary/Arts Centers and public spaces dedicated to literary and cultural production, contact, interaction, and community building. Founded in 1968, it is based in the Old Town Hall in Venice, California, near the Pacific Ocean.

Tickets to a conversation with Pat Thomas, Allison Anders and Tiffany Anders are just $10, available in advance from Eventbrite, or at the door on the night of the event, Thursday, July 25th, 8pm.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.