Talking With Fat Tony About White Lies, Black Sheep

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This Friday, a screening of director James Spooner's new movie, White Lies Black Sheep, will be held at Houston blog Indiehouston.com's headquarters at 1816 Calumet. The film tells the story of AJ, a young black man cemented in New York rock and roll scene who, through a series of events, is forced to recognize that the scene he loves so dearly doesn't love him the way it loves his fellow rockers - specifically the white ones.

Wednesday afternoon, Rocks Off talked with event co-organizer and ubiquitous local indie-rapper Fat Tony about the screenings.

Rocks Off: What made you decide to plan this event?

Fat Tony: I planned this event to bring an interesting indie film to Houston that many here would have never heard of if it wasn't for this screening, and to create an avenue for myself and artists I've befriended that I think are spectacular and relate to the film's themes of being the non-white entity in a mostly white-dominated lifestyle.

[It's] not intended to create racial tensions or disturbances, but instead intended to create a platform for open discussion and understanding of a subject some find uncomfortable.

RO: How did you hear about the movie?

FT: I've been following James Spooner's work through press and online communities since first hearing of Afro Punk around 2003. This is only his second released film, so it was not too difficult to keep up with its development. Then, to learn a friend of mine from D.C., Ryan Grimes, was working on the film's score with his band Cutlery kept me even more interested in seeing what the film was all about.

RO: Have you seen it yet?

FT: Yes, [screening co-curator] Chanelle Frazier and I were able to see the film with Ryan Grimes before we set up the event. It definitely pushed us to make the event a reality.

RO: What do you hope people will take away from this movie?

FT: I'm hoping people will enjoy that the event was set-up by a couple of individuals purely fueled by fun. It's simply a D.I.Y. house show with a purpose and great bands, not chaos or pretension posing. It's only $5 suggested donation even with some out of state acts performing; this is the Cocker Spaniels', from Austin, first stop on their summer tour.

I want minorities, particularly blacks, in Houston's indie scene to see that there are many more of us nationwide than they may think. I'm hoping non-minority individuals in the scene will gain an understanding of the feelings and experiences they may have never thought twice about before seeing the film and the bands playing the show.

RO: How did you come to know James? Or are you just in charge of the music performance?

FT: I know James through correspondence for the film rental and event coordination only. I selected the artists performing specifically for their relation to the film's themes. B L A C K I E, Love Field, the Cocker Spaniels and myself all have seen persons experience what the film's protagonist has, and we've all lived through being the only black guy at the indie-rock show.

For us, there are no hang-ups about our race or where we belong in our scenes. So in a way, our performances are to display a counter to the turmoil the protagonist faces in the film. It's important to me to bring both sides of blackness.

The screening begins at 6 p.m. Friday, June 19, followed by performances by Fat Tony, B L A C K I E, The Cocker Spaniels and Lovefield.


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