A Moment in the Present With Jacqueline Kim
By Tema L. Staig
Jacqueline and I have been friends since 2002 when we met waiting in line at the LA Film Festival. At the time, I had no idea that she was nominated for a Spirit Award for her work in “Charlotte Sometimes”. In typical Jacqueline fashion, she modestly played it down. We started talking about movies and ended up sitting next to each other – it was ‘dork love at first site! Since then, we’ve made a short together, she’s sung at my wedding, and exposed each other to great movies and music. I’m grateful to Jacqueline for introducing me to “Let the Right One In”! In exchange, I’ve lent her my extensive Bowie collection.
OMG! So the Xena Convention is this weekend in Los Angeles! Where will it be held and what sort of ‘dork joy can we expect?
It's at the
LAX Marriott -- plays throughout this weekend, January 28-30th. I'm not
terribly familiar with a lot of the characters from the show, but here's the
link: http://www.creationent.com/cal/xebur.htm I don't
think Lucy will be there, but Renee will be -- I think she's giving a seminar
on "Awareness Training" and there
will also be a yoga class. There are tons of events throughout the weekend.
I really enjoy the "fans". I put that in quotations because really, they are just super enthusiasts (like you and me) and the conventions are really an excuse for them to get together and have fun with each other. We (the guests) are just icing on the cake...
I heard some of your new album, “This I Heard” online. What inspired you to record?
title of the cd is also my new AKA. This I Heard (songs and melodies - part 1).
What inspired me to record was that my work in other areas was kind of
plateauing, and since I was struggling anyway, I thought I would take a dive
into something I've always loved. It also coincided with the fact that in my
Buddhist practice, I was being asked to offer whatever skills I have to
help other people in whatever way I can. Whatever nerves I have about performing
kind of dissipated in this arena of practice -- so I just started to write more
songs and people asked me to record them.
Your voice sounds so confident and warm on this album. I really like how the instruments are more of an accompaniment, so that we can really hear the strength of the vocals. Tell us about this choice.You're so kind to put it this way. Mileece (my co-producer) is someone whose music I have been drawn to. She's a sound artist and took to my music because of, I think, its delicacy and minimalism. But put in a more frank way, I play the guitar like a child for a good deal of the album, almost like a little harp. I chose this music for this cd because when I made the mix, it offered me a lot of peace to walk around and listen to it. Ultimately, I want to make music for film and other mediums (your local Target elevator perhaps? ... or the subway train in Tokyo? Did you know they play Miyazaki themes at different stops?) I'm really interested in environmental sound -- so this first EP is the release of more conventional songs -- simple enough to record over Christmas break, on a tiny budget, and with one other person. I want to invite in more guests and instrumentalists on the next one.
How long have you been playing?
been playing since I was little -- along with my sisters who are great
musicians and responsible for a lot of what is stored
in my internal jukebox. We all started on the piano at age 4 and then branched
out to other instruments. I moved on to singing and then became a total musical
theatre geek at the age of 14, doing them in the summers in community theatre
and in high school. When "serious" acting took over, I kind of put
music on the back burner -- but the melodies kept coming and I kept returning
What urged you to write music at this particular point in time?
Recently, I had some time up at a friend's farm in northern Minnesota,
which I kind of turned into a self made residency. In exchange for care of the
house and harvesting veggies, I got to have a studio of my own -- and I
dedicated the time to listening to melodies recorded over the past years. In
the midst of this work, I was asked to make an appearance at the (Xena) convention
and I remembered that several people at the last one had asked me to make a cd.
I thought it would be a good way to get off the ground.
Where are you hoping this new venture to take you?
want to be able to make a sustainable
living at this so I can find more time (and peace) to make more music.
Honestly, I feel super lucky to be an artist in our country at this
time. It's quite gut wrenching for a lot of people. I want to use this
to share what beauty I can and get better at whatever craft I am getting
What is your favorite movie right now?
“The Headless Woman” by Lucretia Martel. She's Argentinean and a festival darling, voted one of the best directors of last year in Film Comment, I think. I like her movies because they open me up to a different architecture in film participation. She is aurally anchored. A dp friend told me she sets up her frames only after she establishes the sound on set. When you watch her films, you are very aware of what's beyond the frame, too. People fly in and out and there's things happening in all the corners -- like early Kurosawa. She's not afraid of disorienting the viewer. As a matter of fact, I think she's conscious of it? And her favorite subject is women and class. In this latest film, she really goes after the meaning of "family" and how the clanish aspect of it can suffocate an individual and keep her from ever becoming aware of another (or her own) reality. Great performance in the lead actress, too. She plays limnal like no one else. Throughout the entire film, she is transitioning from one emotion to another. I wish I could screen Lucretia's films for the Cinemonde program I curate (for the Palos Verdes Library district), but we don't share a public license at this time to do so.
What is your favorite movie of all time?
Satyajit Ray's "Pather Panchali”. It's the first of his Apu Trilogy. I've watched it about a dozen times and I will many times more. It's magical, full of light in the midst of poverty. You see life from the pov of these two children who grow up with nearly nothing. You see the scope of life at that age and how material existence, though it will be the eventual riptide under their young lives, doesn't really enter in to their enjoyment of life moment by spectacular moment. Thinking of it as I write this makes me tear up and get excited to see it again. He also wrote the score for the film, which I greatly admire and hope one day to do.
Are you listening to any music/watching shows to get inspired? If so, what are they?
I saw Little Dragon (from Gotheburg, Sweden) play at the Echo-Plex the other night. Not the best venue, but it's kind of a phenomenon watching this tiny half-Japanese, half-Swedish woman commanding the percussion and lead vocals at the center of a triumvirate of Swedish experimental musicdorks. She's very confident in an old world way and it feels tribal. I've seen them twice -- which on my budget lately is an exception. I've been inspired seeing friends play, too: Eric Lindley, the Good Listeners, Doug Wieselman, and saw an interesting show by Sam Amidon at the Kitchen. Antony & The Johnsons at Disney Hall was stellar.
You’ve been writing and directing too, tell us a little about your screenplays.
little...well, I've written two. One was based on Juliet (of Romeo
another was based on a young adult novel written by a friend. Themes
through both of them would be: alternate families, the right to be a
isolation and the self-emancipation of young women. Writing both of them
things, but I haven't found the proper blueprint yet. I have so many
who are making and trying to make films. And one thing that seems clear
it's a long haul
-- so what you end up with needs to really speak to you and translate to
other artists working on it. I liken it to carrying a grand piano up a
hill for the 3-4
years you spend making it -- but I don't know, personally, because I
haven't directed a feature length film yet. I've directed 4 shorts --
and I'm working on a story about
the recently freed Burmese opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.
Jacqueline’s new c.d. (by her new alias) This I Heard (songs and melodies - part 1), can be purchased here!http://www.soundcloud.com/ThisIHeard