Bright Blue Gorilla plays a short set before screening ‘Go With Le Flo’ at the Downtown Independent Saturday night
By Bliss Bowen 04/10/2014
Lots of people talk about packing up and pursuing their dreams, but Robyn Rosenkrantz and Michael Glover of folk duo Bright Blue Gorilla actually did it. They’ve been traversing the globe with their muse for more than 20 years.
The husband-and-wife team committed themselves to their free-traveling lifestyle in 1990, when they left their jobs in Los Angeles, sold most of their possessions and moved to Europe. Since then they’ve been self-financing their tours and albums — and films. They’re screening their newest feature, “Go With Le Flo,” at the Downtown Independent this weekend.
Filmed in Berlin, “Go With Le Flo” is a romantic comedy written and directed by Glover and produced by Rosenkrantz. They appear, briefly, as street buskers.
“These Spanish tourists in Berlin walked up to ask directions,” Rosenkrantz recalls, laughing. “We said, ‘We’ll tell you where to go, but we’re about to film a scene; if you want to sit on the grass, will you be in our movie?’”
“Berlin is such a friendly city for film and arts in general,” Glover adds. “If you’ve ever had a dream and you’re walking along and you ask someone for something and they have it right there — it was like that. Everywhere we went.”
They usually create the music for their films, but upon meeting accordionist Gerhard Schiewe, they decided he would impart the “French and German flavor” their story needed.
“We were staying right in the center of Berlin and he lived one block away and we’d walk over to his place and write songs together,” Rosenkrantz says. They also co-wrote two songs with jazz guitarist Andy Fite for the film.
“One or two of the scenes are written around music, so people were aware that they were performing to music,” Glover explains. “As writer and director, I tend to relate to Ernst Lubitsch and Billy Wilder, who were very concerned with the timing of words and movement.”
Saturday night they will hit the red carpet before taking the stage for a Bright Blue Gorilla set, prior to screening “Go With Le Flo.” (It also screens Friday and Sunday.) After the premiere weekend, they fly to a film festival in Beijing.
And then? They maintain attics in Europe and America that enable them to travel light, even as they work hard to maintain the freedom necessary to spontaneously follow their inspiration.
“It’s all really project based,” Rosenkrantz says. “We don’t own a lot. We don’t make a lot of money, but we make enough to get to the next project.”
“We were thinking that this LA trip we’ll probably stay for a year, then all of a sudden we learned about six or seven major cinemas that want the film for a week in Europe,” Glover says. “That’s the kind of thing that changes our schedule.”
Bright Blue Gorilla perform before screening “Go With Le Flo” at the Downtown Independent Cinema, 251 S. Main St., Downtown LA, 7 p.m. Saturday, April 12; $10. Info: (213) 617-1033. Brightbluegorilla.com, gowithleflo.com