Laura Levine
filming Giant Sand in the desert
posted: November 28, 2007
In a previous life, I made a few music videos. This was always my favorite, "Wonder," by Giant Sand (with Victoria Williams on banjo). Everything about the shoot was magical. I flew out to the desert in where they were staying, at Rimrock Ranch. It was a few days after a big earthquake had hit Yucca Valley, and there were still aftershocks. We were all friends and family and it was as as fun time as it (hopefully) looks.

We spent a lot of time at Pappy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace (still going strong, I hear!).  Pioneertown was built as a set for Hollywood Westerns back in the day and you could walk down dusty Main Street and see the Saloon and what-not.

Giant Sand was Howe Gelb, Joey Burns and John Convertino. Joey and John now have a band called Calexico. Victoria Williams is an incredible talent. They're ALL incredibly talented, and nice, and I still love this song.

(Yes, those are live rattlesnakes.)

at YouTube

Laura Levine November 28, 2007
(OK, obviously I have no idea how to embed the video (this is my first time uploading to YouTube) - anyone want to point me in the right direction?) : )
cool video November 29, 2007
Hey Laura, it does look like a fun and laid back shoot. very cool song and imagery.
Richard Allen November 29, 2007
You seem to be on the right lines with copying and pasting the 'embed' code from Youtube. Are you using Firefox? Most of the problems Drawger has with Youtube seem to happen if you use Safari. Looks like you had alot of fun with the video.
J.D. King November 29, 2007
HUH! BTW, it's easy to embed a vid. You just need to have someone walk you through it. After that, there's no stopping you.
Mark Fisher November 29, 2007
Laura, looks like they couldn't have been happier making it. Spinning kids, dogs and bass fiddles!
Zimm November 29, 2007
I fixed it for you, Laura.
Laura Levine November 29, 2007
Thanks, Zimm!
Cathleen Toelke November 29, 2007
It's very refreshing! And I don't just mean that washtub of water. Simple pleasures.
Adam McCauley November 29, 2007
Wow, this is absolutely fantastic Laura!! Beautiful footage, it really captures a great band at a nice moment in music history. More than that, the framing, editing and concept are really just gorgeous. It's cool to see Victoria playing the banjo (she looks so young), and I love the spinning double bass/spinning kids, the dancing crowds, the dogs. The Joshua Tree scene. Years ago a band I drummed with (The Buckets) played a show with Giant Sand, it was a lovely night. Anyway, great stuff, thanks for posting.
Laura Levine November 29, 2007
Thanks, everyone! Adam, I figured you'd probably know those guys.....! : )
Rob Dunlavey November 30, 2007
Very satisfying: sentiment, song, movie-making. A parallel universe I'd like to visit! Thanks!!
Hanoch Piven November 30, 2007
wow Laura this is really poetic and emotive. I didnt know you were still doing this in 1992. why did you stop doing videos?
Christoph Hitz December 3, 2007
I saw this a few days ago...then my hard drive died. This is a charming and homey video. Love it.
Laura Levine December 4, 2007
Thanks Rob, Hanoch, Christoph. Christoph, I hope your hard drive didn't die as a direct result of watching this video! : ) Hanoch, I only made three videos but I never really got into that world. By 1994 I was leaving the world of music photography and hence also video. I ended up (much later) making documentary films (and earlier I made a film with R.E.M.) but for whatever reason the music video world didn't hold much appeal to me. These few videos were the exception - to be able to work with friends, or artists I admired, in a personal and intimate way, was a pleasure.
NIka March 14, 2008
Laura, what an great video! Really captures the atmosphere beautifully turning in into a magical realism story!