An Artist Conversation
Brian Shapiro Band
September 28-October 2
2021 Fringe Festival
With a new album on the horizon, the Brian Shapiro Band showcases not just their musicianship, but their journey as artists. This universal messaging about what it is to be an artist will be front and center in this docu-story, An Artist Conversation.
A performing artist since 1995, band founder Brian Shapiro shares his peripatetic artistic journey. Focusing on the trails, tribulations, roadblocks, and successes of making art, this deeply personal story extends well beyond one artist. While the intimate details are unique to Brian’s journey, this story reveals the way in which all artists show up for their craft, which is uniquely ambiguous to each artist.
This film will focus on the bigger meaning of “why?” that all artists explore, which usually shapes and molds their art in ways they may not have initially predicted. Is being an artist a choice or a calling? What’s it like to remain invisible? How to manage insecurities?
Vulnerability is the word that all artists take on their journey, as the moment their art is displayed to the world is the moment they bring their vulnerability to the surface, knowing that it will be subject to being broken down.
An Artist Conversation is a stellar look into the life of real working artists as they share their stories of continually developing their full artistic selves. Part interviews, candid film clips, and personal narratives, Brian Shapiro and his band mates, Ben Kutner-Duff, Ed Moman, and Rory Flynn, along with actress Mecca Akbar, share their experiences being creatives in a world where being successful is simultaneously a subjective and objective experience. And while the odds remain long and the challenges tremendous, nonetheless the journey continues.
Written by Latoi Storr, Marissa Both, and Brian Shapiro
Featuring Mecca Akbar, Rory Flynn, Ben Kutner-Duff, Ed Moman, and Brian Shapiro
Music by Brian Shapiro Band
Video Editing by Bob Sweeny
Appropriate for All Ages
About the Artists
Formed in Philadelphia during the height of pandemic 2020, the eclectic Brian Shapiro Band (BSB) is led by performance artist and musician Brian Shapiro (vocals and guitar), Berklee College of Music alum Ben Kutner-Duff (drums/arrangements), Philadelphia sound engineer Ed Moman (bass), and multi-instrumentalist Rory Flynn (guitar). Often draped in a social-political-cultural narrative fabric, as well as from Brian’s own personal evolution, BSB’s songs crawl in the minds of protagonists who provide candid reflections about what drives and motivates their thoughts and actions as they attempt to find meaning/purpose in a world going through yet another period of charged change.
Whether doing street performances in Washington Square Park in NYC and the sidewalks of San Francisco, or taking the theatrical stage in Austin, Texas and Philadelphia, or leading an electronic music trio at a pop-up venue in Paris, Brian Shapiro is at his best in front of an audience. Brian grew up with family in the music industry, so from a young age Brian was privy to the more unsexy, often duplicitous, world of the music business, but with only occasional glimpses of the creative process itself. So, becoming a musician himself was the last thing on Brian’s mind. However, Brian has always been engulfed in music, so moving from performance art to music was a smooth transition. His musical interests run far and wide, from punk to classical, free jazz to classic rock, electronic to blues, experimental to reggae. He also began to dip into his own darkness, originating from family experiences that went well beyond your run-of-the-mill dysfunction. The abundant deception, falsehoods, adultery, divorce, misdirected rage, and disingenuous veneers proved to be a deep source of inspiration.
Brian currently lives in Philadelphia with his visual artist wife Adina and their two sons. He’s also an instructor at the University of Pennsylvania in Organizational Dynamics and at The Wharton School.