“You’re in the right place,” says a voice from behind a screened porch.
The right place is the headquarters of the media production company Dinolion, and the voice belongs to cofounder Jeromy Barber. I’ve come to discuss Dinolion’s latest project Rashomon, a series of fourteen music videos that tell the story of a peculiar gathering, in a large house, from the perspective of different characters.
It’s a relief to know that I haven’t wandered into the wrong backyard. I’ve been standing here for a couple minutes, staring at a barefoot, hoping it isn’t attached to someone who shoots trespassers on sight. Concealed by the screened porch, save for his foot, Barber has been lounging on a weathered couch, smoking a cigarette.
We introduce ourselves, and he leads me inside his home, where he operates Dinolion with cofounder James Templeton and manager Traci Lavois Thiebaud, who are also his roommates.
It’s a quirky living/working space for quirky artists. Dinolion has earned a reputation for being avant-garde (earlier this year, for instance, they produced Red House, an immersive theatre experience that brought Houstonians in contact with a dysfunctional family and their lurid secrets), and with Rashomon, the company perpetuates its reputation.
The project was inspired by the classic Japanese film of the same name. Like the film, Dinolion’s Rashomon is, in large part, about subjectivity. The fourteen music videos are essentially vignettes that capture the experiences of characters as they interact at the house where they have come together — for what reason, exactly? That, Barber tells me, is the driving question, the question we should be asking ourselves as we watch and listen.
The songs were provided by fourteen local musicians and bands, and each music video has a conventional story arc: conflict, climax, resolution. The videos can be viewed together or separately, though the makers hope that they will be featured together at film festivals as a whole piece.
Dinolion’s Rashomon is not art for art’s sake. There’s an agenda. “We wanted to provide talented local musicians with badass, affordable material they can use to promote themselves,” Barber explains.
Who says that Houston artists don’t support each other?
Rashomon will debut this Saturday, 8pm, at BETA Theater. Tickets are $8.
Expect music from: Guilla, Pitter Patter, Two Star Symphony, football, etc., King Finn, Danna, Traci Lavois Thiebaud, Black Kite, Merel & Tony, The Wheel Workers, Miears, LIMB, The Mustn’ts, and Whit.