Al Simmons in Your Living Room
Finally, Al Simmons and his inventive musical comedy are available on DVD. This collection features 6 music videos; five from his award winning CD Something’s Fishy at Camp Wiganishie, plus a brand new song and video called “What Do You Do With Your Rocks?”
Included are the classic videos: “I Collect Rocks” and “Counting Feathers” as well as four brand new madcap musical adventures. “I Got My Axe” is a comical look at sustainable forest management. In the video “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring,” Al’s umbrella is a little under the weather as he attempts to rouse ‘the old man who’s snoring.’ Al’s horse-cycle “Ol’ Spoke” is the mane attraction in “I Got A Horse”.
As usual, Al transforms himself into an off-the-wall cast of characters. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson sift through the strata of puns that lead to their quarry in two adventures: “The Rock-hound of the Baskervilles” and “The Mys-tree in the Forest.” The Safety Brothers attempt to teach the proper way to: use a shovel, walk in the rain, make a bed, hunt for rocks and ride a bicycle. Using a piece of firewood as a drum The Mathematical Beatnik plays π r 2 percussion on his solid cylinder of syncopation: “That’s Log-a-rhythm man!” And The Deputy has a herd of cows and a heap of the orneriest jokes you have ever heard.
Learn how to send a message in the forest and how to spell ‘bicycle’. Find the answers to questions like: “How thirsty is a tree?” and “How old is a rock?” Plus, as a bonus feature, you will see “The Amazing Creation of Al Simmons” a short film by the late Sheldon Oberman.
In the entertainment business for more than 35 years, the popular Manitoba-based performer is likely Canada’s most versatile comedian. His stage shows are a funfest; full of astounding gadgets, wild costumes and unique songs and, of course, bad puns.
The Toronto Star once dubbed him a “lightning bolt of lunacy” and the LA Times has called his work “a zany masterpiece.” This Juno award winner’s first DVD is at once frantic and engagingly simple. It is a tour-de-force of ingenious, charming silliness. The music videos are captivating and Al’s characters are hilarious.
A FAMILY AFAIR
Over the last couple of years this DVD has been a labour of love for Al. Written and directed by and staring Al Simmons, this is a real family affair. Al’s son Karl was the cinematographer, set designer and editor and his two other son’s Will and Brad were body doubles, gaffers, best-boys and key-grips. He and his wife Barbara created the costumes and sets, and of course, the wacky props and sight-gags were designed and built by Al himself. “And the jokes? Dad would be pleased that the corny jokes he told us all those years ago are still funny.”
The video was shot in the Anola area. Most of the interior scenes were shot in Al’s Mother and Father-in-law’s home. “Oma and Opa lived for a week with their dining room furniture piled in a corner of the room and cables, cameras, lights and microphones everywhere you looked. Oma stayed up half the night with us while we shot some of the more complex scenes.”
“This has been a lifelong dream of mine. Every Saturday, when I was around ten years old, I would walk to our neighbourhood theatre ‘The Uptown’ to see a movie matinee. Roy Rogers, Danny Kaye, Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy or Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis would inspire me to spend the week reinacting the crazy gags I saw on the screen. I secretly wished that someday I would be in a movie. I wanted to be the hero but I also wanted to be the sidekick and the bad guy. In this DVD I get to be the leading man and the goof —and everyone else too.”
“My initial intention was to design a vehicle to showcase two videos that I recorded 13 years ago.” Al’s first and, until now, only videos: Counting Feathers & I Collect Rocks were part of a compilation that has been unavailable for over 8 years. “Finally, technology caught up to me and two years ago I figured out that I could create a high quality movie myself. Well, it was actually my son, Karl who figured it out and pulled it off. I wrote the gags, built the props and Barb and I created the costumes.” Everyone got into the act. Karl’s brothers, Will and Brad were boom operators, stunt and body doubles and anyone who happened by was put to work. Even our dog Chewy made an appearance.”