The launch of SIRENA SWIM. Five creative women, one male photographer, and nothing but the desert skies. || A creative project I will never forget...it didn't feel like work...it felt like playing pretend and capturing light and throwing whatever negative notion away about bodies...all that nonsense bullshit yada yada. It felt like beer, Cat Powers, Nina Simone, Stevie Nicks...hazy smoke and naked women. Felt like musty pillows and shag rugs...existential crises put on hold. It felt like a bad-ass creator was coming more into her form. It felt like, '...is this right?...I don't know...do you know?...no really it's cool...no one else knows what the hell is going on in this thing called life either' ...just run around the desert for a bit errr whatever. My girl at Sirena and the Sea has it goin' on. We've got a lot in store for future collaborations...this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The debut episode! JEAN a middle aged woman from Minnesota takes a trip to 'The Jersey Shore' to connect with her deceased Grandmother.
JEAN - Jacqueline Tozzi
YOGADORA - Mark Cavalieri
TAXI DRIVER - Sal Librizzi
WOMAN ON BOARDWALK 1 - Laurie DiBiagio
WOMAN ON BOARDWALK 2 - Becky Burt
Directed by - Whit Conway
Produced by - Jacqueline Tozzi, Whit Conway & Summer Rental Studio
Written by - Jacqueline Tozzi & Whit Conway
Shot by - Corey Frank & Whit Conway
Edited by - Whit Conway
*MAKE SURE TO WATCH IN HD.
'Dames' of Happy Canyon is an abstract/comedic piece. It's heavily influenced by the1966 Czech feminist comedy "Daisies"...a film where two women rebel against societal norms. It's speak to me as a piece where:
- There's a realization that the world is not anymore crazy than it has already ever been in the history of our existence.
- As women we should enjoy being feminine on our own terms.
- Removing ourselves from the pressures of society & going into nature helps us tap into our own femininity as we see fit.
SUBMISSION DESCRIPTION (Share a little about your background, influence, and why this topic is important to you):
I went through a bit of a dark period this past winter. I was transfixed by fear. I would be lying if I didn't mention it may or may not have been brought on by some political happenings. I think the results of the car accident in my teens exacerbated the battle I have with fear. Fear that when things are good they won't last...that at any moment something may come and take away something that I love most. This winter I became obssessed with the idea that the world was doomed. It turned out to be a terrible way to live my life! Theatre/film being the steadfast companions they always have been, were my outlets to exploring a means to calm these fears. "Dames of Happy Canyon" was made out of a necessity to explore how I felt coming out of that dark period. I read and became obsessed with "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" a novel by the mystic Tom Robbins. Written in 1976, I found such a correlation between what was happening during the 60/70s and what has been happening in our world 50 years later. A hysteria of sorts...fear seeping out of every pore of every person. After a couple months of some good therapy, self work, and a stellar book I came to the conclusion that these dark periods are beneficial to the cleansing and learning we need to go through to further our awareness and to learn more self-compassion. Today I feel more steady. I feel like I have won some battles with fear. Fear isn't this rain cloud over my life...it has been a benefactor in evolving a deeper and more connected version of myself.
Flash-forward to my womanhood. Another major inspiration for this piece. My mother is my wise-woman. Growing up she celebrated my body, my curves, and my freedom to be open and creative. I feel like there is such a place in our society, especially now, for women to own their femininity...however they see fit. As women we should enjoy being feminine on our own terms...even if that means getting funky with some flowers, cake and champagne in a beautiful canyon like wild women! When I am immersed with my women, when we are raw, eating, talking, sharing wine...when we're naked!...I feel so powerful. I feel like I have my tribe. The acts of being immersed in a group of strong women always brings up this nostalgia...this feeling that I'm connected to all women from all points of time that have joined together in such tribe-like settings.
Nature, lastly, is a major part of this film. Removing myself from the pressures of society and going out into nature helps me tap into femininity and my consciousness. I run a non-profit organization in memory of my sister, the 'Alexandra Rose Tozzi Memorial Foundation'. A majority of our efforts support nature conservation and environmental work. I firmly believe that when one becomes close to nature anxieties lower, fears lower, and one's overall health improves. Secret side note: we filmed the piece in 'Happy Canyon', Santa Barbara...but I do love that the audience isn't given the exact location.
All of the work I do feels so important to me because I genuinely want to promote strength and human compassion. This is my purpose, everything in my life has brought me here. I don't believe that man's primary problems are political, I believe they are philosophical. There is a root to madness...it is so important for me to continue to make art because I want to constantly explore that root. I want to share that.
TELL US YOUR GOALS AS A FILMMAKER: My goal as a filmmaker is to facilitate people dipping into their own consciousness. Does that sound manipulative? I'm not sure. Perhaps what I mean is that I'd love to present something aesthetically pleasing...that touches all of the senses, that disrupts the emotions in a way that has an audience thinking. I want people to walk away from work that I've created feeling powerful and vulnerable and closer to a place of self-compassion or human compassion. As actors and filmmakers we are trained to be in tune with the scary parts of ourselves, the dark parts and the parts we hide from others...that's where our beauty lies! If you bring forth what is within you it could save you, if not it could destroy you. That's how I feel. I feel that my job is to create work that has people feeling without jamming it down their throats. There is a perfect balance (for me at least) of nature, comedy, raw emotion, and powerful self-compassion...which if mixed well, can have an astounding affect on a person.
I stated a lot of this in my submission description, but again, my work feels important to me because I genuinely want to promote strength and human compassion. We watch a film to connect with the actor we see on the screen, we go to experience what they experience. We naturally, as a race, want to connect. I want to continue this beautiful expression of connecting humans to other humans. Perhaps then we would love each other more. Simple. Simple.
We developed an interactive commercial for Asics Shoes this past month...
I work for "Wilderness", an experimental performance company that really pushes the envelope of the traditional theatre-going experience. This past month we were hired to create an "Urban Noir Race" for Asics Shoes. "Urban Noir Race"...when I first heard the term I couldn't imagine what that meant or looked like either. Imagine Asics' top influencers and bloggers coming to downtown LA to run a race...except it's not just your ordinary race. Runners make there way throughout the city streets and into various locations where we have set up a running plot!...they enter a new building...they follow the clues from staged characters for said plot.
Their goal?...find the "Lady in Red". When the race finished all of the runners found themselves in an abandoned theatre where their mysterious "Lady in Red" character reveals herself on stage Top it all off with a bangin' sing/dance number on the beautiful and iconic abandoned Roxie Theatre Stage and you have yourself a deal! RUNNING MAGIC!
'Bout a month ago I booked a regional commercial...some kooky monster trying to sell custom suits to the rest of the LA monsters. It was five dudes on set, and me. I agreed to the treatment I was handed the day before we shot...come shoot day we get through half of the script and I'm handed something I had never seen...couple extra pages of script...crude language, actions that objectified the shit out of me, and things I never signed up for. Being that this was a period of time I wasn't repped by an agency, I didn't have the protection I needed...it was me on my own. So, the heart starts pounding and I'm instantly overcome with fear. My brain was screaming, "Fuck the money, get off set!"...but I froze! The director came up to me (as sleaze ball as they come), saw the expression on my face and pleaded I carry through with shooting...told me "he could have SWORN he had shown me the added pages of script!", and that if I wanted, "he would call his wife to stay on set while we filmed." I wanted to destroy him. A part of me momentarily actually felt guilty walking off. Can ya believe it? Luckily the inner wolf finally kicked back in...I looked at him, told him I didn't feel the slightest bit comfortable, told him he had completely taken advantage of my nature, and that I was fucking OUT. I walked off set, sat in my car and cried...super embarrassed and ashamed that I had somehow gotten myself in that position. Hey, if I wanna sit in a chair in the desert and pose for a photo taken by a talented GF of mine, or use my body and brain in some medium where I see fit, great...that'll always be on my volition. I hadn't thought about that commercial moment in a minute. It popped into my head today while looking at these desert photos. I'm happy I walked out and hope that more women stand up and walk out when/if a pack of useless dicks tells them to do something they ain't comfortable doing.
Last Friday I visited Summer Rental Studio, a production studio that belongs to some of my closest friends on the East Coast. The contest? Recreate an old (and rather Bizarre) German music video for a chance to win a RED Cam. The gents threw on their lederhosen and I turned into a shuddersome anchorwoman-tree hybrid and we did the damn thing. Turns out...WE WON!
A great teacher once told me, "If you bring forth what is within you it will save you, if you do not, it will destroy you"...Something I found to be true true true. It seems the older I get the more comfortable I am expelling these "things within me"...good or bad!...which is exciting! "Don't be Cruel" is a little short I made out of one of those necessities within. I think it's inspired by my trying to understand love and heartbreak...Exploring the things that the heart goes through, an expose' perhaps! Annnd paint is my favorite and so much fun. I just hope Billy Swan doesn't mind I copped the tune...
Brotha Declan and I are at it again w/ a lil improv song about that liquid gold we call beer. Also, Ma...we love you. Give me a word...any word...and I'll compose a song for ya...
Best Pal Corey Frank and I wrote this tune after he was leaving The Osprey one evening (a popular "Jersey Shore" bar in the town where we grew up) and a lass was taking a cat-nap in her pizza box. Her friends were sitting next to her which made Corey ponder if this was a usual night for the Pizza Girl. Welcome to the Jersey Shore in the summertime...
It's Margaret River time, the Lunada Bay Boys are throwing rocks, and I LOVE AVOCADO TOAST. Hear it all on this episode of "OffScript" sponsored by Sanuk Footwear.
An absolute favorite pastime of mine is writing/performing music. Most of my "music" is off-the-cuff, more often than not drunk, random improv. about whatever anyone tells me to sing about at that particular moment. Rebecca and I were sitting on the floor of my apartment drinking wine and eating tacos one fine evening in Los Angeles...it was then that the "The Taco Song" was magically written. The following day we got a few 40oz of Budweiser, sat on the stoop and filmed it...
Two young girls lookin' for a good taco
Just runnin' round town lookin' for the best taco
Gives you free guac. than you know you've got a friend
Soft shell or hard shell it doesn't really matter in the end
That's just a lie I've had my fair share of hard shells
It turns out a soft shell is really what a woman needs
But sometimes it's hard to tell if you want hard or soft
Who are we kidding, now it sounds like we're talking about penises
The end of the story is something that's hard to tell
It ends up with two girls sitting at a Taco Bell
'Cause we're just two young girls lookin' for a chalupa
Just runnin' round town eatin' tons of chalupas
Two young girls lookin' for a chalupa
Just runnin' round town eatin' tons of chalupas
Moral of the story, you don't have to cry
You can have it both as long as you like it deep fried
Written/Perfomed by: Jacqueline Tozzi and Rebecca
Filmed by: Jamie Gyftakis
The West Coast has been on fire, blizzards on the East Coast, and there's a Mexican food shortage in California...hear it all in this episode of "OffScript".
The Grammys. The Oscars. The most prestigious accolades in all surf culture...The OffScript Awards.
Back again with another episode of "Off Script", where we touch on all things up to date and happening in surfing!
When one of my best friends/extremely talented and always controversial writer at Surfing Magazine approached me with this project I was fuckin hyped. Being able to finally exercise some improv work and hang with some of my closest friends while doing it sounded like the ultimate job. In "Off Script" you can see me swing a gavel, eat donuts, hangout with some sweet dolphins, and make fun of basically everything as far as surf culture is concerned. Check out Surfing's website or my youtube link below for the whole episode. About to ruffle up a feather or two.
As easy as getting a few creative minds together and fully committing to an idea...this short comedic sketch was written by my best friend, and very talented comedy writer Jamie Gyftakis. Luckily we had the on-screen talent of Max Hamilton and the direction of Alex Vergel to solidify the piece. We also had a lot of fun making it ;-).
I have this thing for paint...started in college...I'd be fucked up at a party and would, at random, be utterly consumed by thoughts of my sister, Zan. Alcohol/drug induced and enhanced frustrations would then begin to manifest themselves physically...shaking, panicking...I would start questioning how/why everyone around me was seemingly so capable of forward movement, when I was not...especially while harping on the fact Zan wasn't coming back to me. A quick Irish exit and I'd find myself walking home...fist clenched...teeth, and jaw clenched. Once at home I would begin to "paint". Essentially I'd start with a blank canvas and end with a blank canvas. The paint, supposed to be finding its way to the canvas would always find its way to my body. The feeling of it on my skin...big bold colors...something erratic and tangible, served as a placeholder for conditions I thought I was unable to control...and finally that hazy feeling of being intoxicated and alone where I could "quit fighting" what I was feeling all night...
Eventually the "Dope Hunnies" (our lady crew) would come home to find me in some manic paint covered mess...music blasting...and they'd join...best girls in the world. In fact one night we ended up covering our wood floors in each other's colored hand prints...the entire floor...never got our security deposit back at that joint...
I told Corey Frank I wanted to throw my hands in some paint and in some really small stupid way it felt like I was paying homage to earlier years. How any strange excuse for "art"... whatever your "art" is...theatre, film, comedy, music...even body painting...can save you from some serious life holes. And not only just save you, but make you face and feel them in all the raw forms they come. And isn't that the neeeaaattt thing about "creative expression"?
...to continued moments of feeling fiercely alive!