Browsed by
Category: films

Robin Moore: From viral star “MC SpandX” to anti-coal crusader

Robin Moore: From viral star “MC SpandX” to anti-coal crusader

Robin Moore.
(Photo courtesy Robin Moore)

28-year former Portland resident Robin Moore burst onto the bike world with his role as MC SpandX in the hilarious spoof rap video “Performance“. The video was shot entirely in Portland and when it debuted in 2009 it became a viral hit. So far it has nearly 2.3 million views on YouTube. After Performance, Moore went on to create “Get Dirty“, “Le Velo” and he scored a few cameos in BikeSnobNYC videos.

Today, Moore is the co-founder of +M Productions and has focused his considerable filmmaking talent onto something much more serious that spandex jokes; an documentary titled “Momenta” which exposes the dangers of proposed coal train exports in the Pacific Northwest. Moore dropped us a line last week and we emailed him a few questions to learn more about his project.

How did you go from the silliness of “MC SpandX” to a major documentary about coal?

— When I was living in Portland, I was immersed in the cycling culture everywhere I went, and I really loved it. With my video “Performance” as the character MC SpandX, I wanted to point out the absurdity of the rivalry between cycling sub-cultures. I also wanted to make people laugh, because sometimes after months without sun, everyone in Portland needs a little pick-me-up. It’s been 4 years since Performance went viral and now I’m the co-founder of a San Francisco based production company who’s mission is to create positive change in the world, often working with non-profits. This was a surprisingly natural transition, because in Portland and later San Francisco, I was not only steeped in the cycling culture, but was also in the epicenters of green energy and social justice. Through all the cycling videos, and working with many non-profits, the common thread was that we need to start taking better care of the earth. Climate change is the biggest event in human history and I needed to do something about it. Through my Portland connection I was made aware of the proposed ports in Oregon and Washington that would ship coal from the Powder River Basin to Asia. I thought, this is something that has to be stopped if there is any chance of halting climate change. That coal has to stay in the ground. And so the documentary Momenta was born. The goal of the film is to help stop all coal exports through the Pacific Northwest and help bring about the clean energy future.

What did your experience with viral video teach you about the power of films and how do you think that might impact your current project?

— Film has always been a very powerful medium. In the last 5 years it has become even more so now that streaming HD videos online is the standard and sharing them takes one click. When I made Performance I had no idea it would go viral. I had tried really hard to promote other videos of mine with little success. I’m not exactly sure why Performance took off so quickly (although a Facebook post from a certain Mr. Armstrong didn’t hurt). The truth is that by it’s very nature you cannot predict or control how viral a video will become. One thing that all viral videos have in common is an idea or theme that strikes a chord with a certain culture or sub-culture. My hope is that with my current project Momenta, the survival of the planet and our clean energy future are themes that will strike a chord with Portlanders and all Americans. It’s not nearly as funny, but so much more important.

What’s your role on Momenta?

— I am co-directing the film with my business partner Andy Miller. I am also one of the camera operators, editors, and the music composer.

Why did you want to do this project?

— I felt like I had to do something to combat climate change. It really is the most important event in human history, and our generation has the power to make the next several centuries good ones or bad ones.

The Tour de France is just starting. Any chance you’ll make another bike video anytime soon?

— I don’t have anything in the works this year. All my energy right now is being spent working on Momenta. After Performance, Get Dirty, Le Velo, and a couple cameos in recent Bikesnob NYC videos, I feel like my bike spoof characters have been played out. However, if the right project presented itself, I’m sure it wouldn’t take too much convincing to get me into some neon spandex. If anything, I will have to parody some type of utilitarian cycling sub-culture; commuters (jeez, those vests!), cargo bikes (did you know you can actually have your cameraman film off the back of a Surly Big Dummy?), or retro-grouch/gentleman-cyclist/tweed-riding/Rivendell-portaging people (No amount of Grant Peterson articles can get me into that camp! Just kidding, Grant is the man!)

What else do you want to share with all your Portland fans?

— Bike culture has often been linked to environmentalism and activism and now is the time to show it. Portlanders have the opportunity to do something really big, and help stop coal being shipped through their backyard. Please help support Momenta on Kickstarter, stay engaged and participate in local events and rallies to stop coal exports, and always keep riding!

Robin Moore: From viral star “MC SpandX” to anti-coal crusader

Robin Moore: From viral star “MC SpandX” to anti-coal crusader

Robin Moore.
(Photo: Aaron Araki)

28-year former Portland resident Robin Moore burst onto the bike world with his role as MC SpandX in the hilarious spoof rap video “Performance“. The video was shot entirely in Portland and when it debuted in 2009 it became a viral hit. So far it has nearly 2.3 million views on YouTube. After Performance, Moore went on to create “Get Dirty“, “Le Velo” and he scored a few cameos in BikeSnobNYC videos.

Today, Moore is the co-founder of +M Productions and has focused his considerable filmmaking talent onto something much more serious that spandex jokes; an documentary titled “Momenta” which exposes the dangers of proposed coal train exports in the Pacific Northwest. Moore dropped us a line last week and we emailed him a few questions to learn more about his project.

How did you go from the silliness of “MC SpandX” to a major documentary about coal?

— When I was living in Portland, I was immersed in the cycling culture everywhere I went, and I really loved it. With my video “Performance” as the character MC SpandX, I wanted to point out the absurdity of the rivalry between cycling sub-cultures. I also wanted to make people laugh, because sometimes after months without sun, everyone in Portland needs a little pick-me-up. It’s been 4 years since Performance went viral and now I’m the co-founder of a San Francisco based production company who’s mission is to create positive change in the world, often working with non-profits. This was a surprisingly natural transition, because in Portland and later San Francisco, I was not only steeped in the cycling culture, but was also in the epicenters of green energy and social justice. Through all the cycling videos, and working with many non-profits, the common thread was that we need to start taking better care of the earth. Climate change is the biggest event in human history and I needed to do something about it. Through my Portland connection I was made aware of the proposed ports in Oregon and Washington that would ship coal from the Powder River Basin to Asia. I thought, this is something that has to be stopped if there is any chance of halting climate change. That coal has to stay in the ground. And so the documentary Momenta was born. The goal of the film is to help stop all coal exports through the Pacific Northwest and help bring about the clean energy future.

What did your experience with viral video teach you about the power of films and how do you think that might impact your current project?

— Film has always been a very powerful medium. In the last 5 years it has become even more so now that streaming HD videos online is the standard and sharing them takes one click. When I made Performance I had no idea it would go viral. I had tried really hard to promote other videos of mine with little success. I’m not exactly sure why Performance took off so quickly (although a Facebook post from a certain Mr. Armstrong didn’t hurt). The truth is that by it’s very nature you cannot predict or control how viral a video will become. One thing that all viral videos have in common is an idea or theme that strikes a chord with a certain culture or sub-culture. My hope is that with my current project Momenta, the survival of the planet and our clean energy future are themes that will strike a chord with Portlanders and all Americans. It’s not nearly as funny, but so much more important.

What’s your role on Momenta?

— I am co-directing the film with my business partner Andy Miller. I am also one of the camera operators, editors, and the music composer.

Why did you want to do this project?

— I felt like I had to do something to combat climate change. It really is the most important event in human history, and our generation has the power to make the next several centuries good ones or bad ones.

The Tour de France is just starting. Any chance you’ll make another bike video anytime soon?

— I don’t have anything in the works this year. All my energy right now is being spent working on Momenta. After Performance, Get Dirty, Le Velo, and a couple cameos in recent Bikesnob NYC videos, I feel like my bike spoof characters have been played out. However, if the right project presented itself, I’m sure it wouldn’t take too much convincing to get me into some neon spandex. If anything, I will have to parody some type of utilitarian cycling sub-culture; commuters (jeez, those vests!), cargo bikes (did you know you can actually have your cameraman film off the back of a Surly Big Dummy?), or retro-grouch/gentleman-cyclist/tweed-riding/Rivendell-portaging people (No amount of Grant Peterson articles can get me into that camp! Just kidding, Grant is the man!)

What else do you want to share with all your Portland fans?

— Bike culture has often been linked to environmentalism and activism and now is the time to show it. Portlanders have the opportunity to do something really big, and help stop coal being shipped through their backyard. Please help support Momenta on Kickstarter, stay engaged and participate in local events and rallies to stop coal exports, and always keep riding!

Craigslist post about post-dooring romance inspires film

Craigslist post about post-dooring romance inspires film

Still from Mike Vogel’s Doored.

Remember that awesome Craigslist post last summer when a guy got doored while biking downtown, but instead of being angry at the door-operener he sort of… fell in love?

Well it turns out that Craigslist post was the inspiration one of my favorite movies from the Filmed By Bike festival that wrapped up Tuesday night. Portland-based writer/director Mike Vogel of Front Ave Productions created his short film, Doored – Fractured Skull, Broken Hearts, based on that Craigslist post and it made its debut at the festival.

In the film, a man (Jamez Haze) and a woman (Jamie Langton) fall in love at first sight — which happens only after the man regains consciousness from a violent collision with her door. They romance through the city with coffee dates and long walks in the sun. Things are going swimmingly. Check out this funny exchange:

The driver: “You know, in driver’s ed they taught us that all cyclists were pretty much all social deviants hell-bent on destroying American culture from within.”

The biker: “I’ve always thought of driver’s as just lazy, inconsiderate resource hogs with a sense of entitlement about owning the road.”

Driver: “But I ride a bike sometimes.”

Biker: “And sometimes, I drive.”

But then things take a hilarious turn. Watch it for yourself below…

Craigslist post about post-dooring romance inspires film

Craigslist post about post-dooring romance inspires film

Still from Mike Vogel’s Doored.

Remember that awesome Craigslist post last summer when a guy got doored while biking downtown, but instead of being angry at the door-operener he sort of… fell in love?

Well it turns out that Craigslist post was the inspiration one of my favorite movies from the Filmed By Bike festival that wrapped up Tuesday night. Portland-based writer/director Mike Vogel of Front Ave Productions created his short film, Doored – Fractured Skull, Broken Hearts, based on that Craigslist post and it made its debut at the festival.

In the film, a man (Jamez Haze) and a woman (Jamie Langton) fall in love at first sight — which happens only after the man regains consciousness from a violent collision with her door. They romance through the city with coffee dates and long walks in the sun. Things are going swimmingly. Check out this funny exchange:

The driver: “You know, in driver’s ed they taught us that all cyclists were pretty much all social deviants hell-bent on destroying American culture from within.”

The biker: “I’ve always thought of driver’s as just lazy, inconsiderate resource hogs with a sense of entitlement about owning the road.”

Driver: “But I ride a bike sometimes.”

Biker: “And sometimes, I drive.”

But then things take a hilarious turn. Watch it for yourself below…

‘Circle Century’ documents 660 lap, 100-mile ride around Ladd Circle

‘Circle Century’ documents 660 lap, 100-mile ride around Ladd Circle

Still from Circle Century.

Southeast Portland resident and hobbyist movie maker Merritt Raitt debuted a new film at Filmed by Bike over the weekend. Circle Century documents his attempt to ride 100 miles, non-stop around Ladd Circle.

Raitt, who lives just a few houses down from the circle, accomplished his feat back in August 2011 but his movie has just now been released to the public. I followed up with Merritt to ask him a bit more about what it was like to ride a 0.15 mile loop of a neighborhood street 660 times without any breaks.

“Everyone asks if I got dizzy,” says Raitt, ” But it was a large enough radius that it really did not seem like constant turning.” Raitt is a very fit rider and he underestimated how hard the ride would be. He even did a 30-mile ride that same morning (up NW Germantown to Skyline Blvd). The Circle Century turned out to be tougher than expected: “I think since there was no terrain I tended to stay in the same position on the bike and used less variety of muscles than usual so it turned out to be a much harder ride than I thought.”

Throughout the day, many people from the neighborhood came out to watch. One group of kids set up a lemonade stand and offered Raitt free hand-ups as he went by (he also took coffee hand-ups from his family car). People also rode along with him, including his son and a friend on a tall bike. He figures he averaged about 20 mph, so he tended to be going much faster than average bike traffic.

As for traffic through the circle, Raitt said he had several cars roll through the stop signs and cut him off. “I’m not sure how well it is comes of in the movie but that red pickup came pretty close.”

Check it out for yourself.

‘Circle Century’ documents 660 lap, 100-mile ride around Ladd Circle

‘Circle Century’ documents 660 lap, 100-mile ride around Ladd Circle

Still from Circle Century.

Southeast Portland resident and hobbyist movie maker Merritt Raitt debuted a new film at Filmed by Bike over the weekend. Circle Century documents his attempt to ride 100 miles, non-stop around Ladd Circle.

Raitt, who lives just a few houses down from the circle, accomplished his feat back in August 2011 but his movie has just now been released to the public. I followed up with Merritt to ask him a bit more about what it was like to ride a 0.15 mile loop of a neighborhood street 660 times without any breaks.

“Everyone asks if I got dizzy,” says Raitt, ” But it was a large enough radius that it really did not seem like constant turning.” Raitt is a very fit rider and he underestimated how hard the ride would be. He even did a 30-mile ride that same morning (up NW Germantown to Skyline Blvd). The Circle Century turned out to be tougher than expected: “I think since there was no terrain I tended to stay in the same position on the bike and used less variety of muscles than usual so it turned out to be a much harder ride than I thought.”

Throughout the day, many people from the neighborhood came out to watch. One group of kids set up a lemonade stand and offered Raitt free hand-ups as he went by (he also took coffee hand-ups from his family car). People also rode along with him, including his son and a friend on a tall bike. He figures he averaged about 20 mph, so he tended to be going much faster than average bike traffic.

As for traffic through the circle, Raitt said he had several cars roll through the stop signs and cut him off. “I’m not sure how well it is comes of in the movie but that red pickup came pretty close.”

Check it out for yourself.

‘Bare As You Dare’ naked ride documentary to debut at Filmed by Bike

‘Bare As You Dare’ naked ride documentary to debut at Filmed by Bike

WNBR-applause

Still from Bare As You Dare.
(Photo: NW Documentary)

Bare As You Dare, a new documentary that goes behind the scenes of Portland’s annual World Naked Bike Ride will debut at Filmed by Bike later this month. The film was created by Ian McCluskey, Lilah Cady, and Jenn Byrne from NW Documentary, a Portland-based non-profit that teaches the “art of non-fiction storytelling.”

Bare As You Dare is a 17 minute film that features interviews with the volunteers who put on the ride. It also follows several subjects to show the diverse backgrounds of the people that participate. According to a statement from Filmed by Bike, the film, “follows a variety of subjects from a cancer survivor to a reserved homebody, who are surprisingly open in sharing their personal stories and motivation for participation.”

Portland’s version of the World Naked Bike Ride was first held in 2002. Since then the ride has attracted what many consider the largest number of participants of any naked bike ride in the nation (if not the world, unverified estimates range from 5,000 to 10,000 people). The ride is organized by Shift and is set this year for June 8th.

A trailer of the film was released last week:

You can watch the film at Filmed by Bike on April 21st and 23rd at 7:00 pm. You can purchase tickets online at FilmedByBike.org.

For more background on Portland’s World Naked Bike Ride, browse our past coverage.

Bicycle journey that explored “radical homesteading” rolls into Velo Cult tonight

Bicycle journey that explored “radical homesteading” rolls into Velo Cult tonight

The Hussin brothers and their vehicles.
(Photo: Hussin brothers)

Two brothers who took a two-year, cross-country, roadkill-fueled bicycle journey while exploring “radical homesteading,” and “guerilla camping” will screen some of their films at Velo Cult tonight. Noah Hussin and his brother Tim documented the entire trip and are working on a film project titled America Recycled.

With partial funding from National Geographic, the brothers sought out how people were living off the land and spent time with communities far off the grid. Noah and Tim grew up in suburban Florida where they became, “Disillusioned by many of our inherited cultural values.” Their trip was an attempt to discover a different way of living. Here’s more from their USA Projects crowdfunding site:

“Rather than focusing on the nuts and bolts of building new infrastructure and restructuring cultural relationships, our work explores the social, spiritual, and psychological effects of scaling down, re-localizing, and connecting to community and land.”

Noah currently lives in Portland was featured in the Willamette Week yesterday. When asked what it was like riding bikes through the South, Noah said:

Being two white American brothers on bicycles, we felt completely immune to police or anybody. That was the most endearing thing to everybody. We could have been trafficking cocaine and nobody would have caught us. Especially in the South, there are all these good ol’ boys, cops, and they’d be like, “What y’all doing?” It’s like, “Oh, we’re riding across the country.” “Riding across the country? Wow, wow, I love adventure, I always wanted to do something like that. How long y’all been on the road?”

Check out their teaser video below:

Trailer from America reCycled on Vimeo.

The Hussin brothers are now working to raise $12,000 to make their feature length film a reality. Much of their photography (Tim is a professional who has done work for National Geographic), videos, and other content from their trip is available for free at AmericaRecycled.org.

Meet Noah, learn more about this amazing trip, and see some of his film clips at a free event at Velo Cult (1969 NE 42nd) tonight starting at 8:00 pm.