GIMMEFIVE celebrates the independent artist. Each week our guest will answer five questions and be the subject of a YOU HAIKU. Our spotlight will give you an inside look into the mind of an artist. Be sure to check out their work, and tell them Greg sent you…
This week ~
Tami Swartz | Musician, Actress, Director
There are some amazingly talented people in this world. People you’ve known for a long time and people you’ve just met. I met Tami online originally, and then had the chance to meet again in person. She has a personality that is infectious, you can’t help but smile around her. And then she sings, and you can’t believe the voice that fills a room like hers can come out of this small, unassuming person. She is wonderful, and I’m happy to have her as a friend. Click the links above and check out her work…
What inspired your latest project?
My latest project was inspired by Richard Donner and his use of the concept of verisimilitude (respect for the appearance of truth) and how he applied it to the first – and his version of the second – Superman movies.
The opportunity arose for me to direct/cast/produce a project of my own choosing for my hometown regional opera company. I wanted to do an evening of jazz and opera and picked Il Tabarro (The Cloak), the first of three one act operas entitled Il Trittico (The Triptych) composed by Puccini. Puccini’s works lend themselves beautifully to the concept of verisimilitude, whether they take place in a mythical land or in a contemporary setting, as humanity and character development were always his main focus. I chose Il Tabarro in particular due to budgetary constraints – the piece has a small cast and simple set/costume requirements – and because the story in particular was powerful in its simplicity. (It takes place on a barge docked in Paris along the Seine and gives the audience an intimate look into the lives and struggles of the barge owner, his wife, the people in his employ and their significant others.) I had the good fortune of being able to pick my cast and was able to work with opera singers that were singing actors as well as fine musicians. Although the one-act was supposed to take place in 1910, I set it in the 1950s as this was the era of jazz music I wanted to feature. I called the evening Paris 1959 to provide a through line for both mediums. I chose jazz as the other art form featured in the evening because to me the improvisatory nature of jazz is a form of truth in music if the musician is playing from their heart and soul as well as from their technique. The jazz quintet for my project more than succeeded in achieving that goal. All in all it was a fantastic evening!
Why did you become an ARTIST?
It just happened. I think it was the only thing that felt as natural to me being as breathing. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t one.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why?
I have many favorites in this department, but in this moment I pick Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, because of his morality and his commitment to uphold the true spirit of the law and do the right thing.
If you were a spy, what would your codename be?
Axis. I can provide a reason for that, Greg, if you really want to know!
(Greg’s note – So…I had to ask. Here was Tami’s response : “The name is Axis (a spoof on the Axis Powers in WWII) as a close artist friend referred to me during a rehearsal about 17 years ago as a half Japanese, half German warrior whose preferred opera repertoire is Italian and used my united powers for GOOD. “Thus I dub thee, Axis!” What can I say? The name has stuck.)
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Tami Swartz | The You Haiku by Greg Morton
Passionate, without remorse
Dream for the dreamer
Thanks to Tami Swartz for being a part of the independent artist spotlight. Know an independent singer, writer, artist? Send an email suggestion and we’ll try and include them on GimmeFive!