Artists in their own words (en route): Michele Boreggi
Who: Michele Boreggi
What: Filmmaker and audio engineer
Where: Rome, Italy
Connection to New Orleans: He spent two years in New Orleans while recording and filming Shotgun Boogie.
Q: What is your favorite human behavior?
A: I am attracted to people who laugh when there is no reason to laugh. The laughter might be a reaction to a difficult situation, and I really appreciate that. It is great to have someone who steps in on the happier side of a situation when things get difficult. That laughing isn’t necessarily natural or even controllable.
I remember when I was a kid there were some really difficult situations where I couldn’t avoid laughter, even if the situation was really sad. When my grandma passed away and my mom told me, my initial reaction was to start smiling. My mom was looking at me, and I’m sure she was thinking, ‘Oh my God, my son is a monster.’ Eventually we all understood that laughing was simply my reaction and not necessarily how I felt.
I don’t do that as much now. I can control myself much better.
My mom was one of the first people to realize that I wasn’t a monster, though. It got to a point that when she would get upset at me or yell at me she would say, ‘Don’t you dare smile.’
Of course, I would smile.
Q: What is the worst object to carry but is absolutely necessary for your job?
A: I hate to deal with the boom pole. It’s huge. It’s not that heavy, but you might be stuck in the same position for fifty minutes or longer. There were a few gigs I had in New Orleans where they would be doing this huge, never-ending take on interviews, and I would have to hold the boom pole for hours. It was more torture than a job.
On Shotgun Boogie, I never used a boom pole. I always had a stand with me, and I used that stand for the purpose it was invented for. It’s also a cleaner sound because the stand is much more stable.
Q: How do we fight off something that is inevitable?
A: I think working on my kharma and letting everything be is the best option. There are things we know are going to happen. We all know that. I want to make sure that I’m solid so whenever those things do happen I’m somewhat ready for them. I don’t want to get too nervous or too anxious about those happening.
Although, this all depends on what the inevitable event is. This could be a person you hate coming back in your life, or it could be a natural disaster. An earthquake. A flood, just like what happened in Louisiana and Italy.
What I try to do is keep my mental health strong because if you have that you can deal with things in a much easier way.
And there are definitely some things that seem to always be inevitable. Right now I am look for distribution for Shotgun Boogie, and that is something that I really hate doing. It’s like being in a desert and looking for a pool of water. I can’t avoid it, though. I have to do it. In this phase of the project, I am working quite a bit by myself, and when it comes to distribution I just pinch my nose and do it.
Q: Who do you think can understand the meaning behind your actions as well as you can?
A: My close family. My parents and sister could do that. I also have a few people in New Orleans that I got really close to. It was interesting because there was no barrier between us when we met, so they could understand me really well right away. Despite the cultural difference, we were able to connect.
The fact that I was in a new place with a different culture, it almost allowed me to be more of myself. You are already different because you are not from that place, so you can feel a bit more comfortable in being who you are. I miss that. I miss a lot of people in New Orleans and the community feeling that I felt there. It’s not so present in Rome, and that’s not because people are jerks in Rome. It’s just that Rome is a huge city. There’s more restriction and the community is more closed.
Q: When do you find yourself keeping things?
A: When there are feelings involved with the object it is difficult for me to get rid of the object. I still have a drawer in my bedroom that is full of little, stupid things that make no sense. It comes from memories I have when I was a kid.
I have key chains and all these tiny things that are from my childhood. Every few years I try to clean up my room and tell myself, ‘You are a grown-up, so you have to get rid of some of these things,’ but I can’t.
I’ve gotten better at not collecting things, so I won’t have to deal with the things from now in fifty years. That’s a step forward. I still have to deal with things from my childhood, though.
There’s one item that is so ridiculous. It is actually kind of nasty. I have a package of cigarettes. There are no cigarettes in the pack, but there is trash inside of it. It’s filled up with little papers. That pack came from this beautiful night I had with a girl that I fell totally in love with, so I can’t get rid of it. It could be considered trash, but it’s more than that to me.
Michele Boreggi is the director of Shotgun Boogie, the documentary series told through local musician’s voices about the social, cultural, and musical landscape of New Orleans and how the city has changed over the past decade. Shotgun Boogie has an estimated release date of January, and you can check out the crew and premise of the project on Shotgun Boogie’s website and Facebook page.
Kelley Crawford is a professor, writer, mentor, dancer, and constant questioner. If you would like to contact Kelley Crawford, you can email her at [email protected].