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Millertown

To understand the Minneapolis-based kinetic sculptor, filmmaker and artist Scott “Coleman” Miller, one needs to understand his vocabulary. It involves little premeditation and flows naturally. Near the top of the heap are the tried and true “splank,” “na-gooshed,” (pronounced ‘na-GOOSHED’) and “sheesh.”  Sheesh is an expression of exasperation, as in “I spent all night applying for a grant from the Boise Film Festival but spilled a Pepsi down my hard-drive .. SHEESH.” Splank is more difficult to explain and denotes both an unfortunate occurrence and an object contacting an unintended target. “I tried to hit the bucket with that big handful of moldin’-putty but it stuck to the wall instead .. SPLANK.” Na-gooshed is more specific, almost always referencing some kind of personal pain being inflicted upon an unsuspecting party by a  larger second party and as result of social misstep or wrong choice of words. “Yeah .. I can see me walking up to LeBron and suggesting that he stop wearin’ those straight-brimmed hats .. Na-GOOSHED!” This only touches on Miller’s full range and “sit-down,” “whiz-bang” and “SLAPPY” all figure prominently.

Tom Myers, the thrice Academy Award nominated sound designer and editor, has never changed his name. (Or if he has it’s only been temporarily and under circumstances he doesn’t discuss.) I wrote Tom a poem for his wedding many moons ago and called him a “guy among guys.” “Man among men” would be too exalted for Tom. His career achievements and popularity with the ladies would make another insufferable but Tom counters them nicely with a healthy amount of self-loathing and contradiction. In explaining his motivation for recent dietary changes and weight loss he notes “there’s less for me to hate now,” and he uses inexplicably un-Quaker expressions like “it really scratches that itch” to describe a favored musical passage. Tom is the pause in Miller’s monologue, the breath in between his antics. Miller becomes MILLER around Tom and jumps from eight to ten. Scott is the Sloppy Joe to Tom’s brown rice, the blurted “How you doin’ Chief?!” to Tom’s eye contact and hand shake. That said, Tom will politely call you on your shit when prejudice is expressed with a touch too much sincerity.

These two would not have met had it not been for the now-defunct and once semi world-famous Monaco Labs. I had mixed feelings about the place, for reasons that are perhaps self-evident. Miller describes those times as “the best” (an opinion contradicted recently by a third friend who worked the same era “yeah .. I don’t think so.”) But time is subject to the perspective of the person living it.  That Miller and Myers crossed paths as result of the Monaco print department is unarguable. Their friendship would not be were it not for Dan Monaco, and that’s some rather powerful stuff when I give it a moment. I’m never sure where to go, however, with these moments. It’s a story that needs to be adequately told but that’s no blog-post task. Instead I’ll opt for the ever-convenient cartoon ending and quote a verse from “Millertown,” a recently-penned effort stemming from the three of us spending a few nights up at Lake Tahoe.

Everybody had a splank
Everybody a Na-gooshed
Everybody had a Big Sheesh
Got their Miller Buttons pushed (Down in Millertown ..)

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One Comment

  1. Sharon Ahigian wrote:

    Fuckin’ good writing, Rick!

    You capture their personalities and the dynamic between them sooo well. It had occurred to me as well that it was because of your family lab that such a great group of people with a shared history of fun (and much simpler days) came to be. It also occurs to me that your ability to synthesize and catalogue so many of those times, and to do it so well, is invaluable.

    Thanks, really, for sharing these things with me!

    Sharon

    Monday, June 12, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

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