A columnist of heart and mind

A columnist of heart and mind
Interviewing the animals at Children's Fairyland in Oakland. L-R: Bobo the sheep, Gideon the miniature donkey, me, Tumbleweed Tommy the miniature donkey, Juan the alpaca, Coco the pony

Monday, June 15, 2009

Local Musicians Win Emmys

The Oakland-based musical duo popTuna walked away with two golden statuettes at the 38th annual Emmy Awards ceremony of the Northern California chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences on May 16.
PopTuna - comprised of B.Z. Lewis of Montclair and Monica Pasqual of the Temescal district - won the Emmy for "Promotion Program - Single Spot" by providing the music for a promo spot for KPIX's "Eye On The Bay."
"There are two hosts on 'Eye On the Bay,' and they are very different personalities," said Lewis. "So we used the theme from 'The Odd Couple,' rearranged as a ska piece."
Pasqual said the victory was ironic because the piece isn't their favorite, to say the least.
"We have composed music that we're personally moved by, but that wasn't one of them. But that's the way it goes, I guess."
Their other Emmy was for "Promotion Program - Campaign," also for KPIX.
"In this series of spots, the station gets people to sing along with the music, usually making complete fools of themselves but always having a great time doing it," said Lewis. "Sounds silly, but it won the Emmy."
PopTuna was also nominated in three other categories, but did not win.
Lewis and Pasqual have been working together since 1997, when he was the engineer and co-producer for an album she was recording. But they didn't start composing together until two years later, when Pasqual was working as the office manager for a film company that was making a documentary for PBS about the stock market crash of 1929.
"They weren't happy with what their composer had written, so I said, 'Hey, I think this friend of mine and I can do better.' And we did."
And they've never looked back. In addition to KPIX, their clients include Nissan, the San Francisco Film Festival, the State of New Jersey Division of Tourism and Johns Hopkins University.
"We're their go-to composer for anything they produce in-house," said Pasqual.
They have also composed for MTV, "The Shield," and several TV soap operas, including "Passions" and "The Young And Restless," as well as video games such as "Guitar Hero," "The Sims" and "Madden NFL."
Currently, the new Emmys are resting on the place of honor atop the speakers at Lewis' Studio 132, where many local musicians record, including Liquid Girlfriend, Jesse Turner, Karen Mullally, Deborah Levoy and Frapper.
The glittering, black-tie Emmy Awards ceremony, featuring spotlights and a red carpet, was held at the Plaza Hotel in San Francisco.
Lewis accepted the Emmys on behalf of himself and Pasqual, who was unable to attend because she was on tour with her band, Blame Sally.
Lewis rented a tux for the occasion, accessorizing it with a bright red faux snakeskin shirt.
Most of the nominees arrived in limousines. Lewis took BART.