Bay Area-son-turned-L.A.-resident Bart Davenport recently dropped a video for “Cheap Words”, the b-side to his “Someone2Dance” 7″ that came out back in February. The video — directed by filmmaker Peter Rubi — is a moving piece that compliments the mood of Davenport’s track, which he describes as the “loneliness and isolation” one feels in a crumbling relationship.
Starring Davenport and a love interest played by actress and musician Erin Weber (of Garbaj Kaetz and formerly of SF band Crack: We Are Rock), it features “El Barto” cruising through downtown Los Angeles (warts and all) in a 1973 Chrysler Newport, a scene filmed with a camera snuck into the legendary Kibitz Room at Canter’s Deli, and plenty of thousand-yard, heart-wrenching stares:
With 20 years of experience in the film industry, Rubi most recently worked as New Media Producer for Obama’s campaign in 2008, and then contributed to a documentary for the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program, before chasing tornadoes in last year’s Tornado Alley. He and Davenport have been friends for more than a decade, but it wasn’t until they ran into each other at a party that they finally began a working relationship.
Although he had no idea what the musician was up to, and although his only experience in the genre was shooting and editing a couple obscure Violent Femmes videos back in the day, Rubi told Davenport that he wanted to work together, and Davenport dove at the opportunity. Shortly thereafter, Rubi heard “Cheap Words” and was blown away. Simple as that, the seed was sewn for a beautiful collaboration.
With Davenport drawn to downtown L.A. by its picturesque lights and skyline at night, he and Rubi plotted a route through an area of town that most people wouldn’t think to feature in a video about the City of Angels. “Bart was super gung ho about capturing the beauty of downtown LA, and I appreciated that he saw value in it,” remembered Rubi. “A lot of people who come down from up north tend to disregard it, which is too bad for them.”
Although Rubi and Davenport both credit each other with the idea to set the “Cheap Words” video on the streets of L.A. at night, there’s no question whose idea it was to use a 1973 Chrysler Newport. That was Rubi. In fact, it was Rubi’s car. “I could write ten volumes of very thick books about the decade-long romance of that Chrysler and me,” Rubi said. “Briefly, it was the love of my life before I met my wife. It was what took me from Bay Ridge Brooklyn to Los Angeles, with many magical places and friends along the way.”
The car adds a beautiful element to a video that wouldn’t have looked quite right if Davenport were driving around in a Prius. “All of my songs, be they happy or sad sounding are about yearning for something more, a better life,” said Davenport, and Rubi perfectly captures that feel with all the facets of his video for “Cheap Words”, whether it be the grand scenery of L.A. at night, the clearly deteriorating course of Davenport and Weber’s onscreen relationship, or that old American gas guzzler.