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Help Mary Jo Pehl create a CD of original songs that pay homage to the films of Mystery Science Theater 3000!
Help Mary Jo Pehl create a CD of original songs that pay homage to the films of Mystery Science Theater 3000!
226 backers pledged $9,810 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Hello! My name is Mary Jo Pehl. 

You may know me as the the leggy (-ish), blonde (kinda) co-star (sorta) of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Cinematic Titanic. 

I am recording an album of original songs that pay homage to bad movies of Mystery Science Theater 3000. 

After the phenomenal, chart-topping success of “When Loving Lovers Love” from the episode “Overdrawn At The Memory Bank”, tens and tens of people clamored for more. 

And so, the Chanteuse of Cinema is back.

 I will be singing four or five imagined theme songs to such MST3K favorites as Mitchell, Space Mutiny, Eegah, and of course, Manos, The Hands of Fate. 

The songs will be written by veteran Twin Cities musicians Michael Warren, Claudia Hankin, and Tony Balluff, and performed by yours truly in a variety of genres such as power pop, ballad, pop-country, and perhaps a duet even a very special guest singer (wink!). 

We will be making this CD available online, available as a download, and at any of my appearances. One or two may also be featured in a solo show that I have been developing over the past couple of years, a version of which debuted in Austin, TX in 2011. 

ABOUT US: 

Mary Jo Pehl is a writer/performer/producer with Cinematic Titanic, the live version of the Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000. She was a writer and actor in the recurring role of “Pearl Forrester” on the show. As a standup comedian, she has appeared on Comedy Central and A&E, and in stage productions in the Twin Cities, New York and Los Angeles. Mary Jo has also contributed to RiffTrax. She’s written for Austin Monthly, Minnesota Monthly, Austin Chronicle, Minneapolis StarTribune, and Salon.com, and has contributed to NPR’s All Things Considered and Life’s A Stitch: The Best of Contemporary Women’s Humor. Her book, Employee of the Month and Other Big Deals, is available through Amazon.com. 

Mary Jo sez: I, together with this ace songwriting and producing team, will be laying down some phat beats and taking the train to funky town in some loving tributes that these movies so richly deserve - after all they’ve been through. 

Songwriter and producer Michael Warren is a Minneapolis musician who has worked in a variety of capacities from cruise ship piano player to being the synth guy in improv space rock bands. He currently plays for Minneapolis bands Humanda, Dream Crusher, and Sean Anonymous. He has produced, composed, orchestrated and performed a whole bunch of stuff for various groups, individuals, theaters, and whatever corporate monster needs some peppy music played for the CEO before he tells a convention room full of people that the company is being sold and half of them are fired as of now. 

Mike sez: Me and my pals Claudia & Tony have been MST3K fans for years and are thrilled to be a part of this endeavor to bring Ms. Pehl's voice to the world. We hope to get her to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. 

Claudia Hankin is a playwright, novelist, admin, actor and editor. She has previously contributed lyrics to The Best of Midwest Burlesk festival, chanteuse Nadine DuBois, and the Southside Aces’ Christmas album. She lives in Minneapolis and makes a mean cocktail. 

Tony Balluff is a bandleader, arranger and clarinetist for the jazz band Southside Aces. He also plays with Patty and the Buttons, The Bill Evans New Orleans Jazz Band, French 75, and whomever else will have him. He even once backed up writer Neil Gaiman. 

OUR GOAL: $7,500 

The funds will be used for: 

• Stipends for the musicians/songwriters and producer
• Two to three days in a recording studio • Mixing and mastering • Graphic design of the CD cover, including photography
• Printing CDs, full color liner jackets, and jewel cases
• Mary Jo’s travel to the Twin Cities from Austin, TX to record with Mike
• Shipping and fulfillment costs for some of the incentives
• A percentage goes to Kickstarter, of course
• Taxes If we’re lucky enough to exceed our goal, any additional funds will go to bump up the compensation of the musicians/songwriters, and producer Mike Warren. 

We estimate this project to be complete by February 2014. Thank you for taking the time to consider contributing to this campaign. If you have any questions, please email me at mjopehl @ gmail-dot-com. Please spread the word about this campaign if you’re so inclined.

Risks and challenges

For the past six years, I’ve been a producer, writer, and performer with Cinematic Titanic, the live stage version of Mystery Science Theater 3000. As part of an artist-owned endeavor, I’ve been part of a team that has had to coordinate the gamut of such thing: working with venues to advance shows, coordinating travel and hotel arrangements for the team, writing and editing scripts.

I have written and self-published a book. This involved coordinating and overseeing all aspects of its editing and publication.

Each of us involved in the project - Michael, Claudia, Tony and myself - have been independent artists/entertainers for decades. We have created numerous solo projects, be it theater, bands, writing, and collaborated many people to bring our endeavors to fruition.

But we also know that every project has risks and unanticipated roadblocks. We plan to record in January 2014 in Minneapolis; however, with each of us trying to take gigs as they come along, there may be issues in coordinating our schedules. Costs for DVD copies may increase.

However, we are nothing if not gifted improvisationalists! Being so experienced about how these things can go, and being creative and committed, we know we can "punt"! We are resourceful and responsible - and Midwesterners, fer cryin' out loud! - so you know we're good for it!

Just as important, we are all excited and committed to this project and are already having a ball in its preliminary stages. I think I speak for Michael, Tony, Claudia and myself when I say we can't wait to do this project.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A personalized, handwritten thank you note on my handmade stationery.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    You’ll recipe my special recipe for tater tot hotdish, the food of my people, with a handwritten thank you note.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    You’ll receive an advance, “rough draft” download of one of the first songs we record.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Digital Download of the finished CD: Back at this level and you'll be the first to get a digital download of the CD when it is completed. You’ll also get the liner notes and track listing that goes along with an actual CD, but digital times call for digital action.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    The actual CD that actually goes into your CD player. (Or to use as a coaster or Christmas tree decoration.) Just like the digital download, but it's a real thing! With liner notes and everything!

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    An actual CD - and with an actual autograph!

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    You’ll receive an autographed copy of my book, “Employee of the Month And Other Big Deals,” and an autographed photograph.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    I will be the celebrity godparent to your pet, complete with a certificate of authentication and an autographed, Photoshopped photo of me with your pet.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    I will personally copyedit your holiday newsletter. Consider me your “Guest Editor”.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    An original, one of a kind piece of art created for an auction that, um, well, it never got bid on - but I swear it’s really cool! You’ll also get an autographed photo. (1 only)

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Your name in our “Special Thanks To” on the liner notes, and an autographed CD.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    You’ll be part of the inner circle privy to the progress of the project. You’ll get updates via email, access to the blog charting our progress with updates from the songwriters, Mike Warren, and Mary Jo, and video from recording sessions, and more. Hey, this is new to me too, and I’ll want to tell you about it! You’ll also receive an autographed CD and a special thanks on the liner notes.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    You’ll get to title one of the songs. In addition, you’ll have access to the blog and emails charting our progress, a special thanks, and an autographed CD.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Have lunch with me and Mike Warren, and the songwriters in the Twin Cities to talk about the creative process. You choose the place, we’re buying! We’ll bring your gift bag of additional goodies, including an autographed CD, an autographed photo of Mary Jo, and other surprises!

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Get this: you get to be on the CD playing an instrument of your choosing - whether it’s the French horn or the tambourine - with a credit on the liner notes! You can either do this on site during an actual recording session or you can send us a digital track. You’ll also be part of the inner circle (see $500 level), an autographed photo, that tater tot hotdish recipe you want so bad, and an audio recording of a story from my book.

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Funding period

- (30 days)