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Bayou Maharajah: The Life and Music of James Booker's video poster

Bayou Maharajah is a feature-length video documentary on the life and music of New Orleans piano legend James Booker. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on December 31, 2010.

Bayou Maharajah is a feature-length video documentary on the life and music of New Orleans piano legend James Booker.

About this project

The film is shot; now I just gotta edit it! Since January 2010, I've been producing a video documentary on the life and music of piano legend James Booker. Born and died in New Orleans, his music reached heights that, I would argue, expands music's potential and transcends genre in a way that most musicians (and definitely us non-musicians!) can only barely wrap our head around.

..and even all that aside, Booker was a pretty cool dude. Dr John and Allen Toussaint both have described him as a genius. He gave Harry Connick Jr piano lessons. Stories of his eccentricities and his wild shows abound. One friend described him as the "best black, gay, one-eyed, junkie piano player I ever heard". But conversations I've had with Booker's friends and colleagues draw a much more complex, thoughtful, and sensitive person than anything his crazy stage act would lead you to believe. THIS is the story that I want to capture in the film.

Interviews already filmed include:
Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Charles Neville, Cosimo Matassa, Harry Connick Sr, Bunny Matthews, Joe Boyd, Joshua Paxton, Tom McDermott, Reggie Scanlan, Ronald Markham, George Winston, David Kunian, Brobson Lutz, Lee Madere, Jim Sheurich, John Singleton, Johnny Vidacovich, Scott Billington, Dr. Bruce Raeburn, Tom Stagg.

I showed a 'sneak peak' of the film at the Ponderosa Stomp in September and audience response was overwhelming. I have been contacted by excited Booker fans around the globe, eager to see the final product. I know there's an audience for this film out there; all I need is $10,000 to edit it.

Here's the budget breakdown:
My goal is to have a rough cut by JazzFest 2011 (ie. the last weekend in April). I need is an editing salary of $600/week to sustain me and my bare-bones production team from January-April. $600/week x 4 months = $9,600. I'm adding in $400 to cover the fees from Kickstarter and the postage for thank you gifts.

So- spread the word! Re-post to your FB or online community. Tell your musician friends, your JazzFest lovers, your documentary film buffs. And feel free to message me with questions. We can do this!



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  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    4 backers

    We'll send you a Creative International Associates post card signed by director Lily Keber.

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    Pledge $15 or more

    3 backers

    Official Bayou Maharajah sticker. You won't get them anywhere else but here!

  • You selected
    Pledge $35 or more

    17 backers

    You'll get our 'Booker 101' mix CD + carefully-researched, insightful (some might even say amusing) liner notes. A great treat for Booker newbies and devotees alike.

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    13 backers

    Get the exclusive Bayou Maharajah t-shirt. Designed by New Orleans artist Scott Guion and printed on soft black cotton by local printer Kelly Scardina.

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    Pledge $100 or more

    6 backers

    Get a hand-silkscreened Bayou Maharajah poster by legendary New Orleans artist Bunny Matthews.

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    Pledge $200 or more

    9 backers

    Booker grab bag! Get ALL of the above PLUS any new stuff that comes along.

  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    1 backer Limited (3 left of 4)

    Dinner for 2, cooked by director Lily Keber. Live piano entertainment. See out takes from the film and hear all the stories about James Booker too juicy to make it into the final cut. (Available only in New Orleans.)

  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    4 backers

    Supporter credit in the film. All of the fun stuff above PLUS V.I.P. seating at all Bayou Maharajah screenings, sneak peeks, and concerts (and other goodies as they come along!).

  • You selected
    Pledge $10,000

    0 backers

    Executive Producer. Let's talk.


Funding period

- (62 days)