257: The Golden Age
with Justin Connor
Justin Connor directed the film, The Golden Age and also plays the main role of Maya O'Malley in the film. When he began writing the script, he was watching a lot of documentaries about musicians' lives and became fascinated with the many details about their past, family lives, and struggles in terms of what propelled them to make such vibrant music.
Inspired by true events, The Golden Age is a musical film about the subversive pop star, Maya O'Malley who gets dropped from his music label after a string of incendiary remarks in the press.
Throughout the film, we see performances and interviews from Maya's past, as he uncovers the dark story of his abusive relationship with his father, while detailing his tumultuous journey towards spiritual redemption through friends, band mates, family members, and music critics, all set against the dreamy backdrop of his compelling, innovative songs.
In this episode, Justin talks about the idea of Ahimsa (non-violence toward all living things) and the connection to veganism. He also dives into his own spirituality and shares with us how his actions today are working FOR him rather than AGAINST him.
Watch the Film for Free Here:
More about The Golden Age (from his website):
Inspired by true events, THE GOLDEN AGE is a tour de force musical film about subversive pop star, Maya O’Malley (Justin Connor), who after a string of incendiary remarks in the press, gets dropped from his music label, Aspect Records in the Fall of 2012.
Shifting between the present day and performances/interviews from the past, we uncover the dark story of his abusive relationship with his father, while detailing his tumultuous journey towards spiritual redemption through friends, band mates, family members, and music critics, all set against the dreamy backdrop of his compelling, innovative songs.
As Maya sets out on a spiritual pilgrimage throughout mystical Northern India, he seeks refuge in the vast teachings of Hindu mythology in an attempt to resolve his troubled past.
Will Maya finally overcome the demons that have kept him trapped in a cycle of excess and fear?
More about Justin Connor:
“The Golden Age is my somewhat ambitious attempt to create a new genre of storytelling — infusing a full blown musical with a narrative rockumentary, incorporating vérité-style scenes and scenarios that continually blur the line between what’s real and what’s fake.
I wanted to create a sort of ‘fly on the wall’ intimacy between the audience and our musical protagonist, Maya O’Malley — allowing them to peer in on his fearless musical performances, and more importantly, allow the songs themselves to drive the narrative in a way that most musicals often shy away from. Musicals are a hard trick to pull off these days due to lip syncing and/or intricate staging — it’s easy to gather whether someone is, or better yet, is not singing the song. So it was beyond imperative that everything be live — as it was happening — no overdubs, no tricks, no green screens — what you see and hear is what you get: a kaleidoscopic, dreamy, nostalgic shift between various genres, time periods, and film stocks, in hopes that the spine of the film and protagonist’s plight could bind it all together in a unique and musically compelling way.
When I began writing the script, I was watching a lot of documentaries about musicians lives and became fascinated with the many details about their past, family lives, and struggles in terms of what propelled them to make such vibrant music. I found myself wondering, what if I could create Maya O’Malley’s journey in a similar vein — could we believe he was one of these musical greats without knowing him in the pop cultural way in which we know similar musical greats from the past. Would we be able to revel and take interest in his story in the same way, while at the same time trying to satirize the many institutions that the rockumentary genre is often based on — fame, media, pop culture, and familial trauma from the past that often plagues many artists.
At the end of the day, I think I secretly if not subconsciously set out to make a spiritual satire of material life through the guise of a famous musician. No easy task, but in hindsight, that was always the main collective thread that bound it all together.”
— Justin Connor, Director of The Golden Age