And now, mermaid.
Portland’s Sara Jackson-Holman keeps revealing more facets as she introduces her latest album, Cardiology, to the world. Playing a fin-footed Siren in the new video for her single, “For Albert,” wasn’t an exercise in revelation, however; the supremely photogenic singer says the shoot was more of a chance to live out a childhood fantasy.
“The director (Portland cinematographer Aubree Bernier-Clarke) threw out a few ideas she had,” Jackson-Holman recalled by phone. “‘One of the ideas I have is ‘mermaid’ – and I cut her off and said, ‘Yes! I want that one!’ Given my love, my obsession for water — how I often I write about it, think about it, dream about it — and how much I loved The Little Mermaid when I was young, it was an obvious choice.”
The video begins inside Sloan’s Tavern in North Portland — a diner chosen for it’s funky decor and outtasight jukebox equipped with a rare antique “Band-Box.” There, an exquisitely garbed (by PDX costumer Jayme Hansen) Sara-mermaid rebuffs the attentions of a smitten sailor. From Sloan’s, the story weaves through the sidewalks of PDX, with the fishy singer being towed on a stripped-down Radio Flyer wagon.
Filming concluded on the Columbia River’s notorious clothing-optional Collins Beach; given that this was shot in October, there are (fortunately?) no nude sunbathers in the video’s background. The sailor and his catch encounter a sea witch and her aquatic coven living in the beach’s mysterious “spaceship,” the wreck of a bizarre tri-hulled craft that resembles a Jules Verne submarine.
The chanteuse didn’t shed her clothing on the sand, but she did lose her tail with a witch’s spell — only to return to the sea, er, river on newfound legs. Again, this was approaching Halloween. No stunt double.
“I just ran into the water… and ran out,” she recalled. “It was so cold!”
Three months later, Jackson-Holman still marvels at how well the project came together.
“Aubree has an awesome network of friends who are so talented and artistic,” she said. “I just went along with what my director-producer told me to do; everything was laid out to the last detail.
“I felt like I was watching a lot of it,” the singer continued. “There was a lot going on. It was the first time I’d done a video like this… I was pretty wide-eyed. It was all (Bernier-Clarke’s) ideas, and she’s great. All l I had to do was have fun.”
Of course, the shoot garnered a bit of attention as it progressed.
“People did stop and take pictures of me in the wagon,” Jackson-Holman remembered, “and the sea witch was standing across the street at the time; cars were slowing down.
“It was weird, but not too weird for Portland.”
Sara Jackson-Holman will appear at McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale on January 19th and at the Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg on January 25.