Local Current Blog

Behind the Scenes: Jeremy Ylvisaker’s virtual variety show ‘Nights for All Time’

“I feel like the online version of this show captures the spirit of the people in it,” video artist Ingrid Weise said. “Nights for All Time captures something vulnerable, intimate and real.”

Nights for All Time began as an in-person concert series curated by musician Jeremy Ylvisaker at Aster Cafe and has since transitioned to a digital version for a socially distanced world. Rather than approaching the video as just a live-streamed set from his home, Ylvisaker decided to use the flexibility of a virtual show to create a multimedia project.

“When we did the show in a bar we could really do anything,” Yvlisaker said. “We had a movie night, dancers, comedians…so it seemed like an obvious transition to include a variety of performers in the online version.”

The first two episodes showcase a wide range of artists explaining their craft in intimate setting including artist Annie Humphrey seated at her kitchen table, sewing moccasins and describing her creative projects captured with help of her child’s filming; The Suburbs’ Chan Poling seated at his home piano to share an improvisation alongside Ingrid Weise’s video work; an animated sequence from Turkish illustrator Mert Oztekin; and painter Laura Bennett walking through her therapeutic approach to creating work. Nights for All Time is a patient collage of vignettes showcasing unseen bits of artists and their creations.

“The intimacy of it is my favorite part,” Weise said. “It’s a lot of different things you wouldn’t usually get to see. There’s something for everyone and you’re not going to like everything, but you’ll definitely find something you like. In this perfectly curated social media world, its refreshing that sometimes the ones you wouldn’t normally seek out are the ones that stick with you.”

The project features some artists that have been guests to the live version of Nights for All Time, as well as some contributions from people Yvlisaker has stumbled across online, like Lizzie and Maddie, two young girls who posted a cover of a Babes in Toyland song from their living room.

“In some ways, this whole thing has really opened up what artists are capable of and been a big creative moment,” Yvlisaker said. “It’s given us an unexpected opportunity to create.”

Nights for All Time does something unique in creating a slow, patient pace amidst a hectic world, finding subtle uniting facets of individual contributions to create an inviting watch across its 20 minute episodes.

“I shoot things all day everyday and for this project I pulled from the archives” Weise said. “Most stuff I picked based on a feeling.”

Those pieces stitched together give the viewer as relaxed or cerebral of an experience as they choose.

“There’s symbolism if you’re looking for it, otherwise you can zone out and enjoy the pace,” Yvlisaker said.

Watch Alpha Consumer’s YouTube channel for future episodes.

Do you know a new Minnesota music video we should highlight in this feature? E-mail fridayfive [at] mpr.org.