“Calamity Song” Premieres – Directed by Michael Schur in Oregon


The Decemberists’ most recent music video to the track “Calamity Song” off The King Is Dead album made its worldwide debut this morning and is already getting plenty of acclaim from music fans and the press alike. Directed by “Parks & Recreation” co-creator Michael Schur, the video portrays a group of kids playing what to the non-literary mind looks like tennis but is in fact Eschaton – the athletic game leading to global nuclear crisis from David Foster Wallace’s dystopic opus “Infinite Jest.” It’s an abstract idea for a music video, even for an apocalyptic tune like “Calamity Song,” but Decemberists’ front man Colin Meloy found a kindred spirit in Schur to bring it to life.

“‘Infinite Jest geeks will hopefully enjoy all of the specific references and small details, but we tried to design it so that those with no knowledge of the book at all would be able to understand and enjoy it, as well,” Schur told NPR. Meloy continues this train of thought in The New York Times article, saying, “’There’s this kind of resigned dark humor that people can hold onto… It can be a moment of levity. Whether or not we are really moving into the end times, I think is hard to say, but at least we can have a sense of humor as we go down.’”

When Oregon Film was contacted to give some suggestions as to locations for the shoot, we jumped at the opportunity to help.  Not only was it a privilege to help out one of the more significant musical acts in the state, but it was particularly exciting to help out Michael Schur and Producer Morgan Sackett on their first production in Oregon. The video was shot at Grant Park in NE Portland and everyone assumed July 17 would be a great day for a game of tennis.  Then the rain came in – and then it rained, and rained, and rained.  Amazingly the crew sucked it up and produced a video featuring a tennis match in the rain.  From what we hear everyone was happy with the results and the video looks great!

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