Screens & Tech
Critic's Pick: Girl in a Coma's documentary 'Jammin'' shows their early years
Published: February 22, 2012
Since 2006's Jammin', a TV documentary of the early years of Girl in a Coma, the band's circumstances have changed a bit. "Back then, we were trying to find out when we were going to have lunch," drummer Phanie Díaz said. Yet, the most amazing thing about this must-see 45-minute movie is how little they've changed as people. Yes, they look younger here (Nina was 17) as they enter the studio to record the demo of a demo when they had no idea what the future would bring. Despite success, they were then as they are now: humble, firmly rooted in San Antonio, and, most importantly, the enjoyers of a rare musical chemistry.
The movie shows them performing, writing, recording, and in intimate moments. Knowing now what we didn't when this rarely seen movie first aired makes it a doubly juicy experience. If the movie itself weren't enough to lure you out, there will be a Q&A with the band following the screening, and a GIAC concert with guest singer-songwriter David Garza (who, last I saw him, was doing a killer opening set for Nina at the now-defunct San Antone Café and Concerts).
Before you say anything about the fact that Jammin' director Jim Mendiola is also the festival's curator/director, let me remind you this movie is out of the competition. Besides, it's about the right band, opens in the right festival, and is shown in the right city. To open with this is a wise choice.
The way Nina sings "Race Car Driver," "Road to Home," and "Clumsy Sky" displays not only an incredible singer but an above-average lyricist as well, even from early on. Her becoming the lead singer was a pleasant surprise even for her bandmates.
"If she hadn't come along, I'd probably be working in a pizza joint," says bassist Jenn Alva in the movie. "Shift manager, or something."
Nothing wrong with working at a pizza joint, but thank God — and Nina — that it didn't have to come to that.
★★★ ½ (out of 5 stars)
Dir. Jim Mendiola; feat. Nina Díaz, Phanie Díaz, Jenn Alva
Jammin' screening followed by Q & A
6pm Sat, Feb 25
Girl in a Coma concert feat. David Garza
$10 presale ($15 at the door)
8pm Sat, Feb 25
$20 for movie, Q & A, and concert
> Email Enrique Lopetegui