Dana Alexandra was ready for her close-up on a recent Wednesday. Kind of.

The York singer/songwriter confessed that she was anxious about shooting her first music video. Her co-star and local musician Max Hess, and director Justin Sprenkle both helped calm her nerves.

So did the 1940s-inspired wardrobe. Alexandra borrowed a vintage-style red halter dress from a friend for the shoot.

"I usually wear those types of dresses," she said. "It was really easy to get into (character to be) the club singer."

The hair, makeup and shoes were a different story. But, despite the humidity, her blonde hair held its curl. Her fake eyelashes didn't budge. Her red lipstick didn't smudge and her silver heels could be removed in between takes.

She gingerly stepped up to the mike and positioned herself in front of the light ring to illuminate her face for the first shot.

"It looks like a torture device," she joked.

Once the first strains of the bouncy piano pop tune "Decanter" started, she lip-synched to her own voice in front of the camera.

That voice was the first Hess - the songwriter - thought about when he considered collaborating with a female vocalist.

Hess, who wore a white sports coat and a black bow tie during the shoot, started playing guitar when he was 12.

After about a decade of rocking with area bands, he took up the piano and started writing his own tunes.

Justin Sprenkle, left, adjusts his camera during a music video shoot for the Max Hess and Dana Alexandra, far right, collaboration  Decanter.
Justin Sprenkle, left, adjusts his camera during a music video shoot for the Max Hess and Dana Alexandra, far right, collaboration Decanter. (DAILY RECORD / SUNDAY NEWS BIL BOWDEN )
He came up with "Decanter's" chord progression last summer, but said his vocals weren't a good fit for the tune.

So, he called up Alexandra, who he had met one night at the First Capitol Dispensing Co. in York.

"It's a fun song," Alexandra said. "It's still up my alley."

Hess, who has never made a music video before, thought the song sounded old-fashioned, so he wanted to set it in a saloon.

York's Valencia Ballroom popped into his head, mostly because he attended his West York Area High School proms there. He enlisted local photographer Justin Sprenkle to bring his vision to life on video.

As I sat there watching the action unfold last week, I couldn't help but think of other musicians who've included York in their work.

Phene, aka Zach Richards, recently released his video "Writing on the Wall." Even though he headed to Atlanta a few years ago, he came back home to shoot his hip-hop video, which features several local businesses, community members and buildings.

In April, New York-based The Gypsy Nomads dropped by The York Emporium to shoot the music video for their song "Make Out."

Last month, Philadelphia rapper Omillio Sparks, aka Kenneth Johnson, came to York to film a video.

David Byrne's live EP "Everything That Happens Will Happen on This Tour" came out last June and was recorded during his December 2008 show at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center.

The list goes on.

For Sprenkle, the best part of shooting at the Valencia was the lighting.

York County singer/songwriter Dana Alexandra performs in front of a light ring during the video shoot for the song  Decanter.  Local artist Matt Hess wrote
York County singer/songwriter Dana Alexandra performs in front of a light ring during the video shoot for the song Decanter. Local artist Matt Hess wrote the tune. (DAILY RECORD / SUNDAY NEWS BIL BOWDEN )
 The hardest part was that it was such a large room, it looked empty even with about a dozen swing-dancing extras. So, he helped Alexandra and Hess recruit more people.

Katelyn Lanphier of West Manchester Township had about 10 minutes to teach the volunteers moves she picked up form the York Swing Dance Club.

"I didn't know what to expect, but it ended up being really fun," she said.

Both Hess and Alexandra said they want to collaborate with other local artists in the future, but after shooting wrapped Wednesday, they still had one more stop.

They planned to shoot the black-and-white beginning sequence where they met, the First Cap.

POPeye is a bi-weekly column focusing on the ever-changing landscape of popular culture. To reach writer Erin McCracken, call 771-2051 or send an e-mail to emccracken@ydr.com.

Halestorm, Gracious Few release music videos

Halestorm, the rockers from Red Lion, and The Gracious Few - Live's Chad Gracey, Patrick Dahlheimer and Chad Taylor and Candlebox's Sean Hennesy and Kevin Martin - both released music videos last week.

Halestorm's Lzzy Hale wrote about the "Familiar Taste of Poison" video in a band newsletter: "This is a movie, set in 1940s Hollywood, shot in film noir style and grace. Myself, a young starlet, (is the) center of a murder mystery. Joe (is) cast as 'Hard boiled Joe, the head detective in the case.' Josh (is) cast as 'Playboy Dr. Smith, the suspiciously smarmy boyfriend,' and Arejay (is cast) as, 'the coroner, owner of Arejay's Cadaver Palace, and head of forensics, who is helping Joe with the case.'"

The Gracious Few's video for their single "Honest Man" debuted on Yahoo! Music. The band also announced that its self-titled debut, which was produced by Talking Head's Jerry Harrison, will be released Sept. 14 on the band's label, Questionable Entertainment.

For details and to watch both videos, visit www.yorkblog.com/flipside. Search the August 2010 archives.

On the Web

For details about Dana Alexandra, visit www.myspace.com/danaalexandraa.

For details about Justin Sprenkle, visit sprenk.tumblr.com.

Watch a teaser for the "Decanter" video: vimeo.com/14094266