Shadow and Light

I’m at a friend’s cottage in Joshua Tree right now. I got here while it was already dark, so I’m looking forward to waking up tomorrow to the pink and grey swirled sunrise above the boulders, framing the spiky, exuberant silhouettes of the Joshua trees.

I am reminded of the last time I was here.

Last year, we came to the the desert to shoot this video for Scott’s song, “Watch the Shadows.” We were a rowdy crowd: DJ Mendel (director), Kaz Phillips Safer (DP), Anais Borck (actor/pure loveliness), SS711 (soulmate/star), Tariku Moon (dinosaur wrangler/hellraiser), and me (cooker of pancakes/holder of sunblock).

It was a crazy and memorable weekend. We all worked our asses off in the desert sun, and wound up with that satisfying exhaustion that comes from pouring yourself into something you believe in.For a few different reasons, Scott hadn’t released the video yet. But something tragic happened last week and it lit a fire under his ass.

I got a call from DJ telling me Anais had died. The causes are unclear, but basically she died in her sleep at 31 years old.

I spent time with Anais both in NY and LA. It’s almost impossible not to talk about how beautiful she was. It usually annoys me when physical beauty is the first thing remarked on when someone dies tragically young. But. She was. She was like Disney Princess Fairy Angel pretty. Tall, effortlessly fashionable, blonde hair falling around her sculpted face, saucer stormy ocean blue eyes. She was gorgeous at the breakfast table, in curlers and horn-rimmed glasses.

She was kind and sweet, with something fragile or lost hovering around her edges. She always seemed to me not quite gritty enough for this world. I am glad I knew her, even a little.

Anais was a joy to work with- uncomplaining and game for anything. Tariku and I hung around the shoot all day. I was sort of the all-purpose set mom, toting water and sunblock and trail mix and making sure everyone was all right. Tariku was my assistant and he thought Anais was swell. He couldn’t get enough of her.

When my best friend died, I spent many sleepless nights combing the internet for any hint of her. We thought that we’d release this video now, finally, so that Anais’s loved ones, who are out there in the dark, hungry to see images of her, may spend some time with her soulful, indeed, beautiful, face.

Also, it’s an amazing song that has lived too long in Scott’s studio. It’s time.


desert 6

6 thoughts on “Shadow and Light

  1. What a shame – what a beauty… what a beautiful memory – and what a great song! I’m so glad you shared it with the world… I hope it’s a comfort to you all and her friends… sigh.

  2. She was a friend of a friend in NYC . He showed me ‘Star Studded’ .

    Anais brings forth a transcendent sweetness in the human condition . Even though it is only eight minutes , it is one of the best films I have ever seen .

  3. Hello. I am Nikki’s brother (Anais went by this nickname, her middle name was Nicole, for most of her childhood until she started using her given name of Anais during college). Just came across this while go googling my sisters name. I am about to watch the video and want to say thanks for honoring her memory with your story of the desert shoot. FYI, the official cause of death was an acute asthma attack. If anyone has any other stories, pictures, and/or even questions about Nik/Anais, please feel free to reach out to me personally, I will be sure to pass this post and anything else we can use to remember her to our other sisters and mom. Sincerely, Ryan Borck.

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