Home >> The Wake
The scene at Grandfather’s wake becomes extraordinary, as it is not only heavily attended by friends and colleagues from the Chicago universities, but by distinguished admirers of all races and persuasions from all over the world. One admirer is none other than the President of the United States (President Byron Pavao), as he happens to have been the candidate (then Sen. D-Illinois) opposing Grandfather’s eldest son (Senator Frederick Benjamin Ryley III (R-Illinois) in the last national election for the office of the Presidency of the United States. Senator Ryley is a man caught in the cultural Armageddon of his time, reeling from the political pressure he is under from his party to uphold traditional American values and interests. But the Democrats see other sacred American values as being neglected or even steamrolled in the process.
Meanwhile, his conservatism has also caused a temporary estrangement from his beloved family, who are traditional Rooseveltians.
Benjamin Ryley and the President have continued to be at odds in the years since the election. But recently, at the urging of his dying father, he has “reached out’’ to his rival, as well as to his very own family, in an effort to heal old wounds.
As a rigid conservative, Frederick and his younger brother Jim are opposites in most ways, and they had been feuding mightily. But the dying wishes of their father had begun to crack the wall that has been growing between them, as they both respect his last request – to reach out to each other, and melt all jealousy and hubris; to resolve the philosophical divide that has estranged the Senator from his family; and to reach out to President Pavao, and release the combined diplomatic, compassionate, and creative energies that have always defined the Ryley name.
The female lead singer, Mary Jean, is always by Clay’s side, and this quiet beauty is literally the “girl next door,” but highly intelligent and well mannered. Her mother (Anne Kensington) is a “child of the 60’s” who is still beautiful, and she sings a truly emotional guitar ballad at Grandfather’s wake.
Of Love and War
Clay sees fit to marry Mary Jean, and a raucous wedding reception scene ensues, with the band playing “Obladi” at the crowd’s request. They decide not to break the band up as a result of a recent squabble, but to stick together through thick and thin.
The Visionaries win a local Battle of the Bands reality show contest in their hometown area at Springfield, Illinois and then drive to Chicago in order to enter the semi-finals, and a chance to go to NYC where the winner receives a record contract! In Chicago they meet a very cool black singer named Misto, who mesmerizes an audience at a nightclub with his beautiful, other worldly singing. He introduces them to a very cool Iranian graduate student with a beautiful smile, Ariel, visiting from New York University. He loves them, and wants to become their manager.
They proceed to go up against a very hot hip-hop band in Chicago. They prepare themselves for probable defeat, but they win the hearts of enough of the judges to win a trip to the finals in NYC, and a potential record contract! They call home with all the good news.
When they arrive in New York, things start to go wrong. This time they lose the finals to a very dark heavy metal band named Armageddon. Ariel is having trouble getting them booked, and then, to make matters worse, he is arrested by Homeland Security due to a mistaken identity (he promises to catch up with them later). They become victims to credit card fraud. They begin to lose faith.
The group is resigned to go home to Springfield in defeat because of the tremendous expense of living in New York without work. They go out into the streets of New York in a depression, heartbroken over their loss. The music is haunting as they meander aimlessly. When they all return to their hostel, they sit and stare, lost in a funk. Finally, they start to make plans to leave the city. They call home and after giving Dad (Jim Ryley) the bad news, they begin to drink a little wine, and fall into a depression.
Meanwhile, Jim gives the news to Clay’s mom (Lydia Ryley), who, with a tear in her eye, proceeds to fall asleep for a nap. She dreams of the band, The Visionaries, her beloved children, whose dreams of destiny have now been severely shaken. She sees them darkly, in a dimly lit room, talking softly, trying to cheer each other up, but failing miserably. The funk is deep, and they can’t shake it. A deafening silence seems to never end, when, suddenly, the phone rings.
It is the management representing a major concert promoter. It seems that Misto had convinced him to take in the Battle Of The Bands performance, and he now wants The Visionaries to perform in a worldwide concert tour called “Stop The Madness”, beginning next month at Madison Square Garden!
Misto joins the group.