Laura Gibson Haunts A Very Strange Hotel In "La Grande"

Laura Gibson is a singer-songwriter from Oregon... where pretty much all the really great indie artists come from, apparently. Seriously, it's like half of the musicians I find a brilliant music video for come either from England or the Pacific Northwest. Dreariness is apparently a muse, but I digress.

Gibson brings an amazing energy to her music. Think of her as a Rasputina with no cello and a throbbing John Lee Hooker rhythm. I came across the haunting music video for her tune "La Grande" through the office of Mick Cullen at Subterranean Radio.

Cullen sends me most of the best underground music to be found on the planet, and "La Grande" was no exception to his selection of true gems. "La Grande" is a period piece, though the exact period is sort of hard to pin down. There's a mishmash of jazz hats, old cars, and art deco that America has sort of labeled "the past."

Director Alicia Rose has cobbled together an absolutely amazing, if somewhat disturbing, tribute to Gibson's song. Gibson herself stars as a mysterious young woman who happens upon a haunted hotel full of ghostly specters clinging to the remains of previous lives.

"I visited the Hot Lake Hotel about a year before we shot the video, while writing the song "La Grande," says Gibson via email. "I had been looking up historic train wrecks in Oregon and came upon a picture of the hotel through an Oregon history Web site.

"When I Google-searched for the place to find out if I could stay the night, dozens of ghost-hunting Web sites came up," she adds. "Apparently it is known as one of the most haunted places in the United States (I'm not sure who decides these things).

"When I first met with Alicia Rose, I told her the story of my visit there, and we came up with the concept," concludes Gibson. "We were able to stay the night at the hotel during the shoot, and I didn't see a ghost, as hard as I tried to find one."

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner