Truly CA

KQED Newsletters


Get regular updates on great programs and events

More from KQED

Why Isn't Chris von Sneidern Famous?

See a preview of this Truly CA episode.

An upstate New York teenager heads to California to play rock and roll. Twenty years and twelve albums later he continues to play small clubs and is little known outside pockets of devoted fans around the world. Why do some artists garner mass adulation while others remain cult heroes?

Critically acclaimed for his musical talent and known for his charismatic and uncompromising personality, singer/songwriter and guitarist Chris von Sneidern (CVS) is a long-time fixture of San Francisco's independent music scene. CVS performed in bands in the '80s and '90s including local favorites: Flying Color, The Sneeches and John Wesley Harding's band, The Radical Gentlemen.

The film follows CVS for four years, capturing candid and funny interviews and engaging performances. The film doesn't shy away from the poignant questions of offstage life, as CVS confronts middle age and attempts to reconcile his current station with the grand visions he and others continue to hold for him.

In interviews and small club performances filmed in San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Montana, the film is complimented with personal conversations with fellow musicians (including John Wesley Harding and Peter Straus -- formerly of The Dwarves), music critics, producers and family. San Francisco Chronicle's Joel Selvin provides insights into the particular crisis faced by local musicians and artists brought about by the dot-com era, and its lasting effect on the local music scene.

At its core, Why Isn't Chris von Sneidern Famous? is the story of the passionate search for artistic freedom and success, and the challenge posed by the inevitable disparity between our dreams and life's reality.

[Original air date: Sun, Nov 07, 2010]

This program is not currently scheduled for broadcast.

Filmmaker Profiles:

Kathleen McNamara

Read more about Kathleen McNamara, filmmaker of Why Isn't Chris von Sneidern Famous?


Why Isn't Chris von Sneidern Famous?: Crew & Credits

Executive Producer
Kent Jenkins

Nathan Brennan
Lise Swenson

Lise Swenson
Keith McNamara

Location Sound
Bob Whitfield
Kimetha Vanderveen

Editor & Motion Graphics
Eric Ladenberg

Consulting Editor & Color Correction
Jesse Spencer

Sound Mixer
James LeBrecht

Chris von Sneidern
Dave Amels
John Borack
Paul Bradshaw
Mike Carter
Dale Duncan
Ron Gompertz
John Wesley Harding
Kirsten Kreymann
London Pain
Sandra Pascarella
Jessica Selvin
Joel Selvin
Khoi Huynh
Alvar (Mike) von Sneidern
Erik von Sneidern
Peter Straus
Ron Sanchez

Also on this week ...

KQED Summer Fun Adventures
KQED Summer Fun Adventures

This summer, KQED is partnering with tons of fun places in the Bay Area offering exciting adventures and special savings when you show your MemberCard.

di Rosa
KQED Arts Hot Summer Days & Nights Guide

Get our picks for the season's best concerts, books, movies, outdoor plays, visual arts and more.

Sponsored by