bradenlee.com • twitter.com/braden_lee
FOSHAY draws inspiration from the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi, the Foshay Tower, and the man behind the spire.
In his younger years, Wilbur Foshay was an art student with a fond appreciation for the Washington monument. "It is beautiful, but with windows it would be useful." He made his fortune buying public utilities and selling the stocks, using his money to fulfill a lifelong dream.
Completing the tower in 1929, Foshay invited 25,000 guests to an elaborate three-day dedication ceremony. Cabinet members, senators and congressman received all-expenses paid trips. Half-nude dancers entertained. The military gave 19-gun salutes. Each guest received a gold pocket watch. John Philips Sousa conducted music, including a march he wrote just for the occasion.
Two months later, Sousa's $20,000 check bounced. The market crashed. Foshay lost everything. Including the tower. In retaliation, Sousa prohibited the playing of the march so long as the debt remained outstanding.
Much like the fictional Jay Gatsby, Foshay was a self-made man who tried to buy his way into a community, but was never accepted. He wanted something he could never be and, like Gatsby, took a tragic turn.
In 1932, Foshay was convicted of mail fraud and sent to Leavenworth for running a pyramid scheme with his investors' money. He was pardoned a few years later, but died in relative obscurity.
His tower stands today. And the name 'FOSHAY', in 10-foot letters, still lights up the Minneapolis sky, 400 feet above the earth. The names of those whose lives he coveted have mostly been forgotten, resting inches from the ground.
Greycoats is an art rock band from Minneapolis. Their sophomore full-length album, World of Tomorrow, was self-released in January 2013.
• STREAM & DL "World of Tomorrow" FREE: greycoats.bandcamp.com/album/world-of-tomorrow
MGMT/Booking: Paul Gillis, email@example.com
Director, DP, Editor, Producer: Braden Lee
Ballerina: Shannon Corbett
PA: Christine Miller
Location: Grant Spanier
Graded with FilmConvert