Mayer Hawthorne music video has a canine connection

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"Her Favorite Song," isn't only a catchy tune from musician/singer Mayer Hawthorne; it's also eye-catching. The music video features about a dozen dogs.

The canines perform in Hawthorne's band at a fictional dance club called the Avalon. The dogs tend bar (with a Bull Terrier mixing a margarita), play instruments in Hawthorne's band and flirt with actress/model Brittany Brousseau.

"We went through a million directors and no one could come up with the right idea for this video, until I found Nick Walker in Los Angeles," Hawthorne comments from his tour bus. He said, 'Why don't we show that all men are dogs, and use real dogs?' It was a moment where I instantly said, 'Yes, let's do it.'"

Walker helped create visual effects for many familiar movies, including "The Avengers," "Madagascar" and "Shrek." On her blog, Brousseau writes, "As the biggest dog lover, I was thrilled to show up to find a bunch of cute dogs had been cast."

Hawthorne said he had no idea that dogs can be good actors, but there's little doubt that the canines stole the video.

"I find myself a fairly charismatic dude, and these dogs blew me off the screen," he says. "I was completely impressed with their level of training and skill. There are no CGI (computer generated imagery) effects. Dude, the dogs are really doing this stuff. There's one scene at the end (of the video) with six or seven dogs, all wearing human clothes; all the dogs are in a 'sit' and then a tennis ball is waved in from of them. For a moment, they watch the ball and don't move, then they all run after it at once."

Laughing, he continues, "Dude, now I know what that old Hollywood thing is about -- work with kids or animals and you'll be up-staged." Hawthorne's quick to add that he's just pleased that the video is garnering attention, which also means the song is doing well, as is the complete CD "Where Does This Door Go."

It wasn't only the dogs who upstaged the singer; it was also Brousseau. In the video, she cozies up to several canine stars, and receives more than one wet dog kiss. Could this be her breakout Courtney Cox moment? Cox, who starred on "Friends" and is currently seen in "Cougar Town" (now on TBS), got her big break appearing in Bruce Springsteen's 1984 "Dancing in the Dark" music video as the fan being pulled on stage to dance with Bruce.

Hawthorne laughs. "Yeah, I hope this (video) makes her a start, but she's well on her way," he says.

Meanwhile, Hawthorne's own career is on the rise, calling this most recent CD his most varied and most representative of who he is. The Ann Arbor, MI native's musical inspirations are as varied as the music on his latest CD, from the late hip hop and pop music producer J. Dilla to rhythm and blues legends Smokey Robinson, Barry White and Curtis Mayfield. He also mentions the Police, Steely Dan and Hall and Oates.

Hawthorne was recently invited to perform on the Internet and VH1 show, "Live from Daryl's House."

"It was amazing, to go to his (Daryl Hall's) actual house and jam; the coolest ever, man," Hawthorne says.

Hawthorne says doing a video with canine co-stars kind of made sense because he grew up with dogs.

"When I was little, my dad thought none of us (Hawthorne has two siblings) could handle the responsibility (of caring for a dog). His stipulation was that if we got a dog, we'd name it Joe-Bob. He thought with a name like that we'd never get the dog, but we did and that was his name. He was a Golden-Lab."

Hawthorne's website is http://www.mayerhawthorne.com.

(Steve Dale welcomes questions/comments from readers. Although he can't answer all of them individually, he'll answer those of general interest in his column Send e-mail to PETWORLD(at)STEVE DALE.TV. Include your name, city and state. Steve's website is http://www.stevedalepetworld.com; he also hosts the nationally syndicated "Steve Dale's Pet World" and "The Pet Minute." He's also a contributing editor to USA Weekend.)

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