Monday, October 30, 2006
What strikes me this time, probably my 15th time here since 1991, is that just like in NYC, the difference between upper upper middle class (or lower upper class) and migrant workers, meth addicts and down and outs, IS STAGGERING.
Just driving down Las Vegas Blvd. - all the way down, past the wedding chapels, the strip joints (the two that remain) and the tattoo parlors and pawn shops (SUPERPAWN!) - having not driven there since 2000, it hit me profoundly how, unlike Brooklyn, for instance, there is no gentrification here.
It's just ugly and divided sharply by class, race, and what have you.
The only thing pretty about Las Vegas is the mountains in the distance, which are not in Las Vegas. The view of the not so Vegasy mountains is tainted by the crap that people built at the foot of them.
I cannot help but think about "Planet of the Apes" and the ensuing Armageddon.
I have no choice but to get up early tomorrow (at this point, I haven’t slept since Brooklyn - 26 hours) and go photograph some of that stuff...
Although millions probably have.
Went to a burlesque show at Mandalay Bay tonight with Sharmeen and her crew. They folks there knew exactly what they were doing, recreating vintage music and the moves to a tee. But there was no NYC irony, and I missed that. Plus you had to tip the bathroom attendants, and I hate that...
Sharmeen danced her ass off on the stage.
That was awesome.
Photo is of two clowns who are scared of clowns.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Don't know when I'll be back.
Shot this yesterday in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
My favorite photographer, Jessica.
And she's gonna shoot me next.
Still listening to that damn REM compilation, even though Lauren tried to push me toward Wayne.
"There's a progress we have found, a way to talk around the problem..."
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Speed of life the last two days, in-between Stipey Mike making me weep...
Finished five models photos in a huge burst of energy - so Emily, Angela, Shuko, Desiree, and one of my favorite little MUAs and all around favorite people, Sibyl - watch the skies, or at least the US Postal Service. Maxine, I'm handing you yours baby, City of Quartz style...
Goal: Finish at least one and a half a day between now and Saturday. That's 6 more and that would be good, being that I'm still about 12 down (wait let me check) ok, 21...and I got 7 shoots coming up between tomorrow and the end of my Vegas/Los Angeles trip...(21-6=15+7=22)...
Shit...but it is quality over quantity as I promised myself. It's just that when you go to LA, the quality is stunning.
I'm going skydiving on Saturday, weather permitting. It's time. When I was a sophomore in college, my roommate, Dave and the two guys across the hall, Russell and one of my oldest friends, Chris went. They wanted me to go, but I said to them very confidently, I have stuff to do.
I guess I've done it, 'cause Saturday, I'm jumping out of a plane. With Michael (see link to the right) for his birthday.
Nothing like bouncing on your birthday...
Photo is of Mr. Newton, stolen by me, off the Interwebs. I don't know who took it, perhaps June or some assistant, but I love it.
This never happens to me. Never. Especially with Carrie Otis. And just for the record, I don't have a guy in surgeon scrubs propping me up when I decide to lean back and defy gravity WHILE Carrie Otis rubs her right foot in my mess.
I pretty much just use my calf muscles. Without Carrie Otis.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
It's the first day I've had off in weeks and I've decided to do nothing but some leisurely retouching of images more than an embarrassingly sell-by date old.
The first thing I discover after weeks of neglect is that my computer is a mess. Files everywhere, digital shots everywhere, duplicate files everywhere - shit, how did this happen?
So I spend some time straightening out what surely must have been The Baby Kitty in here mucking around while I was working for my "beauty and fashion" clients.
Almost finished with Maxine's photos from Los Angeles, so I attack the black & white negative scans. I shot Maxine back in June when she was in town for Fetish Week and since I am going to LA next week, I figure it would be decent to give her the long overdue shots. Upon inspecting the scans, I see that hers were the first I scanned with my new scanner and that they are kinda all over the place in quality. Was this before D. Brian (see link at right) helped me out with some very sound scanning advice? Apparently, as the first ten or so just plain suck ass. Ahhh, number eleven looks better (thanks D. Brian!) - so I rescan the first ten. Damn, I didn't really want to do that today...
I just picked up REM's "Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982-87" mostly for the bonus disc of band-picked rarities as I am a complete sucker for that shit. A word on REM: I have maintained publicly my entire adult life that I do not like them. Close friends and various significant others know better - I love them, well, at least the I.R.S. records and hell, even some of "Green" and "Monster" and, well, I do give them the benefit of the doubt with every release.
Part of the reason I "hate" them is that I was "there." REM played their first live show in Chapel Hill and it seemed like they came through town every ten minutes and everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, loved them. Well, not me - that wouldn't be very punk rock, now would it? Jangle jangle whine whine bleat bleat. That's all it was to me, as far as anyone knew...
I even saw them three or four times "out of spite" - the Fables tour, the Pageant tour, the Document tour...
This afternoon while listening to Disc 1, the "greatest hits," I found myself becoming very melancholy and even a little overwhelmed. By the time Disc 2 was in and "These Days" hit, the tears were flowing freely.
What the fuck? I'm crying over an REM song?
Nahhh, I’m crying over the loss of youth, the realization that everything is always fucked up. I'm crying over a part of my past - mind, spirit and body, that I wish I had back. People, places and things - gone. Feelings, emotions, and philosophies - so naïve and beautiful.
Photo is of Maxine - one of the good scans.
She is young despite the years. She is concern. She is hope despite the times...
...and I'm all wound up.
A quick one (while he's away)...
Exhausted. Nodding off at 5pm tonight when I call my girl (who is at work!) to tell her that "I'm taking a nap."
I NEVER take naps.
She says, that's cool, what about BECK tonight? But I thought Beck was tomorrow night, shit, let me look, SHIT, it IS tonight.
So, I have a cup of coffee, meet her at the 34th Street PATH station and away we go to Jersey City.
Bad news - Jersey City. Good news - 4th row.
Between the two of us, we had seen him 5 times. Good, great, ok, whatever, and I don't remember.
Beck is at the top of his game. If you are a fan, do not miss this tour. I cannot describe it right now ('cause you know, it's 3am), other than to say that it is well-thought out Dada, Absurdism, and Magic. Not to mention a STRONG set-list and musicianship across the board, bar none.
And puppets, a four-course meal and a city specific video. We got Bon Jovi.
Photo is from this morning of the wonderful sarcastic and beautiful Lee from Durham, NC, who rocked with me against a black background in the "famous" Starrett-Lehigh Building on 26th and the river. I took this on purpose for this very post. More to come...
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Sometimes, a band from long ago, stillborn, but one of your favorites - one that none of your friends knows - just your little guilty pleasure, says everything you feel like saying at any given moment.
The Toiling Midgets are saying it for me now. Search eBay for "Son," their last album featuring Mark Eitzel.
It's why I LOVE music. And photogrpahy.
My work has a soundtrack.
This is one of them.
When something’s dirty
You gotta make it come clean
America needs a hero
To put into it’s giant dream
Yeah, I understood
Me and Jodie Foster
We would have made a fine pair
If my aim had been straighter
Maybe I could have got somewhere
Yeah, I understood
You and me and our love
Could have gone into the stratosphere
But you know how hard it is
To ever find love anywhere
Yeah, I’m sorry, I understood
I loved you in your black dress
Photo is of Sarah Ellis, to whom I owe A TON of pictures.
She has been kind enough not to wail on me, which I appreciate.
I hadn't figured out the light under the chair thing, but Sarah was my first...
She is like zen.
I think a lot about everything. In fact, since I was 10 years old, I've pretty much thought of myself as an OVER THINKER.
Over thinking is an odd arrival point. Some things need to be thought out, talked about, and thought about again.
I think I love you but I'm not sure so instead of saying it let's just think about what love means to me and to you and I have no idea what that is and to all of us while we're at it and then is that gonna freak you out because if it is I'll take it all back and rethink my feelings even though I know at the core of my being that that is impossible...
At the same time, I am a HUGE proponent of "gut" as wisdom.
You feel it, you go for it.
I do it a lot. Like, everyday...
When I feel insecure, or am treading in an area that I am not confident in, I tend to OVER THINK.
FOR INSTANCE: Trying to choose 10 images from my THOUSANDS for a gallery show presentation...
GUT says: go with what you love. Fight fight fight -
So, after a lot of crazy ass rationalizations, platitudes and just plain crap thought, I did. Over thinking be damned.
Photo is of the long lost Sundae St. Laurent.
A bunch of us miss her...
I know I do. She's in the show.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Markus (see link to right) sent me his 10 images for our dual gallery show today and they are great.
They are new. They are old. They are black & white.
I sorta cheated and told him that I would send him my 10 images after he sent me his...
So, I've been going through years of shots all night trying to pick my own best shots.
This is impossible.
NEVER try to pick your own shots. Have people you trust help you. Have people with a non-egoist eye tell you that your opinion sucks ass and is worthless. Have people who are completely disconnected from your work tell you which ones appeal to them. The most.
So I picked 10. And I'm sleeping on them before I send them to Markus. I ALWAYS reserve that right...
Meeting with a NYC gallery on Thursday.
Ready to do the rest of the "13 Chairs" series. My idea is to have the self-published, limited edition of 100 copies available at said, non-existent gallery show. And the website - don't forget the website and "e-marketing" if you can keep the barf in your stomach and out of your throat.
$75.00. That's what they cost. Yep, this is just shit that I dreamed up on the Q rain on the way into the city to sit and wait for a client sign-off. This is the shit that I think might be the "best-case-scenario."
I have no idea what that means. I just made it up on the Q Train.
So, in that best-case-scenario, I'm printing up 100 copies of the book, including a real print, signing them with a Sharpie or something, and numbering them with a 1-100 over a slash with "100" over it. Right? And that's it. No more of those. They go on eBay for thousands of dollars. Prestige, since obviously, I get none of that. But hey, I ain't in it for the money anyway. Unless I get hungry, DAMMIT!
So, I'll reprint it bigger and glossier and more differenter. With Director's commentary and behind the scenes photos and never-before-seen shit that no one needs to see anyway AND a commemorative pin and a DVD of me making the book.
But EVERYONE will buy it.
Just like I bought the Universal Horror Series last year, only to be tempted to buy "Frankenstein" and "Dracula" again this year (doncha know? It's the 75th Anniversary!!!)
And don't even talk to me about the two versions of "Apocalypse Now" that I have. And "Lebowski."
Maybe I'll do a calendar too. And playing cards. No, really...
Photo is of Markus shooting Desiree Starr. Probably for his calendar.
Trying harder than anything in the world to deliver corporate women's clothing project. They just won't let me...
Listening way too much to Guided by Voices. They just won't play live again...
Hanging out with my sister. She's just trying to go to sleep in the other room...
My girl is sick from a plane, and nothing to do with snakes. It's just not fair...
Photo is of me, by Rich Goldstein, with my camera. (Rich, did I sign a release...?)
Friday, October 13, 2006
Three weeks. No need for matches anymore, save for the BBQ on the roof, being rained on soon to be snowed on.
Got a big box of CDs yesterday and am trying them out one by one. Been through two so far. The Hold Steady's "Boys and Girls in America" is ok. High expectations - sorta even keel results. But not bad. The second in the stack is The Twilight Singers' "Powder Burns."
Let's talk about Greg Dulli. Shall we?
I was a big Afghan Whigs fan. Saw them multiple times, last time in Providence, on Valentine's Day, 2000. Like Robert Pollard, do not try to outdrink or outdrug Mr. Dulli. He will smack you down in spades.
So - I bought all his post Whigs "I'm on my own and this is my new band - really - Twilight Singers" albums, and basically thought to myself, Greg's doing ok, he's just not writing shit that is as shit mighty as "Congregation." And really, who could?
"Powder Burns" is great. Not "Congregation" great, but what Mr. Dulli should be doing and doing well.
My sister is in town for the next few days for some seminar or something. I hung out with her and her friend tonight in the Marriot Marquee revolving bar thing in Times Square.
Martinis and 360 degree views of the most beautiful city in the world. Over and over again.
Not a bad thing.
I love my sister, and her friend was really cool.
Photo is of what happens at the end of a Demolition Derby. This one was August 2005, upstate New York.
It always ends in tears...
Monday, October 09, 2006
I want a Leica M8.
I want a Nikon F6.
The only reason I want them is that they kick ass, marketing and first hand testimonials.
My cousin owns a camera store chain in North Carolina and offered to "loan" me a Leica last year during the holidays.
I was scared. Scared I would want to buy it from him. But he's the guy I want to buy it from. I asked Richard and Tito last week @ Coffee Shop on Union Square if Leica "was all that?" They both said without blinking and kinda like I was a moron, "Yeah."
But, you know, I am fine with my old videodrome arm extension Pentax ZX-M and my Nikon D-50. I always loved lo-fi, home-grown, and idiot savant anything. Cassette fidelity, grinding spices to make curry even though it permanently injures your hand, and programmers who can send shit into space but do not know how to wash their clothes or get food on a regular basis.
I don't even know where I'm going with this...
So, why do I WANT these things? Well, as I said, they kick ass. How important is the status symbol to me?
I just wanna take good pitchers...
Photo is of Angela last night shot with my camera.
Finishing up my latest incarnation of the Very Famous Women's Wear Line project for Holiday '06 at the end of the week. What's "IN" for this season? I'm glad you asked. Two words: Gifts...
I shot with Angela from Newfoundland tonight. She's only shot with D. Brian (see link to the "write") and he recommended her to me. Thanks Don, Angela was amazing. So much willingness to "experience" in that 19 year old body. Such a great sense of humor, and somewhat of an old soul. We laughed, we shot, we got great stuff. As soon as I get to it, it will be here.
AND, Angela, who has been booked for three months or so, is my last shoot for two whole weeks. I need the time off, as I'm SO far behind in retouching and getting shots to models, getting shots to me, sending out my new website to reps, agencies, galleries and art and photo directors.
So far behind that I just plain suck ass.
On the 20th, I am shooting a very famous "pinup" photographer. She asked me personally and I was flattered. We're gonna rock it and the results will be everywhere. Or nowhere, depending on what she wants to do...
Then, I'm off to Las Vegas!
Oddly enough, I can't get anyone there to shoot with me. I sent out a couple of requests, but man, if you are looking for natural breasts, it ain't your town....WORD!
I've got two NATURAL prospects. TWO! Jesus, I could do better just sitting here in Brooklyn...
And then I'm driving across Death Valley (or at least the southern tip of it) to a mythical place called Los Angeles.
My thinking: Three days, three shoots, and only with my three favorite LA wish-list girls. I sent out the feeler emails and within 30 minutes all three had said YES.
Thank you Trish, Ginger and Mary. We're gonna party.
So the vacation never really happens, does it? You just take two weeks off so you can work really hard during every day of the third week. Yep, I guess that's the way we go...over and over and over.
Michael (see link to the right) wants me to go skydiving with him on his birthday. I've thought about it long and hard and I'M THERE.
There will be no Chiller this Halloween. Sorry Mark, but I'll be in Vegas...
Oh, and after two weeks and three days, the jonesing is at a minimum. Still happening, but manageable.
I haven't heard The Hold Steady's new album, BUT last year's "Separation Sunday" is a masterpiece.
Photo is of Amanda, who some of you that watch television might recognize from this season’s "Project Runway." Rich Goldstein and I shot her last summer in Williamsburg in 100 degree heat for two days straight for an editorial that we hoped to place, but alas, we we're thwarted by the stylist, who commissioned the shoot.
I could tell you what I think Amanda's chances are on PR based on my experience with working with her. But her agency at the time took the cake. They were truly heinous.
Friday, October 06, 2006
I miss people, places and things.
I miss things past.
What was that guy's name that I met in Rudy's Bar & Grill in Hell's Kitchen that was so fascinating?
What happened on the last episode of (the new) "Battlestar Galactica" that I watched two days ago?
When did my friend George jump into a swimming pool and break his neck?
What happened to my passport?
I can't remember.
And it's starting to worry me.
There is no history in my family of the disease that Alois Alzheimer diagnosed in 1906.
There is no history in my family of cancer, other than the intestinal cancer my Grandmother had and beat sometime in the 1980's.
There is no history in my family of leukemia, Parkinson’s, Lou Gering’s and all of those other proper nouns.
There is a history in my family among males of heart attack, but late in life, and sudden. Oh, so sudden.
There is a history in my family among males to drink themselves to death. Gangrene, even. Oh, so slow.
All of this to say that I think that I am okay.
Blame it on the nicotine withdrawal.
My memory loss officially worries me. It's been happening for "years," but I cannot remember for how long.
The photo is of "Scar" as "Vampiralla" many, many years ago.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
My patron at ELEELA MAGAZINE sent me the full pdf file of the October issue today. It features three images from my ROOMS series featuring the fantastic models Gizel, Tomiko and Amy.
It looks cool. The font is bad (she apologized) and they cropped them, but what the fuck? The shots reproduced well. They accompany some sort of text that is called "FORUM" which (unlike my previous publisher) is the editorial section of the magazine - and someone editorializes about something "sexy," I was told.
Being that the "FORUM" section is a monthly feature, my patron asked me today via email if I was interested in supplying images to ELEELA MAGAZINE every month moving forward.
I said: YES.
Understand that I am being paid $0.00 and as I mentioned before, they are cropping my shots to suit their own needs, but here's the deal.
I need some exposure. And Brazilian exposure is as good as any in my house...
Then my patron asked me if I knew any girls that she could photograph while in NYC next week. Do I know any girls in NYC? C'mon...
Shit, now I gotta come up with...oh, never mind.
I suggested we shoot together. She accepted, but amended my proposal and suggested that we shoot consecutively. Two distinct "films" with the same script, talent and sets.
It's been a good day and the jonesing was at a manageable minimum. BUT, did I mention how, now, as I walk the sidewalks of NYC that I am ACCUTLEY aware that EVERYONE SMOKES! I mean old ladies smoking, little kids smoking and fucking dogs smoking like nobody's business. I saw a dead guy smoking today. I swear to god.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Jonesing badly today.
Made the mistake of reading that withdrawal takes two weeks, and that cranberry juice helps, and that just as things are declining after Day 3, there is a spike on Day 10.
Well, today's Day 11. Went to Dr. Ming, my acupuncturist, today. I told her what I'd done and she laughed and said "You nervous?" She stuck needles all in my face (I could see them move with my pulse...) and in my ears and wrists and a bunch of places down my legs that I couldn't see.
Acupuncture always makes me a little wonky. Super relaxed or just weird feeling. Today I got a headache and that weird metallic taste in my mouth that I haven't had since Day 3.
Distraction is a good thing. So I've been retouching like a speed demon.
The aforementioned Mike Lupica is having another brilliant set tonight on WFMU (see link at right). We must be approximately the same age, 'cause his show reminds me of a show I might do. He just played Bowie's "Candidate (alt)," a demo recording of "Candidate" from the brilliant "Diamond Dogs" that has wildly different lyrics from the version that eventually ended up on the album.
1974. Nixon. In retrospect, I guess those were good times.
Here's the lyrics to the album version.
Photo is of Kimberly who stole this shirt from me.
Both song and shirt pretty much sum up what I think of most things...
“I'll make you a deal, like any other candidate
We'll pretend we're walking home 'cause your future's at stake
My set is amazing, it even smells like a street
There's a bar at the end where I can meet you and your friend
Someone scrawled on the wall "I smell the blood of les tricoteuses"
Who wrote up scandals in other bars
I'm having so much fun with the poisonous people
Spreading rumours and lies and stories they made up
Some make you sing and some make you scream
One makes you wish that you'd never been seen
But there's a shop on the corner that's selling papier mache
Making bullet-proof faces, Charlie Manson, Cassius Clay
If you want it, boys, get it here, thing
So you scream out of line
"I want you! I need you! Anyone out there? Any time?"
Tres butch little number whines "Hey dirty, I want you
When it's good, it's really good, and when it's bad I go to pieces"
If you want it, boys, get it here, thing
Well, on the street where you live I could not hold up my head
For I put all I have in another bed
On another floor, in the back of a car
In the cellar like a church with the door ajar
Well, I guess we must be looking for a different kind
But we can't stop trying 'til we break up our minds
Til the sun drips blood on the seedy young knights
Who press you on the ground while shaking in fright
I guess we could cruise down one more time
With you by my side, it should be fine
We'll buy some drugs and watch a band
Then jump in the river holding hands…”
Sunday, October 01, 2006
I work with two kinds of models - novice types and been-there-done-that types. On any given day I love working with either, but on certain days I prefer one to the other. The creative headache occurs when I book one and then the other then the other then the other. Working with each involves an entirely different directorial skill-set, and even though they intersect, they are fairly "uniquely" different.
Novice types are fun. There is a bit of the Svengali allure to it, but you have the potential (without the evil intent) to really "discover" and "mold" someone who potentially is "receptive" and "capable." Sometimes none of these four parenthetical things happen, but if one on your side and one on their side does, it can be exhilarating.
Been-there-done-that types are great. They know what to expect and are basically gonna go through a certain amount of what they are doing from rote - muscle memory and experience. I love to shake that up, challenge them and put them in situations that they've not been put before. Buck the stereotype, as I've written about here before.
I've got a bevy of each scheduled for October. Quality over quantity, but the quantity of quality is reaching its peak.
Photo is an "Alice" outtake featuring one of my two long, lost models, Kate Mandala. Kate was a been-there-done-that model.
Kate, if you are reading this, call me. We need to shoot again as people are buying prints of that one shot and you have my wardrobe. And you ARE my Alice...
Finished a huge set with the lovely and talented Anyssa from San Francisco today. About 7 hours of retouching straight (after a triumphant return from Coney Island at Noon - lonely and deserted, but birthday gifts in hand).
I was supposed to shoot with Anyssa last September, but my 93 year old Grandmother passed away. Almost a year to the day, she had a wedding to attend in NYC and told me that I would be her only shoot. She brung with her 10 latex outfits, straight from the designer.
I shot all 10 of them and Anyssa naked on a chair as well (see earlier post).
I haven't even tackled the black & white yet, but I am VERY happy with the digital color. Anyssa and I talked about submitting the shots to the latex designer, although as cool as that is, I think we could place this as a story in MARQUIS or SECOND SKIN.
Photo is obviously Anyssa ALL THE WAY LIVE! The post heading is Robert Pollard, whose "Blues And Boogie Shoes" I CANNOT get out of my CD player...