"I was saying let me out of here before I was even born,
It's such a gamble when you get a face."
In 1993, I wrote, produced and directed a short 35mm film called "Thirst." I was feeling rather ballsy, so I looked up Richard Hell, one of my punk rock heroes, in the phonebook and lo and behold, he was in there. I called him and told him I wanted him to costar in the film and was he interested. He made a date for me to meet him at his apartment to talk and drop off the script.
The film is about balance - the balance between being in a relationship and not, juxtaposed with the balance between alcohol and coffee, with water as the great equalizer. I suppose the film is about the "water' between relationships, which should be peace, but rarely is.
I met with Richard and we hit it off. He called me a couple of days later and said he wanted to do it. I couldn't believe it, but I guess Richard didn't have a lot going on right then.
I secured CBGB's Pizza, right next to the club (both RIP) and paid Hilly (also RIP) $200 for a location fee to shoot during the day on a Sunday.
The other male members of the cast were my friend Greg, who I had directed in several videos for his band, Vanilla Trainwreck and my friend Joey, who would play the bartender and be my AD, right-hand-man, voice-of-reason and savior.
We shot all day with a full 35mm crew. Richard ended up doing the whole day for two tunafish sandwiches (punk rock! thanks, Rich!) and the rest of the crew and cast ate pizza.
Two memorable moments: One of the crew members asked Richard what the film was about. He pointed at me, which caught my attention and said "him" and smiled at me.
The other was the final line of dialogue. I didn't know how to end the film and it ended with this set-up (I still had two more days of filming Greg with the two female actors). Joey did not have a line in the whole film, he just was background - cleaning glasses and serving drinks to the boys (Rolling Rock!). At one point he and I were talking and I told him that I needed a punch in the face for the end of the film and as it was it just sort of petered out. He said that his character basically listens to people bitch all the time. And he had listened to these two guys - Greg and Richard - have what they thought was this profound conversation about love and relationships, etc...and then he said what if I said this, and whispered it to me. I smiled, as usual when hearing obvious wisdom from my friend, and "re-wrote" the script without telling anyone else.
I informed Greg and Richard that when Greg delivered his last line, to hold it for a beat and then the bartender was going to say something and that they should look at him, but not respond - fade to black. Sure, James, ok, whatever...
We ran the scene - one take. Greg delivered his line (which I don't remember) and Joey said this:
"Last call, you dumb motherfuckers."
They held the scene for five seconds (all I needed for a fade to black and then the entire room burst into laughter.
Sadly, I never finished the film, which was a shame because Lee Ranaldo from Sonic Youth was set to do the soundtrack. To be honest, it wasn't really that good and I take full sophomoric responsibility for that.
But the ending kicks ass.
I did manage to take a roll of production stills, which I found the other day.
The trip through time continues...
Greg in character.
Greg and Richard Hell rehearsing.
Joey in character for his last line (notice the boom mike in the mirror).
Cover Star: "Thirst"
Headlining Band: Richard Fuckin' Hell and The Voidoids
Friday, February 26, 2010
New England, 1990. My caveman period, which I still adopt from time to time, although not as frequently. Dig the early "grunge" flannel.
Just scanned seven rolls of Neopan 1600 that I shot in Madison Wisconsin at Smart Studios in Spring of 1992. My very good friends, Vanilla Trainwreck were recording their second album with Doug Colson at Butch Vig's studio and were kind or stupid enough to ask me to come along and document it.
Doug had recorded Dwarves, L7, Remy Zero and Butch had just finished two little albums called "Nevermind" and "Goo." Heady times.
Late one night over a couple of canned beers out of the studio's drink machine, Butch told me about his plans to start his own band, with Duke from the studio, but he didn't have a lead singer. He wanted an enigmatic female singer, he said, a cross between Chrissie Hynde and P.J Harvey (or someone like that). I had no suggestions.
Several years later, he found Shirley Manson.
"I sold my guitar to the girl next door
she asked me if I knew how
I told her 'I don't think so anymore'"
Cover Star: Providence, 1990. Photo by Sarah Mountjoy.
Headlining Band: Uncle Fuckin' Tupelo
Thursday, February 25, 2010
I was honored to be asked to shoot the models wearing Diana Eng's Fairytale Fashion Show line in Chelsea tonight. Backstage, after the show.
A personal record. Eight models plus the designer in 45 minutes. Flat.
Hats off to Diana. The show was beautiful and her techno-geek aesthetic warmed my black little heart.
More to come.
Cover Star: Inflatable Dress
Headlining Band: Fugazi. Whatever happened to Fugazi?
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Going through a lot of really old archives.
And by old, I mean old, bitches, old.
Surprisingly I found the negative for my first album cover (No Reason To Hate's "Don't Need One") which I'll post at some point.
And a bunch of other stuff that proves I was a) alive and b) taking photographs.
Apparently, sometimes, I just handed my camera to whoever I was with, in order for them to get a better shot of me.
Nothing's changed, except I've figured out how to take my own damn picture.
Cover Star: Nantucket, February 1991. Photo by Alex Mountjoy.
Headlining Band: New Fuckin' Order
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
A good friend of mine today responded to the following question: What was the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of me?
And she wrote "grain."
When I first read it, I thought she meant the kind that they make whiskey out of. And I thought, hmmm, ok, but really? That seems a little extreme. Well, sorta.
Then I realized what she meant.
Cover Star: Karolina, all grained up.
Headlining Band: Giant Sand covering a certain Mr. Zimmerman
Friday, February 19, 2010
For a friend:
Sweet talking fly on the wall
Blackberry belle of the ball
Just like you told me
I’m gonna crawl
You trouble me
And I ain’t myself anymore
I’m crawlin around like a whore
And you love me there on the floor
Come on, boy, don’t be such a baby
And maybe – I’ll bail you out
One more time
You got number nine starin' atcha
Get back, boy – or I’ll make you blind
This here’s where we settle up
One last sweet drink from your cup
Hand it over, slowly
Come on boy, don’t be such a baby
And maybe – I’ll sell you out
One more time
You at the foot of the master
I’m faster –but I’m gonna take
And I’m gonna make you blind"
Self-portraits can be difficult. But I'm gonna take my time...
Cover Star: POW!
Headlining Band: Twilight. Singers. Etc...
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
"Now I've got nothing to look at
And I've got no pain to deny
And I've got nobody to bleed for
And I've got no sun to pull down from the sky
But I'm saved, yeah I'm saved
And I don't understand it, I'm saved!"
She tells you all before you utter a word.
God knows, I've tried everything else...
Cover Star: Mrs. Taylor
Headlining Band: My beloved Swans
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Alexander McQueen, RIP. Talented boy. My absolute favorite men's clothing designer. The look, the feel and the fabric. Such a shame. Makes my jacket all that more special. That's fucked up.
Early this afternoon, I randomly found myself outside that building on 6th Ave. and 19th St. that exploded at 10:44 this morning. It sustained impressive damage to the exterior. Then I found out that a friend was actually in it and was pelted with exploding window glass. That's fucked up.
Sold my bed. That's fucked up.
Cover Stars: George Pitts vs. Candace Nirvana. It was a draw. They very kindly asked me to document their shoot last month.
Headlining Band: Figure it out.
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Monday, February 08, 2010
She is 17.5 mm tall. Four frames, times two. The Konica half-frame is out of traction and back in action.
Thanks for being a willing subject, Kristen. You didn't know it, but it was a camera experiment. And it's all good. One roll of Fuji Pro 800Z. 72 images, and 30 are good.
Following "Che" parts 1 & 2 and "Capote" vs. "Infamous," tonight's feature film is..
Exposed. Whether ANYTHING is properly exposed is relative.
Cover Star: K. Holden.
Headlining Band: The ever prolific and genre skipping Robert Pollard
Sunday, February 07, 2010
"Sister, I need wine for color in my skin and darkness for my eyes but I can see the light burn through still it is the night brings me to you.
Sister, use your gift the backed up river spreads on grounds for fighting words and I am hating the ignorance in my body and I can't feed on the heaviness Sister, I need you.
And we will dance for gold and straddle the hour of fear and learn the real story drink the truth shed not one tear."
- Robert Pollard
Cover Star: CNS.
Headlining Band: GBV
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
1. An irritating skin sensation causing a desire to scratch.
2. Any of various skin disorders, such as scabies, marked by intense irritation and itching.
3. A restless desire or craving for something: an itch to travel.
Bactroban. Once a day.
And I've got nuffin to lose but darkness and shadows, bitterness, loneliness and patterns, emptiness and hangups.
Cover Star: K. Holden.
Headlining Band: Spoonishness
Monday, February 01, 2010
"I blow you a kiss
It should reach you tomorrow
As it flies from the other side of the world
From my room in my fugitive motel
Somewhere in the dust bowl
It flies from the other side of the world"
Cover Star: Fashion Spot Shoot. Photo by K. Holden.
Headlining Band: Elbow