Have recovered from the long ride back home and going through some of my photos. Many of which are from the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. Check out here soon.
…and here we are about a week later and I STILL haven’t fully recovered. Sleep hasn’t been coming that easy to me and I pretty much hit the ground running in the office, so I’ve been in that “when I’m not working I’m too tired to do anything” phase. But damn it, it’s time that I wrote this.
So what happened next? Well, the next big even that hit was that I went to see Patrick Stewart and T.R. Knight perform on Broadway in their limited run play A Life In The Theatre. Seeing Patrick Stewart live was a very powerful thing for me, as I’ve loved him since first seeing him in I, Claudius. And frankly, seeing him in his underwear cursing like mad kind of, er, yes.
I contacted Katelan Foisy a couple of weeks before I went down in the hopes of meeting her for coffee. I met her through Warren Ellis’ Whitechapel Forum as well as my photographer friend Veronika von Volkova. Since first coming across her modeling and later her writing and art, I’ve always admired Katelan greatly. And because she’s such a big and active presence in the art world, well, it wasn’t hard for me to feel a little intimidated at the thought of meeting her. Certainly asking for a photoshoot wasn’t an option, as I felt I was nowhere near confident enough in my work to do her justice.
But damn, any nervousness I had about meeting her went away when we actually started talking. Katelan is a very cheery, confident woman whose mere presence just somehow brightens your own mood up. An hour of coffee turned in to about three hours or so of coffee, cupcakes, being attacked by pigeons and walking around the city, ending at Union Square, where I was meeting a friend for a snack. And the day left me feeling especially good when Katelan had suggested we do a quick photoshoot the next day.
That night, I went to a dinner party at my host’s place and found I was in quite amazing company. Talking about everything from Jim Henson’s life to the civil war to cheese. It was a wonderful night.
Katelan and I met up at around noon the next day and headed down to the beautiful neighbourhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Later in the day Katelan had to pose as Frida Kahlo as part of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, so for this shoot Katelan had dressed up in advance, leaving any costume changes to be made when she went to pose. I’ll say on record that the mantilla was gorgeous.
Williamsburg is a really beautiful area. Old buildings and beautiful street art. A look in to what New York used to be like. A welcome image for us, two gals who felt that we arrived in New York in the wrong era and wanted less Starbucks and more Warriors in our cities. New York especially.
We wandered around the streets, taking pictures in locations that caught our eye. Sipping coffee and talking in between.
I really like this shot. The colours sticking out over the not-quite-grey and gritty backdrop. The rose growing from between the cracks of a crumbled street. The bit of brightness sticking out in an otherwise grey day. At least, that’s what I get from it.
When I took this shot the both of us laughed our asses off and made jokes about Frida Kahlo advertising New York Muffin’s coffee in Brooklyn. But damn, it’s such a beautiful shot. Elegance in a decaying city. Almost like someone from the past growing accustomed to their life in modern days. Hm.
I’m very glad I got to meet Katelan and work with her for this quick photo shoot. I learned a lot from her and will bring some of the lessons in to both my work and my personal life. I’m already looking forward to my next time in the city when, hopefully, we’ll be able to plan a another shoot.
And that night, my final one in the city, consisted of a lot of walking. A HELL of a lot of walking. No destination in particular, just…saying goodbye to the city that treated me rather well in the nine days I was there. Eventually, my legs gave way and I had to duck in to see a movie to recover. After the movie, of course, I walked around for another three hours. It was glorious.
The next day was spent packing, eating WONDERFUL pizza with my host Mike and his roommate Lara and eventually going through the maze of the Port Authority. I arrived at my terminal a bit too early, so I had one final beer, a stout-pumkin ale blend and the last good one I’ll have before going back to the piss that the LCBO chugs out.
After waiting for two hours the bus pulled in, destination shouted and people started shuffling towards the vehicle. Before I gave my bags to be put away I was treated to the image of a drunk sleeping on the floor of the terminal, bottle in hand. Security guards stepping over him as they walk past.
So long, New York.
Wow. What a time. I hardly know where to begin. I suppose I’ll do a brief thing on NYCC and then move on to the more important stuff. Sound good? Good.
I didn’t have a good time at NYCC.
It was too overcrowded. I think there was an estimation of about 100,000 people there and being inside, especially in the Show Room, I believed it. To some hardened convention-going vetrans this was probably a walk in the park, but for someone like me, who hasn’t been to anything outside of the Toronto Fan Expo (a rather small con in comparison) and who has an INTENSE phobia of crowds, it wasn’t for me. As polite as I usually am, I resorted to pushing and swearing at people who elbowed me in the chest, stopped suddenly in front of me and were just TOO DAMN SLOW. I also didn’t feel like I was getting much of a deal with the comics, which I’ve always felt was kind of important at conventions. Other than the people publishing the Judge Dredd Complete Case Files books offering up the US version of book 1 for a mere $10 (and really, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. SO worth it), I didn’t see any deals that I couldn’t get on any given week at my local comic shop.
HOWEVER. The costumes at the convention were some of the best I’ve ever seen and the most gratifying moment came when I went to the Avatar Press booth where, aside from meeting the wonderful people there, I met the Whitechapel crew, Steevo, John Skylar and Arryn Fox. We went for drinks at the Pony Bar, a place I’ll definitely consider going to again, and got absolutely stinking drunk on fancy beers and a shot o’ whiskey.
Now then. New York.
New York is a city suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder which, as odd as it sounds, is one of the aspects of it I find endearing. In brooklyn I can walk for 20 minutes on the same street and pass by five different districts that are completely different from one another. Cut that time in half for Manhattan. You can ACTUALLY SEE the gradual shift in architecture, cleanliness, busyness…and it’s an amazing experience to go through it.
The first person I met with was Pierre Lamoureux. I owe much to Pierre and his brother Francois, who are the masters of FogoLabs, a company that has won awards for their amazing DVD productions of live concerts. It was Pierre who gave me my first photography job when I was still wondering what I could do with my camera. It was a no pressure job, more of a “let’s see what you can do” kind of thing and well, I must have done good, since my pictures were used all over the DVD menu for the concert. It was also him that gave me the videography/editing gig for the Trevor Boris DVD special features.
Needless to say, I learned a lot in our conversation. About New York, about photography and about how I should proceed with things. I told Pierre my somewhat longterm plan and he agreed that my steps seems like the best directions and offered to put me in touch with a couple of photographers. One of which lives in Toronto.
Next up was Caroline, a friend through Warren Ellis’ Whitechapel forum and boy, did we have a time. We made gluten-free Darth Vader cookies.
Which we of course devoured.
That night, my gracious host Mike Millan took me out to Buskhwick, Brooklyn to a seedy little comic book themed bar called Gotham City Lounge. It was there that I met Ross and Ari, Mike’s friends who were a really swell, geeky bunch. And the kicker of the night…the special the bar is known for. $3 for a shot of whiskey and a Pabst Blue Ribbon. For the sake of my pride, I won’t say what happened for the rest of the night, but will give the clue that I got a t-shirt (wonderfully purchased by Mike) that describes the rest of the evening…eerily well.
Right. That’s all for part one. Tomorrow: Pizza, cupcakes, photos and Katelan Foisy. STAY TUNED.
After fucking HOURS of traffic, waiting, and listening to admittedly amusing conservative radio coming from America, I have arrived for the last couple of days of the Montreal Jazz Festival.
Aside from everything written in French and the fact that it’s a bloody weird dark maze, my hotel room reminds me of the one I had in Cleveland.
Right, going to collapse for now and that will be that.
My new article us up at AWMusic.ca
For those that don’t read my blog (and why would you?) I was in Memphis last week filming the 2009 Folk Alliance Conference. A week-long folk music party at the Marriot Hotel. Music 24/7. It was an incredibly unforgettable experience. There were young and old folks jamming in the lobby, concerts held in hotel rooms and most importantly, beer was being passed around freely. Nothing would please me more than to present you with songs by artists that I felt were the highlight of the conference…but I’m afraid that in the ride back my disc drive broke down and whenever I put a disc in it now it laughs in this obnoxious french accent and spits my discs back out.
So I thought, hell, there’s PLENTY of music that I listened to on the road heading down to Memphis (And back where I had to make a stop in Cleveland). I’ll post about that instead until my drive gets fixed. So you folks get a mix from me and I continue to feel like you want to hear them. Win-win.
DVDA – America, Fuck Yeah!
There was a problem crossing the border. It seems that my travel companion and I looked a bit TOO suspicious for simple Canadians going to see some folk music. We were told to stop and under the instruction of a massive power hungry piss-midget of a border patrol guard, got out of our car leaving all our possessions and watched a group of six people go through all our belongings. I’m happy to say though, that this was the ONLY sign of that good ‘ol American paranoia that I only hear about on Fox News. Still, you’d think these guys were in an action film. Thus the following song:
Steve Carlisle – WKRP Theme
I never really went in to Cincinnati. We just drove past it and went across the bridge. but still…seeing those buildings and the signs I couldn’t help but sing the tune to one of my favorite sitcoms ever. “Baby…if you’ve ever wondered…wondered, whatever became of me…”. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
Johnny Cash – One Piece At A Time
Good place. Had some damn fine chili there and met some really nice people when we were lost and looking for directions to Bowling Green. I’d have to say that Kentucky folk are the nicest folk I’ve come across. While driving through, A Johnny Cash tune got stuck in my head. It’s here where we can see that my tastes started turning towards some good ‘ol country music.
Charlie Daniels – Uneasy Rider
Zoomed on past this place. tapped our feet and hands to this song while driving by.
Lovin’ Spoonful – Nashville Cats
David Allan Coe – You Never Even Called Me By My Name
A nice city, but a bit on the tacky side. Oddly enough, not as big on country music as you’d think. Apparently the city officials hate all the country artists coming in to the city and have done their best to get rid of them (such examples include interfering in the building of the new Grand Ole Opry and the regulation of the “Country District” to about two streets). Still, these songs came on and I figured it very suitable, since both mock the country music business in their own special way.
Memphis (And Graceland)
Evils Presley – American Trilogy
King Curly – The Bumblebee Has No Home
As stated above, I had a LOT of fun in this city. The people were nice, the music was banging and they were never short of kitchy crap. And nowhere is this more evident than in the land of the King himself, Graceland. Pictures of Elvis were everywhere and some of his worst songs were wailing on thirty year-old speakers while overweight tourists from Texas gathered around all excited at a chance to experience a glimmer of the life that Elvis had. If they had marketed his name anymore there would be fried peanut butter and banana sandwich vendors and staff members selling pill vials containing elvis-brand mints. But I suppose that’s in poor taste. no… let’s stick with the leopard skin walls.
I managed to get a hold of one of my favorite songs from the week from one of the groups to come out of the conference. King Curly hails from Australia and has an interesting sound. They have all the fixings of an eccentric jug band (well, sans jug) but have the time to write some damn fine lyrics and create songs with inspirations ranging from zombies to Tiny Tim.
Presidents of the United States of America – Cleveland Rocks
My entire ass it rocks. I wasn’t in Cleveland for very long, only to get some sleep and check out the infamous Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and then back to Toronto. But from what I did see of the city, I wasn’t impressed. I will concede, however that it is not within the realm of fantasy that people would think this city “rocks” but in all honesty, I prefer Toronto. Points must be awarded, however, to the hotel we were in who gave us room 1313 that had a wailing breeze coming through the hallway in to our room. Apparently Marilyn Manson stayed there.
The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was…very underwhelming. The movies and information was at least 15 years out of date and was severely lacking in a lot of artists that would normally have been a given for them to have been there. Van Morrison, Peter Frampton, AC/DC, The Byrds, KISS…all missing. Still, some of the memorabilia was cool to see and I got a nice t-shirt out of it.
Que National Anthem
So there you have it. All in all it was a great trip, but I’m glad I’m back in the land of free health care, gay marriage, liberal views on marijuana, playoff beards, good beer, Tim Horton’s and any other common Canadian thing that is in a damn beer commercial.
I know, I know, this pic wasn’t taken in Canada but I don’t have any “Canadian shots” and I was looking for a reason to post a dinosaur on here.
So I’m back in Canada. I’m not up to too much at the moment. Once I got home we celebrated with a pizza, I alerted a couple of people to my presence and assured them I would be getting sanitized the next day (too much America on me). Then I went to sleep and didn’t wake up until about 12.30pm the next day. I’m still sorting myself out but I should be good for work tomorrow. I’ve got quite a bit on my plate, including a music blog entry.
So for today I’m down for the count. I’m just too exhausted to go in to great detail about my time in Cleveland. I will say that I tried Big Boy and it’s what McDonald’s really should have been although their mascot, when seen in a specific type of light, looks like a really creepy rapist. That is all for now.
I’m also going to be doing a fair amount of dieting now that I’m back. You yanquis have damn good food but it’s really really greasy. Anything I tried to have that sounded healthy was destroyed. Sweet potato fries? HA. Deep fry them in batter and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on them. A salad? Include it with a piece of meat the size of my FIST.
In all seriousness though, I now love America. Whether it’s Obama fever or not, I have never been treated so kindly in another country than I have there. People were saying hello as I passed them on the street, gave more than their fair share of helpfulness when asked for directions and just damn good hospitable nature (well, except for the Baptist that glared at me for being scruffy on a Sunday, but whatever)
Anyways, here’s a song that I was listening to on the ride home that I really liked.
Uneasy Rider by The Charlie Daniels Band