Saturday, November 7, 2009

Make Music NY

The Make Music NY festival is a one day event with over 800 acts performing at venues all over the Five Boroughs. Some of those venues are street corners, park bandshells, storefronts, and restaurant entryways. It's a really good way to celebrate lesser known acts of nearly every genre and promote NY as community of music supporters. Which they are. It was hard, however, to see all the shows I wanted to see, without my jetpack. But I got a few. Governor's Island, to Ft. Greene, to Eleanor Roosevelt Park, to SoHo, to Tavern on the Green, to the Guggenheim. I met some great people, both fans and performers, and saw some really quality acts. One of the most interesting aspects for me was Punk Island. They booked all the punk shows on one of 12 satellite locations on Governor's Island. The stages were makeshift and immediate. A front porch, a tarp on the lawn near the water, a parking lot a dark archway between two wings of a building. It had this great, raw, "I can make my music anywhere with electricity" vibe that felt more authentic than say an abandoned factory-turned venue.

Some were drunk. Some were crazy. The guy pushing the guitarist was drunk and crazy.

There were a lot of shows. Not all of them were packed.


This summer I was connected with the folks at Peek to shoot some lifestyle ad content. Peek is a mobile device that supports email, texting and now Twitter, but no phone. It's kind of a genius idea, as a small, light, indestructible and inexpensive way to stay connected, that sidesteps the phone experience including corporate telecom. They let me use one for the week, and it was a lot of fun. It's like a utility vehicle, rugged, sleek and spare in design, and totally utilitarian. It appealled to my capricorn sensibilities.

Sean Risley

I met Sean on the ferry back from Punk Island. He had been there with a project called That's Not Cool, which educated kids on identity abuse through mobile technology and social media. He had also worked for years on The Truth Campaign, which is a project I've always respected.

As expected, his near full coverage of tattoos is not where the story is. Sean is a really interesting person, whose complex thoughts and histories crystallize at the surface with a calculated attention to style and aesthetics. What I really like about Sean, is that there are no accidents.

COTN/Prophit Show at the Highline

This is not a comprehensive survey of the strength and energy of the show that night. But for the sake of brevity, I'll present the dynamics of this story.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Prodigy X is one of the first gamers I started working with in '07. He explained to me then, that he was unlike other Pro Gamers. Whereas they were all striving to be the best at their game, or genre, while he was, "an all-around gamer." It was no surprise to me then, when I saw him on WCG Ultimate Gamer, a reality competition show on the SyFy network, like a Top Chef or Project Runway for gaming. I pitched him this idea that I'd been chewing on for a while about the scene in Pink Floyd's The Wall, after Pink destroys his hotel room, just before he shaves his eyebrows and nipples. A compulsive and psychological moment of clarity where he rejects all the outside influences trying to puppeteer him and the physical detritus accumulated over the years as he's strived to be the artist he wanted to be and the icon they've made him into. There were some gaps, sure, but I felt like this intense focus on the physical to craft some psychological understanding, even if obtuse, was on brand for Prodigy. There are many stars in the world of Pro Gaming celebrity. There are Shaqs and Steve Nash-es, 50s and Snoops, David Lee Roths and Eddie Vedders. Prodigy is more like a Reznor.

CI Prep

I was recently hired to shoot publicity/marketing shots of a brand new charter school, Coney Island Prep. The school is made up of 90 5th graders and has a lot of philosophical approaches to educating the person, not just the student. In fact, they call them "scholars" rather than students and that's just the beginning. I grew up in the era of Free to Be... You and Me, pod classrooms with no walls, and the TAG program, but the environment at CI Prep is both motivating AND tangible. These scholars are learning about choices and consequences, focus, hard work, and how to satisfy one's need to still be a kid and how to know the kids around you. I have high expectations for these young thinkers.

Big Apple Con Costumes

When I shot at the NYComicCon in February, with the amazing DDB team(R.I.P.), I started working on a loose thesis about Cons and the costuming experience. In short, Cons, like the convention of Comics themselves, allow us to transfer our favorite parts of ourselves, whether they are prominent traits or not, into a character who is built broadly to represent the favorite parts of ourselves. When the tangible obstacles around you are suspended, in your ideal universe, are you strong? Are you sexy? Are you clever? Which superpower do you possess? How does your alter ego relate to the world around him? This, and not body type or day job is what puts us into the costume we wear. And it's effects are gigantic and little. There IS a difference between a character with long violet tendrils and one with short, spikey hair. Ask the artists who drew them. I went to the Big Apple Con with two agendas, and furthering my study of fans in costume was one of them. From seasoned vets (Superman has 12 different costumes he rotates) to noobs, you costume says something remarkable about you, and the Con is a safe environment to explore those expressions.

Big Apple Con Celebrities

Still working on a thesis for Celebrities in attendance at the Cons. For now I'll just say that I've met some actors whom I've always respected, and some who I have new respect for. But unlike press junkets, there's an interesting window into the human being that plays an actor that plays roles in movies and tv series'. Tender and tense, giving and guarded and ultimately stripped from the buffer of the screen. To be continued...

Thomas Jane

Rekha Sharma

Alessandra Torresani

COTN Studio

Sometimes I double dip. I was in studio with Children of the Night, shooting their video for "Rumpus" and thought we should do some portraits while we were there. This picture is the last frame, of the SINGLE roll of film I've shot in '09. It also happens to be one of my favorite shots I've taken of them in the past year.

Alecia Medley, Twilight Eclipse

I had worked with Alecia on a previous project this summer, and was thrilled by her ability to inject nuance and authenticity into a bigger picture/moment. We were talking about putting together another concept when she mentioned how badly she wanted to be in the third Twilight Movie that will be filming next spring. She had accidentally gotten hooked on the books, and like everyone else, hooked meant obsessed. She felt that her look, style and ability would make her a perfect fit for one of the supporting characters, so I suggested that we shoot some character shots to submit along with her resume. Admittedly, our resources were low, and my grasp of the character was incomplete without having read the books. But we opted to go the long way around. No sfx shots, no scene recreations, just moving through moments as the character. On the surface, there's no real context to build a story. And yet, there's something about these shots, and Alecia's control of the moment that still leave you feeling like you're witnessing a scene from a dream that you haven't put together yet.