Feeling heavy-hearted over here as I just heard word my friend, Les Blank, passed away yesterday. Les was such a special man... There aren't a lot of words I can muster in this tender moment to properly articulate or reflect the magnificent fullness of his life so I'll leave it to the professionals:
Les in Aug 2011 at the Berkeley Art Museum / OPEN Education / Chez Panisse 40th Anniversary event
A celebratory evening at San Francisco's historical Tosca Cafe with (L-R) Tom Luddy, Wim Wenders, Les Blank, & Francis Ford Coppola after the screening of Wenders' documentary film, "Pina". Dec 2011.
Hard to believe it's already been two weeks since I was in Austin, TX for the SXSW music festival. The stellar music, killer photo opps, long hauls carrying heavy photo gear, and epic good times feel like it was just yesterday. I guess that is in part due to the extensive hours spent in front of a computer editing days and weeks after the fact. The images and memories continue to be a big part of my living experience long after the bands have gone home, floors swept, and beer cans recycled. However, this quality of a single image's ability to "sustain the moment" in time and space is one of the many reasons I love photography so much.
There was a long list of bands I documented throughout the week of the festival, mostly within the context of Daytrotter recording sessions which took place at Good Danny's. This is the second year I've photographed the Daytrotter sessions and love being exposed to the wide range of up 'n coming talent and seasoned professionals alike - from new kid on the block, Jake Bugg, to the 60's sensations, The Zombies - it was an awesome week of good music.
Jake Bugg... only 19 years old and channeling some serious old soul/Bob Dylan-esque sounds. Wow.
Chris Senseney of Big Harp. What a voice! What a song writer!
The playfully feisty and fun folks of Paloma Faith: Nim Miller, Dom Pipkin & Baby Sol.
Ben Usen of PAPA
Ben Lear of PAPA
A very sweetly exhausted, Darren Weiss, of PAPA
Rod Argent & Colin Blunstone of The Zombies. Their recording session gave everyone in the room goosebumps!
Meechy Darko of Flatbush Zombies
Josh Ritter & Zachariah Hickman
Roxy Radulescu of Hi Ho Silver Oh
Max Roseglass of Dirty Fences
So much good stuff going on over here in photolandia! It's already been a very busy 2013, with a million photos I'd love to post from my adventures so far, but not enough time. So in an attempt to keep up with all that is current, I thought I'd post a few pics from a site visit last week to the Oakland train yard aboard the historical 1949 California Zephyr!
The site visit was in preparation for a trip I'll be taking later this week where I'll be documenting a special adventure aboard the Zephyr for the Bay Area's Spur Happenings social club. We will be travelling in style from Portland to Oakland - past Klamath Lake, Klamath Falls, through the Cascades... all the way to Jack London Square in Oakland, CA.
This beautiful train is the same train Mumford & Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zero's toured on last year as part of their, "Railroad Revival Tour". There's a documentary movie about their epic tour playing shows across the American Southwest called, "Big Easy Express", which I'm excited to watch the next chance I get.
In the meantime, here are a few pics from the site visit! More to come...
Excited to see my dear friend Aleishall's beautiful jewelry, Studio Deseo, get some press on Martha Stewart! Woop, woop! And honored to have been able to snap some of the photos for the article.
Aleishall and I have collaborated many times together before, much of which I haven't had a chance to get out there for the world to see, but I still love this pic from a shoot we did together in '09 in Tilden Park with the exquisite Paloma Fataar...
For those who know me, you know I'm extremely passionate about music. Music is a living, breathing part of my life. I played a lot of music in my younger days, but as I've gotten older I've made a career out of being an avid (or rabid, depending on how you look at it) music appreciator. To me, music is a vehicle for expressing the intimate highs and lows of the human experience in a way no other medium can. And no one does it with as much emotional honesty as Charles Bradley.
Known as "the screaming eagle of soul", Bradley is a contemporary soul music sensation in the vein of the great artists of the 60's. At 62 he has lived through some seriously hard times getting to this point in his career... but rather than wearing his hardships like a heavy cloak weighing him down, he wears them like the wings of a phoenix, transforming grief into beauty.
Bradley played to a sold out crowd at the Great American Music Hall last night, backed by the incredible instrumental band from New York, the Menahan Street Band. Those lucky enough to be in the room were witness to his emotional, high-energy performance which has now become Bradley's signature. I even shed a few tears during his moving ballad, "Lovin' You Baby". Nothin' like witnessing such honest vulnerability live 'n direct. Damn.
As if that wasn't enough, at the close of his last song he jumped down from the stage and began hugging members of the crowd with such genuine, heartfelt intensity. The love that was expressed and given so unconditionally in his hugs makes me think he's got a second career as a hugging saint (watch out Amma). I came away with a blissful sweaty hug from the man himself and this quick snap on my phone.
Charles Bradley, thank you... thank you for sharing your gift with the world. "I LOVE YOUUUU!"
* iPhone pic *
Guitar superstar, Jimi Hendrix, would have been 70 years old today. Many people have tried to emulate his sound over the years, but there's only been one Hendrix to stand the test of time. Hard to believe the legacy of incredible music he created all took place by the young age of 27. Wow. I often think about what kind of rockin' he'd be doing if he were still around. One can dream...
Jimi, thank you. You will be forever missed...
Photo: Gered Mankowitz
There's a bit of blushing going on over here after reading a recent interview of me by my dear friend, Suzi. Suzi is the owner/creator/visionary behind the incredible luxury knit wear line, Souchi, and a longtime friend of mine. I have developed an insatiable love of high-end cashmere, learned the art of rockin' high heels, had many a deep conversation, and laughed my ass off many times courtesy of this fashion dynamo... Gracias, mi amiga.
If you'd like to read the article you may find it here.
In honor of election day I thought I'd dig up some photos from a recent political event I covered - a dinner with Dianne Feinstein. The event took place a few weeks ago in the beautiful Julia Morgan Ballroom with a number of notables in attendance: Dianne Feinstein (US Senator), George (former US Secretary of State) & Charlotte Shultz, Jerry Brown (CA Governor), Ed Lee (SF mayor), Willie Brown (former SF mayor)... An interesting night for sure.
Hope you all got out to vote!
Ed Lee takes the stage, as Willie Brown shares a laugh in the background
Dianne Feinstein, George Shultz, Charlotte Shultz, and Richard Blum
I got a chance to experience the jazz-funk-soul magic of Trombone Shorty for the first time a few weeks ago. I'd been hearing great things about him for years so it felt long overdue to finally see him in person. I'll be going to New Orleans for the first time in January so I was extra hyped to get primed with some of that special NOLA flavor he delivers so beautifully! At only 26 years of age I definitely look forward to seeing how his musical career evolves.