Xmas photo shoot with my brother and Greta for their 2009 holiday card. This was a Holy out take, and possibly the cutest pic I’ve ever done! Not being in any way even remotely intentionally religious, this was a Holy accident and thoroughly random act of prayerful iconography. We did many more, but this pic I love the most.

Rose Melberg was the soundtrack for our shoot. Sheesh, it’s pretty.

But if things get too mellow, Greta demands techno! Mogi Grumbles is a babysitting fave and the video for Sweet Sixteen by Think About Life is a sure tear stopper. We musta watched that flik about a dozen or 2 times when things got tough (they look like muppets in that shared T, I think that’s part of the appeal. Plus, that track is bumpy: Greta starts to sing along in ya-ya babyspeak!)

Which reminds me of another kid fave: with my nephews Gabriel + Julian, we made a game out of singing Sun Ra’s Rocket Number 9: “Rocket #9 take off for the planet, for the planet—-Venus!” Singsong superfast that chorus but insert your favorite planet at the end, then point to the next person who does the same till all planets are named. Speed is the key and say “Pluto!” if you really wanna cause a riot with modern kids. Incidentally, Michigan’s own NOMO does a sweet + kick’n rendition of that tune.

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Finally said goodbye to my dear, sweet, potatoes. They were well worn and much appreciated and I think they liked me too: a rogue wave in Mendocino stole one of them once but it returned to me later in the day, tangled up in a thatch of seaweed that washed up on the beach. We started calling them potatoes once they lost all shape and became perfectly round. In the last couple weeks they started to smell really, really awful (like the world’s filthiest bathmat) so I had to let them go. The time was right because it rained today. Thanks guys and adios.

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I was doing a lighting test today in my living room, trying to figure out “the look” for an upcoming assignment. They want a classic Avedon type feel. Sumatra was helping me figure it out. So was Miracle Fortress and Do Make Say Think. It’s been a while since I practiced this kind of light, reminds me of 3rd Term Art Center: clean and simple, ya dig? Time is slowly, quickly, turning into our favorite season…watch your belly, brother, but eat everything that’s good.  Sheesh, please pardon my whack Kerouac!

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It’s with sadness that I read today that the Hidden Springs Cafe burned down in the Station Fire. I took these pictures of Elva Lewis and The Hidden Springs Cafe for Los Angeles Magazine back in 2001.  The shoot was scheduled for September 11th. I remember calling Elva, dazed and semi-incoherent but being very young and thinking I had a job to do, I asked if we could re-schedule for later in the afternoon. Very sweetly she said: “Hon, why don’t you stay home with your wife and we’ll figure it out later.”  I send the best wishes to the Lewis’s and everyone affected by these devastating fires.

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The mail came superduper early today, weird, very weird, and I just received The Bats’ new album.  Ah me, I’d like to buy the world the title track!  Gorgeous + melancholy + pure poppy + just what you want to hear as summer ends and you get ready for new things.  I’ve had it on repeat all day.  Hearing Robert Scott’s voice was friendly and sweet. Reminds me, I’ve been listening to them and The Clean most of my life. Wow, I understand why aging hippies/ yuppies/ yippies/ deadheads/ parrotheads/ etc. cling and shell out serious dough.  It just feels good to hear them.  I had the same feeling when I played Barry Adamson’s last record: Hello, friend!  Anyways, it’s awesome.  Grandpa says, go get it!  And get ready for Mr. Pop  next month. Ahhh me….

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In case you haven’t heard, The Lucksmiths called it quits last month.  May 12th, to be exact.  Ah man, I haven’t been this sad over a last act since Stuart Adamson commited suicide back in 2001.  Or Epic Soundtracks in ’97.  Well, at least the lads are all still living.  It’s been a slow gloomy june in LA, especially after a jam packed May, so I’ve had a good chance to properly mourn.  In fact, I think it’s the gloomiest, grayest june in all of the 16 years we’ve been here. Perfect. Dark days till about 6:30 in the pm, then the sun rises and you feel better.  What a Southern Cali softy!

Well, here’s a couple things I believe: I believe that The World According to Garp contains all the wisdom you need to encounter almost every situation in life.  I believe that art can save you and make you less lonely and that The Lucksmiths give that vital “As I lay with my head in your lap, Camarado” spirit you need to buoy through the toughest and worst times and make better the good times. MST3K helps too. Shit, I’m gonna miss them. When I was traveling all the time and away from home (Laura), “Guess How Much I Love You” was the kind of song that said exactly what I wanted to say (and those lines “ya know I’m thinking of you, in the book store, in the laundry mat” and the phrase “the loneliness of the long distance phone call” were bitter-sweetly precise…).  And every time we road tripped up north and spanned one of the glorious WPA bridges on Highway 1 near Big Sur, we’d “hold our breath” across each one and make a wish.  Ya know, almost every situation you’ll encounter in love, you’ll find in The Lucksmiths.

IMG_2717On Monday, I finally made some headway in clearing out our garage and turning it into our “club house”: I played ALL their music and made my way through lots of personal history, trashing trash and finding a safe place for keepsakes.  It was an all day affair and I got quite misty eyed and pie eyed in the process.  We have a name for this: we call it the “Old Charley Effect”.  It means, when you spend a day sifting through your personal artifacts trying to make a livable space amongst all the history, you can’t help but imbibe lots of vino or cerveza or both.  Partly because you’re remembering soooo much and partly because of the daunting physical task of gettin’ er done.  The expression “Old Charley” comes from my dad’s old ’68 VW van.  He was sweet on it and called it Charley, and as kids we came to call anything old and friendly and nostalgic an “Old Charley”.

Anyways, I just wanted to say “thanks” for the music. O Brother that sounds cheap, but man o man it’s true. The Lucksmiths have been good companions for along time and I love ’em. Adios. And if you’re ever in Glendale CA., stop in and have a drink.  It’s never too late.

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ALIEN78CoverAlright, THINK ABOUT LIFE are officially one of my favorite bands.  You can’t really say that with any authority (Not So!)  if they only got 1 album, but now they got 2!!!  I hated it on first listen, and fell in love on the second try.  When you buy it, you’ll see what I mean cuz it sounds a lot different than you expect.  I was just working in Alexandria VA ( cue the song!, thanks Caithlin…) and I listened to it nonstop solo party drop (HA!), sheesh, what joy!  And if possible, I’ve listened to the song “Nueva Nueva” about 600 times in the 9 days I was there.  WOW, it’s a love letter to Nueva York especially meaningful since Laura and I were just in NY City in January and she fell in love with it so it makes me even impossibly sweeter on her and the city and the song.  The album is a crazy gem of feel good dance party stroll: you can not not dance when listening.  You’ll grin alot too.  It’s the kind of art that’s free and seemingly effortless.

And as for awesome ear goodness for the ages: Nadja’s Numbness.  HPPR009_largeHoly sh*t, that’s some heavier than the house apocalyptic ambient doooooooom! Those 2 (Aiden + Leah) are surely the powers-that-be in an alternate universe of majestic sonic bloom.

thankskyle1Aaaaaawwwesome….The 13 year old high school girl in me squealed aloud when 1: I saw the handwritten note on the envelope (it took a couple weeks to get here, hence the meaning of the missive), 2: when I saw that Kyle hooked me up with #1 of 300!!! and 3: when I actually started listening to it.  It’s beee-yooot-iful!  Sheeesh, I could sing along to every song by the end of the first day!  

More happy news, Caithlin De Marrais put out her own gorgeous solo album!  Plus, her + Kyle started their own label, End Up Records.  So as sad as I was when Rainer Maria split, now it’s like getting two RM records all at once!  Albeit less rocking…But where’s William?  I think he might have something to do with this, but I’m not sure.  Very mysterious…regardless, it’s a killer site with some frighteningly pretty sounds…

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Got these beat old pins at All Star Lanes in Eagle Rock, CA.

 

 

 

 

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Too clean…

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Sumatra gives critical cute support to “the artist”…

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The worlds loneliest bowling alley…

 

 

 

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Sumatra gives critical art direction to “the artist”…

evitecopyrightedbowlingpins5Results: a Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (at least in my head), 1950’s inspired color experiment in fun! HA, Enjoy! Couldn’t have been finished without:

Sumatra, cuddly/cranky old timer and warmest of work companions!!!

Nadja’s “Radiance Of Shadows”

the complete works of Davey Von Bohlen

Klangstabil’s “Math And Emotion”, with a super special nod to the tracks “love has too much audience”, “hanham vs. steinitz” and “good night kingdom”.  I must have kept each of those 3 songs on repeat, in turn, for most of this shoot. Gracias!!!

He lived and loved us for 14 years.  We were very lucky.  He was the heart of our house and the house is so quite without him now.  We miss you, buddy.

I delayed cleaning and scrubbing away all his little paw prints on the floor till today. He had a number of things go bad inside him with age; the dry cleaners wondered when I was going to pick up the pillow slips, cushions, and blankets I had dropped off over a month ago.

We miss him coming to the door to greet us, laying all his 18 pounds of love against us when we watched a movie or listened to music on the floor in the living room.  When I’d stretch in the morning he used to snuggly slip under every new position I’d make, forcing me to push him out of the way. He loved licking the inside of my coffee cup and sniffing newly washed hair.  He could barely wait for us to go to bed to push deep into the covers between me and Laura and nod off.  Ah jeeze dude, we love you.