Archive for the ‘Music’ Category
This evening, January 21, 2013, I had the great pleasure to tour the brand new SFJAZZ Center, at 201 Franklin Street in San Francisco, California USA.
The SFJAZZ Center is an ambitious center to advance jazz music.
I think the corner of Franklin Street and Fell Street is an outstanding location for the Center — it’s in the trendy and safe Hayes Valley neighborhood, and it’s just two blocks from the Van Ness MUNI station and Market Street.
There was a ribbon cutting ceremony in the morning, which I missed.
I went to one of the official tours, in the evening. Attendees got to roam around the facility and admire the building, constructed in 2011 and 2012 to be the new dedicated home for SFJAZZ.
The formal part of the evening featured prepared remarks by Randall Kline, the Executive Artistic Director and Founder of SFJAZZ.
Rebeca Mauleón, the Director of Education, also spoke.
The SFJAZZ High School All-Stars performed in the large music hall, named the Robert N. Miner Auditorium, which features steeply set seats designed to allow the musicians to see the faces of the audience members. This Auditorium also features a glass wall that looks out onto the busy street, which will drum up interest in the performances because passersby will be able to catch a glimpse for free as they walk or drive past. I’ve always thought it is good marketing for martial arts studios and dance studios to have large glass windows at street level. SFJAZZ Center is taking a page out of their public relations book, and I predict good things will happen as a result of doing so.
I was exceptionally impressed with the High School All-Stars. I introduced myself to the members and invited them to read my blog.
I was given a lushly produced magazine/program for SFJAZZ during the tour this evening. SFJAZZ Founder Randall Kline had this to say, on page 7:
Welcome to the first season
After 30 years of presenting music in a variety of rented venues throughout the Bay, it is with great joy we begin our first season in our new home, the SFJAZZ Center. It is the first freestanding building for jazz in the country — designed, from concept to concert hall, to create an enhanced setting for experiencing what the esteemed jazz write Whitney Balliett calls “the sound of surprise.”
The SFJAZZ Center is home for all that we do: concerts, education programs for adults and youth, our award-winning SFJAZZ High School All-Star Ensembles, the world-renowned SFJAZZ Collective, and the new SFJAZZ Monday Night Community Band.
Over our three decades, SFJAZZ has grown to become a vital part of the cultural fabric of San Francisco. And in the broader context of the jazz, we have been recognized as one of the top presenters in the world — helping to place San Francisco, with its rich jazz history, among the vanguard of cities where this American-born art form can be best heard.
Kline continued his remarks — I have not typed all of them here — and concluded with:
Jazz has a home in San Francisco. The first season begins. See you at the Center!
Executive Artistic Director and Founder
The new Center shows a lot of promise. I am intrigued, so I plan to return soon to the Center to see a show.
I took the pictures that accompany this post with my Canon 5D Mark II camera. I uploaded these images at full resolution of 21 megapixels. Click on them to see the full size versions.
Today was a busy day in the United States of America.
- The country celebrated the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a federal holiday.
- It was inauguration day for US President Barack Obama, who began his second term yesterday.
- The SFJAZZ Center officially opened its doors.
[Edit on January 23, 2013 — I added two names to the caption of the group photo of the All-Stars, above, once I got the correct spellings.]
I have photographed bands since I was in college. Usually the bands were small punk rock bands few had heard of.
Sometimes the bands had a recording or two out.
I have never conducted a formal photo session with a famous band until earlier this month, when I photographed the groundbreaking punk band known as Flipper.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to photograph Flipper because I am friends with the drummer, Steve DePace.
DePace handles publicity and booking for Flipper, and he asked me in February if I could come to their concert at The New Parish on March 2, 2012 and photograph the band before their show. I agreed, and I am really glad I agreed.
I wrote about Flipper on February 25, 2012 to help promote this concert. The show itself was outstanding, and I hope to write a review later. I shot high definition video at the show which turned out well. I brought a tripod and set up in the balcony with a clear shot of the stage. I got some great stills of the band performing, including an exceptional shot of guitarist Falconi in action.
Here are my favorite eight shots from my nine minute photoshoot March 2, 2012 with Flipper. The band was also formally interviewed before their show. I didn’t want to take too much time, and I felt that after nine minutes that I had some good results. I could have gone on much longer, but I wanted to make a good impression by being decisive and quick. I hope that Flipper will recommend me to other bands they know, as I really enjoy photographing groups of people. I gave a lot of directions on this shoot — including telling people where to sit, stand and where to look. I didn’t tell Rachel Thoele, the bassist, to kick singer Bruce Loose in the head. They were joking around which was great. You would think I knew all these members in advance from how relaxed everyone looks, but I just met Thoele, Loose and guitar player Ted Falconi a few minutes prior to the shoot.
Loose only pretends to be hurt from his kick in the head. He grimaced for a solid ten seconds like he was really injured — then he broke into laughter and stood up straight and was fine, as you can see in the final shot. He had me fooled.
All the members of Flipper were exceptionally nice to me. Ted Falcone even talked with me as I was putting away my lighting equipment. He asked me about LED photography lights and what I thought of them. I was impressed by his knowledge of the subject.
I shot these pictures with a Canon 5D Mark II camera. These pictures may be seen at full size if you click on them twice. Full size is 21 megapixels — huge — bigger than your screen.
Flipper leaves soon for a European tour. They will be flying, not swimming.
Here are the tour dates:
- April 5, 2012 The Croft — Bristol, UK
- April 6, 2012 Rescue Rooms — Nottingham, UK
- April 7, 2012 The Duchess — York, UK
- April 8, 2012 Stereo — Glasgow, UK
- April 10, 2012 XOYO — London, UK
- April 12, 2012 De Klinker Club — Aarschot, Belgium
- April 13, 2012 Sonic Protest Festival — Paris, France
- April 14, 2012 L’Epicerie Moderne — Lyon, France
- April 16, 2012 Nachtleben — Frankfurt, Germany
- April 17, 2012 Knust — Hamburg, Germany
- April 18, 2012 Stengade
- April 20, 2012 Arena — Vienna, Austria
- April 21, 2012 Latte piu’ Live — Brescia, Italy
- April 22, 2012 Rössli — Bern, Switzerland
- April 24, 2012 Wild At Heart — Berlin, Germany
- April 25, 2012 Club Vaudeville — Lindau, Germany
- April 26, 2012 LVC — Leiden, The Netherlands
Before you book a trip to that venue, please check to be sure I got the link right by making sure you can find Flipper listed on that site for that day. The sites all looked like music venues, but I didn’t take the time to try to buy tickets to make sure I found the correct venue.
I have been thinking about the life of musicians. I just finished writing a post about the band Peligro.
Peligro always had gorgeous models or model types around. I was a painfully shy photography student that hoped to become a fashion photographer so I could hang out with beautiful women. I was envious.
I imagined that rock stars got a lot of sex while on tour. I still imagine that.
Thus, it was with surprise that I learned touring is not a sex fest — at least not for female rock musicians.
Ellen Campesinos! of the indie-pop collection Los Campesinos! (sic) wrote a powerful piece for Nerve magazine that shattered my illusion about the sex life of traveling musicians. Before I get into what Ellen wrote about road sex, have a look at what WikiPediA has to say about her band, for context:
“Los Campesinos! are a seven piece indie pop band from Cardiff, Wales, formed in early 2006 at Cardiff University. Although the band formed in Wales, none of its members are Welsh. They released their debut album, Hold on Now, Youngster…, in February 2008 and followed this up by releasing a record titled We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, in October that year. Whilst many consider it to be an album due to its length, the band have always referred to it as a ‘record’ or EEP (Extended EP) due to contractual and artistic reasons. Their second official album, entitled Romance Is Boring, was released on 1 February 2010. Their fourth full-length release, Hello Sadness was released on 14 November 2011. The band has announced US & UK tour dates for 2012.“
All of the members use the word ‘Campesinos!’ as their surname, even though the members are not related. The exclamation mark is part of the last name. The real name of Ellen Campesinos! is Ellen Waddell, and I will refer to her as Ellen in this blog post, even though I usually refer to people by their last names once I first identify them by first and last name. It’s too confusing to use Ellen’s last name when all her band mates use the same last name.
Ellen quickly catches the reader’s attention in her Nerve article with this eye opening paragraph:
“Neko Case recently claimed via Twitter that “Ladies in bands don’t get ANY action,” and as a female musician with a frustrated libido, I can sympathize. I’ve been playing bass in a touring band for five years, and I’ve had intimate relations on the road four times. (I class intimate relations as third-base-plus, but even if I counted kissing and over-the-clothes fumbling, it would still be a pretty low number.) I’m lucky enough to be in a job where I get to tour the world and meet interesting people, but in my experience, musicians — especially females — get a lot less then you’d imagine.”
Ellen colorfully boils sex on the road down to these four points:
- Time and space are limited on tour since tour vans and buses are cramped and really are there for the band mates to work in, not play in.
- It is awkward and unsatisfying to seduce a fan from the audience because fans put musicians on uncomfortable pedestals.
- It creates workplace stress to seduce the musicians from bands touring with your band.
- Friends of fans that are attending the show out of their support for their friend rather than their knowledge of the band make the best targets for lustful connections.
Why am I writing about Ellen’s provocative story?
Ellen is an actual rock star. Ellen is beautiful. Ellen is young. Ellen writes well (she studied journalism). Ellen is a founding member of a well regarded band that tours the world. I would not expect that she would have any trouble in the sex on tour department. I would expect that she could point out to a roadie a guy that she is interested in, and that roadie could do the tough work of approaching the guy and explaining a deal of quick sex with Ellen in exchange for not stalking her or trying to attach long strings to her. I would estimate the success rate of such an approach would be around 90% or greater.
But Ellen is shy, like I am. And shyness just sucks. It has messed up a good part of my life. I am absolutely determined to not let it mess up the rest of my life, and by writing about sex and Ellen, I am drawing your specific attention to a subject dear to my heart these days.
When you really get down to it, I left UCLA for Brooks Institute because I was shy. UCLA is a big school, and the second year, when I did not get a slot to live in the dormatories, I had to live about a mile off campus in a soulless apartment building without any other students. Most of my classes had 500 people in them. There were no cell phones or texting. It was difficult to ever see the same students even twice.
Friendships were difficult to form.
Brooks at the time seemed so much better. Classes were small, at around 20 students, and I made and kept a lot of friends.
Trading the opportunity at UCLA for friendship at Brooks is not a trade I should have made.
I deeply regret leaving UCLA.
I regret it so much that I am seriously considering returning, especially since I recently learned I do not have to go through the admissions process of a new student, because I properly withdrew and I have the original stamped paperwork in my fire proof safe. I have learned that all I need to do is fill out a one page form, send in my Brooks transcripts and I am in.
I have lost most of my shyness, but not all of it.
I still am hesitant approaching women for dates. I can approach them painlessly for anything else, including to model for me. I can handle a roomful of women. I can direct one or more women in front of the camera with confidence and authority.
But when I ask a woman on a date, I feel vulnerable because I am signaling to her that I find her sexually desirable. I am in effect telling her that I want to have sex with her, even if I am a perfect gentleman asking her for coffee with her grandmother. I should not feel awkward. I feel less awkward about asking women for dates now than at any point in my life, so I am making progress. But for me to be most effective, I should dispatch all fear and nervousness, for I fear that women pick up on that and are less likely to accept an invitation.
I thank my lucky stars that I have taken care of myself and am only 10 pounds heavier than I was at age 16 when I got my driver license (155 then and 165 this morning, in pounds). I feel attractive and sexy which I think women are also good at decoding.
I will conclude with a crazy story from my youth.
I used to love DNA Lounge. It’s still there, and it’s still cool, from what I can tell from afar. It’s open late. When I was a regular, it closed at 4am.
I had been there dancing by myself at about 3am, and found myself dancing with a solo woman, as often happened. We danced together until closing, but didn’t exchange numbers or keep in touch. It was fun but she was one of many women that I had ‘met’ and danced with late at night. She did tell me a bit about herself, including that she worked at Levi Strauss.
About two months later I was at DNA for a concert. The bar was in the center of the main room, about 15 feet from the stage. I was standing facing the stage and leaning against the bar. It was extremely loud because the band was playing.
A woman slid in next to me at the packed bar, to my left. I glanced briefly at her and it was the woman from the 3am dancing the other month. We hadn’t kissed or anything when we met, but I thought she was very attractive. At the bar at the concert, I wrapped my arm around her shoulder and she immediately, within five seconds, leaned in towards me as if we were a couple. We watched the show like this for at least ten minutes, not speaking, as that was essentially impossible since the huge speaker columns were just 15 feet away.
Live music at DNA is much louder than the recorded music the DJ plays.
At this point, it was around midnight. Without worrying about anything, I leaned to the left and kissed this woman. She kissed back. Soon, we were upstairs on one of the couches making out. This is before the days of bottle service where the nightclubs charge big dollars to sit down.
After about an hour of making out, still comparatively early, I asked her if she still worked at Levi Strauss. She replied that she didn’t and had never worked there! This woman was a complete stranger, and I had not danced with her for an hour some two months earlier!
She was a student at UC Berkeley.
I still wonder what she thought of me being so bold with her that I put my arm around her and start kissing her without even saying hello or asking her name.
I have never done that again, but I sometimes wish I could. No, I don’t want to kiss women I don’t know, but I would like to be able to be so confident that I can attract a woman so powerfully that she would agree to kiss me, even if we never did so in such haste.
Ellen of Los Campesinos!, talk to strangers after your rock shows. Don’t wait for them to get up the courage to say something. You’ll be waiting a long time most of the time, as a guy alone at the bar upon seeing a hot band member is extremely unlikely to approach you because he’ll assume your boyfriend is going to be by your side any moment. You don’t look like the type to want to have casual flings either, which particularly works against you.
I am not interested in picking up women in nightclubs or bars, and I haven’t been out dancing by myself since 2005. The woman I am looking for is not likely in a nightclub or bar in any event, so I don’t feel that I am missing anything. But I did want to share this outlandish story from my past as I think there is much to be learned from it.
You might be wondering why I write this blog. I don’t make money from it. It costs me a lot of time and a little bit of money.
What I am doing here is making my own luck.
The women I want to meet are much more likely to be reading this blog than to be looking for me in some dark nightclub at 3am.
By sharing my life, dreams, secrets, ambitions and ideas, I am also setting the stage for my next marriage and starting a family with children, since I am single now.
Stay posted to learn how my life progresses.
You may subscribe by leaving your email address in the upper right corner. I also encourage you to friend me on Facebook, where I post status updates for each blog post.
And if you’re a woman you think I might like after you’ve read a dozen or more of my blog posts, please introduce yourself to me, OK? Remember, I’m still a little shy.
Lipat got to know many musicians in the punk scene.
Unfortunately, I have been told that Chatham got too deep into drugs and alcohol and ruined his mind so severely that the last time I heard he is living at Laguna Honda Hospital, which I can see at night only when its lights are on through the trees outside my living room window, about a mile away. I’ve been told Chatham doesn’t remember even his own wife and two children, so I have not been to see him. I would like to visit Tony Chatham, so if his family finds this, please let me know if a visit would be appropriate.
I got to know DePace and Peligro in their Jungle Studs days because I was studying (aka wasting vast amounts of my family’s money) at Brooks Institute at the time, and photographed Jungle Studs for a class assignment. One of these days I will drag out my old 4 x 5″ Kodak Vericolor negatives and have them scanned so I can illustrate a post about Jungle Studs.
Chatham was fond of telling me that he had framed the photograph I took of Jungle Studs and displayed it over his bed.
Lipat is still friends with DePace and Peligro, and DePace even came to my house for my birthday in 2007, with Lipat.
I just learned last week that Steve DePace went to high school at St. Ignacious, an elite and costly private school in San Francisco. This makes perfect sense to me because DePace is a sharp guy who writes well. DePace seems to have taken on a leadership role in the vintage hard core punk rock scene. He organized a great concert March 2, 2012 at the Oakland, California music venue The New Parish. The other musicians thanked him over the public address system several times throughout the four band event. DePace was the only organizer thanked, so clearly DePace is the guy.
D.H. Peligro was the drummer for Dead Kennedys, my favorite punk band, during its heyday in the 1980s. Peligro briefly was a member of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, according to Peligro’s WikiPediA entry.
D.H. Peligro has his own band now, appropriately named Peligro. Peligro means ‘danger’ in Spanish. One word cool band names are rare these days, so I suspect Peligro is glad to have Peligro.
Peligro played March 2, 2012 at the DePace organized show at The New Parish. I was there with my good camera, at the invitation of Steve DePace.
Peligro has produced three recordings. Sadly, I am not familiar with any of them, so I can’t comment on them.
What I can comment on is that on March 2nd, Peligro looked healthy, strong, lean and powerful, both on stage and off. He appears to have the same physique he had when he posed in a loin cloth at Powell and Market Streets (the tourist center of the City) in San Francisco for the cover of their Jungle Studs debut record over 20 years ago.
By my calculations, D.H. Peligro is 51 years old. He’s just as bold with women as I remember him being years ago. For his Friday night performance, Peligro wore a Coca-Cola red t-shirt emblazoned in the Coca-Cola font in white that read ‘Enjoy Cock.’ What I wouldn’t give for Peligro’s supreme confidence. Peligro used to date gorgeous and frequently published models, and I would not be surprised if he still does.
Playing in a punk rock band looks tiring. Whatever position one has in a punk band, the intensity is generally at the top end of the spectrum. Frankly, I am in awe that Peligro still has the physical energy for this. At the Friday show, he was on fire, as you can see in these pictures, which I took with my Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon 80-200mm L zoom lens on a tripod from the balcony.
Peligro has two other strong musicians that were also on fire on Friday.
I’m including video I shot of one song, to show you their musical energy. I spoke with D.H. after the show, and he remembered me which was flattering since I haven’t seen him in perhaps two decades, but I forgot to ask permission to post this video. I had permission from Steve DePace to capture video of Flipper. I had permission from the concert venue to be there capturing video. I simply don’t know if I had permission to capture video of the opening bands. D.H., if you’re reading this and would like me to remove the video clip, send me a message on Facebook. If you want me to photograph your band or just you, I would be honored to help out. Have a look at my work photographing people, here.
As is usual, I posted these pictures at full camera resolution of 21 megapixels. Click on them to see them at full size.
Here are two Peligro music videos I discovered while researching this post. Powerful stuff.
Flipper, the legendary punk rock band, is playing at The New Parish in Oakland, California on March 2, 2012
Here’s the blurb about Flipper, provided by the band:
“Flipper is a punk band formed in San Francisco, California in 1979, continuing in often erratic fashion until the mid-1990s, then reuniting in 2005. The band influenced a number of grunge, punk rock and noise rock bands. Their slowed-down, bass-driven, and heavily distorted style of punk is also considered a key forerunner to sludge metal and bands such as The Melvins. The band regularly performed in the San Francisco area, attracting a following. Simultaneously, their uniquely slowed-down and raucous approach to punk managed to infuriate other members in local punk scene, especially with the burgeoning popularity of faster-paced hardcore punk. Mark Arm claims in the 2003 documentary American Hardcore that Flipper’s charm as a band lies in their ability to upset audiences, while attracting their undivided attention and curiosity at the same time. The band promoted themselves partly by spray painting “Flipper Rules” around San Francisco, as well as word-of-mouth.”
Generic Flipper, the debut album by Flipper, is one I have played hundreds of times.
Generic Flipper is part of what I would call a basic collection of hardcore punk rock recordings that any serious enthusiast must own. It’s in rare company with recordings such as Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables by Dead Kennedys, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols by Sex Pistols, Dance with Me by T.S.O.L. and The Clash by The Clash.
I am friends with Steve DePace, the drummer for Flipper, and he invited me to photograph the upcoming show with my Canon 5D Mark II, so visit this blog later for 21 megapixels shots from the show, which is open to fans of all ages. That means you can buy a ticket and go, which I strongly recommend that you do. See you there!