Thursday, December 31, 2009

As our December sun is setting...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Two shows down on Christmas Eve and the tech team and I were ready to book it. If that juggler dropped one ball, man, if it had been any other day, she would have had 52 stagehands ready to pummel her with her own bouncing green artillery.

I'm pretty sure John, our dear lighting board op, bolted before the curtain even dropped, while Chris and I shut down our stations - haha I'mmmm preettty sure John's Grand MA most likely ran through Christmas.

By the time I made it out of the Garden, I was also on a separate holiday mission. Wrap, cookies, church. I am a master of the Christmas Eve prep, but this year I was on a little more of a time crunch and in a new environment. Thank goodness I had just scrubbed the apartment from top to bottom a few days prior or Houston may have had a problem.

But I digress.

Ok, wrapping... check... cookies... in progress, despite minor setbacks in sprinkle selection, which under different circumstances, would be a good reason to abort mission. More importantly, what's Christmas Eve without an amazing Jewish roommate with whom you can listen to Jimmy Buffett's Christmas selections, smoke hookah and go to the midnight church service? Assuming there will be many a holiday spent in New York, I just can't imagine it any other way - I mean, come on! When a Jew and a Lutheran attend an Episcopalian service, magical things happen!

Unbeknownst to us, the midnight service was moved from Trinity Church* to the St. Paul's Chapel, the oldest public building in continuous use in New York City. We arrived to find a smattering of Episcopalians and rogue patrons from all over the world... and on folding chairs. Four corners of folding chairs, all facing each other, altar in the center. Do you know what folding chairs mean at a religious service?? Participation and interaction beyond normal protocol. Goodbye celebratory formalities of Trinity Church, hello groupthink at St. Paul's Chapel. It wasn't at all what I had expected to find this Christmas Eve, but we still enjoyed the very new experience, more or less because it was a new experience. If nothing else, candles were lit, Christmas hymns were sung and it provided plenty of food for thought on the way home - and no, no, I don't mean the assortment of cookies the acolyte placed on the altar prior(!?!) to the end of the service. Certainly neither of us were trying to save the world through conversation, but, as always, there is nothing as comforting and thrilling as an exchange of sound minds. Perfect for a chilly walk home on what now was Christmas morning.

*Land for Trinity Church was purchased from the Lutheran congregation in Manhattan (1696). How 'bout that tid-bit?

Photo courtesy of Trinity Church Museum. I've been stalling on this entry for a few days now because I've not had a suitable image to post with the copy... so for now, this snowy shot of the church stands.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Going to watch my 3rd favorite Christmas film while baking cookies the other day, I was heart-broken to find that I had left "The Preacher's Wife" back in Pittsburgh. There are a few items that have not migrated to NYC and unfortunately, that was one of them.

Most of you, I know, will roll your eyes. This is not so much about a man's firm belief in a textbook God and His heaven, as it is about a character who has come to understand life on his own terms - and for him, it is through his definition of God. For you it may be something different, for me it may be something different, but either way, this time of year, spending time with loved ones makes you remember. Remember what, you ask? I can only answer that from my thoughts, friends. Take what you will from this.

"Beloved, God never promised us a perfect life. He's savin' that for the Hereafter. While we're here on this Earth, there's some things we just got to work for. It could be a job, it could be a church, it could be a community, could be a marriage. But the good news is, He gave us two secret weapons to help us succeed: Hope. And love. Hope is all a prayer is. And love, loving is giving. Pure and simple. But in love, there is also forgiveness. And forgiveness belongs to everyone. It's a right, like the right to breathe, or eat, or even to fall in love. Sometimes, we take love for granted. Am I right about it? Those who are nearest to us, dearest to us- those are the ones we forget to love. But the miracle is, when we love someone, we are really lovin' God. Look and wonder at those you love, for they are the face of God. And when the path is dark and the road bends, we will let the Lord show us the way. He will give us heart and make us whole again. Because I know! He did me. You may ask me- how? You see, He's got these angels, waitin' in this loonnng line for the chance to come down and help each and every one of us. And They do! So you see, Beloved, today I am truly blessed. Blessed with hope. And blessed with love - and blessed with the belief that I can make a difference. All of us can. We can save this church! We will help our poor! We will help our young! And our lonely! And our needy! So now, let us begin again. Let us go forward! Forward in hope! Forward in love! And forward into the new days of our lives. Put your hands together and praise God."

-Christmas Day sermon from "The Preacher's Wife"

On a completely separate note, Denzel Washington can be my angel any day.

Monday, December 21, 2009

"And hey, happy Winter Solstice - this is the longest night of the year, it's our night to shine, Kiddo." - J. McClellan

What are you doing inside reading my blog? Go shine!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Before I start my story, let me give you an idea of the beginning/middle of December last year. With a fair level of stress sitting on my shoulders, I tried to be as reasonable a human being as being a reasonable human being would allow. Not only was I a fresh freelance photographer in the most densely artistic city in the world, but my month sublet in Gramercy had ended and an exhausting real estate search through Manhattan, plus various boroughs, had begun - all the while sleeping on a friend's living room couch in Park Slope, retrieving necessary items from my suitcase that was her car on a daily basis. Working through my issues, working through the issues of people I loved - everything happening at once. I don't know that I solved my problems or theirs, but I did find a wonderful abode at the southern tip of Manhattan, which was certainly a start. With work not flowing as regularly as I would have liked and a move-in date of the 15th, a Christmas tree wasn't out of the question, but definitely wasn't likely.

So I've been here over a year now, and the tree you sort of see above is my first Christmas tree in New York. I found its purchase particularly necessary, because this year also marks my first Christmas spent in this extraordinary place. Now, I'm not the sentimental anniversary type and usually wouldn't bother to mention this occasion, had it not come about as it did.

Cue week 2 of December 2009...

Last Tuesday, Ms. Brown, my gentile roommate, and I set out to get a tree. As of Monday, there hadn't been any tree vendors in our neighborhood, so we were assuming the worst (or the best, in my opinion) of having to take a subway ride with our new fragrant, green friend. By Tuesday morning, Brown reported that our local 24-hour market had some trees out front. Super. Great. However, by the time we were both off work, we arrived to find three sad Fraser firs left, about 6ft, going for $75 a pop with the market's owner refusing to lower the price. The guy handling the trees told us to come back late Wednesday night, as a different owner would be there and would give us a deal. Done.

I got out of my last Cirque show on Wednesday around 9:30, promptly calling my cohabiting Gentile to make our festive purchase. No answer. Despising inefficiency, my final decision was to get off the train two stops sooner to check out the prospects on my own. As I got off the train, I called B again. Still no answer, though with the excitement of a Sheik spotting an oasis in the desert, my eyes widened to see trees! Trees! Lots of green trees!

As I approached with a little dance across the street, I saw a small Ukrainian emerge from behind a row of trees:

"Excuse me, Sir, how much for a tree?"
"Eh, what kind you want? What size you want?"
"Fraser, balsam fir, either will be fine... mmm 6-7 feet"

Unlike a lot of the trees he had, the tree he lead me to was an unbound, deeply green, 6.5 ft balsam fir.

"It's 60, but for you, I give 50."
"It is quite pretty. I do like it, but just to be sure, may I see another?"
"Other tied up, on wall, will have to untie. This one prettiest."

Skeptical of his motives, despite the tree's outward good health, I agreed it would be foolish to open more trees because of a compulsion. I asked him to pick up the tree and drop it. The only needles to fall off were the dead ones. Okie dokie. Check and check.

"Sir, it's a very pretty tree, but I'm not quite sure how I'm going to get this tree home. My roommate isn't answering calls and with my computer bag, I'm not sure if this is going to work."
"I vould help, but have to stay with trees. Can help you at 10."
"How heavy is it?"
"Eh" (he lifts the tree again) "Not bad. Can carry for you at 10."
"No, no, thank you, but I appreciate the offer. All right, Sir, I'll take it. I need a stand too. How much?"
"20, but for you, 10."
"Do you take cards or just cash?"
"Both, but ATM 'cross street."
"Not my bank and I hate bank charges." (Running joke: my bank is STILL in NJ, but now with a full branch in Manhattan)
"Listen [pronounced l-eee-sen]. I pay bank charge. No tax vhen you pay cash."

I ran across the street to the ATM assuming he's sawing off the bottom and putting it through that net-machine thing that I had assumed existed.

I crossed back over and saw that I guessed correctly about one of the two.

"Can you please tie the tree up? Twine? Net?"
"No more twine. Garbage bag?"

Four pauses of me staring at him pass.


I call Brown again, because while I was sure I could carry a wrapped tree on my own, I was not sure I'd be able to manage the width of an open tree. Again, niente for B.

So this delightful small Ukrainian and I tore a hole in the bottom of a giant garbage bag for the trunk (aka grip 1) and shimmied that tree into its carrying pouch. I tossed the stand into the bag and with my right hand on the bottom of the trunk and my left hand somewhere at the 3/4 mark, my new green friend dressed in plastic and I in Marc Jacobs were off on our 15-block trek home.

Receiving plenty of questionable glances from passing pedestrians, I suddenly became aware that it appeared as if I had just kidnapped a Christmas tree from goodness knows where. Now I'm sure someone has carried a 6.5 ft. tree in a garbage bag through Manhattan before me. Probably during the middle of June. As far as I was concerned, it was just a method of getting my friend home.

When my willing captive and I landed on my doorstep, we had two flights of stairs to tackle and then we were home free... into the apartment, onto the stand.

It wasn't until Thursday night that Brown and I were able to collect the suitable trimmings, put on some Christmas tunage and make our little tree look divine. Simple, affordable, elegant. As Brown plugged the lights in, I switched off the lights. A home is not a home until you make it one and we had just done that. Brown went to sit and watch the tree and I walked over to do the dishes. With nothing but the tree light, I was a happy, serene little clam. Listening to music, taking in the soft light and dancing about the kitchen: wash, dry, dance, repeat. I don't know what it was, but it made me very happy.

Happiest of holidays, Kids.

Photo: Tree, apartment, me.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Let's see, let's see... Warhol being from Pittsburgh aside, what do I love about pop art? In this case, make-up entirely inappropriate for everyday use: light orange eyes and magenta lips!

This is one of the raw images from a project started a few months ago. As all art of this genre goes, goodness knows what crazy color and design will enter into the final product...

Speaking of color, once again, having an RGB profile issue with the true color of this photo. Imagine it? Sorry guys, Noah did a great job lighting skin tone and I can't quite do it justice. :(

In case you were wondering, that frowny face is me.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Didn't think you'd see this rare breed again, did you? She essss-CA-pes* to the ocean when she doesn't want to speak, where no one expects her to speak. Just swimming amongst the colors, taking in the wavelengths of light and thinking about the universe. At 110 ft in the Coral Sea, she couldn't have found a better spot.

Photo taken by a fellow diver aboard the Spoilsport and yes, yes that is the camera rig in my hand. Fan coral in the foreground.

*I try to be serious, but cartoon references (in this case, "Finding Nemo") often foil my plan.

One of the most venomous feeessshhies on the ocean floor: Mr. Lionfish!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I've been saving this picture from the Great Barrier Reef specifically for the holiday season that is now upon us. What's festive about this, you ask? They're Christmas Tree Worms!

These guys are shy guys too! Well, not like Super Mario's shy guys, but with each passing shadow or the slightest touch, they retract into their little burrows in the coral. If you wait a minute, they slowly reemerge looking as pretty as they did when you spotted them.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia.

Probably one of the coolest populated places on the eastern coast of Aussieland.

Cataract Gorge, Launceston, Tasmania.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I've had a number of people ask me over the past few years about the origin of my profession(s) and how I keep myself employed. Below is a sample voicemail for a work inquiry. I hope it answers some questions.

Fuckin' Harvey! Didn't answer my call.

Shocker. Stunning.

Hello?... It's your pal... Cory. I hope you are doing well... ahhhmmm.... I can't get too mad at you for not picking up because you just sound so darn cute on that little cell-phone recording. Uhmmmm... please call me at your earliest convenience... I have a proposition for you if you're not doing anything from September 3rd to September 12th.

And it's not going on vacation with me.

Although that would be nice.

Sooo call me... 3rd of September through the 12th of September. All those days. Working. Call me back... bbhhhyyyeeee.

Peacock, peacock, how proud you are with your pretty, pretty plume. Were you so proud that you had to chase a little 8-year-old Alli around a farm many years ago? How beautiful she thought you were, but perhaps you didn't know that. Despite that treacherous lap around a barn in West Virginia, she still finds you exquisite.

Crazy writer, talking about such nonsense as peacocks in West Virginia or in this case, Tasmania. Such things surely aren't possible.

Monday, December 07, 2009

When we last left Australia, we were roaming and romping around the countryside of Tasmania. What's really inconvenient, however, is that my Cape Tribulation photos are still stuck on that stupid XD card (damn you and you inferior storage methods, Olympus!! Why do I have an Olympus you ask? The 550uz was part of my underwater rig that I wanted to test on dry land). I confidently inform you that my battle with it is far from over.

In the meantime, I'll stray from my frustration and leave you with an image from our hike through the gorgeous Cataract Gorge in Launceston, Tasmania.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Rihanna attends the release party for her album "Rated R" on Thursday at M2 in NYC.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Think of every one-of-kind place in the world you've ever wanted to visit. Why do you want to go there? What makes it so different, so solitary? It's funny, but I started to type the word "rare" then "uncommon," however realizing using either would be an incorrect use of language within context. Those words imply that there is a level of equality elsewhere, but what if that's not true? Sometimes I feel redundant, always talking about how utterly incredible the above is, but then again, I do that with everything and everyone I find astounding and inspiring. If it/he/she is that amazingly incredible, it/he/she deserves to be spoken of admirably and frequently. Very frequently. I can't say it's happened often, no more than seven times in my life thus far, so I won't apologize, but if you don't want to read about the Garden anymore, it'd be best to find alternative material. I'll be very sad to see you go, but I'll understand.

In being absolutely honest, it's one of the very few things that has left me speechless on a repeat basis. When we came down off the roof, Tim just looked at me and said, "You know how I knew you were excited? You were emotionless." Which means two things... 1) That he understood something that many people do not, in that a lack of projecting socially recognized emotion often indicates the greatest expression of feeling and 2) that he had been paying attention since the day I met him. It's like when you try to hand-write your thoughts, or even type them, sometimes even speak them... the result that is displayed is only a part of the calamity that has taken residence in your head.

My point? The widest smile and the brightest eyes wouldn't have been an adequate translation of what was in my brain.

As a rule of thumb, if I'm still able to form sentences and carry on a dialogue, well, it's not always exactly what I was hoping to find. It puts life at a different standard and is a wretchedly terrible, yet splendidly terrific personality trait - a flaw and an attribute all rolled into one. Fantastic because I look for it in everyone and everything and awful, of course, because I look for it in everyone and everything. I can count on one hand the amount of times I've met my own standard - two fingers and a half... maybe. Call me difficult, call me impossible, but while I try to meet my own expectations, I have what I might call a "good time" doing it.

Creating reality one hour at a time.

Photo: Roof of Madison Square Garden on Thanksgiving around 7 p.m., 8th Ave. to the left, 33rd St. (almost) dead on.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I usually make no mention of this, but as some of you know, it was my birthday yesterday. Furthermore, I had a completely different blog for today until late last night when a string of stanza-ed text messages came rolling through from one of my favorite dudes out on the road.

Ladies and gents, my absolute favorite birthday present of 2009:

One summer afternoon I met Alli in PA.
She picked me up, even though I was out of her way.

Then we had to part for quite awhile
And were separated by much more than a mile.

But we'd soon reunite in a city farther east
And enjoy together an authentic Chinese feast.

Then back to her apartment she would bring me,

But it was only so I could assemble her Wii.

And when I proved undoubtedly inept,

Remarkably still her patience she kept.

So that's how I know Alli is sweet and kind,

And not just another superb behind.

Now I hope we'll hang out whenever we can,

And I promise I'm better at working things made in Japan.

- Bryan Strickland, tour manager/photographer/poet/class-A friend

Even if he's lying about the sweet, kind, behind part, the rest is awesome and true. From working my first big show in Pittsburgh to late night adventures in Chinatown to Mario Cart in my apartment to DMB catering at Fenway, we've managed to grow a wonderful friendship, which can be hard to do in the music business. I think it's frickin' great. Contrary to my usual stance, I give communication technology a big thumbs up for this one.

Photo 1: Bry's cover shot for DMB's Live Trax (Lisbon) vol. 10 album
Photo 2: Bryan!

Monday, November 30, 2009

If the arena/expo jammed with gear is Mecca, then this is the moon... or the roof of Madison Square Garden facing 31st. Same difference to me.

For the record, this would be a perfectly clich├ęd moment to use the popular and underrated line, "Just when you think things can't get any better...," but I've never really believed in that. I always, always, always think things get better.

Every week is the best week ever, Kids. Happy Monday.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Two women watching (one photographing) the parade move south from their hotel rooms. Though I'm quite confident shooting into a private, albeit temporary, residence with a telephoto lens breaches many a legality, I figured I'd take a chance on this one. Unfortunately, I wasn't physically able to politely push the crowds to reach a desirable angle in time to catch the lady on the right in her PJs and towel turban. Really enjoying the sign, giving both place and direction, I truly consider lack of towel turban to be the major downfall of the shot.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Of the many Thanksgivings I can forsee being away from home, I figured this was a good year to cross off "see Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as pedestrian" on my life to-do list.

For those of you who love kicking butt at trivia nights, you may thank me for this later: the first balloon to appear in the parade? Felix the Cat in 1927 - and he was filled with air rather than helium. But wasn't the first parade in 1924? Yep, but no balloons... live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo! I expect a written thank-you when you win your team a round when you answer the bonus question correctly.

Anyway, it was an experience, again, that is uncannily unique to New York. So what if parades aren't your thing. Like Times Square, it's cool for the sheer fact that it can exist. I laugh to myself though, as I write this, because if you asked most New Yorkers what they thought of both those things, they'd say that they'd do anything to steer clear of the overwhelming calamity that either can be. As a transplant, I see past the lights, see past the crowds, see past the vast amounts of helium and see only a fascinating environment which enables such things to happen.

Photo 1: The first Mickey Mouse balloon to make an appearance in the Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 29, 1934 at 105th and Broadway.

Photo 2: The 4th version of Mickey Mouse appearing in the November 26, 2009 Thanksgiving Day Parade on the corner of 50th and 7th.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Radio City Rockettes riding a 1930s IND train from the Chambers Street Station downtown to Rockefeller Center last Thursday morning. (Meant to post this yesterday too! Whoopsy daisy)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Radio City Rockettes riding a 1930s IND train from the Chambers Street Station downtown to Rockefeller Center last Thursday morning.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mecca? Close.

Road cases stacked to the ceiling in the Garden's expo center. The only person who reads this blog who found out how huge this area is (besides you darlings who also work there) is Ms. Lauren Brown who went to go visit the elephants with me when the circus was in town. My point? This space, not only occupies half the 5th floor of the building, but houses elephants and tigers... on an annual basis.

Did I mention the ceiling? These cases are stacked to the ceiling!? Forget Mick and Bono, I doubt many people in the business have ever seen or will ever see that. Wonderful absurdity.

Now this was one hell of a show.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

An email from the boss:

Tonight Bono named these hallowed halls "the cathedral of Rock and Roll" - And the world was shown another history-making event for the books. Each of you, and your teams all contributed to the success. You can and should take pride in the jobs you do. Without the effort and dedication of this amazing team, rock history would have been left to another time, another place.

Thank you for making the Garden the great cathedral of rock.

- Tim Parsaca, Saturday 10/31/09, 1:21 a.m.

Photo: Bono and Mick Jagger performing the Stones' "Gimme Shelter" at Madison Square Garden on 10/30/09.

Could have been great, Al, could have been great...


I'm posting it anyway... as a public note to not screw up such moments as the above.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wait... is that... Mick Jagger? Well what do you know! It is!

Whatever you've heard about him... it's all true. Damn, that man can move.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I distinctly remember one music discussion involving one of my dearest friends, Kelly McStay, my dad and myself where U2 was the headlining subject. The song in question was "Vertigo" and all Kelly had to say was, "I mean, he counts from 3 to 14."

End topic. Moving on!

Just because I saw the above on some kid while covering a pop-punk show once...

As the highly acclaimed (according to "almost 3/4" Dr. Jeff Stambough) Urban Dictionary defines it, a "Bonosaurus" is somewhere between "A dinosaur [,] preferably a brontosaurus*[,] with Bono's head on it and an "object obtained when a woman performs the ho stretch."

You decide which one better fits your lifestyle.

In addendum, if any of you are not familiar with the montstrosity U2 has been touring worldwide, have at it...

*I, umm, think that was the joke.

Monday, November 16, 2009

How was that $8 Chard?

Photo: Bono

"Can you believe these new girls? None of them use birth control and they eat all the steak!" - Almost Famous

Photo: Bono

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fergie and Edge... together at last. Really? I wonder A) how the Black Eyed Peas fenegled their way into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame show and B) who was pulling to see U2 with BEP? Whatever, people seemed stoked and really, that's all I care about.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

David Howell Evans, otherwise known as the Edge, lead guitarist for U2. 'Sup, dude? Yeah, so we dropped off an $8 Chardonnay in your dressing room. Hmm. You don't seem pleased. You're telling me you have the palette to differentiate taste between an $8 Chard and an $80 Chard? I don't believe you. I don't remember your Wikipedia entry saying "wine connoisseur."

Monday, November 09, 2009

One day last January, I was told by a prospective suitor to meet him on the NE corner of 33rd and 7th. He had a surprise belated Christmas present for me and punctuality, not always a strong suit of mine, was moderately crucial. With hair done, slight make-up applied, my best jeans, heeled black boots and a long gray sweater that sits elegantly off the left shoulder, I left my apartment just in time to catch the 2/3 train uptown to meet him.

I walked up the stairs to street level where I saw him standing in his nicely tailored coat. I said his name and he turned. At about 6'5, his linebacker frame wrapped around me with my third step onto the sidewalk - he facing the stairs and I facing Madison Square Garden. I was only present with him for a minute before I realized that I was not at work and yet again, staring at this building. Noticing the glance of my direction, he pulled out two tickets to the Pittsburgh Penguins/New York Rangers game that was about to start in T minus 6 minutes. I wasn't really dressed in my standard hockey garb, but at least I looked presentable.

Still, I jumped on him in excitement and away we went. The important part of this whole thing, however, was the conversation between us following the first period of the game:

"I just absolutely love this place."
"You keep saying that... it looks kind of old and in need of renovation to me."
(Blank stare)
"Well, hun, that's not exactly what I mean. I mean a few things... the history - the events and people that have graced this space. The world's greatest everything! Musicians, athletes, actors, dancers, production people, political figures, photographers, comedians, etc... Whether they were performing here or playing here or just coming to watch some kind of event, they have been here. I mean the effort and precision it takes to run a cat show, a Cirque du Soleil performance and a hockey game all in the same night and then do three totally different events tomorrow!"
"I think we're next in line for ice cream, what would you like?"
(Blank stare)
"Mint-chocolate-chip, please."

The Pens didn't score a goal that night, but I realized something very important. That I was in love with an environment. An environment that, with a year's passing, has now become a home, family included. Over the two days of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame shows, I watched the entire U2 set from stage right. I watched multiple performers from a legendary generation of music from every angle that venue has to offer. I got to see and hug my favorite and one of the best stage managers (DMB/Stones/Sinatra/etc.) out there. I got to quote Almost Famous within context multiple times. I watched the front row jump up and down yelling for Bono, yelling for Bruce, yelling for... Mick. I was in a one-of-a-kind position with people I love, yet again. Doesn't matter that it wasn't the best angle to shoot a show. I was home.

Photo: Stage right at the Garden for U2's set. U2's lead guitar, the Edge closest with Bono center stage.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Some of U2's gear from backstage right. The spot in the middle of the frame is lighting Bono downstage center.

Dinner breaks from Cirque du Soleil rehearsals = quiet theater = optimal editing time.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

"Let me explain something to you - you have not been standing in front of thirty-thousand decibels for thirty-five years... WRITE ME A NOTE." - Ozzy Osbourne

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

*Ring* *Ring*

"Hey Jeff, this is Eric. I have some news - some pretty crappy news. My gallbladder's been giving me muchos problemas. Need surgery. Doc says I need two weeks recovery time. No, no - don't worry, I'm fine. I just won't be able to make one little girl's dreams of photographing my hands come true this week at the Hall of Fame's gig at the Garden. Yeah, yeah... I know. Big show. I'm bummed. What's that? Yeah I love that place too. So if you could be a pal and help me out, fill in for me, I would appreciate it. Thanks, Jeff. Yeah, yeah... Jimmy's on vacation. Pete doesn't want to do it. Keith might've died today. Jimi's dead. Carlos is busy making shoes... what can I say? You're my guy, Beck."

Photo: Jeff Beck

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Coo coo ca choo, Mr. Robinson.

You go sing "Tracks of My Tears" with Stevie Wonder in 20 minutes. Have a ball.

Photo: Smokey Robinson

Nothing says "I'm performing at the biggest rock concert of the year at one of the most famous venues in the world" like a checkered navy blue velvet suit and black patent leather shoes. Few could pull that combo off as nicely as Mr. John Legend.

Not so much a legend quite yet, Mr. Legend, but you sure are cute.

Monday, November 02, 2009

When you see the Southern Cross for the first time,
You understand now why you came this way
'Cause the truth you might be runnin' from
Is so small, but it's as big as the promise
The promise of a comin' day...

In a somewhat appropriate (I saw/knew where to look for the Southern Cross for the first time in Australia), yet abrupt, transition, I'm going to switch gears to all the crazy happenings of this past weekend at Madison Square Garden before we return to the mystical land of Tasmania. When I posted last night, I tried to ignore my Rock and Roll Hall of Fame folder... but it just kept staring at me. *Sigh* - such a softy when it comes to legendary music.

Not the best shot of CSN, but Stephen Stills is looking at me - who cares if I had a camera in my hand. I also had no flash... under-equipped and doing just fine.

Photo: (L-R) David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash Thursday night in the press room at Madison Square Garden.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Do you think he thinks about the possibility of getting stuck?

Launceston countryside.

Not so devilish now, are you Tasmanian Devil? Yes, I'm talking to you...

Speaking of Tasmanian Devil, was anyone else unsure of their existence (or the state's existence, for that matter) when watching Looney Tunes? I would add, "as a kid" to that, but I still watch them... frequently.

The correct plural of platypus is platypuses and NOT platypi. What a bummer.

Photo taken at the "Platypus House" just north of Launceston.

In taking a trip to Hobart from Launceston with Justin and his family my first weekend in Tasmania, I was able to see a lot more of the state than I had expected. Passing mountains, horse pastures, sheep pastures, canola fields and other sorts of farmland, I quickly noticed that I wasn't part of the conversation for a majority of the three-hour trip. For those of you who have spent some time with me, all I can say is that my inability to focus on the audio of the primary situation was certainly in full swing. Had I been driving, it would have taken us about seven hours to get to Hobart, as I would have insisted on photographing everything I passed.

Our destination upon arrival was a darling house owned by a family friend of the Hermans. Again, I was taken aback by yet another beautiful home with an even more beautiful view. With the warmth of the sun frequently luring me into the window's right corner, I couldn't resist the perfect perch with a cup of Earl Grey each time I was in the kitchen.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My final stop on the Australia itinerary had nothing whatsoever to do with work... for once. In a last-minute miracle of scheduling, solid flight prices and a cognitive decision on my part, or both our parts, to breathe, my dear, dear friend Justin flew around the world to meet me (ok, ok, and his family too) in Tasmania.

Justin's father, Dr. Brian Herman, relocated to Tassie over 5 years ago to continue practicing cardiology. Justin makes an annual visit and was kind enough to invite me to come check out Launceston, Tassie's 2nd largest "city".

A lot of sheep. A lot of trees. A lot of farm.

I'd love to write more, but at the moment am in the middle of a Cirque du Soleil load-in at MSG. Byyye for now!

Photo: Sunset from Dr. Herman's back window.

If a red door welcomes opportunity, what does a big red door mean? Justin, maybe you'd like to field this question, based on your experience with this door?

In any case, welcome to Tasmania where big doors stand alone!

Loving parent attempting to communicate with wandering daughter on October 7th, 2009:

Have you left for Tasmania yet? What adventures have you had?



Mere hours later...

"Tsunami warning for Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia" - Like I need your mother to see this scrolling along the bottom of the screen on the 10:00 news! What's the scoop? Whatever it is, stay safe! Remember, the shot is not worth it if you don't get to publish it!



True Dad, true.

Photo: Getting off the plane in Launceston, Tasmania.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunset from the patio... probably right around the time Angus was whipping up some delightful homemade Vietnamese cuisine and I stepped outside to collect my drool.

As mentioned a while back, my stay in a cozy harbor-front apartment (again, arranged so perfectly by Mr. Brad Hayward) was cut rather short due to an angry anarchist/feminist cat from Bushwick, Brooklyn. I'm honestly not sure which part of that I like least. Clearly kitty and I didn't jive too well, which for better or for worse, left me vagabonding it through Kings Cross. After a few nights swapping from hotels to hostels, my dear friend Andy was kind enough to connect me with his step-brother up in Neutral Bay, on the other side of the Harbor Bridge, who happened to be willing to take in a stray American.

Thus I was introduced to Sydney: Act II's lovely cast of characters: Ben, Tanes, Angus and Nadia. Ben and Tanes came to pick me up (in my favorite car ever - Jeep Wrangler/manual trans) at a cozy wi-fi cafe on Elizabeth Bay Road and took me for my first drive across the Harbor Bridge en route to the apartment.

Arriving at Ben's place, I stepped out on his patio to see this view of the city. Pretty cool neighborhood, pretty cool view, pretty cool... music library! First order of business? Commence the music swapping party!

As the great Malibu* might say, "Takin a little brewski, holdin' onto a hard drive full of music and I'mmm fiiiinnnne today."

*Running joke for the past 7 months or so - link courtesy of John.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lord Nelson Hotel, Sydney's oldest pub, or "hotel" as they call them. Such a wonderful establishment. Fire place, crafted beers and delicious meat pies with mushy peas! Brad was such an excellent tour guide that I was often left speechless with delight. So, let's hear it for Brad, history, beer, traditional cuisine and long, cold walks through the rain to reach fabulous destinations!