Thursday, April 28, 2011

Comerica Park is almost as pretty as PNC Park... but not quite...


Post-cruise, we all piled back into the bus to head back from Louisiana to Michigan. This ride, as one may imagine, was a little calmer than the way down to New Orleans. I think we even watched Dancing with the Stars, which was weird considering our motley crew.

Upon arriving back in Detroit at 7 a.m. Tuesday, the 12th, I really can't remember what we did. All I know is that we ended up at a 1:00 Tiger game in the warm sunshine and there was both coffee and beer involved.

I'd like to note three things about this photo of Paws and child here:

1. I was more interested in Paws than that child (Aaron asked me if I wanted to get my picture taken with Paws, but I sheepishly declined).

2. A woman is pulling his tail (is that the same as pulling someone's leg?).

3. Aaron taught that kid how to stick her tongue out at people, much to her father's dismay.


Chris would be giving me shit if he didn't have any new stories to read on this blog, so I'm going to pick up now just about where I left off.

My morning coffee on the balcony. Probably one of my favorite things about that Kid Rock cruise, particularly right before a two-hour massage courtesy of KR/Carnival. That was for sure a good day.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I gotta go catch a helicopter. See you soon, dearest Alli Harvey.


In lieu of flowers, the loved ones of Chris kindly request donations be made to The Chris Hondros Fund. This fund will provide scholarships for aspiring photojournalists and raise awareness of issues surrounding conflict photography.

The Chris Hondros Fund

c/o Christina Piaia, Getty Images
75 Varick Street, 5th Floor
New York, New York 10013


"Around three dozen journalists gathered for [Chris and Tim's] memorial service late on Thursday night at a small, tucked-away lecture room in the Tibesty Hotel in Benghazi, where their bodies were returned on a ship chartered by the International Organisation for Migration.

New York Times reporter CJ Chivers, wearing muddy hiking boots and a plaid shirt, acted as plainspoken MC and promised, as an Irishman, to celebrate the men’s life. The British and American special envoys to the opposition government, in suit and tie, made remarks honouring Hondros and Hetherington’s work.

Two cameras, like riderless horses, sat back-to-back on the table at the front. A large chalkboard served as backdrop. The hotel’s general manager and his ever-present son watched from the side. New York Times photographer Brian Denton read from Plato, and US envoy Christoper Stevens was handed a reading from the Book of Isaiah. Dusty, dirty photographers and reporters just off the same boat that carried the men’s bodies sat holding lighted candles. Even then, some continued to do their job, snapping images of the ceremony.

A reporter from the AFP news agency stepped forward to read from Gustave Mahler’s 9th Symphony, a selection for Hondros, who was known for his love of classical music.

“Often I think they’ve gone outside / Soon they will get back home again!/ The day is lovely. Don’t be anxious, / They’re only taking a long walk / …. They’ve only gone out before us, / And will not long to come home again. / We’ll catch up with them on yonder heights / In the sunshine / The day is fine on yonder heights.”"

(Photo and content courtesy of

Sunday, April 24, 2011

There are way too many emails from the past four years that I would like to share. However, as much as I want everyone to know the way this man thought about everything - good, bad or wacky - I've decided that the email below from Afghanistan will have been enough to give you guys a sense of the Hondros brain. A little string of thoughts from a dude with a camera in a desert.*

His emails were always an important part of my own solo travel, as no matter how far we were from one another, the idea that we were both alone and far from home was enough to make it seem like you had a friend right beside you.

When he would be in a conflict zone and I would be at home, I would always wonder what it would be like to be shooting beside him.



You gotta come to Afghanistan sometime, baby: first of all you could BE Afghan, for it's a land of Alli-ish women, all olive-skinned and green-eyed with just a hint of ethnic ambiguousness. You could easily stroll down the street in Kabul with an air of purpose in your step in some loose pants and a little headscarf and no one would be the wiser. (The camera, though--that fucks it up, as I've seen myself many times in my own attempted blending-in sessions around the world.)

Ah yes. There's definitely something alive about being here though; it makes me reflective and philosophical; been doing a lot of thinking. Not to mention my birthday, too. So I've been pondering the big issues: Love, Timing, Sex, even Death. I don't know if I've come to any grand conclusions, save some fairly obvious ones that still are important to remind oneself of periodically: Love is important. And Timing is important for love. And having a heart open to others is important, and that's part of both Love and Timing. And by the way, that Sex thing, is marvelous. (See all these original ideas and concepts I've reasoned my way to in the desert?) Seriously, something I've thought a lot about lately is how much better sensuous things are now than when I was 20ish: food, wine, sex, all that. Everyone likes sex of course but I think most 20ish people like it in a sort of rote or instictive way, and actually a lot of younger people I know seem to be able to go without for while if the circumstances call for it--I think it's because they don't truly appreciate it yet. I was like that back in the day, in retrospect. But the real thirst for it, the real sublime mental/physical pleasure and appreciation and true lust--that only gets stronger and better with time. It's beautiful and fascinating what the body can do, it's capacity for pleasure--nature and the conscious mind combining with functions of the body to create a real art. Lots of parallels with food in that too; I think that's why food can be so sensuous.

Anyway, so what's up back in the city? You still the belle of MSG? I have to photograph the chief-of-mission here (General McChrystal) tommorrow here in Kabul, and after that I'm a bit adrift; trying to put in for another Army embed but they're saying it might be April 1 until they can place me anywhere, in which case I'd probably just head home early. Though me being my usual brilliant self I scheduled those subletters I told you about until March 31, so I don't even know where I'd stay if I did come home--probably hang with friends a day or two and go see my mother down in NC, something like that.

Whenever it is, drinks when I get back, right? Come out to Dumbo again and we'll really do the hood right--we'll drink and be foolish and talk about life and all things important.


Photo: Chris and me at one of the famed Hondros/Heisler New Year's Eve parties (12.31.09)

*Amended 4/25/11

Saturday, April 23, 2011



Your Phillipines excursion with a film company sounds like a good plan...better that than schumucking away at some terrible newspaper someplace. The acting business and the photojournaIism business are more and more alike, lately...barriers to entry to both are increasingly low, so the fields are hopelessly overcrowded, leaving only a tiny minority of the super-motivated that will ever make it. I'd steer more toward commercial/portrait photography if I were you; photojournalism lately requires a massive commitment, too much, really, for what you get.

When do you leave?




So, how's your trip? You've been there for a bit now, right--how is it? You working yet?

I'm in Greece visiting my aunt and cousins at the moment. My aunt, my father's sister, was born and raised as a peasant in a rural Greek village and fled the horrors of the Greek civil war in the 1940s, and now, at 80, is the matriarch of a extended Greek family in Athens, with her grandchildren in their late 20s all speaking English, working as computer programmers and wearing the latest fashions. Quite a journey Greece has been on these last 50 years.

Don't forget my picture of you with the monkeys* or something. Here's one of me with my hipster Greek cousin, Kosta, in his parents' apartment in Athens--


*Haha, I never got to Bohol to take a photo with the Tarsier monkeys, but ended up with elephants in Thailand, so that's what I later sent Chris in lieu of his requested monkeys.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I think over the next few days, I will let Chris do most of the talking. Because, frankly, what he had to say was always intelligent, insightful and important... except for the time he was telling me about some wacko theory on how the U.S. should be divided into socio-political quadrants. That one, haha, I've never been too sure of, but who knows, maybe he's right. A hard man not to love, that Hondros.

The above photo (please drag and drop, as I've left it at its original resolution) and corresponding blurb from an email was sent to Melissa Franko (my very dear friend who introduced me to Chris in 2007) and myself on May 29th, 2008:

So what are Pittsburgh's two most notorious women doing this summer? Be sure to leave some time on the busy social calendar for a little New York jaunt together. I'm still in Iraq for a while, but I ought to be in the city most of the month of July. Come out and we'll hit the town.

I've been out with the Army for ten days, and this afternoon got back to my office/apartment here, totally dirty and exhausted. My Iraqi staff here saw I was beat and put on a pot of my favorite thick local coffee. But then, as if to welcome me home, a notably beautiful sunset spread over the horizon around five, and me and Muhannad went out to the balcony to check it out. He's not a bad photographer, Muhannad, and he shot this cool picture of me, attached. I really like it; it captures the romance of Baghdad, which (though I often deny it) most certainly--sometimes--exists.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

The world lost two great photojournalists in Libya yesterday. One of them was very dear to me. Whilst I figure out how to eloquently write about Mr. Hondros, please take time to view some of his life and work:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why are you seeing photos of a sunrise and not more photos of Kid Rock at his final cruise ship performance?

This tiny dancer slept through the show. When I say slept, I'm sure you can deduce that that actually means passed out.

Whoops. Fortunately, I was only a guest on this cruise and just shooting for fun. Or else this wouldn't be funny at all. I mean it wasn't funny (to me) then. You can ask Aaron how this all unfolded and how angry I was at myself (and how hilarious he found it).

Watching the sun rise over the sea always makes such anger go away.

Hanging out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico at 6:00 a.m., you tend to have a lot of thoughts run through your head. And sometimes, you just make shapes and animals out of the clouds.

I see a bunny in the top photo and Snoopy in the bottom!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

When I got back onto the ship, I proceeded to have the solo dance party of my life out on the balcony of the room. Aaron was already back to work prepping for the next KR show and I was drunk, alone and had plenty of newly acquired Bon Jovi on my Blackberry. After all, I had five hours until the show!

I was Keeping the Faith, I was Living on a Prayer, I was Working for the Working Man, I was Having a Nice Day, I was In These Arms, I was on a Lost Highway, I was Wanted Dead or Alive.

You can even ask Aaron how it was going, as he for sure walked in on this unsuspecting, intoxicated, care-free dancer rocking out on the balcony. In fact, his account of this private dance party is probably much more entertaining than mine.

Don't ask how or why I grabbed my camera during this dance party, but this photo was definitely taken during it and for some reason, I kind of like it.

Yep. This is the only useable photo I took over the duration of our nine hours in Cozumel. I'm just not good at shooting drunk. I'm not. This frame should have been a wee bit to the left.

After taking this shot, Aaron and I ran into Kid Rock's manager and had a quick discussion about shooting Bob's show that night. I can't speak for anyone else, but I was far from sober. Always great for discussing business.

On a somewhat related note, it really is a genius idea to make people, coming back from a day of drinking double margaritas in crystal clear water in the sun, pass back through the duty-free shop to get back to the ship. As if it isn't bad enough that they offer you multiple tequila samples on your way off the ship into town...

Needless to say, I have a few bottles of really nice tequila now that are not available in the States. The way I see this is... I would have done it anyway? AƱejo for everybody!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Jessica Wagner, long-time back-up vocalist for Kid Rock and lead singer of Envy, a NY-based band, is one of the most outrageously magnetic subjects I've photographed in a long time.

Jessica Wagner of Envy/Kid Rock's Chillin' the Most Cruise/Carnival's Triumph/Somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico/4.7.11

The weather was kind to New York yesterday, so following brunch with some of humanity's finest, I decided to walk home from 29th and 3rd. When it's nice out, my preferred method of travel is by foot, so I was excited to embark on my first nice walk of spring.

Delighted to be on 3rd Ave. (a.k.a. Bowery - by far my favorite avenue in New York), I wanted to pay my friends at the Morrison Hotel Gallery a visit. Unsure of who would be working, I also was unaware of the current exhibition.

That being said, as often as good things happen in this city, I probably stumbled into one of my favorite moments on that walk.

Greeting me as I started to check out the work of Lynn Goldsmith (holy moly!), Rick started to catch me up on all the latest and greatest happenings at my favorite art gallery, until the phone rang.

I had been telling him about meeting Bob Gruen at the gallery a few years ago, so when he answered the phone, I was super surprised to hear:

"I have a photographer friend of mine here and she would love to meet you."

Rick walked back over to me and said:

"Can you wait 20 minutes? Lynn is heading this way."

Of course I can wait 20 minutes, 30 minutes, two days, Rick!

To make a long story short, I spent about an hour and a half just wandering with her and listening - even when she was speaking to someone else. We talked about her work, my work, other photographers, the state of the business, the mindset of shooting, grazing the tip of the iceberg of everything I would ever want to talk to her about. I even missed a dinner with one of my closest friends because I just wanted to listen to her talk.

Not yet an owner of one of her books, I purchased one on the spot and asked her to sign it. You have to understand that this is a big thing for me because I never, ever ask for signatures. I always try to pretend I'm not excited to meet someone I profoundly respect out of fear of being unprofessional, but lately I've realized that that's just stupid. This was probably the first time since I was a kid at Disney World that I asked someone to sign something and I am glad beyond words that I did.

Inside my book, Lynn wrote:

"For Alli, With hopes that you balance your life with love of work and love of people - May the gods of Rock and Roll appreciate you."

This will stay with me forever and for always.

Despite Saturday's sideways rain, I had an amazingly stellar weekend.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

It's nice when you have to pack road cases... full of booze! Haha, good work, Aaron - a key part of this trip, for sure.

Kid Rock performing at the Sail Away show on 4.7.11.

Annnnd then this happened.

Kid Rock and band performing (lower left corner) on the lido deck as we cruise down the Mississippi on 4.7.11.

Friday, April 15, 2011

As you can imagine, it was a pretty awesome 18 hours spent in a tour bus, even though there were 14 of us on a bus that sleeps 12. I hadn't met any of KR's band (or their lovely wives) prior to this trip, but there's no better place to get to know people quickly.

When we arrived in NOLA on the morning of the 7th, I jumped out of the bus, pulled out my suitcase, grabbed a skirt and flip-flops and bolted down to the French Quarter to see if I could rustle up some beignets. Time was not in my favor, as when I finally arrived at Cafe Mondo, there was not enough time to wait in line and make it back before the bus left for the port.

I was bummed, but sometimes that's the way the beignet crumbles.

When we arrive at the port, who pops out of his SUV and into our bus? The one and only Rev Run. That was one heck of a morning surprise. He was shortly followed by an officer who, after jokingly being asked if he wanted a Jack and coke, wholeheartedly accepted. We all raised an eyebrow and then someone poured him the drink.

We all climbed out of the bus, grabbed our luggage and made our way to customs, only to find the rest of the crew and Bob just hanging out, waiting to board.

Photo: Pulling away from the port on Carnival's Triumph with New Orleans in the background - 4.7.11

To make a long story short, a production friend of mine whom I met last summer on the Kid Rock leg of the Bon Jovi tour gave me a ring at the end of March asking if I'd be available to join him as his guest on (ready for this?) Kid Rock's Chillin' the Most cruise to Cozumel at the beginning of April. He said, "Rock is taking care of everything, all you have to do is get to Detroit to meet the bus so we can all go down to New Orleans."

Would you have said no?

Seeing as I had just come back from SXSW, I hadn't really booked any work, so I decided it would be awesome to spend a few days in Detroit prior to taking the bus with the band, hence the photos below.

The photo above is a shot of the stateroom on the ship. Who knew they had balconies?!

Hey Guys! The first photo Francis has posted on his website is one of my photos from his New York Le Poisson Rouge show! I think he's so much fun, so if you couldn't tell, I'm very excited!

All you Coachella kids needs to check out his set on Saturday!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Michigan Central Station. Same design firms (Warren and Wetmore and Reed and Stern) as Grand Central Station in New York.

Built in 1913, it was the tallest train station in the world...

More to come on this incredible piece of history soon.


The Spirit of Detroit/Detroit, Michigan/4.5.11

Commissioned in 1955, cast in Oslo, Norway.

Reads: "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." - 2 Corinthians (3:17)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wiz Khalifa/Eastern Michigan University/Ypsilanti, MI/4.4.11

Thursday, April 07, 2011

On our last day in Austin, Roger and I headed to South Congress again for a late pancake breakfast at Magnolia Cafe. Cornmeal and pecan for me, chocolate chip for Roger. If you haven't picked up on it already, I was a big fan of the area.

Venturing down South Congress, we walked in and out of a bunch of cool shops, which was one of the highlights of my Texas trip. So many flamboyant, colorful buildings, so many pleasant people. I hadn't really anticipated purchasing anything, but on our walk to the car, I had four new items in my bag:

1. Silver barrette from an antique store
2. Gold peacock pendant necklace from another antique store (after that store, Roger was tired of antiquing)
3. A pouch of venison jerky
4. A pouch of beef teriyaki jerky (3 and 4 were purchased from the same local meat processing company - Hudson's sausage company. How could I not go in?)

So that's it. Jewelry and meat.

Speaking of meat! That Monday night was the night of the group Salt Lick trip! I had been looking forward to this dinner since I started talking to Roger about SXSW. Good ol' fashion Texas BBQ in the country, about a 50-minute drive from Austin. The above photo of Roger photographing a can of Lonestar with his recently purchased film camera (heyyyy Craigslist) at Salt Lick, I felt, was a much better way to end this story than by just showing a plate of meat, no matter how delicious.

Ice cream was the next stop, but I blew that photo op, so the photo part of the impromptu Texas adventure ends here.

Roger and I drove back to Dallas on Tuesday morning, having just enough time to catch Dan for dinner. We took the long, scenic route to nicely round up my first taste of Texas.

After some margaritas in Dallas, off to the airport and back to New York we went.


After the Spider House crowd had parted, Roger was kind enough to swing by the Texas Capitol for me to take a few night shots. I got my photo and we headed home.


Roger and I ended our location-scouting excursion amidst the peacocks to go grab some grub with Greg. Unbeknownst to me, Mr. Kyle Dean Reinford was also still in a post-SXSW relaxation state within Austin's city limits. Another one of our fellow New York music photographers, Kyle was with an mish-mosh of people who were just hanging and drinking at a neat little joint called Spider House, so we decided to join the group - make some new friends, see some old friends.

It's funny though, because Kyle and I had been trying to meet up for months in New York, but we just couldn't get it together. Then Austin happened and it was easy as pie. Meeting up with New Yorkers in other cities seems to be happening more and more lately.

On an ending note, Spider House was a place I really couldn't leave without snapping a few shots, so... I did.


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Roger? Orrr Rafiki?

A little photo-shoot location scouting after breakfast in a park with some peacocks. I can't remember the name of the park, but since no lion cubs were available, we tried to catch Roger a peacock to hold up.

No luck.


What's on the table at Trudy's, Roger's favorite Tex-Mex spot in Austin:

Drink: Mexican martini
Food: Breakfast tacos with scrambled eggs, crispy spinach, sliced avocado and Monterey Jack cheese


I hope this wasn't your band's shoot.

Roger spotted this from the deck as we were chowing down on delicious breakfast tacos (above) at Trudy's. I didn't really have a clear shot from the deck, but we thought it was both funny and fairly clever, despite having the tree branch at her disposal.


I have no idea who these people are. I just know that these two had a great day and found the cornhole board at the Rachel Ray party (our next stop, chosen for food selection and the company of friend and awesome New York music photog, Jen Maler) to be a suitable bed. Security did not feel the same way.

This photo is for Roger and Greg.

After the RS show, Greg and I still had a few beers left in our six-pack, so we decided to park it in front of one of the food trucks along South Congress as we headed back toward Roger. While we did have beer, we did not have an opener. Greg, being a smoker (thank goodness), saved the day by having his lighter handy.

Fun fact: this is where I learned to open a beer with a lighter while waiting for our sweet potato fries. I've done it with a radio, but never with a lighter. Next time I will work on not cutting myself.

Bleeding or not, I think I told Greg that I was "sooo happy!!" no less than 100 times. Why? Because I was so absurdly happy. Not only was I with a great new friend, I was surrounded by music, I had good food, good beer and warm air with a cool breeze. I was in heaven.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The one and only Jay Buchanan.

After The Joy Formidable, Greg and I ran to South Congress to catch Rival Sons. I love these dudes and I can't wait to see them again. If they are playing around you, definitely go check them out. Even if it's not the full band and it's just Jay, you must go see him. He's brilliant.

Rival Sons/SXSW/Austin, TX/3.19.11.

When you haven't seen him in months and you arrive late to the show and you just get a giant yell of "Hiii Alli!!" over the music as he plays... yes, you are in the right place.

Hiiii Miley!

Rival Sons/SXSW/Austin, TX/3.19.11

Top photo: Scott

Bottom photo: Jay and Scott

Rival Sons/SXSW/Austin, TX/3.19.11.

These guys, big skies, friends and BBQ. Great trip to Texas.

Rival Sons/SXSW/Austin, TX/3.19.11.

Monday, April 04, 2011

After Greg picked me up, we headed back to his house to reassess our game plan for the day. Remember, this was Saturday - basically the last real day of SXSW, so all things had to be planned accordingly.

On the bus, I had made a giant logistical list of all the bands I planned on shooting, so Greg and I pow-wowed and decided the best option was to head to Fader Fort, have a cocktail, check out the scene, then meet Roger at his gig later, prior to the Rival Sons show.

After surveying said scene, I knew there was no way I was going to make it to all the shows I wanted to shoot. My experience in shooting this type of festival prior was meandering around the streets of New York during CMJ. While there are a lot of similarities, particularly when you have to shoot, it is a different beast.

So what did I decide to do? Scratch the plan and go with the flow.

Post-Fader, Greg and I met up with Roger at the Chop Shop/Atlantic Records party at Brush Square Park. It was just a gorgeous day to sit there and listen to the music - camera in one hand, beer in another. Per Roger's suggestion, I broke my perfect atmosphere to get up and shoot a British band called The Joy Formidable.

Ritzy Bryan of The Joy Formidable/Chop Shop-Atlantic Records Party/Brush Square Park/Austin, TX/3.19.11.

I've been jumping around time-wise, so let's get back to post-Iceland. Immediately post-Iceland.

I had been debating on taking a trip down to Austin for SXSW for a few weeks, but decided that Iceland would be enough... that is until I saw that yet another one of my photographer friends was making a last-minute trip down to Austin. As it turned out, he was going to fly into Dallas on Thursday, rent a car and drive to Austin. I was still in Iceland, but it sounded like a fun time to me to try and coordinate. Flights were $220 from NY to Dallas, so I thought that it would be a definite go.

That is until I looked the next day and airfare had jumped up to $500. That was a definite no-go. Just in case, I started planning with him and with my other photog/musician friends who were already down there and shooting/playing. So when I came home from Iceland Thursday morning, I checked in with my Getty editors and I looked at airfare again to see if I could get a flight out that night or on Friday. Sadly, it was already too late for Thursday, but Friday? Friday had jumped back to $220 and shooting for Getty was a go! Done. Bought Thursday after noon, leave Friday night.

Now, the problem was that Casey had already flown to Dallas and rented the car on Thursday. So... Greyhound from Dallas to Austin on Saturday morning it was! 3.5 hours? What could happen?

Another problem? My flight would get in at 11:30 p.m. Friday night and not only was the Dallas Greyhound station in a sketchy place, but the shuttle didn't run from the airport to the station that late.

So, my good friend and super photog, Roger Kisby, asked one of his best friends, Dan Fields, if there was anything he could do. Dan, being the nicest/sweetest person on Earth, offered to both pick my last-minute butt up from the airport, allow me to crash for the night and take me to the bus station in the morning.

When Dan and I arrived at his house, I met his beautiful wife, Amy. Spending the rest of the night on their porch, we all got to know each other over a bottle of wine and the cool Texas air (and sweet and spicy pickles!!!). I had known then, that no matter what happened later in the trip, that I had made the right decision to come down to Texas.

Fast forward to the a.m. - we missed the original bus I was supposed to take into Austin, but who cares? Neither one of us had had breakfast and breakfast was completely in order. Time for adventure! Dan took me to a great little place called the Market Diner, where ordering the banana bread french toast was a must for me (above). Banana bread french toast!?! Who thought of doing that? Deeeelicious.

Longer story shorter... my next dirty Greyhound ended up being two-hours late. Yes, I missed at least three SXSW shows I was supposed to shoot early Saturday afternoon, but I made some eclectic new friends waiting in the Greyhound line, which I will not go into detail about at this time. I didn't end up getting into Austin until 3:00ish, but at this point, all of this was just getting silly.

Including the fact that Roger had to get to his next shoot and couldn't pick me up from Austin's Greyhound station. So... enter the second of Roger's incredible friends, Mr. Greg Browning. Greg picked me up and the rest is history! Or rather more to follow with the next few entries!

Photo: The wonderful Dan Fields and banana bread french toast breakfast at the Market Diner in Dallas, TX.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

I don't know what these things are actually called (is it a wreath??), but it was all in good humor.

See ya later, LCD Soundsystem. Good run, good run.

LCD Soundsystem/Madison Square Garden/New York, NY/4.2.11.

Final song of their first arena show at their final show ever: "New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down"

LCD Soundsystem/Madison Square Garden/New York, NY/4.2.11.

LCD Soundsystem/Madison Square Garden/New York, NY/4.2.11.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Francis and the Lights. Holy cow. This is probably both my favorite show and my favorite live music photo of 2011.

Not to be too confusing, but we are now jumping back in time, pre-Iceland.

The first day Bon Jovi played the Garden this year, February 24th, I was already committed to photographing this dude* at Le Poisson Rouge in the West Village. I knew there was a potential conflict, but I also knew that if I didn't go shoot Francis Farewell Starlite of Francis and the Lights now, I might not get to see him in an intimate environment soon, or without too, too much of a crowd. I also knew that Jen Bilec would punch me in the face. Fortunately, all's well that ends well.

The only downside? Running from the Garden's dressing room hallway to the A train to Le Poisson Rouge in the pouring rain. By the time I got to the green room, I was drenched and Francis was looking perfect. My new friend, Nick, of Fenway Recordings introduced me to Francis and we did a quick, five-minute portrait session (below). No time for the elaborate speedlight set-up I had planned, but I think it all turned out just fine. Minor jesting was involved, but to be honest, I was still out of breath from my unplanned jog and a little too focused on getting something I liked. So my sincere apologies to both Nick and Francis.

What happened next? We wrapped and walked out the door to the stage and a sold-out house.

*calling Francis "this dude" is my subtle way of saying "an artist who I've been obsessing over since JB sent me the 'Darling, It's Alright' video."

Francis Farewell Starlite of Francis and the Lights/Le Poisson Rouge/New York, NY/2.24.11

A while back, I posted a video of single-take music video edited with light by a group called Francis and the Lights, which Jen Bilec had sent to me a few months ago.

This show in particular was just Francis, his piano and a drum machine, which was more than awesome. However, being that the full band wasn't there, who was to anticipate that Francis, during his final song, "Darling, It's Alright," was going to strobe the lights and bust some moves?!

Not me, I can tell you that much.

But who cares!? It was fannnnntastic. Everyone in LPR went bananas. I was wishing two things in that moment:

1. That Jen Bilec was dancing on stage with him and
2. That I had changed my frickin' lens!

Following the show, I walked back to the green room and the first person I saw was Francis. Before I even excitedly congratulated him on the show, like a huge nerd, I said, "Dude! That was awesome! I wish you would have told me you were going to do that! I would have changed lenses!"

I don't even remember what he said back to me, but I do know there was a smile and a laugh -perhaps a coy shrug as well.

All you crazy Coachella kids best be going to see Francis and the Lights in a few weekends. I don't know when he plays, but I do know that he probably sounds just as good on the west coast as he does on the east coast!

Francis Farewell Starlite of Francis and the Lights/Le Poisson Rouge/New York, NY/2.24.11