Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This is one of those events in my life that I wished I had posted sooner. Just the circumstances surrounding ending up in a sailboat race in Detroit (the new Miami, or so I hear...) with such an eclectic little 4-person crew aboard a little crescent sailboat, was enough to warrant skipping everything else to get here. The skipper's quotes alone, were enough to make this one of the greatest events of the summer. I'm going to need Achille's help in remembering half of what Steven said, but I will tell you this... that the first two things I really remember him saying were:

1. "You know, I've sunk three of these things."


2. "One of my favorite commands, 'Take off your shoes! Abandon ship!'"

Yes, I do believe this was worth leaving work early, the day before a show. And this is coming from someone who is usually last out of the stadium...

Lake St. Clair/Detroit, MI/8.19.11

Sometimes you've gotta leave work early to go race a sailboat.

A sailboat fully equipped with PBR and whiskey.

Lake St. Clair/Detroit, MI/8.19.11

Photo by Achille Bianchi, shot from our sailboat, whilst I was sailing.

Lake St. Clair/Detroit, MI/8.19.11

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Jori, a friend and part of the local Detroit staff, has a lot of pretty cool tattoos, but I took a specific liking to this one on her forearm.

After building and tearing down in both outlandish temperatures and torrential rainstorms, the guys were pretty excited to work in the covered, air-conditioned oasis of Ford Field.

Chesney load-in/Ford Field/Detroit, MI/8.17.11

From Philly, I headed to my home-away-from-home stadium, New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, to pick back up with the Chesney crew. My role at NMS was a little different, because I was hired directly by the stadium instead of the event producer I had been working with prior. Honest to goodness, I think I picked my camera up twice throughout the whole thing... and that really was just to move it from table to table. Too much going on during the build and the show to even think about photographing. A bummer, I know.

So? On to the following week. Continuing on with Chesney, I found myself back in Detroit, Michigan. I was incredibly excited to roam the streets, as I find that city to be both fascinating and shockingly photogenic. Not surprisingly, I didn't end up having as much free time as I had hoped, but I was able to snap a few photos here and there.

Detroit, MI/8.17.11

Friday, August 26, 2011

Breaking down Taylor Swift's stage at Lincoln Financial Field in Philly on 7.7.11.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A few words and an apt photo, before I continue the end of tour posts...

‎"Remembering I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure just falls away in the face of death, leaving only the truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You're already naked. There's no reason not to follow your heart." - Steve Jobs, 2005

I don't know whose photo this is, but I do know that I've been keeping it in a little folder on my desktop for some time. When a friend posted the above Steve Jobs quote on Facebook, I thought the two would make an excellent pair and a nice time-out thought to what has been a very hectic summer.

Hope you kids enjoy...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I love this photo so much that I'm not even going to post any of the other ones.

This shot was taken by the 2nd stage at the back of the floor and really, it happened to be a right place, right time, no other choice moment. As it goes with most photos, the photo behind the photo might be the best part of the photo.

I was weaving back through the floor seats to my office when I was stopped, along with many other kids, by a line of security guards with ropes in front of a small stage with a big white tree. Now, I knew that this would happen at some point in the show, but being that it was my first Taylor show, I didn't know exactly when.

Before I knew what to do, I was flooded with tweens. So many tweens that escape was improbable, if not impossible. About five minutes later, Taylor comes running along the rope path from the main stage. The sound around me was indescribable - some of the pitches so shrill that I imagine only a dog could hear them.

I took about 50 shots (photos, people, photos) throughout the first song and in fear of crushing a multitude of little girl dreams, all 5'7 of me stepped out of the way to watch my spot fill in and disappear like a hole in the sand on the tide line of a beach.

It was as if I had never even been standing there.

Taylor played a few more songs as I headed house right to duck under the far corner of the rope path to make my way back toward the tunnel to my office. As I walked, I flipped through the first ten frames and didn't need to flip any further. I saw the above photo and forgot about the rest of the frames.

Taylor Swift/Lincoln Financial Field/Philadelphia, PA/8.6.11

Monday, August 22, 2011

Philly's selection of die-hard Taylor Swift fans.

Lincoln Financial Field/Philadelphia, PA/8.6.11

Obviously my favorite team of Swift fans...

Lincoln Financial Field/Philadelphia, PA/8.6.11

These girls were lined up outside the gates of Lincoln Financial starting at about 8:00 a.m.

Lincoln Financial Field/Philadelphia, PA/8.6.11

Saturday, August 20, 2011

This is the assistant equipment manager for the Philadelphia Eagles mocking me for how cold I was in our office at Lincoln Financial Field when we were in Philly for the Taylor Swift build.

I'm fairly confident he pulled about three years worth of Eagles swag to make this work.

I mean, it was about 95 degrees outside and I was wearing a zip-hoodie and a ski shell inside. I deserved it. This was his joke. It was funny. Good one, Ed. Good one. I'm sure my friends and relatives appreciate and relate to this one.

Ed Miller/Officials' Locker Room/Lincoln Financial Field/Philadelphia, PA/8.4.11

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Kansas City, MO/7.31.11

This sign has remained atop the Western Auto building since 1952, one of the oldest and largest neon signs still in use. The sign contains 1,000 feet of neon and over 2,500 light bulbs.

The building now houses condominiums.

Kansas City, MO/7.31.11

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I love trains. And train stations. I didn't have much time to explore Kansas City's Union Station, but I'm glad I made it over to take a few shots.

Built in 1914, Union Station, like a lot of other grandiose architecture of the time, was part of the City Beautiful movement which sought to use beautification in landscape to inspire moral and civic virtue among urban populations. Other products of this movement most notably include Philadelphia's City Hall and Museum of Art, Manhattan's Municipal Building and Pittsburgh's Schenley Farms.

On Jun 17, 1933, Union Station was the site of the "Kansas City Massacre" in which three law enforcement officers, one FBI agent and one fugitive were killed during a shootout in the railroad depot. The shootout occurred as an attempt by gang leader Vernon Miller to free Frank Nash (presumably one of the most successful bank robbers in U.S. history) from federal custody. Nash was being transported by the FBI from his place of arrest in Hot Springs, Arkansas to the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth by way of an 8:30 p.m. Missouri Pacific train, set to arrive in Kansas City the following morning.

When the train arrived at Union Station, seven officers transported him to a Chevrolet at the East Entrance of the station. From there, they were approached by two men armed with machine guns. Three Kansas City police officers and one FBI agent, along with Mr. Nash were killed.

Prior to this incident, FBI agents did not have the authority to carry firearms or make arrests. Following the massacre, the FBI purchased their first Thompson submachine guns and Congress granted them statutory authority to make arrests.

Union Station/Kansas City, MO/7.31.11

Despite being pretty sleepy after a week of a build in 110-degree weather, Deano and I set out to explore Kansas City once the load-out was complete. Our stops included the Uptown Theater (built in 1928), Union Station (above post) and, much to our surprise, a street-boxing match.

What can I say, when it's hard to keep track of what day it is, making each city memorable is important.

Kansas City, MO/7.31.11

Breaking down and loading out.

Kenny Chesney stage/Arrowhead Stadium/Kansas City, MO/7.30.11

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One of the best parts about touring around with bands is that you are bound to run into some of your friends whom you've not seen in a long time. This show and promises of BBQ brought my favorite doctor in St. Louis to Kansas City. Driving out on Friday night, Dr. Jeff Stambough accompanied me through one of the most hilarious nights on the road... probably to date. Ah, that story is for another time, but it meant a lot that a friend would drive a few hours to come be a part of my gig... so thanks, Jeff!

Kenny Chesney/Arrowhead Stadium/Kansas City, MO/7.30.11

Arrowhead Stadium/Kansas City, MO/7.30.11

Ya know, I really thought I was going to catch up with real time over the past two weeks, but we're still in Kansas City on this blog.

Coaches' box? Not a bad office, I must say.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Overnight build. Work call starts at 6PM instead of 8AM. Much, much cooler.

Kenny Chesney stage build/Arrowhead Stadium/Kansas City, MO/7.26.11

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

This old-fashioned, enclosed stadium basically acts like an oven. When it's 110 degrees outside, I'm sure you can imagine how hot the middle of that field gets.

Build a stage in that kind of heat? Heck no. Time for a week of overnights!

Arrowhead Stadium/Kansas City, MO/7.25.11

Saturday, August 06, 2011

So the first day in the stadium, I walked up to the 8th level during dinner to watch the sunset and give Bilec a call. Much to my surprise, Brad Frye answered the phone! I was just pacing back and forth, chatting away until I went to put my hand on the railing...

I stopped in my tracks and said something to the effect of:

"Brad. I gotta go. There's a praying mantis right in front of me. A praying mantis! He looks so peaceful! I've never seen a praying mantis! Can I call you back??"

I hung up and ran down to my office to get my camera. I mean where the heck did this guy come from??

Praying mantis/Arrowhead Stadium/Kansas City, MO/7.25.11

Next stop, Kansas City, Missouri. Flew out of NYC on the morning of the 24th.

I don't even remember what happened on the 23rd. I think I did laundry and I know I only saw one of my two roommates...

When I arrived, one of the local production staff members, Deano, picked me up and dropped me off at the hotel. Since the build wasn't starting until the overnight on Monday, we had time to kill and I wanted to see what Kansas City had to offer.

Of all things, we ended up eating Cajun food that evening. Based on the amount of BBQ I would end up consuming later in the week, it was ok to abstain from it for the first night.

Photo: The restaurant's original copper from the 1920s. The cards still remain on the ceiling from a magician's visit some years back.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Summer at the Williamsburg Waterfront. I've not worked on this site much this year, as I've been out of New York for most of the summer - most of this year, actually - but it's still one of my favorite places to watch a show.

Death from Above 1979 scene/Brooklyn, NY/7.22.11

Taking photos of people taking photos. First shot of the Williamsburg Waterfront this year, Mr. Mike Martin of the Waterfront production staff on July 22nd, 2011.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Off to the races! Harness racing, that is.

While my exacta box of "Patient and True" and "I Love My Yankee" had a pretty solid pay-out, just ask my family how I screwed up the following race's bets at the betting machine.

Way to bet all the right horses in the wrong race. The difference of one button. Nice, Alli.

I kicked my program all the way home.

Meadows Racetrack/Washington, PA/7.20.11

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

I know I hate on excessive flower photos, but my mom's flowers this year have been gorgeous. I couldn't help it!

Mom's lavender in the back yard in Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Out of all the pro athletes and serious golfers that were in attendance, would you believe that Mark Recchi's 10-year-old son was consistently the best one on the green?

He instantly sunk the qualifying 25-foot putt, came five inches from the 30-foot putt to be the only one to win the chance to putt for $10,000 and only missed that 50-footer by just a little bit. I mean, let's be fair, people... he is Mark Recchi's son. That whole ball-in-hole/puck-in-net thing's gotta be hereditary.

Photo: A Nevillewood golf pro advises Cameron Recchi on putting the 50-footer as dad, former Penguin Mark Recchi, watches during the Lupus Challenge at Nevillewood in Pittsburgh, PA on 7.18.11.

Monday, August 01, 2011

You know the pierogi wind-up racers I was so upset about in the Pirate game post below? Well, we ended up finding some sets! Of course, this made me very, very happy.

So happy that I even took them to the Lupus Challenge at Nevillewood... to get a new home... in Melissa's purse!

When we started to race them on our table, one of the guys yelled over, "What are you guys racing? Pierogies?"

He laughed to himself at his clever Pittsburgh joke, until we answered, "Yes! We are racing pierogies!" To which he started to laugh again, though I imagine for another reason.

But anyway, M and I were running the "Putt for Cash" booth on the putting green and wanted to start having the golfers bet on the pierogi races. We thought it would be a great way to raise more money for lupus! Next year, next year.

Photo: Sauerkraut Saul and Oliver Onion out for a day of golf at Nevillewood/Pittsburgh, PA/7.18.11