It’s been a couple of years… TBH, I had somehow managed to lose access to the site as I have another WordPress blog that’s kinda going gangbusters, (The 13th Floor) so that took priority.
But I’ve been missing this space and telling stories – I think it’s time I took it back up. What do you think??? And share some photos… Here’s one…
It took seven years to get this one processed. Just found ALL my photos from 2013 that I thought I had lost in a major hard drive crash. And the backup had mysteriously disappeared. Turned up last week! So many photos to process.
This one was taken at Wat Mahathat in Ayutthaya, Thailand. The Buddha’s head had been buried when invaders attacked. It was never dug up and emerged from the earth as the tree grew, permanently embedded. A sight to see!
I fell in love with The Beatles back in 1962, when I was 6 years old. The radio was full of “Love Me Do” and “Please Please Me” and “From Me to You” and “She Loves You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (along with “The Twist” and “The Loco-Motion” and “Johnny Angel.”) I discovered my life-long love of music that year and never let it go.
But while I adored the Supremes and The Shirelles and the Everly Brothers no one came close to the Beatles, especially Paul McCartney, who in my eyes, was the dreamiest guy in the world. Living in the Bronx, I was down at the candy store on the corner nearly every single day – no longer buying candy – I bought every single fan magazine and pored over every photo and wished and hoped I could marry Paul one day. And when The Beatles actually came to New York in the winter of 1964, I begged and pleaded with my mother to take me to the concert. She refused (and I never really held it against her) but agreed to give me a Beatle hair cut! That’s me on the right – looking just a tiny bit like Paul…
Years passed, life happens. The Beatles split up before I was even old enough to see them. Paul married Linda (a photographer!) and she was the love of his life, so that was that. I married someone else. Had some children, a couple of careers – the usual thing. I did get to see him in Cleveland in 1990, which was a thrill.
But it really can’t compare to his Auckland show this past weekend. He played a 3-hour show, 40 songs, to a packed out stadium of 48,000 people… And I knew all the words to all but about 4 songs. Amazing light show, including monster fireworks and Paul sounded just as good as he did 55 years ago – and my heart was singing all night long. He may be 75, but he still set my heart a-flutter.
I’ve long had a passion for old movies – mostly talkies, but silents as well… so a couple of weeks ago I put together a shoot with a bunch of models and make-up artists and rented a studio… Costumes and props and whoosh! We were shooting like it was 1922… I’m too busy at the moment to continue working on the photos, so there are many more, but here’s a few I hope you’ll enjoy.
Beth St Claire, hair and Makeup by Ruth Baron.
Brandon Adams, hair and makeup by Maree Carlisle
Mimoza Ilieva, hair and make-up by Sabrina S. Begum
You may have guessed that I’ve been a bit more rapt in photography than writing lately. The photography is moving more and more into complex shoots, involving costumes, make-up, proper lighting… Still trying to figure out where I want to take this. The natural direction seems to be art photography (trying defining that!) but I find I have a lot of fun with the goofy stuff. Sooo…
Here’s a gallery of shots from a Halloween shoot I put together last week – 8 models, 4 make-up artists, a smoke machine and a fabulous location, full of intricate, spooky nooks.
The models are Raymond Vinten, Kirsty Leigh Robertson, Michaela de Bruce, Kate Lynn, Beth St Claire, Emily-Rose Schoemand, Neil Schoeman, Mimoza Ilieva. Make-up by Sara K Atkins, Qteaz Hair, Ekaterina Murtova, Vivian Tian Yuan.
This is an underpass. It’s on 167th St in the Bronx and runs under the Grand Concourse. We lived in a block of 6-storey red-brick apartment buildings a few blocks away and this was where we shopped. It really hasn’t changed much since I lived there back in the early 60’s. Deep discount shops, fast food, bars, second run movie houses – chain link fences, barbed wire, guard dogs, alarms. Not a very nice place to gow up to be honest – but I didn’t really know that then.
My movie theatre was there – The Kent Theatre – full of dreams and all the other places in the world. My pizza joint, where the jukebox had the Beatles and Herman’s Hermits and The Supremes and my Chinese Restaurant with real Chinese people – all of which totally directed me to exactly where I am now. Fortunately, I left when I was 7-going-on-8 and didn’t go back until November last year – so I didn’t notice all the drugs and related violence also going on there.
But back to this tunnel… you can see that the sidewalks have been sealed off and there is no pedestrian access. Not so 50 years ago, when my mother would give me a dollar to walk up to her favourite bakery on the other side of the Concourse to buy her favourite cake. It was a six block walk to get to the other side, 4 of them in the underpass. Dark, filthy, smelt of urine and and vomit and rotting food. Sometimes I had to walk around a sleeping drunk or bum (back before they were renamed homeless). I was terrified of everyone coming toward me or coming up behind me. Frightened of the rats and the cars careening past and of losing the money or dropping the cake… I walked tough, with clenched fists, totally ready to take on anyone that messed with me. No one ever did…
I’ve walked through a few tunnels in my life that later proved to be metaphorical and utterly transforming… This was the first.
What I got up to last night. Possibly the loudest show I’ve ever been to, but I got some amazing shots of the band. Ace Frehley isn’t all that much of a showman, but guitarist Ritchie Scarlett stole the show.
We stayed in Bushwick in an Air BnB flat that was rather nice and possibly the cleanest accommodation I have ever stayed at. Bushwick is one of those emerging neighbourhoods, so it’s got some cool places, but also a lot of stodgy old places. And great restaurants but more boring dives. Unfair to compare it to Williamsburg, except that I keep hearing it’s the new Williamsburg. Maybe in ten years. And that’s fine.
First thing I noticed was the subway station. Dekalb Avenue. Bog standard, run of the mill, out of a movie set subway station.
And the people down there, waiting for trains, I suppose they’re your bog standard people.
Funny how the Bedford one is so cool, you can feel the buzzy energy… and just a few stops down the line… oh well…
So I didn’t take many photos ‘of’ Bushwick, but I took some photos ‘in’ Bushwick. Like these:
Just a great sense of urgency here…
I thought this was a sacrilegious Madonna -until I went to process the photo and saw it wasn’t one at all…
And, yes, everything is art now – the beer on the wall
Wandered into Little Italy a few weeks ago. It’s a bit of the same as it’s ever been and a lot like it never was, except maybe in movies and TV and what we expect of it. Part history, part fantasy. We had a brilliant cannoli at Cafe Roma though, along with an exquisite piece of Italian cheesecake, which might be the most important thing.
The streets are narrow and cluttered with cars and people and lights and banners waving in the air, trying to grab your attention. Despite the cold winter day, vendors and restaurateurs beckoned as the aromas of a few thousand years of tradition wafted by. Classic restaurants, straight out of 1952, or maybe Goodfellas or The Sopranos: This guy was determined that we were going to eat here… no discussion! Would you say no to him? Really?
While I enjoy al fresco dining, there was snow on the ground! This old place probably hosted a speakeasy back in the day.
This guy with the accordion however, as enchanting as could be! Did not notice the creepy dude peeking out over his right shoulder until I got home, though. And who could resist Umberto’s Clam House??? Or the charm of statues of Native Americans guarding the entrance to the cigar shop? And of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a slightly menacing corner, with a couple of slightly unsavoury characters strolling by.
But despite the sentiment, Little Italy has all but disappeared, mostly gobbled up by Chinatown and SoHo and areas that have just stopped being Little Italy and become something else.
Kinda sad, kinda just how it is. Kinda weird being old enough that history is not something relegated to old books and movies. I remember how it used to be and see how it is now. And it’s not that I think it should be any different than it is – I just marvel at what has changed.
And if Little Italy is transformed, then I suppose I am too…