Thursday, December 27, 2012

Something Bigger Than Yourself

Earlier this December I was asked to photograph a benefit show. The beneficiaries were the children at the Catholic Children's Home. Jay Lipe, the man that put the show together, wanted to do something for these kids for Christmas. He took them out for dinner and got them gifts. Some of the gifts were musical instruments because "music is important" and I would have to agree. I thought it was a wonderful gesture and I bet those kids really appreciated it.
Here's where you can find more info about CCH:

The night of the show itself was the first really cold day this season. The temp really dropped and we had 30 mph winds. I did not want to go outside, and was successful in that endeavor most of the day. In the end though, I was glad that we braved mother nature to make it out to the show. I got to see some musicians that I really enjoyed. The first three to go on were more of a mellow pace than I usually see and it was perfect for a cold week day night.

The first was Ardor Glowing. Apparently this band has a five and two piece version. We saw the two piece. I liked these guys a lot. Their vocals sound great together and the music was very pleasant. I would recommend checking them out.

Next up was Eric Hensley who performed solo. I don't believe he has a page about his solo music (at least I couldn't find one) but he also was a member of Autumn Clock.

After Eric, was Patrick Read who is from Nashville and mentioned that he hadn't performed live for a while but has clearly been playing because he certainly did not appear out of practice.

I thought Patrick had a great voice. I enjoyed listening to him very much, with the exception of a cover he did of a song I just don't like but I won't blame him too much for that.  
The show was actually free, but donations went to the cause. 

After the first three performances, things picked up quite a bit. The next two bands were a much faster pace. Jay, who is the one that put the show together, played a few songs and then made way for Nudnik, a Sex Pistols tribute band.

The evening was certainly an eclectic mix of sounds but I think it worked. And as a bonus the show was at 300 State, which is a place that recently got a bit of a remodel and upgrade to include pizza. And I don't mean regular bar pizza. I mean quality pizza place pizza. Go there and eat some. Do it now. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fall Colors

I've been slacking. Here's one of my recent photo shoots with my cousin's family we did last month. Those girls are growing up so fast.

We went out to her parent's house and did the photos in the back yard. We wanted them to be outside to try and take advantage of the fall colors and their yard is not only just as good as any park would be for this purpose, but it means something to them.

It all went very well. The weather ended up being so nice we didn't even have to worry about jackets for the kids and they had a great time playing in the leaves.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Wedding in Peoria IL

(Click photos to view larger)

Last month I had the pleasure of traveling up to Peoria to photograph Peter and Erin's wedding. It was an absolutely beautiful wedding with everything down to the details thought out and in place.

At the reception I overheard someone compliment them on how perfect the day was. I don't know if they meant a perfect representation of the couple or if it was just the way that person thought a wedding should go, but it got me to think about how usually on any one's wedding day something is bound to go wrong. No matter how big or small, it's always something that by the end of the day is no big deal anyway.

 If anything went wrong this day it was so small I'm unaware of it. They managed to have that one in a million wedding where everything actually went just as planned.

 I'd be willing to bet this has a lot to do with the easy going-ness of the bride. As far as you could tell she wasn't worried about any of the things that could go wrong and showed no signs of nerves.

After the ceremony we headed to downtown Peoria, which I had to familiarise myself with the day before. I was relieved to find the first place I wanted to go wasn't filled with cars as the Oktoberfest festival was going on just down the street.

 I had expected a crowd for Oktoberfest and not met it. I did not expect a crowd further down the road amongst some disheveled buildings, however we did find one there. Apparently this is a popular place for photos and a homecoming dance or something of the like was going on. The whole area was swarming with photographers and teenagers in formal wear. I've never seen anything quite like it. Fortunately we showed up just as most of them were clearing out and we didn't have much trouble getting our photos in there too.

All those little details really showed off at the reception. Each table was the name of a cheese, and that cheese was there for guests to try. They had flip flops and beer cozies as gifts for everyone and a sketch artist on hand to draw portraits.

I'd have to say that if you asked around, you would probably find that the only complaint may be that the evening didn't last longer as the dance floor was packed up until they shut off the music and turned on the lights.

Congratulations Peter & Erin, and kudos on throwing a great party!  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Family Photos

I prefer photos to be natural and unposed. It's my comfort level. I like to hang out with you and make some photos along the way. I think when we look back at ourselves in the future, we won't just want to see how we looked but how we were as well.

These are some photos of a family I got to spend some time with last month.

Last year I chased Evie around the park for her one year birthday photos. It was great to spend a little time with her again & see how she's been growing up. Still just as squirmy & on the move but we were able to have some conversations this time. She showed me all the cool outer space stuff in her bedroom.

The main reason I was there however was her brother, Rory. He was a very sleepy and well behaved little guy and even woke up for a little bit.



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Meet Evelyn

On August 6th my brother had a baby, making my parents grandparents. He lives a little ways away so I had to wait about a week to go see them. But when I did I had to spend some quality aunt/niece time hanging out and taking pictures.

I don't actually have a lot of baby props like baskets & such. I like to use things the family has because I think it's more meaningful in the long run. A few months ago I did come across this Pepsi box in my basement. I've had it for years. It originally held some of my Pez dispenser collection. I thought it might be fun to use so we cleaned it up and brought it along for the ride.

She looks just like most of us did when we were babies. At first I thought maybe people were going a little overboard when they talked about how much she looks like her daddy, but the more I look at these photos the more I see my brother. There is a lot of him in there.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Save Tassels & Tunes

This is the evolution and story of a photograph, but also the story of a problem we’re having in my town. A continuing story that hopefully will have a happy ending.

This past January Cobra Kai was hosting their monthly Tassels & Tunes show. If you’ve followed my blog or work in general you probably know that I’m at most all of them since they started in 2010. I love the T&T shows. They’re always a good time. This show in particular was one of the best. Maybe it was the crowd, maybe it was the acts, maybe it was simply everything coming together just right. I was also able to get a lot of great shots that night. This is one of Greta Garter, who is never anything less than great.

Last month I showed up way early for the Super Happy Funtime Burlesque show, which was taking the place of the usual Tassels & Tunes, because I wanted to be sure I got myself a good spot. The promoters were prepping and putting up posters for the May show. These posters featured the above shot I made at the January show. I’m always thrilled and flattered when one of my images makes it to the posters. I got one from them and took it out to the car so I could add it to my office wall.


Here’s where the story takes a downward turn. My poor photo got covered up.

About a week before the show a friend called and asked if I’d heard the latest gossip? I said I like gossip, but this time I was wrong. I did not like what I heard. The mayor had banned burlesque in Alton. My heart sank and I was (and still am) angry.

Nearing a month later, and I hardly have any more information than I was able to get that first day. The mayor has danced around and given conflicting answers to the media and hasn’t said much more to the promoters aside from telling them they need to talk to the City Attorney. He has not said what code the shows are in violation of and why it would require a ban as opposed to simply a fine. The promoters are willing to compromise but the mayor is proving to be stubborn. I’m ashamed of the way he’s treating this situation and representing my city.

Along with being promoters, Cobra Kai also designs and prints T-shirts. It therefore was the next natural step to create some shirts for the cause’s many supporters so they can show their support and spread the word. From the posters my image of Greta made its way to the shirts.

On the one hand it’s nice to see it there, but on the other I really wish things didn’t have to come to this. If the mayor would have talked to them right away I’m sure all of this mess would have been avoided. As this year goes on I’ll be doing what I can to help elect a new and better candidate into the mayor’s position. Not just because of his stance on burlesque itself, but mainly for the type of leader he’s shown himself to be.

A few of us before heading out to a city council meeting
If you want updates or just to show support visit the Save Burlesque in Alton facebook page.      

Monday, May 7, 2012


Last month I was invited to Bumbershoot Aerial Arts for their student showcase.

It was a wonderful show of acrobatics from both the students and their teachers.
The acts were full of comedy and beauty both on and off the ground.

The photos can't do justice to watching the movements of these performers in person.
I recommend checking them out to find out when you can see a performance. Student show or otherwise.
Or even take a class and learn to do it yourself.
Bumbershoot offers a variety of classes and they're open to anyone. Adults and children. They even have a free trapeze lesson for those curious but uncertain.
I may check it out myself. I may also fall down a lot.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Arch Rival Roller Girls

I've been meaning to go see some roller derby for I don't even know how long. Finally the other night I got my butt out to Queeny Park to check it out.

The first bout was between the M-80s and the Rebel Skate Alliance.
(RSA has some of my favorite skater names. Stabby McCutcha, The Oregon Betrayal...I love it)

The M-80s won.

I may be able to give a little more insight to the bout itself as there seemed to be a play by play going on constantly. However no matter where I was in the whole place I couldn't understand a word those guys were saying. It sounded like they were broadcasting from down the street or something. On the plus side, you can grab a booklet that goes into great detail about the game and the players so you can follow along yourself just fine even if you showed up not knowing anything about the sport.

The second bout was between the Stunt Devils and the Smashinistas. The Stunt Devils killed it mainly because their jammers were sneaky fast little things and would slip right on through. I thought it was a more entertaining bout to watch even though it was a bit of a blow out. There was more action going on. 

You can find out more info about them here.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dead Art Studios

The other day I was at a friend’s house where he works on some very interesting and I assume fairly unique art and was compelled to take some photos.

The process is the part I find most interesting. These are flesh-eating beetles working on the last bits of things that were once alive.

Most of LJ's art involves things that were once alive. Displaying skeletons, creative taxidermy, snake skin jewelry, etc.  

Working on a "devil deer"
Right now you can find him on facebook but he should be getting an etsy sometime as well. Check it out. I'm sure the stuff can only get more interesting.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Home Town Pride

21st Century Burlesque’s top 50 of 2011 recently came out and as I spend probably too much time following links and watching videos I think about how we are probably pretty spoiled here in St. Louis. Any show I could go see at just about any time around here has performers just as good as the best on the list. Several have made the list but even those that aren’t yet as recognized or even new to the game perform with real quality.

In 2010 I took a trip to New Orleans. My travel companions and myself went out to see a burlesque show and band one night we were there. Our overall take on it was that it was ok but not great. Kinda meh. We didn’t do a lot of research and it’s understandable to figure we happened across an amateur show. The thing is though, that wont happen in St. Louis. I’m not entirely sure why, but there is an incredible community here. I suspect it might have something to do with the Van Ella Studio. All the new performers seem to go through there and a lot of those that have been around a while teach or spend time there. I don’t think there is anything stopping people from just putting on a show, but no one seems to want to do that outside of the community.

The result is that if you’re seeing someone perform for the first time it’s amongst a show full of veterans. They’re all so supportive of each other and as the audience, we really reap the benefits.