I flew up to New York City on Wednesday to sit in on an early rehearsal of a song cycle that Julianne Wick Davis is composing. She came across the suitcases project a couple of years ago and asked permission to use my photographs as inspiration. She hopes to end up with 20 songs, and had nine ready for the run through. This was the first time she had heard them with voices other than her own.
Julianne put together an amazing group of six actors and four musicians to perform the songs in a rehearsal room at NYU.
Here she is working with Xander Rovang who was musical director for the day.
I was so pleased to be included, and came away feeling super excited about collaborating with her. It is always a bit humbling to inspire creativity in others. I am very excited about where this will end up.
I spent an amazing day at the New York State Archives photographing patient records for the Willard Suitcases Project (I’ll post about that soon). As Peg Ross, Karen Miller, and I were walking to lunch on the concours under the capitol buildings, this guy was there to help celebrate Octoberfest. / Cristine once saw a bumper sticker that said “Play the accordion, go to jail”. Hard to see in this small photo, but that is an A & W Root Beer on his accordion case to keep him hydrated.
I have been seeing these chickens and their mobile home in Hadley for a while now and the light was nice tonight so I stopped.
I passed them as I was driving over to Northampton to see my friend Tom Schack’s band Outer Stylie perform as Talking Heads in the annual Transperformance show at Look Park. It is an annual event that benefits the Northampton Arts Council and is huge fun.
Here’s Tom rocking out dressed as Tina Weymouth. He is the sweetest guy in the world.
And here’s the full band. They sounded great!
I went over to Northampton yesterday to catch the end of the 3 County Fair. My friend Tom Schack’s band Outer Stylie were playing, which was my main reason for going.
Here’s Tom lookin’ good. He is the nicest guy in the world.
I haven’t been to a county fair in a very long time and it was fun to walk around. This looks like the second place okra winner.
Here’s Henry, a massive Yorkshire Boar.
What a stud!
It is very likely that Henry is responsible for these little guys.
It was very hot and muggy and the ride operators seemed eager to shut things down. This was the final ride on the Ferris Wheel. Not quite the London Eye, but still pretty cool.
I have been a huge fan of the Canadian singer Leslie Feist for a long time. When I heard she was playing the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, I got online and scored two tickets. When I looked at the date, I saw that I was also scheduled to shoot the final dress rehearsal of the UMASS production of “Peter Pan”. A bit of a bummer, but since I have to work, Cris is going with one of her grad students. I am sure it will be great.
My good bud Tom Schack just got the first pressing of his band Outerstylie’s new CD. He was kind enough to give me a copy (#2) which he is holding in his hand. He was totally stoked to finally have it. I’m listening to it now and it sounds great. Here he is at his “day job”.
I just got back from shooting a great dance piece by Angie Hauser and Chris Aiken who are new dance faculty members at Smith. Their piece “Utopia Parkway” is totally improvised, as is the live music that goes along with it (Jesse Manno and Robert Benford). It only runs tomorrow night and Friday at Smith (20+21 September). It is totally great and shouldn’t be missed. If you in the area, go see it.
This post is a way to jump-start my brain. I have been so preoccupied with Peter that it has been difficult to concentrate on anything else. It feels great to be focusing on photographs again. None of these pictures seem so interesting on their own, but together reflect what’s been going on for the past month.
Above is Tom Schack’s birthday cake from the now infamous “Schackstock” at Snowzies in Sunderland. Bands started playing at 1 pm and things shut down at closing time. His Mom, Dad, and Sister were there as well as lots of his friends.
He is just about the nicest guy in the world, and was really enjoying himself.
This flower starts showing up partway down the drive in early August.
When I was shooting the Tilghman project in August I made sure to visit Miss Pigsley. She lives down the street from Jennifer, has an air conditioner in her shed and will never be bacon. I took this for Peter because we are both huge P.G. Wodehouse fans and any stories with Lord Emsworth feature his obsession with “The Empress”. This pig is magnificent and is very happy to have visitors. She used to drink massive amounts of Kool-Aid until the vet put her on a diet.
On the Sunday morning before Peter Carroll and I left the island, we went to the church to document a service. This gentleman was in the pew in front of me.
I have always liked cattails.
I had a hard time getting the white balance right in this shot. I walk past this box on my way to shoot the suitcases. It always reminds me of this Little Feat song.
Going back to Meadville means more than hot dogs and ice cream but two stops are essential; Eddie’s and Hank’s Frozen Custard.
I have been going to Hank’s since it opened in 1952.
Peter loves it too.
There is only one reason to post this photo. It might be the only time you can see Red Sox pitcher Clayton Mortensen at bat in an American League Park. At this point the Sox were up something like 12-1 and I still can’t figure out why Bobby Valentine had him at the plate. Kind of cool though.
When we were at Pymatuning watching the ducks walk on the fishes backs we met the woman I posted about earlier. She was wearing this shirt which got us talking. I’d like to visit sometime.
It is very rare to be in on an historical moment, but I can say I was there when one of my neighborhood friends coined the term “Rat Lake” for the body of water that appeared after the flood control dam was built.
I usually help Thom Kendall out with the photos on media day for the UMASS football team. The new coach is a really great guy. This picture pretty much tells you most of what you need to know about Charley Molnar.
The Pearl out on the deck.
Cris and I went to Amherst Coffee today. I often take a shot of my cappuccino for some reason.
Never one to hide my emotions, I have been mentioning to just about anyone I talk to about my feelings of having Peter off in DC. So many of you have told me that he will be fine, and I want to thank you all for your support. One of the best bits of encouragement came from Leamuse in France as a comment on my earlier post. “Bon courage et bon chance.” Thank you so much; it really helps.
I was walking the dog today and thinking about REM for some reason. They announced a couple of weeks ago that they were calling it quits. It brought to mind having seen them very early in their career on several occasions. This gig was on 17 October, 1983 at a place called Drumlins somewhere just East of Syracuse. I think it used to be some kind of country club and I believe had a connection to Syracuse University. It was weird because the band was very late in starting and no one was sure what was going on. At some point someone came on stage and announced that Michael Stipe had injured his eye doing something with a contact lens. Mitch Easter’s band had opened up, and when REM finally made it onstage Michael was wearing an eyepatch.
It was a great set though. The band had tons of energy and seemed really tight. And lots of Rickenbackers!
Mitch Easter played with them the whole time as I remember it. At one point Michael asked the crowd if anyone knew what a drumlin was. (I actually knew because my girlfriend Ren seemed to know stuff like that and we had talked about it on the way up. I was too shy to speak up though.) After the show Pete Buck came out and talked to the crowd and was very nice. I saw them again in London at Dingwalls a couple of weeks later. I was chatting with Peter when Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzie walked by and Pete was totally star-struck. It is funny how things turned out, as REM became so huge and Lynott died so young. A very cool memory though.