Thursday, July 30, 2009

xTONITEx!! DJ Radio Flaky Biscuits

HEY! okay, so i goofed and missed the last train to Clarksville last week a/k/a flaked out. SOO me! this week is different than that it's a week later. Yesh. you know you had a good time with YB and SB. And since I never unpacked my bag from last week, the tunes are just as gnarly. Toon in.

Tonight, we'll be spotlighting an upcoming show that commemorates the life of Biscuit and the plight of Peter Case with performances by venerable-yet-humble punk acts AK47 and The Mydolls. IN FACT we'll have 2 AK47's in studio (If it's okay with you Scott; Burton, go back to sleep) to talk about their history and they'll be bringing some of the ol' AK47 45s with them. So if you're a fan of any of the above...don't hit snooze. (I do also believe we'll have other guests who are playing at Double Dave's in a little while. But I'll let that promoter promote.)

with Young Burton, Scott Butt and Old Fart...
91.7fm KTRU.ORG
10pm ~ 1am

10 ~ Young Burton as aprediz de todo...
11 ~ Scott Butt as majordomo comeux...
midnight special ~ Rosa, narcosnarficker...

Quejas a 713.348.ktru

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Joey Promahoney: this made me think of you

Hope all is well, friend. Let's get some Vietnamese sandwiches when you come home next.

I'm def gonna try this with color slide film I can't afford to process anytime soon.

Editing is letting go of even some of the good ones.

Separation is strange. I've been with the same, wonderful man since I was 19 years old. At 39 he decided that I needed to stretch my wings for reals.

I'm moving next weekend to a tiny one bedroom apartment in the museum district. I've never known bachelorhood and hoped I never would, but alas, here I am taping up boxes and ruthlessly editing out books I want to keep and books that need to find a new home. Special books I'm giving away. Chicano studies books and liberal political books will go to Sedition Books. Vegetarian cook books to the ex (I'm not a vegetarian, never have been, and god give me strength I never will). The rest to charity since I don't want to waste Half Price Books' time.

What's left are books on: photography, architecture, film, rock and roll, boxing, dictionaries, my Stanislaw Lems, my Borgeses, Treasure of The Sierra Madre and the Jim Thompson book Henderson gave me for Christmas. I'm also toting the Richard Meltzer books my treasured friend and film buff KB lent me including the hilarious little tome he co-authored with Nick Tocshes called Frankie Part I.

Speaking of KB, and-for-the-record, I'd like to correct my last Weegee blog (you knew I had to slip him in, right? Right.) which incorrectly stated that "Naked City" was his only photography book. KB proved me wrong by lending me "Weegee's People", 2nd printing on DaCapo originally put out in 1946. It's novel-thick with low quality images on every single page and short captions that tell a story of a city. I'm quite shocked at how similar my own zine is to it. In fact, first thing I'll do after I move is put out the third edition. If I can get five or ten zines done soon, I'll look for funding to put out a compendium, similar to his.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Analog "vs." Digital

My friend and fellow photographer, RTB, after telling him I was gonna start teaching a darkroom class asked, innocently enough: "How are you going to teach people who have only experience with digital cameras?" My exact response I don't remember but it was something akin to 'well they'll just have to accept that I find digital photography unacceptable' which was not only arrogant and defensive-sounding, but not even something I believe. Not sure why that popped outta my mouth. I don't find digital images unacceptable at all but I do find that they are a whole other animal. Not an entirely different discipline but certainly a different medium. Painting is allowed different mediums - oil, watercolor, even mixed media...And Photography is not so different...35mm, large format, medium format, polaroid manipulation...why not add digital exposure? Shouldn't art be supplemented insteada amended?

Processes: they aren't just different to me, they're downright foreign. Not estranged or divorced but, err, legally separated? I love you but I'm not in love with you.

But first: how are they similar? Lemme think. Both media are experienced visually. Both are two dimensional. When viewed on a computer screen, high res. images are pretty much indistinguishable from one another. Ditto color prints (provided that they are premium quality). Both require hardware-type-equipment that has a lens. No doubt digital camera prototypes were based on 35mm SLRs. Every new medium has to start somewhere, right? But I've never run out of memory, just film.

Experiences are real dissimilar to me. Digital: Compose, shoot, edit, adjust, compose, shoot, edit, adjust, etc. Even ad nauseum, if you ask this girl. Printing a .jpg is certainly optional. Film (documentary/street/punk) is: think, shoot, react, shoot, think, shoot, react, shoot, etc. and not necessarily in that order.

What I mean to say is that digital photography shoots its wad too soon for me...all deed and no foreplay. Which I understand totally if you're into convenience, speed, ease, and economy. True 'nuff, developing film isn't easy or interesting. What films there are left are expensive and endangered. Developing yourself takes a while and can be boring (if you're not in my kitchen playing records). But when I pull that soft, squishy, sensual negative off the reel, my heart starts beating real fast. Then, when I hold it up to the light to see if it came out I feel 1) elation just knowing that there's something there, or 2) my heart breaks when I discover I over/under exposed the damn thing. It's a private moment I don't have to share with anyone else. I need that kind of intimacy with my photography. Public (shooting), private (developing+printing+editing), public (sharing), in that order. When I shoot I'm hoping for the best while expecting the best. Faith and bravura. That's shooting with film.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

xxRadioxx tonight: We've come for your children (if that's cool with you)...

TONIGHT! Music for brats by DJs that only a mother could love. So NYAH! if you don't like it!

10pm to 1am just like most of the time

Special guest during Scott's shift will be Left of the Dial writer David Ensminger, who will fill you in on all the details of the AK47 Show he organized for the 1st. And I'll be starting the set off with a rare spinning of the 70s powerpop band The Hounds, fronted by my favorite film critic Steve Simels (formerly the music critic of the magazine formerly known as Stereo Review) who provided me with the disc. Word on the street is that all the boys in the band will be listening which means we might have more than one listener (thanks, ma)!!!. Are you listening Nielsen Ratings?!?!

10pm : On Top of Young Burton all covered with cheese..
11pm : Great big gobs of greasy, grimy, gopher Butts...
Midnight : The old lady who lived in a shoe...

713-348-ktru, ya heard?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Man, hear I go yammering about Weegee again.

Look the man wasn't a genius in terms of IQ points, but Arthur Fellig the photographer-popularly-known-as Weegee paved the way for other low brow photographers like Diane Arbus and Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman and Nikki Lee. Oh, and punk photography in general. And what I mean by that is he paved the way for low brow photography to be accepted by the grand poo pah of photography: art photography.

Weegee was ugly, poor, and obsessed with the blood and guts of his city. As a photojournalist, he got his hands dirty and wasn't afraid to break the sacred rules of journalism. He'd pose people and rearrange crime scenes for maximum impact. He wrote his own often lengthy captions and was even occasionally given license to write the articles that accompanied his photos in the newspapers he shot for. That was unheard of back then.

I finished up Weegee and Naked City by Lee and Meyer. Its a short book with a few plates but mostly words. The book analyzes the characters and circumstances that paved the way for his only photography book Naked City and his pioneering photo exhibit at the New York Photo League called Murder Is My Business. It's a terrific and easy read with a fresh approach to the man and his work. I was delighted to find out just how self aware he was of what he was doing. He the man himself is imbedded in his photos - sometimes literally - because he WANTED to be famous. He wanted people to know his name and made no qualms about it. A left leaning press was of course going to bring him on as an ally with his everyman appeal. He gave that movement street cred as much as he gave it a visual style. And being no dummy, he used this unique (but earned) respect to further his transparent goals of 1) fame, and 2) legitimacy among the fine art cognicenti. Frakkin' genius.

Weegee may have been opportunistic (how's that a bad thing again?) but he also took complete ownership of his photographs, and I'm not talking about copyrights (who cares?). I mean the man walked the walk and talked the talk. He came from the same mean streets of NY that he shot and is a prime example of the kind of photographers I admire most: those who live their art. Photographs aren't just images - that's a cynical point of view if there ever was one. Photographers are performance artists first and foremost. Self awareness to the point of obsession - 'Look at me looking at you'. We hunt and kill what we eat. Because it's only fair.

And further to the low brow point, he mastered the use of flash like nobody's business. Flash use has always played second fiddle to natural light sources or studio light that mimics natural light. But here's the truth art photography is too precious to embrace: it's HARDER TO MASTER flash. Certainly much more difficult to master than natural diffuse light. Which is secretly why high brow art hates it's use there I said it. I'll even take it a step further and declare flash-lit black and white journalistic/punk/street photography is as American a treasure as jazz or blues or dare she say it? rock and roll.

So hail to you, Weege. You punk.