Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Toots & the Maytals

Toots has a ton of energy on stage. He's conducts his band with the veracity that you'd come to expect from a guy who's been makin' reggae music for the better part of the last 5 decades. Though you'd never know his age by looking at him. He jumps around the stage with the exhuberance of a kid. He totally embraces his crowd. He's got one of those ear to ear smiles that consumes you and lifts you up. He's a great showman.
The music was solid. He played the hits, some standards a couple of covers and some stuff from his new album which will be released on April 6th in a store near you. To give you an idea of how respected Toots is take a look at album he's putting out.
He's just got a few special guests on it: Ryan Adams, Trey Anastasio, Jeff Beck, Ken Boothe, Eric Clapton, Bootsy Collins, Marcia Griffiths, Ben Harper, Terry Hall, Willie Nelson, No Doubt, Bonnie Raitt, Rhazel, Keith Richards, The Roots, Shaggy, The Skatalites, U-Roy, Bunny Wailer, Rachael Yamagata.
At the moment, my favorite track of the new album is
Toots & Maytals w/ Bootsy Collins & The Roots - Funky Kingston
Try it... its good for your earhole!


Saturday, March 20, 2004

The First Week of Spring

I'm very optimistic about this week. I think last week was winter's attempt at taking a last ditch sucker punch at me. My poor car got rear ended and though it will be fixed, it along with the weather and a couple of other lesser events seemed to momentarilly trigger some depressed thoughts, but less than a day later, I snapped out of it.
First things first HAPPY BIRTHDAY TIM! May we be so lucky as to hang out together again the same day next year!
The car is just a thing and it will be fixed... I must make a greater effort to stop anthropromorphizing everything!
I mulled over the ways I can make more of what I have and a list of things to look forward to in the increasingly longer and progressively warmer days of spring and summer.
I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing Toots & the Maytals on Monday!!! Sometimes the Metro and the H.o.B. are Nazi's when it comes to letting me take my camera along so I'll probably abandon it at home... ((Grumble Grumble))
Though, this might be for the best. I've decided to take a small hiatus from taking pictures or at least cutting back substatially. After looking at my budget, that if I stopped clicking exposures for roughly a month, I'll be able to afford a digital camera I've been eyeballin' like the... Kodak DCS Pro 14n... my heart just skipped a beat!

Of course, if I hold off a month, you never know what else will pop up that you want to do and see... for instance. Did you know I have not seen PHiSH this MILLENIUM? Seriously! I know I'm officially old skool, and I've seen them "at their best," my tastes have "changed" blah blah blah, but their still my favorite band to see live. Anyway, they're playing this April in Las Vegas and I've NEVER been to or through Vegas.
Though I usually do well gambling, I have my reservations about tossing my chips onto the green felt of the casino tables in the belly of the perverbial beast. However, if I allow myself a certain amount from my reserve fund to slip towards the tables I may find the camera sooner than I think. I wonder how many people have lost their money and their marbles at those tables. I rarely hear about people coming back from there happy unless they didn't gamble. Maybe I should visit some of their pawn shops... some of those unfortunate souls may have put down their cameras for cash to feed their addiction to risk and the brokers might be willing to negotiate a lower price to move the merchandise.


Friday, March 12, 2004

Silly Roman Catholic Traditions VS St Patty's Day (Another Silly Tradition)

Admittidly I'm a recovering catholic. I'm not an amazingly religious man. I would consider myself more spiritual or agnostic than anything else, but I do celebrate certain holidays with great joy and vigor, including St. Patrick's Day. Yes, I am Irish, a whopping 25% of me is anyway and I'm from Chicago, which houses more Irish than any city in Ireland even though most of them are part breeds like myself).
St. Patty's Day is on the 17th, but its regularly celbrated on a Saturday either before or after. Every once in a while it'll land on a Friday, during lent. This is the day of the week that some guy in a pointy hat says you can't eat meat at which point the Irish get loud.
"I want my Corned Beef of St. Patrick's Day!" to which the Pope dealt out special dispensation for our sinnin' ways a few years ago.
See, you're supposed to go with out something that you like during lent. Even though I usually give up something I don't like too much, like eating animals or ice cream when its cold out. I know some of my readeres aren't catholics/christians, but what have you given up for lent... if anything?


Monday, March 08, 2004

Stewsday GALACTIC Pictures:

The Stewsday Photo thing workin' out alright.
I had a lot of fun with Galactic. They're all class and if you haven't gotten the chance to get down with their brand of New Orleans Swamp-Soul-Funk then visit their site and give yourself a treat!

These shots were taken between Madison WI and Chicago, IL where they played at the Barrymore Theatre and the Vic Theatre respectively. There were special guests on the evening and both events were sold out with people outside fingers extended high in the air searchin' for an extra.


Sunday, March 07, 2004

Death in Port au Prince

I suppose I'm a bit sensitive to violence directed towards or involving journalists. As most of you know, my brother Phil Stewart covers Bogata, Colombia with Reuter's News Service. Today on the phone he told me that a friend and fellow journalist most likely witnessed the atrocity in Port au Prince where a group of pro-Aristide gunmen opened fire on a rally/protest outside of the Haitian capital. They missed their target.

You are seeing a fellow journalist. Cameraman Ricardo Ortega of Spain's Antena 3 television network (seen above as his hand is being held as he dies) was murdered in the incident. He died along side five others. His body is the one on the stretcher below.

Sun-Sentinel photographer Michael Laughlin (below) was also wounded. According to reports, more than a dozen people were injured in the violence.

This is very upsetting. I feel like we, as a country have failed Haiti. I'm very weary of the violence that seems to follow everywhere are our administration (Rep) purposely flails and fails in diplomacy.


Saturday, March 06, 2004

TV Land Awards

Yours truly brokered a deal to get A Yard of Bubblegum into the TV Land Awards gift baskets! Hopefully we'll get a load of pictures from the event with our product in the hands of celebrities (maybe even Oprah?!)


The Soul of John Black

I am looking forward to the show tonight. I didn't hand out a ton of flyers at the Vic last night as I hoped I'd be able to. Photogear is both a blessing and a burden at times.


Galactic @ The Vic Theatre Friday March 5th

I shot about ~120 exposures with a variety of angles and positions... everything from the standard establishing shot to the super close ups of various performers to backshots taken stageside with views of the sold out house. Primarily I used 3200 speed film either shot at 3200 or lowered to 1600. Outside of the incredible performance, Galactic brought out a special guest named *** who played the mouth harp (harmonica) brilliantly during a cover of Whole Lotta Love with the multitalented and beautiful Miss Latrice Barnett on vocals. The first set lasted over 87 minutes and was packed with hard hitting swamp funk... the second set did not disappoint at all. Stanton Moore rocked another powerful drum solo which left the crowd gasping. Ben Ellman (sax) grabbed a tiny fish-eye-video-camera-pen and shot Stanton's licks and then handed the drummer the pen who fixed it to the point of view of the drumstick. All I can say about the life of Stanton's drumsticks is that it is one of suffering for art and generally in the way of pain & punishment.
During the encore Richard Vogel, Galactic's keyboard player, muscled through a solo which I think might have been a result of a monitor mixing problem(?), but he hammered out tasty Hammond B-3 licks and produced sweet swells that felt like something between hope and victory.


Friday, March 05, 2004

Galactic @ The Barrymore Theatre

Once in a while, you sit back and smile about a friend's progress. Every band struggles at the beginning of their careers. Its hard being a band on the road. There were many times that I was part booking agent and part concierge for musician travelling through my town. I hadn't hung out with Galactic for years, though I worked hard for them during the famine years. I had to come up to Madison to see one of the kindest and best group of musicians I had the honor of working with was doing in my former home. As I pulled up to the Barrymore there was already a group of people waiting for the ticket window to open. Normally this is a good thing, but the rain was coming down in sheets and the Barrymore marquee left little protection from the elements.

As the doors opened, the last tickets were sold... finally... Galactic sold out the Barrymore Theatre!
And a second congrats goes out to Stanton Moore, this month's cover boy of Modern Drummer Magazine

It was a long haul since Galactic co-billed with Charlie Hunter & Pound for Pound. Which doubles as Galactic's first trial in the market. As much as I liked Galactic then, I have to confess that Charlie Hunter & #for#, who played first, stole the show. ((ouch)) Regardless of the favorable reviews from that point forward its difficult to live past a single performance in the minds of those ~450 people who turned out. Over the next 2 years Galactic plateaued... but they never stopped workin' their sets out and honing up and polishing what was to become what I saw tonight...
THE SHOW WAS FREAKIN' AWESOME! I had the greatest time... of course its always great to go back home for a visit! There is magic in Madison. For me, its the home town crowd. Kids I've been jammin' with for years... all together. Most people who live in the cities have a little posse they go out with... in Madison we have a community. Even with the rain kids came out in droves. The crowd was totally into it. I was totally into it... I took some great pictures and will hopefully be hookin' up a copy of the show from Tom.
Here's the kicker... I get to see Galactic again tonight!


Thursday, March 04, 2004

The Weekend Schedule

Tonight I'm heading up to Madison, WI to see Galactic. I'll be photographin' what I see.
Tommorow same deal... BTW, Galactic = good music
Saturday, I'm very excited to see The Soul of John Black at Martyr's in Chicago. Please, if you get a chance, check them out. You won't be sorry.


Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Now you can leave feedback!

Do you ever get the feeling that you're just running through the motions? Like today I was an automaton getting up hitting the shower, dragging a razor across my mug, got breakfast... same old same old. This is disconcerting... I'm not a creature of habit.

Maybe one of my defining characterists is that I'm entirely too inquisitive as to how things work. I take things apart and put them back together for fun. I disect. I tinker. I create. For instance... website... I've never formally studied computer programming or design, but little by little I'm picking it up... how the code is written. Its just another language.
I mean... I'd like to play all day... but I'd rather sample from boufet of life than fill up my plate with a single entree. Then again, maybe it has something to do with how I was raised. Par example, the Italian side of my family loves to share food. If you were sitting at our table, my grandma would come around and serve everyone... but then her plate would be empty. I'd say "Grandma, why don't you have something." She'd say "No... I justa picka."
I realize that I'll probably never be content. My eyes are fixed to the horizon. I am a wanderlust and all about the adventure.
I think this is the reason why I was initially attracted to Phish as a band... at the time it was radically different and as time passed on... sure, they were playing different sets every night, but there is a whole world of musicians and music out there. I was blinding myself to influences and genres that I didn't ever give a chance to.
There are only two types of music out there... Good and Bad. In every genre and in every corner of the world... just these two. Bon Appetit.