6.27.2007

EATING BROKEN CHOCOLATE OFF THE FLOOR REMINDS ME
OF THE LAST TIME WE SLEPT TOGETHER













(photos: glow and the night geese; ghost-riding the whip in a gas station parking lot; I love those abandoned cars; the beaver dam I brush my teeth next too; cute couple meets truck; where a lot of us sleep; dawn is pretty even if you have to start building again in three hours; sometimes life's okay; the puppy I hung out with all night; stripper mannequin; our very own amateur night stripping team; a little amphibious visitor to the boat)

It's been... interesting, lately. And we totally almost won amateur night at the strip club, so close!

- Campfires and ghost jokes.
- Human piles and hangovers.
- Being jealous of people with hot water.
- Sleeping in a pickup truck ain't all that bad.
- Finding a sweatshirt in the road = new addition to your wardrobe.
- Scrambling around in grass taller than I am.
- Getting stared at (politely) whenever we're in public.
- Hinding in the back of the pickup truck so the cops won't pull you over.
- Being concerned about getting ticks and/or staph.
- Showering in the trees, right next to someone's freshly mowed lawn.
- Watching old 16mm films in a warehouse while rain pounds on the metal roof.
- Lightning bugs are kind of magical.
- Having a two-hour "porch conversation" in which I said two words.
- It's kinda funny how nonchalant you can be about waking up covered in ants.
- Playing with a puppy all night that was tied up outside someone's house.
- The problem with snacking on your bounty while dumpstering is that it ends up with that "garbage water" taste from your fingers.
- Taking a group fund-raising field trip to amateur night at a local strip club, and ALMOST winning. (p.s. strip club's can be pretty depressing.)

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MP3:

We've been listening to these guys on the boat a fair bit. Kinda too bad they disappeared.

• Fannypack - Twisted

A band's place in myspace.

6.24.2007

MAKE HEROS OUT OF YOUR FRIENDS










(photos from our discovery of an abandoned monastary while foraging for materials)

Abandoned buildings are cool, even if you almost fall down an elevator shaft because one of your friends ran off with your flashlight.

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MP3:

I love it when these guys do remixes.

• Kanye West - Diamonds (Ratatat Remix)

A band's place in myspace.

6.22.2007

BECAUSE YOU KNOW NO ONE ELSE WILL







(more photos from the river: this guy used to wrestle bears, now he welds office furniture; the interior of a restaurant in a grocery store; we've had some colorful storms come trough; wet kids watching the lightning show; Sav-a-lot food stores are good for dumpstering = don't use compactors, yet; our borrowed truck laden with scrap wood)

More from mudville on the Mississippi. We've had some intense storms pass through in the last few days, that besides making people's hair stand on end when lightning strikes too close, have also succeeded into turning our work area into a giant mud field. The cons are obvious, for the pros check the last line of the list below.

- Funny thing about living on a boat with thieves, they steal your shit too.
- Getting a boat tour of the disappearing slews of the Mississippi, including the tiny stub that remains of an island where people used to camp, and where a the ashes of a murdered boy were scattered.
- If you need a leatherman tool to do your sewing, you're probably not doing it right.
- I had forgotten how much I hate the combination of flies + open wounds.
- Half-naked dance parties have progessed to fully-naked-and-covered-in-mud dance parties.

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MP3:

The bar we are staying at is a biker bar, as in Harley Davidson and whatnot. So they have a healthy dose of classic rock and country on their jukebox, and blast it fairly late into the night. You're whole experience here takes place with a pounding soundtrack of macho (and sometimes a bit misogynistic) tunes permeating pretty much everything. So when the original version of this song came on one evening, I was stopped what I was doing long enough to soak it in. And then was promptly blasted with some sort of Creed-sounding thing.

• Sarah Brightman - Dust In The Wind

A band's place in myspace.

6.18.2007

ROADKILL ENEMA






Not too much to report, still working, still building, still sweating.

- Driving a pickup truck with half a floor, no mirrors, a dragging bumper, hard-wired headlights you have to unplug under the hood every time you stop, and a door that swings open when you take a turn just a bit too hard.
- You know a girl has something special when she can pull off looking hot with a fake moustache drawn on.
- Messing up my knee tall bike jousting.
- Watching piles of mayflies writhing and dying en masse all over everything.
- Sleeping on the concrete floor of a giant storage shed isn't as comfortable as it sounds.

Also Chief Mag is hosting two back-to-back rock shows (some secret, some not, some free, some not) on Thursday, June 21st. Check it out.

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MP3:

Sometimes when I'm off traveling around, I miss Brooklyn. All the fun shows, parties, and bike rides. And these guys.

• Parts And Labor - The Gold We're Digging

A band's place in myspace.

6.12.2007

TIME TO GET SERIOUS, AND STARVE DOING IT










(photos from the Mississippi: abandoned boat being squatted while we work on the raft; Ms. Gump & the Polaroid Kid riding in the back of a pickup truck buried under groceries; spiders are big and beautiful on the river; the raft surrounded by pleasure boats; one of many abandoned cars on Ian's farm; old organ and rifle in the work area; old trailer that was converted to a cozy hut, complete with solar powered lights/electricity; another abandoned vehicle on the farm in Rock Island; drying clothes in the setting sun)

After a long process getting here, I have arrived in Rock Island/Andalusia, IL. Spent the first few days working night and day repairing bicycles on Ian's farm. Now I am down on the boat at Ducky's Lagoon and am a smelly, dirty, bloody mess. Even I was surprised how quickly the transition happened. well since I am traveling, I'll start up the "trip list" again. . .

- Stirring your coffee with a saw blade.
- After just one day and I was already filthy, had huge scratches on my arms, cuts on my palms and fingers, and a healthy dose of mosquito bites.
- Working on bicycles and having to step over/around goats, ducks, chickens, dogs, etc.
- You can think you're kinda rough 'n tough, but then you sit down with a friend while she idly relates how she had recently hit a rabbit on the road and proceeded to clean it, cook it, eat it, skin it, tan it, and turn it into a "cute hat with a little face". . . That raises the bar in my book.
- Mosquitos were all over me the first night I got here. But for some reason they all focused on my neck. For the past few days I've looked like amateur vampires have been practicing on me.
- It can be said that bathing in the sink in the dirtiest K-mart bathroom you've ever seen is pretty unsatisfying. Although the dirty looks you get from the fat-man-in-red-suspenders were pretty priceless.
- Taking a shower with one of those solar-bag showers surrounded by derelict cars and trucks and five-foot tall grass.
- One of our crew was knocked off a gate he was climbing when he accidentally brushed an electrified wire hanging overhead. He only blacked-out for a moment though.
- Camping in the shadow of a beached houseboat on the shore of the river.
- Riding in the back of a pickup truck surrounded by plants and buried under groceries.
- Baby goats are feakin' cute.
- Adult goats will eat your clothes.
- Ian, the quiet calm generous can-do man with a farm.
- Getting three times the amount of food I already ate to-go from the grocery store's all-you-can-eat salad bar (to feed people back on the farm).
- Accidentally stealing two CV joints off a not-quite-so-abandoned pickup truck.
- Late-night half-naked raft dance party.

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MP3:

Here's a live version of the The Black Angels covering Black Mountaintops. Black on black always goes nicely together.

• The Black Angels - No Satisfaction

A band's place in myspace.

6.08.2007

WHEN YOU HAVE TIME, YOU HAVE EVERYTHING






(dying shopping malls in Ohio)

The start of my trip has been a bit rocky. The bus breaks down in Toledo, OH, stranding me between deserted storefronts, fast food joints, and a spooky empty shopping mall. My plan of hanging out with a friend in Chicago for the night before my morning departure for Iowa is dashed. Smooth sailing this is not. Here's hoping it is not a trend that will continue. . . and be glad that for some reason I am still entranced by empty parking lots and vacant buildings.

[update:] The bus broke down twice more, stranding us on the side of the highway, and at a service plaza. I got in to Chicago at 6 am, after leaving Cleveland at 4 pm. Normally a 6 hour trip, it took 14. Megabus might have to change their name to Megasucks.

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MP3:

This song is weird, quirky, and really catchy. And it has wanderer in the title, which is what I am right now.

• Planningtorock - Bolton Wanderer

A band's place in myspace.

6.07.2007

THE BEST TRAVEL EMBRACES ENTROPY


(this is kind of the opposite of what the rest of my summer is going to be like, photo from the NY Press cover shoot)

So I am headed off for the summer, again. I'm presently on my way to rejoin the Miss Rockaway Armada on the Mississippi River in Andalusia, IL. I will be trying to post from the river, but am not sure how that will go down. Every time I go out of town for a while I try to find a Sucka-substitute, but it never works out. So I'm not even bothering this time. But hopefully there will be tales of daring-do and lovely landscapes to share. If you need a reminder of what I'm talking about, here are photos from last summer: 1, 2.

Also, I will be showing photos from last year's voyage at Spencer Brownstone Gallery in Soho as part of the show 'Til I Die which opens on July 12th.

Upper Playground recently published the photography book "Backyard Shakedown," which has a few of my photos in it, along with some of my favorite photographers, Boogie and Jason Fulford.

And in case you ever wondered where one goes with his family to celebrate his birthday in Cleveland, mystery solved.

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MP3:

Dark Dark Dark is a new band formed by members of the aforementioned Miss Rockaway Armada. They have a lovely gypsy-gumbo-haunted-carnival-sea-chanty feel, and I dare say that this song feels classic even on the first listen.

• Dark Dark Dark - Junk Bones

A band's place in myspace.

6.06.2007

WE ARE NOTHING BUT MEMORIES AND SECRETS










(Yo Majesty and CSS performing at Irving Plaza in NYC, more photos here)

I went to see an old friend of mine perform with her band at Irving Plaza last weekend. We used to joke about how one day her band would get really big and she would come tour the US in a big bus and become a celebrity. We used to think it was pretty ridiculous, but fun in a "if-I-won-the-lottery" way. Well watching her headline at Irving was pretty much the realization of this joke/dream. And it was amazing to witness, at least for me. So congratulations, it really happened.

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MP3:

Think about the title of this post, and then the relevance that photographs play in it.

•• Bishop Allen - Click Click Click Click

A band's place in myspace.