Tag Archives: Music

Big Week

When I worked for Apple we had these little ‘credo cards’ with a sort of retail division manifesto inside.

One of the lines included was:

“At Apple, our most important resource, our soul, is our people.”

Outside of Apple this is something that has stuck with me. I think it’s a really great perspective to have honestly. I value people over things. I say it often, but not everyone understand it about me: the most important thing in my life is my friends.

I truly believe that if you go through life with this perspective it’ll come back to you in spades and you’ll make the world a little bit better for everyone.

I’m very fortunate to have amazing and talented friends in my life. I’m really proud of them.

This week my good friend Zoran left Chicago behind to pursue his filmmaking career our in Los Angeles. I’m extremely sad to see him go but I’m really excited at what lies ahead. I know he needs to do this for himself and I have no doubt he’s going to do big things out there.

Zoran’s final project in Chicago was a music video for our friends’ band: Common Shiner.

The project has been going on for months and included just about everyone I know who logically could be included, actors, musicians, photographers… you name it. The final project is a true labor of love under Zoran’s direction that I’m incredibly proud to have been a part of.

The video will debut on Wednesday night here in Chicago at Mayne Stage.

You can get the details here.

Incredibly, that’s not all going on this week or even that night. At the same night, at the very same show, my very good friend Jeff Brown will be releasing his new EP. While I didn’t have a hand in Jeff’s EP, I know this has been a long process for him as well and I’m excited to have the chance to be there.

As if that wasn’t enough, we’ll be saying another goodbye on Thursday night as well. My friends Charles and Emily, better known as Duck and Goose, will be releasing their long awaited album. The duo funded the project through Kickstarter and spent countless hours in the studio working with some amazing people to release an album, that if it’s 1/10th as beautiful as their live shows, will leave people in awe. Unfortunately this will be Duck and Goose’s final show as Emily will be leaving Chicago soon to pursue her education further in Seattle.

Finally, the incomparable Xoë Wise will be opening for Duck and Goose. As far as I know Xoë doesn’t have anything special going on for this show but she’s a wonderful human being and a heck of a musician.

Details here for Duck and Goose with Xoë Wise and others.

August was really hard last year and this year seems to be shaping up to be pretty tough as well. I’m really proud and really excited for all of my friends and I’m extremely grateful to have such amazing people in my life.

To Memphis and Beyond

After leaving New Orleans we head back north again to Tennessee. This time to Memphis instead of Nashville. The drive was uneventful until our stop in Jackson Mississippi for lunch we took the suggestion of Mindy’s friend Osid Riley and checked out Keifer’s for a Greek lunch, a welcome change from all the BBQ we’ve been ingesting.

We could see the capital building from where we parked so we decided to walk over it. There we found a somber ceremony on the front lawn for Mississippi Department of Transportation workers who were struck and killed while working on the highways. I stood in the back taking it in for a while and a nice lady informed me of what was going on. It was truly moving. In a tribute that reminded my slightly of the ghost bikes to remember fallen cyclists they had set up road cones, each with a white worker’s helmet placed on top of it.

The capital itself was a beautiful building with the high steps and domed roof you’d expect from such thing but what really caught our eyes were the statues. They had a replica of the liberty bell in front as well as a monument to confederate women, complete with sculpted confederate flags. The embracement of the rebel flag is something jarring to me. I knew it was still a symbol that some clung to but it’s weird to see it as a celebrated piece of history in this area. Fascinating and disturbing to me at the same time.

From there we continued north and arrived in Memphis. Although our friends Kyle and Courtney were waiting for us at their home James insisted we check out Goner Records before they closed that evening. We looked up prices and times for Graceland as well and found it to be obscenely overpriced.

After getting set up at Kyle and Courtney’s we made our way out to get dinner. Of course Memphis is famous for it’s BBQ so it was the obvious choice again. I swear that when this trip is over I am lying off BBQ for AT LEAST a month. My arteries hate me right now but I cannot deny that it was the best we’d had on the trip so far. Over dinner Kyle told us about a beer place called Flying Saucer that has a beer club membership and over 200 beer choices and a website to log your beers. Seeing as how I’m attempting to try as many different beers as possible this suddenly became a ‘need to do’ item.

Sure enough I joined the beer club, drank a Ghost River Copperhead Irish Red, a Yazoo Sue, and a Sam Adams Black lager. All of which were excellent. The Sue was particularly interested as it was a smoked porter, the first of it’s kind that I’ve tried. I am not usually a fan of porters but I was pleasantly surprised. A few of Kyle’s coworkers from the local Apple store joined us for drinks and we spent the night swapping stories.

The next morning James, Courtney and I went over to get a traditional southern style breakfast at a deliciously greasy little place called Bryant’s, the first real breakfast we’ve had on the trip. From there James and I made our way to the legendary Sun Studios, the birthplace of Rock and Roll and original home to Elvis, Johnny Cash and more. Standing in the spots that these legends first recorded was an honor. They even have an original Shure 55 vocal mic that was used by these greats that, on the wishes of their founder, is available to hold and pose with.

Memphis was great, a worthwhile trip and we definitely didn’t give ourselves enough time there. Hopefully I’ll be back at some point.

Enjoy the photos!

A Prologue?

Every adventure has a beginning. Some start slow and build into the excitement. Others kick right into action within the first few moments. Either way there is still a setup, some pretext that the story is founded on. My training from iO and Second City has taught me that it’s better to start a scene in the middle and to dispense with the back story things tend to be more interesting that way as we can watch the story unfold in front of us.

At this very moment my heart is starting to slow down from a rapid pace. My brain and endocrine system are finally starting to relax from the rush of adrenaline that pumped through me earlier. I’m just happy to be here in my aisle seat electric chair typing away and listening to my favorite Mountain Goats record.

I’m heading to Austin for South by Southwest Interactive where, for the next week, I will indulge in copious amounts of learning, networking and imbibing. When I return from Austin I will only have 8 more days of work at my job of the past 6.5 years. There is a mixture of excitement and discomfort in the fact I am willfully joining the ranks of the unemployed during a recession.

My heart rate continues to slow as I sip my complementary apple juice and snack on my peanuts. I just took a minute to revised the first paragraph. “Lovecraft in Brooklyn” just came on. I love this song, I don’t really even know why, I just do.

I could tell the story about nearly missing my flight this morning, being told they were booked through the weekend and how someone I’ve never met volunteered to give up her seat making her my personal, yet thankless hero. But aside from me running unshod through Midway airport, the story really doesn’t have that much anecdotal value.

I’m looking forward to the next few days in Texas, catching up with old friends, making new ones and eating amazing food. That said, I am not quite sure what to expect. I did this once before and it was extremely enriching, even life changing, will it be again?

We’ve landed in Nashville to refuel and swap passengers before continuing on to Austin. No more Mountain Goats, moved on to Gaslight Anthem now. Stop, revise. I am fully relaxed now. Another revision.

I’ll be back in Nashville a month from yesterday if only for a day. It feels like an eternity away.

The problem with the aforementioned storytelling lesson is that it’s one of the few things from improvisation that can’t be mapped directly to life. We don’t get to just cut to the action, we’re forced to endure each beginning as even the smallest detail can be a catalyst that ripples through all of what follows. In life it’s the transitions that shape everything. The blur before something ends and another begins is arguably the most interesting moment, anything could happen that will affect the future and how we perceive of the past.

I ponder my own situation as I rewrite, revise and delete. I’m mildly frustrated that this, like many pieces I write, may sit in “drafts” forever awaiting a perfection that may never come. I switch the music again to Streetlight Manifesto to get a lyric trapped in my head out.

“We’ve all been there once before and it looks like we’ve returned once more. So is this the beginning or the end?”

I don’t know what will happen, I just know we’re landing and it’s almost time to close my MacBook.

Laura and Jeff – Game Over: You Win!

A few months ago I was coerced got the opportunity to photograph my friends Laura and Jeff’s wedding. They knew that wedding photography was typically not my thing and in fact something I usually detest but Laura was persistent.

“We don’t want a wedding photographer. We want a photographer we like.”

She played to my ego and thinking and it worked. When I finally agreed, Laura told me they sent this photo to their parents with the caption: “We picked a wedding photographer!” The wedding went well and I’ve published a few of the shots publicly so far: here, here, & here.

Laura is a member of the über-cool NESrock band I Fight Dragons (LP forthcoming on Photo Finish Records) and has an affinity for all things 8-bit and I had a free moment today so I made this in her honor.

Jeff and Laura Win!