Archive for November, 2009
David came by on Saturday afternoon to pose for a series of portraits that I’m working on, focusing on people who are living in Indiana and doing things that might be a bit surprising to the average “hoosier,” or otherwise invisible to those within their own community.
What David is doing that fits the bill is becoming an art agent who plans to work exclusively with “outsider artists,” or artists who would otherwise not have the means to show their work to anyone else (the underprivileged, etc.).
I think that David, by the way, might be one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever photographed. And this was him, having come down with kind of a nasty headcold. Not wanting to get sick, myself, I had to work hard to keep my distance.
This year’s Beaujolais nouveau was released with little fanfare. I hadn’t seen a bottle of it anywhere until I went to a wine shop on Friday and specifically asked. I was told that the store received only two cases in with a regular delivery, and no special literature or display or anything. When I asked why, the clerk told me that either it wasn’t a very good year for Beaujolais, or that maybe the hype had run its course and Americans had moved on to something else.
I opened a bottle when I got home. She’s right on the first point: this year’s Beaujolais isn’t exceptional. But either way, I still think it’s the most beautiful wine there is.
Hype or no, my friend Katie and I still want to go to the Beaujolais Nouveau Festival one year. All over France, the wine is uncorked one minute past midnight on the third Thursday in November. Lyon hosts fireworks and music and two days of ”sampling,” and in Paris the bistros and restaurants stay open all night, and I hear you can practically just walk the streets with wine glass in hand; it’s everywhere.
Katie and I are talking about starting “Beaujolais savings accounts,” and even if we each only put two or three hundred dollars a year in them, we could be there in about five years. Sounds perfect, no?
First, happy Thanksgiving to you!
I haven’t been a very interesting blogger lately. I had an “old blog” that I kept for some 6 years, and the domain is getting ready to expire in a week or so. I have spent this week saving the archives to my laptop, just so I don’t lose all that writing and all those photos. It’s been interesting to see and remember some of the old things I used to blog about — and if I don’t say so myself, back in the day I was kind of a decent writer and storyteller. I’m going to try to get that back. I still have stories to tell, Republicans to mock, and celebrity crushes to goo about, and other things to document. I’m going to try to be a better blogger.
For now, I’m on my way to Jay’s dad’s for lunch and then on with Jay to my brother’s for dinner. I found this old photo, thanks to Facebook, of one of my oldest siblings and the boy she eventually married. This was probably the summer of 1970. I would have been three. It was taken in the driveway of the house where my dad still resides; although that stand of trees across the street is gone now, and the whole neighborhood is less dense with vegetatation, more dense with houses, and far less inviting.
These two are still married. He sold that Corvette to buy his first business. They will both be at Thanksgiving dinner tonight.
More later. Enjoy your day.
Photographer Jeff Sheng is looking for gay men and women who are serving in the U.S. military who have been affected by Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Jeff is taking steps to make sure the participants stay anonymous, because we do live in a country where military personnel are not allowed to come out. Anyone who is interesed in participating (or knows anyone that might) can contact Jeff, directly.
Both photos in this post copyright, Jeff Sheng.
Ganesh is a new friend we met about a month ago. I decided to include him in my Unexpected Hoosiers series because, well, there aren’t a lot of gay Hindu’s living in Indiana.
Those of you who have been in our house will notice that this shot was taken in our den. It’s true that I want most of the Unexpected Hoosiers shots to look urban, but I wanted Ganesh with the red wall. I think it worked.
Annie Leibovitz shoots a retelling of Hansel and Gretel (with actor Andrew Garfield as Hansel, model Lily Col as Gretel, and Lady Gaga as the witch) and displays why she remains one of my favorite photographers.
The full spread is here, and will also be in the December issue of Vanity Fair, the art issue.
And while you’re on Chris’ site, check out the portraits gallery. He has some very good work in there, as well.
(All images in this blog post copyright, Chris Valites.)
This is a weekend in which I have absolutely nothing planned, and I intend to keep it that way. I only get about two of these weekends a year, if that; I am home now and I may not leave the house again until it’s time to go to work on Monday (unless I decide that we need Cool Whip).
I stopped at Target on the way home from work and bought three sweaters, wine, and some groceries. Tomorrow, Jay is spending the day painting a set for a play one of his friends is directing; I am staying home and cooking a sauerbraten (German beef roast) and pumpkin pie. And I have a couple of Netflix movies to watch. And I have Facebook email to clean out, some of which I should have responded to in September. And, if I decide that I’m feeling really industrious, I have studio walls that desperately need painted. (Okay, don’t count on that last thing happening this weekend, but it’s on the list.) I’m also going to drink the wine and ginger tea, which I have recently decided that I love.
This doesn’t really fit into this particular blog post, but it doesn’t feel right for me to post something without a photography, anymore. So here’s a few shots of something else we did in Chicago. We went to a park where there were about 5 all-gay flag football games happening. Jay and I were actually dumbfounded that Chicago can pull together 32 all-gay football teams in two different leagues. I bet Indianapolis couldn’t organize two (and they call this the amateur sports capital of the world?).
Anyway, enough bashing the city in which we live. Here are the photos. Mind you, the air quality that day was abominable, and I’ve realized that I suck at outdoor sports photography, but here they are, anyway.
Jay and I spent part of this past weekend in Chicago and I have to admit that it’s been hard being back here, since. I just love that place. We spent most of the day in the Rogers Park, Andersonville, and Edgewater neighborhoods, and I noticed in Edgewater, there was more energy and activity on two blocks than you see in the whole city of Indianapolis. (To try and re-acclimate to our own city, last night we even went to dinner on Mass Avenue with a friend; but really, we may as well have been in South Bend for all the activity in our downtown.)
I was also surprised to be someplace where people are actually polite to each other — which is funny because in Indianapolis, a place like Chicago has the reputation of being “big and rude,” and yet the opposite is the reality. A guy tipped his hat and said hello as we passed each other by the bathroom in a restaurant; whereas here, people in situations like that often avert your eyes. And in Rogers Park, another guy (okay, to be candid, he looked like a thug; I would have been afraid of him in different situations) was walking down the street eating a chicken leg and stepped between Jay and I. As he passed, he actually stopped, looked me in the face and said, “excuse me.”
Trust me when I say this: That just doesn’t happen in Indiana.
But enough about all that. The lesson learned is that Chicago is close, and it’s stupid that we don’t get there more often.
We met two guys to pose for my Habits series. They were both strangers to Jay and I, friends of friends, and yet they were both so delightful and welcoming and friendly that Jay and I agreed that we could have spent the whole weekend with either of them. (The second guy actually offered us the use of his apartment, next time we’re in Chicago and don’t want to drive back to my dad’s for the night.)
This is Rod, the first guy, standing in his kitchen after the shoot.
I think that his shot for the Habits series might be my favorite photograph of them all, so far. Rod is outside, with his Navy fatigues laying around him, reading a book called “Ending the War in Iraq.” I just love it.
I need to get moving on this series again. I want to shoot about 100 more men within the next year and then call it quits and start looking for a publisher, or start thinking about the possibility of self-publishing it. Either way, I want The Habits of Male Primates to be in book form by the end of 2011. That’s the goal.
And this is the first that I’ve dedicated that goal to paper (PC?). So now that my intentions are known, it’s time to make it happen.
I found two new photography books that I’m thinking out putting on my Wish List. The first is called, In their Youth: Early Portraits, which is a collections of Greg Gorman’s previously unpublished portraits of male actors, but shot when they were still unknown young men.
I want this book because Greg Gorman is an amazing photographer and I haven’t collected any of his work yet. And I think it would be fun to look at. You’d think that since I’m a photographer, I’m goot with faces. I’m not; I could walk past a person on the street that I chat with once a week on Facebook and not recognize him. Same goes for these portraits, I feel like I should know who they are, but . . .
The second book I want is called About Face, by John Russo. This book also contains some celebrities, but they’re all headshots, taken in the same place, with Polariod film, using natural light and no touch ups.
For whatever it’s worth, I do recognize all the guys I displayed from the second book. I think I’d actually rather have the second book — but of course, it’s twice expensive as the first. But it’s also limited edition.