Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Renaissance Faire project begins!

Last weekend I went to Willits, CA, with a reporter and videographer to begin work for a project on Ren Faire culture. The sense of community is very strong among the members of St. Andrews Guild, so for now we are focusing on them.

Here are guild members doing what they do, performing for the public.

And below are some shots of them after the faire, packing up wares and saying farewell until next weekend.

Teage and Cailin (their fair names) are two guild members who met at faire, where engaged at faire, and in two weeks will be married at the Pittsburgh faire. They are adorable.

Stay tuned, more stories from the middle ages to come....

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hip Hop show

Legendary mash-up DJ Z-trip performed with guest MC's at the Independent in SF last night. I went down and made some pictures (on neo-pan 1600) for my friend's online urban culture magazine (www.ohdangmag.com). They aren't up yet, but should be soon along with a review of the show.

It was good, sweaty hip-hop from some of the bay area's best homegrown talent: Gift of Gab and Lateef. Aceyalone also made an appearance.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Western Addition Drill team @ Westin St. Francis

I've been following this group of young woman from the Western Addition neighborhood for about 5 months now, off and on. This morning they performed at the Westin St. Francis, which was great because the hotel is beautiful, and they had a kick-ass continental breakfast.

July 21: Some concert shots

I photographed the band Hoobastank over the weekend, when they performed at the Moto Grand Prix motorcycle race in Laguna Seca (near Salinas).

Right before the show Yamaha MotoGP rider Colin Edwards, along with a fleet of dudes in blue, revved up the crowd.

Then the band took the stage and the crowd went predictably nuts.

From the drive home, into the sunset on the 101.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Drag Queen Extravaganza

It's summer in San Francisco, which means, of course, drag queens. The 10th annual Midnight Mass movie series, with your hostess Peaches Christ (who else?) kicked off last Friday, and the pre-movie show could be called a drag queen extravaganza. Every notable queen in the city strutted the stage and chatted amicably with Miss Christ about memorable moments in the 10 year history. Rumor has it this may be the final season for this uniquely San Francisco institution.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Grandma's Neighborhood

Today I scanned some film taken over a year ago, in and around the mobile home park where my Grandma lives in Ukiah, California. A small town right off the 101, Ukiah has it's share of transients and burnouts. I have a sense that it is slowly dying. The mobile park is a little oasis, occupied only by folks over 60, who take pride in their small gardens and gravel yards.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Rev. speaks to gun violence

National civil rights figure Reverend Jessie Jackson was on McCallister Street last Sunday, speaking to the Western Addition community about the problem of gun violence in America.

Residents of the area are well acquainted with the issue; in April '06 a man was shot and killed at the Ella Hill Hutch Community Center, where the Reverend delivered his message on Sunday. The center is supposedly a safe haven focusing on rehabilitation for at risk youth.

Since that time, sporadic gang violence in the area has been on the rise.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Bill Pickett Invitational

The Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo was held this Saturday and Sunday (July 7 and 8). It is the largest touring African American rodeo in the United States.

I had never been to a rodeo before, so I had never experienced such a large quantity of large animals in such a tight space. I felt like I was constantly dodging horses. And, everything, including me, my clothes, and my camera, where covered with a thick layer of dust. The bottom of my shoes turned green with horse shit.

I found the relationship between the humans and their animals intriguing. To many of the professional riders, it is obvious that their horse is everything, and it almost seemed like an extension of themselves. The relationship appeared complicated though, a bizarre mixture of brutality and tenderness.

Another intersting thing was the Cowboy Prayer, which played right before the National Anthem. It was a strangely beautiful scene.

I ended up at the rodeo through my work in the Western Addition neighborhood of San Francisco, where I live. A sister of a woman I've photographed helps organize the event, and her daughter, Candace, has been barrel riding since she was five. I photographed her readying Benz, her horse, hanging out with her son, and finally racing. She is an amazingly genuine and up beat person.