Monday, May 29, 2006

Blues Jam - UPDATED 6/1

I shot a show called Blues Jam at the Vancouver Colisseum and never wrote down the names of the musicians who played. Now, I'm in my own blues jam. I have no idea who these guys are and whether they're dead or alive. Of course, I want them all to be alive, but if not I want to pay tribute in Everybody I Shot Is Dead.

Since my memory seems to be the only thing I've shot these days (I know I spent a lot of time that day talking to #6, the harmonica guy, but I can't remember his name), I'm hoping you might be able to help me I.D. them. I can tell you the photos were shot mid-seventies and I think some, or possibly all of them were on Columbia Records.

#1 - IDed...Taj Mahal
I knew I shot Taj but thought it was a solo show. Thanks, Steve. Taj Mahal is alive and well.

#2 - IDed...Jimmy Witherspoon
Another one I definitely remember shooting, just not as part of the Blues Jam show. Thanks again, Steve. Unfortunately, the Spoon passed away on September 18, 1997 so you will be seeing more of him in my book.

#3 - IDed...Albert Collins
AKA the Master of the Telecaster. Thanks David, Derek M. and Harry Funk. The Master is also playing in the Great Blues Band in the sky as of November 25, 1993 and will be honored in my book.

#4 - Anybody know this man?
I don't think he is obscure.
Just heard back from Eddy B at and, as I thought, this man is not obscure. Looks like he is none other than the late great bluesman, Mighty Joe Young. He died on March 24, 1999.

#5 - tentatively IDed...Hollywood Fats
Sounds really familiar to me but I haven't located any other photos of him online to confirm. Thanks, Eddy B for the tentative ID. Please chime in if you have further confirmation. Hollywood Fats passed away on December 8, 1986 and if this is indeed him, I'd like pay tribute in my book.

#6 - ???
I remember that he was brought on the tour by Jimmy Witherspoon. He was around 19 at the time and, of course, white but he played an incredible harp. I'm curious as to where his career went from here.

#7 - ???

So, out of seven pictures shot at one concert I sadly have four confirmed dead. Happily, one is alive and kicking and the other two remain anonymous...who are you two?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Google Me This, Google Me That

Like most people who blog, I subscribe to a service that monitors my traffic. It tells me how many people visit every day/week/month etc., where they are visiting from and sometimes how long they stay. I subscribed to the service so that I could take my stats to a publisher and say, "Look, I have over 10,000 visitors a day (I wish) - now give me a big advance and let's get this puppy printed and on the shelves."

I can also tell 'who's on.' There are times when I wish I could ping someone who's on and say, "Hey, you've been looking at Robin Gibb half-naked for 10 minutes already. What the hell are you doing?"

But my favorite feature is "by search words." It lists the search words exactly how the searcher typed them into Google or any other search engine. This has become a major distraction for me. A source of entertainment. Yes, small things amuse....

Of course, I get normal searches such as "paul butterfield," "lowell george," "michael bloomfield death" and "jefferson starship." And I have no problem with ones like "dead rock stars," "they are dead and famous," or even "wanted dead or alive posters."

But then there are the ones that border on strange. I don't know what some of these people were thinking. Here are a few of my favorites (along with my comments):

(disclaimer: if you searched by any of these, found me, and decided to stick around, please know that I love you very much - I'm not meaning to insult you - just having a little fun here for the long weekend. And, I have no idea who you are, so when we meet, feel free to deny everything)

Okay, here we go:

"bob seger life and death photo" (if you actually found this, please send me the link)

"maurice gibb sexy photos" (see comment above)

"male crotch shot" (note to my male readers: please email your photos to

"barry gibb cigarettes" (try ebay...they probably have his butts for sale)

"chris parker email" (I have this...send $10 and it's yours)

"ostin design portland Oregon" (so what did you think when you clicked and saw Mo Ostin grinning at you?)

"dead body pics in Chicago" (if you've lost your dead bodies in Chicago, please call the Chicago Police Department at (312) 747-8220)

"flight attendent call button sound effect" (don't knock it if you haven't tried it)

"billy joel showtime big shot awful" (I didn't realize the reviews were in.)

"download robin gibb like a dumb" (really? can you do that? please email instructions asap.)

"cemetary flower pictures" (come back! I have those! how much will you pay?)

"who is billy joel's personal manager" (I have no idea. I had dinner with Jon Troy because he claimed to be his manager. Guys will say anything to get a date in L.A.)

"lucy's el adobe salad dressing copy cat" (accept no imitations)

"chris parker is fat" (Whoever wrote this: run, don't walk, to your optometrist. You need glasses.)

"who did ahmet ertegen sign?" (lots and lots of really good musicians. Hope that helps.)

"all the people I shot are dead" (It's Everybody I Shot Is Dead. Remember that.)

"deborah chesher zappa" (Contrary to popular belief, I did not marry into the Zappa family.)

"accident on 405 april 22 2006" (I didn't actually see the accident. Just the blood trickling down the woman's cheek. Please don't ask me to be a witness.)

"i'm going to be dead by 18" (Even I can't make fun of this one. It's just sad. If you have a terminal illness, that really sucks and I'm sorry. If you don't, please call 1-800-448-3000 before it's too late.)

"forrest george son of lowell george" (I'm still looking for Forrest George. If you know how I can contact him, please email me. For real. I'm serious.)

"grace slick california la location" (Try "grace slick california bay area location")

"2006 nicholl fellowship" (My friend was a finalist in '03. Does that count? His script is really, really good. I hope you didn't enter if your script sucks. I was a quarterfinalist in '02. That's the top 300 out of 6000+. I'm a much better writer now. I entered two scripts this year. Wish me luck. I could use the 30K)

"shoot dead body photos" (Good idea. They're already dead. No one gets hurt.)

"dead people that got shot" (Let me see...there was JFK, RFK, MLK...don't go outside if your last name starts with the letter K)

"elliott yamin shirtless" (This one comes up a lot. You're either a regular or there's a lot of EY fans looking for him to disrobe. Either way, I'm glad you found me and I'm sure the Robin Gibb photo will satisfy your 'jones' until Elliot gets his Playgirl spread.)

And my personal favorite:

"i wanna shoot everybody !!!!!!...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (Hopefully, you were just having a bad day. But I felt compelled to be a responsible resident alien. I passed this one on to the Department of Homeland Security. They should be knocking on your basement window any minute.)

Have a safe Memorial Day weekend. And don't forget to take a moment to honor our dead soldiers. R.I.P.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

My Sweet Lord

I said I wasn't going to put up photos that I am using in the book, because the attraction to publishers is that most of my pictures haven't been seen before. But what the hell? I did post the fire eating shot of Michael Bloomfield and the back stage photo of Lowell George, both in the book. Oh, and that one live shot of the Bee Gees, possibly in the book.

In my last post I mentioned I was scanning George Harrison photos, partly for the winner of the previous caption contest but mostly because I need to get moving forward on the book. What you don't know is, after that post, I did something really smart that turned out to be really stupid. The smart thing was I decided to back up my files onto my external hard drive. Hadn't done it in a couple of months. And the stupid thing I did? I accidently backed up the old files from my external hard drive to my laptop, replacing the newer files with the old ones. Say bye, bye - everything I had put together on the blog and my recent book work, gone - over seventy-five scans, my little cartoons, mailing lists etc. Plus two screenplay rewrites. Argh!

Once I pulled myself out of my temporary deep depression, I rescanned the George Harrison pics. So, just in case everything evaporates (including me) before I finish the book here are a few shots of the quiet Beatle for your viewing pleasure.
George Harrison

George Harrison, Robben Ford and ?
If you know the sax player, please let me know.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Get Stoned...

...and write a caption. This is the second in a series of Caption Contests. Who could be the last.

Here's the photo:

Do I really need to tell you who's in the photo? Fine. The guy on the left is, um...oh yeah, Ronnie Wood from The Rolling Stones. And the bitch on the right? C'est moi. If you've already won a contest at Everybody I Shot Is Dead, you are ineligible to enter. That means you David A. and David C. And if another David wins, I guessing my contests are fixed.

Please place your entries in the comments section of this post. If you don't want to sign up on blogger you can use "anonymous" but then you need to put your name or email address at the bottom of your comment, so I know where to find you if you win. Or, for folks like Ronson, who are too famous to be seen blogging (or too shy to post your identity) you can email your entry directly to: Then, I will post your entry without revealing your identity.

As you may know, screenwriter (and now professional caption writer) David Anaxagoras won the first Caption Contest for the Robin Gibb photo. To see all the entries from the Robin Gibb pic, and how the contest works, go here. You can read David's acceptance speech here and what he wrote about the experience on his blog here.

The winner gets an original signed (by me) photo and a lot of personal gratification. I gave David a choice between any of my dead rock stars and a list off the top of my head of some other people I thought he might like, including Pink Floyd, Yes, Eagles, CSNY, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Genesis, Kiss, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr and Led Zeppelin. He picked George Harrison. Good choice. I have really good shots of him. And I appreciate you getting me off my ass to actually scan pictures I need for the book.

I'm scanning George Harrison photos right now. Also have my iTunes running. On shuffle. I have over 3000 songs on my iTunes. All Things Must Pass just came on. Strange. That song has never come up on my shuffle before. Thanks for dropping by, George. We miss you.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Assistant and the Garage

I have an assistant. His name is Adam. The ad I put in Craig's List was for an intern but he wants to be called an assistant. Who am I to argue with a guy named Adam? He moved to Los Angeles from New Jersey a couple of months ago to be a writer. Adam comes over one day a week. Mostly Sundays. He probably spends the rest of the week looking for a better assistant job.

Generally, you will find Adam sitting on the black leather couch in my home office, researching on his laptop. If you read my blog because you received an email from me, you have Adam to thank because he's the one that did the research to find all the email addresses. If I invaded your privacy by sending you an email, you have Adam to blame.

Yesterday (we worked Saturday instead of Sunday), you would have found Adam in my garage. That's the great thing about having an assistant. You can ask them to do anything. Not that they will do it, but at least you can ask. Adam is nice. So far, he hasn't said "no." My garage is a disgusting mess. Until yeaterday, you couldn't even find a space to walk. It's full of crap from years gone by. I have decided to empty it out, organize my junk and have a garage sale. I even set a date - June 17. Let me know if you want to come. Maybe I'll turn it into a bar-b-que.

I also have another motivation to sift through my junk. I'm hoping to find more of my pictures. Especially my Canned Heat photos. I spent three weeks on a bus with those guys, touring Eastern Canada in the dead of winter and I can't find one picture to prove it. Motivation. So, Adam and I started emptying my garage. Of course, when you're looking for one thing you always find something else. I didn't find Canned Heat (yet). Instead, I found this:
It's the original transparency for "Mick At Dinner" by Ron Wood that I used for my book, Starart. If you're new here and haven't read the archives, Starart is a coffee table book of artwork (plus interviews) by Joni Mitchell, Ron Wood, John Mayall, Klaus Voormann, George "Commander Cody" Frayne and Cat Stevens. It seems being in my first book was a life insurance policy...I'm happy to report, even though I shot them, they're not dead.

My rock'n'roll photographs are not very well organized. My Starart materials are. Or so I thought. I have a special file drawer (at a secret location) that contains all the transparencies and interview tapes and video we shot. "Mick At Dinner" should have been in there. I should not have found him in a random envelope in my "looks like a bomb hit it" garage.

My next find was a big black leather zippered portfolio. I had no idea what was inside. Dust it off. Unzip it. Wow. At some point in my life I put together a portfolio of Starart publicity. Who knew? It is chock-full of articles and blurbs from such illustrious publications as Rolling Stone, the Toronto Globe & Mail, BAM, People, and my favorites, Playboy and Hustler. Can I actually say I was "in" Playboy and Hustler and get away with it?

In addition to articles, the portfolio contained pictures. I love pictures. I found this one of me...
...hard at work at the printers.

I also worked tirelessly to publicize Starart. I had to. I was also the publisher. I had some offers from the BIG houses in New York but I turned them down because they wouldn't guarantee the printing quality for the book. And I had made a promise to the artists that it would be a coffee table art book, not an exploitive rock'n'roll book. So I did it myself. I was in my very early twenties. I didn't have a clue what I was doing. Sometimes that's a good thing. I just did it. I sold directly to the chain stores, like Walden and B. Dalton and also made a distribution deal with Ingram. I even convinced individual stores to put up window displays. Like this:
B. Dalton Bookseller

To launch Starart, I decided to have an art gallery tour with some of the original pieces from the book. We did four cities over a period of several months. The shows were the real thing in real galleries. They were swank. Check this out:
Like I said...swank. We also had a big opening party at each gallery. Much more fun than your normal art gallery parties. I mean, even though it was art, it was still rock'n'roll. The Los Angeles opening was first. Since it's my home town and most of the artists lived here, I went all out. An ultra-cool guest list, limousines, and a huge array of food and drink. I even managed to finagle Lucy's El Adobe secret margarita recipe out of Frank (years later I tried to get their secret salad dressing recipe, but unfortunately Frank passed away before I could manage that one). If you've never been there, go. It's across the street from Paramount Studios on Melrose. Yummy.

Anyway, the L.A. gallery opening photos were also in the portfolio. It was an awesome good time.
John Mayall, Joni Mitchell, Klaus Voormann, Ron Wood, George "Commander Cody" Frayne
and me on the floor trying to beat John Mayall in the 'nicest legs' contest.

Me and my hot date, Michael Georgiades. Google him.

Klaus Voormann and me. (How many drinks am I holding?)

Me and George Frayne, aka Commander Cody.
I think there's a good caption here...any suggestions?
Definitely looks like I'm slurring my words.

Me and the very cool and beautiful Joni Mitchell.
I must have had a thing for her. I'm surprised she didn't
have me arrested for indecent exposure. But then again,
she's the one with the plastic carrot protruding from her belt.

Me and the unstoppable John Mayall.
I love this pic and John, too.

This is how we treat our attorneys in L.A.
Well, only if they're as brilliant and hot as Gunnar Erickson.

Me and guess who?

So, what does all this have to do with Everybody I Shot Is Dead? I'm planning to do the same thing with this book. That's right. Gallery shows of my photographs from the book. And of course, big opening parties. Seeing the Starart party photos has inspired me. I can't wait. And the guest list will include every single one of the people I shot who are dead (don't laugh...I bet a few of them show up). I will also invite friends, former bandmates and families of the dead, as well as other infamous lumineries. Let me know in the comments section if you want to be on the list.

BTW, did you notice someone missing from the "Me and..." party photos? (besides Cat Stevens, who was a no-show because he was no longer Cat Stevens) The photo I picked of Me and... was-- well, I decided it warrants a Photo Caption Contest. Check back tomorrow and be ready to write.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Ghost On A Plane

Like most writers, I need to set deadlines. I don't have a boss telling me when I have to get things done. I am my boss. And, I am lazy. So if I don't give myself deadlines, along with the threat of being fired (aka the threat of having to get a 'real' job), I'd get nothing done. When I'm writing a screenplay, I mark the calendar with page counts I want to reach. I don't always reach them but I do usually make the final date for a draft completion.

Writing Everybody I Shot Is Dead is a completely different animal. I haven't quite figured out how to set my deadlines. Mostly, I'm working by 'feel'. I love it. You know, whatever part I 'feel' like working on today. Actually, it's more like letting the dead speak to me. For example, Frank Zappa led me to Tom Waits (not dead, btw) and then Tom Waits led me to the discovery of the missing Chicago/Terry Kath pictures. I was so happy. So happy, I even said the word "Eureka!" Out loud. Now I 'feel' like putting those in my scanner next. And then, I'll 'feel' like writing a few Chicago memories.

The same thing that happened with John Fahey. When I came across his pics and found out he was dead, I scanned and smiled and immediately the first draft of the 'drug deal, airplane, dog and me' story poured out of me. The loudest dead guy speaking to me during this time was Michael Bloomfield. He was invading my head and my heart. Looking for attention. Very persistent. As a matter of fact, he wouldn't leave me alone. He was the last thing on my mind when I fell asleep and the first thing on my mind when I woke up. He was even infiltrating my dreams.

After I shot Chris Parker at the Yamaha Groove Night in January, I put one of his pictures on my computer as my desktop background. By the end of February, Michael made me replace it with the photo of us in his hotel room (the one I'm saving for the book). Okay, fine. I only put it up there to appease him. Well, that's not really true. I was hoping it would shut him up. It didn't. Then I thought, maybe if I write my MB story for the book he'll stop hounding me. He seemed to agree with that. Then again, I was torn. Did I really want him to go away? Part of me was enjoying dating a ghost. But the other part of me decided it wasn't healthy. When I told friends I was dating Michael Bloomfield, they looked at me kind of funny and asked, "Isn't he dead?" "Uh, yeah. But it seems to be working out pretty good." Silence.

I decided I had to set a deadline. I was about a week away from boarding a plane for my New York writing vacation, where I was also planning to meet up with Michael's brother. Perfect. "I will finish writing my Michael Bloomfield story by the time I get to New York."

Tick, tick, tick. I'm on my way to the airport. Maybe I've written half a page. That's okay. It's a five hour plane ride to NYC. Yeah, but your laptop only has a two hour battery. Whatever. I remember our story like it was yesterday. Just need to write it down. I'll finish by the time the plane lands. I promise. Besides, I'm getting to the airport early. I'll plug in at the gate and write until the plane boards.

When I check in at the automated kiosk, the machine offers me an earlier flight - no extra charge. Great. I'll get into JFK at 7pm instead of 9. So much for plugging in. Don't worry, I'll write on the plane, as soon as we're in the air. Trust me.

I board the plane. I'm on Song, the recently defunct "we're going to compete with Jet Blue" offshoot of Delta. Guess what that means? They have screens in every seat...with DirectTV! Don't have to crane my neck to watch Because of Winn Dixie followed by reruns of Frasier. Shit. I have a deadline. I can't watch TV. I have to write.

The plane takes off. We hit the altitude where it's safe to turn on our electronic devices. I take out my laptop. Open up "MichaelBloomfield.doc". Ready to write. Tick, tick, tick...I wonder what's on DirectTV? Turn it on. Hmmm. That looks interesting. I wonder what they're saying? Plug in my headphones. No sound. Must be on the wrong audio channel. Switch the dial. No sound. Plug it into the empty seat next to me. No sound.

I look around the plane. Everybody else is watching TV. Why can't I? Hit the flight attendant call button. "Hi. I'm not getting any sound." "That's odd. It was working fine on the flight into L.A." "Well, it's not working now." "Turn it off for a minute and I'll reset it." "Okay." I turn around and watch her open a console and push a bunch of buttons. She comes back. "Turn it back on. It will take a couple of minutes to go through its cycle and then it should work." I turn it on. It cycles. Plug in the headphones. No sound. "Sorry, it's still not working." She resets it again. Turn it on. No sound.

The flight attendant shakes her head. "I don't understand. I've never seen anything like this before. It's the only row that's not working. That's not possible." "Really? It's never happened before?" "Never. It doesn't make sense." It makes perfect sense to me. She offers to move me to another row. "Uh, thanks. But I think I'm supposed to be writing." I switch the headphones to my iPod. Crank up Michael Bloomfield's Don't Say I Ain't Your Man! album - okay, I won't - and write.

I wonder what he would have done if I changed rows?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Self Deprecation

Update - 7/8/09
The lithograph, Limited and Open Editions are on sale
for a short time...check them out .

The Tom Waits poster and limited edition photographs
are, don't walk to

Update - 4/11/07
The Tom Waits prints will be for sale by the end of next week.
Check out what's available

9/25/06 UPDATE
The new old photos are up. After you check
this post out click over to:

9/9/06 UPDATE
Thanks to RadicalWacko over at
Tom Waits For No Man
for the linking to this post.
I hope you all will visit the rest of the blog and
enjoy the photos of other musicians I've put up.
And as a special thank you for your
visit I am planning to post some more
shots of T.W. from the troubadour gig .
So please check the recent posts section
in the next week or two.

Back when I scanned my Frank Zappa negs, I was hit with a little surprise. There were five shots between his backstage pics and his onstage shots. Five pictures of the opening act. Of course, I recognized him but I had absolutely no recollection of him opening for Zappa. It was Tom Waits.

I didn't have a clue who he was at the time. Well, maybe I did because I took pictures of him. Five. Yup. That's all he warranted that night. Five measly pictures.

In the Billy Joel post yesterday, I gave myself props for how great my pictures look after all these years. I felt bad about that. Propping myself is not my job. I should be more humble. Practically broke my arm patting myself on the back. So, today, I felt I should turn that around and be self deprecating. How can I do that? Easy. Here are the awful pictures I took of Tom Waits when he opened for Frank Zappa. All five of them. No cropping. No retouching. Just the way I shot 'em. Badly. Or should that be poorly? Maybe sadly.

See? I suck!!!

Fortunately, after I moved to Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to redeem myself. Tom Waits lived at the Tropicana and was a regular in the Troubadour bar and on the stage. I was a regular at Dukes - the greatest breakfast place ever - at the Tropicana and also at the Troubadour, where I hung out at the bar and could shoot in 'the room' whenever I wanted. And by this time, I knew who Tom Waits was. I shot a lot more than five this least a whole roll. Here's one to balance out the crap above:
I like this one.

Oh, and I almost forgot. I pulled out my Chicago pics last month. I shot them twice. Indoor night show in Vancouver and outdoor dayshow in Calgary. Went through the slides and the only shot I found of Terry Kath showed half of him. Couldn't really see his face. I was very disappointed. Not happy to represent Terry Kath with only a group shot in the book. When I found the Tom Waits shots from the Troubadour this afternoon...right behind his was a contact sheet and negatives for Chicago...with SIX solo shots of Terry Kath on guitar. How great is that? From 0 to 6, out of the blue. Thank you, Tom Waits.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Billy Joel Gets His Big Shot

As a former rock and roll photographer and current screenwriter...well, imagine my amusement when I heard Showtime is producing a dramatic series called Big Shot, based on the life of Billy Joel. Wow. I'm just wondering what they think is so interesting about his life that anybody would be enticed to tune in?

I worked in a record store when I first moved to Vancouver while I was trying to establish myself as a photographer. And I remember pushing Joel's Piano Man on every customer who walked through the door. I loved that album. Even the creepy picture of him on the front. That and the Doobie Bros. What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits, the one with Black Water on it. I like to think I was responsible for keeping both those albums on the charts. The store manager once cornered me and said, "If someone wants classical, don't try and make them buy Billy Joel."

When I moved to Los Angeles, I somehow met Billy Joel's personal manager. I had to go through an old masking-taped address book from back in the day to look up his was Jon Troy. I googled him and couldn't find him as a former manager but I'm positive it's him. He was very nice to me. Took me out to dinner and didn't push what I like to call 'naked dessert' on me. It was tough to accept a dinner invite in those days because it was generally understood that dessert was naked and, generally, that wasn't my thing. I didn't eat many dinners.

I'm not sure if I met Jon Troy and then took pictures of Billy Joel or took pictures of him in Vancouver and then contacted his manager when I got to L.A. I guess it doesn't really matter. The point is I took pictures of Billy Joel. And when I heard he was getting his Big Shot, I thought it would be fun to post a few of the pics. Which meant opening another box of slides I haven't seen since they were developed.

I'm sure that sounds hard to believe, but it's the God's honest truth. Until a couple of hours ago I had not seen these pictures since they were taken. I really can't believe I've kept my photography in hiding all these years. But I'm kind of glad I did. Because every time I open a new box of slides or a sheet of negs, it's like Christmas for me. Especially if the shots are good. I don't mean to sound egotistical, but my rock and roll photographs look way better now than I remember them being back then.

In the case of Billy Joel, I picked the color slide box. I only shot one roll, probably a total of 24 frames. I picked out 8 slides to scan and of those, 3 to share here. Why am I doing this? Well, since Showtime is starting the show in the mid-seventies, I thought they might want to see what Billy Joel looked like before he started driving his car into trees.
I bet he never thought he'd lose that head of hair.

Robin Gibb Has A Winner

Yes, folks. The ballots are in. Ernst & Young have tabulated the results. The envelope, please. Oh, wait a sec...I need to make an announcement.

First, I want to thank each and every one of the contestants. I know you thought long and hard to come up with the awesome captions. And I know it's difficult to zone in on the little link that takes you to the comment section, especially after a couple of margaritas. And then you had to type in all those letters that made up your brilliant caption. And the rewrites - I'm sure they were hell. And having to identify yourself - well, I know how hard that can be when all those personalties are fighting to get out. And finally, deciphering the word verification letters - well, you gotta be a rocket scientist or have a couple more margaritas to wrap your brain around that task. Or give in and hit the handicapped sign.

So, anyway, thanks for playing and I'm sorry there could only be one winner. Because
in my mind you're all winners! Before I announce the winner, let me say, I accepted no bribes and did not influence the judging in any don't blame me if you didn't win. I would have voted you #1. Really.

All judging was done a panel of impartial judges. They took the job seriously and I thank them for their time and effort. Please give them a round of applause. OK, that's enough.

Unfortunately, I can't thank them publicly by name, in case any of you who didn't win own WMDs. But just so you understand the caliber and diversity of the panel, I will say there were originally seven judges. (BTW, the captions I sent them were numbered - they had no idea who wrote what - and trust me, they didn't cheat and look at the blog. It's hard enough to get strangers to stop by, much less people I know) This panel consisted of a journalist, a big time Hollywood executive, a housewife, a guy down under, a Berkeley student and two musicians (who actually have made records that you can buy from a record store). The thing dragged out for awhile. Initially, I only heard back from three judges - the guy down under, the journalist and finally the Berkeley student. I waited and waited and waited until I just couldn't wait any longer. So, I brought in two relief judges off the bench - a Nicholl Fellowship Finalist and an editor/musician/Halo addict - and I must say, they did a great job. Then I finally heard back from the big time Hollywood Exec (that person actually thought he/she got right back to me...why am I not surprised?). The two musicians are still awol - maybe they died and I can put them in my, no, no, I don't want to put that out in the cosmos - and I guess the housewife had too many margaritas to figure out how to open the email. So, there you have it. I really did have a panel of impartial judges. Doubt even I could make all that up.

OK, I'm ready to open the envelope. Drum roll, please. Oh my God...stop. I almost forgot. Robin Gibb asked me to tell you he really wanted to be here to announce the winner, but alas, he got tied up at the waxing salon. Some last minute emergency.

OK, now I'm really ready. Drum roll, please. (sound effect of drum roll...) Here we go. (sound effect of envelope ripping open...) And the winner is... (sound effect of microphone feedback...)

written by

When David is not writing photo captions, he is writing screenplays or posting on his own blog Man Bytes Hollywood.

And somehow (after slipping me a cool C note) (did I say that out loud?), David Anaxagoras also managed to take second place with "Okay, Robin, now take off the sweater."

Screenwriter Tom, over at The One Year Push took a close third with "Since he was the local sports announcer, no one was more surprised than Chet to find himself assigned to cover the Bee Gees concert."

Kira, yet another screen/TV writer living in her own Fresh Hell was fourth.

There was a two-way tie for fifth and a five-way tie for sixth. I'll let the rest of the entrants decide where they landed.

When David decides on the photograph he wants, hopefully he will send in a picture of himself with the photo and I will post it on the blog.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Ghost II

No. This is not the announcement of a sequel to the Demi Moore/Patrick Swayze/Whoopi Goldberg blockbuster. If that's what you were hoping for, sorry.

This is Part II of my Michael Bloomfield ghost story - read the post before last for Part I.

While I was waiting to hear back from Jeff Johnson, I began making a few notes for my Michael Bloomfield story and googling to see what else was on the internet. That's when I came across a posting of where Michael Bloomfield is buried. Shock. He's here. In Los Angeles. Where I live. Michael was from Chicago and lived in Mill Valley (San Francisco) so I assumed he was buried in one of those places. I was wrong. What is he doing here? 17 miles from my house. Less than 10 miles from my old house. At a cemetary that I have driven by countless times. And every time I drove by it I would look at the looming mausoleum on the hill and think about the dead. Wonder who they were and what their lives were like.

Within days (it took me awhile to mentally prepare myself), I was driving down the 405, a couple of roses on the passenger seat, Michael Bloomfield blasting on my iPod, on my way to see him. I don't remember the last time I visited someone at a cemetary. Actually, I don't think I ever have. I've spent a lot of time in cemetaries - mostly old ones - because I like taking pictures of old gravestones. The graveyard where my profile picture was taken is at Lake Windermere in British Columbia.
Windermere District Cemetary

I spent my summers there (well, not in the graveyard) when I was a kid. We used to sneak into the graveyard when it got dark and look for bones, tell ghost stories and generally try to scare the shit out of each other.
Two days old. Sad.

Nice view if you can get it.

In the profile pic I'm sitting behind Joe Young's grave.
I love how they told a whole story in a few words on the old headstones. They didn't say Joe died. They said he was killed. Big difference. And how about "HORSES.RAN.AWAY." That conjures up lots of images for me. The graveyard isn't full, but for some reason they stopped burying people there in the mid-fifties.

Oops. That was a tangent. Back to the MB story.

I pulled into the cemetary not knowing if Michael was really on message boards aren't always reliable. I went into the reception office and asked the woman behind the desk if Michael Bloomfield was buried here. His name meant nothing to her. But she was still very nice to me. She asked me to write his name and date of death on a piece of paper. It took her a few minutes on the computer before she came up with a Michael Bloomfeld (or something like that) - yup, they had spelled his name wrong on the computer listing - and I think they only had the year of death listed. We finally decided that it was probably Michael and she pulled out a cemetary map and highlighted the directions to his grave. She was visibly impressed. She said, "He's in the Mausoleum," as if he had won six oscars for the honor. Yes, the Mausoleum. The big building on the hill that stared back at me every time I drove to LAX or Newport or Huntington Beach or San Diego. Wondering who might be in there.

Close-up, the place is huge. I knew there had to be a lot of Hollywood types entombed in its walls because of the giant slab with Mark Goodson's name beveled into the marble perched to the left side of the entrance. Inside the building is clean and cold. I finally found Michael's 'grave' in the Sanctuary of Meditation room. I was the only person around. The place was dead quiet. I stared at his metal plaque. It was weird to imagine his body in there. The last time I saw him he was so full of life. I didn't want him to be there. I wanted him to be standing next to me laughing at the thought of ever being inside that wall.

Someone had left a business card tucked behind the left corner of Michael's plaque. A guy who taught guitar in the Netherlands or Germany. There was also a guitar pick and a couple of coins sitting on the ledge. And empty flower holders mounted on each side of the plaque, as if they were waiting for the two roses I brought. I played a couple of his songs through my iPod headphones, wishing I had speakers to entertain his neighbors. Before I left I tucked a small print of the photo of Michael and me behind the right corner of the plaque, wondering if it would be there the next time I visit. Maybe on his birthday in a couple of months.

After trading a couple of emails with Jeff, I asked if he could put me in touch with Michael Bloomfield's brother, Allen. He had been quoted several times in Jeff's article and I wanted to let him know about the book and show him some of the photos I had taken of Michael. Jeff kindly forwarded my email to Allen and I heard back from him the next day. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the email in my the "from" column it said "mikebloomfield" - if only...

Allen kindly gave me his number with a "feel free to call" message. Of course, I took him up on that offer. We had a great conversation. Talked about Michael and everything else under the sun. Allen is responsible for launching the Michael Bloomfield Official Website and he oversees his estate as well as running a farm with his wife, Valerie, and dabbling in a little writing of his own on the side. He asked me lots of questions about my life and I had the feeling he was genuinely interested (very un-L.A.). I mean, jeez, he even asked if he could read one of my screenplays.

February 14th, the day before the anniversary of Michael's death and four days before I scanned his photos and read Jeff's article, I booked a trip to New York for the second week of March. I was looking for a little peace and quiet. Me, alone in a hotel room. Yes, that's right, alone. No responsibilities, nobody to bother me. A chance to think and write for a whole week, uninterrupted. By the end of the Allen Bloomfield call, I had mentioned I was going to be in New York the following week and we discussed getting together. In the meantime, he asked if I could send him a copy of the fire eating pic of Michael for his website. Absolutely.

Damn. This post got really long, really fast. Where does the time go? And I didn't even get to the ghost part. I should have outlined. But I guess that means there will have to be a Ghost III.

Friday, May 12, 2006

John Fahey

I have a tendency toward being linear. As a screenwriter, I should get over my desire for things to follow in order. When I watched the movie Memento on DVD, I kept wanting to run it backwards. I loved the movie but it drove my brain crazy.

I'm sliding this little John Fahey post in between my Ghost - Part I and Ghost - Part II stories because that's how it happened. The day after my visit from Michael Bloomfield, I came across a sheet of negs labeled John Fahey. I was really excited to find them. Like, jumping up and down excited. I thought they were long gone.

And I was even more excited when I googled "John Fahey" and found out he was dead. I know that is a really horrible thing to say/write. Maybe the most horrible thing I have ever said/written. It makes me sound downright evil. Which I'm not. Honest. So, I take it back. Sort of. Okay, I'm really sorry he died. I want you to know, I had nothing to do with his death. I never wished him dead. And I don't own any voodoo dolls. May John Fahey rest in peace.

Now that I've repented, "Why would I be excited he died?" Because I have a great John Fahey story. And now I get to tell it. Well, I don't mean "now" as in right now, this second. I mean in the book. At this point, I'm guessing most of you are asking, "Who the hell is John Fahey?" When I got the emergency phone call that led to my John Fahey encounter, I only vaguely knew his name. Isn't he some guitar players guitar player type? Obscure but respected? Yeah, that's John Fahey. An amazing guitar player.

Okay. This might be a good time for you to learn a little about Mr. Fahey. Before I taint his shiny memory. It also gives me a chance to plug my loyal reader/commenter, fellow blogger, and new friend, Harry Funk. He writes for a paper in Pittsburgh and also blogs about music. He really knows his stuff. While you wait on the edge of your seat for my John Fahey story, you can learn more about him on Sir Harry Funk's blog here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Now, how can I taint his memory? By telling you that John Fahey was a pretty miserable guy. And as we all know, miserable characters make for good stories. Which means my John Fahey story must be good. And to prove it, I'll tease you with this: it involves an airplane, a drug deal and a dog...oh yeah, and me.

Let's see if you can figure that one out.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


After my reunion with Chris Parker, where we reminisced into the wee hours, I was even more jazzed about making Everybody I Shot Is Dead. I knew the first thing I needed to do was see what photographs had survived the years and my many moves. Since I hadn't really looked at them since they were taken, I had no idea what was there. I could easily look through the color slides but I also have sheets and sheets of black and white negatives with no contact sheets. After a little computer accessory research, I finally went out and bought a new scanner.

Of course, the first set of negs I had to scan was the sheet marked 'Me by Chris Parker.' My opportunity to visually relive our first encounter. What a sweet journey that turned out to be. (if this is your first time here, you might want to head to the archives and check out all five parts of the "Chris Parker & Me" serial)

So, what next? Could anything top that memory? Like 'Me by Chris Parker,' most of my neg sheets are marked with the band's name. Brilliant, right? Except, for some reason, I have ten or so sheets that are unmarked. Not a name to be found. Nada. Just meaningless numbers in the corners. And I can tell you it's a real pain in the ass to crane my neck and identify some unidentifiable seventies musician in negative form by the light of a ceiling fixture.

Now, where was I? Right. Could anything top that memory? With that question, I decided to blindly pick out one of the unmarked sheets and see what was there. My own sort of pot luck. I randomly selected this page:
Before I pulled out the first four strips to scan, I glanced at the sheet. My eye immediately focused on one frame. I knew exactly who and what it was. A picture that I never printed. I didn't have to. It was emblazoned in my memory. My whole body flushed as I fumbled to get it into my scanner. Out of all the pictures I've taken, how did I randomly choose this sheet? I couldn't wait to see the image materialize on my computer screen. Suddenly, it appeared. And just as suddenly, tears were streaming down my cheeks. Something very unusual for me. I'm a pragmatic person. I've even been accused of being unemotional, although that's not really true.

And now you're gonna be really pissed off at me because I'm not going to show you the picture. I can't. I'm saving it for the book. It's my all-time favorite picture. But I can tell you it was taken in a hotel room. Okay, stop right there. I can hear your thoughts. Is this a pattern with me? No. Am I really the skanky groupie I keep denying I am? No. And I'm pretty sure this is the only other hotel room photo session I did with a musician besides the Chris Parker scenario.

Which makes the strange part of this story even stranger. I didn't plan to pick this particular sheet. It was completely out of my control. Hence, the title of this post. It's a picture of me and my all-time favorite person. I took the picture with the self-timer. It's a picture of me and Michael Bloomfield. I'm not going to go into any detail of my MB encounters here - you'll have to wait for the book. But the story I'm telling here may or may not end up in the book. I'm not sure if it belongs. You tell me.

So here it is. After I randomly picked out my Michael Bloomfield negative sheet and scanned all the photos and cried for two hours awash in my sweet, sweet memories, I filed the sheet and chose a new set of negs to scan. This time I intentionally picked one with a name on it. No way was I going to chance another emotional rollercoaster ride. I chose a sheet labeled "Blues Jam." It was a concert I shot at the Vancouver Coliseum. A show with a bunch of different blues guys playing and I needed to figure out who they all were, you know, in case any of them belong in the book.

I scanned the neg strips and made contact sheets. I blew some of them up but couldn't for the life of me remember any of the players by name. I went on google and searched "blues jam + Vancouver" hoping something would come up. I clicked the first hit on the list and was taken directly to an article on the Chicago Sun-Times website, written on February 12, 2006. It was now February 18, 2006. Reading the headline, I couldn't believe my eyes. The title of the article was, "Burning for the Blues" with a sub-title, "Chicago's Michael Bloomfield played it as he pleased."

What the fuck? How could that be? The only matching word was "blues." Nothing here to do with a jam or Vancouver. And I had put my search in quotes. No way this article should have come up. I guess I better read it. A few sentences in I realize this particular week was the twenty-fifth anniversary of Michael Bloomfield's death. More tears. I read on. Wait a sec, I need a sidebar here. The last night I saw Michael, he told me about something he did that I'm not sure I ever quite believed. Okay, back to the article. Reading...reading...reading. Stop. There it was, like a personal message from the other side. A revealation. Something that verified what he told me was true, even though the person quoted didn't have it completely right. "Chicago's Michael Bloomfield played it as he pleased." No kidding. He was playing me as he pleased. Making me smile when he's not even here. Or, is he?

After reading the article, I went back to my search for the Blues Jam players. I was completely unsuccessful with all the searches I tried. So, I re-entered "blues jam + Vancouver," just to see if I missed something. Guess what? The Chicago Sun-Times Michael Bloomfield article didn't come up. Huh? It hadn't been more than a half hour since I read the article. Why didn't it show up again? I don't know. I'm thinking he wanted me to know that little truth before I wrote my book. Does that make me a freak who thinks she can talk to dead people? Am I going to lose readers over this? Let me know.

I finally found the article again with a different search - "Michael Bloomfield + Chicago Sun-Times." The next day I sent an email to Jeff Johnson, the brilliant author who wrote the MB article. I told him the story. Not the whole story but a lot more than I could tell here. (You can email him...maybe he'll fill you in.) And I also sent him the picture so he would know I actually knew Michael. I didn't want him to think I was a freak who thinks she can talk to dead people. To tell the truth, I was a little worried about that. And even more so when he didn't write back for three whole days. What's up with these Chicago guys? But then his email arrived, and the first four words he wrote back were, "I love this story."

You can and should read Jeff's Michael Bloomfield article here. When you finish reading the article, find some Michael Bloomfield music to listen to. He was an amazing guitar player. A great, great player and an even better person.

And, believe it or not, there is a Part II to this Michael Bloomfield ghost story. So, tune in tomorrow. Same time. Same channel. To my very own visit to, The Twilight Zone.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Lowell George Photo Winner Exposed

I just got an email from David Chamness, the winner of the Lowell George photo contest I ran a while back. On Saturday, I sent him the first part of his prize - an original photo I took of Lowell in concert. David was kind enough to let me pick, which wasn't all that kind after all, because it was really tough to choose one I thought he might like. I didn't want to disappoint him. Anyway, since he is such a huge fan of Lowell, I finally decided on a shot where Lowell was looking into my camera. That way, whenever David feels the urge, he can have a little talk with Lowell. Eye to eye.

Enough of my blabbering. What I really want to share is the email David sent along with the picture I requested, of him with his new Lowell George photo:

Hi Deborah,
Thank you for the picture, I love it. What a great shot! I will have to frame it and find a special place to hang it. I really do envy you for being there during that time, and for having such a great talent with a camera.
So you want a picture of a middle-aged software developer in return. Be careful what you ask for... ;-)
Thanks again,
Thanks for winning, David. I couldn't be happier to have one of my Lowell George photographs hanging on your wall. And I love that Little Feat poster. How sadly sweet does Lowell look in that picture? BTW, whose guitar is that?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Chris Parker & Me - Part V

The re-meet is on! And I've only got a couple of days to prepare.
First, I hit the gym:Then, off to the plastic surgeon:
He invited me to have an early dinner before his rehearsal. I'm very excited and very nervous. I don't know what to expect. He's staying and playing in Cerritos. That's in the O. C. I live in the Valley. About 30 miles away by freeway. It's Friday, around 4pm. I hop in the car and take the 101 East to the 5 South. And then I sit and I sit and I sit. L.A. rush hour. It takes me two and a half hours to get there. I wouldn't do that for just anyone. Wow, I must like drummer(s).

So, we have a quick dinner in the hotel restaurant. Talk about this and that. Since he paints, I give him a copy of my book, Starart:And he gives me my ticket and backstage pass for the show the following night:
And then he sends me on my way. But not before he asks me to bring my camera to the show. [WHAT?? I don't shoot concerts anymore. I shoot pictures of knives and body doubles and screaming girls and other stuff to use in the presale movie posters I design. I don't remember the last time I shot a concert.] Okay, sure, I'll bring my camera.
I arrive a little early on Saturday night. The concert hall is right behind the hotel so I decide to park in the free hotel lot and walk through the lobby. As I'm about to pass the elevators, the door opens and out walks Chris. Good timing. Maybe it's me with a camera that creates our connection. Anyway, there's something very enticing about a musician who's on his way to play. We walk together and head backstage. Chris is sweet. He introduces me to all the players. Too many drummers to remember. Then he shows me one of his sketch books that he takes on the road. Pages and pages of beautiful water colors. How come he gets all the talent? I admire one in painting in particular. And right then and there he tears it out and gives it to me:
Okay, you had me at hello.

Then, I'm off to shoot the show. Ooops, the battery that controls the light meter in my camera is out of juice. Okay, don't panic. What did I use to shoot at? Push the film to 400? Or was it 800? Shoot wide open at a 60th? That sounds familiar. Oh my God...what if the pictures suck? All these other photographers here. All shooting digital. They can see their pictures on the camera screen. Dirty cheaters. I didn't bring my big-ass digital. No way. I'm shooting old school. Fuck. What if my pictures don't turn out? And I only brought one roll of film. No room to bracket. Oh well, I'm just here to have fun.

The music was AMAZING. You can read about who was there, HERE.
There were five drum kits set up on the stage. At the end, the drummers jammed five at a time, replacing each other in a drummer relay without missing a beat. I wonder if anybody recorded it. If so, I'd like a CD. Here are some of my pics (not bad for guessing):
Chris Parker

Ralph MacDonald - songwriter/percussionist extraordinaire
and plays in Chris' band Toph-E and the Pussycats.

Will Lee - Bass player on Letterman
and Chris' band Toph-E and the Pussycats.

Doug Aldrich - White Snake

The show ends. After we hang out backstage for awhile, I follow Chris around during the meet and greet in the lobby. Then a bunch of the players talk about meeting at the hotel bar for a drink. By the time we get there, it's closed. They all decide to head across the street to TGIFs or some other high class Orange County eatery/bar. But before we can go, Chris needs to put his bag in his room. He asks if I want to go up with him. Sure. Uh oh.

As we enter his room, we make some silly joke about the two of us and hotel rooms. You know, here we are again, after all these years, in a hotel room together. He puts his bag away and for some reason we just assume the position. I sit on the end of the bed and he sits in the chair. We start talking. And talking. And talking. All night long. Just like the last time. Alone in his hotel room. A little older. None the wiser. We completely forget about going to the bar. Uh oh. If I remember correctly, it went something like this:
And then it happened. I couldn't believe it. What I'd been waiting for all these years.


I'm not kidding. I can't believe I'm actually telling you this. But I can't help myself.

It wasn't just regular sex. It was passionate sex. It was loud sex. It was extreme sex. It was ultimate sex...


...And it was coming from the room next door.

What do they say? Close, but no cigar? Yes, but they also say, third time's the charm. I'll probably be on oxygen by then.

*the small amount of vanity I have is forcing me to reveal that the photos of the elderly woman in the above cartoon are not me (gotta love those eyebrows). The photos of Chris are Chris - hope he doesn't mind that I stole them off his website. The gym shot and the plastic surgeon shot are borrowed stock photos as well.