Friday, August 31, 2007

In The Jungle Known As Amazon

Look what they've done to my book:

37% off the already reasonably low retail price. And you can even qualify for free shipping. Those evil bastards. Don't they realize my book is worth so much more?

Okay. I'm kidding. As those of you who read this little blog regularly already know, I knew they were going to do this. That's why I priced the book at $60 instead of my original idea of $50-55. That's also why I offered the even lower price briefly on my website. Sure, I didn't give you free shipping (Amazon is far richer than I, unless I win the $330M megalotto tonight and the $93M superlotto tomorrow) but the books from Amazon are not signed by moi. That's gotta be worth something, right?

So, for those of you who want the book but don't want to shell out the extra $s for my autograph, run (don't walk) over to and put in your order for several copies. And those who purchased off my site, feel free to complete your Christmas shopping early

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Popping My Ebay Cherry

That's right, folks. I am no longer an Ebay virgin.

The foreplay started last Saturday when I got it in my head that I should replace all the lost/stolen camera equipment that I had when I shot all the photos in Everybody I Shot Is Dead. Yup. I'm either really sentimental (affirmative) or completely crazy (the jury's still out on that one). And the nutty reason I'm hell-bent on re-buying my original cameras is because I want to shoot concerts again and I want the pictures to be as good as the ones I shot way back when. Okay, the jury's back in... that's an affirmative on the completely crazy part.

Anyway, imagine my shock and delight when I found many vintage Pentax cameras available on Ebay. And I found one - a Spotmatic II - that matched one of my cameras, including several lens. Even though it wasn't closing for several days, I bid on it. It was the one I really wanted. In the meantime, there was an awesome-looking 200 mm telephoto lens that I wanted. I bid on that one but finally chickened out near the end as the price went a little higher than I wanted to pay, especially since I didn't even have a camera yet.

Then I bid on another camera and on Sunday, Aug 26, 2007 at 18:51:23 PDT I won it for a whopping (note intense sarcasm here) $51.00. Meet my new camera:

Notice the small dent on the left side of the lens ring? I swear to God one of my original cameras had that exact dent on the same lens.

Since Sunday, I've been an Ebay whore. Watching and bidding on some camera equipment and kicking as many others to the curb. All the while waiting for my first love to arrive. My very first bid. The one that I placed a maximum bid on last Saturday of $100. Fast forward to this afternoon... Aug-30-07 15:39:22 PDT to be exact... I was suddenly outbid bid by $5... then $10 with nearly 4 hours still left on the bidding. Was I going to lose my first love? The same camera I used to capture my sweet dead musicians in their glory days.? The musicians that I have lived with 24/7 for the past two years? Oh, the horror of it.

Not wanting to look desperate (in the world of rock'n'roll desperate girls are very unattractive), I slyly waited until 18:58:48 PDT (note that's over 3 hours of feigning non-desperation) to up my maximum bid to $120. A bid which held all of 6 minutes when I decided I better raise my maximum to $175. Not looking good with nearly 20 minutes left. These two last minute snakes in the grass were nipping at my ankles and seemed prepared to take me down. At 19:11:03 PDT, my bid hit my maximum so I quickly upped it $200. No way was I going to let those piranhas near my first love.

At this point I kept my browser open and refreshed the page every minute or two. YES!! My $175 bid was holding. The two poisonous snakes had slithered away. The clock ticked down. And down. Only two minutes to go. I was home free. Surely I would win my first Ebay love. I refreshed the page once more...

What the fuck? Who the hell is Glittergrl123? And why did she just bid $179.91 at 19:24:43 PDT, a mere 23 seconds before the close... refresh... Oh My God she upped it to $191.09 sixteen seconds later. Fuck, she's going to beat my $200 bid. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I scramble to add another $2o to my max bid. Did I make it in time? The seconds tick down. I have no idea what just happened. I hit the refresh button one more time. Dammit, I'm going to hunt Glittergrl123 down and punch her in the face. How dare she come in at the last minute and tear my first love right out of my arms. Fuck her!

Wait... wait a second... the window refreshed. The winning bid was $193.59. Posted 9 seconds before the close. I won... what?... Holy shit... I WON!!!

Here is my first Ebay love with whom I shall live happily ever after, complete with all that extra stuff, exactly as it was way back when:

Go ahead. Call me crazy. I couldn't care less.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Blog Slacker

Sorry for my blatant blog slackerness. It's not intentional. Nor is it due to the fact that I have nothing to say. I have plenty to say. But with the blog thing it has a lot to do with headspace and feel. I have been working on a very special post for the past few days. Don't know why it's taking me so long. It just has. And I also have a lot of things that are inches away from disclosing but not quite there yet.

In the meantime, I am not dead. Although I could be. Maybe I should check the obits. What I have been doing is a bunch of business-type stuff. Getting my distribution in order. Fixing all the glitches with my wholesaler. Ordering the 1900 bookstore mailing list from the ABA (American Booksellers Association) so I can send out a brochure to all the independent bookstores so they will know to order the book. Looking for galleries.

And then of course, today was Monday. I don't like Mondays. Have I mentioned that before? No matter how prepared I am for the day, it is always my worst day to do outside-of-my-own-brain-business. After last Monday (not that anything specifically tragic happened that day), I decided I will not make any calls of consequence on Mondays because they never work out in my favor. I don't know if it's me or the rest of the people in the world but I have to assume it's them because I've tried to get stuff done on the Mondays where I feel on top of the world but the result is always the same.

So, Monday is now my day to take care of my personal shit. And my current personal project is moving. Well, I'm not actually just feels like it. I am currently completely switching up two rooms in my house. I've temporarily moved my bedroom to my second office/guest room and the second office is moving to what was my bedroom and will be just an office. I've got one family member who is moving to New York on Wednesday and freeing up the master suite at the back of the house. Once I redo the bathroom and the flooring in that room, I will move myself back there and my new temporary bedroom will become my full time guest room.

I really need the second dedicated office because I am going to hire an assistant in the next few weeks. And I also have to empty my garage in preparation for receiving a portion of the book shipment. A lot of what's in the garage will be going in the second office. Confused? I am. But I can't wait until I am completely organized. I am so sick of spending/wasting time looking for things. Soon it will be "a place for everything and everything in its place."

Monday, August 20, 2007

My Dad

This post should have been written on August 18th so let's just pretend for a moment that today is Saturday. Wouldn't you like to have the weekend back?

Meet my dad. Cecil Chesher. He looks rather presidential, don't you think? And he was a president at least two times that I know of... when I was a baby he was president of the Calgary Stampeders (that's a professional football team in Canada for those of you scratching your heads), and he was president of his own company.

He was born in the very small town of Petrolia, Ontario and was an only child. His parents, George and Arlie, were of modest means. I never met my grandfather but Arlie was a fixture in our house throughout my childhood. She would arrive from Eastern Canada in early October for Christmas and would sometimes stay until Easter. I didn't mind. She made the best homemade bread and cinnamon buns in the Universe. She also taught us to play canasta and told really good stories.

My dad graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in geological engineering when he was only eighteen. Yes, he was some sort of genius. He also had a knack of knowing where to drill for oil. While working for Shell he found the Jumping Pound Creek wells, which was a pretty big thing at the time (many, many years before I landed on the planet) and has even written up in a book or two. Whoa... I just came across this poster online at the that mentions my dad's accomplishments with regards to that find.

Wow, he would have only been in his early twenties when he accomplished that little feat and many years away from even meeting my mother. You can click on the poster if you want read the science-speak that my brain cells can't decipher.

He later started his own oil company and was also on the board of directors of an oil company based in Southern California. Thanks to that, I got my first taste of California as a kid. But you'll read a little more about that in my book so I won't spoil it for you here. My dad was also one of the founders of The Petroleum Club in Calgary. It was an upscale private club aimed at members of the oil community. I remember going there for dinner as a kid - getting all dressed up and feeling like we were dining with the Queen. They always had a jazz band playing and my dad would let me stand on his feet as he glided the two of us around the dance floor.

All the fun and fancy times ended around the time my parents split up when I was twelve. It was a bit messy as these things often are, but I was still able to see my dad on a regular basis and he was always there for me when I needed him. He was the one who taught me that if I wanted something done right I would have to do it myself. It was a great lesson that made me the independent person I am, but on the other hand it became so etched in my being that I am now just learning that it's okay to ask for help.

When I moved to Los Angeles in August of 1975, my dad was still living in Calgary but he also had a house in Palm Desert. I was struggling beyond belief when I first arrived in L.A. Shooting bands wasn't the problem. I just couldn't have a 'real' job here to support my photography while I was getting established because I didn't have a green card. But being instilled with way too much pride, I didn't have it in me to call my dad and ask for his help. He probably wouldn't have helped anyway... he wasn't the type of dad to give hand-outs.

Finally, in late September I somehow got booked to shoot an Australian band, Ayer's Rock, while they were recording at the Record Plant. The shoot would pay me enough money to cover a few bills and cover my gas to Palm Desert so I could visit my dad and pretend I was doing fine. I made arrangements with him to drive over the following weekend. It was perfect timing. His wife was going back to Calgary so we planned to spend the weekend alone, just catching up and reconnecting.

It was early Friday afternoon and I was sitting in the reception area of the Concerts West offices on Sunset Boulevard. I was waiting to see the main guy who I'd been trying to get an appointment with for two months. I had shot lots of shows they had promoted in the Pacific Northwest and I wanted to show them my pictures in hopes of them letting me shoot their shows in L.A. I planned to drive to the desert right after the appointment. I figured if I could bring my dad good news from the meeting and the Ayer's Rock job, he would give me advice on making my photography business work in L.A. Maybe I could even get him to invest. (An investment proposal would at least be a couple of rungs up from asking for a hand-out.)

So, there I sat, eavesdropping on everything the Concerts West receptionist said to the multitude of callers that rang in while I waited to see the big cheese...when suddenly my pager went off. I had a pager because I didn't have a home phone. Actually, I didn't even have a home. I was crashing wherever I could. And of course this was before cell phones were in every hand of the general public. As quickly as I hit the beeper button, my pager would go off again. And again. And again. What the hell... my pager would go days without beeping and suddenly I was the most popular girl on the block.

The receptionist looked at me and asked if I needed to use the phone. I didn't really want to call in for my message before the meeting - I wanted to stay focused - but she looked insistent so I picked up the phone and dialed. I had somewhere around ten messages. For some reason my pager hadn't been beeping all day. Until right before what I thought was the most important meeting of my life. I began listening to the messages. They were all from members of my family. My mother. My brothers. My sisters. Some of them had called more than once. None of them left me a message other than to call them back. There was only one member of my family that hadn't called. My dad.

The girl behind the desk couldn't help but notice the glazed look on my face when I hung up and asked if I could make one more call. I phoned my brother in Calgary and got the news I expected. My dad was dead. About the time I hung up the phone and tried to regain my composure, the big cheese emerged from his office. Both he and the receptionist saw there was something terribly wrong, so I had no choice but to tell them my dad had died. They offered to reschedule the meeting. I said no, I was fine to go ahead with it. In my head I was thinking about how long it had taken me to get the meeting. And my dad had also taught me pragmatism. He would have wanted me to go through with the meeting. What I didn't realize was that it was more uncomfortable for them than it was for me. I should have rescheduled.

Anyway, I ended up going to the desert that weekend but not before I picked up my brother at LAX. My other brother was already there. The three of us spent the weekend talking about our dad. And we had a few ghostly experiences - stories that I'll save for another time.

I guess you're wondering why the hell I'm writing all this personal stuff about my dad. First of all, it was his birthday on Saturday. But mostly, I thought you should get to know him. Because if it weren't for my dad, Everybody I Shot Is Dead would not be coming out this Fall. You see, my dad left a rather unorthodox will. It's a bit complicated and there's no reason to go into detail other than to say that I received my remaining share a couple of years ago. I put it away as the seed money to build my nest egg on, swearing I would never touch it.

I actually had no intention of publishing this book myself, but I reconsidered after I read through my journals and relived the torture of all the meetings I had with the big NY houses before I decided to publish Starart. Then, as I walked by my dad's picture that hangs on the wall between my living and dining rooms, a thought washed over my mind. I should check and see how much this book is going to cost to print, knowing full well that there was no way I could afford to do it...especially the way I wanted it.

Still, I figured there was no harm in checking. Remember what my dad always told me: if you want something done right... So, I went to a bookstore and scoured all the books that lived up to my quality standards. I found a printer and submitted the specs for an estimate. Turns out my dad's money was the exact amount I needed to print the book. What are the chances of that? I took that as a sign. That, and the fact that taking pictures of rock stars was the one thing he knew I was doing. Oh yeah, and he paid for my camera. And now I can't help thinking that's exactly how it was supposed to be. It just seems fitting that my dead father is financing my dead rock star book. Making it possible for me to honor these fine musicians. I just hope he knows I am also honoring him.

Thanks, dad. And Happy (Belated) Birthday.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Friday, August 17, 2007 - 9:55am

I opened the door before he had a chance to knock. I had been waiting for him. And I heard his truck grind to a stop in front of my house.

He was slightly startled when I appeared on the porch. I smiled at him, "I guess you didn't know I was waiting for you." That remark flustered him speechless. He quickly handed off a package to me and thrust his hand-held for me to sign.

I scurried back into my room and placed the package on my bed. Even though I was anxious to open it, I didn't. This was a monumentous occasion. And I had decided the day before that I would not look at it at home. So I quickly pulled myself together - just enough for public toleration - and with package and one set of wet proofs in hand, headed off to one of my frequently frequented Starbucks®.

These days it's fun to look at all things book in a public venue because I get to feel the curious eyes ogling my wares and hear the wheels turning in their brains as they try to figure out what the heck I'm doing. So far I've had my full size double=spread sheets out, either showing someone I'm meeting or looking through them when I was making corrections. On one such occasion, I was at one table showing the wet proofs to a friend of mine and Scott was several tables over with another set of wet proofs checking for more typos.

But on Friday it was just me. I had a set of wet proofs with me but what I focused on this time was what was in the package. The final ozalid from the printers.

The Front Cover

The final ozalid is the complete book printed out just as it will be in the final book, the pages printed on both sides and each form stapled together the same way they will be sewn together and bound into the hardcover. And, as you can see, the ozalid is blue. The ozalid is the last thing I look at and approve before the printer runs the real sheets and binds the books. The oxalid is also the first time I get to turn each page and see the book in order.

There they were. Page after page after page. All my sweet musicians coming to life after seven and a half months of solid labor. I wasn't expecting what happened next but at the same time I wasn't surprised.

I cried.

Even though the ozalid is blue and funky looking, it was still my baby[ies]. And it/they were beautiful. I looked through it three or four times. I made sure all the pages were where they belonged. I checked all the page numbers. I made sure the pictures hadn't moved and none of the captions had disappeared. What I didn't do was read the text. I knew if I read it I would find something I wanted to change. Every writer would. It's just the nature of the beast. And making a change at this point would take the book out of its printing rotation and delay my delivery by at least a week. That would be the kiss of death. Besides, I know nothing is perfect and I will be proud of every imperfection that rears it's ugly head...I will embrace every typo that got away and I will relish each and every grammatical mistake...then I'll fix them all before the second printing. (God I hope there's a second printing).

This is the inside cover that is laminated to the hard casing.

This shows all the parts of the jacket that will have a UV spot gloss.
The black background on the jacket will have a matte finish.

The forms. There are 16 pages per form and 13 forms in all.

The first two pages of Michael Bloomfield's section.

After the fourth check to make sure my baby had all its fingers and toes, I called the printers and said, "PRINT!!!! PRINT!!!! PRINT!!!!" As you read this, the pages are most likely running through the press. That's 2,080,000 pages. 4,160,000 pictures.

The next package that arrives on my doorstep will be a box of advance copies... the first time I will see the finished book. I hope they include a box of Kleenex.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Grass Is Always Greener

When I was pushing through the final weeks of finishing the writing and designing of the book, and staying up all night for days in a row to make my deadlines, I was saying to myself "It will be so much easier when I just have the business stuff to do."

It's not.

Don't get me wrong. Things are going very well. It's just harder when you have to deal with people who are alive. My dead musicians could be a pain at times, but for the most part they were cooperate and helpful.

And the shopping cart is back. For the third time. It didn't make it up to the porch. It stopped in front of the garage. I think I'm going to keep it.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Merv Griffin Dead at 82

July 6, 1925 – August 12, 2007

The first time I met Merv Griffin was in November 1979 when he agreed to have me on his talk show to promote my first book, Starart. Merv did me a huge favor. I'd never been on TV before and I didn't have a publicist pushing for me, or someone calling in a favor. We just presented the project and I was booked. Just like that. Merv didn't even ask if I could bring one of the artists on. He was happy just to have little old me on with my little book. Once I was on the show, he gave me a ton of time plus had me sit next to Jay Leno!

Here's a clip from my appearance on the Merv Griffin show along with an interview with the artists from my book that was filmed at one of our gallery openings:

And a still from the show. L to R clothing designer Bob Mackie, Merv holding my book, Charlie's Angel Cheryl Ladd, Jay Leno applauding my book (how cool is that?) and me:

I met Merv one more time a few years back. I was at the Beverly Hilton Hotel - which Merv owned - and somehow ended up meeting his son, Tony. I really have no idea who I was with or why I was there, but I was at a big table with Tony and a couple of other people in one of the ballrooms for some music show or a dance thing, when Merv strolled in and joined us at the table. He looked much older than when I first met him and was much larger at the time but he was still the sweet man he'd always been. The man who cut a young unknown girl a break.

Thank you, Merv. Everyone who had the opportunity to meet you will certainly miss you.

Friday, August 10, 2007


I've been kind of busy lately. I keep meaning to post here every day and then I bomb out because I get caught up in the work of the day or become paralyzed realizing the number of things I need to get done. I will try to do better on all counts.

The news of the day is that the book is completely proofed. The corrections I sent in a week or so ago came back with everything perfect except for three small fixes. Including one typo that I had fixed in the last round - a sentence that said "He was also played on..." - where instead of deleting the word "was," I deleted "also." Oops. That along with the other two quick fixes were approved today (or was it yesterday?) and everything is now in the hands of the printers.

I will see and approve the blueline - that's a copy of the book that looks like a blueprint, all put together so I can be sure it's all in the correct order and everything shows up on the page - on August 16th. Once that's done the press will be fired up and the beautiful fresh virgin pages of paper shall receive their cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks...finally bringing the musicians to life.

The advance copies will be express shipped to me around the 26th of September. The same day the bulk of the books are trucked over to a dock to be loaded on a boat. That shipment should arrive mid-October and the pre-orders will be immediately packed and shipped out. Yay!!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Twilight Zone

I was about to sit down to write an important post tonight when I decided I was thirsty. Remembering that I had left a bottle of water in my car, I picked up my keys and headed to the front door. My son had been here with his girlfriend and left maybe ten before to get camera batteries at the drugstore.

I approach the door and notice a patch of red through frosted yellow-tinted window slats of the front door. I figure my son must have taken something out of his girlfriend's car and left it there to pick up when he got back. No problem. Without hesitation, I open the door and bam... this is what I see...

It's back. did it appear again? I know it wasn't there when my son left. And not even ten minutes had passed. I saw nothing and heard nothing. The dog didn't bark and he can hear people approach long before they arrive at the door. But suddenly the shopping cart was mysteriously back on my porch, even though my son had moved it to the corner of our street last night.

Okay, like you , I'm figuring my son is behind this prank. About five minutes later I hear his girlfriend's car pull into the driveway. This time the dog barks. Why didn't he bark when the shopping cart made its way up the two steps and back on to the porch. It's a heavy-duty shopping cart and should have made a lot of noise when it was pushed up the driveway.

I walk outside to greet the kids. When it comes to my son I have an amazing built-in bullshit detector. I confront him about the cart as soon as they emerge from the car. I know if he pulled the prank he would cop to it because there is just no way he could hold back his laughter. I get no reaction other than his surprise that the cart is back. Nothing. Straight-faced, he has no idea how it got back on the porch. I believe him.

This is getting a little creepy. I think it's time to install video surveillance cameras.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Bad Omen?

I took Drama to the Puppy Park at the top of Laurel Canyon late this afternoon. I hadn't been out all weekend because my back was messed up from carting all my proofs around and then shooting Crash Hot on Thursday night. They were really, really good, btw... and I'm hoping I got some good shots of them. Admittedly, I was a little rusty. Actually, at times I felt clueless. But that's another story.

So, the dog had a great time at the park. He loves being chased around by other dogs and outsmarting them as he makes his escape. I was going to pick up something to eat on the way home but by the time we left the park it was almost eight o'clock and I decided I didn't want to eat a whole meal that late.

When I pulled into my driveway...well, that's when I saw it. Right there on my front porch, as if it was begging for someone to let it inside. It would have been different if it was on the street, or on the sidewalk, or even loitering in my driveway for Christ's sake. But on my front porch?

Jesus, this can't be good. Especially since I've been making jokes of late about possibly needing this very item if things don't go well with my book. Although I'm pretty sure I didn't make the joke to anyone close enough to my house; someone who could follow through with a cruel joke of their own. I think I said it to Brett, but he's been back in the state of Bush for at least the past ten days. Who could have done such a thing?

Maybe if I put it up here, someone will confess or give me a lead. This is it. What I saw when I pulled into my driveway:

Someone please tell me this isn't a sign of things to come.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Back In The Saddle

I'm going to a club tonight to shoot a band.

The last time I shot a musician was a year and a half ago when I took pics of my friend Chris Parker at the Yamaha Groove Night at NAMM. Actually I did a whole series of blogs on my reunion with Chris, whom I first met when he was drumming for Paul Butterfield's band Better Days. If you haven't read the five part series you don't know what you're missing. Here they are in proper reading order for your procrastinationary enjoyment:

The band I'm going to shoot tonight is . They're Australian. I met them at the photo shoot on Tuesday. Randee was shooting them after she was done with me.

My son was there case you don't know, he's taken to shooting bands live of late. You can see his stuff He recently shot Rooney and Tyler Hilton.

We are both going to shoot Crash Hot tonight. How weird is that? Chesher & Son Rock'n'Roll Photography at your service. Old school and new school all rolled into one. This should be fun.