Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'm Gonna Party 'Til I Drop

Since Thursday, October 4th, I have been desperate to tell this story that can only summed up as proof of divine intervention. Only problem is that I haven't had a spare second to write it down. I have been that busy. And I shouldn't even be writing this now, 'cause I'm that busy. But I can't wait any longer because the end to the story is time sensitive, so instead of eating dinner and finishing the key art that is due at the printers tonight, I'm going to try and get this story down, albeit in the Reader's Digest version.

It all started when the gala show/book opening I was planning to have in Los Angeles hit a brick wall... as in no way I could make it happen by November book launch. So, on a wing and a prayer (literally), I flew up to Vancouver (actually, Seattle and then drove to Vancouver since I don't have my passport back yet, which is another story of nightmare proportions) in hopes of maybe finding an abandoned building I could rent for a month and throw an opening party and show a bunch of prints from the book. I'd always had it in the back of my mind that the opening party for my book belonged in Vancouver, since 85% of the pictures were shot there. But, truth be told, I had no leads for mounting a show within a month's time in the city I hadn't set foot in since 1994.

Not surprising, the trip got off to a rocky start, when I left my two sample prints (Dennis Wilson and Mike Gibbins) on the plane in Seattle. Then, during the two and a half hour drive, I finally got a call back from my Canadian distributor's BC sales rep (after a week of unanswered voice and emails) telling me he had an afternoon appointment and was then leaving town so he couldn't meet with me. Nice.

I did have one tentative appointment set up with Tom Harrison, an old friend who still writes the music section for the paper he worked for when I was in Vancouver shooting pictures. After getting lost on my way to his office (a whole other story) and had the pure joy of catching up with a great guy who I spent many hours with in the backstage bowels of many Vancouver music venues. This is Tom backstage at the coliseum interviewing Eric Bloom of Blue Oyster Cult:

Of course, after the initial catch-up, I let Tom know what I hoped to accomplish on my short trip... note: my meeting with him was at 3pm on Thursday, leaving less than a day and a half to find a place to have my dream opening for the book honoring 53+ passed souls who now feel like family to me. Not to mention the weekend /Monday was Canadian Thanksgiving. What was I thinking? Could the deck possibly be more stacked against me?

And just my luck... Tom didn't know of any galleries in Vancouver. Except he had been at an opening for Storm Thorgerson (Pink Floyd's album cover designer) at a place that he said belonged to some artist who seemed to be doing a favor for Storm's show. Oh well, strike one. But I scratched down the name of the place anyway, thinking if nothing else they may be able to steer me to another gallery or a building or a field with some cows that I could hang my pictures on. After my very nice visit with Tom I headed back to my hotel, lamenting the fact that it was already night.

There was nothing left to do, so I sat in my really nice hotel room facing the cold hard fact that my book was going to come out with a fizzle instead of a bang. It would be impossible to find anything in the one day I had left. Galleries book months in advance and the likelihood of finding a plausible building that would rent to me for one or two months was zero to none. And if by some miracle I found a building the next day, how the hell was I going to get a show together in three and a half weeks? Oh well, at least I had my really nice hotel room to hang out in for a few days. Okay, I'll admit it...I was really bummed. I don't like defeat. Then, about six seconds into my 'poor me' pity party, my 2007 New Year's resolution screamed in my head: Leave No Stone Unturned. Leave No Stone Unturned. Leave No Stone Unturned. The damned thing just wouldn't shut up.

It pushed me off the bed, over to the desk, onto the internet to figure out where that gallery Tom mentioned was located. It took a bit of searching - I had the name wrong - and like he said, it was all about this one artist, Michael Godard. But the voice kept screaming and I decided the only way to shut it up was to do a drive-by so at least I could say I tried.

Hmmm, it has a really nice storefront... in a great location... and look, it's open... and there are actually customers mulling about. The voice yells again, "Park your damn car and go in there." Not even sure it was my own voice. For all I knew, it was Mike Gibbins or Dennis Wilson yelling at me from their Alaska flight landing in Juno or the Grand Canyon. (God, I love these musicians...right now I'm listening to Terry Kath singing Memories of Love and trying to type through my tears.)

So, I do as I'm told and walk in the gallery with the book tucked in my signature orange Kipling computer bag. Within seconds a friendly guy walks up to me and asks if I need help. "Yes, but I I know you can't help me." I quickly pull out the book and tell him I know there's nothing he can probably do for me but that I'm looking for a building where I can do a party and show for my book. He looks at the cover and then flips through a few pages as I add, "Most of it was shot in Vancouver so I really want to open here but it has to be the beginning of November when the book hits the stores...maybe you guys know of a building I can rent, cause I know you can't do a show on such short notice and besides you're obviously booked up forever."

He responded, "Let me introduce to the owner...and her partner who should be back any second."

"Okay." He wasn't wrong. The partner walked through the back door, as if on cue from some invisible force of nature. And there they were... two young women who owned a gallery. One of them took the book from the guy as he introduced us and she barely said hi to me before thumbing the pages. The next part is something of a blur but I think it went something like this:

"This is great."

"Thanks, I'm trying to find a building or something where I can have a show and party to launch the's coming out November 1st."

"When do you want to have the opening?"

"In a perfect world? Even though it's impossible...November 3rd."

"Well, you know, I was just talking to Kelly before you walked in. We hit a brick wall with this show we were trying to do for November and I said to her that we really need to find an event for November..."


"..and you just walk in the door with this really cool book. Would you like to do the show here?"

"Excuse me?" "I mean yes." "Wait... just give me a second to pick myself up off the floor."

A second passed and we were already in "planning the show" mode. Just like that, the impossible became possible. No doubt with the help of 48 brilliant musicians (and 5 amazing dedicatees) who decided the show should be in Vancouver and engineered the failure of my LA opening and the subsequent failure of the show the gallery had planned. I mean, what else could it be? Did I mention how much I love each and every person in my book?

Oh, and one more thing...they want you all to come to the opening. They really do. No telling what might happen if you don't show up. Here's your invite:

For out-of-town guests, I've arranged a sweet deal at the gorgeous only $85 for a queen room and $95 for a double queen if you book by October 25 and mention Chesher Cat Productions. And, if you're a bandmate, family member or close friend of anyone in the book, or with the media, let me know if you want to come to the little private shindig that's happening a couple of hours prior to the opening.

I (and the ever-present musicians and dedicatees of Everybody I Shot Is Dead) look forward to meeting each and every one of you.


Peg said...

With all that great energy behind you how could this NOT be a success?! What a fabulous story-I love it! Wish I could be there.

Julie O. said...

That ROCKS. Those guys sure do want your show to happen. I so wish I could swing it to be there. Can't wait to hear the stories!

Miss you!

Brett said...

I still say there is something strange going on out there.
nervous B

Anonymous said...

i wanna come