Monday, October 29, 2007

I've Been Kinda Busy

In a nutshell:

The books arrived and the books went out...long to come...including me operating the forklift.

I did a TV interview at USC...would have told everyone about it but it happened last minute and it was live...but I have a DVD so it will be posted.

Finished up all the prints for the Vancouver opening...the first shipment that was supposed to get to Vancouver on Saturday, didn't...they will finally arrive tomorrow, about seven hours before I arrive handcarrying the rest of the prints. I don't think the framer will be very happy with me.

My email database crashed...I've lost all my emails (sent and received) from the past year, and all my addresses and mailing lists. So, no one will be hearing from me for a while unless they email me first. I don't even have my RSVP lists for the show. Waiting for a special program that will at least retrieve the received emails.

I bought Leopard and did an erase and install on my hard drive. I had to reinstall all my software. That took half of Saturday and half of Sunday. Fun...not.

Finally finished up all the graphics work I had for the AFM (American Film Market) which starts on Wednesday. If anything goes wrong I won't be here to deal with it. Oops. I'm also missing my favorite party of the year...they do tarot card readings and poker tables as part of the entertainment. Last year the reader told me I'd have a big project coming out this Fall that would change everything I do from that (this) point forward. At the time I had no plans of having the book ready for this Fall and the dude (or was it a dudette?) didn't know me from Adam. (In case you don't know, the reader was right and I'm very excited about my future plans.)

I'm hoping to have a day or two to semi-chill in Vancouver before the show opening. Is that too much to ask?

Now I have to number and sign another 51 prints for the show, then pack and hopefully get a few hours sleep before I have to leave for the airport at 8:30am.

Everything that has had to do with shipping, travel and communications has been messed lately. A friend of mine told me to make sure I pack some clothes in carry-on. She said Mercury has been in retrograde since October 14th (when my books were initially supposed to hit the port) and will remain there until November 1st. Next time this happens I plan to go to Hawaii one day before and come home one day after. My computer will remain off (those of you who know me are cracking up right now) and I will definitely not ship anything.

I will post from Vancouver every day, beginning tomorrow night.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Letter I Had To Write

Dear Mr. Union Dockworker,

This is a picture of my garage that I took tonight, which btw is much bigger than it looks in this photograph:
Notice anything funny about it, Mr. Union Dockworker? Hello? Are you there? Are you hearing me? I asked you if you notice anything funny about my garage.

What? You don't know the answer to a simple question?

Let me give you a little hint. Just come in a little closer so I can whisper it in your hairy, wax-encrusted ear.

IT'S EMPTY!!!!!!!

And you know what?

It's not supposed to be empty. It's supposed to be filled with boxes full of this little book I did that just happen to be lazing in the bowels of some ship that has been SITTING IN THE PORT SINCE SUNDAY!!!!!
You know the books were supposed to be delivered on MONDAY
- I know you know because I have spent the past three days bitching at people who have subsequently been bitching at you - so we could send them out to the wholesalers so they could get them to the stores for the November 1st release date.

Okay, okay...I know it wasn't your fault that some jackass in China off-loaded my shipment in favor of someone else's WITHOUT NOTIFYING ANYBODY so it was late getting to you, but Jesus Mr. Union Dockworker, why the hell can't you just get the container off the ship and put it on the truck and wave the truck north on the 405? Doesn't the damn ship have somewhere else to go? Something else to transport? In short, WHY THE HELL IS IT TAKING YOU SO LONG TO UNLOAD THE FUCKING SHIP?

It would have been fine if you could have had it here on Tuesday. I still could have shipped out ground freight and made my deadlines. And even a Wednesday delivery would have been workable with 2-day air freight. But now it's Thursday and they have to go out overnight. And that's just the amount of $4200 extra shipping charges ridiculous. And if you don't get them to me on Thursday -- and I mean before 2pm -- it's gonna be all over. The books won't be in the stores on time and IT WILL BE YOUR FAULT!!!


Notice that I said "Please."


Me and my 48 friends who are very tired of being stuck in a container below sea level.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Mark Isler's Show

Just got home from a delightful stint on the on KABC Talk Radio in Los Angeles. I've done several radio interviews for the book, but this was the first one I got to do in-studio. It was also the first one where people could call in. And, I loved it. It was fun to wear the headphones and talk into a microphone. So much fun, in fact... maybe I should look into getting a radio show.

Originally I was booked for an 11:30 slot but producer Richard Sherman invited me to hang out in the studio as soon as I arrived. So, I think they ended up putting me on the air shortly after 11pm. There was another author/publisher, , booked for around midnight but Mark and Richard graciously asked me to stay on. I accepted their invitation to hang out and ended up staying through the whole show...until 1am...and had a great time. The show was very casual and felt as if we were sitting in a living having a great conversation... with the callers chiming in from the other room.

So, my heartfelt thanks to Mark Isler and Richard Sherman for having me on the show... to Marc Ramsey who greeted me at reception and let me wave at him through the window while he screened the calls... to Chester who manned the board and to Jeanine for letting me hang around through her segment. Oh, and thanks to all the listeners and especially those who took the time to call in.

I will be getting a copy of the show and will post here. In the meantime, here's a few photos:

Mark Isler.
That's my microphone in front and my book to the right.

Producer, Richard Sherman.

Mark. Me. Richard.

Marc Ramsey behind the window, screening calls.

Chester the engineer.
If we got married and he took my last name he'd be Chester Chesher.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Only In L.A.

I'm doing an in-studio interview Saturday at 11:30pm with Mark Isler on KABC Talk Radio...790 on your AM dial...but only if you live in the Los Angeles area.

Hopefully, I'll be able to snag a copy of it so I can put it up on here.

But if you live in L.A. you better tune in. What else you gotta do on a Saturday night?

Huh? What else?

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.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Joan Quinn Profiles...Me

Wednesday, October 3rd I did my first (of what I hope will be many) television interview. The show is Joan Quinn Profiles that runs nationally, I believe on public access cable stations. My segment will air toward the end of this month or early in November - more on that when they let me know.

On Wednesday, they taped two shows, each with two guests getting 15 minutes each. But I not only had my fifteen minutes of fame, I was on all four a way. Prior to the taping, Joan asked me to bring a couple of 16x20 prints to have on the set. Initially, I thought she just meant for my segment...but no. We had Dennis Wilson smack in the middle of Joan and her guests on the first show, which included Shannon Tweed (former Playmate/actress/wife of Kiss' Gene Simmons, who btw I turned down which puts me in the smallest portion of the female population who met him) and Martin Bedoian, artistic director of The Syzygy Theatre Group.

Joan Quinn and Martin Bedoian with Dennis Wilson

Joan Quinn with Frank Zappa while interviewing Parisian jewelry designer, Patrick Mauboussin

Joan Quinn, Patrick Mauboussin and me

Joan Quinn and me...yes, I actually am an Amazon Woman

I've been told my segment went very well. I dunno. I do know we crammed a lot of talk into the 15 minutes as well as showing 12 photos from the book. Of course, you can be the judge of that when I get the tape copy and put it up here.