Saturday, October 31, 2009

Palimony Trailblazer Dies

Why, you ask, would I do a post titled 'Palimony Trailblazer Dies'. How could that possibly be related to rock'n'roll, or me for that matter. Well, it seems I can relate myself to almost any story. So, here goes...

Yesterday, Michelle Triola lost her battle with lung cancer at the age of 75. My 0 degrees of separation from her is that we are both Scorpios. But that alone, a story does not make.

Michelle was the live-in girlfriend of Lee Marvin and was the first person to sue for financial compensation that was only available to spouses at the time. Through this lawsuit her attorney, Marvin Mitchelson, created the concept of palimony. Here they are at the end of the trial after she was awarded $104K... award that was later overturned and uncollected. No worries...she did fine for herself, spending the next 30 years living with Dick Van Dyke.

This story is not so much about Michelle as it is about my 1 degree of separation from her...Marvin Mitchelson. At the height of the Marvin v. Marvin trial - or maybe just after it - I had the occasion to spend a night with Mr. Mitchelson. How weird is that? Weirder than you can imagine.

I used to have this friend named Shadow - she deserves at least a whole post of her own but I'll save that for another time - and she seemed to know everyone. And one of those people she knew was Marvin Mitchelson. She was one of those girls that was kinda 'out there' but also knew how to work it. Most of the time I spent with her was spent with my mouth agape.

One night we were out doing whatever we used to do when she got a message (it seems like we had cell phones but it must have been a pager or maybe she called her answering service) and said we had to go to a party at the Beverly Hills Hotel. She could have told me it was a party or she could have said a friend needed her or that someone had some coke. I can't remember. But in any of those situations she didn't want to go alone, so she would drag me along.

As I recall, I think it was supposed to be some party at rock star attorney (albiet an old rock star attorney) Marvin Mitchelson's room. When we got there it was just the three of us. Some party. It was already late and Marvin was in a substance induced melancholy way...bordering on depression. We all got into a deep conversation (as I have always tended to do) and secrets were spilled...on his part. He wasn't a happy man. bet. Happy...not in the least. Here was one of the most powerful men in Los Angeles/Beverly Hills/Hollywood worn down to a sad little boy. I'm pretty sure tears erupted a few times throughout the night.

The biggest contributing factor to his angst was his job. He hated being an attorney. Even though he was really good at it. There was only one thing he ever wanted to do. Ever since he was a little boy. He wanted to be a conductor. No, not the kind of conductor most little boys dream of being. He wanted to be an orchestra conductor. I told him he should do it. He should give up everything and follow his passion.

Funny thing is, he sorta did...probably not in the way he initially wanted, and certainly not what I suggested. This is an excerpt from his wikipedia page...

He saw two rape charges dropped, but in 1993 he was suspended for failing adequately to supervise an associate and improper conduct in the use of a client trust account, in 1994 for failing to take the professional responsibility exam, had his probation revoked in 1995, and was disciplined in 1996 for failure to provide accountings or return unearned fees in 14 client matters. A 1993 conviction for not paying taxes on some $2 million in income resulted in suspension from the Bar, bankruptcy and eventually two years in jail from 1996 to 1998. The case was initiated by a former girlfriend of Mitchelson's and was investigated by IRS Special Agent James Lawrence Wilson.
He wept on his first day in Lompoc prison, but ultimately found white-collar incarceration stimulating. He organized an opera appreciation society, ran the library and helped other prisoners with their appeals.

I really like the part about he wept on his first day in prison...because that's the Marvin Mitchelson I knew.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Another year, another market finished. Artwork created, materials printed, invoices submitted. All that's left is to delivering the finished products to the clients on Monday and Tuesday.

I did a little better than last spring's Cannes market. Maybe a 20% increase. But that's after more than a 60% decrease between last year's AFM market in November and Cannes in May. So, do these numbers give any hope that the recession is receding? Is there any chance I will make anything between now and Cannes 2010?

Anyway, here's some of the art I did this market...

This one is made up of four stock shots (the sky, the ocean, Liberty/skyline, Easter Island), but it took lots of dissections. The ocean is made up of at least ten layers of pieces. It was a hard one to do but fun and I'm pretty happy with the results:

Another disaster movie...they get harder and harder to come up with something original. This movie is already made but I still had to use a stock shot for the city and, of course, tear it up. Unfortunately, I don't have the budgets they have on movies like I do the best I can with what I have:

This Dolph movie was the most troublesome of the bunch. This is the finish but I'm not taking full credit for it. After several misfires, I was asked to do something with a title card that someone in post had done. It was this, but Dolph was completely black and white on a dark gray background. They also did the title (weird that they picked the same face I had already used on Ice Twisters) and the blood splatter. I did the finish - there was actually a feather-duster looking plant between the back of the gun and Dolph's shoulder that I had to get rid of - and changed out the background. And since the original photo was in color I was able to do a desaturation on the color instead of going completely black and white:

This was one of the misfires. I think it's the best one - way more badass - and would have garnered more attention than the one they went with...oh well:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Taylor Mitchell

I didn't photograph Taylor. I didn't know Taylor Mitchell. But when I heard her story, I felt compelled to pay tribute to her. I want as many people as possible to know about her and hear her voice.

Taylor was an upcoming singer/songwriter from Toronto. She was four days into her first tour of Eastern Canada on Tuesday when she went hiking in Cape Breton Highlands National Park and was attacked by two coyotes. She was found by other hikers, airlifted to a hospital but passed away from her injuries the following day.

Taylor Mitchell was only 19 years old.

August, 1990 – October 28, 2009

Please take the time to listen to one of her songs...

This is the news story...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


That stands for American Film Market. It takes place in Santa Monica every November. People come from all over the world to buy and sell films to the international marketplace. These are the same people that go to the Cannes Film Festival - but the ones you don't hear about, the ones stuck in hotel suites converted to offices where they sell their opposed to the glitzy people you see on the red carpet attending the festival fare.

I design key art (that's the scientific name for movie posters) for movies that most of you will never hear of, although you may see some of them on the SyFy (formerly known as Sci Fi) Channel. It's my bread and butter gig, but unfortunately the recession has turned it into a crackers and margarine gig.

The market starts this coming Wednesday. In good times I would be pulling all nighters from last week until the first day of the market in order to get the avalanche of work done and meet my deadlines. This year it's a light snow. I haven't pulled any all nighters and I expect to have everything wrapped up and at the printers tomorrow.

Here's the front and back of a 4-page presell (which means the movie hasn't been made yet) brochure I did...

I made it from four separate images. Some stock. One I had. And the graphic I created. It's the kind of job I call "something from nothing" because that's what I start with...nothing. Just my imagination.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yeah, I'm a Goof

More Pumpkin pictures.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Pumpkin at the Patch

Well, hello...are you Pumpkins too?

Piglet Pumpkins.

Piglet-Pumpkin love.

Pumpkin-Billy Goat love.

Monday, October 26, 2009

My One-Minute Movie

I'm shooting my one-minute movie on November 15. One minute isn't as easy as it sounds. Try writing a beginning middle and end/self-contained story in 60 seconds. I think I've accomplished that challenge. Let's see if I can make it work on film.

I went out yesterday and took stills of the locations where I intend to shoot...

I am going to post the finished movie on the blog...

...unless it sucks.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Art? - Pt. 2

The Golden Gate Bridge in color.

Anybody like any of these?

Saturday, October 24, 2009


You tell me.

These are some landscape shots I took last summer in the Bay Area. On or near the Golden Gate Bridge.

I love black and white.

Tomorrow will be the color ones.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Desi Lydic

Congratulations to on the release of her latest movie, Stan Helsing, this weekend.

I've been getting a lot of hits through Google images because of this picture I took of her on the movie Big Heart City...

She is a terrific actress and an amazing person. She deserves all the success in the world.

Check out the movie...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Martin & Co.

If you play guitar and you've never owned a Martin, you don't really play a guitar. Martin & Co. has been a family owned and operated business since day 1. Day 1 being the 1820s when C.F. Martin learned to be a luthier in Venice. See this for a quick overview of how Martin guitars came to be.

When I was shooting back east in the summer of '08, I passed by a sign on the two-lane highway that said Martin & Co. was just up the road in Nazareth, PA, I knew I had to stop by. It was kind of hard to find but after a couple of false moves on my iPhone GPS, I finally tracked the place down...

The company logo alone is enough to get my juices flowing to hear someone playing a Martin guitar.

Each of these windows has a lighted candle in it.

And I just noticed when I enlarged this window that each has a different picture filling the panes. Unfortunately, they were closed the day I stopped by so I didn't get to see inside.

J.D. Souther playing Doolin Dalton...on his Martin...


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Charlie Musselwhite

I got to shoot Charlie Musselwhite a little over a year ago at the Harmony Festival. I have yet to properly edit the pictures. I pulled a few out today. Now I feel really bad. There's some really great shots (in my opinion - feel free to disagree). I feel bad because I promised Charlie I'd send some to him. I really need to get that together.

Here are the three I quickly pulled...

These were all shot digitally. I shot a lot. Which is probably why I haven't edited them yet. I also shot film on him. Really gotta get to the editing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Catalina Jazz Club

I've lost count of how many nights in a row I've been out. I am so looking forward to spending tomorrow night at home. I need to do laundry. But I capped off my social butterfly run most fabulously. An evening at the Catalina Jazz Club listening to my friend and beyond brilliant drummer, .

Another iPhone photo...I quite like this one.

The singer was - she was great - the food was very good and yes, I consumed alcohol for the second night straight. It may be time for an intervention.

I took my mom and her husband...happy to report they had a really great time. So much so, they bought not one, but two CDs.

Another hectic day tomorrow but no plans for the night. I need a night off. This social butterfly job is more than I bargained for.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm Cheating

Today's (Monday) post is late. I'm starting it at 1:08am Tuesday and putting the post time back to just before midnight so it counts for Monday. For those of you who aren't aware, I'm posting every single day this year. On only a few occasions I've had to mess with the time continuum in order to make the day. It's cheating. But at the same time it's not like I've gone to sleep and woken up the next day and posted as if it was the day before. As far as I'm concerned, it's still Monday. And the fact that I'm being so forthright about my slight of time (you wouldn't know I cheated if I didn't tell you) it gives me immunity.

The reason I'm late is I wasn't here. My mom came into town and picked me up from my class. I helped her and her husband check in at a hotel and then we went out to eat at Casa Vega. It was already after midnight by the time we got out of there and I was dropped off at my place.

And as proof, I offer up this picture of them driving away from my manse. You can actually download it and open it in photoshop or some other program and see the time and date info attached to the photo. Which would totally bust me for cheating because I certainly couldn't have done the post with the photo in it before I even took the picture.

Please file these post under the heading of "lame." My apologies to those of you who suffered through the whole thing. It's definitely sub-par. Consider the fact that I had a margarita with dinner. I'll do my best to come up with something more entertaining tomorrow.

Or not.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Social Butterflying

I shot this butterfly with my iPhone last November in San Francisco.

I'm pretty sure most people don't believe me when I say I don't get out much. There's this huge misconception that because of my connection to the rock'n'roll world, I'm out partying on a regular basis. And it is just that. A true misconception. I really do find myself alone more often than not. Except this past week or two.

I have met more new people and old people (not old, old people...people I already knew as in not new people I just met - wow, 'new' 'knew' English must be confusing to people who don't already speak well as for people who do) in the past couple of weeks than in the last year. I now find myself cherishing the little time I have alone.

For example, this was my schedule over the past three days:

Friday - I rocked it out at the Dodgers game, including the after-party thing where I partook in the food (including handmade ice cream (yum)), listened to the band (that supposedly included a bass player from Huey Lewis and a guitarist from AC/DC), pretending to part of Kobe's entourage and meeting a young artist who makes the coolest shoes that I will definitely be calling on soon. That social outing started at 10am for me and I didn't get home until around 7:30 or 8 and had to finish up my project for photoshop class.

Saturday - Even though I was already dead tired, I had a hair appointment at 10am to finally correct the worst haircut ever required a year and three month growing out period before it could be fixed. Then it was off to 4 hours of Photoshop class (where I got my first test back and was one of only two people to score 50 out of 50, thank you very much), where I got picked up by a writer friend and whisked off to the Cat & Fiddle to hang out with bunches of screenwriters. I met and spoke with at least 21 different people (all but 5 were people I hadn't met before) over the course of five hours. I arrived home at 12:30 and watched the last 3 quarters of the SC/Notre Dame game (I fell asleep for the three consecutive drives in 3rd that SC scored TDs on but then couldn't fall back asleep until after 3:30am thanks to the high drama mail-biter of an ending).

Sunday - I had to get up early for the monthly writers group I attend - it started at 10am - and was reading so I had to print and highlight my pages. There are always new people in attendance and I gave a lot of notes on the other people's pages. By the time I was finished there my throat was raw from talking and I was ready to fall asleep or drop dead. That was when I got a text from one of my musician friends that I shot way back when who I haven't talked to in well over a year (if you've read back back back in the archives you'll know who it is). I texted back and he texted back and then I didn't text back right away so he called and said he was in town and had a car and was coming over to see me. Okay, thanks for the notice that didn't even give me enough time to change much less take a shower, brush my hair or put on make-up. So he was here for a couple and a half hours (more non-stop talking) and now it's a good thing I'm not on a horse because I would definitely fall off.

And if all of that wasn't enough, my mother is coming to town tomorrow (probably late) and wants to take the T man and me out to dinner which means another later night and then I may go and see my musician friend play on Tuesday night and then I may....just have to go to sleep for the rest of the week.

How was your weekend?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Yesterday in Pictures

Thanks to my friend, Warren, I had the privilege to attend game 2 of the NL Championship Series. Here's my day at the ballpark in pictures...

Dumpster Diver...not me, btw.

Getting fired up on the way to the park.

Dodger Stadium....duh.

Um...the Backstreet Boys sing the National Anthem...Um.

I let Chase Utley have a hit...because he's a nice guy.

The Dodgers win...the Dodgers win!!!!
(notice the great seats we had)

Being part of the Kobe entourage.
(Yup, that's how I roll)

The after party.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Jane Vasey

A very Happy Birthday to Jane Vasey on her 60th birthday. I am 99% sure that 99% of you have never heard of the very talented and beautiful Jane Vasey. Let's change that.

I met and photographed her when she was playing with the Canadian group, Downchild Blues Band.


I was happy to find this rare footage that showcases the brilliance of Jane Vasey...

Most of the photographs on this blog are available to own. Please inquire via email to You can also see lots more pictures and learn more about Jane Vasey and the 47 other musicians in my tribute book, .

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Trouble in Canada

Last week I got a call from the guy who hooked me up and was responsible for the Canadian distribution of my book. He called to tell me the distribution company was bankrupt.

I need to repeat Canadian distributor is bankrupt.

That is just wrong on so many levels. The first one being that they did a really crappy job of selling my book. I think they did one bulk sale to the main bookstore chain and then didn't bother with anyone else. The second level where they were horribly wrong is obviously that they've gone bankrupt but to make that even worse, they have never paid me for the books they did sell.

So, if you bought my book in Canada, I didn't receive one penny for it.

The third level of wrong is that I was told I have to deal with the books that they didn't bother to sell (maybe that's a blessing in disguise) that are currently sitting in an independent warehouse near Toronto. And I have to deal with it in a big hurry. I actually called the person at the warehouse (they are also losing big money due to the distributor) and have arranged to let her know next week what I want to do with those books. She also told me that they knew last March that the distributor was going to go bankrupt. That was really thoughtful of the guy to wait over six months to tell me I had only a few days to get the remaining books out of the warehouse. Fucker.

Anyway, here's the problem for which I am looking for a viable solution. I need to get the books out of the warehouse in the next two to three weeks. I'm looking for someone in Canada to take the books off my hands. And I'm hoping that maybe someone who reads my blog, or one of my readers knows someone that could sell the books for me or distribute them for me or could store them for me while I find a new distributor or someone to sell them or someone who has some other brilliant idea to market and sell them in Canada.

There are 900 books in Toronto and possibly 100 or so in Vancouver. I am willing to let them go for way below wholesale if someone can take the lot off my hands. I'm also willing to consider all ideas and possibilities. Think outside the box.

I didn't even scratch the surface of Canada. I know there are at least a thousand people in Canada who would love to have a copy of my book if they knew it existed.

If you have any suggestions, please email me:

Seriously, I need your help.

Liquid Tension Experiment

Still too wiped to deal with the issue I was going to write about yesterday. Maybe tomorrow. And I'm working on the storyboards for a short I'm going to shoot which I need to have done by tomorrow. This is after I did revisions on three pieces of key art.

So, since I'm kinda burned out I thought I would just post a few photos from a concert I shot in July '08. How hard can that be? They're already digital so I didn't have to scan them. Do a little 'I still shoot concerts' post. I had the folder on my laptop. Couldn't be easier.

But then I get in there and decide I should look at all of them and pick the ones I like best. Um, that became a whole editing session. Opening them up in lots. Whittling them down. And down. And down. I think I got it down to five shots. Then I had to reduce the size and resolution. And put my copyright on. Sheesh. All that for this...

Very cool instrument.

This could be my favorite of the lot.

I like the orange with the blue.

When I look at this I feel like I'm sitting at the kit.

Crazy set-up.

The band is Liquid Tension Experiment. LTE was formed as an instrumental progressive rock/metal supergroup (are there supergroups anymore?) by the drummer Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater. The keyboard player is Jordan Rudess and the bass player is Tony Levin, who you should know from his work with King Crimson, Peter Gabriel. He's a well known session player who has played on some 500 albums for artists such as John Lennon, Lou Reed, Pink Floyd etc etc etc. That strange-looking instrument he's playing in the blue photo is called a .

And now that I did all that, I might as well spend some more time looking for a video so you can hear them live. Here you go...