It’s been an exceptionally eventful couple of weeks for me. Things are happening!
I just returned from my first SXSW. I saw somewhere in the neighborhood of 30+ acts, including American Music Club, Austra, Capsula, Decades, The Dodos, DOM, Generationals, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, Gift Horse, Grass Widow, Grimes, Hooray for Earth, Intimate Stranger, Lower Dens, Now Now, Pujol, Secret Colours, Some Community, The Strange Boys, Sundress, Telekinesis, Times New Viking, tUnE-yArDs, Twin Tigers, Valleys, Veronica Falls, Versus, We Barbarians, Weekend, Wild Flag, and Wye Oak. I brought back a couple of t-shirts, some CDS, a tote bag, some weird bruises, a sunburn, a cough, about 4000 pictures (just guessing), and some stories… I’m embarking on the serious photo editing now. The pictures in this post are just a tiny preview.
In the lead-up to SXSW, I launched terriwise.com, a little online portal for terri wise photography and any associated ventures. Big thanks to Ez for helping make that happen.
Shortly before SXSW, I interviewed the totally fabulous Jessie Stein of the Luyas (see below for more on them). I thoroughly enjoyed our chat. It helps that I am genuinely interested in and enthusiastic about what they do. Check out the interview here.
I have been pondering the future of this here blog. Do I focus it more on music and post more frequently? It’s a thought. Stay tuned and see what happens.
In addition to my various galleries at QRO, now and then you may find one of my photos for them elsewhere on their site. For example, their review of the Active Child remix of School of Seven Bells’ single “Heart Is Strange” features this image:
And then a couple of my pictures of Basia Bulat and Warpaint (both cropped…) showed up in their Austin City Limits preview.
I also recently sold a couple of my concert pictures. Time to get terriwise.com up and running for real. Photo prints make good gifts, right?
Yes, yes I have been busy.
I’ve covered a bunch of shows for the good folks at QRO Magazine including:
8/27/2010 Autolux w/This Will Destroy You at The Middle East Downstairs
9/10/2010 Interpol w/Cloudland Canyon at The Music Hall of Williamsburg
The day of the Interpol show in Brooklyn I was invited in to the Matador Records office to help moderate a live video chat with Interpol guitarist Daniel Kessler. It was all a bit off-the-cuff, and it was a lot of fun. The chat is archived here. I got a little tour of the Beggars Group office (I guess you’d call them Matador’s parent company) and met some of the very cool people who work there, too.
In amongst this hectic schedule of city hopping, picture taking, late nights, and hanging out with friends mixed with happy home-life and work work work, I joined friends Amy, Teresa, and Tomoko a few weekends ago for a couple breezy, decadent days at Top Notch Resort and Spa in Stowe, Vermont. Ah Vermont… We drove up on Friday night and stayed at Teresa’s friends’ ski lodge at Killington, and then drove up to Stowe on Saturday. Saturday afternoon we each indulged in Mount Mansfield Sauchas. What are those, you ask? From the Top Notch site:
Purity and simplification were the inspiration for the creation of this truly unique treatment. Drawing from the Sanskrit term to purify, our Mount Mansfield Saucha session allows you to experience an uncomplicated but completely luxurious three-stage herbal body service. To begin, a sea salt exfoliation removes tired skin and improves circulation. Organic lavender buds are added and then crushed with the salt to provide a sweet aromatic explosion. We use hot towels to remove the salt, leaving your skin velvety soft. Then, you are wrapped in thick linen sheets that have steeped in our detoxifying blend of indigenous Vermont herbs and flowers. In conclusion you may choose a 25-minute, 50 minute or 80-minute full body aromatherapy massage. We have developed a custom blend of sage, lavender, cedar and sandalwood essential oils for a completely soothing experience.
Now that I think of it… somewhere I have a small vial of the sage oil that my therapist gave me at the end of my saucha! That evening we had cocktails by the firepit and enjoyed the view of the mountains as the sun set before heading into the dining room for dinner–homemade local tempeh, anybody? The next day we got our pedicures and manicures, went into town and picked up sandwiches and a few gifts for our loved ones, and then set off on our return to Massachusetts. It was a lovely getaway, and just the beginning of our celebration of Amy and Doug’s upcoming nuptials!
Last weekend my darling friend Sarah came down from Portland and we had a girls’ night out on Saturday. I had a hunch that the bar at Gargoyles would be a good spot for drinks after dinner, and it was. This coming weekend we’ll have family visiting from Pittsburgh (yay!), and on Sunday night I’m covering The XX, Warpaint, and Zola Jesus at The Orpheum. Phew! Good things are happening. Stay tuned!
AND… if you’re so inclined… you can now follow me on twitter: @terkitty. Yep!
I should have written about this show right after it happened. I’ve been playing catch-up. But anyway… Warpaint!
I first heard about Warpaint from a couple of my New York Interpol friends. They described Warpaint as an all-female band that comes out on stage looking really pretty, and then rocks really hard. Another friend mentioned them shortly after that. After our trip to Pennsylvania, I was going through a bit of show withdrawal, and when I heard that Warpaint were playing at Great Scott the night of our return, I wanted to go. We got home just in time for me to pull together my camera and batteries and get to Great Scott before the show sold out.
The first opener, Beach Fossils, sounded very poppy to me–jangly 80s-conscious stuff, which is apparently all the rage at the moment. It didn’t do too much for me, but they weren’t atrocious. What they looked like (silly and 80s conscious) struck me about as much as their music… not much –AND their whole vibe made me feel old.
Javelin made me feel old in a different way. With Beach Fossils, I could get why people would like it. Javelin just seemed totally foolish to me–like they were getting away with something by pretending to be musical, cool, or even interesting. The first thing they brought on stage was a tower of big old broken (except for one, I think) neon spray-painted boom boxes. Oh boy. Their sound was just a mish-mash of samples and knob-twiddling and falling-apart (literally) percussion. Samples and knob-twiddling and percussion can result in something good, but this did not. It felt sloppy. Like Beach Fossils, I guess Javelin are considered up and coming. I thought they were embarrassing and pretty terrible.
After those two openers, I might have expected Warpaint to be a disappointment, but they weren’t at all. I think the evening’s line-up was a real mis-match. Warpaint are going out with The XX in the near future, and that tour makes more sense to me. The vocals and the music come from a much deeper, darker place than anything that Beach Fossils or Javelin offer up. My friends who told me I’d be impressed by their musical chops were right on. These chickies can play. They’re really pretty badass. At least a few of them are multi-instrumenatalists. The bassist and drummer switched places after the first song, and at the end of the encore three of the four band members went at it on the drum kit–and what resulted was a controlled chaos, not just mere chaos.
Their first full-length, The Fool, is set to drop October 26th (October 25th in the UK). I’m looking forward to seeing them again at the Orpheum October 3rd.
The Clifton Park show was bittersweet for me. I had SUCH a good time at the Interpol shows this summer, and I knew Clifton Park would be my last for a while. Even more than that, I knew that it would be my last time seeing Twin Tigers on the tour, and I feel like we became friends. I know when I’ll see Interpol again; with Twin Tigers I’m less sure. They’re a band with a lot of potential and they’ve done a lot of touring, so they’ll get up here eventually… But anyway, I knew it would be weird to say goodbye to everyone and it was a bit.
After the late night in Boston on Thursday I was pretty wiped out on Friday and had much to do. We would be heading down to Pennsylvania for a family visit immediately after the Clifton Park show, and in addition to needing to get myself ready for the show and to take pictures I had to pack and try to get the house together for our trip. It was a little bit of a struggle, but I managed to get on the road in time to make it to the venue just after doors opened.
I was on the guestlist in Clifton Park, and my photo pass for the night was actually labelled an all-access pass—though there was a note with it that specifically forbid me from photographing Interpol’s set. Alas. Northern Lights is a weird venue. It’s in what looks like an old strip mall kind of in the middle of nowhere. The stage is back in a corner and seems like it was just sort of dropped in the space. There’s a large bar that takes up almost half of the venue, and the whole place has an odd atmosphere (or lack thereof). There was a bathroom attendant—at least in the women’s room. My memory of the place is that all the walls were painted blue, there were glass doors at the back through which we could see the bands and crew walking past in between their sets, and the place was really cold. Whereas at some shows I end up sweating and frizzy, at this show I was very glad I’d grabbed a cardigan at the last minute. They had the a/c cranked the whole night. It just added to the weirdness of the night for me.
Some of Interpol’s gear was off to the left of the stage in crates and I could see labels on various drawers… things like “Paul’s strings,” “Daniel’s strings and cords,” and then a drawer labeled simply (if I’m not misremembering it) “Shite.”
The Postelles at Northern Lights.
The Postelles at Northern Lights.
The Postelles at Northern Lights.
Even in this relatively little venue there was a tiny photo pit. I managed to photograph The Postelles’ entire set. I think I was only supposed to do three songs, but there was another photographer shooting them and he just kept going, so I did, too. The reception for The Postelles was a sharp turn from the reaction they enjoyed the previous night. People clapped politely but briefly after each of their songs, and their perky singer seemed to be almost apologizing for everyone’s lack of familiarity with them and with their music. Before launching into one song, he said, “This is a new one,” and then paused and said “but everything is new to you.” They played with their usual verve, but it was clear that they had to work for it.
Twin Tigers, running with the devil (a.k.a. Hoo-ray beer).
When Twin Tigers came out on stage, I wonder if I was the first person ever in the history of the world to feel a tiny bit sad to hear the opening notes of Van Halen’s “Running with the Devil.” They played well, and while it wasn’t as amazing as the previous night in Boston, I think they sounded good and a decent portion of the audience got into what they were doing. I photographed the first three songs of their set and then took my spot up front behind the barrier.
Forrest Hall of Twin Tigers.
Aimee Morris of Twin Tigers.
Interpol’s set was really tight, but seemed to go by so quickly. My friends agreed that it felt short. The band played very well, but it felt business-like. During the encore, one song blended right into the next. The setlist was a good one. We got “Mammoth” instead of “The Heinrich Maneuver” and a beautifully played “Leif Erikson,” which I had not yet heard on this tour. During “Leif” I exchanged a nice little look of recognition with Daniel. I tried to take some pictures with my phone. It was kind of pathetic, really. Their lighting was pretty easy as far as concerts go, and the stage was on the small side so I could have managed a lot of nice shots. After the encore as they were leaving the stage both Daniel and Sam nodded, smiled, and waved at me. That was sweet! It was like they knew that this would be my last show for a while.
Afterwards my friends and I went over to the merch table to say hi to the Twin Tigers people. They were busy with merch boxes and stuff, but we chatted a little bit. As the venue was kind of out of the way, they were trying to figure out where to go to do something. I couldn’t hang around long as we were heading out for Pennsylvania, so I couldn’t help them with their plans for the night. I bought a copy of their album, Gray Waves (on blue vinyl!) and had them all sign it for me. Matthew wrote me a little message, signed the inner sleeve, and then signed on Aimee’s behalf since she had once again disappeared.
I looked up and through the windows at the front of the venue and saw Ezra standing there. I thought I was supposed to call him, but it was going on midnight and I can’t blame him for running out of things to do at that hour. I went outside and asked him if he could wait while I went to say goodbye to a few people. When I got back inside, it seemed like everyone had scattered. I headed back toward the stage and saw Matthew holding a box and talking to one of Interpol’s crew. While I was waiting for him, Sam’s drum tech came up to me and said he’d seen me at a lot of shows. I said that I’d been to a bunch and introduced myself. He asked how many shows I’d been to, and when I said twenty-something he said I won the prize. He dug into a black sack, pulled out three of Sam’s well-used (during the show, presumably) drumsticks, and gave them to me. Yay! He is really nice. I have heard people rave about what a good guy he is, and it was great to finally meet him after all this time.
Sam’s drumsticks, my pass, and signed Twin Tigers vinyl
A minute later, I got Matthew’s attention and he came over. He seemed a bit surprised and disappointed when I said that my ride had arrived. We hugged and I told him to keep in touch with me if he thought of it, and he said to do the same. Then I headed back to the merch table to see if I could find any of the others and ran into Forrest. He was kind of all over the place and asked where my friends had gone. He wanted to party! We said farewell. Unfortunately I couldn’t find either Aimee or Chris.
And that was the end of my Interpol/Twin Tigers/sometimes Postelles Summer 2010 adventures. I had such a great time and met so many cool people. I would do it all again right now if I could. My next planned Interpol show is on my birthday in NYC. And maybe… maybe… I will see some more shows in the UK in December. Twin Tigers… you need to get your southern butts up here. I’ll see you guys later.
The Interpol show at Toad’s Place in New Haven was great for so many reasons, not the least of which is that the photos that I took got picked up by qromag.com and led to my being asked to cover St. Vincent, tUnE-yArDs, and Basia Bulat for them at Central Park Summerstage a week later. The show was on a Sunday, and I’m a fan of St. Vincent anyway–especially live. I’d photographed her once before, back in 2008 at the Middle East with none other than Basia Bulat. tUnE-yArDs was new to me, but came with my good friend Doug‘s endorsement, so the whole thing was really a no-brainer.
We’ve decided that it’s much nicer to approach New York by car from the North than it is to approach it from the South. From the North you pass through Scarsdale and that whole area, whereas from the South it’s all Jersey and tunnels. We arrived in time to pick up my pass, scope out the food and drink offerings, and generally get the lay of the land. We got a reasonable deal on parking in a garage practically across the street from Summerstage as well. There was a pretty cool booth set up–it may be there for all the shows–where you could buy custom silk-screened t-shirts. I realized once I got home that Merrill Garbus, the woman behind tUnE-yArDs, was purchasing a shirt when I was photographing the booth.
The fabulous Merrill Garbus (tUnE-yArDs) buying a custom-silkscreened t-shirt at Central Park Summerstage before her show with St. Vincent and Basia Bulat. Merrill, I promise that I took better pictures of you that day–see below!
There was a big photo pit, and quite a few other photographers were working the show. It was supposed to rain, but nary a drop fell all afternoon.
Basia Bulat exudes a genuine sweetness. She’s the kind of performer that you can describe as refreshing and not feel cheesy or cliched for saying it. I’m not positive, but it looked to me like she was playing with the same group she had assembled when we saw her back in 2008, including her brother on drums.
Basia Bulat at Central Park Summerstage. Photo by Terri Wise, www.qromag.com.
Highlights for me were “In the Night” and “Before I Knew,” both from the album Oh, My Darling. The rest was good, too, but I admit that my previous familiarity with those two songs made them stand out for me.
Basia Bulat. Photo by Terri Wise, www.qromag.com.
Next up was tUnE-yArDs. I think it would be fair to say that she pretty much stole the show. That’s saying something, because both Basia Bulat and St. Vincent played well.
tUnE-yArDs. Photo by Terri Wise, www.qromag.com.
People say she ratchets everything up a notch for her live performances, and now that I’ve heard her recorded material, I can vouch for that assessment. It’s not that the recordings aren’t enjoyable, but the live performance has significantly more kick, more fire. She drew in the crowd almost immediately and had everyone dancing, at one point jumping up and down, and cheering for more. When she sang “throw your money on the ground” in “Yes You,” I swear a few people were probably emptying their pockets.
tUnE-yArDs at Central Park Summerstage. Photo by Terri Wise, www.qromag.com.
Her set left me wondering what we can expect from her new record, which I believe she is finishing up as soon as she wraps up her current tour. If she captures half of what she showed live, the record’s going to be awfully good. Good friend Doug (mentioned above) pointed us to a live recording of a show she did at The Rock Shop in Brooklyn the next night. I HIGHLY recommend it.
It was a long afternoon, and though I was honestly starting to feel a little wiped out by the time St. Vincent got started, her set did not disappoint. What did disappoint a little bit was the sound. From where I was standing for most of her set–kind of off to the side–I couldn’t tell exactly what was wrong, but people were calling out for the sound guys to turn down the bass. It was a bit distracting, but I didn’t notice it after a while.
St. Vincent at Central Park Summerstage. Photo by Terri Wise, www.qromag.com.
Every time I see her perform I am struck both by her cuteness and by her seriousness as an artist. She assembled quite an impressive backing band–including, I realized toward the end of the show, Ian Hendrickson-Smith, a guy I knew briefly in school back in State College.
St. Vincent at Central Park Summerstage. Photo by Terri Wise, www.qromag.com.
I’d seen her on one of her first shows in support of her second album, Actor, and at that time the songs sounded perfectly fine to me–but just fine. As I would expect, the songs sound much better now that she’s been playing them live for a while. As before, the one older tune that she pulled out was “Your Lips Are Red,” which includes one of my favorite lines: “Your skin’s so fair, it’s not fair.” I know Actor was only released last year, and it’s a good album, but I find myself ready for new material from her.
The show wrapped up slightly early–just in time for us to get back to our car before the garage rate went up. On top of the show itself and the experience of photographing it (outdoors, in the daytime, which was good practice since I’m used to shooting in smaller, darker places at night), it was nice to just be in New York on a Sunday. I look forward to doing more of this sort of thing when the right opportunities present themselves.
While taking down our Christmas tree this past weekend, I decided to take pictures of my vintage ornaments before putting them away. Over the next several days (weeks?) I’ll be posting pictures and any info I feel like adding about my collection of vintage Christmas ornaments. I won’t post every single ornament, but I’ll include quite a few of them. I also hope to post more about my much bigger collection of vintage Christmas postcards, and I may get into some of my other collections and treasures as well (socks, books, music). But I’m starting off with what gave me the idea–the ornaments.
In general, I collect what I like. I’m not looking for the most valuable items or necessarily for a particular manufacturer or artist. Instead, I’m looking for what appeals to me–and in the case of vintage ornaments, they have to be genuinely old, not reproductions. I think most of my vintage ornaments are from the 1930s-1950s. Perhaps someone with a lot of knowledge in this area will come upon these posts and tell me more about what I’ve got (and also let me know if I have any misinformation).
Just because, I’ll start with the stripes. Some of these are a bit newer–50s and 60s. I’ll share some older ones in future posts. The clear–or unsilvered–ones may be from the 40s. The story goes that during WWII metals were needed for the war effort, so Christmas ornaments produced during this time were made with unsilvered glass.
This next one seems older. The glass is heavier and sort of frosted and it shows a different sort of wear.
This next one also seems older to me. It’s a bit smaller than many, and something about the glass and the way it’s worn makes me think it’s older.
I love the colors of the one below.
Watching Flying Down to Rio on TCM, I was moved to check out more about the film’s star, Dolores Del Rio. In my search, I came across some strange, wonderful, and sometimes creepy images.
(Photographer for the above two images: Slim Aarons)
A restyled doll by Juan Albuerne
And a beautiful one…
And a fabulous one…