Thinking of a Longtime Friend

Earlier today as I was waiting for the elevator, a man who closely resembled a healthy mix of my Dad and a mafiq hitman who is either on his way to execute a contract or preparing for a life in witness protection . Though I didn’t mention either, his striking look and mannerism seemed enough to get us past the usual “How are you today?” or any mentions of the weather.

MandyII-1Though memories of Just Jake’s, Depot Square, The Meatlocker didn’t immediately roll off the tongue. My long time friend, Mandy did. Having lived in New Jersey for over a decade, Montclair, with it’s little downtown always offered something to eat, drink or do. No matter the draw of the town, it was always the time I spent with my longtime friend  that made everything seem so much better. Her laugh, her smile, her kindness and positive attitude always inspired me in enen the darkest times. Despite our geographical locations and the fact that we are almost polar opposites, we’ve managed to stay close friends for over thirty years. Now, with her now living in Europe and me residing on the West Coast, it hard to say when we’ll be able to sit in the same room together. However, with tools such as Skype and social media, I’m sure we’ll be able to keep in touch for years come. If you’re lucky enough to find someone, anyone who loves you unconditionally and not only accepts you for who you for who you, but reminds you how special you are to them, be sure they know how much you appreciate and cherish the fact that they’re a part of your life. Thanks to that dude by the elevator for jogging my memory.

MandyI-1

Butterflies II

I got to the gallery about a half hour into the show. Traffic  was typical during rush hour. Three exits and forty five minutes later I arrived at the gallery. I parked in the lot adjacent to the gallery and could see one of my photos hung with care through the freshly washed front window. As I entered I was greeted by the galleries curator. She mentioned a couple of people had come earlier to see my work. I’ve been to countless openings in my lifetime both as an artist and a spectator. Never have I experienced someone showing up in the first few minutes ans leaving immediately after. I felt bad about missing them but took comfort in the fact that each one  lived in town and didn’t travel too far. She then informed me that due to the backing on one of the frames only two of the three pictures made it to the wall. I thought it odd that they tried and tried but just couldn’t hang it but was not really bothered by it.

So I grabbed my complimentary cup of coffee and made my way from one image to another. There was a very eclectic array of images throughout the gallery. Some that made my eyes pop. Others that had me scratching my head. I worked my way from the back of the gallery to the front grabbing a handful of stale crackers on the way. (Yuck, is serving stale crackers and flat soda a tradition at exhibition openings?) As I came to my second image, a somewhat abstract offering; I quickly noticed they had hung it upside down. At first I gasped in embarrassment, then laughed. I ran to the back and explained how I noticed the mistake. “When paint drips or runs; it tends to go down, not up. She quickly ran up front and turned it right side up. We both laughed about it. People see things differently. Mistakes happen and nothing is perfect. Even in a perfect world.

A few moments later I asked if I could get a copy of the bio they had written. Last week as I was about to write one I was contacted by gentlemen there  saying that, “they themselves” prepared the bios for shows there. “If I could just send some basic info and a link to my work”, they’d take care of it. I sent them a basic outline and links to my new sites I had recently built with WIX.com . As I was handed the book containing the bios I cringed. The man in charge basically copied the two sentence outline I sent and  handwritten a link to, of all things,  my Model Mayhem account. I didn’t even send him that link. Suddenly I wanted to rip the bio out from the book, take my pictures from the wall and run like mad. Though I had taken it all with a grain of salt I was beginning to feel a little angry. Soon after I headed out and headed home. I felt bad for anyone that stopped in before I arrived or after I left but the whole thing made uncomfortable and a bit disappointed. It’s not the end of the world by any stretch of the imagination but I wish I could have done something to fix things before they got broke.

Upcoming Appearance

This coming Thursday, November 15th, three images from my ‘Left Behind’ series will be featured in an exhibition at Montclair  NJ’s Gallery U. I’m really excited and honored to be working with Gallery U as they do a tremendous amount of work in their community and beyond. This is the first time I’m exhibiting work since my departure from the COOP at SOHO Photo Gallery.      Come out for the fun of opening night or stop by during the exhibitions one month presence. See you there. JD

Four Fingers; Good Guys Make Good.

Here it is Monday and my plans to finally take the last half of what is to be a new portfolio to Duggal. My ADHD has kicked in hard and I’ve just about given in to it. I know for a fact my senses will return but in the meantime it’s best to just let things go. So I digress and look back on a Friday that had a shaky start but finished on very solid ground.

Dave and I have planned to head to Monclair to check out the band Four Fingers. Dave had recently reviewed their 7 inch on his blog and was pretty pleased with what he had heard. I’ve know the band for some time having seen them live and interviewing them for my website Unite. Unfortunately, Dave got sick and  I was on my own.  I pulled in around 9:00 and to be honest didn’t quite feel up for it. So I gave my friend Mandy a call to see if I could coax her out for a drink. Maybe seeing a friend would take the edge off.  To my delight she was already at Jake’s, which is just a few doors down from the club. “Come on over she said.” with glee in her voice. Just as the call ended I ran into the bands drummer Chris. “Hey Chris, can you text me before you go on?” “I’m going to meet a friend for a drink.”

The bar was in full swing. Complete with a forgettable cover band. I met up with Mandy and shared a few drinks. Mandy is one of my oldest and dearest friends. No matter where we are she introduces me to everyone around saying “He’s an amazing photographer.” Then going on to tell the tale of how we met in an A&P parking lot when we were teens and how we’ve been inseparable since. Just across the way I spotted Milton and headed over to say hello. The conversation, vibe and free beer were great but before I knew it I got that text. Promising to return I headed over to Meatlocker to catch the bands set. Four Fingers never let me down. The band personifies the ethos, sound and reckless abandon that drew me to Punk in the first place. Parts Adrenalin O.D., parts Black Flag with the danger of the Stooges. Tohm is a great front man who’s interaction with the  crowd insures they get involved. However that wild abandonment often leads to injuries. This time his face was covered in blood before the second song was done.I’ll say this “Real blood is always better than fake blood.”  Tohm, you’re a good dude but tone it down. Immediately after I headed back to the bar where I spent the rest of the night hanging with Mandy and getting to know my new friend Milton a little better. Not a bad way to start the weekend.

Forward: I’ve seen Four Fingers several times at the Meatlocker. The invites always emphasize “Everyone pays. No exceptions.” Yet Tohm always insists I do not pay.  I don’t consider myself special or immune from paying but it says a lot about Tohm and the band. After the set he gave me their CD “Good Luck with the Surgery”. When I got home I was both happy and surprised to see they used the band photo I took of them the night we did the interview. I was also very happy to see they gave me a photo credit.  Thus furthering my love for their ‘good guy’ status.

Friendship

I’ve always felt very temporary about myself. The word permanent is wrapped in pitfalls. In life we move from place to place. From job to job. Even marriage seems to be a temporary situation for most these days. People come in and out of our lives in the blink of an eye. With all that said I’ve managed to make friends early on in life that still remain near and dear to my heart. People who’s presence defy classifications. No matter how long it’s been since we talked or how far the distance in miles we may be, remain close to the heart. I’ve been lucky in that regard. Which brings me to Mandy. I met her while skateboarding in a parking lot. I was an obnoxious sixteen year old at the time and if I remember correctly. She hated me at first but somehow a friendship was formed and almost twenty five years later we’re closer than ever. She’s been there for me through thick and thin and has always been an inspiration. Recently on a trip to Germany she met a man and fell head over heals in love. She’s back in Germany now and may be living there with him for the unseen future. I wish her all the love and happiness she deserves. I’ll miss her but there is no doubt in my mind that we’ll remain connected and see one another some time in the near future. We got together a week before I left for Florida and she for Germany. We finally had that bacon martini and ass juice we had been planning for so long. And I got to show her my favorite bar. Below are a couple of pictures I took that night along with a couple of my favorites.

Mandy @ Double Down

Santa Night Year II

Wow, after months of consistent posting I’ve totally let December get away from me. Blame it on the crazy season. A time when advertisers try to convince us that diamonds and cars wrapped in big red ribbons are what our loved ones expect to see under the tree every Christmas. It’s been a busy month for me shooting and making plans to see family. About a week ago I volunteered my camera and dignity  to the now annual Santa Night. Caroling, raising money and a little hell for the New Jersey chapter of the Cervical Cancer Coalition. My good friend Mandy Weiss, along with others, do an amazing job. Here are some pictures I took along the way. Check out the page to see what you can do in your area and do what you can to get involved.  http://www.facebook.com/NCCC.NJ?v=box_3 .

Stoppin' for Fresh Cuts in Montclair.
Stoppin' for Fresh Cuts in Montclair.

Aren't they cute?
They be Elfin'.
That's Mandy in the middle.
My Favorites
Pity the Bus Driver.
"Did somebody call the Fire Department?"
"Did somebody call the Fire Department?"
Elves in training.
No one said volunteering was without it's risks and injuries.

Hope everyone has a great Holiday and remembers there’s always time to help others in need.

Halloween 5K

Saturday morning I volunteered in Montclair  for the Halloween 5K for Cervical Cancer. I can’t say enough about the volunteers and organizers who devoted their time, money and passion to this event. Raising funds, awareness and eduction for cervical cancer is paramount and it’s people like these who make it happen. To see the hard work, energy and dedication of these amazing people is both inspiring and rewarding. Respect to Mandy, Cristina and all the others that made this possible and for letting me be a part. It’s people like this who helped me realize how much volunteering and being active in your community can be. We can all make a difference.

Volunteers
Sponsors
Organizer, Congressman, Lawyer.
Family
Awesome Kids
Remember and honor the loved ones we've lost.
Keep the pace.

 

Stay Hydrated.
Finish strong but don't leave anyone behind.
Don't let the kids eat all of the bananas.
Because gorillas get hungry and just might eat your children.