Rest in Peace John Grabski III

Last November I met John Grabski III, who was in town recording an album (as “Teeth”) with Steve Albini at Electrical Audio. I was planning on waiting until the record was pressed to post the photos, but I just heard the terrible news that he died (I’m not yet exactly sure when–sometime in the last few days). He had long known that he had cancer and didn’t have long to live, but nonetheless this came as a shock. I was looking forward to meeting him again and talking to him about the finished record. I only spent a couple hours with him but he made quite an impression in that short time. The record, called “The Strain,” is here.

John Grabski III at Electrical Audio in Chicago. Photo by Jim Newberry.
John Grabski III at Electrical Audio in Chicago. Photo by Jim Newberry.
Steve Albini and John Grabski III at Electrical Audio. Photo by Jim Newberry.

Nordic Thunder places 2nd in world air guitar championship!

Air guitar champion Nordic Thunder photographed by Jim Newberry in Chicago

Beer-spewing, shaggy-haired, self-lacerating, leather-skirt-wearing air-guitar maniac Nordic Thunder (aka Justin Howard), who I had the privilege to photograph for this week’s Reader (see my previous post), has made every single American–and particularly Chicagoans–proud to be a member of the same (or similar) species. Congratulations Nordic, YTMND.

The Interrupters for The Observer

I photographed violence interrupters Ameena Matthews and Cobe Williams for the cover of last Sunday’s London Observer, which also ran in its sister paper The Guardian. Steve James directed a documentary film about the Interrupters which has just recently debuted. You can watch it this month at the Gene Siskel Film Center. (UPDATE: here’s a list of upcoming screenings around the world. The film’s been getting rave reviews.)

Thanks to the friendly staff at CeaseFire for helping coordinate the photo sessions, and to the awesome people I photographed for the story: Ameena, Cobe, Tio, Dee, and Marcus.

Interrupters Ameena Matthews and Cobe Williams. Photo for The Observer by Jim Newberry.

The Interrupters article in The Guardian

Communication Arts photo annual: Juggalos!

I’m excited that a photograph of mine has been selected by the Communication Arts 2011 jury to appear in their Photography Annual 52. The picture is of Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, the frontmen of Christian horrorcore rappers Insane Clown Posse, shot for a Jon Ronson story in The Guardian Weekend Magazine. You can see a behind the scenes shot from that session in the archives, here. Below are pics of the Annual, and also a shot I’ve never shown before, of ICP fans outside the Eagle/Rave after the concert they played the night I photographed them.

Communication Arts Photo Annual 52 tearsheet
Communication Arts Photo Annual 52
Insane Clown Posse fans outside the Eagle/Rave in Milwaukee. Photo by Jim Newberry.

Diane Izzo rests in peace

The luminous, witty, and prodigiously talented Diane Izzo died a couple days ago, of complications resulting from brain cancer. I’d been a fan of her music for years, and was lucky to forge a friendship with her, occasionally play in her backup band, and recently to collaborate on a film that she and her husband Marco were producing.

I’m grateful that in the last few years I was able to make several trips to Taos to visit Diane and Marco–ostensibly to work on the film, which was really fun–but even better was spending time talking and laughing with those two, enjoying the profoundly beautiful New Mexico sky and mountains, and meeting their many remarkable friends.

Diane was a great inspiration to me. The planet won’t be the same without her.

Update: Jim and Greg weigh in.

Diane Izzo with guitar, performing at the Hideout in Chicago