Pecha Kucha Night in Chicago #7

OK, this is the last PKN post for a while, I promise. Here’s a picture I took as I was giving my three dimensional photographic show and tell, and below that, a shot of Derek Erdman presenting his hilarious, poignant,  and slightly deranged tale involving transpacific travel, a tattoo that is now sadly obsolete, bare breasts, and love that goes from unrequited to requited and back again.

Pecha Kucha Night #7 in Chicago. Photo: Jim Newberry
Pecha Kucha Night 7 in Chicago. Photo: Jim Newberry
Derek Erdman presenting at Pecha Kucha 7 in Chicago. Photo: Jim Newberry
Derek Erdman presenting at Pecha Kucha 7 in Chicago. Photo: Jim Newberry

July 4th, 2009 New York Times online NOW! screenshot screenshot

The future is here, and it looks FUCKING AWESOME! The Iraq War has ended, the “National Health Insurance Act” and “Maximum Wage Law” are passed, and a De Beers ad proudly proclaims: “Your purchase of a diamond will enable us to donate a prosthetic for an African whose hand was lost in diamond conflicts.”

This is the handiwork of the diabolically brilliant pranksters known as the Yes Men, who also had a print edition of this paper handed out by volunteers in New York City.

The kindest Uncut: five stars for Plush “Fed”

Broken Horse is releasing the Liam Hayes/Plush album “Fed” in the UK for the first time (it was initially released a few years ago, but only in Japan; you can buy a downloadable version here). British rock magazine Uncut reviewed it in their September issue, giving it five stars–––not too shabby. I did the photography for “Fed,” as well as the publicity shots Uncut ran with the review. It’s rare to get photo credit for promo shots, so I wasn’t expecting one, but Uncut did run one–sort of:

Plush "Fed" review from Uncut magazine, 9/2008
Plush "Fed" review from Uncut magazine, 9/2008
Page 114 of 9/2008 issue of Uncut magazine (detail)
Page 114 of 9/2008 issue of Uncut magazine (detail)
Plush "Fed" cover. Photo: Jim Newberry
Plush "Fed" album cover. Photo: Jim Newberry

Anyhow, I’m glad it’s back in circulation—it’s a mighty swell record.

Tony Clifton in Chicago!

Last Friday at the Chopin Theatre I had the great pleasure of catching the new act from show business legend Tony Clifton.  Some of you may remember when, years ago,  Andy Kaufman would embarrassingly drop Clifton’s name to try to further his own career. Well, 20 or so years later Tony is back and bigger than ever, and when was the last time you saw Kaufman doing anything? I guess Tony Clifton proves that it pays to be a nice guy.

Clifton is touring with his Kiss-My-Ass-Katrina-Orchestra and a troupe of very lovely burlesque dancers. Last night was the end of the Chicago run, but you can experience the magic in Burlington, Vermont on September 9th and New York City on September 10th. Proceeds from the show go toward Comic Relief’s work on behalf of artists affected by Hurricane Katrina.

photo: Jim Newberry
Tony Clifton at the Chopin Theatre in Chicago. Photo: Jim Newberry
photo: Jim Newberry
Tony Clifton at the Chopin Theatre in Chicago. Photo: Jim Newberry
photo: Jim Newberry
Tony Clifton douses the audience with Jack Daniels at the Chopin Theatre in Chicago. Photo: Jim Newberry
Tony Clifton checks the lyrics while singing "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." Photo: Jim Newberry
Tony Clifton checks the lyrics while singing "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." (Tell that girl to stop literally undressing me with her eyes!) Photo: Jim Newberry

$2 haircuts at Pitchfork 2008

Photo: Jim Newberry

No, you idiot, that wasn’t Bonnie Prince Billy at the Pitchfork Festival in Chicago yesterday. As far as I know Mr. Billy has yet to receive his cosmetology license, and I’m sure he would charge a lot more than $2 to introduce the business end of his scissors to the sweaty heads of Sebadoh fans.

I don’t know who that maniacal barber is, but he sure was fun to watch.

UPDATE: Thanks to eagle-eyed, highly informed readers (see comments), I now know that the barber in question is Tim Harrington, singer of Les Savvy Fav, who apparently also was generously administering massages at the festival. Major dude!

Photographers: terrorists?

A good read from The Guardian:

Since 9/11, there has been an increasing war on photography. Photographers have been harrassed, questioned, detained, arrested or worse, and declared to be unwelcome. We’ve been repeatedly told to watch out for photographers, especially suspicious ones. Clearly any terrorist is going to first photograph his target, so vigilance is required.

Except that it’s nonsense. The 9/11 terrorists didn’t photograph anything. Nor did the London transport bombers, the Madrid subway bombers, or the liquid bombers arrested in 2006. Timothy McVeigh didn’t photograph the Oklahoma City Federal Building. The Unabomber didn’t photograph anything; neither did shoe-bomber Richard Reid. Photographs aren’t being found amongst the papers of Palestinian suicide bombers. The IRA wasn’t known for its photography. Even those manufactured terrorist plots that the US government likes to talk about — the Ft. Dix terrorists, the JFK airport bombers, the Miami 7, the Lackawanna 6 — no photography.

Given that real terrorists, and even wannabe terrorists, don’t seem to photograph anything, why is it such pervasive conventional wisdom that terrorists photograph their targets? Why are our fears so great that we have no choice but to be suspicious of any photographer?

Because it’s a movie-plot threat.

I’ve definitely experienced this paranoia; since 9/11 I’ve been told not to take photos numerous times, in situations that wouldn’t have been an issue before. The thing is, if you wanted to take pictures for dastardly purposes, it would be quite easy to do it surreptitiously–why would you walk around with a big ol’ SLR when you could use a hidden video camera, or use your camera phone while you pretend to text someone. I can understand that people feel jumpy and there are very real threats out there, but freaking out about someone photographing a building just seems silly.

And another thing. Once at a Whole Foods store I spied a swell looking stack of oranges that I decided to take a snapshot of with my little point and shoot. Mere seconds elapsed before a staff member told me I couldn’t take photos in the store. In this case, I’m guessing the fear is not of terrorism, but probably more a corporate competitive issue. It seems that all chains have that policy.

Death of traditional photography? Kodak’s hurtin’.


Kodak’s CEO, Antonio Perez, warns that the company might have to raise the price of its photographic paper and chemicals by as much as 20 percent over the forthcoming weeks as the demand for raw materials cause the costs to soar.

Prez said that the entire traditional photography market would be effected by rising prices as aluminium, silver and oil, vital ingredients for the sector, shot up in the last year.

This, added to other costs related to distribution, logistics and shipping expenses, is putting extra pressure on Kodak’s bottom line.

The forthcoming price raise could prompt photographers to either rush to deplete existing stocks at current prices or switch to the digital alternative which would be yet another blow to the ailing traditional photography industry.

— article by Desire Athow