Vintage Pinball Machine at Zern's of Gilbertsville, PA.
Snapped with a 2005 Samsung cellphone camera.
My life was very different five years ago for a variety of reasons. For one, I didn't have this particular platform for sharing images from my life, work and personal interests. I had spent a few months using an online TypePad photo album, but it didn't provide the broad scope of Flickr or the interactive buzz of the looming Facebook Explosion. In the Spring of 2007, I began blogging in earnest and the process (and product) fit me like a glove.
Recently, I began scanning discs of archived photos that I shot BEFORE this journey in The Blogosphere began for me. The ones you see here were taken with a 2001 Nikon Coolpix 995 digital camera or a 2005 Samsung phone with a 2.2 megapixel capability behind its tiny lens.
Five to eight years out from having snapped these images, I must say that I find the less-than-spectacular resolution on some of these rather charming. If nothing else, they serve the same purpose as snapshots wedged into the frame of a mirror: While seeing constant visual content of my life today, I can look upon, around and (in a way) through these to find the thread I followed to this moment.
At home in silver and stripes: June 2004.
Finished attic lounge at the home of my friends Pete and Mike: March 2006.
(Yes, it's a year round Christmas Tree. Deal with it.)
A whirl at vintage Scribbage with my friend Janie: February 2005.
Very early morning in my living room (before a HUGE collectibles edit): 1 January 2004.
Two shots from a walk through the driveway of an insanely decorated home in Aberdeen, New Jersey with some of my cousins: December 2005.
A grainy side-stage cellphone moment with Depeche Mode.
Madison Square Garden. NYC: December 2005.
Another grainy cellphone moment with Depeche Mode.
PNC Arts Center. Holmdell, NJ: May 2006.
Something like an apothecary chest. Frenchtown, NJ: May 2005.
"Doo, doo, doo... Lookin' out my back door..."
An amazing (unretouched) sunset. Basking Ridge, NJ: June 2005.
Blue dusk. White Fog. Behind my house.
Basking Ridge, New Jersey: May 2003.
Cabin fever cure: A walk along Spring Valley Boulevard.
Basking Ridge, New Jersey: February 2004.
Glass dragonflies from Drug Fair... Oh, how I miss that place.
Basking Ridge, New Jersey: June 2005.
More glass dragonflies: Ikea of Elizabeth, New Jersey: May 2005.
A fuzzy friend from an apple picking trip. Oldwick, New Jersey: October 2006.
Harvest bushels in the barn. Oldwick, New Jersey: October 2006.
Minebrook Stock Farm. Flemington, New Jersey: May 2005.
The first of (what would, in years, become) many more New Year's Eve celebrations.
This annual event always feels like something between a rock concert and a midnight mass.
Patti Smith and her band. Bowery Ballroom NYC. Midnight: 1 January 2006.
A moment at the lip of the stage in which I trapped Tori Amos in that old cellphone.
Somehow, this image manages to be tie dye AND spin art at the same time.
In some ways, I think I like it better than some of the clear shots I took of her two years later.
She was performing the hypnotic (and somewhat hymnal) song "The Beekeeper" and I distinctly recall the feel of my elbows and forearms on the stage.
Tweeter Center. Camden, NJ: August 2005.
T-Shirts, Incarcerated. West Village NYC: June 2005.
Curbed on Trash Day: Admiration Vegetable Oil @ 2.2 megapixels.
West 10th Street NYC: July 2005.
Cartoon Bob is in face down in the gutter. I have no idea why.
West 13th Street NYC: July 2005.
Dead Letter Office: Transparent Calligraphy in rain.
5th Avenue. Upper East Side NYC: July 2004.
Do Not Move. Parsons School of Design NYC: July 2006.
(Incidentally, it was around this time that I started using the phrase "art skool damage" to describe things of a specific nature that I saw, made or said.)
Mannequins under glass. Frenchtown, NJ: May 2006.
Our seats were WAY better than my cellphone camera would depict.
WHY didn't I just carry the "good" camera to this show?
Regardless... Here's Madonna: In the saddle, performing "Like A Virgin".
Madison Square Garden NYC: July 2006.
Yes, those are fiber optic angel wings and yes, they do flutter... ever so slowly.
Zern's Flea Market. Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania: August 2005.
This room of Keith Haring murals used to be a men's restroom at the Gay & Lesbian Community Center on West 13th Street in New York City. Having once attended a birthday party here in the mid-1990s, I was amazed by (and felt slightly protective of) this space. At that point, Mr. Haring had been lost from complications due to AIDS for 7 years and I knew that this site-specific work was irreplacable and that its culture-meets-subculture value was extremely high. I immediately understood his concept of the "dirty bathroom wall drawing" being elevated to High Urban Art, albeit with a naughty wink.
Nine years later, I revisited The Center (as it's often called) and was pleased to find that the artwork was not only in pristine shape, but also discovered that the restroom plumbing had been removed. The "Please Wash Hands Before Leaving" signs had remained post-renovation, taking on a whole new meaning in a raw space festooned with pornographic drawings. Regardlessm the long, narrow, high-ceilinged vault had been repurposed into what was called the Keith Haring Conference Room.
Now, if THOSE walls could talk...
Gay & Lesbian Community Center. West Village NYC: July 2005.
Art is where you find it. Somerville, NJ: May 2005.
And then there's THIS...
I conclude this post with what was billed as An Evening With Siouxsie.
While it certainly WAS everything the billing suggested, it was also an evening of VH-1 sponsored mayhem at an oversold venue which was inappropriately small for the artist and her audience, an aborted "oops, we weren't supposed to let you in yet" shitshow (which found many of us scooped from the floor into an enclosed side bar for 30 minutes) and an indignant, fuck-all attitude from event security.
Did I mention the pepper spray that lovingly misted us prior to exit?
Regardless, Siouxsie and Co. infused the glorious space between the annoying events that bookended this show with a positively electrifying set of songs that drew an arc across the 80s, 90s and 2000s.
She even gave me a direct (nearly nose-to-nose) face-on shout during "A Strutting Rooster".
It also marked the last collaboration she would have with Budgie, whom she would later divorce.
BB King's Bar & Grill. 42nd Street NYC: September 2004.
There's another reason why I've decided to end this post here...
As I said, in looking through these images, I've been looking beyond them to events that were to follow.
I attended this show with a group of people who did not know one another... I was the only common thread among them. My crew for the evening was:
-Bruce Hodges (friend in all things alt-culture and event planner who would later become a respected Modern Classical Music journalist and NYC arts and culture blogger).
-Marilyn Tuzzo (indescribable well of energy, insight and enduring friend as well as fellow teacher).
-Kelly Merklin (former student from a Parsons Summer Program in 2000 with whom I had developed what would become a long-lasting friendship).
-Billy Jacobs (former student from a Parsons Summer Program in 2003 who was just coming back into NYC for the first week of classes in his Parsons BFA Program).
While all parties enjoyed one another's company on this night (as I thought they would) I suspected that something else among this group would develop in its own quiet way, given what I knew about some of its members. It was at this show that Billy met Kelly... and soon after they were a couple.
Six years out from that day, "Billy&Kelly" is still a one-word phrase.