Tag Archives: thought

OMG! It was soooo GAY!!!

Vibrant stallions of luv in their underwear strutting their stuff on the boulevard… Where else can you revel in such awesomeness than in the Fabu Dallas Gay Pride Parade? I go every year. Mostly for the guys in their undies and I have no shame to admit that. Woohoo for almost naked men!!! But let’s ease into the event by describing the audience first, the normal folks like you and me.

bgaypride2_009

So at Gay Pride, mostly, the peeps in attendance are not like you and me after all. They have a more… Flamboyant side. So the show is as much in the parade than on the sidewalks. Sometimes it’s even way better on the sidewalks.

bgaypride_032Bob, Grat, Bill, and Emmett (Joe, Jack, William, et Averell for the Frenchies out there)

bgaypride_033A cowboy needs nothing else than his hat and boots. Obviously!

bgaypride_036My buddies from last year! Still voguing!!!

gaypride2_005The only heterosexual present but so fearful he wrote “Vaginas r Awesome” on his chest. Dude! Was this really necessary?

bgaypride_014One always needs a little bear love…

bgaypride2_020Or koala bear love (check out the boots by 90 degree weather!)

bgaypride_006This type of skirt is totally in this year for your information

bgaypride2_016See what I’m sayin’? I must get me one of these

bgaypride2_008And also lesbian chic is mowhawkish… I had no idea!

bgaypride2_014King’s Road Revival

bgaypride_005If you don’t sport a Mowhawk, I don’t think you stand a chance with da ladies in 2009

bgaypride_031There is always a man with big balls (I think I already made that joke but I can’t resist)

bgaypride_028And a lonely man who would gain popularity, no doubt, if he wore better shorts

bDanceSome did a little dance, made a little love

adance2And others followed suit

bgaypride_007Some just looked way too cool even if their pants were tucked in their tennis shoes

bgaypride_004Some had primo seating arrangements (especially compared to me that had no seating arrangements whatsoever)

bgaypride_021A hippie looking dude reclined under the shaded trees while I, a GIRL, agonized in the burning sun and is that even fair?

bgaypride_012Thank goodness, this chick made up for all the non-moving reclined attendants with her enthusiasm. She was VERY enthusiastic.

agaypride_026And these two characters were rather rambunctious as well but for Pete’s sake, where was the Japanese short police?

bgaypride_020Did you know that gay men have very good taste in underwear? Probably because they show them to so many people!

Now, don’t think that everybody had as good a time as the folks above depicted. Oooh no! I think some had a pretty crappy time actually.

bgaypride_002There was the dog in a bag. He looked pretty downtrodden if you ask me.

gaypride2c_001Then there was the dog who fought for his life

bgaypride_035And the little boy who was so tired from all the gayness

bgaypride_034The dehydrated nonna

gaypride2b_001And last but not least this poor little horse that looked way too frail to accommodate all that weight.

Now that totally pissed me off big time! I hope that horse still has a back. In case no one had the guts to tell this guy, let me: “you are way too non-thin to ride a pony!” Sometimes, you just have to call a cat a cat.

To be continued…

I’m the photographer who says poop

Bathroom humor? Not exactly my cup of tea. My mother would have never allowed it. In my family, bodily functions either were frowned upon or simply did not exist. The mere utterance of the word “caca” would have provoked desert deprivation for days… and if you know anything about my mom’s baking abilities, this is not a risk you would ever be willing to take. So caca became the much more poetic lala. For cake sake.

Zap to 40 years later and you have one pretty screwed-up adult. Moi. Laid back and uptight at the same time, all wrapped up in a small neurotic package.

The day started early. I packed cameras, lenses, and all the other good stuff, grabbed a latte with a few extra espresso shots, and met Julie, Barbara, and the two terrors for a photo shoot at the Arboretum. I had photographed the kids on many occasions but when they are so young, a few months elapse, and you find yourself in front of very different little peeps… And there always comes a time, ALWAYS, when the dreaded “cheese” comes into play.

abb_041

One day the kids give you the most natural smile in the world, then, perhaps victims of school photographers (note the perhaps if you happen to be a school photographer), the kids start grimacing painfully every time you point the camera in their direction. It takes a whole lot of patience and coaxing to get them back to being themselves. And sometimes, the habit appears so ingrained that nothing works. If you ask them not to smile and just relax, this is what you get:

abb_029

But sometimes a miracle happens and you see the light!

abb_032Look, the statue is NAKED!!!

Naked. That’s all it took!

abb_035

After this, piece of cake. When you find a cow, you must milk it for all it’s worth.

abb_043POOP!

abb_090Shake your BOOTIES

abb_101The frog is PEE-PEEING!

So here is the sad truth. I have become the photographer who says poop. I feel quite certain my mother would disapprove greatly of this pathetic turn of event, but I discovered I would really do anything to get that shot. Sigh. Julie recommended the book “Everybody Poops” to get over myself. It really seems like a good idea.

Nevertheless, I still much prefer the images of pensive children, the ones where, if they smile, it’s subtle, and if they don’t, they are simply caught being themselves.

abb_018

abb_028

abb_073

abb_078

I wish I had a more serious photograph of the little dude, but after the first time I said poop, there was no going back. Point of no return was reached. The kid had a smile plastered on his face for the remainder of the session. Perhaps I would have been a happier kid too had I been allowed to say caca. Just writing this word is enough to make me feel guilty and ashamed.

Some say you never recover from your childhood. Isn’t that the truth?! But today, after this session, I definitely feel one step closer to my deep-down buried inner scatological self. I’m just not sure it’s such a good thing… I need to go call my mom.

The Night I joined the Peace Core

It was a dark school night of March when Dorin the Cougar showed me the full extent of her groupiness (in the spiritual sense, not Pamela De Barres way – which would make this post much juicier but even cougars have morals nowadays. sigh.) I had had hints of her fierce rock ‘n roll  attitude in the past but had never really had the pleasure to witness it first hand.

labo_0041

For her birthday week-end, Dorin had driven more than 200 miles to Oklahoma City on Friday to catch a concert of Roger Clyne and the Peacemaker (RCPM for the initiated – and I will consider you initiated for the rest of this story), then had come back to Dallas on Saturday to attend The Old 97’s gig, and on Sunday night, she picked me up and drove another 40 miles to go see… RCPM play AGAIN! Thank goodness for the environment it’s not her birthday very often!

drams20

After duly plugging my ears and breathing a set of second hand smoke from The Drams (good but hellbent on destroying lung tissue), I saw Dorin head to the bar and order tequila shots in anticipation of the main event – the shots, not for her… but for front man Roger Clyne.  Along the edge of the stage, tiny glasses began to appear from all directions. A tradition. A bit like buying beer for the sushi chef in a mark of appreciation. But beforehand. The atmosphere was quite friendly. People seemed to recognize each other from previous shows, and were exchanging hellos and knowing smiles. Dude, love was in the air.

rcpm_0821

Then… there was Tim. Young blond Tim with the huge sombrero. Tim who was celebrating his birthday. Tim who knew no one  at the beginning of the show and was everybody’s best friend at the end (but I doubt he remembers any of this very clearly.)

rcpm_0122

Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers were born out of the ashes of the Refreshments (think “Banditos” or the King of the Hill’s theme song.) The band split in 98 not through lack of talent, but unsupported by new management at Mercury records, and plagued by various personal problems of band members (think rock ‘n roll: drugs and nervous breakdowns.)

rcpm_0561

When offers from other record companies did not pile up in the mail, freshly unRefreshed Roger Clyne, a ranger’s son who majored in anthropology and psychology at Arizona State, and P.H. Naffah, the quiet drummer with the pre-med degree, packed backpacks and guitars and set out to the desert near Tucson in search of a new direction. The soul searching venture was to last the biblical 40 days… but it got hot and they ended up in a bar after 17 days (which Roger deemed plenty.) They took the resulting songs to Phoenix bars for happy hours, and fairly rapidly received an enthusiastic response from the audience. The band with the name of a Colt bringing out peace was created.

brcpm_132

Three other musicians joined the Peacemakers through natural circumstances, almost by accident.  Gin Blossoms’ clean-cut Scotty Johnson on guitar, consummate rebel guitarist “Dirty” Steve Larson from the defunct Dead Hot Workshop, and a walking music encyclopedia, bassist Danny White who brought his country sensibility to the Peacemakers. The odd quintet boarded a van (dubbed rolling germ tube by P.H.) and hit the road with Jamie Lee, the road manager.

brcpm_0851

The Peacemakers never benefited from the support of a major label. As an independent band, they had to gain their audience the hard way: “Get in the van and pour your heart out for two hours everysingleshow” Clyne commented in the documentary “Long ride Home.” Fans began to follow the band from town to town. This first vague of traveling adulators called themselves the Texas Troublemakers. They are the reason why, to this day, the musicians select a different set list for every show and make sure to pack enough clothes never to have to wear the same outfit two days on the row. They’d, like, totally get called on it.
.

rcpm_113

Not just anyone could join the troublemakers. Oh no siree! You first had to be initiated to belong (which basically meant you hung out with these folks for a few days, and if they liked you, you were in.) They used to wear nametags at RCPM concerts. They even gave Roger his own: “Hello, my name is Roger” that he stuck on his guitar, and a “Roger for President” bumper sticker that he put on the back of the instrument. There always was a genuine connection between the band and its fans.
.
brcpm_0661.
The current second vague of rabid fans constitutes the Peace Core. The prevailing attitude is largely that the band makes music for them and the fans give back in their own way. Their faithful following always propels the band instantly to the top ten internet sale chart when they release a new CD… Quite the accomplishment for an independent band.
.
rcpm_127
.
It’s not rare to see a Peace Core member come to a concert bearing gifts. The boys like their sweets! I have it under good authority that P.H. likes anything butterscotch and I surmise Roger likes Tequila – 100% Blue Agave – more than anything else in the “things that you ingest” world. Home-cooked meals are a hit for guys who spend most of the year on the road: Dorin even has a friend who brings spaghetti at their concerts!
After studying the band for the sake of this story, I suggest gifts of fireworks (you would not believe the excitation provoked by the sight of Evil Warlock or Monkey Car exploding devices!)
.
rcpm_0591
.
Talking about fireworks, twice a year, the Peacemakers stage a big concert (4 hour set – 50 songs) in Puerto Penasco in Mexico, a three-day Circus Mexicus Extravaganza where the musicians mix in casually with the audience at functions such as the Mananathon, formerly known as “hangover brunch” on Sunday. Over the years, the almost intimate gathering which started in 2000 has become a huge deal where thousands descend for a week-end of music, tequila, and the sea (oh, of course, the boys detonate a shitload of fireworks too!)  Some old fans long for the days where only a few hundreds of them made the trip down to the Sea of Cortez and the accent was a little less on the partying aspect. But for now, let’s just hope that the swine flu scare does not affect attendance too much this year – the next Extravaganza is scheduled to take place from June 5th through June 7th, 2009.
.
rcpm_126
.
The Peace Core most definitely possesses a sense of ownership. It’s their band. The attachment appears almost cultish in nature. The current line-up includes only two members of the original band: Roger and P.H., and every time the band sheds one of its own, you’d think it’s the frigging end of the world! The new musician has big shoes to fill. Pressure… The same sinking feeling happens when, with the band’s increasing success, the old fans have to fight their way to the front of the stage. It did not use to be that way. They are “losing” their band to strangers… and young’uns too! How dare they?!
.
brcpm_0941Guitarist Jim Dalton who replaced “Dirty” Steve Larson, the newest addition
.
rcpm_070Nick Scropos on bass
.
rcpm_074P.H. Naffah on drums
I’m no rock critic. I count strings before being able to tell the difference between the bass player and the guitarist. In other words, I’m the least qualified individual to speak in knowing terms about music. All I know is when these guys hit the stage, they deliver with crazy energy and conviction. The Clyne dude has the charisma of two Obamas and he is funny too. It’s bandido rock at its best!
.
rcpm_129
.
Audience response? The attendants freakishly know all the lyrics and sing along like it’s gospel except what’s lauded here is the love of tequila amidst other southwestern themes. In 2007, Clyne even produced his own 1,000 bottles of Tequila, Mexican Moonshine.
.
tequila_001Clyne meditating amongst the pinas destined to be chopped, roasted, shredded and fermented into tequila
.
rcpm_103
.
What is also cool about this band is that their independence gives them the opportunity to explore uncharted territories and relate the experience to their fans. In January 08, the band rented a small seaside house in Mexico, and produced 8 songs in 8 days, “from creative impetus to final mix.” J. boots, the official videographer (self-taught guitarist at 27, former roomate of American Pie’s Steve Stiffler, and compelled occasional trumpet player) filmed the experience which was then shared every day on the RCPM site. The end result was the CD “Turbo Ocho.”
This year, breaking grounds once again, they are unveiling their new musical endeavor “Glow in the Dark”, one song at the time, on their website… Website which is currently kaput but no one is perfect and they sent out a nice note to all their fans to acknowledge the problem.
.

brcpm_0641J Boots (a hottie in his own right)

In the end, I understand better now why my buddy Dorin shows so much interest in this band. I’m converted (in a non-practicing sort of way.) More than anything, these are lovable good guys that play intelligent organic rock (I mean organic in the sense that they don’t rely on any fancy shmancy clicktracks or samplings – it’s just the four dudes with vocals, guitars, bass and drums… and J Boots being thrown on stage with a trumpet occasionally.) They do it the hard way, trying to ride a very fine line between art and being able to pay their bills, and it’s in my nature to root for the underdogs (especially quality mutts.)

After the show, they hang out a bit, talking to the fans and letting them take pictures.

rcpm2_014Dorin and P.H.

rcpm2_011Dorin and Roger

scan0003Roger and Dorin in 1996! They haven’t changed a bit! Hee! Hee!

After the photo op, it was time to go home, but then our good friend Tim showed up, walking what seemed to be a winding sidewalk, and crushing his sombrero on the wall for balance while his poor loyal pal tried to put some sense into him: “Tim, man, you’ll be plastered all over the net tomorrow!” Well it took a little longer than that… but to prove your friend right, here it is:

rcpm2_003

Just time to take another one of Tim with fans who were lining up to have their picture taken with the infamous birthday boy…

rcpm2_004

For the people who regularily read my blog, you’re probably wondering about my subject matter this time. Not exactly my usual stuff. I just had so much fun at their concert I felt it would be a good thing to spread the love. Their next gig in Dallas is on May 9th, 2009, at House of Blues… but a word of caution to the newbies out there, I have first dibs on front row. I would not want the love to come back and bite me in the bottom either.

I have pillaged many many sources to write this sprawling piece of more or less random facts: the brain of Dorin and her Troublemaker friends, the Canadian documentary “Long Ride Home”, The article “Tequila-Fueled Tunes” from High Country News, the interview of Roger Clyne by Keith Howardson from Americana Music Times, fan posts, and other articles I failed to bookmark because I’m imperfect.  Alas.

See y’all at House of Blues!

Best ways to spend your AIG bonus in South Beach

If spared by the financial crisis or if discreetly spending your AIG bonus money (like incognito), you should enjoy a nice stay at the Delano Hotel in North South Beach (if among the lucky five who received more than $4 million, you may want to try The Setai.) Xuxa and I being lovers of luxury, we could not resist spending a little bit of time in the famous venues.

sobe1_045

The Delano staff seemed particularly hostile towards photographers.

sobe1_046

After taking one photograph of the long Philippe Starck designed lobby, I was asked rather firmly to put the camera away. We proceeded to the outside bar, followed closely by Buzz-kill. I ordered a $13 Mojito which came in a small plastic cup. At this point, I will recommend you save your Mojito money and spend it wisely on the awesome long glass Mojito at Nikki Beach. I don’t mind the price if the cocktail is particularly good but in this case, it was completely average… So I took more photographs.To avenge my wallet.

note to self: at next scheduled introspection, examine boundary issues.

sobe1_049

The photograph is a bit crooked because of taking it fortuitously, lying on a bed across the pool, pretending to be looking at something else. Xuxa and I loved our time at the Delano very very much, but soon the wind blew us towards The Setai…

sobe1_052

But not before snapping one last time: a decadent drunk sleeping in the hotel lobby. Then we really had to make an exit after Xuxa spotted Buzz-Kill, hurrying towards us, not looking very happy. One last thought: the Delano and the Shore Club are both owned by the same company. On their website, the description of the very pleasant SkyBar at Shore Club includes tips on how to get in: “go early, dress to impress, and bring a model.” Is it just me or is this totally nausea inducing?

Moving right along… The Setai. Xuxa sat at the bar, ordered a lychee Martini, and decreed with nonchalant certainty: “I have come home.”

sobe3_005

So, okay, the Martinis are $16 a piece but they compare to none. The bartender becomes your best friend in a matter of minutes. I could easily live there too.

sobe3_007

Xuxa and I got our portrait taken and you may wonder why I was wearing jeans in this temple of sophistication. The answer is very simple: I packed at the last minute and had a glass of wine in the process. That combination… combines not well and resulted in a large suitcase which content included five pairs of jeans, winter boots, numerous sweaters, and no shoes. It must have been a cold night prior to the departure (I’m also a very light weight: one tiny glass of wine suffices to propel me in a totally happy stratosphere where packing the right clothes appears completely secondary to stuffing the suitcase with a maximum of stuff.)

sobe3_008

After sipping on her Martini for a whole ten minutes, Xuxa Cienfuegos expressed her desire for a more muscular drink: a Sazerac. The bartender improvised a little bit and laid on the counter a glass which resembled no cocktail glasses I had seen in South Beach so far (that would be big.)

sobe3_009

It all went downhill from there.

sobe3_010

Just time for Xuxa to smoke one on the very windy patio.

Aside: she came to Miami with her “last five cigarettes EVER” and they lasted her not even one evening. They were not her last five ever either.

sobe3_012

Her demeanor seemed to indicate that it would be a good thing if we took a cab and went back to our hotel – not the Setai – quickly before we got in trouble. So we did just that.

sobe3_0151

In the hotel room, Xuxa sat on the floor. She announced there would be no better time to do some work. Sigh.

I tried to reason with her.

sobe3_016

She gave me the Olympic raised fist. Her version anyway. In the end, I threw the towel and let her “work.”

The next morning, neither she nor I functioned at the top of our potential. As Xuxa would say: “It’s the downside of knowing how to live.”

Hi! My name is Nathalie and I am a sport addict

I have never considered myself a sport fan by any means, more a nerd who rides her bicycle a lot. I do not watch games on TV. I do not date sport nuts. I never know which teams play in the  Superbowl. So imagine my surprise when I suddenly discovered my inner jock in South Beach and that through no amount of introspection whatsoever.

I was walking up the Rive Droite of Ocean Drive and sat on a little wall to do some people watching with Xuxa. My gaze rested absently on a bunch of men playing beach volley ball. Oooh the sheer intricacies! The strategery! The magic of the little ball flying over the net! Finally a sport I could follow hours after hours after hours… I am not sure I can adequately convey my new found love for the game but I took a few photographs to help you understand.

asobe1_018My favorite

asobe11_110

asobe1_019

asobe2_0311

asobe2_0381

asobe11_115

asobe1_021

asobe1_026

asobe1_023

asobe1_022

asobe11_111

asobe1_032

asobe1_033

I still feel puzzled by my sudden attraction to the game. I self-analyzed all the way back to Dallas and could not come up with any answers… I just know my inner jock is telling me to move close to a beach (preferably in Italy.)

DeLeicatessen

Have I mentioned lately how much my brother sucks?

So, there I am, in Brussels, minding my own business with a good book in front of the fireplace when Chris arrives with camera bags. “We are going to the Christmas Fair. One Leica for you, one for me. Let’s do it!” A film camera? How very… retro! I have not used one of these since 2001. I can’t even remember off-hand how to load the film! My brother is in fact completely passive aggressive on this one: totally setting me up for failure while giving the appearance of being the good brother who shares his toys.

Not being naturally mechanically inclined, I struggle loading the film while keeping all the parts in my little hand. My brother looks on, acting as if I were the biggest idiot he has ever seen. I may be, but no one has to rub it in.

As we drive to downtown Brussels, I resume the situation in my head. It’s dusk (very little light). We will shoot against the Fair’s lights (exposure compensation guesstimate required.) I’ll be using manual focus on moving targets for the first time in a gazillion years. I also happen to be as blind as a bat. I remediate this small impediment for a photographer by adjusting the diopter on my camera, but here… I’m shooting blind.

If that’s not setting up someone for failure, I don’t know what it is! Have I also mentioned how cold it is? It’s FREEZING out there! Have I mentioned my inner wimpitude? If it’s less than 55 degrees outside, it might as well be Alaska and I stay put in a heated house where humans are supposed to remain if they possess an ounce of common sense (which is obviously not the case for my brother.)

74130001The accordeon is popular in winter because it allows the use of gloves. Guitarists must be starving.

74130002Real cheese cut by an elf!

74130003Yummy! Durum! Turkish Sandwiches. Expensive Turkish sandwiches!

74130004Smoking warm wine and skinhead (either that or planetross took his shears to the poor fellow’s head.)

74130005Two photos of the warm wine because I like the smoke and I was hoping the little girl would get warm wine too and I could get a scandalous photograph. She got a soda. I was sorely disappointed.

74130006My favorite merry-go-round in the whole wide world: le Manege Magique.

74130009A little out of focus but I wanted to show the cool submarine. Chris thinks I’m fixated on getting technically correct images and I need to let loose a little. He calls me a stick in the mud basically.

74130008The pterodactyl seems to be one of the kids’ favorite rides.

74130010Poor kids that ended up in the hot air balloon instead of riding a dinosaur.

74130011After parents fought over the octopus, ungrateful little girl of the winning mother yawns and looks bored. She is not coming back to the fair anytime soon.

74130012The Eminem shirt is ruining my ambiance!

74130013This could have been taken decades ago. No Eminem shirt. No outward signs of modernity.

Then it was time for serious business. Messy business. Smooltebollen. Delicious beignet-like five minutes in your mouth five pounds in your buttocks type of deliciousness covered in powdered sugar. We put the cameras away. “Seven for both of us?” my brother asks. “Try fifteen!” I reply totally offended by his lack of good judgement. After we ate seven Smooltebollen each and fought for the last one, we drove home not feeling very well.

So I completely fell in love with my brother’s Leica and I bought his Hasselblad. I needed a light camera for traveling and ended up with massive studio equipment. That’s what I do. Chris never brought back the Leica. He likes to give me a little taste of something then take it back… So the M6 is on the list, right after the 5D Mark II, right after paying the bills and all the other stuff you have to pay.

A Family Affair

Before the blossoming of home computers, families still took time to make photo albums. I take time to raid the family albums. It’s my family too, after all. If you look up on the menu bar (the one that’s… up, not on the side), you’ll notice a new section called Album de Famille. That’s where my crazy family is tucked away. I’ll update my album with new photographs often so if they amuse you, check again in a few weeks!

my-crazy-auntsMy crazy aunt Tita and My crazy aunt Nanou in the sixties