IPHONE PHOTO ROUNDUP: GET STUFFED! TAXIDERMY AT THE CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, GOLDEN GATE PARK, SAN FRANCISCO, CA.

Recently, I was in the beautiful Bay Area to shoot the fab Burger Boogaloo, but also made the trip into a mini family vacay, and we ended up in Golden Gate Park at the impressive California Academy of Sciences. Now, any normal parent would be talking about all the cool exhibits with her teenagers and learning all about science stuff. But instead, I (relatively quietly) hooted and snorted and grinned like a mule eatin' garlic when I came across the gorgeous horror of native dead preserved animals. While others were soberly reading about the exhibits and doing nifty science projects on pretty blond wood tables, I was taking close-ups of birds, reptiles, and others, frozen in time with expressions they probably never exhibited in the wild, forever aghast or judgy or angry, or stunned, or pensive, or just plain loopy. This is how I cope; I used to cry buckets over taxidermy when I was little! The pathos was just too much.

But now, hey, I see it as they live on, people can appreciate them or see things that went extinct, and support conservation in a time of destruction of our lovely world. Also, these make great social media avatars, so, you're welcome. Click to enlarge and please to enjoy.


PHOTOS & REVIEW: THE BACKYARD BUNKHOUSE BBQ BRAWL & ROCK N' WRESTLING RAGER, SISTERS AND BROTHERS BAR, SEATTLE, WA. 7/15/17 (NSFW)

(I couldn't be more proud and excited to have worked on this post with none other than my oldest son, Evan Spellman -- he did the explosive write-up and I took the photos! Thank you, Evan! Workplace readers and sensitive souls {like me}, please note: a few of the images near the end of the post are very graphic and display some pretty shocking and gory stuff... and also there is quite a large fake phallus being tossed about indiscriminately. PS. Everyone is A-OK now, so don't worry! -- Marianne)


The Backyard Bunkhouse BBQ Brawl & Rock n’ Wrestling Rager turned Sisters & Brothers Bar into Lovers & Fighters last Saturday with electrifying performances and devastating dropkicks. One full year in the making, rock n' roll World Champions Stallion hosted the event, uniting punk rock and wrestling for an unforgettable day of champ-class, top-flight entertainment, powered by the good folks at Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, and ending in a wild, end-times battle that Seattle will not soon, if ever, forget.



PHOTOS & REVIEW: BURGER BOOGALOO 2017, DAY TWO, 7/2/17, OAKLAND, CA., WITH JACUZZI BOYS, LA LUZ, NRBQ, FM KNIVES, SHANNON & THE CLAMS, X, AND BUZZCOCKS!

At last, you patient punks: here's my coverage of Day Two of Burger Boogaloo 2017 in swingin' Oakland, Cal-i-for-ni-a! When we last left off, it was the end of a very full and exciting Day One (<-- CLICK THAT to read all about it) which included thrilling sets by the likes of Redd Kross, Guitar Wolf, and (OMG) Iggy Pop, and the far-less-enjoyable Fence Incident™. Said Incident had Your Indomitable Photographer moving slowwwwly on Day Two, which led to me not being able to cover the first three bands of the day on the Gone Shrimpn Amphitheater stage (Patsy's Rats, who are going to be at Seattle's Capitol Hill Block Party July 21, the glamorous Glitter Wizard, and cool cat Roy Loney), and then later in the day, the fab and far-out Quintron and Ms. Pussycat). I regret these omissions and encourage all of you nice people to check out their music and buy their things! Well, only the things they want to sell you like music downloads and t-shirts; don't show up at their homes trying to get a deal on a pencil sharpener or duvet cover or dining set, OK?

By the way, every music festival should have John Waters as host and a giant billboard with his face on it.



PHOTOS & REVIEW: BURGER BOOGALOO 2017, DAY ONE, OAKLAND, CA., 7/1/17 WITH IGGY POP, GUITAR WOLF, NOBUNNY, REDD KROSS, BLOODSHOT BILL, LOSIN' STREAKS, BABY SHAKES, WOUNDED LION, PERSONAL & THE PIZZAS, VERTIGO, AND CAR CRASH!

I'm going to start this multi-day post about Burger Boogaloo 2017 with a video that properly illustrates my deepest feelings about the 8th annual Oakland, California garage/punk music festival. Also, it may inspire you to dance along while you read this, I fervently hope. (Also, this may take forever to load with all the pictures, so dancing is a healthy way to deal with your frustration.)


PHOTOS, VIDEO, REVIEW: STALLION VS. RED RIBBON @ 2017 NWA ROCK N ROLL CHAMPIONSHIP, SEATTLE + PREVIEW: BACKYARD BUNKHOUSE BBQ BRAWL AND ROCK N WRESTLING RAGER!

While all you lazy, good-fer-nuttin' slackmeisters are getting your summer on, all greased up with fancy French sunscreen and playing with $100 vintage recalled Jarts in your frou-frou flowery backyards, Seattle's very own Rock n' Roll Champs™, Stallion, have been "destroying and demolishing as always," brutally wresting aside any competitors on their way to claiming the NorthWest Alliance title of World Rock N' Roll Champions! The belt match was held on June 16, 2017 at Seattle's esteemed Timbre Room where one "Emma Danner" and her band Red Ribbon took on the Trio of Triumph in a nailbiter. Some backstory:


PHOTOS & VIDEO: THE WOGGLES, FUNHOUSE, SEATTLE, WA. 6/23/17 (WITH BONUS SUPPORT VIDEO!)

Do you remember that feeling when you were a kid of how excruciatingly long it seemed to take until your next birthday came around? You'd maybe even diligently mark off months, weeks, and days on a calendar, wailing to anyone who would listen how slowwwwwwww time was moving and that you simply could not wait much longer before exploding! Well, that's how the crowd at Seattle's Funhouse club had been feeling, I am sure, since it's been a jaw-dropping 12 years since the great garage-soul combo The Woggles have played in our fair city! The Emerald City was ready for a ramjam, rollickin' rave-up with the Professor Mighty Manfred and Friends and more than got it in the Funhouse's packed hothouse dance floor. In fact, in all the shows I have ever attended, I have never come out afterward so thoroughly drenched as to appear as I had just exited from an extended swim in Lake Washington. Wooooooo!


PHOTOS & VIDEO: TACOCAT, BOTHELL BLOCK PARTY & BREWFEST, BOTHELL, WA., 5/20/17

Yes, I know we whine about the rain a lot here in the Pacific Northwest, but we just had the wettest wet season on record so let me tell you, when you finally get a sunny day in the 70s here in late May, you celebrate it like all your birthdays rolled into one. How does one handle such bubbling joy? Why, you head on over to the Seattle suburb of Bothell to see Tacocat play the Bothell Block Party and BrewFest, that's what! I had to arrive late and leave early, but I and the generously-sized yeast-and-hops-infused crowd was delighted to see our pop punk feminist sweetheart warriors perform on a stage set up in the cute downtown area. Thank you Greater Bothell Chamber of Commerce and UW Bothell! Please to enjoy!

(Click on the photos to enlarge, and click on THIS HIGHLIGHTED LINK to see them on my Flickr!)


14 THINGS I WANTED FROM THE BACK OF BETTER HOMES & GARDENS MAGAZINE IN THE 1970s

When I was growing up in the '60s and '70s, two strong characteristics emerged for me early on: I loved to read and I loved to shop. I did not discriminate in what I read when I was a kid; if it had WORDS on it, it was to be read. Spaghetti-Os can, Dad's camera manual, Reader's Digest? I GOT YOU. And a chance to get OUT of the house and BUY something, even cereal or socks? YES! We always had lots of books and magazines in the house, including a subscription to Better Homes & Gardens, which like everything else I read cover to cover. In the back of the magazine were small ads, purportedly curated by the editor, many which ran for years. The people reading these ads were housewives and me. These were some of the things I hoped to buy there (and mostly never did) when I was about 9 to 11 years old. Please to enjoy.


WHOA! 38 MORE WEIRD THRIFT STORE ALBUM COVERS!

It's been awhile since I've pulled these from my thrifting outing archives, so LET'S GO and enjoy these odd album covers from the long ago times! Please to enjoy!!

"Organ Moods," uh huh huh huh huh huh huh.



PHOTOS, VIDEOS, & REVIEW: TY SEGALL, AXIS: SOVA, & GAZEBOS @ NEUMOS, SEATTLE 3/3/17

WHOOP, I whooped, when I found out that Ty Segall would be returning to Seattle again, a little over a year from his last visit, and performing not ONE, not TWO, but THREE shows at the newly-spruced up Neumos in Capitol Hill! Segall is who I point to when I hear any of that dusty-fart whining that rock music is dead and all the good bands are from (fill in the black with decade of high school/college attendance). LOOK AT MR. TY, say I...here is a young musician who consistently puts out very high quality, very diverse projects, very frequently, and puts on a stellar live show which generally whips the crowd frothy with musical happiness. He's well-earned the froth and mosh and adulation, say I, again and again on this blog, and I am grateful that I'm here on Le Planet during Ty-time.


NOT FAKE NEWS! POPTHOMOLOGY IS NINE!

This is how I would like to begin this annual post. Sing along, please:



I MADE YOU SOME VALENTINE'S DAY CARDS (2017)

(Click to enlarge, sweeties!)



PHOTOS, VIDEOS, & REVIEW: THE INTELLIGENCE & MASZER @ TRACTOR TAVERN, SEATTLE, WA. 1/20/17

On a dark, orange day, where someone got shot a few miles down the road outside a Milo Yiannopoulos speech, when stomachs were turned by the sight of fascism coming for breakfast while others served it cheerily, what, really, is one supposed to do? Cry? Scream? Curl up in a ball? Dig a bomb bunker and hoard clean water? Strip naked and run down the street with fiery torches in both hands? If you are me, you don your "Dump Trump" tshirt and make the trek over to Ballard to do yourself a DAMN FAVOR by seeing one of your all-time-favorite bands, The Intelligence. This was my small act of rebellion on Inauguration Day: that we come together, still, to be with friends and hear music, and not give in to despair and worry of what is to come. We go out, get our freak on, and get re-fueled.


WOMXN'S MARCH IN SEATTLE, 1/21/17 BY 9TH-GRADE PHOTOJOURNALIST GRACE TOM

(Editor's note: Today, the world sent a strong message of strength and solidarity in resisting the bigoted, sexist, ignorant agenda of United States Dictator, Donald J. Trump. Women, men, and non-binary folks of every description came together in every state and on every continent to march in peaceful protest -- numbers estimated in the millions. I was unable, sadly, to join in the march today. However, our friend Grace Tom, a 9th grade student who lives on Seattle's Eastside, kindly helped me out today! She attended the Seattle march with her family, camera in hand, and I'm delighted to feature a few of the images she captured today along with a short report. A budding photojournalist and videographer, you can see more of her work on Instagram (@grace_t6 or @picsbygracee) and can contact her via email at grace.tom.business@gmail.com. Thank you, Grace, and thank you to each and every marcher. You are beautiful. -- Marianne)

The expected number of attendees at the women’s march in Seattle, Washington on January 21st was around 50,000; the outcome was more than I think anyone expected. 175,000 men and women marched 3.6 miles from Judkins Park to Seattle Center. Thousands of these men and women wore pink “pussyhats” upon their heads while raising signs above them, many with clever and witty statements. There were signs that proclaimed “WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS” and drawings of Trump that said “KICK HIM IN THE DICK.” Some signs cleaner than others, yes, but they all brought across the right message.

(click each photo to enlarge)


PHOTOS & REVIEW: CATE LE BON & TIM PRESLEY, CHOP SUEY, SEATTLE, WA. 1/17/17

I can recall one long Saturday afternoon when I was about 10, back in the long-ago before internets and other on-demand time-sucking entertainment sources, I was working on a puzzle on our kitchen table. I had completed a fair amount of it, with what seemed to be 10,000 tiny, infuriating pieces, but had become stuck and angry, unable to figure how to continue. My mom came over after listening to me huff and whine for a bit, and suggested that I switch positions, so that I was viewing it upside-down. I looked at her witheringly, as preteens do so often. How could that possibly help? She explained to me that the brain is a complex thing, and that a change in perspective can spark new ways of seeing things and solving problems. I grumpily changed seats to attempt to work the puzzle again. After a minute or so, a pattern began to emerge. I quickly began to push pieces into place, feeling both dense for missing it before and exhilarated to complete the task.

What does this have to do with last Tuesday's concert from Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley, you ask? Puzzles and perspectives are at the heart of their music, kindred souls that they are. Both compose complex and layered songs that take disparate, odd sonic shapes and fit them together like they were meant to be. They then turn that puzzle upside-down, listen, and figure it again, adding in spontaneous guitar runs or drum patterns that run the risk of breaking apart the whole, but instead add an intriguing freshness and unpredictability.

My mom was an artist, and knew a thing or two about the process of creating unique work. Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley are artists, and fit together two lovely puzzle-performances before an appreciative crowd at Chop Suey.


(poster by Jacuzzi Boys' Gabriel Alcala)

PEOPLE TAKE PICTURES OF EACH OTHER: MY FAVORITE CONCERT PHOTOS OF 2016

At the end of the year, it's a pretty enjoyable task to review my photographic work for the last 12 months. It reminds me of how lucky I've been to be able to be at all these awesome shows, and to be able to attempt to capture a little bit of the magic of live performance to share with you. It's never an easy task, especially as the physicality of the work gets more demanding for me. More than once this year I've had to stop shooting to shove emergency candy in my mouth to counteract low blood sugar. I cannot imagine what some of the bands might have thought seeing this photographer down front in the middle of their show suddenly take a box of Sugar Babies and frantically chew them like some desperate confectionery junkie, although I also find that image very funny.

I am always convinced at the end of the night that I've got nothing in the camera and will be dejected, but that's never true. I'm working on having a slightly more realistic expectation after 38 years of experience. Ah, but maybe the worry of not getting shots is what helps me get them. Given the opportunity, I will work until the last note is played and I've done everything I can to do my best without impacting the experience between the audience and the performers, because that's what it's all about, Charlie Brown.

The criteria I use each year to pick the photos are but two: one, do I love it and two, is it beautiful? Do very much now please to enjoy my favorites from this year, click on the photos to enlarge, and please visit my Flickr any ol' time you like, because it's really just there for you. Thank you.

Ty Segall & the Muggers, Neptune Theater, Seattle, WA. January 12, 2016

I've photographed Ty Segall many times and am always rewarded with dynamic pictures and FUN. Similarly to Thee Oh Sees, unless there's a photo pit, it's nearly impossible to get any pictures if you are up front and center and short like me, because it is always a swirling mass of humanity that tends to knock you and your gear around pretty constantly. For this show at the Neptune, I found a prime spot on the side and stuck there (not like I could move anyway), and got the rare Ty jump shot and a very pretty "reach out and touch somebody's haaaand." The lighting at the Neptune is always excellent, and that makes my job infinitely easier.




Hands down, I find pro-wrestling-themed Stallion to be most entertaining band around. After performing in a mid-June rainstorm, here we see "Luscious Luke" Beetham enthralling the crowd with a display of bullwhip prowess. I've seen grown men recoil at the deafening crack, and grown women, too -- namely me. This is as close as I'm gettin' to that business, I tell you whut.


I love this one because that's Dreamsalon's Craig Chambers onstage, celebrating his 40th birthday, and his spouse Adria Garcia in front, wildly writhing and whipping her hair in a beautiful dance for her man and his music. Sex-zaaaayy!


Oh, Pizza Fest, you always so crazy. So, OK, you might not find this meets the whole "beautiful" standard for this post, BUT I DO, for I find it beautiful that anyone would go to the trouble of wearing frozen pizzas onstage in support of a pizza-themed punk music festival.


Maniac, Pizza Fest 7, El Corazon, Seattle, WA. August 5, 2016

See that pole covered with stickers? That pole is every Seattle music photographer's nemesis. Whenever I shoot at the El Corazon, that damn pole steals half the shots I want, bisecting my subjects with immovable, frustrating certainty. To get a sweet jumper there is YAY.



SSDD is one of my favorite bands to photograph, because lead vocalist Kennedy Carda is so animated. You can really feel the power of the band through the images, thanks to that. Three of my faves came from their Pizza Fest show this year: a giant double-exposure pizza slice coming for guitarist Jermaine Blair, an in-action shot of Carda and guitarist Ricky Claudon, and Carda slinking behind steely-eyed bassist Erika Mayfield.




See pizza. See beer. See people quickly eating pizza with beer. See results. SNAP.

I hope someone shows this to their grandchildren someday with a "Back in MY day, we knew how to have fun! You kids spending all your time in virtual reality pods, feh!"



Because "Old Gary" Goddard there has a delicious sense of humor.


Gazebos, Macefield Music Festival, Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA., October 1, 2016

Lead vocalist Shannon Perry, also an internationally-known tattoo artist, is always an outstanding subject to photograph: so stylish and unusual and gorgeous. This black-and-white conversion worked well to highlight the lace details of her dress, tattoos, and eyes.



Sometimes the shot you want to get isn't obvious at first. When I am working, I am always scanning for interesting things that give you a different perspective of the performance.



The lighting for this performance was very challenging, as it was strongly backlit with hardly any front lighting at all. In some cases, I would go ahead and pull out my flash, but that didn't seem to be the right choice here, as I thought it would be intrusive and jarring. All I could do was max out my manual camera settings and then work with the results in post-processing. I think the results were striking.


Jacuzzi Boys, Chop Suey, Seattle, WA., October 20, 2016

It was joyful to have the Boys back in Seattle after a 3-year absence! But again, lighting challenges! Hot strobes, little front lighting, and the dreaded fog machine combined for a lot of work for even the smartest camera. It's hard to find focus when all of these conspire. I shot half the show with flash and half without. This double-expsore shot of vocalist/guitarist Gabriel Alcala, sans flash, gives you a feeling of his wild, hair-whipping moves.



My last shoot of the year was such a happy one, with four of my favorite local bands playing a holiday-themed concert at the (relatively) big Showbox Market, with a photo pit and no restrictions -- woo! Check out a smitten fan giving vocalist Michael McKinney some sweet eyes, and the moody lighting and movement on the close up of McKinney and bassist Shawn Randles.




Tacocat is another band that is always a joy to shoot -- so colorful and sparking, they are. In the first shot, I waited for bassist Bree Mckenna to come into shot between two tiny metallic Christmas tree decorations to grab a framing with that lovely bokeh. 

The second shot of drummer Lelah Maupin is NOT post-processing magic! As I was framing this shot, the fog machine started up and and enveloped Lelah in a floating pink cloud as it combined with the fog. Whoa!, I thought, and SNAP. 

Finally, I just love this one of vocalist Emily Nokes as she is walking offstage after Tacocat's set with friend Victoria Liss. It shows the joy of the night and all the love in the room. Those shots are always the ones I treasure the most.