Every day, I am intrigued and tempted by gorgeous photographs of food. With the advent of the multipixel phone camera and high-powered processing/social media apps like Hipstamatic, Lo-Mob, Snapseed, and Instagram, anyone who is inclined to do so can take the most luscious-looking pictures of even a humble burger-and-fries-combo. This is a far, FAR cry from the food photography I was subjected to as a kid in magazines, where ALL food -- ALL -- looked like crimes against humanity. I'm not kidding; in all the food ads and articles, everything looked so weird and wrong and unappetizing I'm somewhat amazed that we all weren't reactively anorexic. It looked bad back then, and it looks even worse now.

Why was this so? I've endeavored to find the answer for you on Our Friend Internet today, with little success. Was it that food really looked worse back then? Not mostly, no. Was it the cameras and/or film used then, the lighting maybe? Only a tiny bit of the answer. I am thinking it was the particular print process of the time, which did not offer a full range of colors. It often made some colors lurid and over-saturated while desaturating and muting others until they were all some tone of puce. You don't realize the allure of color in making food appetizing until you see things that look so vile you'd turn them down on your hungriest day.

Because I am your best friend, I'm going to share with you fifteen horrid food photo examples from some '50s-era Family Circle and Good Housekeeping magazines I recently scooped up while thrifting in Wisconsin. Disclaimer: I'm going to be pretty blunt in my descriptions, so if you have a sensitive stomach or sensibility, you should probably just stop reading here and go stare at a wall or something.


Most days, I spend a great deal of my time readingreadingreading, thinkingthinkingthinking, and then writingwritingwriting. When I am not doing that, I'm driving my car on the same routes, shopping at the same grocery stores, doing the same laundry, all the mundane, normal stuff that people do. What I don't do enough is just listen. I don't mean listen to music or listen to people talk -- I mean just do nothing else except listen to what is around me. So today I did.

It is the last few days of what is the Pacific Northwest summertime, which does not begin until the second week of July, if you were not aware of this climate fact. Soon the heavy white-gray clouds will return, the rains, the damp, chilly air, and these blue skies and bursts of sweet, warm sunshine will be rarely seen again until, well, the second week of July of next year. This means that I will spend exactly zero minutes outside sitting on my patio sunbathing for approximately nine months. It helps me later on to not only soak up the feel of the sunshine and the gentle breeze into my kinesthetic memory banks now, but to bank the sounds around me as well. I lay back in my deck chair, close my eyes, and listen.

Birds. Lots of birds, chirping and calling, flirting and warning, flapping and fluttering. The very distant, steady, white noise hum of a freeway. Lawnmowers. Hammers building houses. A jogger running on the loose gravel at the side of the road. A speedboat roaring on the lake. A dog bark. A child yelling to another child in play. Leaves rustling, not yet fallen. The skitter of a squirrel traversing the wooden fence. The rumble of someone moving a wheeled garbage can across the alley. The jangle of my dog's collar and tags as she sits up to inspect the activity of the fence squirrel. A grinding garage door opening, then closing. A small plane chattering smoothly, low in the sky.

All of this would seem to add up to a great deal of noise, but the sound that I hear the most, the one that surrounds and buffets and connects them all, is silence. Not the dry silence of the inside of a house, where a clock ticking and a furnace blowing is deadened by walls and carpets and the air hangs suspended, motionless. The silence of the outdoors is a far more magical, living thing; breathtaking, really. Inside, silence seems to be a lack, an absence; outside, it is peaceful, calm, and a bit wondrous in the idea that in the world, sometimes everything is resting, contemplating, listening.

After a few minutes, I can feel a shadow come across my eyes and the warm sun is cooled by clouds. I open my eyes and see this.


There's no reason to spend big bucks on a political Halloween costume this year when with my handy do-it-yourself video guide, you too can treat-or-treat as the dunderheaded and vile Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona! Please to enjoy!

How To Make A Gov. Jan Brewer (AZ.) Halloween Mask


Well, that does it. All of my kids are now in double-digits. MissNine is now MissTen, and I will have to once again get used to typing a new name for her here. I will also have to get used to her growing up, a bittersweet parent thing. At least I know this, from experience: she will always be HERSELF. She will grow, she will change, but she is always going to be who she is inside today, until triple-digit day at least.

And that is indescribably fab.

This is what she had to say about it.

Miss Nine Is Miss Ten

James Earl Jones Counts To 10 On Sesame Street


I was sad to hear that singer Andy Williams died today of cancer at age 84. With "The Andy Williams Show" on NBC-TV and his many Christmas specials, he was a real staple of my childhood. His kind, handsome face, sweet, smooth voice, and positive spirit was something of a comfort to my small self in the midst of the confusing turbulence that was the 1960s and early 1970s. He was one of my favorites of the crooners that either had a show or appeared frequently on the multiple variety shows of the time: Perry Como was too mellow, Frank Sinatra too scary, Dean Martin too pseudo-drunk, Steve Lawrence too annoying, Pat Boone too Christian, Johnny Mathis too weird, Bing Crosby too ancient, and Vic Damone and Jack Jones too generic. Andy Williams seemed like a really nice man, someone who bridged the gap a little between my generally not-too-hip WWII-era parents and my own Lil' Mod Generation.

I thought today in his honor I would share a few video clips from "The Andy Williams Show," with some things you would expect and maybe some you wouldn't. That was the thing about the variety shows -- everyone sort of mashed up all together for an hour trying to please both Lil' Mod and Grandma Bloomerpants, and Williams was particularly good at making anyone and everyone, including viewers, feel welcomed.

Andy's show may be known best for featuring the Osmond Brothers very early in their career, even pre-Donny, when they were a barbershop quartet. Here's Donny's debut at age five, making it a barbershop quintet. Yes, they sound like the Barbershop Chipmunks, but that's some damn tight singin' work, I tell ya.

The Osmond Brothers, "Yes Sir That's My Baby," The Andy Williams Show

Williams was famous for his version of the romantic ballad, "Moon River," but this was my favorite Andy song. I have it on 45! I think it has a dark orange label with bold black printing. You can check.

Andy Williams, "Can't Get Used To Losing You," The Andy Williams Show

"The Andy Williams Show" featured "The Cookie Bear," who pre-dated the Cookie Monster. You have to appreciate the comic surrealism of a man in a black bear suit chatting and singing with the operatic Kate Smith.

Kate Smith and The Cookie Bear, The Andy Williams Show

Williams' wife at the time was the gorgeous French dancer, Claudine Longet. Their family, including their own three kids, were always seen on the Christmas specials, and we watched them grow up. This Christmas clip is from 1974, notable for the appearance of Williams' twin nephews Andy and David, achingly-adorable blonde teen idols. It is a little sad to now know that Williams and Longet had been estranged for years by this time, and they divorced a year later. A year after that in 1976, Longet was arrested for shooting and killing her boyfriend, and Williams was steadfast in her defense and support. Williams remarried in 1991.

"The World Is A Circle," The Andy Williams Christmas Show, 1974

Let's end with a clip from the year I was born, with another favorite of mine: Sammy Davis, Jr. RIP, Andy, and thank you.

Sammy Davis, Jr. & Andy Williams, "Breezin' Along With The Breeze," The Andy Williams Show


I don't have to hesitate when asked what my favorite Beatles song is (and yes, this comes up with fair frequency, oddly enough). It is the uptempo, Dylan-meets-the-Everly-Brothers 1964 release, "I'm a Loser." Why do I love it so? It's not that I strongly relate to the lyrics; although we all have to put on a false face every so often to meet 'n greet the world, I'm not a self-loathing type at all. I think the things I really just adore about this song and why I have never tired of listening to it since then, is the yearning, expansive melody, the jaunty, slightly silly pseudo-Sun Records arrangement, the locked-down harmonies, and, most of all, John Lennon's voice. It's perfect. The way George Martin captured it on tape sounds like Lennon is singing right next to you; you can actually feel the tiny little crackles and husk, the warmth, the resonance...it's just right. Paul McCartney matches him so tightly that at times it's hard to tell one voice from the other. I love love love it, in the same way I love love love the Kinks' "All Day and All of the Night," and the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time." Big time, lifetime love.


I also like to LAUGH, so hearing my favorite songs done in, hmm...alternative ways is always an immense pleasure. A couple of years ago, I posted "I'M A LOSER, YOU'RE A LOSER," featuring some interesting YouTube covers of the song and today I thought I would add to the Bank O' Fun, including one of my favorite takes from the Fabs themselves. Please to enjoy!

First up we have "The Beatless," a very deeply sincere Beatles covers band from Japan. Let us not ignore the wonderful fact that you could also pronounce the band's name as "The Beat-less." You only have to play the first song, but if you want MORE, hey, you got it.

I will let "icanmake"'s words speak for her here.

My dream is to be composer and become famous.

Because I can make a lot of songs of various genres.

I think the wonderful world will be done surely if it's possible to make my power of imagination the shape. 

But ....l'm bad at singing and playing a musical instrument at all.

And l can't write English lyrics. 

So I need someone to cooperate with me.

I wasn't sure at first if she was singing in English. She is.

Excuse me a moment.



MrShowbiz77, "I'm A Loser"

I'm actually crying laughing now after hearing this effort from "paul 1722." My face hurts. Oh, god. Wait for the guitar solo. Everything sounds like a bucket of hormonal cats put in a commercial dryer.

paul1722, "I'm A Loser"

The hipster-bearded "SergentPepper1976" whispers his way to infamy, and is also apparently unencumbered by any melodic sense whatsoever.

SergentPepper1967, "I'm A Loser"

You might think that someone calling themselves "TheBeatlesCover1" might be pretty good. You know...you might be wrong about that. He mentions that it was his first Beatles cover. It has 4 YouTube views. The guitar solo blew my MIND.

TheBeatlesCover1, "I'm A Loser"

"mikeyoung0" likes to sing, but you might not like to hear him. This has 8 views. Lordy.

mikeyoung0, "I'm A Loser"

OK, I can't take any more -- FOR NOW -- so I will end with one of my favorite "I'm A Loser" performances by the Beatles. This one was recorded at the BBC in London on May 26, 1965 and broadcast June 7, 1965. The first time I heard Lennon's "lyric substitution" I laughed for a really, really long time, and now can't really hear the song without those words in mind. You'll find it.

The Beatles, "I'm A Loser," BBC London 5/26/65


Presidential election years are exciting here in the good ol' U.S.of A., to say the least. All of us are bombarded with political ads, news stories, and sound bites that range from inspirational to infuriating, which just increase in frequency and urgency in the weeks leading up to Election Day. In my home, with kids aged 9, 14, and 20, we have some pretty lively political discussions, but I don't always have the answers to all of the questions they raise. You can imagine (or recall from your own childhood) how confusing it all can be for a kid -- from the electoral college, to the differences between the House of Representatives and the Senate, why we pay taxes, or how and why states differ in their laws. But it's important -- vital -- for children to know these things, because becoming knowledgable about the country you live in undeniably makes you a better citizen. Part of my job as a parent and Official American Person is to eventually provide my country with well-educated, thoughtful people that are invested in participating in their very precious democracy.

So, where to start? When discussing government and politics with kids, it's really easy to go off on tangents or offer too little or too much info. Papersalt, a Seattle-based publisher, is here to help! I became familiar with their unique spiral-bound books earlier in the year, and was super-impressed with both the format and the quality, so when I saw that they recently released two books about the U.S., I was very eager to check them out, as were the kids.


That is all.


I had so much good stuff to bring you from my trip to the Miami area last June that I forgot I had these photos to share as well! We moseyed on down to the Wynwood Arts District in a former industrial/warehouse section of the city, now vibrant beyond words with HUGE wall-sized graffiti-art murals that go on for blocks. It's just mind-blowing when you are right there next to the giant works of art called the Wynwood Walls, integrated with the hustle and bustle of regular city life. Do not hesitate to experience it for yourself if you are in the Miami area -- I totally recommend the trip (and do stop by for a cup of delicious Panther Coffee when you are there, too). Extra special thanks to our spontaneous and super-nice "tour guide," Rydel Deed of the Miami Bike Scene!  Please to enjoy (click on the photos to enlarge)!


I do love working with vintage video, so when a low-fi/psych musician from New Mexico sent me a message via YouTube and said, hey I like your stuff and things that you do and do you think you could give a listen to my stuff and things and maybe make up a little music video for me sometime, I said, OK I WILL TRY. It took me a few months to get to it, but here we are! I felt a maniacal mix of similarly low-fi '70s horrorporn/disco dance/Hostess cupcake commercials would do the trick for this track, "DemonEyes" by Time Squares, so if you are in the mood for snakes, kung fu, Ho-Hos, and bell-bottom polyester pants, please to enjoy! You can visit Time Squares via Soundcloud or YouTube page (where you may also download this track). Vive le internet!

Time Squares, "DemonEyes"



I love love love old school yearbooks. Whenever I am out thrifting, I'm extra-stoked when I find one, and greedily snatch it up, no matter that I know no one within its pages. Yearbooks are a grand document of the times, and often enjoyably showcases the particularly hideous judgment that teens can reveal in their choices of personal style. Last weekend, I scored a sweet Big Bird-yellow yearbook dated 1973, from a small town in Washington near the Canadian border. Having lived through this era myself, I knew that when I opened the pages I would find camp gold, for 1973 had to have been one of the worst years ever for fashion in every way. Long gone was the sharp mod lines of the '60s, or even the Boho-chic hippie gear. No, 1973 pretty much looked like the designers just gave up, lost in a a Quaalude haze somewhere, leaving the public looking like some grotesque patchwork of mid-century cast-offs. It hadn't improved much by the time I myself graduated high school seven years later, although I had the absolutely brilliant foresight not to have my senior portrait taken. I will never not feel smug about this.

So today I am presenting the best of the worst of the senior portraits from this found 1973 treasure in three categories, with bonus points awarded to seniors with double scores. Please to enjoy!


Let me state this fact to all 17- or 18-year-old boys: YOU LOOK LIKE A COMPLETE IDIOT WITH FACIAL HAIR OF ANY KIND. This is true throughout all decades. I mean, I know very well WHY you do it: because you think it makes you look more grown-up and you think you might be able to get more respect/buy beer, and simply because you CAN. But the reality is, that to absolutely everyone older than you, you look like a kindergartener who glued yarn on your face. Let us now celebrate these young men following this great misguided tradition!

This serious young teen with his immaculately-combed bangs has a mustache that just screams "future middle manager" to me.


Well, my lee-tal frenz, with this post I seal the deal on Seattle's wonderful Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival for 2012. Even though it wrapped up a couple of weeks ago, I still am reliving all the great moments of my time there. It's that kind of thing: a special event that I look forward to greatly each September, because of its breadth of programming, its location in the heart of Seattle, the enthusiastic, diverse, and good-natured crowd it draws, and the dedication of the festival management to provide everyone who attends a great experience, be it artist, media like me, or Joe Guy from East Puddle, Washington. I thought I'd make a few mentions of my highlight moments over the three days of the festival, SO I SHALL.


Something that is true: when people are liars, when they have bad intent and do bad stuff, when their ambitions to achieve power override any semblance of simple common decency, eventually they will be found out. It may not be for years and years, or uncovered to the fullest extent, but it will happen. Law enforcement professionals and psychologists know this: a combination of stupidity, over-confidence, rashness, and sometimes underlying guilt will trip up most people who seem to have little conscience or goodwill towards much of anyone.

When there are extremely powerful forces working to prop up people like this, it may be harder to uncover the true character of someone who, if you were kind, you might term "greedy" and if you weren't feeling gracious, "a sociopath." Billions and billions of dollars have been spent on convincing American voters that Mitt Romney should be the next President of the United States. He's got everything the Big Boys want, or as close as they are going to get: he's a rich white businessman, he professes strong Christian values (albeit Mormon, which is not a plus with the far-right Evangelicals), he's got a pretty blonde wife, a fancy horse, and good hair. Most importantly, Mitt Romney is the man who will say anything that his backers want him to say. It doesn't matter if what he says directly contradicts his own former words or policies, it doesn't matter if it's a flat-out lie, it doesn't matter if what he says is hateful and divisive, and it doesn't matter if it's globally inflammatory and offensive. All that matters is this election philosophy: say what your sympathizers want to hear, no matter what. Tell them they are in the right, and you will save their country. Tell them anything at all, as long as it assures a vote.

A hidden-camera video released today of Romney speaking at a 50K-a-plate fundraiser last May, held at the Florida home of disreputable Sun Capitol private equity manager Marc Leder, has caused a firestorm of outrage, primarily for this comment regarding those folks who do not pay federal income taxes:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

Why is this a deeply reprehensible thing to say? Because it is a damaging, complete lie. Unless Romney is so sheltered and ignorant that he has no comprehension of the demographics of taxation, which I doubt, sort of, what he has done here is feed the billionaire and millionaire barracudas more hateful fish food to further encourage them to donate to his campaign in order to beat the lazy, entitled f-ups that receive services from the government.

The cruelty of Romney's statement is almost overwhelming, especially when a simple fact-check can tell anyone who is inclined to question his math or motives that:
  • 50 percent are in this category because their incomes are so low that they are less than the sum of the standard deduction and personal and dependent exemptions for which the household qualifies.  As TPC Senior Fellow Roberton Williams has noted, “the basic structure of the income tax simply exempts subsistence levels of income from tax.”**  Some 62 percent of the households who will owe no federal income tax in 2011 have incomes under $20,000.
  • Another 22 percent do not owe federal income tax because they are elderly people who benefit from tax provisions to aid senior citizens, such as the exemption of Social Security benefits from income tax for beneficiaries who have incomes below $25,000 for single filers and $32,000 for joint filers and the higher standard deduction for the elderly.
  • Another 15 percent (of the households who don’t owe federal income tax) don’t owe the tax because they are low-income working families with children who qualify for the child tax credit, the child and dependent care tax credit, and/or the earned income tax credit, and the credit(s) eliminate their income tax liability.*** 

So let's sum this up: almost everyone who does not pay federal income tax is either destitute, elderly, or the working poor with children.

In what world do you live in that you believe that old people and poor people just LOVE having to receive the utterly-meager tax breaks and subsistence-level benefits that they do, and that they do because they were too dumb or lazy or characterless to have accrued enough money to support themselves and their kids under all life circumstances, or had a million+ in the bank as to not have to worry about medical costs bankrupting them at some point? Mitt's callous dismissal of all those of less means or luck of birth is an appalling, stomach-turning knifing of millions of hard-working, decent citizens. He is the very embodiment of the "ugly American."

Think you should work hard and pay your taxes? So do I. Think that you can do everything right and by-the-book and still find yourself poor, sick, or in desperate need at some point in your life, with no family or friends that can come to your aid? I sure do. Think that our country will not survive being the kind of place that throws you away if you need help, rather than assist you to live with some measure of dignity and health while you try to make things better again? I absolutely do.

I've had a life where my family has been very poor, and pretty well-off. I've lived in working-class rural isolation and the tony suburbs of major cities. I've first-hand seen good people that needed help, got it, and went on to independence and great things. I've known someone who didn't have the money to see a doctor for a cough that lingered, and died because of it. We are as a country and as people more, so very, very much more, than what Romney sells in his speeches. 

I don't want Mitt Romney's brutal, unforgivable lies to represent me as an American or as a citizen of the world. Even if I owned a money tree, even if I were somehow never to become old or sick, even if all the world was promised to me on a golden platter. Never.


I think you might agree that I've saved my best photo set from 2012's Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival for last; indeed, this was the very last event I attended at the festival this year. I had been tipped off by several people that the performance at the Bagley Wright Theater by Seattle-based burlesque troupe the Atomic Bombshells was something to be seen. That is the UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE EVER! In fact, after the jaw-dropping sexy, silly, and steamy Hour of GIRL POWER, I needed to take a few minutes to collect my blown-out mind to be able to walk again. HOO EEE, MAN, I TELL YOU! The show far exceeded any expectations I had, and the girls (and amiably wicked MC dude Jasper McCann) rocked the house like I am quite sure it's never been rocked before.

So, what made the Atomic Bombshells different than a night at, say, your dingy Cheetah strip club on the Airport Access Road in Anywhere, U.S.A.? Everything, everything, everything, from the stunningly gorgeous costuming and lighting, the engaging patter from McCann, and the deep devotion of the women in recreating and renewing the art of burlesque. Each dance move, down to the flick of a stocking leaving a bared toe, was precisely delivered, showing athleticism, grace, and attention to minute detail. Each individual performance was choreographed to take full use of the stage, yet also be able to connect strongly with the crowd. It was so much fun, and done so well.

Did I feel a little weird taking photos of almost-sometimes-nekkid wimmins from the front row? As I am from the Midwest, the answer is "yes," but LIKE THAT WOULD STOP ME! Here's a few for you to view, and you may click on the photos to enlarge (heh) and click on the Flickr link to see more. If you REALLY want to see more, and you should, I strongly encourage you to see the Atomic Bombshells when they sashay your way!


What a fun sunny SEATTLE DOIN' STUFF day today! Donated/shopped at a cool charity rummage sale (got a pile of vintage LIFE mags and an awesome pecking hens toy), visited a cool guitar shop where I could only drool, ate a spectacular bacon BBQ burger and washed it down with a Manny's beer, then headed out for a little visit to a thrift shop on lovely Mercer Island, WA. I didn't end up buying anything there, but I did find more weird records! Please to enjoy!

Apparently, Bob Hannon's singing makes children deeply suspicious and close to tears.


Today as I was digging about looking for a stupid key that Will Never Be Found, Ever, I came across this: a very short cut-and-paste book that I made along with my dear friend of a prazillion years, Dena. Instead of doing useful things like attending college, back in the mid-'80s Dena and I preferred to do collage art, sing and play as the Performa-Chords, dance around in tin foil, and go to rock clubs wearing seriously weird clothing. It wasn't at all remunerative, but it sure was fun. Anyway, this rude and stupid piece of art is what you get today, and I blame the ruder parts of it on Dena because she is from Illinois and I am from Wisconsin and it's well known that we Wisconsinites are sweet as pie, except for that mega-creep, Governor Scott "Chinless Wonder" Walker. I think there was once a photo of me on the "Local News" page, but it long ago ran away from home.

Don't open this at work, by kids, or if you don't like meat or vibrators. Please to enjoy!


My street is torn up
Cars backed up, long snaking line
Just in time for school!

My alternate route
Is similarly beset
I find no escape.

I wait at a light
A truck blows through a red, HA!
A cop was ready.

At a 4-way stop
I wait, then I go, and WHEE!
An asshole goes too.

A long wait behind
A Camry that is spewing
Fumes at me, dammit.

Bump! Bump! Bump! Bump! Bump!
Guess what! Now my groceries
Spilled in the back seat.

Why did my car cross
The road? To get to school late,
Now filthy with dust.

Even more awful
Not one of the construction
Dudes was good looking.

Another week of
This crap, so I went to the
Store and bought some beer.


Whew! OK! Here are the last three photo sets of bands I shot at Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival this year, 22 in all, although I did photograph King Khan & the Shrines twice, so there. (I have one more very special set of photos to come from the very very last thing I did at Bumbershoot, but it might take a little longer to get up here. You'll understand, and believe me, it's WORTH THE WAIT. Like, HOO EE! MAN! HUBBA HUBBA! HOLY CRAP! That kind of thing.) But for today, we begin with indie pop band The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart on the very cool Sub Pop Stage, notably with the lovely Peggy Wang on keyboards and the excellently energetic Kip Berman on lead vocals and guitar...(and as always, click on the photos to enlarge and click on the Flickr links for more!)


How do I know that I have just seen an exceptionally kickass concert? Easy: when it's all done and I'm just still in electrify mode, totally amped up on on the energy and awesomeness of what I've just experienced. How do I know when a show was extra-extra kickass? When I shoot the whole thing, my arms and neck are numb or aching from holding a lens that weighs more than a small dog, I'm sweaty and usually covered in fan beer, and I still feel like I could run a marathon or out-dance James Brown. Come to think of it, I could definitely out-dance James Brown now, as he is deceased, but I digress. My point is that I saw a kickass concert at Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival: Ty Segall on the Sub Pop Stage on a sunny Labor Day afternoon in Seattle. It ended up as my favorite show of all the bands I saw there this year, and that's saying a whole lot because there were many great shows.

What made it even cooler was the very exciting realization that every time I see Ty play, he and the band get better each time. Experience, confidence, and honing as well as broadening the band's sound has paid off. Everyone (Ty on lead guitar and lead vocals, Mikal Cronin on bass and backing vocals, Emily Rose Epstein on drums, and Charlie Moothart on guitar) plays tight but not slick, heavy but not ponderous, and the stage sound and energy is a very appealing combination of mental punk moves, psychedelic splashes, garage stomp aggression, harmonies that sail above the cacophony, and a genuine band camaraderie, which I also see in my similar-but-still-really-different faves, Thee Oh Sees. I tell you, children, these are the glory years of a garage revival/refresh, and it's a thrill to be able to watch deserving musical careers unfold. It's all happening.

Ty's been putting out albums like crazaaay this year: "Hair" with the also-mega-prolific and supercool White Fence, "Slaughterhouse," released earlier in the summer, and "Twins" is set for GO in October. You should get them, then play them really loud and dance like James Brown, if he knew some punk-ass mom in Washington State claimed she could out-dance him, pissed off and rising from the grave. You could look at these photos at the same time! (Click to enlarge photos and click on the Flickr link for more -- it's a big set!)


(Oh boy! Please welcome my friend Kitty Amsbry of Gimme A Wristband here on the ol' Popthomology! Kitty was kind enough to review this UNREAL GOOD show we saw together the other night, leaving me to take the photos (and a little surprise video). Thank you, Kitty, and a trillion thanks as well to Suzi Pratt for kind help in securing a pit place. JOY! Here's what Kitty had to say!)


On the third and final day of Seattle's annual Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival, I was hustlin' big time to get out the door on time, fighting my natural tendencies to remain blissfully in bed until morning is safely over. Why the rush, you ask? There was NO WAY, I am saying, NO WAY AT ALL I was going to miss the 1PM concert on the Starbucks Stage by blues-based guitar sensation Jordan Cook, also known as Reignwolf. Everyone I know who has seen him has gone batsh*t crazy afterwards, nearly drooling with enthusiasm about how good this guy is and what a dynamic performer. Plus, he was gonna be signing a guitar for me soon, and I wanted to say thank you, if only by my presence as a fan and as a (with luck, always with luck) competent and grateful photographer.

The pit was packed with paparazzi, as I expected, but since I know and like almost everyone there, it makes for a cozy camaraderie and is great fun. Also as I expected, Jordan was just as amazing as everyone said. Think Black Keys, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray...dirty and soulful, loud and wild, confidently handling vocals and guitar duties like he lives and breathes it, and a truly exciting stage performer on top of it. Kid's got such boatloads of talent (and good-lookin', too), that I expect you to buy his albums and get him to headline the big joints by next year. Seriously.

(Click the photos to enlarge and click on the Flickr links for more!)


It's 3AM in Seattle-ish right now, but it's TIME to bring you the final four bands from my Day Two at Seattle's annual Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival! What a day it was, starting out with Sharon Jones and Tony Bennett, and then The Young Evils, The Dirtbombs, and Mudhoney. No time to slow down, music fans...time to run over to the Tunein Stage for Lee Fields & The Expressions! Mr. Fields was giving me major deja-vu as I photographed him...it was exactly a year prior that I had been shooting Charles Bradley on the very same stage, singing a similar blend of retro soul review, James Brown swagger, touches of gospel, and early rock n' roll, too. He was a way cool cat! (Click on the photos to enlarge and click on the Flickr links for more!)


Prior to the advent of internet social media contests, the biggest thing I won randomly was a set of towels at my 1st grade school carnival, and I was THRILLED. It may or may not frighten you to know that I still own some of them. But man...I just won something REALLY REALLY SO much better than towels: an Epiphone Limited Edition 50th Anniversary "1961" Casino TD guitar, signed by VERY MEGA-COOL YET WHITE-HOT guitar blues-blast machine/man, Reignwolf (aka Jordan Cook)!! Right before Seattle's Capitol Hill Block Party, a big annual festival known for awesome bands and general insanity, a verrrryyyy interesting tweet came by as I was perusing my Twitter stream: a contest to win the above guitar, courtesy Epiphone, Gibson Seattle, RockSmith video games, and the CHBP. What the heck, I said to myself, I'll enter, just takes a sec, and BAM! In the most random of randoms, I ended up winning! WHAT? REALLY? Well, YAY!

It took a little time to work out schedules for pickup and shipping from Nashville and Jordan's availability to wield the Signing Sharpie, but today I went into Belltown to the sweet vintage-brick offices of Gibson Seattle and THERE IT BE! It's simply a beautiful guitar, very light to hold but with a distinctly crunchy tone that will be a great addition to the instruments that I torture...er, play.

I'd like to remind you that John Lennon played an original Epiphone Casino. Remind you HARD!

Thank you again to everyone, and that if you haven't already checked out Reignwolf, DO IT! The buzz on him here is incomparable, and I can tell you that he is really something special. Don't miss the chance to see him perform live!

(Reignwolf, Starbucks Stage, Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival, 9/3/12, photographed by yours truly, ME, Owner of Cool Guitars)


The pace of my Day Two at Seattle's Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival picked up rapidly after my delicious time spent in Key Arena with Tony Bennett. I hustled over to the new Promenade Stage to catch a few moments of beloved locals The Young Evils. Oddly, I'd never seen them before so I was glad to get a chance to hear their melodic indiepoppy songs. I was transfixed by this ultra-shiny orange Gretsch guitar, too. OoooOOOoooOOoooh.

(Click on the photos to enlarge and click on the Flickr links for more!)


Day Two at Seattle's tremendous Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival began for me at the big ol' Key Arena, the Seattle Center venue for the festival's headliners. I was not expecting to be able to photograph there at all (only a limited amount of photogs are allowed to shoot at the Mainstage at Bumbershoot), so when the word came that I would officially be able to bring out the Big Camera for Tony Bennett, I was thrilled. His show at the Paramount last December, which I reviewed and photographed for Back Beat Seattle, was a true highlight of all my years of concertgoing.

After winding my way down to the floor of Key during the last song by retro-soul group Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, I wished I had arrived earlier to see the whole set! Jones was a fiery, compelling performer, and I was able to grab a couple of shots at a distance!

(Click the photos to enlarge or click on the Flickr links to see more!)


(Joe South died today, September 5, 2012. In his honor, I'm reposting an article I wrote here on May 20, 2011, RIP.)

First things first: why is Joe South so damn great?

1. He changed his name from Joe Souter to Joe South. Could there be any cooler classic name for a Georgia-born boy than "Joe South?" "Bill Midwest" simply doesn't have the same ring to it, does it. JOE. SOUTH! WOOOOO! FREEBIRD! WOOOOO!

2. He was a red-hot guitar picker, and has played on records by such musical luminaries as Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Marty Robbins, Simon & Garfunkle, and Bob Dylan, as well as the slightly-less-luminous Tommy Roe.

3. He totally rocked the bowl cut.

4. Most importantly, he was one of the '60s/early '70s best pop songwriters, period. This guy knew how to write unbelievably catchy 45s for himself and other artists like nobody's business, each with effortlessly sunny melodies, clever construction, and a country soul groove. Check it out: "Down In The Boondocks," "I Knew You When," "Games People Play," "Hush,""Don't It Make You Want To Go Home," "I Never Promised You A Rose Garden," and "Walk A Mile In My Shoes." Right?

Sadly, after a family tragedy in 1971 and other personal issues, Joe South largely left the music business and has remained reclusive. He is now 71 years old. Today, I am bringing you three versions of a song Joe composed in the mid-'60s, and which took a few more years to find its biggest success: "Yo Yo."

First version is by South's pal and former roommate Billy Joe Royal (another great Southern name there). This has a Motown-stamp all over it, with the handclaps, honking sax, soul vox, and quickstep pace. It's easy to hear almost any of the Motown artists handling this one, male or female. South completely nailed the format. It creeped into the Billboard charts in 1966.

A couple of years later, Cavern-days Liverpudlian Beatle gal-pal Cilla Black took a crack at the song, although it was rather buried on the B-side of an album called "Sher-Ooo!" which I doubt was ever released in the US. Her booming husky white-soul voice better captures the playful twists and bends in the melody, and largely sticks with Royal's arrangement.

Fast forward to 1971, and who grabs up "Yo Yo" and takes it to #3 on the charts? Why, of course, the toothy clan from Utah, the Osmonds!  I wasn't at all an Osmonds fan then, even though I was the correct demographic, but you have to give them props. They worked incredibly hard and had a lot of vocal talent, not to mention dance moves that were "Soul Train" quality. Don't you sneer at me; it's true!

So why did this version make it to the top, even after its particular Motown-genre was getting a bit out-of-date in '71? It wasn't just that a top teen group with a lot of TV and radio exposure did it, although that's big. But listen to what they threw in to the arrangement, which completely grabbed listeners ears -- the calliope-circus backing vocals and the slide whistle metallic pseudo yo-yo bounce, which I PROPOSE was influenced by Smokey Robinson's "Tears Of A Clown," which was a mighty hit the year before. Adding to the catchy was the lead vocal split between Merrill Osmond and teen god Donny. It amuses me to hear what they had to do with the key there -- poor older brother Merrill had to bust a gritty gut to hit the notes that had to be tailored for the 13-year-old Donny, whose voice hadn't changed yet. But Donny owns it in the choruses, hitting the blues notes dead on and singing it like he MEANS IT. Later on in concert, the Osmonds would drop the key as Donny's voice matured, and as they sing it now as elder gentlemen, the blast of the original is gone, along with the soulfulness. What can ya do. This was the only Osmonds record I ever bought, on a 45, and I wrote my name in my newly-acquired cursive script on the blue-and-gold label. 

This is for sure: "Yo Yo" is a really fun song, and Joe South was somethin' else. Thanks, man.


As I sat and worked on photos today, wrapping up my Day 1 of 2012's Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival, I thought, "Man! This was a great day!" I mean, talk about a range of choices and venues...Bumbershoot really is a world-class sampler of the arts, with a distinct Seattle flavor. There is so much there to do and see that I always wish there could be five of me. But once you get over that you can't be Schrodinger's Festival-Goer, you go over the schedule, circle your faves (or acts that may become your new faves) and get moving!

After starting Saturday with King Khan & the Shrines and THEE Satisfaction at the intimate KEXP Music Lounge, King Khan again at the Tunein Stage and Tacocat with a set at the Toyota Free Yr Radio Stage, it was off to the Starbucks Stage to see Austin's Heartless Bastards. This is a band I've been eager to see for a few years, ever since I heard Erika Wennerstrom's incredible, unique voice. Giant sound, big talents.

(Click on the photos to enlarge and click the Flickr links to see more!)


Two more photo sets today for you from Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival before I head off and shoot the final day today! This time we have the lovely and talented Seattle-based TacocaT, one of my favorite local garagepoppunk bands, and the second performance of the day by the always-awesome King Khan and the Shrines. (Click on the photos to enlarge; click on the Flickr links for more!)

TacocaT also did a double-duty day at Bumbershoot, and this set is from the Toyota Free Yr Radio stage, recorded live for podcast. I love them because they are fun and colorful and have just the right amount of delightful evil. You know what I mean.


Woo hoo! I am delighted to be spending another Labor Day weekend at Seattle's wonderful Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival...me and ONE THOUSAND MILLION POUNDS of camera equipment. Aching muscles aside, yesterday was fantastic, with perfect sunny weather, lots of wonderful old friends to hang out with, and as always, a stunning amount of fabulous music, art, comedy, film, food, and shopping choices to be had. There's always more there than I can ever hope to get to, but I try!

My first installment here comes from the beginning of my Bumberday yesterday, with two amazing live radio concerts from my garage/soul faves King Khan & the Shrines, and Seattle's own THEESatisfaction at the KEXP Music Lounge. Khan and Krew ripped up the Lounge but good with a high-energy set featuring various and assorted Shrines visiting the audience up close and personal, and songs that got everyone singing and shakin'. The two young women who make up THEESatisfaction (Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White) just hypnotized the crowd with a beautiful blend of hip-hop grooves and old soul sweetness, funk to funky. Do make a point of checking both bands out -- you will love them. Click on the photos to enlarge, go to the Flickr links to see more, and BAM! I'm off to go back to Bumber for some more! See ya here tomorrow!


WOW! Oh man oh man oh man...if you cats and kitties haven't seen this yet (or even if you have), set aside some of your long Labor Day weekend to view this remarkable film from the '60s. The American Folk-Blues Festival was a series of European concerts featuring the top African-American blues artists of the day, and the performances recorded here at a TV studio in Germany are just truly stunning. What an incredible document! Watch it here (thanks, YouTube uploader axavild), and then go purchase it HERE on DVD.

Seriously. You're not even going to BELIEVE how good this is.

The American Folk-Blues Festival 1962-1966 Vol. 1

01. T-Bone Walker — Call Me When You Need Me
02. Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee — Hootin' Blues
03. Memphis Slim — The Blues is Everywhere
04. Otis Rush — I Can't Quit You Baby
05. Lonnie Johnson — Another Night to Cry
06. Sippie Wallace — Women Be Wise
07. John Lee Hooker — Hobo Blues
08. Eddie Boyd — Five Long Years
09. Walter "Shakey" Horton
10. Junior Wells — Hoodoo Man Blues
11. Big Joe Williams — Mean Stepfather
12. Mississippi Fred McDowell — Going Down to the River
13. Willie Dixon — Weak Brain and Narrow Mind
14. Sonny Boy Williams — Nine Below Zero
15. Otis Spann — Spann's Blues
16. Muddy Waters — Got My Mojo Working
17. Finale: Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Memphis Slim, Willie Dixon — Bye Bye Blues
18. Earl Hooker — Walking The Floor.Over You/Off The Hook

The American Folk-Blues Festival 1962-1966 Vol. 2

1. Sonny Boy Williamson: Bye Bye Bird (1964) [1:22]
2. Sonny Boy Williamson: My Younger Days (1964) [3:24]
3. Sunnyland Slim: Come On Home Baby (1964) [4:05]
4. Willie Dixon: Nervous (1962) [3:57]
5. Lightnin' Hopkins: Mojo Hand (1964) [3:19]
6. Victoria Spivey: Black Snake Blues (1963) [4:42]
7. Memphis Slim: Everyday I Have the Blues (1963) [2:21]
8. T-Bone Walker: Don't Throw Your Love on Me So Strong (1962) [5:13]
9. Roosevelt Sykes: Tall Heavy Mama (1966) [2:42]
10. Willie Dixon: Sittin' and Cryin' the Blues (1963) [3:27]
11. Matt "Guitar" Murphy: Murphy's Boogie (1963) [4:17]
12. Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee: Stranger Blues (1962) [4:11]
13. Howlin' Wolf: Shake for Me (1964) [3:42]
14. Howlin' Wolf: I'll Be Back Someday (1964) [4:41]
15. Howlin' Wolf: Love Me Darlin' (1964) [3:24]
16. Big Mama Thornton: Down Home Shakedown (1965) [8:37]

The American Folk-Blues Festival 1962-1966 Vol. 3

1. "Hound Dog" by Big Mama Thornton (1965) [2:34]
2. "Gulgport Boogie" by Roosevlet Sykes (1965) [2:08]
3. "Out of Sight" by Buddy Guy (1965) [2:23]
4. "Feel so Good" by Dr. Isaiah Ross (1965) [3:31]
5. "Flip, Flop and Fly" by Big Joe Turner (1966) [5:01]
6. "All Night Long" by Skip James" (1967) [2:48]
7. "Crow Jane" by Skip James (1967) [1:55]
8. "Got Sick and Tired" by Bukka White (1967) [4:55]
9. "Death Letter Blues" by Son House (1967) [5:55]
10. "Wild About You" by Hound Dog Taylor & Little Walter (1967) [2:38]
11. "Wand Dang Doodle" by Koko Taylor & Little Walter (1967) [2:56]
12. "Stranger Blues" (1967) [4:12]
13. "Burnt Child (Afraid of Fire" by Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee (1967) [2:28]
14. "Gonna Move Across the River" by Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee (1967) [2:51]
15. "The Blues Ain't Nothin' But a Woman" by Helen Humes (1962) [9:45]