Weekend Update and the Thousand Words…

Last weekend was pretty quiet.  I drove up to L.A. just for the game and on my own this time and was a bit nervous about all the media focus on the fact they were closing the 405 which is the route I usually take to the stadium where L.A. Galaxy team plays.  So, imagine my relief when I heard it was going to be at the Memorial Coliseum which is just off the I-5.  Until…someone said “where do you think the traffic from the 405 will be??”.  Zoinks~  Take that and that I’m famous for getting lost and voila…we’ve got a disaster waiting to happen and even with that knowledge I only left an hour earlier than I normally would (“I also like to live dangerously”).  I was so surprised to find myself in the midst of free flowing traffic all the way up to L.A. and when I took the wrong exit (as I usually do) there were signs everywhere pointing me to the Coliseum and I couldn’t help but wonder when my friends joke that I’ve got a 1,000 angels assigned to my case if that just might in some way be true.  For some reason someone wants me to stay alive on this earth.  Maybe I’m some kind of project and the scientist who pushed for it keeps scooting me out of harm’s way so the project doesn’t fail and jeopardize his/her career.   Yup, my body may be achingly slow these days but, my imagination is as active as ever…So, anyway…I get within a couple blocks of the stadium and find the jam.  I find a  looooong line of cars so, I pull into an open parking area posting $20 to park (exactly the amount of cash I had on me) and ask the woman if I was close.  She said yes but, that there was stadium parking too and gave me directions.  Lazy me opted to crawl back into the line to park at the stadium but, this nagging voice in my head said “If she’s charging $20 to park down the street then how much would be the Coliseum parking be?  Oh, I’m sure they take credit cards…the stadium is built to look like an old Greek stadium but, we are in modern times…”.  After about 20 minutes and 4 lengths of cars later (with 60 more to go) that voice popped up again and this time I listened to it “Either way, the walk will do you good”.  So, went back and parked and then walked along several groups of fans who’s faces were all lit up and you could just smell the anticipation on them.  At that moment I wished I had a bionic eye that could photograph their faces (one day I swear they’ll exist).  Pulling out my camera in that moment would have put them ill at ease and ruined the moment so I just smiled and observed these moments as they walked on by….

As I walked past the cars in line to pay I passed a signboard that said “Stadium Parking $25 – CASH ONLY”.  I laughed and smiled and did a little thumbs up to my “scooter” and made my way to the Media entrance and down to the field area.  That cranky guy who works for the Galaxy was there and yelled at me again because I approached from the wrong side of the fence.  This time I yelled back about how I ask for direction, someone tells me what to do and then he comes along and shouts that I did it wrong.  “It’s not me so BACK OFF”.  To which he responded “I guess we’re getting to understand eachother”.  I guess we are.   Someone kicks the boy so the boy kicks the dog.  I get it.  I just refuse to be the dog.

Once I got settled in the outdoor makeshift photojournalist section (which was directly behind the galaxy goal)  I went out to my area to stake a spot. All the chairs were lined up with biz cards taped to them so I guess I should’ve left that hour earlier but, I didn’t mind.  I was in an unfamiliar place, surrounded by 3x as many fellow photojournalists and fans that were roaring with excitement.  My pics would come.  Ironically, though I was just at the back corner of the goal net so very limited range and yet, I got some of my best photos during that game.  Which brings me to the pics below.  The story I sensed from it and feel compelled to tell.  I’m a Sounders fan, we all know that but, after photographing the L.A. Galaxy team for so long they’ve kind of grown on me and well, I like em.  They don’t fake injuries, they fight really hard and my camera seems to love them so what’s not to like?  Before the game starts, there’s a tradition where the players walk onto the field (both teams) and each on is hand in hand with a child (though this game had some teens which seemed to twist the spirit of it a bit).  This is one of my favorite moments of the games because I love the capture the excitement on the kid’s faces and the sometimes wide contrast between their expression and the younger’s.  Beckham is consistently aware of his impact on the kid.  Most of the others aren’t.  Someone explained to me that it’s just before the game so they’re mentally preparing themselves.  I don’t know which is better but, it just occurred to me when I looked back at these two pics…do they know the impact this moment has on these kids?  They probably wouldn’t remember their faces if they bumped into them on the street even a day later but, these kids…they’re going to be talking about and reliving this moment for the rest of their lives.  It made me think about that beach kid from Ana’s wedding “excuse me…excuse me…excuse meeeeeee”.  What it meant to him to come up to me and tell me what he thought of my singing.  If I could go back I would’ve taken a moment and asked him his name and maybe high fived.  It’s so easy to forget (or even be oblivious) to the effects we have on others and yet it doesn’t change the fact that an impact we make whether it be a good memory or a worse one.  I want to sing but, I want to stay invisible.  I think that’s why the pics hit me so hard is that if you want to be really good at something you have to accept (in most cases) it means others will notice you and be effected by it.   I don’t think it’s vanity to acknowledge it (though my Catholic upbring keeps pressing that button) but, rather that acknowledging it is a form of graciousness.  Can you believe two little pics brought on all of that?  I guess it’s true what they say about a picture being worth…

Music wise, I stayed in this past weekend and worked on that song that Glen Campbell keeps inspiring and heard back from the Copyright office that the files I sent them back in October (man, are they backed up) were the wrong format so I have find and reformat all 20 0f them this week and get those back to em.

I also got a call from Julie who was the volunteer advocate that helped me sort out financials while I was going through everything.  She’s brilliant at finding resources for financial support.  She’s been bugging me to be in a promotional video she’s making to promote her new business doing pretty much what she did for me only helping a lot more people at it.  She’s working on a contract with the US forces to helping injured soldiers get the help they need with financials and mental and health support.  Pretty cool, huh.  So, I put vanity aside and said I’d put my big ole butt in a chair next week and do this (watch now, this is where it gets good) so she tells me that she’s working on a fund raising idea and when it hits she’d gladly pay me (I don’t care about pay, I’d do something like this for free any day).  So, I went to the site she wanted me to check out and it’s a fundraising site for Indies…There were people who were raising money for Cancer patients…there were people raising money for their band’s tours…there were people raising money for just about everything and then it hit me as I stared at my pile of medical bills and the depleted CD II account…why not put it out there?  It can be a donation exchange even for t-shirts (did I mention I have a friend who just started her own t-shirt print business?) and so it goes…

I haven’t looked into it enough to commit to it.  Just thinking out loud right now but, good thinking eh?  Will keep you posted.

Right now I’m working on photos I took yesterday at SeaWorld San Diego.  Why was I there?  Because my client wants a giant poster sized image of a sea turtle on the wall of her new gym and SeaWorld is the closest I was going to get to one around here.  Pretty murky waters though so I’ll be lucky if any of the shots turned out but again…how cool is it that I got to spend the day taking pictures of sea turtles??

I also got word that there are only 2 more open mics at the old Gibs.  The new owner decided to replace it with some kind of Irish session.  Mixed emotions there.  Love Irish music but, also love open mics and JD runs that one and does a killer job of it.  Hopefully, he’ll pick up another one locally but, at least we’ve still got the FishJoint/Hill Street Cafe open mic that he runs.    As much as I love music, I love being outdoors and that’s what makes the JF/HSC open mic the best of em all.  There’ll be a lot more visits to that one over the next few months I can promise you that.

Tomorrow night will be a class in session.  I’m going to check out the infamous Tim Foley who’s performing downtown.  This guy knows how to work a crowd so it’ll be a great experience I know already.  And I’ll get to see some friends I haven’t seen in a long while so there’s another something to look forward to :).

So, there’s what I know about the week ahead but, it’s anyone guess if it’ll go as planned or if something surprising will crop up…

Till then, thanks for listening and following along~

‘ali

 

 

 

Weekend Update: The Wedding (and then some)…

Wow.  The more I think back on it the more amazed I am at the experience.  And sorry about the punky moment in the last blog.  I did promise myself I’d be completely myself and that includes not so flattering punky moments but I would never actually throw a grapefruit at another performer and for the record she was good.  It was just envy spewing out onto the page and someone feeling just a wee bit sorry for themselves (but, don’t you ever just imagine yourself doing something like that?).  I have a very active imagination as  we all know but, I gave myself a good kick and we’re back on track.

The wedding…well, first of all let me just say it here in Black and White…THANK GD FOR JEFF DIAMOND~.  I never would have figured out the rented sound system (which didn’t work so awesome that he brought his own just in case) and there was a lot of popping sounds and feedback so he tweaked and tweaked until it was perfect.  We had to use fewer mics than we originally planned but, it all worked out and not one screechy sound throughout the whole ceremony.  The only glitch was me.  I didn’t measure out the length of songs vs the number of bridesmaids/groomsmen (14…count em 14) sooooo, by the time the bride was ready to walk down the isle…I’d already played Over the Rainbow 2 1/2 times…eek…and my back was to her (and I was avoiding eye contact with everyone so I wouldn’t start bawling) so I wasn’t quite sure what was up.  Jeff checked in with the wedding planner (Uncle Pauly) while I played on until Uncle Pauly whispered in my ear (play something different for the bride and she’s ready to go down the isle NOW) so I quickly switched from Uke (since I’d already played the two songs I know on it…that is that are appropriate for a wedding…can you imagine me playing If He Were Mine as the bride walked down the isle?  Yikes.)  to martin and the only thing that came to mind was Piece of Cake.  Prob not the best option either but, better than the alternative…?   She was stunning.   They all looked stunningly beautiful and to stop myself from crying (thank also gd the sun was out) I wore my shades throughout the whole thing.  One of the coolest things was that several beachgoers gathered around the perimeter of the “private event” signs and when all was said and done there was a loud cheer that came from them.  How cool is that??  At one point, I heard a tiny voice saying “excuse me…excuse  me…” and when I finally turned around I saw this sand covered lad about 6 years old I’d say who tugged on his shirt and said “I just wanted to say you were really good”.  Oy, if my heart didn’t just melt at that moment.  I thanked him warmly and headed back to my seat to play some stuff to entertain the guests and they waited for their shuttles to arrive (Uncle Pauly’s idea).  Jeff played several of his songs as the guests arrived which was really cool.  I usually only see him at open mics where the set is like 3 songs so it was good to hear more of em.  He’s got one of those nice, soothing voices to match his demeanor.   Later, Uncle Pauly asked if I was available for other events…I admitted my noviceness/shyness  but, that I was open to talking about it and gave him one of my cards (man, life is so much easier with those).  I also gave him one of Jeff’s CD’s and his contact info and went on to daydream about being the background music for cocktail parties and how I would be able to setup my sound system now (thanks to Jeff) and then dared to think…maybe I won’t have to go back to work for someone else after all…and with yesterday’s addition of a client needing photography…maybe I’m dreaming  just a little bit more vividly…oh and add in that we’re all taking the train up to San Luis Obispo to see Need to Breathe next month (if you don’t know I’m completely obsessed with the dream of doing a duet with Bear, their lead singer) and I’m just positively dopey eyed.

The “And then some…” is another class in session moment.  Another KPRI summer concert at La Costa’s Blue Fire Grill.  This time it was “The Burned”.  I had no idea who they were.  Just that I’d had so much fun at the last BFG concert with Fitz and the Tantrums that I had to go.  Turns out they have their music playing on some shows.  Very Vampirey sounding stuff.  It was pretty good but, I was still in punk mode at the time so when he made the (what punkyme thought was pretentious) comment that he’d written this next song when he was in Guatemala and he was there because he likes to get as far away as possible to do some songwriting and how moved he was by blah blah blah…he pretty much lost me there and to be fair my friend Diane who joined me there had the same impression so maybe it wasn’t just me being punky.  The opening act was called Ottopiolot.  A couple of young brothers who have a wide selection of covers as well as some originals that they played pitch perfectly.  They were warm, friendly and charming and when the KRPI chick came up to us to remind us that the Burned were at their table waiting to sign autographs we both smiled and nodded and stayed put because Ottopilot was playing again.  Lesson learned…?  Never book an act better than you to open for you.  Maybe that’s not quite the wording.  I don’t know that they were better…just more appealing…It’s kind of like hiring Justin Bieber to perform at your wedding.  Way to rip the spotlight off of you.

Monday…I also made it to Hensley’s open mic (though I was fighting off some serioius fatigue from the weekend – still am).  But, I asked myself did I want to be that musician who says they’ll show but, you never know until that moment if they actually will?  A defiant NO is what I came up with.  So, I grabbed my guitar and headed on over there.  No one else remembered the idea of meeting early to jam but, I was good with that.  My shoulder was aching pretty badly so I was good with hiding in a corner until it was my turn.  An odd thing happened that made me think…while I was playing…this guy (who’d obviously had a few too many car bombs) came up real close to the stage and kept giving me the money symbol (you know where you rub your fingers together?) and at one point he sat on the floor with arms way up in the air like he was soaking in the sound or something and I think shouted out a couple incoherent statements.  I’m not sure what it all meant but, I’ve seen this happen to friends who perform on stage and I always wondered how it looked to them and if they were worried this person would break the barrier and jump up on stage and then…what do you do about it?  It’s not like it’s a big concert and there are bouncers ready to pounce…It just made me wonder…When I was done, I had some good feedback and after all the warm glow from the wedding my voice was in power mode.  I didn’t care how loud I sang or who heard it.  And this time I shuddup and sang and didn’t ramble on too much.  I even looked into the faces of several of the ppl out there and connected (see…I’m learning from my mistakes~).  In the end I was glad I went and walked away from this weekend feeling really hopefull and eager to see what comes of it all.

So, what’s next?  What’s next is…covering the LA Galaxy VS Real Madrid game this weekend and shopping for my own amp/mic so I’m prepared when someone does call me about doing a gig and then going to the Aquarium to take pictures of Sea Turtles for my new client :-).  Ali Gilmore…Jill of all trades…Singer…Songwriter…Photographer…Techie…no one can ever accuse me of leading a boring life.  That’s for sure.  Who knows…maybe the Photography will  pick up enough to cover the costs of recording CD II…now wouldn’t that just be the coolest thing ever…

We shall see…in the meantime thanks for following along and don’t forget…if this project has taught me anything it’s that its never too late to change course so if you’re not happy in the work you do…get out your oars people~

‘ali

JD sorting it all out while I stand idly by...

 

Weekend Update and the Approach of the Big Day…

Last weekend was our holiday weekend where people grill out doors, overindulge in said grilled food washed down with loads of cold bevies, get too much sun and nearly lose an appendage playing around with bottle rockets, whistling petes and the like.   Mine involved a Wednesday night sushi celebration with friends followed by an impromptu sushi outing with the bride to be and some of the girls followed by a trip up to LA to visit the infamous Bernadette O’Neil (of county off her corker) and to cover the LA Galaxy game vs Seattle (my home boys) Sounders on the 4th.  M came with and we took lil blue as a trial run, slathered my face/neck/arms and my already incredibly sunburnt lips (I really need to learn to listen to medical providers, this I know) in sunscreen and headed up the I-5.  After everyone had gone through several changes of clothing (in LA you have to wear just the right thing y’know) we  headed out to somewhere new and ended up at Rush (Bern’s fav and ours too).  It’s a very metro cool place and the bartender is an actor (aren’t they all) who looks like one of my favorite ones Matthew Goode (remember Leap Year?).  Plus, you can see he gets how adorable our lil OCD queen is and that’s a keen eye and a warm heart ;).  The evening was filled with catchup conversations and Bern giving her feedback on what should happen next for each of us (she loves to ask you a question, wait for the answer then say “Right now…here’s what you should do” and the truth is, she’s usually right).  There was a tall, skinny waitress dressed in all black who kept leaning into the guy sitting on his own next to us and being all oggle-eyed.  I was thinking like “hey sister…you need to pull back like waaaay back.  No guy (in his right mind) likes a desperate woman and you wreak of it woman”.  But, I kept my mouth shut and re-focused on our conversations.   At one point he looked my way and I thought…aha…he looks familiar…I also thought hrmmm why the hell is he wearing a goatee…he looks silly in it.  Then, as we left a lightbulb went off and I remembered~   There was a show on TV several years back called “Ed”.  I totally loved it.  He played the best friend of the main character.  He was really endearing.  Oh fek, what was his name…we actually looked him up on IMDB.  Married to a Canadian actress.  Anyway…though I say I’m not comfortable being in LA (weird vibe there) I have to say that I do get a lil thrill at celebrity sightings (which doesn’t happen often because I’m forever in my head, daydreaming away).  It was kinda cool…

Monday was the 4th of July and we spent it at a Hawaiian cafe then got led to the Pacific Palisades annual 4th of July Parade (I’ll get pics up on the website’s photo gallery on Monday) and then off to the game.  We stopped at a nearby restaurant to eat first and when I saw a couple (one wearing LA jersey, the other a Sounders jersey) I had to pull out the camera and ask to take their pic.  It felt funny saying “Hi…I’m here to shoot the game for Prost Amerika and you two are such a great example of what it’s all about, could I get your pic?”  They were thrilled, I was thrilled…too thrilled to put on my glasses and actually see if the pics turned out (which they didn’t which makes me a jerk).  Still, its funny the sense of cool you get when you say things aloud like “I work for a record label” or “I cover the LA Galaxy games”.  I don’t say them often because they give a false sense of who I am and as Monster Boy so aptly pointed out, I like being “Invisible”.  I so prefer being the observer than the observed.

Today, I get to observe a great thing…Ana n Ryan’s wedding 🙂  Another wedding in the group…another positive twist in our tale.  We had a rehearsal on the beach the other night and man oh man is it cool.  They each have about 6 friends walking down the isle before them and Ryan twisted his ankle badly the other day so he should be walking down with crutches in tow but, he insists on hobbling.  It’s just enough away from the beach goers but, close enough to have them witness it.  I imagined that I was someone walking the beach and happened upon the site.  What a cool moment that would be.  As it happens I’ll be sitting on a rock just behind the brides maids (nice n hidden ;)) back to the ocean and bride n groom n pastor on my left.  They can see me and that’s all that matters.  Me and Jeff Diamond that is.  Yup, he agreed to help us out and not only perform with me but, also he knows everything about sound systems so I’ll be getting in a great lesson on that today :-).  We’re meeting up at the site 2 hours before the wedding.  Just enough time to get the sound setup, work out the bugs (I bought wind mufflers for each mic) and practice the songs we’re gonna play.  Ironically just after getting rid of the big ole trooper I get the request to pickup the big ole speakers/amp at their house.  Guess who came to the rescue?  Yup…Sergio~  Parking is a bear so I’m gonna head down an hour ahead and setup my equipment and take a few shots (yup, I’ll be recording this for sure).  Thursday night Jeff and I planned a meetup to go over the songs but, instead he signed me up for the open mic he was running.  I bombed.  I bombed I’ll say it again booooooombed.  It was in such a weird space in my head and I rambled and I lost their attention.  It was a such a contrast to the first time I played there.  On the third song M was pretty much the only one clapping and the rest politely followed but, they were clearly unimpressed and I was desperate to become invisible again.  Other than Hensley’s I think I’ll hold off on any more public performances until I get my body and sense of self back.  I mean before I went on I was watching some skinny chick who was all decked out up there playing and I was txting Miche and eyeing a nearby crate of grapefruit and (vividly) imagining myself hurling one at her.  That is just so wrong.  I always txt Miche when I’m thinking of doing or saying something regrettable and she usually talks me down from the tree before I say or do said regrettable thing.  Yes…if you thought I was nothing but sweet and good-natured, here’s where I smash that image to bits.  Inside me there’s an inner punkass running a muck.  And like many many times before she (Miche) came through with flying colors “She’s a peasant and you’re a Queen”.  A bit much taken out of context but, if you know the background behind it, it works…big time.  OK, I’ll tell ye…many years back when we were both in our 20’s and roommates and in the best shape of our lives and quite the social trend setters we got on famously until at one point she treated me like an underling and it pissed me off and I stood right up to her and we didn’t speak for a couple days and when I was in a shop I was perusing the cards (for someone’s birthday I think) when I came across one that said something like “we are Queens of two worlds…” and it had something like a yin/yan symbol on it.  That pretty much summed up how we were to approach eachother from the day I handed her that card on.    We never let the other forget we’re important in the world and that we should hold ourselves to a high standard.  Does that mean we see ourselves as above all others?  Noooo…well, just the riff raff.  The posers, the plastics and the poisoners.  But, I digress (once again).  The point of today is I get to be a part of a magical thing.  Not all weddings are magical.  The ones that you believe in…the ones that reach into your heart and hug it like it was your favorite gran.  Those are and this is one of those (big time) and I’m sooooo looking forward to it.  And you all know how much I love to look forward to things…

Will post a pic here tomorrow.  Til then…thanks as always for following along~

‘ali