Alternative Press 25th Anniversary Art Show – 10.20.10

On Wednesday Alternative Press held the opening for their 25th anniversary art show at Sloan Fine Art Gallery on the Lower East Side and I showed up to cover the event for Complex Magazine. The show featured art by a number of musicians including Marilyn Manson, Black Francis, Shirley Manson, Tim Armstrong and Travie McCoy.  The show also featured a room with art and souvenirs from the Alternative Press archives. It was a cool show with a lot of different types of art represented but I spent the most time looking at the AP archival stuff. I had no idea they started out as a little fanzine mostly dealing with local Ohio politics.  It was very cool.

While I was there I had some pretty interesting conversations. I talked to the founder of Alternative Press Mike Shea for a long time and he introduced me to the AP editor in chief who wrote a cover story on the Insane Clown Posse more than a decade ago. We had a pretty good conversation about ICP and my trip to The Gathering Of The Juggalos. The band the Plain White T’s were there and I realized I met one of them at Sundance two years ago and we talked about our mutual friend. For me though, the highlight of my evening was meeting Michael Azerrad.

Azerrad is a rock journalist who wrote two of my favorite books about music, Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana and Our Band Could Be Your Life. His book about Nirvana completely changed my life. When I was 13 I was obsessed with Nirvana. I didn’t listen to any other music.  I had pretty much memorized Come As You Are. When Kurt Cobain killed himself I realized I wouldn’t have any new music to listen to so I went though Come As You Are and picked out all the bands that Kurt mentioned listening to in the book. I bought CD’s by the Melvins, Mud Honey, the Meat Puppets and on my 14th birthday my friend Erich bought me the album My War by Black Flag. Black Flag changed my life completely. From then on I listened to nothing but punk rock. I started a punk zine, a record label and started taking photos to document my favorite punk bands. My DIY ethos, mostly straight edge lifestyle and my photography career all came from those punk rock days. Without Come As You Are my life would be completely different. On top of that when Our Band Cour Be Your Life came out I was managing The Gaskets and it is the most inspiring books I have ever read about being in a band. I made it required reading for the guys. I shoot a lot of celebrities and musicians and I rarely get excited about meeting them, but meeting Michael Azerrad was a fucking honor.

Anyway, sorry for the tangent. Click here to see all the pictures from the Alternative Press 25th anniversary art show at Sloan Fine Art.

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All My Friends Are In Bands (Part 4)

The All My Friends Are In Bands series continues. Every time three of my friends have a new music video out I post them up here for you bastards to enjoy.  This week I was sitting on two videos that I wanted to post but I didn’t have a third so I reached out to my Twitter account for a third video.  I got a few suggestions but they weren’t exactly what I needed so I picked a special video for the third one. You should check out those suggestions anyway.  Check out BST’s band live, check out some insane thing Dan Baxter is working on and check out a video for a band that my friend Brian produced. (He produced the music not the video. Anyway, let’s move on to the videos….

We start with a video that my friend Trev directed. I don’t actually know Ralphy Boy, but I don’t hate him at all. Trev runs The New Pop and wrote and directed the movie epically I starred in. Ralphy Boy’s song is called “Get It” and the whole thing reminds me a little bit of “What’s Up Fat Lip“. So check it out already.

Next up we got the new video from my boy Shwazye.  He just came out with a solo album under his real name “Aaron Smith”.  It’s called Love Stoned and you can get it completely free online.  The album is pretty killer even if it’s a little California for my tastes. That hasn’t stopped me from listening to it a bunch.  I met Shwazye at Sundance a few years ago because we have the same watch.  Dude is always fun to hang out with.  You should read this story about the time I went to Beatrice with him. Crazy night.  Anyway, check out his video for “Said It All Before” right now.

And lastly, this video is not new but clearly very important. As you probably are sick of hearing about by now, my friend Ross Harman died last Monday. His memorial service is this Sunday so tomorrow I am going out of town for it. I will be back Monday or Tuesday. I miss the kid so fucking much but I hope that once I properly grieve with friends and family I can start to move on and get back to my life. Anyway, this is Ross’ band The Gaskets’s video for a song called “Eiffel Tower. It was directed by our friend Grier Dill. It got accepted into the SXSW Film Fest and stars yours truly as the Hitleresque villain Hell bent on destroying pop music. I hope you like it, it’s pretty fucking amazing. And remember all The Gaskets music is available completely free now on TheGaskets.com.

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Night Swim – 6.17.10

Thursday night was sort of madness. I went down to the Roosevelt pool at about 5pm and I didn’t get home until around 9am. I am just glad I brought my camera with me.  I hung out by the pool with some hot babes and my friend Jason who used to be the editor for Inked but now works for Playboy.  Playboy sent him to LA for E3 but he had some meetings cancled so I hung out with him for two days in his gigantic suite. I guess he hasn’t quite made the switch to Playboy from Inked yet because all the girls we were hanging with were Burning Angels instead of Playmates. I’m not complaining. After the pool we went back to his suite to watch the Lakers game.  When the Lakers won there were riots all over the place, but in Hollywood it was mostly just kids screaming outside.  I kinda wanted to photograph the riots but instead I took a ton of naked photos of Pheonix from Burning Angel who is pretty much just retardedly hot.  I think that was the better move. Those photos should be up pretty soon…

After the shoot we went back down to the pool where there was a huge party going on.  I had no idea Night Swim was a thing but it was pretty much amazingly fun.  The first two people I saw where Franki Chan and Spank Rock so it was great to see people I knew right away. I walked about 10 feet and Todd from Inked had a bottle and was surrounded by a half dozen Inked models.  I walked around the pool and I saw my friend Tyler sitting with Bam Margera (who was maybe as drunk as I have seen anyone ever) and Johnny from Kill Hanna and Ashes Divide.  Later I ran into an ex and the first girl ever to get the Driven By Boredom tattoo.  Right then I ran into my friend Nikki who I built a website for. I turned around and my friend Presely who was one of the first Suicide Girls was tapping me on the shoulder. Later I ran into one of the hottest girls ever who just happens to be my LA crush’s sister who introduced me to this guy Aaron Paul who I realized I had met and sort of hung out with at Sundance two years ago.  He is on the show Breaking Bad which I have yet to see but everyone keeps telling me is amazing.  I also ran into my aforementioned LA crush and met a bunch of fun people and cute girls and even a few fun cute girls.  The whole thing was great.

After they kicked us out of the pool I invited about 20 random people up to Jason’s suite for a party that lasted about 10 minutes until the security guards kicked us out.  There were three guards led by one of the bigest humans I have ever seen in my life, so that party ended pretty quickly.  When everyone left we were down to Jason and I, the Burning Angels Jessie Lee and Phoenix and Jorma from The Bronx with his girlfriend and friend. Everytime I hang out with Jorma in LA shit gets crazy but he and his girlfriend needed to go to bed so their visit was cut short.  The rest of us just spent the next two hours laughing crazily about shit for no reason.  I honestly don’t remember much of it, but at one point we were throwing forks at eachother and through out the two nights they drank every thing in the mini bar and orderded about $500 in room service. It was total madness.

Right before we were about to head out we got a phone call from Jorma. Evidently his girlfriend had left her phone in the room. It was on vibrate and the room was a mess of botttles and cans and trash and Playboy magazines so it took us a while to look for it, but after a good search we realized it couldn’t be anywhere. When we told Jorma that he asked us if we had looked in her purse which he said would be right next to her shoes.  What?  Clearly there was no purse or shoes here, we had searched the whole place.  When we left the apartment Jorma and his girlfriend were standing in the hall way and she had no shoes on.  They were so drunk they told us they had just been in the elevator for the last three hours.  We told them we couldn’t find the phone.  Jorma’s girlfriend was worried because there were “dirty” pictures on the phone.  Jorma was like “Who care’s if someone sees your boobs?” and she was like “But baby, they are of you!”  At that point Jessie Lee just lost it and was pretty much crying with laughter.  When we left them they were standing in the elevator even though they didn’t have a key to make it move.  It was sort of a legendary evening. I beleive they amazing eventually found their stuff somewhere on the 5th floor of the hotel.

I then drove Phoenix to Joanna Angel’s house in the Valley and then took Jessie Lee to her friends house in Silver Lake and finally made it home around nine in the morning.  It was noon in NYC and all my friends were just waking up. Good times.

Click here to see all the pictures from Night Swim at the Roosevelt Hotel pool. The rest of the evening went pretty much undocumented… Which is probably for the best.

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SXSW Film Red Carpet

Aside from doing these film portraits, I signed up for some red carpets.  I sort of hate doing step and repeat stuff, but it’s a good thing to have in my portfolio when trying to get jobs at Sundance.  Plus knew the Voice would run it and I quickly found out that it was a great way to get into movies without having to wait in line.  I mean, I had to wait in the press area taking photos for the same amount of time, but at least I was being productive, getting paid and shooting the shit with other pro photographers which is always fun.  Complaining about light and step and repeat walls is one of my favorite things to do.

Cool stuff was getting to shoot Chloe Sevigny who I have had a crush on for 15 years and have never spoken to despite being in the same room with her several times.  I didn’t get to speak with her this time either, but I did shout “look right here!” at her a few times. Clearly the Get Low carpet was amazing. I had met the crew earlier in the day as per my last post, but it was still great.  Robert Duvall flicked off all the camera guys when we weren’t paying attention as a joke.  Not one person got the shot, that guy is a pro.  Sissy hugging me as per the last post was amazing too.  MacGruber was the only one of these films I didn’t attend because I think SNL is horrible. It was cool to see Val Kilmer despite him posing for less than 10 seconds.  Fortunately there was a lot of him to shoot… Of all the celebs who did the red carpet, Will Forte from SNL was the most generous.  After his time on the carpet, he left the ropes and went into the crowds of screaming girls and posed for pictures and signed autographs for another 5 minutes. It was a really classy move.

I shot the red carpets for Barry Munday, Cryus, Lemmy, MacGruber, and Get Low. If you want to see who everyone is, check the Voice gallery for captions.

Click here for the 2010 SXSW Film Red Carpet gallery.

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Guns & Roses @ John Varvatos – 2.11.10

So I am doing a little bit of work for The Fashion Spot during this fashion week and last night I was on my way to cover a Patricia Fields party in Midtown. But right before I left my house I got a text from my editor there telling me I needed to get over to the John Varvatos store because Guns and Roses were doing a private set. Yeah, that’s right, Guns and Fucking Roses were playing for like 200 people in the same location that CBGB’s used to be.  Fashion Spot was on the list and I just had to go over there and drop some names.  Of course when I got there it was at max capacity and they weren’t letting anyone in. I was cold and frustrated and about to give up when I saw that the bouncers were all wearing PBR hats.  I knew that NYC PBR rep Dan James had to be inside. I hit him up and he came out and they still wouldn’t let me in.  He wasn’t sponsoring the event but he had a bunch of PBR shwag.  One of the bouncers asked him for another hat and he traded them hats in trade for letting me in.  That was a huge move. It almost makes up for him being a Jets fan.

So after an hour of waiting packed like sardines in a 120 degree clothing store Guns and Roses made the stage… Well at least Axl did, I am pretty sure none of his backing band were actually in Guns and Roses, but I didn’t really give a fuck. I met Slash at Sundance last year so I’m all good.  Guns and Roses were pretty much all I cared about in 1991.  In the late ’80s and early ’90s all I listened to was rap and metal.  And by rap I mean shit like Young MC and Run DMC and by metal I mean Poison, Motley Crew and G’n’f’n’R.  I wanted to see Guns and Roses with Metalica in ’91 so fucking badly but my mom wouldn’t let me go with all my friends.  Well, if I had told my 11 year old self that I would be two feet from Axl Rose singing Sweet Child o’ Mine I would have lost my shit.

Now, admittedly 20 years later it’s not quite the same thing.  There were 200 people there instead of 20,000, Axl has put on a few pounds and my enthusiasm for ’80s hair metal is not quite what it once was, but I was still pretty excited.  I told a girl next to me that I was going to take off after 25 minutes, but Axl fucking brought it.  I stayed for the entire set and it was nearly 2 hours long.  Brooklyn Vegan has the set list if you care.  Speaking of set lists, I escaped with Axl’s set list, so that was pretty fan boy of me.  I think it’s probably the only set list I have ever taken.

Anyway, the show was actually really great.  They played some of the new stuff that people didn’t really care about, but they played the hits and they did an AC/DC cover which was great. Axl was much more relaxed than I imagined him to be.  He was joking around the whole time.  People waited hours to see them and actually a ton of people left before he even showed up.  Because of this people were calling him “Asshole” when he got on stage.  He was joking about how he had never heard anyone rhyme Axl with Asshole.  He just took it in stride.  He was actually really hilarious. He kept smiling the whole time. He was clearly having a blast, joking about someone had stolen his shirts. He was not nearly the Asshole Rose I assumed he would be.

I have to say it must be sort of weird for him to be playing for a bunch of people who don’t really give a fuck about being there.  There were a few serious fans but most of the people were just fashion week types and people who have the pull to get into some exclusive G’n’R show.  A lot of people sang a long to the hooks on the hits, but the bouncers didn’t really have to keep any screaming fans from tearing his clothes off.  Even when they finished their set to Paradise City the crowd just sort of started filing out instead of demanding an encore.  The band had to run band on stage before the crowd left so they could finish their set. It could have been sort of awkward and embarrassing but Axl just kept going and he fucking killed it.

It was really great seeing Guns and Roses on a $5000 PA.  By the end you could barely hear the vocals. It was like they were playing in an actual punk club.  At once point Axl excitedly screamed something about playing CBGB’s.  It was sort of epic. Again, I just wanted to say, before I finally go to sleep, that despite the sound system, and the shitty crowd and the heat and the fact that he is old as hell, Axl really put on a great show and I could not have been happier to have been there.  I figured when the entire 1990s passed without me seeing my one time favorite band that I probably was not going to get the chance, but here we are a decade later and I was shooting them live from 5 feet away.

Lastly, it was insanely hot in there and I was shooting over people’s heads and I was generally a bit disappointed with the shots I got, but none the less, there are some images here that I think really capture the night. I hope you dig them because this show is something I am going to remember for a long time.

Click here to see all my pictures of Guns and Roses at the John Varvatos fashion week party.

Ps. I forgot to mention this, but I sort of have to say something about it. On the same table where Axl kept his beer, he also had a box of tissues and he kept going over there and using them between songs.  I am not sure he would have had a box of Kleenex on stage with him 20 years ago, but if he had the sniffles you have to admire his dedication.

Ps. These were posted on TMZ.

PPs. GNR Fans… these images are available as 16″x20″ archival art prints. Contact me for details.

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New Event Portfolio

So I am trying to book Sundance gigs this year so I made a makeshift event work portfolio. I created eventsbyigor.com two years ago to book a Sundance gig, and I finally updated it with some halfway decent photos.  I got gigs at Sundance the last two years so let’s hope we can pull it off this year too.

So this site is very hastily put together and a bunch of it is just celebrity bullshit, but I figured you guys might want to check it out anyway.  I am not sure why I picked the shots I did exactly, but it is some of my better, more commercial (as in not naked) event work.  One of these days I will redo it with an actual best of the best gallery and a design that isn’t horrible, but for the moment this will have to do.

Click here to check it out.

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This Is Tisch Gala – 11.2.09

NYU has been good to me. I wanted to go there in high school but my parents didn’t want me to go to school for photography. They came around eventually but I never even applied. I ended up in business school at Penn State before switching my major during orientation and eventually transferring to a decent art school after two years of bullshit at PSU. Anyway, I feel like now I am finally part of the NYU family as Tisch School of the Arts keeps hiring me to shoot their parties which I am very grateful for. I shot for them the first time at Sundance when they needed a photog last minute and I happened to be there. Since then they have hired me several times with the most recent party being the biggest.  Tisch throws a huge gala every year to raise money for scholarships. The gala honored several people including Marcia Gay Harden Ron Howard and producer Brian Glazer.  They asked me to cover the reception and the dinner after the event. They had two rooms for the dinner, one for students and faculty which I covered and one for the celebrities and big donors which was covered by nightlife photog icon Patrick McMullan.  It was pretty cool working with him and I got to shoot a few celebs during the reception anyway. Tisch gave me permission to post my photos from the event on DBB which was pretty great of them.  Most of the celeb shots are below, but you can click here to see the rest of the shots from the party.

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Vampiro: Angel, Devil, Hero

As far as I can tell Vampiro: Angel, Devil, Hero hasn’t really played much in the United States.  Most of their press quotes are from Canada and a lot of them are out of date.  When I saw the film at the Backseat Film Festival I was one of only four people in the audience and I got in for free.

Vampiro is a bad name for a documentary film about a Canadian born wrestler who became a star in Mexico.  It happens to be the name of the wrestler, but I would venture that with a name change, and a better publicist this film would be the talk of the town.  This should have played at Sundance.  Vampiro was easily the best film I have seen in 2009.  It was completely depressing that they couldn’t sell a few more tickets.  People need to be talking about this movie so I figured I would start.

Did you see the Wrestler?  I did.  It was great right?  Mickey Rourke was amazing…  Well you know who else was amazing in a film this year?  Ian Hodgkinson.  He is the man behind the make up.  He is the former drug addict, former stick up kid, former Milli Vanilli bodyguard turned Mexican Wrestling Superstar.  The movie is the story of Hodgkinsons attempt at starting a new promotion company on the eve of their first televised event.  As the film moves closer to the telecast it flashes back to the last year of his life that is setting up this one big night.  Also inter spliced are interviews with friends and former friends.  The story tells the tale of a man who despite a history of sexual abuse and living on the streets as a criminal and drug addict through sheer determination became one of the biggest stars in a country thousands of mines from his home in Canada.  He gave up a possible pro hockey career to try to make it as a wrestler which led him down a long strange path from Canada, to the streets, to Los Angeles and finally to the country he now calls his home.  22 years after he began, he is on the verge of retiring, trying to get into promotions so he can stop brutalizing his body night after night.  Not unlike in the Wrestler his doctor has told him he needs to retire or face an early grave.  Not unlike the Wrestler his family life is in big trouble.  But unlike Mickey Rourke’s character, Vampiro finds time to spend with his daughter and some how perseveres.  I would be very surprised if the Wrestler was not in some way inspired by either this film or just Vampiro’s life story.  There are too many similarities.  And as much as I love Mickey Rourke (Anyone have Barfly on DVD? Netflix hasn’t had it in two years.) I think Ian Hodgkinson could have had just as moving performance.  When the first tear drops from Vampiro’s face there was not a dry eye in the house…  All 8 of them.  This movie needs to be seen, it is a tragedy that it hasn’t been so far.

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Rebecca Minkoff Handbag And Accessories Presentation – 2.12.09

Last week I was very sick.  The high point of that sickness was at The Rebecca Minkoff presentation at Formula Studios at Milk.  The Le Tourment Vert Absinthe people I worked with at Sundance asked me to cover this event for them at Fashion Week.  I was way too sick to be doing it, but I sucked it up and managed to somehow crawl there.  I think there are some famous people in the pictures but I honestly have no idea because I spent most of the evening trying not to fall over and trying not to look like I was trying not to fall over.  The one thing I do remember is that I had an unnecessarily long conversation with Albert Hammond Jr and Agyness Deyn about Wikipedia.  Also as we were leaving the elevator was taking forever which lead to a conversation about jumping out the window, which led to a conversation about the french free running sport parkour which eventually led to me, in my sick addled state, to decide that I would slide head first down a rather long banister.  This seemed to go well until my camera bag slipped off my back and pulled me off the banister with it.  Luckily I am impervious to embarrassment or such a thing would have been awkward in a normal situation, especially in front of a rock star and a super model (as well as several other people.)  Woops.

Check out all the shots of people drinking delicious green absinthe here.

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