Ape Fest – 6.23.22

We have a lot to talk about today. Gonna try to make this post make sense for people who hate/don’t care about NFTs and for people who are deep in it, and that’s going to be tough to do, but before I do any of that and get to the photos, we need to talk about abortion. 

These photos would have been up yesterday but I didn’t think it made any sense to post party photos during an historically awful day in American history. We have become a much more progressive country in the 50 years since Roe v. Wade was decided and yet here we are being ruled by a hard right fundamentalist minority. Women should be able to make their on medical decisions and this won’t save lives, it will only kill the poorest women. If someone wants an abortion, they will get one. Well off people will just travel to blue states while the poorest most vulnerable women will be forced to risk their own life to terminate their pregnancy. It’s a fucking nightmare. I donated to two things yesterday and I invite you to do the same. The first is a fund that goes to 92 different organizations, just make sure that if you donate that your phone number is not saved with ActBlue because you do not want hundreds of fundraising texts. The second is Brigid Alliance which does direct action to help women get abortions. They get money to travel and even childcare to look after their kids while they are away. They have a perfect rating from Charity Navigator as well. If you are here for NFTs, I am donating 100% of the profits from this photo to Brigid

Now, moving on. Let’s talk about Bored Apes. 

I have very mixed opinions about the Bored Ape Yacht Club and it’s hard to write about this to an audience that has such a wide mix of knowledge/views about what BAYC even is, but I am going to try. Let’s start with the basics. BAYC is a collection of 10,000 NFTs that are made up of randomly generated traits, giving them different levels of rarity and value. They have become one of the most valuable, and definitely the most recognizable NFT collection, and they have birthed several other collections as well. Because of this popularity and massive value, BAYC has become a symbol for everything people hate about NFTs. They see rich crypto bros with stupid monkey jpgs as status symbols and they think the art sucks and they don’t get it and they write off all NFTs as garbage. And the thing is, they aren’t completely wrong. 

I also don’t blame BAYC for this. There are so many garbage NFT projects that have all followed behind BYAC trying to copy their model and have caused so many people to blow so much money chasing the next BYAC. It sucks and PFPs (profile pictures or picture for proof) have made web3 a joke. It’s such a bummer as an artist just trying to make a living with this exciting new technology and people bring up apes and just write the whole thing off. 

And yes, there are a lot of awful people who own Apes. The level of privilege to own a $100k jpg and not sell it is astronomical, but I know many people who have had their lives absolutely changed by these things. They bought them cheap and either sold them for life changing money, or held on to them for the rewards which have also been life changing.  I ran into someone who I knew 15 years ago and he was able to show his artwork in a gallery all because he was given tens of thousands of dollars of “Ape Coin” just for holding on to his ape. 

Okay, so now we need to talk about the claims of racism. There is a professional troll named Ryder Ripps trying to destroy BAYC. I know Ryder a little bit and I actually think he’s pretty interesting as far as an artist. He’s been ripping off NFT collections and changing them a little bit to have a conversation about ownership and copyright and to make some money and PR out of it. I guess you could say he’s the web3 Richard Prince and I am sure both his supporters and detractors would probably enjoy that comparison. He put together a video that went viral recently that was basically a Q Anon video for NFTs claiming that BAYC is a white supremacist organization. It’s really silly and BAYC did a good job of refuting it, and I am sure even Ryder knows it’s all nonsense, but a good troll never admits the troll. They’ve also sued Ryder which is exactly what he wanted and his RR BAYC collection has been skyrocketing in value. 

So no, BYAC is not a secret racist organization, but I do think there is something a little problematic with anthropomorphizing apes, especially when you have traits that are generally associated with black culture. When I first saw BYAC I almost minted one, just because of the Driven By Boredom association, but two things kept me away, the fact that I had just lost some of the first ETH I ever made on a 10k project, and because I thought the apes with grills thing was a little gross. I clearly regret this decision and while I still think Apes are a little corny, the community around them is very impressive and nearly everything Yuga Labs has done as a company has been impressive. 

Which finally brings me to Ape Fest. 

Ape Fest is a festival that takes place around NFT NYC. This is the second one and the first one since the line for Ape Fest 2021 went viral for having a bunch of white dudes making ape noises in line. This year they made the very smart decision to allow plus ones (which is how I got in) and there were a lot more women, and even some non-white people there. A revelation. Web3 clearly skews towards a certain demographic but there are a lot of people trying to fix that and NFT NYC did feel a lot less broy compared to last year. 

I went to Day 4 of the fest, which takes place at Pier 17, down in by the water in the financial district. They had a massive inflatable ape at the entrance and a pirate ship just hanging out with BAYC sails. The party itself was on the roof of a building but the massive amount of money they spent on the surrounding area was not unnoticed. 

The event was pretty impressive and well run and the acts were pretty impressive. There were a lot of real goofy motherfuckers around, but everyone was super nice. As much as I would like to make fun of it, I really did appreciate the invite from one of my NFT collectors who goes by Freecard. He’s a great dude and it was a real experience. 

The party started with an NFT themed rapper named Spottie WiFi. I honestly expected him to look like his Crypto Punk since that’s how I know him. I am not sure his music is for me, but I have been in Spaces and Discords with him and he seems like a good dude. It was very cool to see him perform on this huge stage in front of his people. 

After that Lil Wayne performed and as much as I used to love him, I am not sure that getting the rapper most associated with the MAGA movement is an ideal way to let people know that you aren’t a secret white supremacist group. I still like a ton of his music though so it was at least enjoyable. Towards the end of his set my hurt back started killing me so I sat down and then someone managed to drop an entire whiskey drink on my from above. So that was fun..

After that Snoop came out with Eminem and they debuted their new song which isn’t about NFTs, but features the Apes that they each own. It’s actually a pretty good song & video and the comments on it make me feel that most people don’t even know what BAYC is. Eminem didn’t perform but Snoop did. He mostly was just DJing but he rapped some too. He had a song about Ape Coin which was a little cringe, but otherwise it was pretty fun. I think I’ve seen Snoop 4 times now and you can’t go wrong with that. That being said, he did have a couple strippers on stage with him, and despite most of my friends being strippers or former strippers, I still think it’s kinda a bad look for BAYC when they are trying to let people know they aren’t just a bunch of pale dudes. 

Lastly, and maybe most importantly outside of the whole Handmaid’s Tale situation, is that I didn’t shoot this like it was an event. I didn’t have press access so I didn’t shoot any of the music except a couple wide shots. I didn’t bring my flash so once it got dark I didn’t really shoot. I really just took my camera out because I didn’t want to carry it on my back anymore. My spine is completely fucked so it’s much less painful to hold my camera than carry it on my back. I also was rocking a terrible plastic lens because it’s way lighter than my normal one. So yeah, there aren’t many photos. I took a few of people I met, and some photos of people taking photos because I am working on a phone themed zine. I took some photos of a limbo contest but it was pretty dark at that point and a few other shots randomly here and there. It’s not great coverage of the event, but it did give me a chance to write this 1600 word article about all this stuff.

So TL;DR, abortion should be a woman’s choice, NFTs aren’t all animal jpgs, BAYC is a little bit corny and a little bit problematic, but they have changed lives, have done a lot of great stuff and threw some amazing events. 

Now click here to see a couple dozen photos from Day 4 of Ape Fest 2022 at Pier 17.

Ps. Something is fucked up with my gallery system because my website is archaic, so until I fix it I am using a Flickr gallery like it’s 2007. 

Ape Fest 2022

Ape Fest 2022

Ape Fest 2022

Ape Fest 2022

Ape Fest 2022

Ape Fest 2022

I Swear Snoop & Eminem Are In This Photo

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2021 Gathering Of The Juggalos Day 3

This is it! My last Gathering of the Juggalos post of 2021! But don’t think you will stop seeing juggalos from me anytime soon because my juggalo NFT series will continue and I am sure I will keep bothering you guys about that stuff. Sorry about that. Anyway, day three was my most chill day. I “only” have 160 photos for you guys today. I sort of felt like I had everything I needed and planned to photograph the bands and shoot some more portraits and shoot ICP and then be done with it but my day got sidetracked a little bit.

My first sidetrack was meeting the owner of Legend Valley, the campsite that the festival is on. I was photographing one of the giant dinosaurs that are on the lot and he started talking to me about them. Apparently they are for a EDM fest called Lost Lands that’s happening in a couple weeks. He told me he had 40 small dinos just sitting at his house. They apparently all move and I realize I had actually seen them on Shark Tank. He let me back to a place beyond the security fencing to photograph some of them. It was very cool. I even made a dumb TikTok. 

My next sidetrack was taking some photos with Ouija Macc. As I mentioned before he’s the #2 artist on Psychopathic Records after ICP and he’s managed by a friend of mine so we set up a quick shoot. I went backstage and they were loading huge pallets of Faygo for ICP’s set onto the stage with a forklift and I had an idea. The dude driving the truck looked like Stan Lee if Stan Lee were a biker and loved the idea and lifted Ouija up into the air as high it would go and I grabbed a few shots. He put it down before I was finished but I wasn’t gonna complain and I still got a couple of good ones. 

After that I finally shot a musical act. (I actually took a couple photos of Free Will too.) Lardi B performed and I knew nothing about her except her name sounded pretty funny. Apparently she went viral for doing a WAP parody. She had a set with donuts and candy behind her and as soon as she started playing the crowd started throwing food at her. I honestly couldn’t tell if they were doing it to support her or boo her but either way she took it in stride and it became one of the more memorable performances of the festival. People were throwing entire boxes of snacks at her. I got hit in the neck with a bag of cookies and just caught it, opened it and ate the cookies while shooting her set. It was really fun. There was also a unicorn. 

My next distraction was a pinata. I had shot a juggalo pinata event once before and it was pretty insane. This dude Poncho and his friends go around with the pinata to every campsite just collecting stuff to put in there. So yeah there is candy but there was also a quarter pound of weed and ton of other drugs plus every sort of weird thing you could imagine. I put one of my Driven By Boredom enamel pins in it, so shout out to whoever got that. 

After that a band called Black Raven played and I missed the start of their set so I couldn’t get in the photo pit so instead I shot their mosh pit. People were covered in chalk dust or something and it was a pretty fun scene. I actually went on IG live and filmed it which was fun since I never go on there ever. It just seemed like a good time and people could see what the Gathering was like first hand.

I spent a little while taking portraits during their set but then it started getting dark. I went back to the car to get my flash and realized I didn’t bring it. I made a calculation and decided it was worth trying to go back to the hotel. It took longer than it should have and by the time I got back it was pitch black outside and Big Hoodoo was almost done playing. Fortunately I made it back for Danny Brown.

Danny Brown is a dude I have photographed a ton of times. I actually had a meeting about doing a video for him off his first album but that didn’t ever happen. I still fuck with his music and his performances have always been fun. During his set juggalos seemed to be really vibing with him but after I left the photo pit something must have happened because he started talking shit to the crowd and kinda walked off stage at some point. I have no idea what happened and he didn’t mention it on his social media but he just threw his mic in to the crowd and walked off. Real bummer. 

Finally the festival ended with ICP and I have photographed ICP a million times now including 2 days earlier so I don’t really have anything to say about their set but I am gonna talk gentle smack to my girlfriend who was supposed to go on stage for the final song for the “Faygo Armageddon” and she chickened out and we ended up leaving before their set ended to beat traffic. I’ve done it twice and it’s the most fun thing ever. Just running around on stage throwing soda. Also shout out to Ouija for giving me his backstage pass so she could do it. 

Okay, so that’s it! Another Gathering of the Juggalos in the book. Gonna link some stuff below so you can see all my coverage. I actually have some photos in an article on Insider coming soon so I will link that here too when it’s out. (Update: It’s out.) Thanks for coming and I will see you juggalos next year!

 – Daily BeastRolling StoneBrooklyn VeganInsiderJuggalo NFTsNSFW Juggalettes – 

Now click here to see all the photos from Day 3 of the Gathering of the Juggalos in Thornville, OH

2021 Gathering Of The Juggalos

2021 Gathering Of The Juggalos

Lardi B

2021 Gathering Of The Juggalos

Danny Brown

Ouija Macc

Insane Clown Posse

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Remembering Ross Harman 10 Years Later

10 years ago today one of my best friends died. I have had too many friends die, but Ross Harman was like a brother to me. I managed his band, The Gaskets, for six years of my life and when he died I promised myself I would make sure people remembered his music and I sort of think I failed at that. I set up a crowdfunding campaign and we raised a bunch of money and were able to put out three records in his honor. We released his solo album and another compilation of songs that were on his computer when he died as well as a double length LP of other artists covering his music. It was truly incredible, except that after selling the first 100 or so those records have sat in my apartment for the last 9 years gathering dust. 

We built a website to honor him with a bunch of his music that existed up until last fall when my website got hacked and it was easier just to build the site again than fix it. But here we are on the anniversary of his death and the site doesn’t exist. The Gaskets site is down too which now links to a Wikipedia full of dead links. 

Last night I saw someone Tweet about the band Sparks and I went to an old hard drive to see if I could find a video of the Gaskets covering one of their songs. I loved that cover and I was sure I had it somewhere. I ultimately couldn’t find it, but in my search I pulled out the live concert DVD I produced way back in 2006. It is to this day my greatest accomplishment even though I still have a few hundred copies taking up space in my apartment as well. I watched a few minutes of it just to see the beginning and I ended up watching the whole thing. It made me miss that time in my life so much and it made me miss Ross even more. It was such a great feeling to be working with your favorite band every day and seeing how much people loved them again really moved me. 

I didn’t even realize I was watching it 10 years to the day after Ross died.

I woke up to a Facebook notification reminding me today was the day. I am certainly not one to believe in any sort of spirituality but I couldn’t believe the coincidence. It really was incredible. I don’t think I have watched it since Ross died and suddenly I am watching it on his anniversary. I don’t cry very often, but when I went back and reread what I wrote about Ross on here 10 years ago tears spilled down my face. I loved that motherfucker so much. 

Despite my failure as a manager to make the Gaskets a household name or to do more to spread Ross’ music since he passed there are some very good things that came out of the Gaskets. The other member of the band, Teddy Blanks, has gone on to great success as both a graphic designer and a director after blending design and film doing credits for countless movies and TV shows. His first credit sequence? That live concert DVD. His solo music has scored many films including Tiny Furniture, the breakout film from Lena Dunham (who in college directed a Gaskets video) and Red Flag made by his current directorial partner Alex Karpovsky. For me the Gaskets turned out to be the beginning of my photography career. I always thought I would work in music, but I went to school for photography because I thought it would be a good skill to have in the music industry while I as at the same time trying to figure out my place in the world. Music didn’t work out for me but all the first photos I ever published were for the Gaskets. I am not sure I would have ever made it as a photographer if I hadn’t managed that band. 

I had no idea what this blog was going to be about when I started writing it this morning. I actually took a break after the first sentence because it hurt too much to write. I don’t even know what the point of this was, but I had to write something. And I figured I could use this as an excuse to promote Ross’ music again even though not that much of it is online right now. 

First of all Handstand Records still has all the Ross “Ballpoint Pens” records in stock. They also have the concert DVD and even the Gaskets second album. I could not more highly recommend this stuff. 

Secondly, The Gaskets YouTube channel has not been updated since a few days after Ross’ death when we uploaded a fun interview they did with Blender in 2007 but it’s still a pretty good place to see some of the Gaskets music. A bunch of it is on Spotify and things like that but The Gaskets were one of the best live bands I have ever seen so it’s a good chance to see some of that.

Thirdly, please listen to this Teddy Blanks song. It is the only song on the tribute album that isn’t a cover. This song Teddy wrote about Ross using music he found on Ross’ computer. It makes my eyes water every time I hear it and it’s been in my head all day today. 

I also promise that in the near future I am gonna get his website back up and I will do another post about that when we do. His tribute album has never been made available digitally and we need to make that happen. Hopefully it and the Gaskets site will return soon.

Lastly I am going to leave you with a couple of videos. The first is for the Gaskets song Left Hand. Teddy wrote it about Ross’ drinking problem that ultimately lead to his death. Ross never talked about what that meant to him but he spent weeks by himself painting and animating this video. It means a great deal to me. The second video is from the Tribute album by Ross’ favorite artist Matt Mahaffey aka sElf. I couldn’t believe he said yes to recording this when randomly I reached out to him out of the blue. I have no idea who uploaded this but I really appreciate it. 

Please take a second to listen to Ross’ music. He was a brilliant fucked up man who I will never stop thinking about. I love you man.

Ps. I managed to find this Mp3 I uploaded of Ross’ solo song Symphony.

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2004 RNC, Punk Rock & Other Old Images

I am leaving NYC tomorrow for the first time in January. I honestly am the most excited about any vacation I have ever been on despite the fact that I am not really taking a vacation from anything but sitting on my couch watching 8 hours of Netflix a day. I am just kinda losing my mind. Because of this trip I have been quarantining so I can hide out in Delaware with some friends from childhood and see my parents who retired there. That’s why I spent last night watching the fucking Republican National Convention instead of out taking photos of the protests for the attempted execution of Jacob Blake. But watching the RNC gave me an idea for an update before I left town that has (almost) no nudity in it.

When quarantine first happened I had this idea of being productive and trying to better my life, which I obviously gave up on, but one of the things I did was buy a negative scanner and start scanning a bunch of old 35mm negatives I found in a box. It was a range of eras of photos, but pretty much high school and college. I think the earliest stuff is from the mid 90’s and the latest stuff is photos from the 2004 RNC when it was in New York. I wouldn’t move to the city for two more years but I was managing a band at the time and we booked a show in New York so we could join the protests. The photos aren’t very good, and the scans are worse, but it is very cool to see photos of Union Square before I even knew what Union Square was. 

After a couple of hours of scanning I realized that the scans were pretty garbage and gave up. I probably shouldn’t have bought a negative scanner for $100. I posted a few of the images to Twitter and then moved on with my life. But the RNC reminded me I had this folder on my desktop and I figured this would be a good post before I skipped town for a week. So let’s break down what you are looking at… 

The first group of photos I didn’t even actually take. I started a punk record label when I was in high school and our first, and by far most successful release was a 7″ compilation of DC punk bands called Raise The Flag harDCore Volume 1. Someone actually uploaded it to YouTube if you want to hear it. I was only 15 when we put the record together. Raise The Flag 2 was in the production stages when my business partner’s car broke down. Without telling me he spent all the money we had for the record on fixing his car. That ended the label and our friendship. (We did actually reconnect in college and are still close friends. Check out his new band!) These photos are from the Raise The Flag 2 cover art photo shoot. I am not sure who took these photos or why I didn’t do it. The whole reason I picked up a camera in the first place was to shoot DC punk bands but I guess I wanted to be in it. The actual label of the record was going to be a photo of me wearing only a DC flag so I sort of spun around while you listened to the album. Oh, all these photos were taken at the very steep stairs made famous by the movie the Exorcist

Up next in the gallery is the RNC protest photos, the only stuff color in the group, followed by some of the earliest nudes I ever shot. I had an assignment in college to shoot something with infrared film. For some reason it makes veins look really pronounced so I shot some nudes of a friend of mine and I think somewhere I still have the prints of these that I made for the assignment and they actually look pretty cool. An old Polaroid I took of her is actually on the inside cover my Instaxxx book and might actually predate these photos by a few months. 

The next photo is of this band the Infertil that were on that first Raise The Flag album. They ended up getting in a fight during their set and their drummer jumped over his drum set and into the crowd. I didn’t want to stop taking photos, but obviously I wasn’t gonna let fellow AV PUNX crew members get fucked with, so I am actually kicking someone at the same exact time as I am taking this photo. It was the first, but not the last time I had to fight with a camera in my hand. Twenty years later that same drummer actually ended up playing drums for my old band Fucking Bullshit. After that we have some photos from the Rolling Thunder bike rally in DC. I believe these photos are from the 2000 rally. And then there is a single photo from a WWF Monday Night Raw taping I went to in college.

From there there is a mix of band photos and protest photos (Edit: I realized after I posted this that there’s only one protest shot here. There were more scans but I guess I didn’t include them in the gallery) which is pretty much 99% of what I shot in high school. We  got a Leonard Peltier protest, photos of Rancid, Motörhead and Nashville Pussy, plus some shots of my friend Crazy Willy and a single self portrait! Check 16 year old me out! The gallery ends with some photos from Warped Tour 2002. These photos were actually on a CD I found in the box with the negatives. I covered Warped Tour ’98 for the zine I ran in high school and I think I went in ’97 too, but I got invited in 2002 by a girl I worked with at Ben & Jerry’s. I didn’t really want to go, but I did want to hang out with her so I requested a press pass so that I could at least shoot some bands at the same time. The CD had shots of the Casualties, Bad Religion and NOFX, but the BR & NOFX photos sucked, probably because I don’t like pop punk. I shot digital photos of these too and some of those are better but the camera was such garbage that they aren’t really worth looking at.

Okay, this is a weirdly long post for some shitty scans of some decades old photos. I still need to plug the shit that is paying my rent right now. If you like 35mm work you can check out my latest gallery on Girls of DBB which is all the NSFW 35mm stuff I have shot since February. I also uploaded a 3 minute compilation of old Vines from when nudity was allowed on Vine. You can buy that whole clip for $5, or you can see the three parts that make up that longer video on my OnlyFans. You can get access to everything on my OnlyFans for $5 so that seems like the better value, but you gotta make your own decisions. Oh, and speaking of OnlyFans I queued up posts for the next week so while I am on vacation you will continue to get content. Gonna try to find a gallery for Girls of DBB to upload when I am gone as well.

Now, if you wanna see all the old 35mm photos, click here!

2004 RNC Protest

 Nashville Pussy

Rolling Thunder 2000

Raise The Flag


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Music At The 2019 Gathering Of The Juggalos

I gotta check out of another hotel in a minute so I am going to try and make this quick. I am just going to give you a full list of musicians I photographed at the Gathering of the Juggalos in chronological order and maybe when you go through this gallery you can figure out who they are. I think will hit you with some quick notes at the end about some of the sets. Ready?

C&C Music Factory, Ouija Macc, Morris Day & The Time, Gwar, Clownvis, Skylar, Butcher Babies, Suicide Boys, Soopa Villainz, Esham, Ghostemane, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Inner City Posse, ABK, KRS-ONE, Geto Boys & the Insane Clown Posse.

The highlight for me was KRS-ONE. I have seen him a half dozen times in my life but not in the last 15 years or so. He was supposed to play in the middle of the night and I was bummed I was going to miss it, but then he came out on the main stage and I was really far away and pretty much sprinted over to take photos from the crowd. Seeing Morris Day & The Time was pretty cool as well. C&C Music Factory was just the one guy doing karaoke and that was depressing as hell. I wish I caught more of Clownvis’ set but the first day we were there we were on no sleep and had to bounce. I took terrible photos of Gwar and still got Gwar juice sprayed all over me. Seeing the Geto Boys without Bushwick Bill was really sad. All the GOTJ Crew shirts had memorial patches for him on them which was really nice. And lastly it was a cool surprise to see ICP preform as Inner City Posse and do their first record Dog Beats, but they did it in a red tent in the middle of the day so the photos were pretty much unsable. I included a couple anyway. 

Okay, that’s it. More updates coming soon I hope. I actually have no idea where I am even going when I check out of my hotel so that should be fun.

Click here to see all the photos of music from the 20th anniversary of the Gathering of the Juggalos. 




Suicide Boys

Gathering Of The Juggalos


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Untold Festival – Part 3

I attempted to get the final photos from the Untold Festival up yesterday during my layover in Istanbul but, surprise, my website was blocked. I then had a 10 hour flight from there on two hours of sleep and then we got stuck on the runway for two hours and by the time I got home I was barely alive and I fell asleep and woke up 14 hours later. But here I am, functional once again, and ready to give you the final photos from my trip to a Transylvanian rave.

On day three I had this idea to walk to the festival with the two other American press people there for the fest. It was an under an hour walk and we got to see a little of the city. We got there and ate food and hung out a bit, but I didn’t shoot a ton of photos. Suddenly I realized it was 5:30 and the fest was taking us back to our hotel at 6 so I only took a few photos during the day. We went back to the hotel, packed up and took a little break because we all had stupid early flights the next morning and would be out late.

I got to the festival in time to see the Black Eyed Peas who were one of the few non-EDM musicians to perform. I was a pretty big fan of them before they became huge pop stars. Before Elepunk was released in 2003 they were sort of considered “Backpack Rap” and was a white college student I of course loved them along with groups like Jurassic 5 and all the Native Tongues stuff.  I was notably not a fan of the Fergie era BEP, but I was really surprised how much of their set I knew most of the words to. Fergie is no longer in the group, but they have someone doing her parts. Also, for the record Fergie was super nice to me when I met her and on two different occasions nearly a decade a part Will.i.am has completely ignored me when I asked him if I could take his photo. I am respectful enough to not do that paparazzi shit and the least you could do is make eye contact and tell me no. Okay, enough bitching.

After the BEP I went out and walked around checking the rest of the festival out and I sort of hit a wall. I don’t know if it was the jet lag or just three days of walking around a massive festival, but I was pretty beat. I still shot a bunch more photos because there was madness everywhere and it’s super easy to do it, but I also spent a bunch of time sitting on a hill just observing the whole thing. I also happened to eat the best cannoli I’ve ever had which is impressive given that I live in New York City and love cannoli and have gone to all the famous bakeries just to try their cannoli but fuck this thing was made with Nutella somehow and I would go to Transylvania again just to eat another one of those. 

Anyway, this whole thing was an incredible experience even if I don’t really care about dance music. Seeing 80k people listening to music together is amazing no matter what kinda music it is. Everyone was super nice and I think my only regret was that it wasn’t a super terrifying experience full of vampires, but instead a family friendly good time. And although I didn’t see any vampires, I did get bit by something and now my arm still itches 4 days later so it’s entirely possible that my arm is filled with vampire eggs that will hatch while I am sleeping and devour me in the night. Hey, you never know.

Click here to see my final gallery of photos from the Untold Festival in Transylvania, Romania. 

Untold Festival

Black Eyed Peas

Untold Festival

Untold Festival

Untold Festival

Untold Festival

Untold Festival

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Untold Festival – Part 2

My second day at the Untold Fest was a lot longer than the first. It’s 24 hours but during the day it’s a bit slow with nothing going on on the main stage but plenty of things to do. I wanted to get some daylight shots in but I wanted good light so I went down just an hour or two before sunset. I think I am going to go down early today and then maybe come back to my hotel and finish this post because it’s 6am in NYC as I type this and 6am on a Sunday is not an ideal time to post content on to the internets. I also got a super early flight tomorrow so I don’t know if I am gonna stay out late tonight. Whatever the case part 3 of the Transylvanian rave photos will have to wait until Tuesday unless I can find decent WiFi on my layover in Istanbul tomorrow. 

Yesterday I actually took advantage of my press access and shot some of the main stage stuff from the photo pit. I didn’t bring a long lens because I hate carrying it and I wanted to focus on the crowd a lot more than the DJs. Still I got some shots of The Prodigy performing and some shots of Steve Aoki headlining at 4am although they kicked us out of the photo pit before he got into the crowd and did the fun stuff he does smashing children in the face with cakes, etc. It was crazy seeing Aoki play for a massive arena full of people. There are something like 70-80 thousand people who go to Untold every day and most of them were watching him DJ. I’ve seen the dude DJ for a couple dozen people at a pool party in Miami, so it’s pretty fucking insane to see a million kids holding up “Cake Me!” signs and going absolutely insane. 

Another thing I should mention is that I broke out two flashes last night for the first time in years. I have been organizing old nightlife photos and realized I was way better in like 2009. A big part of that is that I am not shooting party photos every day of my life anymore, but part of it is that my technique changed. I used to use two flashes. I would use the pop up flash on my camera as a fill light and then I would have that trigger a hand held flash which was my main flash. But when I bought my workhorse 24-70 lens it was too long for the pop up flash and would cast a shadow so I just stopped doing that. This trip I brought a second flash as a back up and I just decided to put one on my camera and have the other one trigger the flash and it honestly worked pretty well. I might have to stop being so fucking lazy and start shooting with two flashes again. I guess we will see…

Okay, that’s about it. I am gonna try to do some daytime stuff and come back and hit send on this post when I get back to the hotel. Check out these photos and I will see you guys when I get back to NYC (or at least when I get back to the Istanbul airport). 

Click here to see the photos from Saturday at the Untold Festival in Transylvania, Romania!

Untold Festival

Untold Festival

Untold Festival

The Prodigy

Untold Festival

Untold Festival

Untold Festival

Untold Festival

Untold Festival

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Untold Festival – Part 1

Less that two weeks ago I got an email from my friend Dave who runs the music blog Brooklyn Vegan. I was shooting a Gathering of the Juggalos gallery for him and he pitched me on another idea. He wanted to know if I wanted to go to a EDM festival in Transylvania. “I got offered a free trip to Romania to cover this festival. Do you want to go for us?” Obviously I had no choice but to say yes and here we are.

After a 20+ hour trip with an upsettingly long layover in Istanbul I made it to Cluj-Napoca, the capital city of Transylvania which is an actual place that exists and from what I can tell the locals have zero interest in talking to you about vampires. By the time I finally got to my hotel I had been awake for more than 30 hours. It was about 11pm in Cluj and I decided the smart move would be to miss day one of the festival completely and just get some damn sleep. I had three more days of the Untold Festival to attend. 

The team from Untold were great and offered all the media people a tour to see Transylvania during the day so the next day I jumped on a tour bus and got to see some of historic Cluj and then we headed out to a famous salt mine that for whatever reason has a sports complex/ amusement park in it. It was completely insane and I would talk about it more but I want to get these photos up and get back down to the festival, so you are just going to have to imagine if the Batcave was 300 feet deep and at the bottom a bunch of families were playing ping pong and rowing boats around the lake at the bottom

I finally got down to the festival around 10pm and had plenty of time to shoot considering music goes until after 5am and the festival is open 24 hours a day for the four days of the fest. They are not fucking around. I spent most of the night with one of the festival media guys Ioan and my friend Lina who I brought with me as a writer and another New Yorker who works for Tumblr. We pretty much just got the lay of the land and explored the festival. I didn’t shoot a ton, but I still came back to the hotel with more than 300 photos on my memory card.

By the time I finished editing photos it was after 6am and I was completely dead, so much so that I slept through my alarm today which I never do. It meant missing another media tour to check out Transylvania which I am honestly pissed about, but at least I had some time to get these photos up.

I am going to talk more about the festival when I post more pictures, but honestly I am not going to pretend to know what I am talking about when it comes to EDM (which is why I brought Lina with me) but I will just say that I got to see Hordor from Game of Thrones (aka Kristian Nairn) DJ and when I was in the media area Jason Derulo walked by me and he was wearing a t-shirt that said Jason Derulo on it which is kinda perfect.

I probably won’t post any more pictures from the festival until it’s all over which is why this gallery is called part one instead of day one (also it was day two of the festival so that’s confusing) but maybe I will get a chance to get more photos up tomorrow. There’s no tour tomorrow, but I have a feeling I am going to want to sleep in again…

Now click here to see my photos from part 1 of the Untold Festival in Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania.

Untold Festival

Untold Festival

Untold Festival

Untold Festival

Untold Festival

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Music Of The 2018 Gathering Of The Juggalos

This post should be a fairly quick one because The Gathering of the Juggalos is the only festival that I get sent to where people don’t want photos of the bands. In the past the festival has had some huge headliners but the last few years the festival has stuck to more juggalo friendly bands instead of big national acts. Clients of mine don’t really want to see photos of juggalo rappers so here we are.

I did shoot some music though and I will go through the gallery real quick. When I got to the Gathering Immortal Technique was playing. I would have shot him but I missed most of his set. The first photos in this gallery are of the day one headliner ABK. Unless you are a juggalo you have no idea who that is, but I assure you juggalos love him despite his lisp. I photographed some girls named Glitter Money on one of the late night tents but we were leaving so I don’t even know what they sounded like.

The next day I shot Ouija Macc cause I kinda know that dude and his old group Swag Toof was from NYC and so it’s cool that he’s now on Psychopathic records. Gwar also played that night which is always awesome except when they cut Donald Trump in half I got covered in his blood and I am not sure I will ever get it all off me. I have no idea who the one photo of one woman in a No Lives Matter shirt is, but my friend Contessa was listening to her and I took one shot as I was meeting up with her before we went back to the hotel.

Day three photos include some of RA Da Rugged Man who I actually think is a great rapper but also he hit my hat while I was trying to take his photo which seemed kinda unnecessarily agro so I’m n0t gonna hype him. The person I was most excited to see was Esham who invented horror core rap. Pretty much everyone who came out of Detroit was influenced by him. I assure you Eminem and ICP wouldn’t ever have existed with Esham. He played the Gathering once before when I was there but it was late at night and I missed it. He was punk as fuck. Hopsin played that night but I was doing some shit and didn’t get down in time to shoot him. TechN9ne played after that and I love that dude but I also have photographed him at every Gathering so let’s move on.

Lastly, we left early on Day 4 so we didn’t shoot ICP or Yelawolf (I have photographed them both a bunch so I wasn’t worried about it), but I did get to shoot my friend Contessa aka CuntMafia. Contessa just decided she would come to the Gathering with me and it was clear pretty quickly she belonged there. Whenever we would stop in middle America on our road trip, people would stare at her, but at the Gathering of the Juggalos she blended in. I asked the dudes in the Wolfpac if she could perform on their stage and they were all about it and she played 4 songs and kinda killed it to be honest. My new goal is to actually get her booked next year. It was awesome.

Okay, that’s all I got. This was longer than it was supposed to be and I got 5 more updates to go. Be back tomorrow with a couple more. Whoop whoop, etc.

Click here to see the music of the 2018 Gathering of the Juggalos in Thornville, OH.

Ouija Macc @ GOTJ

Gwar @ GOTJ

Hopsin @ GOTJ

Ehsam @ GOTJ

Cunt Mafia @ GOTJ

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