Moon over Agoura

 

I love the hours between dusk and dawn.  Sunsets, Sunrises.  Those mysterious colors that happen before in the hour leading up to the explosions of colors.  And the dark.  The dark when the only light is from the moon or a sliver of the moon.  Stars.  The hours between dusk and dawn are some of my favorite for my personal photography.
The other night there was a half moon peeking through a cloudy dark night.
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Scott Land The Puppet Man in LA

4/25/15

Team America wins on many levels, and the sex scene is one of the best in any movie!

Lots of things happen with ‘movie magic,’ they can pretty much do anything in post nowadays, but that movie magic happened because of sheer awesome talent. See, those are marionettes worked by the fabulous Scott Land. He manipulated every nuance of that loving and I was in awe of him before I had the pleasure of knowing him.

Fast forward a lot of years and I was introduced to him through a mutual friend and then I found myself crouching in the wings of a theater making images of him working his magic on Michael Jackson, Obama and (my favorite) a chicken.  Yes, a chicken, a regular grocery store chicken!!! Scott said the chickens always move better on the 3rd day but that they get pretty stinky by the fourth. Scott and his wife, Lisa, are one heck of a talented team (and awesome people) – they make and paint the puppets that are used for his shows and by lots of other puppeteers around the world. Their work is incredible – Scott Land Marionettes!!

The show was mindblowing.  Seriously, how does he do all that. Not only do the puppets move with intention and grace, they have the right expression for each of the moves. Michael Jackson feels it when he goes down on one knee and Obama gives a knowing glance at the audience and you don’t feel like you are looking at puppets anymore. Magic.

If you ever get the opportunity to experience Scott Land’s show, I highly recommend you take it. You will be blown away!!!

The Baltimore Love Project (for Lauren) | The Roxy, LA

4/2/15

When  Jess Pfohl tells me something awesome is going down, I pay attention.  That girl only knows the best and most talented peeps.  So when she hit me up and said that one of her friends was going to be creating a mural on the side of The Roxy, I knew I had to be a part of saving the magic.  It became even more evident how special this mural was when I met the artist, Michael Owen.  The LOVE mural is a tribute for Lauren Freeman, a young lady from Baltimore who was killed in a hit and run in 2010 outside of the Roxy Theater. Her family and friends came to watch Michael paint the mural.

Michael Owen created the Baltimore Love Project to bring communities together by spreading love through street art. & he is doing that.

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Playing in the Dark | Light Painting | Covington Imagery

I love light painting!  It is so much fun to try to paint in the dark!  This is how I entertain myself without internet at my home!  I tried out the first picture sort of using myself as a guide and then went and interrupted my mom who was watching ‘Criminal Minds’.

Me “Mom, can I borrow you for a second?”

Mom “why?” her voice gets a bit nervous “what do you want with me?”

Me “I want to set you on fire.”

Mom  “The Criminal Minds team will hunt you down and find you if you do that!”

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Then I decided to go outside.  There is no internet in the middle of the country but it is dark, oh so wonderfully dark, at night!  The image below probably took about 20+ minutes to paint.  I used the same flashlight for everything, just a regular flashlight with different gels for colors.

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Night 4 of The Rock and Roll Highway | Amarillo, TX | Covington Rock

I had asked my new friends at The Mercury Lounge in Tulsa where I should go in Amarillo and everyone unanimously said The Midnight Rodeo.  So when I got back to my nest for the night, after that amazing night of music, like, wow…blow me away night of music,  The Dirty Creek Bandits and Tyrannosaurus Chicken just knocked my socks right off, I googled The Midnight Rodeo to see what was going on.  There was a fella called Charlie Worsham playing.  His website said that he was the opener for Brad Paisley, so I knew he was country and had to be good as I know the name Brad Paisley, I don’t know his music other than its new country but I know his is big.

I love me some honkey tonk, ole classics, rockabilly, western, just haven’t explored new country, outside of the tv show Nashville.  Since I was going to Texas I had to add a bit of country to the tour and I figured it would be fun to pretend I was on an episode of Nashville all night.  I freakin’ love that show.   I reached out to the venue and tried to get a bit of sleep.  When I woke up, I had a message from The Midnight Rodeo saying  if I could make it to Amarillo by 7pm, they would introduce me to Charlie’s tour manager to see about photo permission.   It was a 5 1/2 hour drive and it was nearly 2pm.  No problem. Made it to Amarillo and found the place mostly on time, always on time, on the right time.  The peeps at The Midnight Rodeo are fantastic.  They welcomed me in and Winter gave me a full tour of the spacious dance hall/bar/club.  I loved it.  Texas does it big.  There was a racecourse of a dance floor that went around a bar in the middle of the room, 4?+ bars that were on the outside and a spacious stage.  The place is awesome and at night the lighting gets sexy and there is a lot of smoke.  A lot of smoke.  There were even ashtrays in the bathroom stalls.

This old smoke filled bar is something I’m not used to.

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The ladies room also had a giant comfy sofa and I took a lovely 20 min snooze.  Awesome music and amazing drives leave little time for sleep, so the sofa was a most wonderful surprise.  When I emerged from the ladies room, the bar had gotten packed with dancers and I mean DANCERS!  wow.  Those Texas men know how to spin their ladies around. There was one fella who looked like he was ready for front row at a Slayer concert, I saw him and wondered how his pretty, boot wearing lady convinced him to come to this bar…  Never judge a book by its cover and that long haired metal fella turned out to be the best country dancer in the place.  He swung his lady (and his hair) all over that race course dance floor.  He spun her, he flipped her, he boot scoot n boogied her all night long.  wow.  It was beautiful.    This was their warm up dance.  I forgot to video later due to my whooping and cheering as they flipped by. Yes to the men who can scoot and twirl a lady around the floor like that.

& then it was time for the show!!!   One thing is for certain, Charlie Worsham is an entertainer.  That fella knows how to work a stage.  He made every person in the room feel like he was there for them.  He held hands, he read notes, he sang happy birthday, he even let one girl attempt to play his guitar and he smiled at her even though she couldn’t strum to any sort of rhythm.  He made eye contact with each person there and I could see life long fans forming in front of me.  It was easy to see that he loves what he is doing and he wants everyone there to be as happy in the moment as he is.  Busting out covers of Michael Jackson, Hall & Oates, Ozzy Osbourne & Katie Perry made me grin and he had me 100% when rocked Eye of the Tiger.

After the show, the dj came out and everyone started rocking their way around the racecourse dance floor.  New Yorkers always find each other and I’ve spent so much time in that city with the ole day job that I feel >almost< like a proper new yorker.  There were friends from Columbia and were on an adventure weekend and had stumbled upon this wonderful place unlike anything in our pavement jungle.

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We were all standing and watching in awe when all of a sudden the music took a drastic change and a whole new sorta line dance started happening..except for that one couple doing the outercourse.

I had a great time at The Midnight Rodeo.  If you are in Amarillo, this is the place to go!

 

The start of The Rock and Roll Highway |Louisville, KY | CovingtonRock

When I set out in my brand new rental car (8 miles total on dear Elvira), I had no idea that my spontaneous (due to the fear of flying with my camera gear) road trip to shoot The Wedding in LA was going to turn into a cross country Discover Music Tour.  I was driving because about a week before my flight, I got a dread so deep in my stomach about flying with my gear that I cancelled my flight (refundable) and rented a car (unlimited mileage – woot) and began what I was told was an insane – crazy – boring – horrible – LOOOONNNGGG drive across the country.  Now, I’ve driven across and around the country before and I find it none of those things.  I find it thrilling – beautiful – exciting – unexpected and awesome, course that was doing the trek with people.  I was a little hesitant about covering 6,000 miles solo…

well, mostly solo.  I did have Miss Head to keep me company.  Miss Head is a brilliant roadtrip partner.  She never begs to stop to pee, doesn’t care about being left in the car (..Mike Sag screaming out the windows when Nancy and I locked him in the van that time in Northern Cali – HTFSUAA) and she doesn’t force me to listen to that damn Rihanna song over and over again (love you Lalee, but that cd HAD to be thrown out the window – HTFSUAA-2).  So for the HTFSUAA-3 (How To Fuck Shit Up Across America 3) it was going to be me & Miss Head.

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So I set out!  Late…  cuz I had to stop at The Virginia Moonwalker where Russell filled my car with the music of my friends to keep me company.  Chrissy – Tick, Tock…I am IN LOVE with your new song…I can’t wait to hear how that stuff grows.
So with the sounds of RVA filling the car, Miss Head and I hit the road.  Left Richmond around 8:30pm and drove through the night.  I stopped in Charleston, WV cuz the capital building looked AMAZING from the highway.  There were incredible clouds in the night sky and the moon lit everything perfectly.  I HAD to take a pic. So I jumped off the highway and found my way to the building and started to figure out what equipment I would need to capture the scene.  The beautiful scene was interrupted by fighting cats and suddenly I got sketched out.  The area that I was parked in, didn’t look so great on a 2nd look and here I was, with only Miss Head to protect me and my gear from any troublemakers in the night.  The screaming cats continued to hiss and make such a fuss that it started to get to me.  Now, I’m not one to get easily scared but I am one to always listen to my gut and my gut said ‘go’ so I left and found a Holiday Inn Express (my jam) on the outskirts of town and checked in.  So there I was, in bed at 4am and pissed off.  How the hell was I supposed to enjoy this drive, if I couldn’t stop and make pics of anything I wanted, anytime I wanted??  See, here is the thing that I learned…  Miss Head might allow me to HOV it and look like there is always someone sleeping in the car when it is parked full of my stuff….but she isn’t good at having my back.  And when you are a solo female with A LOT of camera gear, it isn’t the greatest idea to be out and about focused on shooting and not paying attention to what is around. DAMN IT.  This was going to be annoying.  I suddenly wished that there was someone with me.  This was going to be a long drive.
Sitting in bed, pissed off, I pulled out my ipad and googled my next destination.  St Louis.  I was scheduled to create images of a fave band of mine, When Particles Collide, on Thursday.  It was Wed morning at 4am…so there was tons of time to get there.  It was only about an 8 hour drive.  hmmmm….went my brain…..and my eyes saw Louisville on the map halfway tween.  I wondered if there was any music happening in good ole Louisville on a Wednesday night?  Google makes things super easy and found an event called  Wednesdays on the Waterfront sponsored by 91.8 WFPK, the local radio station.  I didn’t know any of the bands but this video that was on the festivals site made me perk out of my pissed off mood.

yes.  That was awesome.  This would be the show.  & this would be how I would get around the country.  I would discover music in each city I hit.  So at 4am, I shot an email to The Whigs and went to sleep.  When I awoke, there was an email waiting for me with a ‘hey! Def come take photos plz!’
and so I hit the road.

Made it to Louisville and figured out where to go, somehow got rockstar parking when 8 lots out were allready full..  wow.  I wasn’t expecting ALL THIS. The waterfront area was PACKED.  People were everywhere, cars were everywhere.  This was going to be a huge show!
I knew I was on the right path….
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It was about 2 hours to show time and I headed over to the stage where I met Billy, the guy who was running things.  The Whigs were at a recording session for a local station and hadn’t gotten there yet so I wasn’t on the list.  He took my name and said he’d get the photo pass ok from them when they arrived.  I decided to walk around a bit to get the lay of the land and noticed two guys who had to be musicians walking across the lawn.  I walked up and said ‘hey, y’all have to be musicians, which band are you playing with tonight?”  They laughed and said “we are with Dawn!”  I introduced myself and what I was doing and they sent me backstage to chat with Dawn about my spontaneous Discover Music Summer 2014 Tour.  She turned out to be as sweet as she is beautiful and later I learned as she is talented.  The lovely songbird had Billy add the blue stars VIP bracelet to my wrist and I was set for the show.

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Dawn Landes was up first and I was excited!  My brilliant 4am idea was about to START. It was all happening.  🙂  I was about to discover some music and wow, discover it I did!  Dawn, in a sweet tasseled shirt and black & gold boot pumps took over that stage.  She got the people settled down on their lawn chairs up and dancing, even with the sun beating down.  It was around 6pm and it was one of those sultry summer nights where the heat from the day is as strong as the sun is still high.  and that sun was still high…
Dawn’s voice lightened the air, her voice!! wow!  Songbird.  She has an album called Bluebird and she is.  She is a beautiful bird who sang and the Louisville night answered, giving sweet relief with a steady breeze.  Her voice is sweetly awesome.  One song would be all bluegrassey swing with her voice rich and snappy and then she would switch to a ballad with a quivering and fragile quality.  She pulled me in right away.  Her backing band was fabulous.  I’m always a fan of a lap steel.

Next up was the reason that I was in Louisville.  The Whigs video had me wanting more and they delivered.  They are rock & roll at its most vibrant, with hard hitting drums and delicious songs that keep you rocking hours later.  Energetically loud and awesome, they bring it. & you can tell they enjoy it beyond measure, that the road leaves them excited and ready to share their sound when they hit each new town.  The rock n roll super trio is a damn good time.

WFPK & the city of Louisville throw one heck of a show.  The first Wed of each month, they have incredible bands play in one of the most gorgeous locations I have seen inside a city.  The stage was right next to the Ohio River with this beautiful walking bridge spanning the two states.  There was a huge lawn area and a food truck row.  Most delicious quesadilla, well worth the 30 min wait in line.  Hollah to Brooke who I got to pass the time with in the drink line, I hope to get back through to see your band on another trip!

I got to chatting with Todd, one of the fab members of security, and Marion from 91.8 WFPK.  They filled me in on the awesome of Louisville and how supportive the city is in supporting music and the arts!  There are a lot of cool things going on in this rich and vibrant city.  The backdrop for the show is the Big Four Bridge.  The bridge opened this past May and connects the city to Indiana with the walking/cycling bridge.  Apparently the KY side was open in Feb of 2013 but Indiana took a while to complete their side…….  Slackin’

The Big Four Bridge was a former railroad truss bridge that was finished in the late 1800’s, at some point in the 1960’s it fell into disrepair and was left to sit without entryways getting the nickname ‘The Bridge that goes nowhere”  until the city launched a campaign to refurbish and restore it and create a walking bridge between the two states.  I will walk it next time, this time I was tired and my camera bag was heavy so I decided to just stay and focus on the music and some more badass music was about to start.

The Old 97’s took the stage and the crowd was 15,000 deep at this point and everyone was amped up from The Whigs and ready to party.  The Old 97’s are a well seasoned machine of awesome ‘get drunk & party’ songs.  They sing the anthems of the boys that drink too much whiskey, get scorched by wild women & left heartbroken with only a bottle and a guitar.  They play the songs of the conquests in towns left in the rear view mirror with an emotional intensity that leaves you aching for late nights lost in bourbon.

Next up –  When Particles Collide in St. Louis.

if you would like to follow the adventure in real time, I post phone shots on instagram.com/ashlycovington  🙂

Tarrant at Sound of Music | Covington Rock

Tarrant got the Bonnie Bishop Listening Party / Recording Night off right!  They are rock with a touch of a southern drawl.  Good solid music to groove to, to get your listen on with. I want to blare this music while driving at night down a winding country road with tall trees that still allow glimpses of the stars to peek through.
& to prove just how good their vibe is, Russell made friends with a squirrel at the end of the night.

 

For all the pics CLICK HERE

Jay Leibowitz Band at Pianos | Covington Rock

Whenever Jay Leibowitz calls, I come running!  He is a talented force, a rocker, an actor, a writer and most definitely a performer!   Piano’s was packed for the rocking show and it was fun to get to NYC for this show!  Timing is everything and I’m so happy that I was able to make it.  Jay and his merry band of music makers brings a no holds bar excitement to a show.  They are having fun rocking the f*ck out for the people who come and I simply adore everything musical that Jay puts together.

For all the pics CLICK HERE

Strongbow, Hot Air Affair and One Truth at The National | Covington Rock

I was psyched to get down to the National to see Hot Air Affair (then known as To Be Found) open up for DNA. The National is a stunning space to create images in and Hot Air Affair just keeps upping themselves at each show!  Somehow each one is the best show!  So I knew that I had to see them rock on The National’s stage.

When I got there, the door man said that they were already on stage and almost done with their set!  I have never gotten a camera set up that quickly before.  Huge relief to rush in and not see a familiar face on the stage.  They had them confused with the band that went first.  I got to catch the last bit of Strongbow‘s funky rock set.

For all the pics CLICK HERE

& then it was time for Hot Air Affair & they brought it.  They pulled the crowd in.  Everyone was up front and dancing.  They play with the energy and enthusiasm that combined with great music makes for one helluva show!

For all the pics CLICK HERE

I was just getting ready to skedaddle when JC of One Truth played some operatic cords and started singing.  I was at the back saying my goodbyes with my camera gear all packed and I think that I stopped mid sentence to turn around and stare at the stage.  Passion and emotion and longing and excitement and joy and sadness, a kind of musical opera.  Nothing that I was expecting to hear that night and I grabbed my gear and went up to listen to the story!  Lots of talent in this band, I was hooked.

For all the pics CLICK HERE