Monday, April 28, 2008

Coachella!!! HELL YES!

So Isobel Wren is officially on the trip for awhile. Many models travel together to break up the travel expenses, for a sense of security, just for entertainment..... Personally, I have never traveled with another model... for so many reasons... What if the model was catty? What if they took work away from you - one photographer, one paycheck, one model for the month? What if they whined and complained? What if they stole your money? What if... ?

Well Isobel has proved all that wrong - she is friggin awesome. We have been having a great time..... Together we carpooled down to Coachella together - 5 hours of driving. Stopped in a Ghost Town called Calico... where they had these creepy plastic people behind bars throughout the town - missing eyeballs, carrying axes, smashing rocks.... It was like something from a Rob Zombie movie. Two female nude models, traveling to a hippie festival in the desert - veer off to check out the Ghost Town - ooooh. Only to be killed by the plastic people behind the bars.... buried alive in the mines.... Between the two of us, we have very over active imaginations... it was a lot of fun.

COACHELLA WAS AMAZING! Minus the heat... the festival was just mind-blowing. I got to see everyone that I wanted to see. The Breeders, Vampire Weekend, Goldfrapp, Aphex Twin, The Verve, Jack Johnson from our tent. VHS or Beta, Minus the Bear, 120 Days, Bonde Do Role, Kate Nash, Hot Chip, Junkie XL, Animal Collective, MIA, Mark Ronson, Flogging Molly, and I watched the first part of Prince but three songs in, I just wanted out. I Am From Barcelona, Shout Out Louds, Stars, Gogol Bordello.... Met a ton of people. Spent my mornings drinking bloody mary's, eating apples, reading my book.... spent the afternoon dancing like a moron, bouncing from tent to tent, ping ponging around the stages.... spent the nights in the Beer Garden meeting people from all over the world.... it was amazing.

The Plaza - Fremont Street

Last time I was in Vegas - Matthew and I holed up in the El Cortez (one of the oldest hotels on the downtown strip), mostly because I was really broke and I could not really afford much more than $15 a night down on Fremont Street.... Built in 1941, the place now hosts several pimps, hoes, and far too many track marks in the room..... "Don't lie down on that comforter! Get up! You're going to get pregnant...!!" Matt was always watching out for me... you know?

This time was the Plaza - rooms were $30 a night. I had a balcony, two cleans beds, and a pool on the roof! It was quite fancy. I shot with a lawyer out in this old mining town called Nelson.... My photographer tipped off the people who own it and they left us to ourselves... 3000 miles to Graceland was filmed there and so was Beyonce's new music video. Also shot at the Valley of Fire - with a photographer who is taking a trip to the Northern side of the Grand Canyon for a full month. Hung out with Ransom (and wanted to totally rape him.... I swear, he is the sexist photographer ever... I totally love that guy) and also got to shoot with Redeze and his wife, who is incredibly talented as an MUA. Overall - my shoots for Vegas, surprisingly, were some of the best that I have had in a long time. They satisfied for entertainment, talent, and experience....

Isobel Wren, the model that I am traveling with right now, got into Vegas around midnight - we wandered around town, and found a diner that served food till 4am. It was great she made it to Vegas, it was sad she didn't get to see more of the city - the next morning we had to be up and out by 7:30am for a pin-up shoot..... and that was that for Vegas

One Year On The Road...

My one year anniversary of being on the road full-time took place last week. April 21st, 2007.... I remember leaving NY very clearly - Mom was in Vegas getting married - I had packed my car, printed out the maps, kissed my Little Kitty goodbye, turned the key in the ignition - and the car battery was flat-out-dead.... ha.

I guess I will just list a bunch of things here:

The United States is roughly 3,400 miles across at it's widest point.....Since last year I have put 37,000 miles on my car - putting the mileage at a grand total of: 136,782. Useless information - One flat tire, one Ball Joint replaced, one small clip away from a giant transmission problem, one hole in my oil tank (which is still an issue), one rear differential leak, one complete replacement on the brakes, one new windshield, three sets of windshield wipers. Trunk is still broken, the wheels need an alignment, and the car is currently squeaky...

I managed to make it to the following National Parks: Arches, Badlands, Bandalier, Big Cypress, Biscayne, Booker T Washington, Bryce Canyon, Canaveral Seashore (where I watched a NASA spaceshuttle take off with a bunch of bikers during bike week), Canyonlands, Carlsbad Caverns, Everglades, Fire Island , Golden Gate, Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, Great Basin, Great Smokey Mountains, Guadalupe Mountains, Hope Springs, Joshua Tree, Lake Mead, Mesa Verde, Mojave, Mount Rushmore, Redwood, Rocky Mountains, Saguaro, White Sands, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion.

This month I am hoping to make it to Anza-Borrego State Park, Alcatrez Island, Death Valley, Kings Canyon, Mazanar (because I remember reading the writings of a refugee there), Redwoods (again but this time, I am camping), Sequoia, Santa Monica Mountains, and WhiskeyTown near Redding, CA. - so it is a very busy month for parks.... but I am really excited about it. California is the best place for seeing beautiful things....

I also made it to Burning Man 2007, Bonnaroo 2007, Coachella 2008, a Mormon Parade, and several shootouts.... this year I am doing the Joshua Tree Festival, Lightning in a Bottle Fest in Santa Barbara (which is going to be incredibly beautiful and I have friends going!) , the Running of the Bulls in Calgary Canada, Burning Man 2008, and whatever pops up while I am traveling

I realized that I do not like hotels
- that I would rather stay with people.
I realized that putting gas on your credit card
- is a horrible idea on a roadtrip.
I realized that the best thing about traveling
- are the people that you meet
- and the places that you go
- and the stories that come out of them
I realized that the people that I love in my life
- are the only reason this is possible

Not the Beaver Dam.... the HOOVER DAM....

One time, back when I was in college and I was avoiding going to class, I pulled over and picked up a hitchhiker... The weary eyed man shimmied into my front seat, balancing his backpack on one leg and a canteen of water in the other.... I asked him where he was going and he said, "Anywhere that you are going, lady - Until you kick me out.." So I told him headed to class... and he said, "There are worst places to go than college..." That entire month after I picked him up - I showed up to class on time. ...Because he was right, there are worse places than college....

The other day while winding the back roads to Vegas, I found myself wanting to pick up another nice weary eyed traveler, backpack and canteen in hand, half dead from the desert heat - but I had this crazy flashback from No Country for Old Men so I tossed some bottled water out my window and slammed down on the gas instead..... I thought about that guy all day.... poor man lagging in the desert heat. I hope he is still alive... I hope some wonderful truck driver pulled over and saved him,

That same day (perhaps it was karma.... if you believe that sort of thing) ....

My car ran out of gas - on - the - top - of - the - Hoover - fucking - Dam. Yea. Like on top of it. Right there. On the top. I was only four miles from the gas station....

The gas gauge in my car is really strange, sometimes it will run out of gas at a quarter of a tank..... It all depends on the day, the alignment of the moons, the way the road treated it that particular day.... On this particular day... my car was just plain angry - it stopped moving - on - top - of - the - Hoover - Dam. Since I had no idea what to do, I tried to look busy as people started to skirt the car on the shoulder... they were cheerleadering positive things like, "Did you run out of gas, oh that is so sucky" "Sure is a hot day to be stuck in the road, huh?" "Mami can I have your number - Mami look at me?"

Luckily, a cop car pushed me to safety. Where I then phoned-in Triple A and had this baffling conversation with the woman on the other line.... the convo went like this, "Hi... Yes, this is an emergency, I ran out of gas on the Hoover Dam. What? No no... not the Beaver Dam. The HOOVER Dam. Ummm... the one that boarders Arizona and Nevada. You've never heard of the Hoover Dam? Really? It is a national landmark... President Hoover? Did you ever have a class on US History. No I am not making fun of you - I just cannot believe you do not know what the Hoover Dam is.... could you send someone out here with some gas? No I am not in Ohio. I am at the Hoover Dam, in Nev-ada. I know you are typing it into google maps, yes I know. Are you spelling it right? No no it does not start with an R... HOOVER with an H... I am not in Iowa" And that went on for about a half hour until she could transfer me - she still had no idea what was going on when she transfered me.... I hope she went home and looked it up.

In the four hours that I waited for Triple A to show up - I met a bunch of nice bikers headed to the RiverRun (which I am now absolutely dying to do as well) - I filmed a bunch of longhorned sheep. Someone gave me a bunch of snacks and some cold tomato juice (which I love)... so all in all, it really was not a bad day, just a frustrating one....

Friday, April 18, 2008

Hot Valley of Phx....

So Patrick flew back home, which was really sad - for so many reasons. Having him around reminded me of how much fun my trip can be with someone else around (there is nothing more entertaining than putting the top down and singing stupid songs through the desert with another person.) Also, I am not sure when I am going to be seeing him again - usually I have visiting him planned into my schedule months ahead of time. This is the first time, I see no sure sign that I will be seeing him before July - that is a very long time, even for us. Perhaps I will fly out of Seattle in early June, leave my car with Fedora or something....

Phx is hot! Ha, it is always hot here. I am staying with Pat's sister, really nice apartment with a poolside - there is Jamba Juice up the road. All kinds of things going on.... the Arizona ShootOut (one of the largest model events in the US) is happening this weekend - at least half of the best girls in the business (Tiana, Carlotta, Tomiko, Valerie, ect) are in town this weekend shooting. While I am not participating in the ShootOut, because I do not like to stand in line and feel like I am in the DodgeBall line..... I am going to try to hang out with everyone. Wednesday night, I picked Samantha Grace and we grabbed some dinner together.... and tonight, even though I think it is against the rules - I am going to attend the Meet and Greet. All the models are swapping wardrobe afterwards in Carlotta's room... Super excited about that. My wardrobe bag is so boring these days....

My mom is in town on vacation this week... weird, huh? So I am going to try to steal her for awhile - grab brunch or something. I am pretty sure that I will not be home until August, and although we are not on the best of terms, we are still really good friends - I would like to see her.

Couchsurfing party on Sunday! I love Couchsurfing.... those kids know how to have a good time.



Photos: Photographer: Melvin Moten - NYC 2008, Model: Ree

White Sands 2008....

Between staying up late and waking up incredibly early - Patrick and I were exhausted waking up at 5:30am, driving out to White Sands. Never really had much choice, though - White Sands was completely my idea to begin with. A few weeks before I had put out a notice, requesting TFP with any photographer who was willing to make the trip. A nice guy from AZ answered my casting call..... claiming total amatuer abilities with a desire to learn photography. He was willing to take the trip from Tucson to White Sands (which is about a four hour drive)....

After about two weeks of trying to figure out how to shoot in pure white sand (pure white reflective sand) and how to prepare camera gear and all that - he managed grab two other models as well... T-racy and Karen Alene.

Tracy is a model from Tucson - Told me that she has been reading my blog for the past four months and that I inspired her to persue a modeling career - She was a bit of a "fan girl" - Really excited about posing with me and wanting to "get to know me" - She talks about how she wants to travel a lot - So hopefully she will be able to take her modeling to another level.

The drive to Phx was actually quite nice... Pat and I took to Interstate 60 W, driving through little Apache towns, with young kids asking if a NY minute was really an hour....

Photos: Kienan Ryan 2008, and of course, Google

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Nine Hour Drive - NorthWest

Leaving Tim's place is always a little bittersweet for me - I get so comfy in the quiet timelessness of his home that I feel like I never need to move again. And yet, amist that feeling of complete comfort, my own personal nature is screaming for me to get back on the road - pick up those tired feet and put another six hundred miles on the mustang, dammit!.....

So yea, A Nine Hour Drive from San Antonio, Texas to Las Cruces, New Mexico = hell. You might think, perhaps, because I am on a roadtrip - that a nine hour drive would be a breeze.... but you have to understand that my usually car time is about 2-3 hours max, every four days or so..... to me a nine hour drive is total hell - especially on I-10. Luckily I had Patrick around, and he was so new to the whole 'driving through texas' thing - that he put the car on cruise and sailed through the state of Texas like it was New Hampshire...

I do not remember much about the drive... it was really long...

We ate at Unos and all I had were 100 dollar bills in my wallet - So I paid with one and the waiter gave me back 60 one dollar bills.... 60 of them. You should have seen my wallet - I was totally blinging - ready to go hit up some strip clubs, watch some booty shake, tuck some bills into some boobie cleavage.... yeaaaaa, and then I remembered I just spent the entire day sitting in my car for nine hours - and I almost fell asleep in my clam chowder.....

Photos: 2007 Roadtrip, Las Cruces and Second we can thank Google...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tim Summa and San Antonio

There is something about San Antonio I just love - perhaps it could be all the old buildings that line all the streets or the fact that once the sun goes down, the air smells like wildflowers. It could also be the fact that Mr. Tim Summa lives there - conversing aimlessly to his kitties (Mr. Spiky and Ginger-Cat), watering down his garden, dwarfing the world with his gigantically large heart for everything. I love this man. You want to know how much I love this man? He gave me bubbles! He gave me an entire bottle of bubbles from the dollar store and encouraged me to take them outside and play with them while he worked in the garden... ha.... how could you not love a grown man who has such a lovely request?

Everytime I stay with Tim, I am just amazed....at first, with just how large the man is. Not in the sense of being overweight or anything like that (the man eats nothing but chicken and veggies).... but just how he literally looks like the descendant of Giant. I would guess at least seven feet when he ducking the door jambs, broad shouldered, completely able to fill a small room. After I get past his giant-ness - I am again, just amazed with just how off-the-charts intelligent he is. (Now that I am thinking about it... I am thinking that perhaps, he might have a photographic memory because it would explain a lot.) He is particularly good with very strange questions that have very open answers. For example, one night I started inquiring about the Moth Man - and next thing I know, I am in a three hour discussion about the beginning of civilization, Jesus, the Arc of the Covenant, Gaul, Indian culture, portals, the exact location of where the Moth Man habits..... a million other topics, and in the end it all came full circle - three hours later. And I love every minute of his chain reaction ramblings....

Yay! So Patrick flew into San Antonio!! - Tim gave us our own room, some spare keys, even the keys to his car. And Tim dropped us off at the Riverwalk to grab dinner, as he always does, left us his cell number..... "Even if it is 3am, I will come and pick you up, don't worry about calling me, I will be up - just have a good time!".... Riverwalk was horribly crowded with drunk college kids wearing paper white condoms on their heads... Pat did not like it much. Ended up calling Tim early, for a night full of fully entertaining stories about Tesla and fleas and how we won all the World Wars and about Napoleon and lice and black rats vs brown rats.... atomic bombs.... time travel..... wow.

Tim=Awesomeness

Photos: Not completely sure... ha

Lone Star Damsels.... is amazing.

A lot of girls turn to damsel-in- distress bondage as an easy way to make some quick money when they first start out in the modeling business. I definitely did. As model looking for paid work, simple rope bondage is a great gig... your portfolio can be mediocre, you do not need any real previous experience. Many photographers do not care if your lose your clothes or not. You do not have to pose too much since you are tied up.... you do not need to know your lighting.... since again, you are tied up. The guys are almost always a billion times more respectful, also gentlemanly-like. Example, over the past two years, I have had bondage photographers show up with flowers, dinner, and several gift cards to spoil myself with. One time a guy in North Carolina bought me a full day at a five star spa and gave me his penthouse suite for a full week....

Even with all this said, over the past two years I have cut down on my bondage work immensely. Two reasons. One being that I came to the realization that I am not a "lifestylist".... In my freetime I do not practice BDSM. Everytime I walked away from job, I felt like I had just spent four hours lying to the photographer who booked me. And two, I cannot stand being tightly restrained.... I love being tied up and unable to get out (yesyes I do), but I am not into pain - not into loss of limbs - not into purple fingers - not into cutting rope marks.


BUT here is what I am getting at - every once in awhile, I take on a job if someone seems incredibly excited about what they are doing...... Lone Star Damsels out of Texas is friggin awesome!!! Awesome. While I was in Austin he got me a great room, brought a Bettie Page look-a-like to keep me company, we did BBQ for lunch, bought me clothes to shoot in.... His rope work is tight but comfy enough that shooting all day was not an issue. In general, I just think he is one of the best bondage photographers that I have ever met and he is also an incredible as a person as well. I can only hope to work with him again when I make it down to FetCon 2008...... If you are a model in Dallas, you definitely should look the guy up on MM....

Photo: Chicago Phil and Ropexpert 2006

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Austin City Limits....

Although I procrastinated and waited until early this morning to buy the ticket - half asleep, fumbling with my credit card, praying that the concert was not sold out - My entire Texas schedule was based around the fact that Colin Meloy, the lead singer from the Decemerists, was going to be starting his solo tour in Austin.....

TOTALLY FUCKING AWESOME! Picked up my ticket at Will-call this afternoon, smushed right up to the front row.... Oh! It was just divine! While Colin was wailing away to Oh Valencia, he sprayed some wine-colored spit all over me. How I shall wear that spit as a sign of my unwavering love.... for all that is the voice of Colin Meloy (at least for the next ten minutes, until I hop in the shower... )

Left Houston this morning - not sure what to say about Houston. It is a very industrial, very big, very cloudy in the mornings, I do not like it much.... But while in town, I worked with a Russian photographer who once lived in Siberia. Of course, the only proper question to ask a person who has lived in Siberia would be, "What kind of food do they eat over there?" His answer was Ravioli.... I think that is just fantastic!!! Don't you?! All the people who were banished from Europe to Siberia were banished to eat Ravioli for the rest of their lives...... the thought just gives me chills.... the only thing worse? Spaghetti-O's from the Dollar Store...

I must note..... I drove through a town named Kickapoo today. Texas has some entertaining towns... Kick-a-poo!

Worked with Lithium Picnic - I swear, the guy is a sudo-celebrity these days. His studio, a garage/basement in the middle of renovation - reminds me of the way my house used to smell when I was younger. It was such a laid back, comfortable shoot. Got to meet Apnea and some girl wearing real bear paws. Cannot wait to see how the photos turned out.... shot about eight different sets - even a topless one of me wearing a Russian hat in front of a lightbox! (The cool Russian guy from Siberia did not loan it to me, although that would make a great story)

Photos: Colin Meloy and the Decemberists, Alfred Mathis Feb 2008, Lithium Picnic - Apnea