31 March 2009

A dreary day.

I always say how much I love the Spring, how its my favorite season, and I romanticize about the reblooming of all the beautiful flowers and trees and picnicking in green meadows...and the Spring actually comes and I remember that Alabama Springs are defined by tornadoes, flooding, and the constant yellow dusting of pollen.

Anyway, I just really wish I was somewhere far away. Like Italy or Istanbul or France or...

Here are some photographs from an incredible young photographer, Glynnis Ritchie. We went to the same performing and visual arts school as teenagers, though she was a few years younger than me. I know that she's currently a student at the American University of Paris and has the dreamiest life of traveling around Europe with her camera.

You can check out her Flickr photostream here. All of the images I post are copyrighted to Glynnis Ritchie and come from her Flickr page.

from Provence...

from the Loire Valley...

I always love to see what Glynnis updates from her travels.

Here are some other photographs of hers...

26 March 2009

Beloved Curiosity: Alice Neel

Alice Neel was an American portrait painter whose pieces are noted their intense emotion and expressionistic qualities. She married a Cuban painter, Carlos Enriquez, and they moved to Havana where she became part of the Cuban avant-garde set. In 1930, Neel suffered a massive nervous breakdown (perhaps brough on by the untimely death of her first child and her husband and second child abandoning her only a few years later), and she spent a year in a sanitorium. She worked through the Depression, having been hired by the WPA. In the 50s she appeared alongside Ginsburg in the Robert Frank film, Pull My Daisy. Neel's fame really grew through the feminist movement of the 1960s.

Visit her official web site here.

Here are some of her beautiful pieces...

left: "Nadja," 1928.
right: "Rhoda Myers with Blue Hat," 1930.

left: "The Spanish Family," 1943.
right: "Robert Smithson," 1962.

left: "Blue House," 1964.
right: "Hartley," 1965.

left: "Nancy and Olivia," 1967.
right: "Pregnant Julie and Algis," 1967.

left: "Gerard Malanga," 1969.
right: "Nancy and the Twins," 1971.

24 March 2009

SXSW Recap.

We officially made it back to Birmingham late Monday night. The drive from Austin took sixteen hours and two days, and nearly drove us both insane! It was so easy to drive down there, yet the same path on the way back was excruciating.

I hate that I had so many Internet problems and couldn't blog. It was one of the many things to learn from for next year.

The whole experience was nothing like I could've imagined. Ever. I expected to be tired and run ragged, but I couldn't anticipate the festival aspect of the whole thing. Thousands and thousands of people are hyped up on music and adrenaline (and probably more than a few on illegal substances), wandering around, driven to find the best place to be/the best show/the best cupcake or taco/the best free beer.

I was super thankful to have a badge that granted me immediate access to any show/party I wanted to be at...I couldn't imagine having to wait in those excruciating lines that flowed down 6th Street like it would never end. That badge also saved me about 5 hours a day. I could pop in to the Billions Party, stay long enough for the husband to say hellos, and then run over to Maggies Mae's Gibson Room, Mohawk to see Richard Swift (and catch J. Mascis on the street), and still make it to Volume to see Beach House. If you're ever going to SXSW, yes, it IS do-able without a badge or wristband, but it's a LOT better of a time if you just throw down the $500-700 for the badge.

My husband played two phenomenal shows--one Wednesday night at the Tap Room and another as part of the Birmingham Day Party. His current lineup is really fantastic, and the new songs are really a whole new thing. On Wednesday, The Austin Chronicle chose Duquette Johnston and the Rebel Kings as a top pick for the night, describing them as "psychedelic Southern rock." I think that's an incredible way to capture the music.

Here's exactly what the Chronicle had to say...
"Psychedelic Southern rock isn't done any more authentically than by Duquette Johnston. The Alabama native takes a personal look at a troubled road amidst loud guitars itching for a Drive-by Truckers session. Currently in the studio working on a follow-up to 2006's Etowah, Johnston and his recent "Nothing to Fear" demonstrate a digestion of Lucinda Williams. " – Chase Hoffberger

The Saturday BHAM Showcase was an unofficial party and took place at the Creekside Lounge, luckily right next door to the 40 Watt party. It made it pretty easy for several people to jump back and forth between the two. My husband got stuck with what I considered to be a rather shiteous time slot, but it ends up not really mattering in the end. Whoever was there, was supposed to be there right then. Chip Midnight from Atomic Ned, an old friend of my husband's from back in the Verbena days, came out to see the set. He wrote a nice little bit on him at his blog's SXSW recap:
"Started out at the Creekside Lounge to see Duquette Johnston and the Rebel Kings at the Birmingham, Alabama showcase. I met Duquette when he was in Verbena many years ago (’96-ish) and we’ve traded a rare e-mail or two every couple of years up until the last two or so years where he’s shown up on MySpace. His live show was more rocking than his debut Etowah - kind of Neil Young / My Morning Jacket / Drive-By Truckers-ish. Good ol’ rock from the South. Been listening to his acoustic CD-R that he gave me a copy of that afternoon - hopefully you’ll have a chance to hear it soon."--Chip Midnight.

Out of the whole SXSW, I have to say that my favorite moments were:
1) Seeing the Delta Spirit play a CRAZY show at the Radio Room on Wednesday night and then stumbling upon an outdoor honky-tonk set of theirs at a morning party with free tacos. I love this band so much. And they're some of the sweetest guys ever. I'm so happy for their growing success. They deserve it because the songs deserve it.

2) Lou Barlow and Imaad Wasif at the Merge Records Party at the Parish. It was entirely acoustic and while I'm not an enormous fan of Lou Barlow's solo stuff, I was absolutely mesmerized by Wasif. I managed to get right up front to shoot (thank you, Fire Marshall for limiting the crowd that night!) and I have some incredible photos of him looking directly at me. It kind of freaked me out. He looks like a really beautiful ghost.

3) Watching Beach House at Volume. I've never been a fan of their recordings, but to watch them live was really hypnotic. The space was really cool--stage was low and the back wall was lined with mirrors. There was a great balcony with cages along the stair rails. The light was all green and spacy. I loved it.

Check back later and through the week for more picture posts!!

Or, go visit my Flickr...there are hundreds of photos there!
Now, for even more rest...

20 March 2009


All right people, here's the deal: as nice as the Marriott Courtyard is, the wireless Internet SUCKS.  So I have started a Flickr account (which I needed to do anyway), and for some reason it is WAY faster than uploading the images on Blogger.

 I have thrown up a few photos already--check them out at morganjones241's photostream.  I SWEAR I will post more before this time tomorrow...there will be photos of Jay Mascis, Richard Swift, Delta Spirit, Beach House, and so much more.

Thanks for being so patient, people! It certainly takes a lot of it to survive.  Hey, there's tip #4.

19 March 2009

Major technical difficulties...

Hey Everyone--
I'm having some technical difficulties with uploading photos right now--I will get it resolved later and post lots of great stuff from yesterday--survival tips, Shiner's Saloon, Tap Room, Duquette Johnston, Delta Spirit, and more!!

See you in a little while...

18 March 2009

SXSW--Live from Dallas

(Jonathan Purvis, David Swatzell, and Duquette Johnston synchronizing watches)

It's 12 am and we just pulled into Dallas for the night. We're picking up bass player Greg Slamen at the DFW airport in eight hours. We braved the ten hour drive today like true road warriors!

We hit the road at 9.30am after meeting up with Valerie McLean, Trak Shak lady extraordinaire!! She jumped into last minute action upon realizing that the Trak Shak trailer (so graciously loaned to the Birmingham SXSW effort) had an expired tag. We piled the gear in, piled the passengers in the truck, and met up with a car load of BHAM people to hit the road.

The ten hour drive passed quickly, thanks to frequent stops awarded to the sole girl in this particular caravan.

The highlight of the trip thus far has been the four or five stops we made in search of beer, only to realize that every single town we chose to exit at was in a dry county--in Louisiana and Texas. Too good. However, at one of these dry gas stations in the middle of nowhere, was a casino. Fifty cents were lost in this venture.

Oh, and then there were these birds. Like 500 of them--cackles, I think. They dive bombed us all. It was beyond a Hitchcock moment.

And now we're in Dallas. I'm exhausted and can't hardly think to blog. We've piled in six people in a little hotel room near the airport. Sardines. Comfy sardines.

Tomorrow is going to be one hell of a day--we head into Austin after picking up Slamen at the airport. We go to check in and get our badges. We go to check in to the hotel. We go to load in for Duquette Johnston and the Rebel Kings show, which he will play at 10pm at the Tap Room at Six. Later that night, we will be going to check out the Delta Spirit at the Radio Room at 1.30am.

Good night, people. Or good morning. Or whatever...

16 March 2009

Photos from this weekend...

Hey Everyone! We are taking care of last minute preparations before we depart for SXSW 2009!! I can't wait to hit the road. I'm taking several cameras with me: Canon SLR, Yashica T4 film camera, Lumix point and shoot digital (it has a Leica lens and rocks), and maybe my Polaroid. These are some photographs I took over the weekend...

at the Bottletree Cafe...

at the Urban Standard...

from around the house...

We hit the road at 9am tomorrow and are driving straight to Dallas and spending the night there (got to pick up the bass player from the airport) and then heading into Austin Wednesday around noon. I will be posting tomorrow's road trip photos early Wednesday morning!