June 10, 2017 – Flip Cassidy

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Flip Cassidy and the Junkyard Gospel:
“Raw, rusty Americana folk-punk perfect for driving on long desert highways. Pairs well with whiskey.”

“The Reverend Flip Cassidy is a rusty man who plays rusty songs on rusty guitars. The Junkyard Gospel is a howling, raging acoustic sound bellowed forth with a voice like a rusty saw blade. His solo performances are known to be highly energetic and infectious, surprisingly loud, and have even caused rippling, whiskey-induced fervors in audiences, fellow performers and bartenders alike.”

Living in a celebrity-obsessed culture, I genuinely believe that a distinction must be made between pop stars and musicians. Pop stars are, in so many ways, packaged products, manufactured for mass-consumption. Pop stars are the Skittles® and soda of music. There’s certainly showmanship, charisma, and skill in the celebrity circuit, but the salt-of-the-earth musician is an entirely different animal. Traveling from town-to-town – drawing people together in parks, at farmers markets, saloons, and theaters – there’s an army of talented folk out there.

Musicians connect with people, hang out and have a beer after their set, tell you about the road, and occasionally crash on your couch. Pop stars have a celebrity that renders them inaccessible, walled-off by security, by entourage, by wealth. Going out to your local pub and watching people make music right before your eyes is a magical experience. Everyone should go out to see live music more often. These guys live out of their cars, on buses, in cheap motor lodges – they have stories, passion, and a measure of honesty and bravery.

Flip Cassidy blew through town and drew one helluva crowd. Not only is this wandering poet a musician, but an insanely talented photographer – naturally we had a lot to talk about. When he rolled through town a year later, I bought his old twelve-string guitar. It’s currently resting on the corner of my study. I highly recommend you take a look at his music and his artwork. This guy is always making something, and he produces really amazing work.
Check out the Junk Yard Gospel
Check out Flip Cassidy Photography

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February 08 – Tap-Dancin’ Granny

02-08 Granny postThe first several years I lived in Tucson, I lived right off of 4th Avenue. Close enough to walk, far enough away to have only had my car vandalized about a dozen times during my tenure,

Some of the grime has been polished off the 4th Avenue I remember from those days, but hey – nothing stays the same forever. Shirtless days on the front porch, cold beer in the summer, an embarrassing amount of hackysack. Brooklyn Pizza’s garlic knots and walks over to The Grill at three o’clock in the morning for some tots. The old underpass, bathed in dim yellow light, always wreaked of urine; most of the young ladies I knew – a generous portion of which who’d smack me across my smug face for referring to ’em as “ladies” – preferred not to walk through by their lonesome.

I magic-markered a piece of copy paper and thumb-tacked that sucker right by the exit to the one-room hovel of a guest house I lived in. “Do you have your camera?” was scrawled in smudged blue ink. That was my healthy little reminder every time I headed for the door. I hardly ever went anywhere without my camera, and only seemed to need it when I’d left it behind. This seems to always been case, even today.

I made it a habit to go down to the 4th Avenue Street Fair every autumn and every spring. It takes a certain kind of con-artist confidence to stick your lens in strangers’ faces, and the various street fairs, county fairs, political protests, and other events proved to be a healthy training ground for inexperienced street photographers like myself. Some people notice you and immediately ruin everything by smiling or posing.

Other people just have to common courtesy to threaten you with as ass kicking.

With enough experience, you learn how to lie your way out of sticky situations, charm your way through others, and – most importantly – make accurate snap judgments about the people around you.

The easiest photographs to make – and often the most fun – are of street performers. They’re used to being looked at, and usually like to dust-off their ‘A’ material when they see a camera watching. Something in my gut tells me that this woman may not be with us any longer. This photograph is somewhere in the neighborhood of ten years old, taken outside of Caruso’s Italian Restaurant on South 4th Avenue. A tap-dancing, smoking granny – how could one not take a photograph?