Thursday, January 8, 2009


To start off 2009 right my friend from Canada, Jesse Gongora, went on tour with his band Blackbirds all over the East Coast. I've known Jesse Gongora for quite some time now and it is usually a lengthy period before we end up meeting up with each other.

The last time that I saw Blackbirds was in Baltimore at the Charm City Art Space in August 2007. Back in those days, I was still living in that tiny yet quaint apartment in College Park with my amazing room mates Kandace Levy, Katie Sams, and Aurora Caskey.

Aurora and Kandace came with me to their show at Charm City Art Space. Both ladies have never experienced a show quite like it.

This time in 2009 Blackbirds came to Washington D.C. and Silver Spring, MD to play a show. The band played a show at the Girl Cave off of Gallatin St. in Northwest DC and they also played at the Corpse Fortress in Silver Spring, MD. If you are looking to get into some really aggressive, socially conscious, straight up angry hardcore you would probably like Blackbirds.

If you are interested in hearing their music visitBlackbird's Myspace. They have a few tunes from their 7" split with Braindead and a new song that they wrote last year that is untitled.

I think the boys and the girl enjoyed their stay here. It was a little short and I wish I had spent some time really showing them around the city. But they did eat at Sticky Fingers and had a late night rendezvous at the Blackcat. I'm pretty sure they'll be coming around this area again next time they're on tour.

Here are more pictures of their visit to D.C.:

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


One thing I have really enjoyed about Baltimore is their music community. When I first started driving, I use to go to thrash, a few metal, and a lot of hardcore shows here. I even got to see my ultimate favorite band in the whole world *gasp* Mates of State at the Ottobar with Braid.

Recently though, I've broaden my live musical endeavors to Wham City and affiliated shows, artsy indie rock shows, djs and clubs, and random noise at warehouses. Don't get me wrong, I will go to a good hardcore/metal/thrash show throughout the city but I guess since this new wave of musical soundscape is erupting in Baltimore and a lot of it is centered around artistic ideas and elements, I have been responding to it and generously supporting it.

When I was eating at the Paper Moon Diner in Baltimore it was still opened 24 hours a day and it still had those delicious cakes lit in a glass freezer as you entered the diner. I was eating lunch with a friend of mine from College Park who grew up in the Baltimore area and he had come across a woman named Hanna Badalova, whom he went to high school with. She was accompanied with her friend Jared Fischer, and later on throughout the afternoon I found out that they were in a band together. They gave me their cd and immediately I loved it.

Their band is called Mr. Moccasin. A very experimental progressive indie-folk band that sings about fruits, deer, distance, and foreign places. Also, Hanna (their lead singer) sings mostly in Russian! Their music is also influenced by a lot of Dischord bands but you might not get that initially. You can check out their tunes on Mr. Moccasin's myspace.

Anyways, so later on in the year 2008 they started recording for a new album and wanted to do a photoshoot. I was starting to get back into photography so I figured it would be a good opportunity to start shooting again, whether it was in the vein of 'artistic' photography or not. I present to you some of the pictures from the shoot:

More to explore:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Sarada Conaway, apartment study I, 2008 digital photographs dimensions/prints material vary

It is hard to believe that is has been a year since I made the move back to the Baltimore area and decided that I was going to continue my efforts in participating in an artistic and/or politically-driven community in Baltimore. One thing is for sure, politically as a city Baltimore will not compare to Washington, D.C. (for obvious reasons for sure).

One person that I have had the pleasure of keeping in contact with in the DC-College Park area is one of my favorite local artists and a good friend, Sarada Conaway.

The picture above is taken from a series she participated in titled "Los Solos Series".

Her explanation for doing work is something that I encourage in artists and I can identify with when I am viewing art. The need to connect art to the implication of our reality outside of art, blurring the lines where art has a context... it is simply necessary. Sarada Conaway explains:

Through my work, I attempt to remove the division between everyday life and art. Recently, I have collaborated with “sample populations” of self-selected participants to create photographs. This process has mirrored institutional uses for photography and data collection. The banal, uniform aspects of this project act as a foil to its intention-inviting people to deviate from expected behavior.

Part of this series was part of her graduate thesis. This was taken from her Art Thesis as a graduate from the University of Maryland, which also has samples of her work:

Sarada Conaway, Suit Study 4 2007-2008 collaboration with Aniko Macransy, 50 archival photographs

P.S. You can't see it but I participated in one of her social experiments; I'm one of the few that is wearing that red suit!

(Also, all images are copyrighted from the artist and are not to be used for commercial purposes.)

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I took this picture almost four years ago which is almost unreal because it seems like just yesterday Desirea, Jenny, and I slipped into our newly found thrift store dresses and decided that we would explore the thickets and tall grass of Southern Maryland that embroider empty fields and have a photo shoot. These were times when things seemed tranquil in my life even though the world was wrapped in a world of chaos. Bush was still in office, Anti-War sentiments were at the height by all kinds of members of society (not just activists) and meanwhile the three of us. These three confused, naive, young ladies still managed to find days to be this care-free. Still willing to find the beauty amongst everything else that was happening in the world at that time.

Desirea is still my best friend. She is my heart and my stone. In those years I think I would have not had the foundations of courage and determination that I have now. And that is why, after two years of barely finding those moments of spontaneity trapped inside a 4x6, captured by some Minolta from the 80's and developed all with hands of love I decided I would have more moments like these in 2009. Soon enough I'll have more photos for you.

This band right here though, High Places, from Brooklyn NY really reminds me of those times (which is really why I told you something more personal than intended). They have become one of my favorite bands and live acts in the year 2008. I would describe their music as ethereal pop. Their influences are hardcore, literally any high place you can think of, and art school. I think you'll be surprised to find what you hear.

This is their newest release off of Thrill Jockey Records, self-titled and all:

Saturday, January 3, 2009


I figured that it was the beginning of 2009 and there were a lot of things that had to be confronted, that haven't been confronted last year. My attempts at blogging were pretty nonexistent; if any blogging did occur it was pretty erratic and almost unnecessary. This year I am not making any resolutions or promises but this is a place on the internet for you to delve into or not. First and foremost, it is for me. A place where I can document all the clippings of my life outside the internet, the internet obsessions, randomness, and truisms that occur.

So peak in, let me show you what creates my world...

To start off my first post right, I must talk to you about a new hardcore band straight out of Connecticut called Ripshit.

Now many people who have been listening to hardcore and the various forms of this kind of music for years tend to become more and more picky about newer bands that rise from the ashes of the more memorable bands we all know and love. The thing I love about Ripshit is I saw them at Girlcave in Northwest DC last night with my friends in Blackbirds, a boston hardcore band Draize, and DC local Deathrats. and without even checking out more than their music online, I didn't realize that the brutality that screeches vocally in ever song is sung by the petite woman in the picture above. She delivered more energy in a tiny basement than I have seen with black metal frontmen at the Sidebar or Ottobar.

The lyrics are very politcally expressive. With titles such as "America Runs On Nothing" and "I'm not Unemployable I'm Just Young and In Love" they have alot of universal understandings that are expressed lyrically about not trusting our government, taking back control to the people who actually work for this county, and simply put anti-capitalist sentiments. The things you'd expect from most hardcore punk bands. Unlike other anti-capitalist-smash-the-system hardcore music, however, this band makes you actually want to sing along with them. Even if you didn't want to squash the man, have him underneath your nail.

They are a fairly new band so there aren't mp3s I can stream or have you download but I can link you to their myspace where you can also find information on touring, booking, and the lyrics to their songs!