Jambalaya with the Chauatauqua

Posted in Photography at 10:39 am by Michelle

I’m on the road, finally!

After sitting in front of a computer all winter, I’ve packed up my Holgas, Nikons, and whatever else I could fit in my little van and have hit the road. I’m heading east and south, with the goal being Bay St Louis, Mississippi. There, I’ll be hooking up with the New Old Time Chautauqua, a group of performers & musicians with vaudevillian roots, to tour around the Gulf Coast. There will be around 50 of us there, including the Flying Karamazov Brothers, spending a week teaching workshops, doing parades, performing, and pitching in to the relief effort around Mississippi and New Orleans. We’ll be in the hardest hit areas, which, according to my friend Jer, who was down there recently, are “still broken”. And all the activities will be free!

I will be the official tour photographer, which is an incredible opportunity! I’ve been wanting to go along “on Chautauqua” for a few years now to one of their normal tours in rural areas of the Northwest. But this gives me the chance to capture the Chautauqua in action and interacting with this unique group of communities, the area, and get an awesome road trip in to boot!

I’ll try to post some during the tour, but we will have an offical blogger, Barbara Stahr from YES! Magazine, and I’ll try to get images up with her posts.

And, I’d love to try to drum up some support for the tour. As I said, it’ll all be free for the communities down there, and all the money we get will go to running the tour (most folks are paying their own way down), plus, anything over that we raise will go directly to the groups we’ll be working with, such as Common Ground and Emergency Communities. For more info about the tour, see the Chautauqua site (including the schedule of performances), and see our fundraising letter for more details about what we’re up to and how to donate.

The tour is April 18-23rd. I’m currently in Utah, getting my car worked on, enjoying the scenery, doing some work on the book, and getting in some of the best roller blading ever, and, hopefully, I still should get there on time. Stay tuned for more updates!



Vaudeville, variete, aerialists & acrobats!

Posted in Photography at 9:03 am by Michelle

This week (along with everything else), I find myself immersed in the joy and silliness of the Moisture Festival. This bizarrely-named festival is planted right down the hill from me at a converted warehouse in the Hale’s Brewery here in Seattle. It’s 3 weeks (more than 20 shows) full of a fabulous assortment of vaudevillians, European clowns, aerialists, magicians, musicians galore, and several acts I’m just not sure how to categorize. Performers range from old timers who got their starts when I got mine (the birth kind), to some wonderful young talent. In fact, Wednesday night marked the debut of the youngest UMO-let, Kai, age 3! Each show is packed full of acts and runs well over 2 hours, and the finale show this Sunday is usually a marathon of more than 4 hours!

I’m one of three official photographers for the festival (John Cornicello, Mark Gardiner & I also did it last year), and it is ridiculously fun! Stop by for one of the last few shows – including special shows featuring Circus Contraption and burlesque nights – see some of my photos on the wall, and get ready to smile!

And, just to add to the fun, last night I went to some slightly fancier digs, McCaw Hall (the new Opera house), to photograph some of the same performers, plus a few extra special guests. En-Joy Productions, run by Martha Enson & Kevin Joyce (two original UMOs) brought together this amazing group for a Microsoft event, and I was, again, photographing. In addition to local wonders Nanda, Curly Burly and The Valone Sisters, they imported the stunning Mystic Pixies and Ricardo Sosa the contortionist to entertain the gathering. I think I had more fun than the Microsofties!

It’s times like these when I hop up and down, cameras in hand, and think, “I love my job!”


Book update

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:49 am by Michelle

So Focal Press has started running ahead with their part of the work on the book. They’ve copy-edited the whole shebang (the copy editor really liked it – that’s a good sign, right?), and sorted out some aspects of the layout, and now it looks like the ball’s back in my court. But, of course, I have a whole slew of other fun things on my agenda, so timing is getting tricky. That’s one of the many lessons I’m learning in this process; what the jobs to do are after the writing is done. It’s the scheduling part that’s hard to plan.
According to Focal’s schedule, the book will be out on September 21st, and it’s already on their website and in the 2006 catalog! Very exciting!

Society for Photographic Education

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:42 am by Michelle

It’s a little hard to catch up from one trip when another’s in the works, but here’s a short report on the SPE conference in Chicago.
SPE is a great organization for photography educators and students. This makes most of the members somewhat more communicative than your average photographer, which is fun for me! I went to last year’s national in Portland, and did my plastic camera presentation at the NW regional conference last October.

My publisher was part of the trade show at the conference, as was Freestyle Photographic (I’m on their advisory board), and Focal brought along their big stack of postcards to introduce the book. I gave the cards to old and new aquaintances, and everyone seems excited to see the book, and all I could say is, “So am I!”
I love conferences for bringing people together to geek out about their particular obsession, and this one was no exception!