Tag Archives: let’s get drunk

2012 Santa Speedo Sprint

Last weekend was the 7th annual Santa Speedo Sprint hosted by ASAP. Last I checked they’d raised over $9,000, I’m sure the final total will be much more than that. A great time for a great cause.

2012 Santa Speedo Sprint, Albany NY

2012 Santa Speedo Sprint, Albany NY

2012 Santa Speedo Sprint, Albany NY

Another overcast day making for difficult photos. I usually like what on-camera flash does on cloudy days but I wasn’t very happy with my results from the day. I did like the repetition of shapes in that photo of the two backs, though. Most of my photos, including a bunch of dragged shutter bar shots, went straight to Facebook, sorry.

Congrats to ASAP and all the runners, photos or no it was a great event and went off without a hitch. Looking forward to next year!

elsewhere:
All Over Albany
Albany_Tim

earlier:
2011 Santa Speedo Sprint
2010 Santa Speedo Sprint
2009 Santa Speedo Sprint
(have I really been doing this that long?)

2012 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival

2012 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival

2012 marks the third year I’ve visited the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, only named the #2 Winter Carnival in the world by National Geographic. Beating out parties in Canada and Japan is pretty impressive considering the town’s population hovers around 5,000. Who knew we had a world-class event tucked away in the frigid Adirondacks? Answer: National Geographic, but now you know, too.

2012 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival

Each year has a theme, and this year’s was Alien Invaders. You can see a few of them above, abducting terrestrial life forms. As usual I accompanied my friends in the carnival group the Gimps, best known for never participating in the yearly theme. This time they were killer bees. As in the classic SNL skit, complete with sombreros, which raised concerns they would be interpreted as illegal aliens (they had been permanently banned from the carnival years ago for gratuitous use of “EAT ME” in an Alice on Wonderland theme). Bright yellow stripes and bee antics seemed to do the trick and there were no international incidents.

2012 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival

In 2010 and 2011 I went with something of a photojournalistic angle, focusing on the parade, the costumes, the ice castle and winter events. This time I decided to use the warm welcome my extended family of Gimps gives and come at carnival in a more documentary style. You may be asking, what’s the difference between photojournalism and documentation? Well, it’s quite simple: obviously I’m just using impressive words to sound like I know what I’m talking about.

Instead of staking out a spot on the parade route and shooting every float going by, I followed the swarm of killer bees to their staging area. Since they had the second to last float, this was perfect, passing by all the other groups on the mile or two walk out and making it back to the finish line about halfway through the end of the parade. Hanging out while the gimps were getting prepped was much more interesting than being roped onto the sidewalk and waiting for the parade to pass by. Maybe because they are pretty interesting. Bees on a frozen lake? Why not.

2012 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival

Walking back up the route, through the crowd, gave me a chance to shoot some of the other paraders and the spectators. I wanted to give a sense of what it’s like to be in the crowd, instead of the slightly antiseptic results I came back with in years prior. There’s a certain energy and enthusiasm we don’t get here in Albany at, say, Tulip or Lark Fest.

2012 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival

2012 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival

My impression of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival has been one of high alcohol consumption, which may just be a byproduct of the people I hang out with while I’m there. After the parade there was some hotel room drinking, some food and drinking at the Moose Club, some drinking and very noise-tolerant dogs at the Rusty Nail, and drunken bee bowling. I called it a night before the swarm invaded the Waterhole, a popular local establishment I had been forcefully ejected from last year.

2012 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival

2012 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival

By the time we were near the ice castle, with ice UFOs gorgeously lit up, I was looking forward to getting horizontal. So, no photos of the castle for me this year, but honestly, it will be hard to ever top Mark Kurtz’ shot from that Nat Geo link. If you’ve never been to the carnival, you owe it to yourself to check it out at least once, see the official website for details. Think about reserving a room sometime around right now. I highly recommend checking the slideshow for larger photos, more not shown here, and a better idea of what it’s like to hang out with the Gimps for a day.

Special thanks to all of the hospitable residents of Saranac Lake, especially the police and fire departments who maintain a semblance of order. Until next year, happy carnival!

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint

It may not feel like winter in Albany lately, but it’s December, and that means another Santa Speedo Sprint. I’ve talked about this in 2010 and 2009, so I’ll keep this mainly photos. The latest word I have is that ASAP raised over $20,000 for the Albany Damien Center, which is fantastic.

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint

This year the sprinters were especially amorous. Draw your own conclusions.

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint, Albany NY

That last one is from Lionheart Pub, where the awards and official unofficial afterparty were held. That gave its own opportunity for more photos.

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint, Albany NY

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint, Albany NY

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint, Albany NY

I split this one into two sets, here are the slideshows for the sprint itself and the aftermath. All Over Albany has their own photos (I love the third one down, killer lighting) and a good roundup; more photos from Sebastien, albany_tim, anobjectn, and MikeCNY. If you have some, drop a comment!

Lark Fest 2011

This year’s Lark Fest was September 17 and as usual, was one huge party. I’ve written about lark Fest before (a couple of times actually), and since this is obviously a month late I’ll be brief.

Lark Fest 2011, Albany NY -- Ben K-N
Ben K-N

Sticking with two stages instead of three makes it a lot easier to catch more of the music, but I did like the extra smaller stage for local acts in 2009. The organizers focused more on local music overall this time, which I would like to see continue, the area has a lot to offer. The only hiccup I saw was when Severe Severe stone cold stopped playing in the middle of a song because they didn’t like the sound setup. The most notable change this year was a revised beer policy; bars were not allowed to sell alcohol directly on the sidewalk. People got drunk as usual but to my knowledge there weren’t any major incidents. The ghost of Kegs & Eggs haunts.

Lark Fest 2011, Albany NY

Instead of spending most of my time trying to shoot the bands, I did a lot more candid work in the crowd, which I have talked about already; it’s a fun way to work at a big event like this.

Lark Fest 2011, Albany NY

Okay, enough, just some more photos. There’s a slideshow, and Sebastien has a few photos too.

Lark Fest 2011, Albany NY -- We are Jeneric
We are Jeneric

Lark Fest 2011, Albany NY

Lark Fest 2011, Albany NY -- Severe Severe
Severe Severe

Lark Fest 2011, Albany NY

Lark Fest 2011, Albany NY

Rock n Relief at Valentines, Angry Firemen at Red Square

Been too busy to keep up with this blogging thing. Following are some photos from a few local shows where I saw many friends, on and off stage. After a Google Reader conversation I vowed to see more live music in Albany; a way of putting my money where my mouth is. Can’t complain about the state of local music if you don’t contribute, right?

Rock n Relief was a benefit show at Valentines on September 9. Organized by Eric Halder, of Charmboy, several hours of music hit both stages with all funds going to local hurricane relief efforts. It was amazing. There’s a good review by Ed Conway over at Nippertown. The Angry Firemen played at Red Square on August 22, and that was just pure fun. Red Square is an impressive local venue, mainly because the bar area is well separated from the stage/floor, and there is some sidewalk patio space, so it’s easy to take a break from the music. If anything showing there sounds remotely interesting, go check it out — they also have a good selection of draught beer.

Rock n Relief Hurricane Benefit, Valentine's -- Mike & the Moon Divers

Rock n Relief Hurricane Benefit, Valentine's -- Hot Cousin

Rock n Relief Hurricane Benefit, Valentine's -- Mike & the Moon Divers

Angry Firemen @ Red Square, Albany NY

Angry Firemen @ Red Square, Albany NY

Angry Firemen @ Red Square, Albany NY

More photos from Rock n Relief and Angry Firemen.

2011 Restoration Festival

RestFest 2011 - Deer Tick
Deer Tick

Sometimes people get a chance to put up or shut up. Through the work of a capricious universe — call it fate, a higher power, or whatever — the folks behind this year’s Restoration Festival got that chance, and put up like you’ve probably never seen it putted upped before.

RestFest (or as it is alternately called, Restoration Funstival, Restoration Funkstival, Wristoration Fistival, etc.) is an annual two-day concert begun in 2010 to help fund the rehabilitation of St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Albany’s Arbor Hill neighborhood. completed in 1856, “[t]he walls of this Gothic Revival building are bluestone, and the trim was orginially buff stone from the Caen quarries of France. [. . .] The steeple, designed by Albany architects M.L. and H.G. Emery, was added around 1910. The interior is embellished with a hammerbeam roof structure with angels’ heads and a polychrome ceiling” (Albany Architecture. Edited by Diana S. Waite. Mount Ida Press, via the RestFest website). You can see some great views of the interior architecture from Sebastien’s coverage of Heavy, an arts fundraiser last year. It’s easy to see why this is a monument worth saving.

Held on August 27th & 28th, the music included many local acts plus some notable nationals; I was interested in catching Titus Andronicus on Saturday and Hawk & and a Hacksaw on Sunday. You can review the full schedule but Sunday didn’t quite turn out as planned.

RestFest 2011 - Titus Andronicus
Titus Andronicus

Arriving late on saturday, I missed all of the early performers but made it for most of Titus Andronicus’ set. They’ve been on my radar for a couple years now and were awesome to see live, even if the space didn’t necessarily cater to their sound. The play from whence the name comes from has been described as “an extraordinary fusion of the savage and the sublime”, which aptly describes the music. They have a great brash “wall of sound” punk thing going on and brought some awesome energy to the stage, which is always appreciated in a live show.

RestFest 2011 - Deer Tick
Deer Tick

Deer Tick was mostly unknown to me but did an amazing job of capping off the night with their own take on alt-country and some really good covers. Launching into Bastards of Young put a huge grin on my face. Theirs is not a genre I instinctively head toward, but maybe that’s because the live experience is way more satisfying than a recording.

Day two was when fate stepped in. You may remember something else noteworthy that happened on August 27th & 28th — tropical storm (née hurricane) Irene swept through, bringing record flood levels for upstate New York. While Albany was spared some of the worst, water inundating the cathedral and threats of power outages caused frantic scrambling to let the show go on. But go on it did, and I have to give serious props the staff and volunteers who made it happen, especially the B3nson collective behind the show’s organization. Less dedicated people would have literally called it a wash, especially with the meager trickle of concertgoers in attendance when I showed up around 3pm. Didn’t stay that way though, turns out you can’t stop dedicated fans either.

<a href="RestFest 2011 - We are Jeneric“>
We are Jeneric

Let’s break for a second because I know you’re wondering why some of these photos are black and white and some are in color. Or let’s just pretend you are. The answer is that I don’t always see what’s staring me in the face. The camera/lens/software combination I used was simply not up to the task of photos in a very dark, very big space, and I pushed a little too hard ending up with lots and lots of noise. I went to some great lengths to clear it up as much as possible to deliver a few to All Over Albany, with limited success. Returning to the photos later, I realized that in black and white I like the noise, so I went through the not much simpler conversion. Do I wish these were cleaner and that I took more advantage of the sweet colored LED panels on stage? Sure, but not every photo needs to be glossy-magazine-ad slick, it’s a good lesson to remember that technical perfection doesn’t make a photo good.

RestFest 2011 - Swamp Baby
Swamp Baby

The storm did more than deluge the building, it led to a major shuffling of Sunday’s lineup with the news that Hawk & and a Hacksaw and The Music Tapes couldn’t fly in. The organizers made the day “pay what you will”, and the rest of the acts stepped up in a big way. Slender Shoulders and Swamp Baby did a great job warming things up, but a big surprise, and one of the best performances of the weekend, came from We are Jeneric. They brought some big sound and the dam broke, pulling the audience to their feet in dancing, shouting, cheering defiance of the weather.

RestFest 2011 - Matthew Carefully Undone Ensemble
Matthew Carefully Undone Ensemble

But I was truly waiting for Matthew Carefully’s Undone Ensemble. I’d heard rumblings of this project months before but had no idea how completely awesome it would be on stage. Matthew brought together over a dozen singers and instrumentalists in a group that breaks with his traditional style. “No Looping. No electronic instruments.” The opening timpanis gave me a Radiohead In Rainbows shudder, and the full force of the entire group elevating Matthew’s vocals was something to behold. I hope he’s lied to us and that this will happen again.

There was more than just the music though. Of course a limited bar was on hand, and Ommegang and live music go together for me like money and problems. The merch table had t-shirts, CDs, stickers, art, and free candy, and did very well, contrary to some early reports I’d heard. A copy of Fletcher and the Hendersons was available to read and listen to (and it’s a really good idea), a robot wandered the crowd dispensing custom stickers, some participatory art was continually being added to, and solo acts played in an alcove in between sets on the stage.

RestFest 2011 - Nick Wallas
Nick Wallas

It was one of the best local shows in my memory, and now that we know nothing can stop it I can’t wait to see what happens next year.

RestFest 2011
That guy waving his arms was awesome and there is bonus Matthew (and Laura!) content here.

As usual there’s a slideshow with a few more photos, and plenty of other reports to read: Nippertown, Metroland, Keep Albany Boring, Kevin Marshall, and probably more I didn’t catch. Special thanks to the RestFest sponsors, all of the bands, and especially the show staff and volunteers who really made it happen.

Kate & Tim’s Wedding

Kate & Tim's Wedding, Stewart Park, Cayuga Lake, Ithaca NY

Back to central New York last weekend, this time for a wedding in Ithaca. Kate & Tim picked a gorgeous day to get married on Cayuga Lake, even if it was a bit warm for an outdoor wedding. I don’t enjoy dressing up and sitting on a wooden bench in a church for two hours and then suffering through six awkward speeches, so this laid-back ceremony worked for me. While I’m pretty important, it’s more important that the bride, groom, and their families were happy and judging by the smiles and laughter I’d say they were.

Kate & Tim's Wedding, Stewart Park, Cayuga Lake, Ithaca NY

I was not the photographer, I just had my camera because I bring it everywhere whether that’s appropriate or not. The real man behind the lens was Tyler Finck, who not only juggled three cameras by himself but had his family there too (and no socks on, yep Tyler we noticed). He put in overtime on a hot day and did it like a champ. You can see a great stop motion video he put together that covers the whole day, watch the whole thing, the ending is perfect.

Kate & Tim's Wedding, Stewart Park, Cayuga Lake, Ithaca NY

The photos I came back with are snapshotty, so you get what you get, I was trying to enjoy the open bar. I’d like to give a special shout out to the caterer who stopped me from grabbing what I thought was a fresh glass of champagne at the bar; it was decidedly not. There are 17 photos in the slideshow, I may add more later.

I see many happy years ahead for these two. Congratulations to Kate & Tim and their families!

Kate & Tim's Wedding, Stewart Park, Cayuga Lake, Ithaca NY

Kate & Tim's Wedding, Stewart Park, Cayuga Lake, Ithaca NY Kate & Tim's Wedding, Stewart Park, Cayuga Lake, Ithaca NY

Kate & Tim's Wedding, Stewart Park, Cayuga Lake, Ithaca NY

Kate & Tim's Wedding, Stewart Park, Cayuga Lake, Ithaca NY Kate & Tim's Wedding, Stewart Park, Cayuga Lake, Ithaca NY

Possibly related posts:
Laurel & Shelby’s Wedding