Thursday, July 31, 2008

Counting Crows and Maroon 5 at Jones Beach Theater 7.31.08

Attractive, annoying, weird, confusing…last night’s Counting Crows / Maroon 5 show at Jones Beach Theater was similar to early sexual experiences in that it left me speechless and awkward.

I’ll begin with Maroon 5 who took the stage igniting the hundreds of girls in an instant “Joey McIntyre” style frenzy. With the insatiable wooing ala Girls Gone Wild and constant comments about how singer Adam Levine needs to come to their house (with his voice that is like a “constant orgasm”) the Abercrombie nation girls which surrounded me gave me insight into what the Beatles may’ve been like at Shea Stadium. As their set played on the madness only increased with blurry cell phone pics and what became a word for word sing-a-long to every song I began to feel a sense of shame for ever liking the group’s catchy popular hits. By the time they left the stage I was sure that I would have to skwash any mention that I had ever liked one of their songs (except for maybe Adam’s cameo on Kanye West’s hit “Heard ‘Em Say”). The fans actually willed any positive feelings I had for the band and their music away during the course of the show- unprecedented. Sure maybe I’ll be able to enjoy a song or two in a few years time but it’s going to take a while. The fans were annoying but ultimately, the band didn’t win me over. Most of their set was just very smooth, produced, boring pop dribble and I thought often of playing Tetris on my cell phone while it drolled on. I don’t want to give the impression that it was all the girls fault either because the drunken first year frat guys in the row ahead of me were equal to if not superior in their annoying nature as they sang along off-key while they tried to pick up the girls in the row behind me.

The Counting Crows is a band I’ve seen and enjoyed numerous times and this particular show was a bit like waking up after surgery on heavy meds. Lead singer Adam Duritz is well known for his instability which can be both a blessing and curse and in this show he was true to form. Adam stumbled onto stage looking sickly and under the influence and I thought he looked a bit like Sideshow Bob of the Simpsons after he was released from prison. The band started fast paced and full of energy but it was evident quickly that their singer was totally out of sync and not on his game. I give the band credit for trucking through the first few disasters because a ray of light appeared during their passionate rendition of “Round Here” and all again seemed right with the world. Unfortunately the Crows couldn’t keep it together and the show continued to hit and miss before our eyes. As a big fan of the band I wondered if Adam would even make it through the show or if they would have to cut it short. He had moments of great emotional clarity and then was lost in mutterings, at one point stopping during “A Long December” to start a line over again. The show ended with a bizarre lullaby cut short and lots of dazed people rushing to their cars to beat the traffic. I hope for the band’s sake that it was only an off night and not a sign of things to come.

J-E-T-S: Jets, Jets, Jets

This morning I headed out to the New York Jets Summer Training Camp which is held in Hofstra University on Long Island. The team was joined by a few hundred fans for their early morning practice in the heat. The team ran through about 16 drills then headed over to the fans to talk and give autographs. Quarterback Chad Pennington and the team spent about a half hour with fans and a number of local disabled kids signing autographs. The Hofstra facility also has a fan sales booth, food, drinks, and a fun zone for kids. The training camp is in it's final year at Hofstra and will continue until preseason.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Photographer's Forum Magazine

I was excited to hear that one of my photographs will be included in the upcoming Photographer's Forum Magazine's: Best of Photography Annual for 2008 which comes out in December. It's great to be included in such a prestigious group of work and I'm thrilled to be part of it. The photograph (shown above) is from the current year-long 366 project I'm working on where I use only a point and shoot camera to document each day in a creative way. The task of taking at least one interesting photograph each day has really made me a better photographer and shown me over time what my strengths and weaknesses are.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Illustration Friday: Canned (R.I.P)

My girlfriend was canned last week from her job at United Health Care. As you can tell she's been dealing with getting laid off pretty well so far at the beach. I made her this boss tatoo with Sharpie so she can show off her current "work-free" status. It's a Lemonade from Lemons type of empowerment.
On a much, much darker note I always tease her about "canning" her if she ever died so that I can keep her with me all the time. I illustrated what I might imagine a "Can 'o Mel" might look like (now with 30% more Mel). Maybe this is where a personal joke might've been better to keep personal?

A Monday in Manhattan

I spent the day in New York City Monday to close my art show at the School of Visual Arts gallery. One of the greatest things about Manhattan is that regardless of the time or day there are always hundreds of cool things to do. I spent most of the day in SOHO and the village checking out art and the trendy shops and stopped for lunch at the BBar and Grill. The Bar has a great outdoor section that is shaded with trees and ivy so it was the perfect place to get away from the heat for a while- they also have a pretty mean and authentic Cuban sandwich. After lunch I walked up to Union Square where you can find lots of little outdoor jewelry and art sales but more importantly there are the girls. My god- the girls in New York are amazing! Speaking of amazing girls- I saw Parker Posey in Washington Square Park playing with her dog and she looked fantastic in person. Anyway I stopped by one of my favorite spots, the Comedy Cellar, for a great late night comedy show before I had to leave. We saw a bunch of local comics including local favorite Sherrod Small and Elon Gold who had some terrific impressions as well as Jim Norton who popped in for an unannounced spot but it was Greg Giraldo and Ted Alexandro that brought the house down.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The My Chemical Romance Monster

I created this short time-lapse film during the recent shoot of the J-train video for the band Reggie and the Full Effect. It shows Frank Iero of My Chemical Romance (who appears in the video as Frankenstein) going through the very long and detailed makeup process. The actual time of the specific clip would be about an hour and a half but it's more fun to watch it in a few seconds. I've worked on a number of different productions but nothing with this kind of makeup before- these guys were great. The video was shot by my friends at Speedway films and will be out on television shortly.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A downpour with Howard Stern

I'm finally back in New York for a while and chose to recover from my jet-lag by heading out to the Hamptons. Unfortunately I missed the annual Jack Kerouac softball game that I was going to participate in (a local artists vs. writers game) so I went out to Southampton for lunch. I passed Howard Stern and his fiancee Beth Ostrosky in town and said hello- I can't tell you how happy I am to hear that the XM- Sirius radio merger has finally been approved. I've loved Sirius since it came out and I'm a big Stern fan but I've been aching for the MLB baseball as well and it's finally here.

I didn't photograph the couple because they had their bikes and helmets on and it felt intrusive but shortly after I saw them the skies opened up and it proceeded to downpour. My girlfriend and I ran into the Parrish Museum for a while which has an interesting show on artists that incorporate sand into their work. It was a pretty lofty show with work from artists such as: Picasso, Dennis Oppenheim, and Jackson Pollock (talk about diverse). One of my favorite pieces was Spencer Tunick's nude desert landscape- sure it's easy to like with all the nudity but I found that it's sense of design and location was alluring because the nude figure became more of a design element. On the way out we saw one of my girlfriend's favorite fashion designers Austin Scarlett of Project Runway in the museum waiting out the rain with us. I feel a bit weird even knowing who Austin is but I'm as an artist I find the show really interesting and I've become a big fan.

Naked Cowboys and Shiny Rangers

My trip to San Francisco with the Adobe Education team was truly rejuvenating and inspirational but after a week of long days I was ready to return to New York. It was hard to leave the sweet digs at the Westin St. Francis hotel. On the way out I bumped into a number of the Texas Rangers who were staying there while they were beating up on the Oakland A's. I saw what I thought was a taxi line outside the steps of the hotel loaded with baseball fans following the players down the street with Sharpies and baseballs.

On my trip down to the BART train I also bumped into the Naked Cowboy, a fixture from midtown Manhattan, out in San Francisco's Union Square. He was making quite an impact with the locals who apparently are not as liberal as their reputation. According to the NY Post he was arrested for breaking Union Square's solicitation rules.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

San Francisco Culture

While attending Adobe's Education Leaders Bootcamp this week I had an opportunity to spend a few hours checking out the city's art and music scene and it blew me away. The city has always had an enormous amount of creative elements but the amount of cutting edge art and music has grown a great deal in the last year. I'm a huge fan of SF based graffiti and art magazine Juxtapoz so it's not too surprising that the graffiti scene has grown in town but there are also a growing number of local shops and mags like Kid Robot and Giant Robot (which are totally unrelated) reflect the art scene. In addition to graffiti art the city has a huge number of fine art galleries for both contemporary and classic art and photography.
In the music scene there are some great small venues around town which showcase local performers and Haight Street also has Amoeba Records, the largest independently owned music shop in the world where a music fan can get lost for hours. The SF Gate has a great online guide to all the shows going on if you're in town and it seems like you never have to travel too far for some cool music. The biggest regret I have is that I didn't have more time to explore the art and music so next year I'll be coming in early with my sketchbook.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Golden Gate

Adobe was nice enough to bring the Education Leaders out on another dinner cruise under the Golden Gate bridge. The trip is always one of the highlights and doesn't disappoint. It great smelling the ocean air as you sail under the bridge with the sun setting over the mountains in Sausalito.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Adobe Education Leaders Bootcamp

I've had a pretty terrific week so far at Adobe San Francisco. The Education Leaders are a diverse and fun group and we've been introduced to some cool new things in development. We are lucky enough to stay at an awesome old hotel, the Westin St.Francis, which has a storied past and opens up onto Union Square. Earlier tonight we had dinner and drinks at a great restaurant in the Mission district called Medjool with a rooftop view of the city. My roommate and I missed the Adobe bus and learned all about some very sketchy areas in the mission district before the open bar.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

With some flowers in my digitally animated hair

I'm in San Francisco this week at Adobe's summer retreat for Education Leaders and it's been pretty awesome so far. It's always interesting sharing notes with other artists and professionals, especially in such a nice setting. Oh and Flash, wow, yeah, very excited about the developments coming in Flash now.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

IF: Enough

The Monsterjam

The Toronto Animated Image Society has posted the first half of this years Monsterjam which premiered in Toronto on June 27. The animated jam includes a number of cool monster animations including a 10 second clip of one of my shorts "USED CARS". Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Midsummer Classic

With the All Star Game at Yankee Stadium this year I had a chance to attend the Home Run Derby which at $200 a seat before scalpers had a lot to live up to and thanks to Josh Hamilton it did. The night was full of that nostalgic sense of baseball Americana with hundreds of flashes going off in the enthused crowd and the music from The Natural blasting as Hamilton surpassed the record for most home runs with 28 staggering shots to the bleachers and upper deck. The event was clearly a family affair with ballplayers and fans bringing the kids for a fun night at the park complete with all the major league mascots running around the stadium. The final round went to the Twin's Justin Morneau but it was the Rangers All-Star Josh Hamilton that made it memorable.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mobius Band Comes Alive

I went to a free show that Mobius Band threw in Brooklyn Sunday after some hipster diner food at Relish. Mobius has been one of my favorite indie bands out there because of their contemporary sound which blends elements of electronic with rock and dance. They were terrific live and drew a packed crowd, especially for a late Sunday night. They were also cool enough to put out a bunch of free songs on their website so check out Friends Like These from their new album Heaven and their classic Starts Off With A Bang from their Myspace. They also have a free Valentines EP with some interesting covers of Dylan, Neil Young, and Daniel Johnston on their site (they have good taste).

The Suffolk Classic

After some overpriced lattes and a quick read of the Sunday Times I stopped off at a local charity event in Old Field- nothing says rich white people better than a horse show sponsored by Mercedes Benz. It was my first horse show and I had no comprehension of what was happening but I thought the young kids on horseback in English riding outfits were adorable. It was like a cuteness festival, a really expensive, proper, Ralph Lauren cuteness festival.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Watson Twins @ the Music Hall of Williamsburg 7.10.2008

I first heard of the Watson Twins like many from their album with Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley and the Postal Service fame) which had a alt. country twist on a modern indie star. Last night I had a chance to see them headline a solo show and (after recovering from how gorgeous and friendly they were) I had an opportunity to hear their unique blend of laid back country love. It was a little like hearing 10,000 Maniacs play with Neil Young and Ryan Adams. They have a comfortable laid-back southern rock feel with an almost ethereal warm vocal sound. And did I mention they were gorgeous?

Tim Fite @ Music Hall of Williamsburg 7.10.2008

Last night I was in Brooklyn and checked out Tim Fite's show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. I saw him open for Adam Green of the Moldy Peaches last month and I loved the art-music-performance thing he had going. Tim is endlessly entertaining and incorporates his art via video presentations during his show. He and his co-pilot Doctor Leisure don't hold back in their show so it's always interesting and this time they ended with a group hug along with the audience which was nice (audiences just don't hug like they used to). Tim's music is an interesting blend of Talking Heads art rock with 80's synth and They Might Be Giants humor. My favorite is Big Mistake check it out on Daytrotter - it's now on regular rotation on my ipod.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

SVA Breaking Ground Show

The opening for the Breaking Ground show went well on Tuesday evening. It's a really eclectic art show so it was interesting to see the variation of work. It was also cool to be back at SVA and see all the changes that were made there since I graduated 10 years ago.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Swinging with Nellie McKay at Lincoln Center

Last night I wore out my feet with some swing dancing at Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park premiere of Nellie McKay & the Aristocrats Swing Band. Nellie is an endearing performer with a range of talents and lit up Lincoln Center with the premiere of her swing band. The crowd was at least as interesting with a range of swing dancers pounding the floor like an army and after a few cocktails it became hypnotic. Nellie covered a number of swing classics such as "Route 66" and Ellington's "Take the A train" along with some jazzed up renditions of her own material. It was a quintessential New York night that will not soon be forgotten and it's part of a series of summer swing concerts at Lincoln Center.

Riverhead Raceway demoliton derby accident

I was at Riverhead Raceway this week for the police car demolition derby and fireworks show (it's nice having a little piece of Kentucky out on the east end of Long Island). Towards the end of the derby a car burst into flames trapping the 19 year old driver inside until he could free himself. He ran out of the flames completely engulfed and was quickly extinguished by the crew. It was a shocker and left the crowd speechless as he was rushed into a helicopter for transport to Stony Brook Medical Center for second degree burns.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Breaking Ground: SVA Photography Show

I'll be part of an upcoming art and photography show begining next week at the School of Visual Arts 23rd Street gallery space. It's entitled "Breaking Ground" and I'll be featuring a collection of photographs from my current 366 project along with some art and film work.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Well, you gotta have faith

I just recently worked with some old friends (Speedway Films) on a music video shoot and realized that I graduated from SVA with my BFA in photography 10 years ago. I was going through some of my film archives and I've been scanning in some of my pre-digital photography. Here's a clip of a contact sheet from 10 years ago of Limp Bizkit and right before they blew up and became big. I remember telling friends that I photographed them and no one could believe the name of the group. It also has a shot of Fred's setlist and of Clutch who was opening for them at the time. It brings me back...

Tim Needles Everyday Images

Well I reached the halfway point in my year-long photography project of taking at least one (hopefully creative & interesting) photograph everyday. I have small thumbnails up but now that I'm halfway there I'll be posting up a flash gallery of the first half. You can take a look here on my website and let me know what you think: Tim Needles Everyday Images.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Figure Drawing Boot Camp style

Last night I stopped by the local Drawing Studio for some figure drawing now that I have freedom to be an artist full time. The class is always interesting- it's the Marine boot camp version of a figure drawing class.