Monday, September 29, 2008

Chris Pennie

Chris Pennie is a ridiculously skilled, diverse, and creative drummer and a busy, busy man. When he’s not touring the world with Coheed and Cambria, he’s working on his two side projects, Return to Earth
and Enigma Machine. When he’s not working on his side projects he’s traveling to drum festivals, teaching drum clinics, writing articles, and practicing for hours every single day. He recently collaborated with Joe Bargamini on an instructional book on his drumming techniques, Polyrhythmic Potential: Creating a Polyrythmic Vocabulary. And I think he sleeps sometimes, too.

Chris joined Coheed and Cambria in 2007 and wrote the drum tracks for their fourth release, Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow. Because he was still under contract with Dillinger Escape Plan he was unable to record the tracks. Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters was brought into the studio to record. Chris looked at this as an opportunity to learn from watching how another drummer played what he wrote. This eagerness to learn is a core part of Chris’s personality, and is likely a huge part of what makes him such a success.

Return to Earth released Captains of Industry in December 2007 and are currently working on new material. Brett describes the new material on the MySpace page as “heavy and brutal… yet beautiful.” Chris says “The tunes are definitely a lot darker, a little bit more frenetic. I think everyone is bringing it a bit more, all the while still being very melodic.” Expect a new release, tentatively titled Automata, sometime in early 2009.

Enigma Machine is a project in development. Chris says this project has been a ton of fun. He says the music “will be very heavy and is definitely some of the most difficult music he has written and played in a long, long time.” And he’s “really looking forward to diving in” to this project.

Discography (with links to purchase on Amazon):
Coheed and Cambria: Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow (Drum tracks written by Chris Pennie and recorded by Taylor Hawkins)
Return to Earth: Captains of Industry
Dillinger Escape Plan: Dillinger Escape Plan, Under the Running Board EP, Calculating Infinity, Irony is a Dead Scene EP, and Miss Machine.
Boxer: The Hurt Process
Idiot Pilot: Wolves
All Else Failed: This Never Happened

It’s not just my circle of friends who consider Chris a drum hero and highly respect him as an artist. He was named “Drummer of the Year” by AP Magazine in 2007 and has won several awards from Modern Drummer. Apparently playing (probably non-stop) from the age of 13, having supportive parents, listening to a diverse mix of music, earning a degree from Berklee in Musical Synthesis, and continuing to take lessons even while playing sold out arenas is the perfect formula to become (and remain) one of the best drummers around.

Keep up-to-date on all of Chris’s projects by adding him as a friend on MySpace.

(Note: On, search by the book title. Pennie is spelled incorrectly on their site)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dog Portraits (Deacon the Redbone Coonhound)

I was hired to do a shoot with a 13 year old Redbone Coonhound. The shoot was a secret so the man who hired me could give the photos as a gift to his partner - who had been saying how they needed to get some pictures done. The day was super fun. We even had a stylist there.

Turns out this boy's daddies is an Oscar winner. How cool! I had never seen one in person. They seriously weigh about 10 pounds. I'm not usually a big fan of animals wearing clothes, but this shot with the tie and top hat is super cute. : )

I think if I could make a living shooting dogs by day and bands by night I'd be one happy gal!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The History and Hauntings of the Hollywood Tower

I have been living in the Hollywood Tower for about 3 years and love this building's rich history and many accounts of hauntings throughout the years. I've been collecting stories from residents from the 70's, 80's, 90's, as well as current residents and plan to put out a book covering the history and hauntings of this historic building.

The Hollywood Tower was the inspiration for Disney's Tower of Terror ride. I'm not so sure that the elevator ever crashed in the actual building, but there are definitely some very interesting stories.

Back in the 30's and 40's there was a doorman and the place was frequented by movie stars. It's rumored that George Raft built it, but I'm also finding that it was built as a long-term hotel for actors and crews filming at the Warner lot.

This is the first place Humphrey Bogart lived when he came out to Hollywood to "try acting," Carmen Miranda was married in the lobby. Errol Flynn stayed here. The building went through a serious decline around the late 70's and early 80's. A lot of Hollywood locals tell me it was the hot spot for great drugs.

There were murders and suicides in the building. There are rumors of the mafia throwing people from the back of the building and quite a few have jumped from the roof to their death. There are several accounts of hauntings in most apartments and a shadowy, floating figure on the 4th floor. Many people, myself included, have seen very clear images of people in the apartments.

I don't want to reveal too much right now because I have many psychics and a few teams of ghost hunters that I'm bringing in and will document what they see. I'm looking forward to matching up the stories they tell me and the visions they experience to the descriptions I have from past and current residents.

I created a MySpace page to gather stories. Friend me!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Knuckle Tattoos

I think I have a small obsession with knuckle tattoos. I give my business card to everyone I meet who has them and ask them to let me shoot them sometime. I'm one of those rare "blank" people, which likely explains my fascination with these ballsy pieces.

Seriously... if you have knuckle tattoos, please let me take some photos! : )

The top photo is Captain Sean Doe of Throw Rag. Be sure to check them out live sometime. They're a LOT of fun!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

RoMak and the Space Pirates - FREE Download of ATTACK OF THE HAS-BEEN ANDROIDS!

What's better than a FREE album? A really, really great one that exhibits the musicians' incredible level of creativity! A statement about the band from Ginger Fish, drummer of Marilyn Manson, pretty much sums it up: "RoMak and the Space Pirates has a lot to offer the world musically... and they rock live."

These guys covered Nirvana's Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge and nailed it. It's beautiful. The cover is not part of the free download, but I mention it because any band that can actually get away with covering a Nirvana song is SUPER talented!

Go download RoMak and the Space Pirates album for FREE from their MySpace page. Click on the latest blog and download the MP3's. You'll enjoy it. I've listened to it a few times already.

The band members all have side projects, as well. You can find the links to those on their personal pages - the top 4 friends on their MySpace.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Devil's Orchestra at Key Club and Rainbow Graffiti

I'll just tell you now that I'll be writing about these guys often - because they're so great I go to see them play all the time. The Devil's Orchestra played the Key Club tonight. Yay. This is one of my favorite venues for shooting because they have some of the most amazing stage lighting in the Los Angeles area. Right now they're having free shows every Tuesday.

You can always see The Devil's Orchestra on Sundays at Cinespace on Hollywood Blvd. It's FREE to get in before 10pm and they have FREE VODKA drinks from 9:30-10:30pm. The band goes on at about midnight. And it's well worth the wait.

When The Devil's Orchestra was done playing I headed over to the Rainbow for dinner. I always take my camera with me when I go to the ladies room because there is always great graffiti. Who knew you could see such wise words in a bathroom stall in a restaurant on the Sunset Strip?!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Flower Photos

I took these photos years ago back in Maryland.

Unfortunately I have not been able to get any nice flower photos in my area of LA.

In Hollywood the flowers look beautiful from a distance, but when you get up close and really have a look you see that they're covered in a filthy, black soot.

I love Hollywood, but can't help seeing the irony in this.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

East of Eden Multi Gallery Exhibition

I attended East of Eden, a 3 day, multi-gallery exhibition featuring emerging and established artists of the Los Angeles East contemporary art scene. The artwork was amazing. I have some favorites:

The following 5 images are from the PALM SERIES by Elizabeth Saveri, whose artwork is currently on display at the Acuna Hansen Gallery. I absolutely love this series and totally relate to them as real images of Los Angeles. These are things we see every day, but most people don't turn it into beautiful works of art. I wish I had the money to buy this series.

The next image is a painting by Shizu Saldamando, whose work is currently on display at the Guey Smart gallery. You can view more of her beautiful creations at Her subjects are real people in real environments. I absolutely love her work.

When I first saw the paintings below I thought they were tiny little photographs. They are simply breathtaking, and the one below was my favorite. Unfortunately I can't find which gallery Nolina Burge is associated with, but was able to find some information on her at

Ana Serrano's work also stood out to me. The piece below was about 3' tall 2' wide. It definitely captures the feeling I have of LA living. Ana's work is also featured in the Guey Smart gallery. Unfortunately I am unable to find a website for her to link here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Travis Barker

I heard today that Travis Barker doesn't usually fly on private jets, but was on the one that crashed last night because he wanted to get his assistant back to his wife as quickly as possible because she had gone into labor. If that source is correct, he goes down in my book as one hell of an great guy. I don't know Travis personally, but have friends who do, and I've heard only good things about him.

I'm so sad for the families of the crew who were killed in the crash. I hope to see Travis and DJ AM both make speedy, full recoveries and to see them continue with their music careers.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Dog Portraits

Companion animals rule!

If you want a dog or cat, please adopt a homeless one! : )

Find any breed of dog or cat and the city they're in:

Locate your local shelter:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hurrell-Style Shoot with Model WEDNESDAY MOURNING

I recently joined Model Mayhem, a networking site for photographers, models, make-up artists, hair dressers, and stylists, with the hope of expanding my portfolio by working with some models.

Wednesday Mourning caught my eye because of her unique look and amazing photos. I asked if she'd be interested in doing some Hurrell-style photos. Luckily for me she was!

I didn't realize what an experienced, professional, and amazing model I would be working with. She did her own styling and make-up and has a lovely personality. The shoot lasted about 2 hours and went smoothly. I had a great time and am thankful to have had such a great first-time shoot with a model. I'm thrilled with the images, and even more thrilled that she liked some of them enough to use on her WEBSITE , MYSPACE, and LIVE JOURNAL.

Some notable work of hers includes being the model of American Photo magazine's 2008 image of the year (photo by Chris Anthony), regular appearances in Gothic Beauty magazine, modeling for Lip Service clothing, and appearing on the CD cover of My Chemical Romance's Black Parade.

I highly recommend her and hope to have the chance to work with her again sometime.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The PBR Free Beers for Bros Fest at Safari Sam's Featuring Charlie and the Valentine Killers, Lonesome Spurs, and Superbees

Safari Sam's, one of the best venues in Hollywood, hosted the PBR FREE BEERS FOR BROS FEST where about 15 awesome Hollywood bands played for 15 minutes each. Music highlights of the night for me were Charlie and the Valentine Killers, Lonesome Spurs, and The Superbees (all pictured above).

Other highlights were getting a "bro" wristband to get free PBRs all night long and catching up with an old friend from back East who is filling in on bass for the Valentine Killers.

The night was super fun and kicked off the beginning of a 2 week tour for the Valentine Killers where they will be supporting David Allen Coe. Be sure to check their tour dates and go see them if they're going to be in your town.
Charlie and the Valentine Killers MySpace
Charlie Overbey is a very talented and accomplished musician and always finds other talented (and often well-known) musicians to join the band. You're sure to enjoy them.

Lonesome Spurs MySpace
It's simply impossible to not love a band where the female bass player/vocalist kicks out the drum beats on a suitcase! Yes... a suitcase!

The Superbees MySpace
I loved these guys and must find out where I can get a CD!

Safari Sam's Website
This venue has a lot of amazing shows. The menu is delicious (even includes vegan food), and original, local artwork is always on display and available for purchase.