Curiouser & Curiouser

Life’s short. Get curious.

Too Sexy for Milan, New York or Japan September 1, 2009

Filed under: photography — curiouserx2 @ 11:19 pm
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Photo by Scott Halford

Photo by Scott Halford

So there I was – surrounded. The darkened alley stretched out on either side of me. I eyed my four-inch patent heals critically, took one more look at the ivy-strewn, open window above me, hitched up my skirt and decided I was definitely not too sexy to climb up a wall in a dress if it meant getting the shot.

Back up an hour or so. I had volunteered to model for a Wilmington-area photography club at its first event. The group of roughly 10 photographers met me and two other girls in historic downtown to try their hand at shooting models – many never had. Never mind that I’m 5’4” and have the uncanny ability to blink in sync with camera triggers, today I was a model.

My only problem with this image is it remindes me of an Abercrombie & Fitch shopping bag. But thank you, nonetheless, for the image, Mitch. (Photo by Mitch Ward)

My only problem with this image is it remindes me of an Abercrombie & Fitch shopping bag. But thank you, nonetheless, for the image, Mitch. (Photo by Mitch Ward)

Truth be told, I had ulterior motives for participating. While I think it’s fun to get in front of the lens every once in a while (this, after overcoming an irrational terror of being photographed), my real itch is for art direction. Not having a great camera of my own, I still love to see the shot, to concoct the idea and make it real. I thought this might be a good chance to help these photographers not just get shots, but create images.

Therefore, I was a little bummed when the first  half hour was spent being posed (by the guy running the show) in hokey, portraiture positions with silly props (ahem… balloons??) in uninspired settings (ahem.. flagpoles???).

Something had to be done.

So when one of the photographers lamented that she’d wanted to look  in one of the old alleys close by to find cool textures, I told her I was in, and a group of us left the main event to explore.

Immediately,we were graced with a killer doorway with lots of depth and great color on the surrounding walls. After a few minutes there, though, we walked down further and struck gold. One of the buildings enclosing the alley was completely gutted and missing its roof. The windows were entirely blown out, and the inside was overgrown. “I’m going in!” one of the photographers shouted. “Well then I’m getting up,” I responded. I knew if I could get into the window, the framing of it would be amazing. I’d be able to squeeze in and have enough room to fill out the window by pushing out my legs and arms and working with the massive vines that had grown in. We couldn’t have staged it better.

A girl's gotta do...

A girl's gotta do...

... what a girl's gotta do.

... what a girl's gotta do.

Never mind that I leaned my head back into a huge cobweb that stuck mercilessly to my hair when I tried to pull way. Or that I broke my shoe. Or that it was so warm that evening that they probably had to Photoshop out entire droplets of sweat on my face. The lack of fuss made for some stunning work.

My thanks to Tami LaNunziata, Scott Halford, Mitch Ward and all others involved. It was a spectacularly creative evening.


Photo by Mitch Ward

Photo by Mitch Ward

Photo by Tami LaNunziata

Photo by Tami LaNunziata


“I’m Bringing the Camera…” January 21, 2009

Filed under: life,photography — curiouserx2 @ 4:47 pm
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“Never know when you’ll need it,” J said, slipping his little point-and-shoot into its soft, grey case.

“Indeed,” I replied, and we headed out into the frigid morning to run some errands and check up on Gabe. My plan was to stop at home first, then head over a couple blocks to Grandview Avenue to drop off some packages at the Post Office and maybe pick up a few things at the G-Eagle.

Mias non. It was not to be.

As I drove up Third, desperately trying to warm my fingers in front of the weezing heat vents, something caught my eye: an abnormally large and burgeoning cloud of thick, black smoke rising up from precisely the location I was headed.

My first thought? “Holy shite, we’ve finally burned down our house.”

Granted, there are quite a few houses in the area, and for me to think it was mine was a little silly. And, as I drove on, I came to my street and the source of the smoke was still further west. It had to be something on Grandview Avenue. Something big.

I jaunted over a couple blocks, because I could see that Third was blocked off ahead. I was able to take little Ida Ave. all the way in, parked next to the bank, and, from there, could’ve sworn it was the large church, St. Christopher’s, that had smoke pouring out of the roof. Jumping out of the car and moving along Grandview, though, I soon saw this was not the case.


As I came to the corner, where others were starting to gather, four ladder trucks came into view, all their ladders extended high into the air, hoses directed straight down into an inferno that had engulfed the entire second story of nearly a whole block of storefronts. Obscured by firetrucks and roped off from view was Z Cucina, the restaurant where I worked over the summer. I was sure it had to be gone as well, or at least in the process of being swallowed whole by smoke and flames.


J whipped out the camera (such strange prophecy that line turned out to be…), and fired off as many shots as he could before his fingers went painfully numb. (The temperature read 14 degrees when we got back to the car). The juxtaposition of fire and ice was both devastating and stunning to watch.


I’ve spoken with one of the owners of The Candle Lab (the fire is said to have started with an explosion on the second floor right over her shop). She says her stock is in pretty good shape, but the location itself was ruined due to smoke and water damage. She hopes to remain in Grandview, but may have to wait the year it takes to knock the entire block down and rebuild.

The singular bright moment in all this: J and I went back later in the evening, and were able to walk down the entire street, as I walked past the back of a firetruck, my heart jumped – Z was still standing, and, in fact, looked untouched and as if it could open for dinner service if it wanted to. There’s a hallway in between the restaurant and the rest of the stores on the block, and it seems this acted as a barrier to the fire. I’m so down for some duck legs when they’re ready to reopen!


Sadly, the avenue, which had been such a beautiful little stretch of dining and shopping so close to home, will have to sustain this gap for some time. I just hope all those who lost businesses and offices in the fire are able to bounce back soon. I’ll be keeping an eye out for you guys. Hang in there.




The Great Holiday Post (At Last!) PART I January 13, 2009

I know, I know. I thought I’d had enough of the red and green, the twinkling lights, the tinsel, the mistletoe, the Santa hats and the radio station that plays Christmas music 24 hours a day (right – actually I HAVE had enough of that station), when suddenly in through my e-mail box came a deluge of photographic reminders of how exactly I had spent the past month.

Which is good, because they’re probably the only way I could’ve remembered all this. Between the delirium of illness (through which I partied hardy nonetheless) and the ever-flowing seasonal cocktails, piecing together the events of the last 30 days might’ve been much like recreating the birth of the universe.

But never fear!

J and others have come through with a wealth of evidence which I will use to regale you with tales of Christmas past.

Part 1: In Which Everyone Says, “I Told You So.”

We begin with a frigid evening early in December, which I believe I have already mentioned. As part of J’s Christmas present, I wanted to take him to see Wildlights, the Columbus Zoo’s annual light display. A friend to all things sparkly, J was bound to be captivated. I would give him the gift of lifelong memories! An unforgettable evening of whimsy and splendor!! (That, and I remembered they have phenomenal hot chocolate, for which I had a killer craving). So off we went, gallivanting through the icy park, laughing in the face of the great winter sky as he spat an icy mix.

And the next day I awoke with a sore throat.

And the following day I had to call in sick because I couldn’t remove my now 45-pound head off the pillow.

And so it began… Not the best season to be sick. With so much on the calendar, I decided I’d rest for a few days, then power through the holidays, cold or no. Sophie proved to be an amazing caregiver. Not only did she stay by my side as I slept, but in an effort to keep my spirits high, she would perform little shows for me using wrapping paper and bows for costumes. I swear. She performed the entire libretto of Sweeney Todd one afternoon. It was terrifyingly good.

That Friday was the office holiday party. I had spent hours going back and forth with the event planner, making sure everything would be amazing that evening, and now here it was. And I was still looking a peculiar shade of pistachio and having trouble staying conscious. It seemed I was doomed to miss out, but at the last minute – I rallied. I jumped in the shower, and it’s stunning how when you get cleaned up you can fool yourself into thinking that because you look pretty damn good, you must feel equally splendid.

This line of thinking got me to BoMA (the Bar of Modern Art) fashionably late, and the party was underway. There was the standard white elephant thing, in which, for a brief moment, I held in my hands a signed headshot of none other than MICHAEL BOLTON. With two (count ’em, TWO) subway gift cards taped around his face. The heavens opened up, light poured into the room, the ethereal voices of angels rained down (or maybe the was Michael, himself! Who knows?). Then, with a violent wrenching sound, like the crashing of thunder… Michael was taken from me, and I ended up with a How-To picture book instead. And no Subway to ease the pain.

But the party went on and the open bar remained – well, open. And things progressed as they do in these situations. When people started to venture onto the dance floor, I knew it was time to make a clean getaway. I was feeling light and euphoric, but had completely lost my voice and was starting to be at odds with my four-inch heels.

And the next day I awoke sounding like a frog. And feeling as I’d imagine a frog might.

And I had a show the next day.

I was supposed to join my roommate and another fellow musician to perform some holiday tunes Andrews’ Sisters-style at a local benefit for the homeless. And I was to sing the high parts. And I was currently capable of spot-on impression of Carol Channing.  But, as they say, the show must go on. And it did. There might’ve been a gallon of tea and some questionable doses of Nyquil involved, but I was there and I sang, damnit! (And I even smiled a lot, for which Vick’s gets my unwavering devotions).

Disaster averted. Parties attended. Free drinks unwasted. Homeless families aided.

And this was just the beginning….