Month: May 2014

Rappers + Cameras > Wrappers + Cameras

It was the rainiest May day in Seattle history and where was I? Seattle. I like to attend all the historic weather moments I can. There was the record-breaking heat wave I attended in Europe, the 40 days of 100 degrees when I toiled at the Lemoore Cemetery, and then there was the coldest winter in Spokane history. I have been to them all, and I survived.

I was in Seattle on my Father of the Year tour with my daughter to see the latest Rappers with Cameras show. What is Rappers with Cameras? Well, there are Rappers who take pictures and then the Rappers (Prometheus Brown/Geo and Thig) display the photos and people who like photography and rapping come together and hang out. Stuffed bears are also allowed to attend.


I’m pretty sure this bear felt awkward. He stood in the corner the entire night and spoke to no one.

My daughter and I arrived early, after spending 12 unsuccessful hours trying to find a free place to park on Capitol Hill on a Saturday night, so that she could interview Geo and Thig for her school newspaper. The event was being held in what I think was a clothing shop. (The shop also sold dishes, plants, knives, books, backpacks, and stuff any hipster would need to be cool.) I am naturally uncomfortable in any retail clothing outlet because I am…how do I say this…a freak of nature and cheap. I am 6’6″ and I only buy clothing that fits and is on sale, so being in a store where you know that everything there is made for normal sized people with money is a little like a Vegan looking at the menu at a rib shack.

Photo Wall

Yes, gentlemen, that’s what a lady’s legs look like.

Anyway, when we arrived I walked around looking at the pictures and price tags on the clothing while my daughter talked with Geo and Thig. I found a rubber raincoat from Sweden for $400, some super ugly shorts for $120, and lots of other stuff that confused me, but since I have lived in a state of confusion for well over 20 years I did not panic, I just went with the flow.

When my daughter finished her interview she introduced me to Geo and Thig. For those of you who are not as hip as I am let me fill in the gaps for you: Geo is also known as Prometheus Brown and he raps for The Bar and for Blue Scholars; Thig is also known as Thig Natural and raps for The Physics. I talked to Geo about photography, his life as a Navy brat, and the Seattle rap scene. Since I know little to nothing about any other city’s rap scene, Seattle’s situation strikes me as unusual. The people involved in music in Seattle are incredibly supportive of each other. Geo thought the cohesiveness was due to the outstanding music programs in local schools and the fact that geographically Seattle is removed from the rest of the country and is able to do their own thing.

Black and White Poloroids

Black and White Polaroid’s of the guests.

It is a little odd that about a two years ago I was a little concerned about my kids going to a rap show at Neumos so I tagged along to protect them from the dangerous world of rap music, and now I find that the concerts and events are one of my favorite family activities. This probably makes some people think I am one of the worst parents in the world.

Geo and Thig

Thig (on the left), Geo (on the right).

More Poloroids

More Polaroids

The crowd at Rappers with Cameras continued to grow as it got later and this is when I realized that if The Smiths (the 1980’s/90’s musical group) were to show up on Capitol Hill they would fit right in. The hipster haircuts and clothing are exactly what Morrissey wore circa 1987. This took me on a circular thinking tangent about whether these people knew who The Smiths were, whether Morrissey knows that the entire hipster movement can be traced back to the video There Is a Light That Never Goes Out, and if Morrissey knew he was responsible for the hipster movement  would it make him sad enough to write really depressing lyrics? (For those of you who don’t know the Smiths, all of Morrissey’s lyrics are depressing.)

Is that Morrisey?

Is that Morrissey?

Around 10:30, the agreed upon time of departure for catching a ferry back to the boondocks, I found my daughter talking to Hollis. (Hollis is one of the featured singers on the Macklemore album and member of the group The Flavor Blue.)  My daughter was attempting to hitch a ride to Corvallis with Hollis for an upcoming show. I wasn’t sure if I should be impressed by my daughter’s initiative or upset that my daughter was acting like she was in a Jack Kerouac novel. I explained that picking up my daughter would probably add about four hours to the trip which, for some reason, did not strike Hollis as the best plan.

We left Rappers with Cameras and ventured back out into the downpour. The drive home was quiet as I thought about how rapidly my daughter has gone from the little girl to young lady. I’m sure my daughter was thinking about something similar, or she might have been thinking, “If I could just get to Portland, then maybe Hollis will pick me up.”



The Writer’s Voice Entry: Lost Summers in Paris

Blogger, and author Brenda Drake is running a Voice-like contest, where potential authors attempt to win representation from literary agents. I have entered the contest and made round two by being randomly selected by a computer. (I have begun preparing a speech.) Round two includes posting your query and first 250 words to your blog. The judges will drop by and read the entries and select the ones they like best.

So if you are a regular reader of my blog and are wondering if someone sane has hacked into my account and has taken control the answer is, “No.”




When WWI American ambulance driver Jake is gravely wounded on an Italian hillside, he believes his life has ended. His unlikely survival takes him away from the muddy hillsides of the Italian Alps and lands him in a hospital bed in Milan next to a young Ernest Hemingway. As the two men recover from their traumatic wounds they discover a common love of sports and a mysterious healing power unleashed during their daily games of catch.

Jake returns to his family farm in Iowa and attempts to put his shattered life back together, but the war has changed him. A letter from Hemingway inviting Jake to come to Paris to “have a catch” is just the opportunity he needs to escape.

Jake is tossed into the swirling world of Paris in the 1920s. This 1920s is a world where a Dada inspired game of catch in the Louvre prompts the writers and artists living there to “play ball.” Jake tries to balance loyalty and opportunity as he is trapped between rival teams captained by Picasso and Hemingway, that is, until he discovers Hemingway is about to release a novel in which Jake’s very intimate injury is disclosed to the world. Jake is forced to choose between Hemingway’s overbearing personality and his personal struggle to make sense of a world that continues to betray him.

LOST SUMMERS IN PARIS is an accurate portrayal of the Lost Generation, but it is also a world where James Joyce can throw an unhittable curveball, Man Ray films the first Surrealist baseball movie, and Jake owns a magical painted baseball. LOST SUMMERS IN PARIS is a completed 100,000 word Adult Historical novel that will interest lovers of Hemingway, baseball, Paris and Art.

Lost Summers in Paris

(The First 250 Words)

Iowa: 1961

The letter triggered the dreams.Jake had not thought of the war or of Paris for years, but as spring approached his dreams returned him there each night. Memories buried deep and forgotten bubbled up forcing him to remember things he wished to forget. Most nights he woke wrapped in perspiration, fighting for breath.

It took Jake an hour to determine where the letter had come from. The cursive that at one time had been so recognizable was now distorted and unsteady. After Jake read the short note inside, he placed it on the kitchen table, with the rest of the bills, and tried to forget it, but like all debts in a man’s mind, the bills totaled themselves up and balanced themselves against his income. Jake weighed those debts each day and carried the total wherever he went. He could push those debts out of his mind during the day, but in the evening when life slowed and distractions ebbed, the weight of his debts sunk into him like a hot stone burrowing into the places in his mind he no longer wished to go.

The one persistent dream contained no magic. Jake sat in a wicker chair on the terrace of a Parisian café as the day transitioned to night. The late summer sun had set, a glow still held in the sky, and the heat of the day turned from irritation to contentment. Around the small, café table sat Jake, Ernie, James, Robert, and Tristan.