kyle cassidy (kylecassidy) wrote,
kyle cassidy

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In which I photograph Weird Al

Woah hey! My Weird Al Yankovic portrait is a featured photo on Wikipedia!

Wait, Weird Al portrait? Yes. This is the end of the story, so I'm going to backtrack a bit.

Clickenzee to EmWeirden!

I've known Kevin and Gina for four or five years now. Gina was a model and Kevin was the production manager on the biggest shoot for the entire Big Book of Who killed Amanda Palmer (which I'm both delighted and horrified to see is currently moving for $175 - $250 in the used market). The shoot lasted three days, involved twenty people and some elaborate sets, a vintage hearse, a giant funeral, costumes, coffins, and ultimately, only one single image ended up in the book (it's the very creepy one with the swing set). Which is not because of Kevin and Gina, it's just the way that those things roll.

In fact, here's Gina as one of the mourners at the Amanda Palmer funeral -- in reality she was a medium who knew more about Who Killed Amanda Palmer than most people knew -- (that was back when the plot of the book was a lot bigger than it ended up being). Anyway, here's Gina.

Clickenzee to Embiggen!

So while we're working on WKAP and having a really swell time, it somehow comes out the Kevin and Gina are friends with Weird Al Yankovic, as you might expect, because they're the sorts of people who are doing things and Kevin told some crazy story about driving Weird Al around in his VW bug at 3 am looking not for drugs or hookers but for a roller coaster they could go riding. Anyway -- fast forward a few years, Kevin's a good friend and he's crashed at our place a bunch of times and he took photos at our wedding and we love him and he calls up to say that he and Gina have some extra back stage passes to see Al and would we like to go. And of course I would, because, you know, Nature Trail to Hell and all. In high school my friend Holli and I used to drive around listening to Weird Al and singing along in the car, so he holds a special place. Plus I think it would be swell to do a portrait of Al, so I text Amanda and say "yadda yadda" (because he sang on the Evelyn Evelyn album) and she texts Al "yadda yadda" and Al says "whee!" (which is also the way things roll when you're hanging out with the sorts of people who do things).

So we go to the show, and it's beyond my expectations. It's hysterical, it's wonderful. There's a DVD of his current tour which is very much like the show we saw, I recommend it. (My favorite song from the new album is CNR about Charles Nelson Riley.)

Clicenzee to EmParadise!

So, backstageish after the show, we met the band and I scoped out places for a portrait. Backstage areas are pretty much all alike, in that they're not really interesting places to shoot photos and it's a challenge to carve something out of nothing.

Clickenzee to Embiggen!

Trillian spent much of the evening chatting with Jim Kimo West, Al's guitar player for lo these last million years and Kevin and I tried lights in various places while Al relaxed and talked with stormtroopers. I ultimately decided to use the road-cases on the stage but it was a moving target since the crew was actively moving them out. I made a couple of plans based on a few road cases, Al came out and Kevin was the Voice Activated Light Stand while we blazed away. We did two different setups, one was pretty good, the other was awesome. (The one I sent to Wikipedia was the spare.)

We lounged around for a bit more after that talking about the road and touring and the record and whatnot. We did some portraits of Jim West, as he was supremely awesome and fun to hang around with. Eventually, we waved farewell to as splendid night and to Kevin & Gina. Trillian and I drove Jim back to the hotel and learned about his other guitar work (check it out here for a video and on his web page.

I wasn't shooting portraits for anyone or with any specific reason apart from that I thought it would be fun, plus Al had a pretty mediocre live image on his Wiki page so I sent it to them. Wikipedia decided to feature/favorite it, which is fabulous. Thanks to Kevin & Gina & Amanda & Jim and Al.

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