Today’s face is Jonathan Richman.
Wendy and I went and saw Jonathan Richman play at the Somerville Theater in 2011. It was a good show and a lot of fun. We live in Natick now, which is his home town. I can’t recall when I first heard his music but I suspect is was in 1985 when I worked at Mississippi’s restaurant in Kenmore Square. Everyone brought in tapes to play during their shifts and it was always a wildly eclectic mix.
Over the course of any night you’d be likely to hear the Meat Puppets, Frank Sinatra, Yellowman, Hank Williams, the Butthole Surfers, Johnny Cash, etc. The experience definitely broadened my taste in music.
Jonathan Richman’s music has always felt very playful to me. Sure there are some serious and thoughtful songs but most of them are just catchy, silly and fun. When we saw him play it was a pretty simple sound, just him on guitar and a drummer. Simple but awesome. And on the subject of awesome, Roadrunner is being considered as the official rock song of Massachusetts. It’s up again Dream On but come on, how could you not go with the Modern Lovers?
For your listening pleasure, here are a couple of songs by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. Check ’em out.
This is one of the first faces I photographed with 1000faces in the back of my mind.
In February of 2008 I was in Austin on business. While I was there a few of us went out to have fun. We were all in a bar and a group of strangers came over and asked if I’d take their picture. I told them they probably wouldn’t ever see it but they didn’t care, they just wanted to have their picture taken. It was the first time I’d photographed strangers and it was fun.
Later that night on the street I took a few more pictures and then more at another bar. Not a lot, just a couple. When I got back to Boston I was at a local bar with my friend Matt. I was telling him about the fun I’d had photographing strangers in Texas and (I think) about my plan to continue. There were two women sitting next to us at the bar and eventually I asked if I could take their pictures. Both said “yes” and the woman above – Mel – was the first.
A whole lot of things were happening that night that I didn’t realize but which would have a big influence on the next couple of years. First, it was a Wednesday night, which was a night this bar had a band (at the time just a guy – Scott – playing guitar) and anyone who wanted to could get up and sing. Second, Mel and several of the others there that night were regulars and once I started showing up week after week I became one too. Third, I photographed at least 1000 people there over the next few years. In most cases they were, and remain, strangers; but in a few cases they became friends.
There was a lot of good that resulted from taking Mel’s picture more than six years ago now. I also saw some things that weren’t so good as well: poor choices, petty crimes, little dramas. All-in-all though the few years I was a regular there on Wednesday night’s were a lot of fun and I miss those times.
Today’s face is a man on the street.
Last week I included the face of a woman with amazing eyebrows I’d photographed following a geocaching event. Today’s photo is a man seen the week before as Sheila and I were putting the routes together. He was sitting on a wall in front of the Landmark Center over near Fenway Park.
We stopped and talked with him for a while about what we were doing, what he was doing, the weather, nothing much. It turned out he worked at a Barnes & Noble out near where I live and I ended up bumping into him there after taking this photo. He was totally friendly. When I asked if I could tak his picture he said sure and proceeded to put on his camera face.
It’s an odd thing that so many guys want to look angry/sullen when they have their pictures taken. That wasn’t how this guy was at all when we talked. He was animated, smiling, laughing – until the camera came out. In my 1000faces project there are dozens of examples of men who switch from their normal look to something akin to this for pictures. People have suggested all different reasons for the transformation but I still don’t understand it.
Anyway, that’s today’s face. Let me know if you have ideas about “guy camera face.”
Today’s face is an awesome helmet from the Higgins Armory.
When my kids were younger we went to the Higgin’s Armory several times. It’s the largest collection of armor in the Western Hemisphere and it’s very very cool. Unfortunately, it’s also about to close its doors. The collection is going to be folded into the Worcester Art Museum. You have until December 31st the see the collection at the Higgins, you should check it out there if you can.
Today’s Face of the Day is a woman with some pretty remarkable eyebrows near Fenway Park.
Almost five years ago I organized a geocaching event as a summertime activity for the Social Media Club here in Boston. A few days before the event my colleague Sheila and I went from Kenmore, around the Back Bay and through the Fens to Boston Beer Works. Along the way we stopped to note the lat/long and hide the lat/long for the next point on the route. It took a while because we had to do more than one route (and we stopped for drinks here and there as well).
The event was a weekday evening in August. People met at the Lief Erikson statue in Kenmore. There were probably 15 people and I can’t remember if we broke into two groups or three. In any case, we set off and all had a pretty good time.
Eventually everyone made it to the Beer Works and recounted where they’d been, what they’d seen, etc. After a time a few of us decided to move on and head to Wally’s over on Mass Ave. Just as we were leaving the Beer Works this woman was walking in. She had such a fun look and style I stopped her to ask for her picture. She was happy to oblige.
Today’s face is the trivial guy at The Sycamore in San Francisco.
Back in 1989 Wendy and I left Boston and drove across the country to San Francisco. We rented a big truck and had a ball stopping here and there along the way. When we got to San Francisco and were driving down Mission Street, we wondered what life would be like and thought about what we’d left behind. When we turned onto Sycamore Street and found a place to park we were greeted by a syringe on the steps of the building we’d be living in with our friends Jess and Bill.
It might not have been an auspicious start but it was the beginning of on of the most wonderful times in our life together. We stayed in SF from 89 to 95 and so much happened in those years. Some really great and some very hard. Such is life.
Every now and then I go to SF on business and in May of 2012 I found myself back in the Mission for dinner with a client. When dinner was over I went for a drink with one of my clients. Earlier that day I’d walked around the neighborhood and had stopped in at The Sycamore for a beer, so suggested we go there.
When we got to the bar it was trivia night and the fellow above was the host. We stuck around and played a bit (I’m pretty good at trivia) and when the night was over I talked with him for a while and got his picture. It was fun.
Walking past my old apartment (where we’d lived for only a few weeks before moving to Church Street) and back to my hotel I wondered what life would be like if we’d never left back in 95. I miss those times. Less for the time and place though than for that time in my life with Wendy. I can’t say I regret moving back to Boston. The life we have here is pretty good too.
Today’s face is a woman on the street in Montreal.
On Friday I wrote about looking forward to vacation with my family and it will be a lot of fun. But Wendy and I will also go away for a week.
In 2011 we went to Montreal where we met up with some friends and had a great time. One of the things I noticed about the city was that people seemed take more care in their appearance than they do around Boston. This is probably a gross overgeneralization but I think it’s true.
I assume this woman was a student for some reason. We didn’t talk more than for me to introduce myself, ask if I could take her picture and explain my project. Obviously she agreed. I really like how pale her face is, topped with her dark bangs. The red of her lips and headband, along with the smirky smile, make this one of my favorites.