ALBATROSSSTUDIO

Bobby Fisher

Category: Um…Where Was I ?

Radio Korea

Shacked up at the Wilshire Hotel soon to be The Line, Korea Town, Los Angeles. Here’s a Yelp review I read that was written six months before my squat.

” Stayed on the 11th floor, got back to my room at 3am and the bed was covered in bed bugs. I killed a few, while waiting for the manager to come up to the room. He said, “Maybe they’re mosquito’s.” I said “REALLY? Pulled back the covers” there were 3 large ones on the sheets.” Absolute dump. Surprised I didn’t see any rats; then again, rats couldn’t stand to stay there either. Rumor has it that the Wilshire will undergo renovations soon. Allow me to make a renovation suggestion: STEP 1: Implode hotel. STEP 2: Build a Chick-Fil-A on the corner of Wilshire and Normandie. I think I would have rather slept at a Chick-Fil-A.”

I was put up for free during a renovation to save some dough while shooting a book …L.A. SON. The entire 388 room hotel was demolished save for 10 rooms on the 3rd floor. These were reserved for contractors and workmen who were starting the renovation. I happened to be the only one there that week. Some say “spooky”, I say “kooky”. As I exited the elevator I was confronted by a floor to ceiling wall of dirty plastic, the type serial killers use to cordon off a room before eviscerating you. (If I were gutted right then, “Dexter” would’ve found a Korean-Dutch-Kentuckian bounty of Bibimbap, Hite beer, Makers Mark, kimchee, and some salty european licorice.) There was a slit in the middle I was birthed through that left ‘demo dust’ on my shoulders every time I passed into the dark, dank hallway. A lightbulb hung from the ceiling via an orange extension cord. It grazed my head every time I walked by, slightly singeing my hair. Had I stumbled across an unused set for a Bauhaus video? No such luck. That orange cord was a bit of sunshine in an otherwise drab monochromatic color schemed ruin.

I enjoyed my hotel, it was an adventure in patience, an exercise in Monkdom. I envisioned Leonard Cohen digging this scene, embracing it with ‘burnt wine”, and buddhism. Pretending I was a younger, taller, way less talented version of he, I took an ice plunge in rust colored water ( because the hot water handle and shower head seemed to be vacationing in another town,) and then relaxed to the static on channel 3, while stealing an occasional glimpse of very ordinary bricks through my only window. The Mexican dude across the way had been yelling at his lady for fifteen minutes, all I could make out was “Puta” (whore) and “Sabrosa” (delicious).

I decided to take a walk into the blue sunshine and find something “sabrosa”, I headed West on Wilshire. I left my 2 ton overpriced Nikon back at the room and pulled out my overhyped new iPhone, which left me underwhelmed. I filmed a homeless person sleeping on a bench, dreaming of memory foam and drumsticks. As a pigeon did a stupid dance, a flash of flannel screeched by in “ollie” form. I recognized his face and thought to follow. He led me to a nondescript corporate building , it was alive with skaters, not a cop in sight, nor a bedbug bite.

Butterflies and Banjos

Food&Wine_01aFood_Wine_01A southern road trip compliments of Food & Wine Magazine. Flew into Atlanta and rented a Passat. Moving toward mountains I grabbed some lunch at a gas station. Never do this. Lunch + gas station = Dr.Pepper, Slim Jim, and Chico stick. Searching for moonshine I experienced an incessant ringing in my ears, an outlaw hootch distiller assured me it wasn’t tinnitus, but thousands of Cicadas coming to life after 17 years of slumber. 17 years? dang, that there’s a whole lotta insect dreamin!’ The Blue Ridge Parkway wound with sunshine, green shade, tombstones and road kill. Rebel ghosts chewed barbecue and spat boiled peanuts. Asheville gave me Christian coffee and sweetbreads with Sriracha. I then followed the biggest moon I have ever seen to a log cabin deep in the woods of Fleetwood NC. Sipped whiskey with a drummer and Pinot with a confederate sommelier . Big Star’s ‘Big Black Car’ was the last thing I heard before that big orange moon crushed me to sleep.

Mid-Wilshire

Joshua 'Skreetch' Sandoval

Where was I?…Los Angeles …Mid-Wilshire…Skreech sleeps.

Eddie Bauer

Recently in Leavenworth Washington shooting the FIRST ASCENT team for Eddie Bauer. I had a beautiful day that looked something like this.

P.S…Thank you Chris Coulter for drinking my Makers Mark, Lynsey Dyer for her mad sleeping bag skills, Lel Tone for her honest soul, Tom Wayes for kicking a bears ass with only a Tomahawk, Kyle Miller for being ‘right on’, Wyatt Caldwell for looking like he shreds even while drinking coffee, Zach Crist for his pristine back flip into the icy green, Reggie Crist for the badass ‘murder van’, Eric Leidecker for being…well…’LEIDECKER’. Last but not least, Caley George for rallying the troops and mixing volleyball to the tunes of Iron Maiden…seamlessly, or was it Slayer?

Maine

Back from Maine. Shot a feature for Bon Apetit while chewing a path from Belfast to Portland. Pemaquid oysters straight from the briny below. Cant Dog Imperial IPA…brewed by ‘groovers’ at The Marshall wharf. Moose jerky…gas station style, and the infamous Maine Potato donut. I’ll have to put that American Apparel unitard back on the shelf until I hit the gym again…sexy.

Bill McKibben for Outside magazine

In Vermont on assignment for Outside Magazine. Eating cheddar and drinking Longtrail…no wonder folk tip the scales here. Bill doesn’t have time for ‘design’ (he’s too busy trying to derail ‘The Apocalypse’)…if he did I suppose it would be like saying ‘Jesus Christ had a nice couch’…just doesn’t sound right.

Cuba


Acabo de volver de La Habana elogios de la revista Comida y Vino…or 15 things I dig about Cuba.

1) Havana Club 15 year old dark rum is God in a bottle and most likely made with commie Unicorn tears.
2) One Montecristo No.4 is $5 and at arms length at all times…not $16.78 and flown in from Toronto.
3) The coffee rocks and is made by old men in suits not chubby dudes in skinny jeans.
4) Not an Ugg was in sight.
5) Cristal beer with crunchy tostones and a sloppy bowl of lime and garlic mojo.
6) Not smoking indoors is illegal.
7) The birds sound different.
8) The ocean sounds different.
9) My name sounds different.
10) The Sartorialist will never be seen cycling down the Malecon ‘hunting’ for a sockless young man in brogues sporting a polka dot lime green hanky tucked into his blazer pocket.
11) Eating Ropa Vieja in someones living room that overlooks Parque Central while listening to Manuel Galban’s Los Twangueros.
12) The Mojito is a local and won’t stop following me.
13) The cars.
14) Cupcakes are not cool and never will be.
15) Even the ugly girls are pretty.

Texas

Wakeup in Texas to the smell of carpet fresh with a hint of fertilizer salesman. The aroma in room #327 parallels that of a NYC taxi cab in high summer. Cherry flavored B.O. comes to mind. The windows are big and built to stare out of, not to breath from. ‘Why are they sealed shut?’ I ask my scantily clad imaginary cowgirl friend who sits  in the corner tending to her lasso. Ennio Morricone penetrates the useless glass. I hear-

“The condemned is found guilty of depriving oxygen from the paying customer of this establishment (The Hampton Inn Stephenville just off interstate 377). Therefore, according to the powers vested in me I sentence the accused Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Jaun Maria Ramirez otherwise known as that Peckerwood architect…and any other aliases he might have, to hang by the neck until dead. May God have mercy on his soul..Proceed!”

What would a Texan say about the author of such dysfunctional portholes? ‘If dumb was dirt, he’d cover bout an acre.’

There is a .56% Samoan population in this dusty town. The burly Polynesians live in harmony with UFO‘s, dead skunks, and singer songstress- all around cute gal Jewel. Her rodeo star husband of  ‘This is Texas we don’t go for that shit round here’ fame, has a 2400 acre spread up the road just past Indian Creek Cemetary. My mission is to photograph them for Instyle magazine while staying true to my artistic vision without jepardizing the commercial needs of the aforementioned publication. First: A certain 7 year old has asked me to go deep into Comanche territory and bring her back a rattlesnake’s rattle. I’ve decided i’m not a fan of hemotoxic venom. The tissue swelling, internal bleeding, paralysis, and intense pain might make it difficult to hold a camera. She’ll have to make do with a dozen mexican jumping beans from DFW airport. Coincidentally the beans in their tiny plastic incasement produce a similar sound to that of a rattlesnake’s rattle, only in super slow motion. Serendipity!…..never use that word in Texas or you will be beaten senseless.

Side note: I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect situation in which to photograph road kill. ‘Texas desert end of day defused magic hour light’. An almost cliche empty bend on a lonely stretch of country highway, and most importantly a pristine yet very dead Polecat.

Oahu


On Oahu for a shoot with Chef Roy Choi of Kogi truck fame for a magazine we’ll call…”Swine” (Cockney in reverse). He’s informed me that sleep is not his forte. Tomorrow we will drink Kona coffee with Malasadas in the Ala Moana parking lot at 5 a.m. Oxtail ramen with Longboard lager for lunch at the mall. Perhaps some Waiola shave ice for the drive north. Coco puffs at Liliha bakery. Salt pork with watercress, poi, lomilomi salmon and ahi poke for din din…i’m done done! Afterwards I will waddle into the surf at Waikiki and drown a happy, albeit larger man. Want to see Roy with a goat? Ididnottakethisphoto. Curious about my father-in-law and his miniature black stallion? Ididtakethisphoto.