fun times in rehearsal

Jason Diaz Band, originally uploaded by Secret Ultra M.

I may or may not have personally told you, but I am one third of a Motown-inspired vocal trio. We are called The Paperbacks, and we will be singing backup for Jason Diaz and his band at his next few shows. We just got out of rehearsal, and we had a blast all by ourselves--but we want *you* to have a blast with us, this Thursday at the Viper Room and next Friday at the Roxy.

4/1 at the Viper Room we'll be opening for Jonathan Tyler + the Northern Lights; 4/9 at the Roxy we'll be opening for Nikka Costa. Both our sets at 8 PM.



Aaron is a Church DJ...

Last Sunday was Palm Sunday--the commemoration of Christ's dramatic return to Jerusalem in his final days before crucifixion. For my church, it was also the first Sunday holding two services (which we will be providing henceforth). I was asked to photograph the occasion--specifically, to document the intermingling of people coming and going between services.

I arrived to find Aaron Ballard, member of The Parson Redheads and owner of Ballard's Artwork Framing, spinning some major, smile-inducing, old-time gospel music.

I went up to chat with Aaron, and he asked if I wanted to see an album his Father and Grandmother recorded. I made him hold it up for this snap: (his Father is hidden by the glare, his Grandmother is on the lower left.)

What an amazing family legacy, no?? Needless to say, it was super sweet to learn that little tidbit about my amigo and his fam. Also, he said he'll be DJ'ing more during the between-service slot in the future, so come on over and hang out. Next week would be perfect, in fact--it will be Easter! The best service of the year! I'll be singing in the choir during both the 9:30 and 11:15 services. It's Ecclesia Hollywood, right on Hollywood Boulevard in the thick of it. Location and parking/metro info can be found here.



succulent design

succulent design, originally uploaded by Secret Ultra M.

I painted a pot to provide a fancy home for this handsome "Indian Corn Cob" cactus, who was to be a birthday gift.


Happy Saint Patrick's Day

Saint Patrick's Cathedral, originally uploaded by Secret Ultra M.

In 2004, I got to travel to beautiful Ireland. I saw so many amazing things; Saint James' Gate, the Book of Kells, the Blarney Stone, the Black Abbey; and the astoundingly beautiful St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.

Tomorrow, the world honors the famous Scottish Saint, who devoted most of his life to serving a people who originally captured and enslaved him. Cheers to Saint Patrick!



So, I've been branching out into drawing these days, trying to start a regimen to get good. Truth be told, one of the reasons I started off in photography is that it was a kind of "automatic drawing." (As it was conceived/pitched back in the 1800s...) I had images I wanted to make, and I didn't want to wait and suffer my time-consuming, incompetent hand, poorly translating the vision of my mind's eye. Fortunately, I grew to love the photographic medium for much better reasons, and adore it now for all that it is.

That being said, I also adore illustration. As I quiet my mind and attempt to re-orient my workflow to a much different pace, I am seeking out inspiration to shut up my frustrations. Lucky for me, I have an amazing Hannah Stouffer print hanging outside my bathroom door, and it reminded me to check out what's going on with her. I didn't realize all she was doing out there in the world, with both her personal art and her commercial endeavors. She's pretty amazing, pretty wild. I can't get enough of her snakes, birds, and elk in their spacey, psychedelic wilderness. With Marty Stouffer (Wild America!!) as half of her immediate gene pool, it's no wonder the root of her work is the natural world. [sigh] I pretty much love everything she does.

'Black Roses Tell a Story' ink on paper 20 x 20" 2008 Hannah Stouffer

'The Lost Stormr' ink on paper 20 x 20" 2009 Hannah Stouffer

You know how much I like sharks, right?

Oh, and she also did this wolf illustration for Nike Snowboard team rider Laura Hadar. Will someone please buy these for me? *L*


good morning

good morning, originally uploaded by Secret Ultra M.

This is my first true day off in a while. Even though I have a ton of housework to do, I get to be home. I get to stay in my PJs and go about my day at a relaxed pace.

As I was finishing a breakfast of spiced oatmeal pancakes and coffee, I had the random urge to sharpen a nearby pencil. Not wanting to hover over a trash bin, I let the shavings fall into my empty cup. Looking into it made me feel like I was reading tea leaves.

Yes, I will draw something today.