Saturday, September 16, 2006
Made A Bluesman's Day
Saturday was a good day once I shook off the morning laziness I was feeling after enjoying my sleep a little too much. I woke up later than I wanted to simply because I stayed up until about 7:30am. I laugh at myself because I got caught up in watching the movie version of Fat Albert. (LOL!) Yeah, that's funny but it's cool... I never saw it before when it first came out. I couldn't see myself going to a movie theatre to watch it and after that I pretty much forgot the movie existed. I have to admit that what also kept me glued to the television was the fact that that sexy actress whose name escapes me now was in it. I think she's puerto rican. I remember seeing her in Spike Lee's movie, She Hate Me. whew... beautiful...
But anyway, back to Saturday... I challenged myself to go out and take some incredible pictures because my good friend Kim sent me pictures from her day spent hanging out in Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia. I figured I'd see what I could do hanging out somewhere so I could send her some cool shots. I hope to convince her to work on a collection to put together in book form showing images, people, neighborhoods, etc etc that represent where she is(Atlanta) and where I am(LA). The book may take on a different theme being that I like to travel and especially love photographing the life and mystery that I often find when I'm in the south.
Speaking of the south, today as I was hanging out in Santa Monica trying to capture some incredible images to send to Kim, I heard some blues guitar and a haunting voice singing on the beach. I looked and found this bluesman in the picture above sitting leaned up against a bathroom wall. I listened to him for a little bit before taking a few pictures of him. Then I approached him so I could get a closer listen and to maybe talk for a bit. I smiled as I walked up. He'd seen me taking pictures of him. He bragged about his skills.
"Check this out here! This aint no amplification. This ain't no tape recorder and ain't no electricity anywhere near me! This is some real playing and some real sang'n!" He said.
"Yes, sir..." I threw some money in his case.
Then I asked him a question that seemed to put him in a very happy state of mind. It was like I'd hit a magical switch that touched his heart.
"Why you not playing in Memphis or in Clarksdale, Mississippi? You sounding real authentic like you belong where this kind of music was born at."
"Ha! You know the blues then, huh? Shoot, life bring me here some kind of way. I been on the streets for years but at least me coming down here by the beach I always got a way to make a few dollars and keep myself clean. They got all them little showers around here which come in handy."
"I hear you..."
"Yes, sir but you know, I try to be what you call, discreet about it. I mean, these hotels so close by and all. These visitors trying to see bikini girls. They dont wanna look out they window at some skinny black man's behind tryna run up under some water! Ahhh ha haa... You know what I'm sayun? Shoot..."
I laughed and enjoyed the spirit of this bluesman. Seemed like he needed someone to stop by and greet him in a friendly way. He played his music and some people would drop money here and there but nobody said hello or stopped to talk with him. He thanked me with pride before I walked away and smiled for as long as we made eye contact. The way he played he really should be in Mississippi playing the blues and being treated like a king because his voice sounded like it was coming from a radio. It was nice to put a smile on his face...