Thursday, June 29, 2006


Photo Review might not want them, but I will always be fond of them. (I had submitted 5 to this juried gallery show, but can only recall these three, my favorite anyway).

Let's hear it for rejection!

grease fire
grease fire © Laura Kicey

when the bough breaks
when the bough breaks © Laura Kicey

conviction © Laura Kicey

On a lighter note, on my way to collect my friend Daniel to feed him his (worst ever shouldna bothered) birthday dinner, I saw hair that literally stopped traffic. At a stop sign, three cars had worked themselves into completely absurd angles to avoid hitting a girl in the center who was walking around collecting handfuls of tumbleweave. I couldn't help myself but chuckle. I popped my weave once. When I was in college, I used to wear ridiculous fake hair worked into my own (oh don't think I am going to post a photo). I went to the eye doctor and was having the glaucoma pressure test conducted by a woman who clearly seemed kinda nervous about the procedure herself, which made me nervous.... hypervenitlate and black out. And you know my hair came all undone. Alarms did sound, but I didn't cause any major accidents... at least none I was conscious for.

A word for my people tonight who could use some love, Daniel wedged under a broken heart, L under hopes and fears twisted in knots, K under the knife tomorrow, and D under water and, well, everything not bolted down and some foul-smelling mystery substances. I'm thinking about you all and twitching out with worry.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Seizing the only moments of rainless evening we've had for nearly a week... possibly more, I decided to take a bath. I mean, a walk. Well, it became a bath. Armed with camera and the most dubiously held together umbrella, I took approximately seven shots, most of which are not in focus due to camerashake in the miserable light and then the heavens opened and wet my pants. Among other things.

survivors © Laura Kicey

So today I received the curious assessment that I should start praying. I'm not sure how this determination was made, regardless I am supposed to have a lesson in praying with the rosary on Thursday. I am to have a 'woman to woman' with Mary. I am completely bewildered but am powerless to say no in this situation.

One last note, I am about to start running diagnostic crap on my machine and then optimize my churning, crunching, disagreeable drive... then install Tiger, finally. While I am hoping I will be back up in no time, me manning the tech stuff is a little dicey on the best of days.

Monday, June 26, 2006


The past week has been tied up, half in memories and half in possibilities. I am sorting through old photos looking for things which might be worth getting printed to sell at R5's Punk Rock Flea Market. Frankly I have no idea what a punk flea would want to hang on their wall. No matter. I am revisiting the past year and a half... more so the last nine months since I got my Rebel XT. Maybe it is just the quality of the image files but they all seem fresher to me, unlike everything I took with my old camera that I feel like I have become completely detached from. It is also unsettling to see the change in the faces of the people I know so well. I had been talking to my friend Daniel this weekend about when and how we met initially. I have huge gaps in my memory that sadden me...pre-photo days. In my quest to procrastinate and be distracted by whatever I could get my hands on, I started chasing down original files to see what else I shot that day. Of course I didn't get too far with the real task.

dueling © Laura Kicey

The most beautiful thing I think is how the photo-adventures I've been on have totally changed for the better my feelings about the state I live in. Filling in a history I mostly chose to ignore. I remember moving to nyc not because I wanted to work there but because I thought Philly was a shithole and outside of that there was no scope beyond farmy podunkedness. Uh. Well, I could qualify those statements pretty easily with any number of photos I have taken... out of context... but I could also point out that the stories that got me to those points I would not trade for anything. And going back and looking at old photos, I feel there are some that deserve to see light that I thought were discards the day I took them... others that were giant oopses that said more about the mood of a day than the keepers, that no one will likely see again but me.

This weekend I returned to the house where I was robbed in October for the first time since the incident. With the trial and the face of our robber fresh in my mind, it was really hard. Especially as I park my car in front of their house and immediately a guy on a bike comes toward my car circles and around and parks it across the street from me, while I slowly get out and head for my friends' door, breathing shallowly. Standing on the steps looking down at where we stood. I had come to give fellow robbery victim, Kevin, a photoshop tutorial. I couldn't shake the awareness of where I was, even while me and the three guys ate freezy pops and joked about anger issues while Peter allowed himself to be drug around the floor clinging to Rob's ankles.

What am I getting at... they were all interconnected in my mind when I started writing and then I started with the sentimental babble.... Most of my friends I don't get to see on a daily basis... most live at least an hour drive away, more live a flight away. The exact details of their faces slide from my mind... even though they occasionally show up vividly in a dream or a photo is there to half-remind me. Things are missing. Smells, voices, mannerisms. And yet I get to keep the robbery, extra fresh to cherish. Hooray for justice.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

vanishing point

esacpe route
escape route © Laura Kicey

I thought it would be easier, but everything reminds me of something.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


I miss my best friend.

sundays © Laura Kicey

Friday, June 23, 2006


The first I heard back from the Kevin on how things shaped up in court on Wednesday... this is, for those of you just tuning in, the trial for the robbery that happened in October, me and 3 friends were robbed at gunpoint in South Philly.

In the event you have a short attention span and do not wish to read the entirety of Kevin's mammoth post, reader's digest: after I left he went in and testified and the defense was an ass to him , inferring that if we were really scared, we would have given him all of our money in the first place instead of attempting to piss off the robber by holding back. His closing statement brought it on home with making us out to be liars and drunks. Our lawyer painted our tale with Rob as our gallant hero, after all we were probably out on a double date (whuh??). He was charged as guilty on all counts of First Degree Robbery... about ten of them and some other charges including simple assault (instead of aggravated assault which was what out lawyer was going for).

scaling © Laura Kicey

Some things the detectives told the crew post-trial that they could not disclose beforehand (quoted mostly from Kevin):

• The kid who robbed us was 19
• His brother was killed a few days ago in a shooting… I think he was the one shooting at people and he got shot back
• His cousin is a well known contract killer in south Philly. He gets 15 – 20k per murder and was just acquitted when he shot a guy point blank in the back of the head on the steps of a school at 24th and Christian… during a dice game (right around the corner from the same apartment we were robbed at). He got off because everyone in the neighborhood is afraid of him and no one would testify or come forward…
• The rest of this kid’s family is in jail for various gun crimes, so they felt that it was just a matter of time before our guy started pulling the trigger as well.

The detectives said that he could get 10-20 years for EACH count of 1st Degree Robbery but he will probably get significantly less being that he is 19. They asked for us to be at the sentencing hearing because it would help for the judge to see the victims in the crowd instead of just the robber’s family.

guardian angel
guardian angel © Laura Kicey

So I missed over two days of work with the preliminary hearing, leaving early to get to the lineup and to the police station for photo IDs, and then the trial and will have to probably miss another day for the sentencing, plus gas getting to and from these places, or train fares, plus the $60 I lost in the actual robbery. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $720+ worth of time and assorted crap.

Bottom line: though it may seem cool, getting robbed is a drag. Don't bother. And the court system... really, nothing to get too excited about there either. For your veiwing pleasure, photos from Alcatraz... I wish he was put that far away.


mutilation © Laura Kicey

Hmmm well, the blog's 'new look' lasted long. A few hours. Gave me something to occupy myself with at work as there again (still?) is no actual work. Then I took a photo of myself and massacred it, which you can see above.

There are so many things I am missing right now, the least of which is a mouth.

It occurs to me now that I have been posting waaaaaaay too many self-portraits here. It is in the 90s and humid and thunderstorms keeping dousing us. And I am working on refining my skills as a hermit. I need an adventure. I'd even fancy going to the beach. As long as I can avoid getting into tussles with angry Jerzians. Which I did not last time.


Wow, the complete effect is so totally Elvira Dominatrix doom.
I mean I'm unhappy, but this is a bit much.

I may have to rethink this before I put my eyes out.

Something to counteract the gloom, stat! An old standby.

the weight
the weight © Laura Kicey

Feet Begone!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

making peace

coming apart
coming apart © Laura Kicey

To purge myself of the day, I took myself apart. I came home, ate some dinner against my will, as the urge to eat has left me, then I found the appropriate clothes and stage, rearranged the furniture and went to work. I'm not overly pleased with the results. Angry that the original shots were soft despite trial, mucho error, and large house plant stand-ins. I want to replace myself with a better model. This one is sluggish, everything creaks and aches, it is too thick in the middle and the volume appears to be broken. But all I can afford is the one new arm.

I'm going to have to at least temporarily replace my masthead, I managed to get myeslf noticed by some foot-perve blogger and have all this traffic from his links... and there is my foot, hanging out up there, apparently waiting, in constant peril of unwanted attentions. Hey guys, that foot... you get it anywhere near your mouth and my trick toenail will come flying off and lodge in your windpipe and choke you.
Take it elsewhere.

I've been in a restless frenzy all day, knowing that some of my very closest friends are very troubled... My friend K had an eye surgery last week to mend a hole in her eye. Some time yesterday it came undone again... each time it has to be redone, the tissue gets weaker. (whimper). Daniel was mostly beyond consolation all day, even after Misery Dinner last night. Oh well, it didn't make me feel better either. Though his dinner was already dead, he seemed to want to rekill it and make it suffer the ultimate suffering. There was quite a bit of airborne chicken, it is no wonder it didn't quite hit the spot.

Now I should be off, I need to unwedge myself from behind the sofa and put most things back in their place....

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Today was spent relaxing by the sand, seagulls, and starfish. I wouldn't have believed that had you told me, and because cameras were not allowed past the front door, I have no proof that the City of Philadelphia took the time and money to carve words including but not limited to: sunshine, fresh air, sand, fish, tidal pool, jetty, seaweed, saltwater taffy, boats into the stone supporting the incredibly uncomfortable benches outside the courtrooms in the Criminal Justice Building... so you will just have to take my word for it.

But no hand on the Bible.

long-term memory
long-term memory © Laura Kicey

Even with all the rigamarole surrounding it, even the last minute stand-in for our DA.. sitting around waiting until we've aged a bit... things fell into place. I was third to testify and when I saw him before me I have never been more certain of anything. Months later and it came back fresh and I felt unexpectedly strong instead of scared. I was still nervous waiting for the defense to try to snag me on something. Having actually, yes, IDed him in the lineup... and having had nothing to drink that night, I actually became a key witness... when all these months I thought I was useless. I woke up this morning thinking my presence was pointless. 3 of our group of four came today, along with 3 other separate victims. The verdict would have been reached, had I stuck around til the bitter end. Sentencing will happen another day, when I may have to show up yet again. No jury. Just his family in the back of the room, who apparently were laughing at one of the other guys testifying. I think my turning fuscia on the stand was enough to put them back in their place. I had half an eye on them and while they didn't stir, I cannot imagine what they were thinking. They might have been baffled as to why I kept bonking my neck on the badly placed microphone, but maybe that was just me.

I have been exhausted all day having stayed up late the night before trying to mend other holes in the fence. No gentle fix, but I felt a small relief that I hope will make the future easier for Those that Matter, and even for the general public, as hearing me venting my frustration at top volume by beating a large wet rug into submission over the bathtub ledge... well the world and my neighbors (some of whom have been asking for it) will be better off without. This hasn't been an easy month and a half... no easy decisions. My idle mind endlessly replaying what-have-beens and what-might-have-beens... today, those voices yelled a little less and nodded a little more. It wasn't joy, but it was a good place to start.

Post court, unable to walk around in the heat without becoming human showerhead, I planted myself in a park and leaned in wait for a last minute hair didding. The stylist never remembers my name but recalls everything I've ever told her when she sees my face... so girltalk ensued and I ended up with a weird shelf on the back of my head... which we both said needed fixing... which it 'seemed' to be, twice... but yeah I still have a shelf and I don't want to talk about it.

red-handed © Laura Kicey

After all was said and lopped, I met up with Daniel for the Unofficial Misery Loves Company & Persian Food Dinner... since he has had a crap week as well. We ate, we glared, we took a few photos and then I left before I could be talked into ice cream... I mean c'mon, we did have the weird complimentary dessert that seemed like sawdust made out of dessicated sesame paste... ok, I'm a horrible person and I just wanted to go home and crawl up next to blogger and then under the covers.

Can you blame me? Memory foam and anonymous readers. Mmmmm.

Monday, June 19, 2006


currents © Laura Kicey

An experiment I survived....

And to make me feel better, Adrian sent me this

Something is up with my regular server and I am rather bedutzted over my banner disappearing. Grrrrr.


The day has unravelled in all sorts of vastly unappealing ways. On the hottest day of heatwave, in the attic of the purple-trimmed work abode, the air conditioning has given out. A slow, heavy weakness. I feel other parts of me give way under it. I can't look at my actual work so I look at myself over the past few days and rip apart every choice I've made until I have nothing left. Whatever I do, it is not right or best for anyone.

excuse me ladies
excuse me ladies © Laura Kicey

Then the District Attorney calls. The darling robber had told his lawyer he was going to plead guilty. Until this morning before the judge, he decided to change his mind. Now the trial is to be thrown together by Wednesday. How strong will this be if it happens at all? My anger is refreshed as though it is brand new. Everything that comes at me today, I feel like I am going to crumple. Or maybe melt.

Edit: I spoke to Kevin, one of the guys who was robbed with me (pictured above, the night of the incident) and he said that the DA told him that she wanted he and I *specifically* to appear as we were the best witnesses, though Diana said she could come, he said he probably couldn't. I am having this rather dark fear that the DA is confusing Diana and I because Diana was *completely* certain and IDed him in the photos right off the bat... and that I actually never IDed him correctly. Spinning. The plot is to thin out the number of witnesses that can make it to trial. However, with 12 total witnesses (we being four of them)... fingers crossed.

honeymoon © Laura Kicey

Nerve made a strange reappearance today. One of the designers contacted me and said they were recommended to me by the 'former photo editor' and asked to use a photo of mine for a special fiction issue... accompanying a story abou the future of marriage. It may have a print edition and they want to negotiate a fee for usage in that as well. I'm trying to get excited, but I feel not unlike the bride in the photo they chose.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

fancy book-learnin'

Heatwave on! Recently acquired Kathleen Turner voice in effect! Three gig flash cards full of what appear to be the exact same five bicyclists racing... over and over in the exact same position in pocket!

The race yesterday did not give me any particular itch to run out and become Sports Illustrated's next hot photographer nor would it produce any great yearning to hunt down another such race for shooting.

pursuit © Laura Kicey

I can, in my limited experience conclude that sport photographers who are able to do truly creative or interesting things must really have some kind of mad talent. The specific breed of which I do not posess. However!

lick © Laura Kicey

After a blackened alligator poboy pre-race lunch with my friend Adrian where I received a. some fantastically hilarious stories from the vault about the madpersons he has encountered and b. a couple of unbelievably useful tips about functions to use when shooting action. The combination of the two made the otherwise schweaty hot monotony pretty bearable and an enormously useful lesson.

inhale © Laura Kicey

There was not a whole lot of camera equipment hotness on the course. But what there was was indeed pretty amazing. Including what was maybe an 800mm lens that had its own leg to stand on.... approximate proportions of a megaphone. Noted that the photographers with presspasses had wimpier cameras than the joe schmoes. As natural light faded, I tried to use my flash but my flash realllllly sucks and couldn't handle the rapid fire shots, so it killed about 4 shots in 5. (quiet sound of hair being pulled out). So more often I shot the stragglers who were going slow. Or in the case of the the final professional men's race, I shot the guy who broke ridiculously ahead of the pack and stayed there... the guy who about 30 laps in completely lapped the entire group and was leading them from coming up from behind. The eventual winner, Stefan Steinweg, who looked like Vin Diesel, wore bright red and never once seemed to really slow in the almost hour-long (maybe more) race.

fahrrad © Laura Kicey
(Stefan Steinweg of SC Bergen won the pro men's, I think)

To make me feel better about myself, Adrian took me and his dog, Seven, to one of his favorite spots to shoot: the reservoir in West Chester, post-race.

reservoir dog
reservoir dog © Laura Kicey

Without functioning tripod I didn't feel all that much better but did some experiments with my flash that were much less frustrating.

earth and sky
earth and sky © Laura Kicey

(edit to say: I am totally mystified how the above photo happened. shooting a tree branch from below, against the sky in nearing complete darkness... it appears that the leaves are casting a shadow on the sky and the highlight from motion blur(?) paired with that makes them look like they are embossed in the sky.


I will eventually put up some photos in this entry to illustrate (edit: done). That is, if any turned out (edit: kinda soft kinda not really excited). Right now I am stranded in Lancaster at my parents' house, having come home to give my father the eloquent Father's Day gift of my broken tripod for him to fix. Which he did and immediately disappeared back in to the basement ne'er to be heard from again. I will update this before Monday, that is if I make it out alive.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


I was instructed to go take a walk. I did and hooray! I took boring plant photos. And realized how much I missed the wind. I also talked to a random stranger while out for my walk. Her name was Raven and she wanted to know where the bank was on Ambler's main drag. And me being awkward as I am, started walking as I had been, which ended up being right next to her in the same direction... so we talked about photography. Me! Friendly! Passing out the business card even! The *other* good news of the day: Our robbery will not be going to trial as it was expected to, this coming Monday. Our buddy plead guilty. Now if we could work on that $60, I could put that towards the Slik Pistol Grip tripod head I just ordered to replace the one I fell on and broke on the bus last week.

Yes, I fall a lot.

haywire © Laura Kicey

Kinda like my hair in the wind...

life cycle
life cycle © Laura Kicey

Also you may notice, or not, that I have made changes to Ye Olde Template on the blog to accommodate larger photos so you don't feel like you are going blind from compression artifacts. You may need to blow out your cache. They are now flickr display size. Hooray.

Sleep now.

banana seat

stumble © Laura Kicey

Since coming home, I've had this gross feeling in the pit of my stomach. It has translated in my mind to a general malaise, a veil of worry. I left some loose ends before I left, which I returned to, still sailing in the wind. Returning from a week of fantastic adventures, I feel blunted by my same-old same-old town. But then I haven't really been out of the house for photowalking or for anything really, just plodding to work... where actual work is not to be had, we are so slow... so I just keep turning things over in my head. What do I do now? How do I restart doing the things I haven't done before? Especially when I have become so completely unmotivated to do so much as vacuum up what appears to be half a tree that blew through the air conditioner into my bedroom.

hitchhikers © Laura Kicey

The quickie fix for the weekend looks like I am shooting a bike race... which, like the car show, is uncharted territory... and subject matter I am rather indifferent too. As well as shooting style (action/sports photography uh? whuh?) I have ne'er delved into.

Oh so the opening photo. Right. I'm not being beaten, though I feel a little beat up. It is in the wake of this awesome refreshing force of experiencing this amazing place that all I have left physically are the bruises from 1. walking into a vicious metal pole, hidden in a fennel bush, while trespassing in the dark at the tag cathedral and 2. having a puddle kick my ass at the airport, the fall made it look like I couldn't dismount the moving walkway... and this gross feeling inside. I'm afraid I am going to go blind looking at my old life.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


It has been far too long since I posted here, blogger was being pissy last week with the infrequent access I had, I shrugged off the writing in favor of sunburn, hill-scaling and late-night wonton folding frenzies. I'm afraid I am going to forget it all before I can write it down... having been home all of 3.5 days and I couldn't recall at the end of most days last week what I had done earlier that afternoon, we could be in trouble here. I promise this will be a ridiculously long and rather boring entry, but I need a record of my days and sometimes the photos aren't enough. Can't always capture the richness of your company, especially when some of them will attack with Green Tickle Death if you point a camera at them.

Now then! (This will be filled with spelling and grammatical errors as my mind is still mostly on vacation. I'll fix it when my eyes stop burning)

Day One - Saturday

miss neue
miss neue © Laura Kicey

I arrived last Saturday evening at SFO to be greeted by... nothing... for hours. Gallumping around the airport drinking bad coffee and wandering back and forth down the arrivals pick-up area. Until (trumpets sound and the clouds crack open) Bernie, that is complete stranger, friend-of-friend, Bernie pulls up in red pickup truck and I am given SF-in-the-dark driving tour. Kept awake only by oodles of caffeine and the rumble of pavement beneath the wheels, I was ferried off, first to Thai dinner finery with post-trip K and Eddy. K had mentioned on the phone while they were zipping south from Up Country that Bernie, Hero of the Day, had a Special Destination in mind, should I be functional post-dining.

I decided I would just have to be. Which is how we ended up here:

seal rocks
seal rocks © Laura Kicey

The ruins of the Sutro Baths around midnight. Fortunately the night came equipped with a very bright nearing-full moon, tripods, a sweatshirt and several man hands to help wobblysleepy nightblind me down the hill and hoist me over large holes in skinny walls and deceptive divets. A multitude of long exposures later, held in the quiet company of m'people, we dozed our way back to primary-colored K's palace where I promptly lost consciousness at what Brain was saying was 5am EST.


Day Two - Sunday

First daylight breaths were taken and the four of us reconnected for brunching at Boogaloos, a place as wildly popular as it is colorful and deee-lish, then made a meander around the Mission popping into shops and random buildings for their rooftop views.

rawhide © Laura Kicey

Stopped in a park whose name I cannot recall to play superspy with all the people frolicking on the lawn with my new zoom.

towering © Laura Kicey

We hopped a bus down to the Dogpatch where I was first introduced to that most-coveted photo spot: Tag Cathedral. Oooooh. Ahhhh. An easy squeezy in through the out of the way gate and we were free to cavort until the hungries would move us onward.

scribble © Laura Kicey

Such a place to get photographically lost in. Deep breath. Back of hand to head. Swoon. The building is long and empty, about two city blocks long, row upon row of windows and every rusty reachable surface has been covered by the colorful tags of some (mostly) pretty skilled graffiti artists. Ones who aren't keen on picking up after themselves, as there were empty cans everywhere. The thing I find most appealing about any manmade wreckage is how is it overtaken by nature given the time. This particular spot was consumed with the delicate fragrance of the fennel plants growing in every crevice.

anisette © Laura Kicey

Inside the late afternoon sun hit the windows at a perfect angle, catching the nuances of the golden but dirty, tagged and broken glass in subtle shadows on the floor.

walking on broken glass
walking on broken glass © Laura Kicey

Despite my getting ansty over walking over gaping holes the night before I followed Eddy up a rusty ladder to a raised platform for an amazing view of the broken piers in the water outside.

high priest of tag cathedral
high priest of tag cathedral © Laura Kicey

We played in the thickly painted busted equipment out in the yard, trailed back out the fence, passing the unphased security guard two buildings up the road, made our way through a truckyard and a bayside park and down to The Ramp for some bbq eats and watch the crowd salsa dancing in the cool air coming off the water.

tag, I'm it
Tag, I'm it © Laura Kicey

It was a brilliant day. I think of all the photos I took while I was there, my favorites came from that first Sunday.

Day Three - Monday

K and I headed out to the Embarcadero that afternoon which is an area that went from a bustling port of commerce to poverty-stricken and abandoned and has come round to being a commercial center, brushing up against a high-traffic tourist area. We breezed through the periphery of the downtown, peeking in the Hyatt lobby to exercise the 10-22mm lens a bit.

The waterfront is lined with huge warehouses that are mostly used for or storage areas for the city... trolleys and buses and other random crap or for general parking. K led us down to Pier 27 to a warehouse known to contain the tempting booty of parade floats. It was very out of the way and upon entering the floats are not at all visible. Unless you knew it was there it wouldn't have been immediately distinguishable from any of the other warehouses we passed. There were a few people around but we just acted like we belonged there. A barricade had been erected around the floats, but there was an opening which we slipped in. We hadn't gotten very far when I saw a guy appraoching us out of the corner of my eye. K was lining up a shot and was oblivious to his approach. He catches my eye and puts a finger to his lips to indicate he was going to sneak up on her. Then he jumps down next to her and yells What do you think you are doing in here?!

K does not flinch. Snaps the photo, puts her camera down to her side and turns on the charm. The guy asks us how on earth we found the floats and some sweet vaguery rolls off her tongue about how we were looking at the circus thing around front and just wondered back. He was actually the owner of the floats and started giving us the grand tour and backstory of all the floats in their many incarnations, showing us their sketches and failures and random oddities. Then he had to get back to work and gave us run of the joint.

year of the dragon
year of the dragon © Laura Kicey

After a couple hours of climbing over the giant styrofoam armatures, we walked down to the Musée Mécanique where we met Eddy and a hundred-odd curious characted under glass that could be brought to life with my precious BART quarters.

mechanique © Laura Kicey

Day Four - Tuesday

Off to a late start, I tried making quickie arrangements to meet up with Eddy and Thomas Hawk for lunch and a photowalk. Thomas is widely known on Flickr and throughout the blogging community... and of late, has been drawing a lot of downtown security guards' unwarranted and violent attentions in the process of legally photographing architecture in public spaces.

street fight
street fight © Laura Kicey

We walked through a Muni station shooting and back then outside. It probably hadn't been twenty minutes since we'd met, when we wound up at 45 Fremont and the security guards started closing in. They demanded we stop taking photographs from the public park space at the base of the building. Thomas did all the talking and we all continued to take photos. Insistence. Thomas said they were free to call the police if they like. He had had a talk with the PR guy for this particular building in past, who actually apologized for past mistreatment by security when he last photographed the building. Out of nowhere this walrus of a man appears and says he *is* a police office, though refuses to tell us his name or show ID, told us to leave the property at once. Grabs Thomas by the arm and starts dragging him off the property. His blog, which goes into far more detail about the incident which was almost immediately picked up by No surprise that he was in fact not a police officer, but more surprising that even the original guard who approached us didn't even work for the building and that photography is permitted in the public park space where we were. Thomas filed a police report and was told that police officers must show ID upon request and before they are allowed to touch anyone.

Thereafter our walk continued without a snag. I met up with K for lunch and we headed up to North Beach to cruise round the colorful hilly neighborhood with a plot to end the day in Chinatown, gathering ingredients for the DIY wonton dinner party.

lashes © Laura Kicey

The things I love most about San Francisco aesthetically speaking were the combination of ridiculously bright colors and curlicue ironwork paired with the perfect amount of run-downedness, a little peely and rusty bumping up next to the exquisite old signage, handlettering and broken neon at every turn. Unlike NYC where I struggle to find things I want to photograph, I struggled to stop taking photographs of everything.

bad reception
bad reception © Laura Kicey

After we finished gathering we headed home on creaky feets, K played human food processor while I flickred. The boys show up late and we fit in a little sofa-photo play to instigate Merkley to contact me, the wine started to flow and we got down to wrapping wontons. Much silliness, gorging and flashdancing experimentation followed.

EddySwirlyWontonCouch © Laura Kicey

Day Five - Wednesday

A ridiculously late start to the day, K and I leisurely made out way down to Haight Ashbury for thrifting, crepeing, and patchouli inhalation. We sleepy girls pulled up to the De Young Museum at the moment of closing so we crept back to the Japanese Tea Garden for a cuppa, waiting for John Curley and Eddy to get off work come collect us for our plotted Golden Gate Bridge evening walk.

Sidenote to say that John is just an incredible gentleman. I am kinda nervous by nature but he put me at ease immediately, even on the phone, he is just too damn cool. Funny, charming and always up for an adventure.

golden ray
golden ray © Laura Kicey

John drove us down to the Bridge and we walked from the Sausolito side, about a third of the way across, wicked winds shaking us all the way. Then we drove round to a side park and made our way down a hillside as it grew dark. from under the cover of trees below we played with long exposures until our tripods gave out and we under them.

unvoiced wishes
unvoiced wishes © Laura Kicey

Damn nerds. John took us back to the Mission where we had midnight nachos and cantalope frescas and fell asleep on full happy bellies.

curley © Laura Kicey

Day Six - Thursday

My last full day in SF started with an empty box of Cheerios at K's red kitchen table. We knew what we had to do.

percolator © Laura Kicey

Anti-breakfast of Mitchell's Ice Cream and walk around the Mission taking in the richly colored Latino markets and shops... er Hispanic? Oh man. Then we.... uh... kinda forget what happened. Ice Cream clears the slate of everything....


Sea lions while we waited to board our afternoon ferry to Alcatraz! Barking and stinking! I (I think wisely) opted out of the audio tour in favor of devouring with the camera and moving a little faster than I would otherwise have been able to.

guanorama © Laura Kicey

The grounds are a natural preserve so the place was overrun with birds, eggs, nests, guano and feathers. And all the places that looked most exquisite to get inside of were, naturally barred from public entry.

stairwell © Laura Kicey

I think we made out ok. Monster zoom came in handy, but man, I need to pick up that 10-22mm. Soon.

solitary © Laura Kicey

Afterwards we refueled on clam chowder in the very desirable (panting) sourdough breadbowl, made purchase of several touristy floaty pens featuring escaped inmates being eaten by sharks for my coworkers and then mosied over to the flickr meetup at the Crossroads Cafe.

I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who showed up... especially in comparison to the numbers showing at Philly meets. I was feeling extremely shy and lurked with k and Eddy on the opposite side of the cafe... that is until the crowd started shifting in our direction and I met half of them including nullboy who is pictured below, deborah lattimore who I was too in awe of to talk to until she came up to me, fetching, lawatt, fotogail, caitlinburke, rigamarole, boundaries, bees, petebeck, paul wicks btezra, pinhole, oldvidhead, george, and probably some others I am forgetting... and a truckload of people, including The Heather Champ of Flickr fame, who I didn't get to speak to.

lonesome © Laura Kicey

Afterwards a posse of about 11 slipped off into the night and headed back to the Tag Cathedral for some more trespassing. I was among the last three people to slip through the gate when we got there and hadn't even gotten half way across the front lawn when a security guard shines his flashlight on us from the other side of the gate, yelling that he 'recommends we come out of there immediately.'

Naturally we carried onward. John was kind enough to go out and speak to the guard, sweet talk him and buy us some time... which he did. Apparently a girl had been murdered there at some point, but the guard wasn't overly bothered by our presence and mentioned that we might be able to get permission to shoot there if we go through the appropriate channels and go through the 'front door,' possibly even getting into other buildings in the area with less easy access. When John returned we made moves to leave. I set up my tripod once for a few minutes but became frustrated with focusing and the broken head almost straight away and since I thought we were leaving I went handheld... which ended up being for quite some time. Some trailed off in the dark shooting down by the water, while most of the group gathered in the best lit spot and we all stood around shooting each other.

I stayed up til nearly 3am while K snored quietly next to me, backing up all my photos on CD and then konking out for a couple of hours.

Day Seven - Friday

Boogaloos served me my last breakfast of biscuit with vegan gravy, eggs over medium and fresh fruit while K, Bernie, and complete deliriousness kept me company.

wonton folding demo
wonton folding demo © Laura Kicey

Teary-eyed I said my goodbyes and hopped on BART towards SFO. Everything seemed in order, even when I dozed off and had a panic-waking spotting a sign for the airport at another BART stop and almost leapt off the train.... We boarded as expeceted and then much later were told they were experiencing some techinical difficulty. Anti-skid upset. Need to see if the 'patch' was up to codes. Two hours later we take off... leaving me missing my connecting flight in Minnesota by 40 minutes. Grrrr.

Northwest in their generous nincompooposity put us up for the night in a hotel and gave us vouchers for dinner and shuttle service back to the airport.

bloomington © Laura Kicey

Had I not been unconscious and slack-jawed on the flight to MN, I might have been a little tired. After devouring fried chicken and taking silly photos of myself and my hotel room antics I laid in bed and watched Boiler Room in a catatonic state.

detergent © Laura Kicey

I passed out for two hours then crawled into the shower and onto the 5am shuttle to catch my flight to Detroit. And another to back to Philly. By which time I was babbling incoherently and drooling.

It is late and I really ought to consider bed, especially as I am now getting a cold and mysterious crawly bug-like spots showed up in my peripheral vision this afternoon. Could be a sign. Before I go, SF, you were beautiful, wonderful, easy and possible, and ever so good to me. You are within reach and one day I should consider you again when this East Coast anxiety has wrung me out... seriously. K you were the bestess hostess ever and your coffee gave me the power to go on every morning. And D, Maggs thanks you for watching over her. I thank you too, but I don't pee on the rug to show you how grateful I am.