Activity has slipped into a bit of a lull so while I have this window of opportunity, I might as well crack that window wide open and throw some stuff out it.
I will actually have to go back and look at the photos to recollect the events of the past two-ish months. The day I never thought would come, the day the Butcher declared a state of you are healed, one month shy of two years from when this whole ugly mess began.
2009 has been a roller coaster of emotions, work, and health already. Family Kicey decided to take it easy on the winter holiday celebrating, calling for gift exchange shut down. Ain't nobody gettin nuffin. Goldberg and I were holding out for what was to be our big gift to ourselves: the new year's road trip.
Never has there been a trip so anticlimatic nor so unrestful a vacation in history. It started off with so much gusto. We tore out through Delaware towards our first night's stop in Chincoteague, the golden winter sun and wind at our backs, stumbling upon familiar spots and some exciting new-old sites.
by a hair's breadth © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
Our plan was to spend no more than 4 hours on the road a day so that we had optimum daylight while on the road, in case we found something worth exploring, plus a couple hours to cruise around our night's destination town. Chincoteague Island straddled the line between run down beach-bungalow paradise and ultra-swanky beach condo awkwardly. We glided into town just a bit before the sun went down, and decided to skip hotel check-in to go explore the island, and, as I been secretly yearning, visit the stinky Assateague ponies.
great white © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
Assateague is a beautiful but rather stinky place on the whole. At a snail's pace we made our way through, stopping frequently so that I could squeal enthusiastically over the plentiful big water bird-flavored wildlife as well as make a fool of myself stalking small, distant, backlit horses.
stay golden © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
As the sun started to sink into a pinkly tinted sky, we crossed an especially odiferous stretch of marsh and landed on a pristine strand of white beach, dotted only with those walking off into the sunset.
the chariot © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
Before the winds had a chance to cut all the way through us, we turned back toward Chincoteague to check in to the hotel and to case the local restaurants. We settled upon the least sinister 'seafood restaurant' that was open and enjoyed some cheese masquerading as butter and shrimp with shrimp and shrimp. Being the nightlife fiends that we are we went back to the hotel, downloaded our photographs and watched some food network before knocking out for the night.
Little did we know this would be our one and only night of peace and pure vacationing.
We got an early start on New Year's Ever, so we could once more make the most of daylight and the especially unique stretch of road between Chincoteague and the next night's stop in Kitty Hawk, NC. We made a couple stops to investigate the scenery here and there to either admire or photograph what we came upon. And there it was.
solo salva © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
Iglesia Cristiana el Redentor
The makeshift churches on this stretch of road had been especially intriguing. But this one had something else. It had a tiny abandoned house RIGHT next door to is. Goldberg pulled the chariot into the lot by the church, actually oblivious to the house's existence, mesmerized by the hand-lettered cross and purple drapes. While he was in a trance I took off next door without a word. I stood by the road, admiring the way the cloud cover dwarfed the tiny shack, and waiting, like a girl pacing herself to leap into double dutch jump ropes, for the traffic to clear so I could take a running leap at the house.
Traffic cleared. Thereupon I launched.
shotgun shack © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
The grass which seemed so innocent from a distance, started to gain depth and strength and as I was about to cross the threshold of the door at top speed, it took me down, flying through the door, camera arm raised high above the head (SAVE THE CAMERA AT ALL COSTS!!!) landing with a slam on my knees, ground into the busted wood porch, which was baring its rusty nail teeth at me.
the downward © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
GET INSIDE NOW. This was all that occurred to me. Not oh shit ow I just destroyed my knee, hey tetanus.. So I stood up and leapt over the broken wood pile and had a look round the pink-n-blue room. I was shaking but was much to enamoured with being in an abandoned house to realize the OW.
boys and girls © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
I moved to the peach room, and the senses were all on edge, quaking from the wind smacking the back door, thinking Goldberg was joining me. I ceased to be able to concentrate on what I was seeing anymore, trying to make sense of the weird opening in the wall or the strangely cushioned on the floor and I started to realize that my knee really hurt a whole lot. And then whimpering.
peach fuzz © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
I came back out of the house chanting I fell over! I fell over! I fell over!, flailing and Michael comes over and I attack the car door, frantically trying to get in and only then look down at my gored knee (not for the faint of heart) and torn tights. We cobbled together some ointment, failing other means of cleaning it up. Freaked out, worrying that I had actually hit a nail without knowing it because I was too wrapped up in anything but damages to actually check... we started off down the road in a search for some bandaids and ice packs for my swelling appendage.
At this point I realized I had just completely sabotaged my ability to do sly explorations from that point on for the duration of our trip. We managed to find a well-appointed mega-Rite Aid in a very new, sprawling strip mall where once there was vast nothingness on this coastal Virginia road. We did a few driveby shootings, including what seemed to be the site of a KKK home-burning. I gathered myself and we made a stop at the end of Virginia, at the bizarre and well-weathered Fabric Outlet.
buttoned up © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
I had stopped here once years ago to chat with the equally well-weathered owners and then spent some time digging around in their piles of accumulated junk outside. This time I made sure to look around inside.
alignment © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
50mph winds blew us over the 13 miles of Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel-Bridge-Tunnel-Bridge onto the back roads North Carolina. We were losing steam and the brutal winds coming off the water as we rolled into Kitty Hawk kept us mostly in the car but for a moment to step onto the beach to gather a bit more sand and crud on my sensor.
We drove the length of the Outer Banks, down to Roanoke and back north, checking out the dining prospects, deciding upon a recommendation from The Butcher. Since our dinner reservations were quite late, we set up shop in the rather morose hotel. I started to feel off. A headache had crept in, I felt a little dizzy and my stomach felt a bit unsettled. I thought it was just because I was getting hungry and shrugged it off. By the time we headed out to the restaurant I was feeling mildly nauseous even though I hadn't eaten in over 8 hours. The restaurant was a little overly yuppy and incredibly loud and I was growing close to that point of being overwhelmed by every noise, movement and smell as the pit in my stomach deepened and we ordered. A wave of weakness washed over me, I could barely focus enough to pick at my meal. A couple bites into my entree I told Michael we had to go. Now. We rushed back to the hotel and before I could get back to the room, I had put my take out bag to unintended use. I spent the rest of the night being very, very ill. Michael felt fine, so we assumed it was some food poisoning. I rang in 2009, curled up, semi-conscious on the bathroom floor moaning. Mind you, the body, amazing piece of machinery that it is, turns off one pain when another is more important. So my knee felt fine that night! And while my broken ass also felt fine I was deeply worried that I might be doing damage I couldn't feel.
breezeway © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
New Year's Day I woke up so weak I could barely raise my arms to dress myself. I still felt horrible in my stomach and couldn't bring myself to eat or drink anything, except for a constant stream of pepto-bismol. Our route was to take us west into North Carolina, just south of Great Dismal Swamp into Roanoke Falls. Exhausted and frail I laid very still and rested while Goldberg drove us onward. Just past the swamp, we stumbled upon a house that beckoned us, a huge old farmhouse in the middle of a barren field. And for once, the ubiquitous ditch at the edge of the road did not impede our approach. Without a tree to hide behind, we drove most of the way up the dirt (well, mud) road toward the house.
the grand stair © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
I knew if I didn't get out of the car, I would regret it we made our way toward the house, ever so gently. We were fully visible from the main road, such as it was, but nary a car even slowed down. Though it was missing most of a side wall and the ceiling was suggesting the second floor was not going to be an option, the two front rooms were stable enough to welcome me. It must have been incredibly grand in its day. I took a few turns around its pale peach and green walls and felt the winds blowing me back towards the car.
the ruritania sinks © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
The sick came back for round two in another random ditch so after a few quick stops, we decided to step up the pace toward Richmond. We checked into what ended up being a tie for nicest hotel I have ever stayed in, Linden Row Inn, which was actually some converted colonial row homes. The very little we got to see of Richmond included the well-trod path between the inn and the Rite Aid to collect rehydration reinforcements in the form of massive quantities of gatorade and ginger ale, as well as saltines. Once we settled in to the room with all my artillery close at hand, I was out like a light ensconced in lovely fluffy bed with soft sheets, though I promised Goldberg I would stay awake while he popped out to get himself something for dinner. When he returned and I woke up, he looked distressed. He told me that he had been quite hungry but by the time he finished his burrito he knew something was wrong. That 'food poisoning' I had was a bit of loving norovirus and now, it was Michael's turn. Fortunately (comparatively), he had the spotless, marble bathroom to spend much of the night in, while I was passed out recovering deeply in bed.
The next morning at the last moment to check out, we hit the road for home, while my stomach had finally calmed, I had an unbearable headache from being dehydrated and Michael was experiencing the same weakness I had been the morning prior. We hit the interstate and tore home, holding on by a thread. In the longest four hours on record we made it back to my house and both immediately collapsed for a several hour restorative nap. It took a full week before either of us felt anything resembling normal.
cut © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
As part of the new year ringing-in, my friend and occasional model, Tanya, asked that I come to her house to document her shaving her head. She has been dealing with Trichotillomania since she was very young and when she was 12, her mother shaved her head against her wishes. Since then, she's worn her share of wigs and grown out her hair. This time round, she wanted to start afresh and made the choice to shave her to give her hair a chance to rebound.
shear © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
reveal © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
It was an incredibly intimate experience to be a part of. Her man Anthony manned the clippers and transformed her in about 45 minutes time. In a couple weeks, I will be having another model shoot with her in a coworker's 'abandoned' space in Mount Airy.
I had been dreading the visit to The Butcher, since my bodily awareness was rebounding post stomach-virus. Much to my surprise, when appointment in question rolled around, The Butcher declared that everything felt like it had healed up, despite the trauma. Really the best news I had heard in nearly two full years. I don't think, even now, that it has fully sunken in, but it was enough that I have now started trying to do everything, things that I could not do and things that I have been avoiding, both.
The first order of business after I returned home was to make all the arrangements for my show that was hanging at Café Estelle for the month of Janaury. Hitch after hitch ruined my flow a little, dark prints, mis-cut and missing mattes, misprinted postcards that took forever to be delivered... but I managed. Even though I wasn't planning on it, I decided to bring a bunch of food and booze along. Michael and I got there an hour early to start setting things up, but someone showed up a wee bit earlier and most unexpectedly. Longtime flickr friend Irina snuck out of a side hallway and scared the crap out of me!
opening preshow with a special guest from Toronto © Michael Alan Goldberg. All Rights Reserved.
She had left Toronto the day before, without a word, and appeared at my own show a bit before I did. She had just had the week from hell, having lost her job the day before and needed a break, as well as an emotional palette cleanser. I was so taken aback by the gesture that I got a bit weepy.
strike a pose © Irina Souiki. All Rights Reserved.
The evening was a great success on the whole, I was told at least 70 people showed up, much food and drink was consumed. Some print sales were discussed and later made. Many friends passed through and new people met. It was very exciting and much too short a night. Afterwards, Goldberg, Shanners, Shua, Irina and I all went to Johnny Brendas for some late night grub, since I had been too beside myself to do anything but talk and drink wine all evening.
wirina © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
The rest of that weekend was spent showing Irina the grand tour of the greater Philadelphia area. This included stops at Peru House, Terrain, the Italian Market, and parts of Center City.
oyster © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
crawlspaces © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
We covered lots of ground for two days time and forged an even closer bond than we'd had over the precarious states of our current lives and mutual love of photography and decadent food. It was an unforgettable weekend, one I hope to someday parallel in Irina's neck of the woods some day sooner, rather than later.
swans © Laura Kicey for Terrain. All Rights Reserved.
hatch © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
the ghosts of © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
The following weekend I had made arrangements with my friend Matt to do my first fashion shoot with a male model. As King Landscaping Design, he is exceedingly comfortable outdoors, so with that in mind I selected some inspiring wild surrounds for our shoot.
white pine © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
lumberjack © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
tied © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
navy © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
brushfire © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
As has become tradition, the Chinese New Year Parade in Philly always manages to draw me and a posse of flickr friends every year. And children on parents' shoulders yield a little high-riding slice of delight.
lion cub © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
wishes © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
hyena © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
blimp © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
Ah mother of all catch-up blog posts! I've been busily collecting new sites for shoots, lining up new jobs projects, making headway on a book of my own work, and working on getting gallery shows. The most recent fashion shoot was another collaboration with Ms. Beaver, Mercedes - our lovely ne'er modeled model, and April, our MUA. We had hoped to shoot at a nearby abandoned greenhouse, but the weather forced my hand and kept us almost entirely indoors.
border crossing © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
Of course, the moment we wrapped up the shoot, the sun comes out in all its golden splendor.
navy blue © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
the morning hour © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
The construct series has been growing steadily as well in 2009, spurned on by the release of this book, now available in the US. I have added two more since my last post, inspired by Fairmount and West Philly neighborhoods respectively.
impartial © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
labyrinthitis © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
This past weekend was my one year anniversary with GOLDBERG! and so we did it up in style. I dropped off some work at a fairly new gallery in Old City, the Artist Friendly Exhibition located at 307 Market Street, 2nd floor - just above the art supply store. I JUST got a call from an organizer to say both of my pieces were accepted. So make sure you come to one of the two openings, the first of which is this coming Friday the 13th, from 7-10pm. I'll be there! The second will be on First Friday, April 3, 2009, from 7-10pm again.
Afterward we took a cruise around the city starting with the future site of the new Barnes Foundation, just down the street from the PMA. It is currently the home of a crumbling mass of reinforced concrete and the ghosts of juvenile delinquents. I shot a series of details of the chaos before it comes all the way down next week.
delinquent seven © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
delinquent six © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
We decided to relive our first date - at least in part - by revisiting the Korean restaurant where we first dined together. Goldberg had never had Korean food prior to our date and although he wasn't that into it, he demanded we go for our anniversary, which I couldn't argue with because it is one of my all time favorites. He is extra super sweet for making us go and he ended up liking it a little better than his first time.
misdirected © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
To complete the weekend fun we decided to drive northwest until we found something. And find something we did. We stumbled upon an abandoned farmhouse and barn near Pottstown. We thought we were in hot water momentarily when a guy pulled up and got out to walk his dogs near the property but he was friendly and shrugged off our presence once his dogs were done getting some scritchers from us. It was a exciting way to spend the afternoon and start the second year of a beautiful thing. Happy anniversary to us!! I love you baby!
see yourself out © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.
unexpected guests © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.