an everyday photo, every day | photography • art • poetry

performance

Between the Curtains

stage curtains
stage

Between the Curtains

The stage awaits the performers, looking from stage left between the curtains.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Opening Night

theater set
stage set

Theater

The stage lighting just before the start of the play on opening night.

I saw a play last night at Off the Wall Theater on Main Street in Carnegie: Well, by Lisa Kron, interesting for twisting reality between what really happened and what we don’t want to remember because it doesn’t fit our carefully constructed reality.

Off the Wall Theater is an intimate stage space, seats on three sides rising up from the performance floor. Plays are often one-act and first run, and the atmosphere is like being part of the action. This year is “The Year of the Woman” playrights. So far, The Zero Hour, and Well, so good!

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Waiting for Showtime, 2012

instruments in stage light
instruments in stage light

Waiting for Showtime

Drums, guitar, bass and piano wait in the dimmed stage lights for the performance to begin.

I had the opportunity to photograph a performance last year, “A Gala Tribute to Joe Negri” at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall. I’ve created a slideshow of the rehearsal, performance and party afterward which includes music from the performance. Click here to see the photos and listen to the music–and I think I’ll need to remix this in a newer style of slideshow for YouTube.

I’m also going to be catching up with a few other photos for the days I’ve missed since the concert. October is beautiful, even in the rain! (No, the jazz standard is “September in the Rain”).

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Performance Photos: “The Producers”

photos from Stage 62s the producers

This past Sunday I photographed the Stage 62 production of The Producers in the Music Hall at Andrew Carnegie Free Library in Carnegie. I love to photograph performances in that hall, and love to photograph performers in general, so I checked all my settings for low-light photography, added more duct tape to my battered old tripod and set everything up.

photos from Stage 62s the producers

I’d seen the show the previous Friday, and I was very glad for the preview—without that introduction I’d sure have missed shots I wanted to get. I actually never saw the play, the movie, or the musical…I didn’t think I’d like it, the plot seemed ridiculous and the Hitler theme a little repugnant and hardly something to use as comedy so hadn’t wanted to use the time and money. But Stage 62 and the Hall being so familiar I had no qualms and went with friends, and never stopped laughing—another reason to be glad I’d seen it ahead of the photo shoot so I wouldn’t produce all blurry photos from laughing. It was sincerely funny, using the non-funny Hitler theme was part of the plot, very fast-paced and so well-done I was glad to see it again Sunday to photograph.

photos from Stage 62s the producers

Everything on the stage is important—it’s like poetry where every word counts—and each of the players adds their own unique style to a character. The challenge of capturing action and accurate color, facial expressions and details of scenes during a live performance is great, with no flash and without the ability to climb on things and walk around at will to get a better angle so the players and the audience aren’t distracted. Then the relatively slow shutter speed with the actions of speaking, walking, dancing and sometimes crowds of people on the stage make it an all-consuming task, using my camera on entirely manual settings, even on manual focus. I never really get to see the show when I’m photographing, another good reason to see it beforehand or at least be familiar with it.

I’ve featured four of  my favorite photos here, and have a gallery on DropBox to review. If you’re local, you have four more chances to see this show!

photos from Stage 62s the producers

“Springtime for Hitler” Ensemble


Autumn Scene With Piano, 2009

piano with chrysanthemums
piano with chrysanthemums

Autumn Scene With Piano

The stage is ready and it’s just a few moments before the musicians, who had just been rehearsing and goofing off about 30 minutes earlier, would arrive on stage in their dress black for the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall’s 2009 benefit performance of Daphne Alderson singing “All Judy, All Heart”. Here the concert grand is ready, with a colorful cluster of mums and sunflowers.

I love photographing performances and still stage scenes like this are rare to get. While the overall tones are autumnal with orange and yellow and bronze bathed in the yellow of the dimmed lights, yet the piano, the drums, microphone, even the floor and the post on the left are touched by a gentle wash of the red and blue stage lights ready for the performance, above.

It’s also in my exhibit “Of Harps and Fig Leaves” featuring images of this place, where it’s called “Autumn Expectations”.


Waiting for Showtime, 2011

instruments in stage light
instruments in stage light

Waiting for Showtime

Drums, guitar, bass and piano wait in the dimmed stage lights for the performance to begin.

I had the opportunity to photograph a performance last weekend, “A Gala Tribute to Joe Negri” at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall. I’ve created a slideshow of the rehearsal, performance and party afterward which will ultimately include music from the performance. Since this will be a few more days, I can’t wait to show some of the photos. When the full presentation is up I’ll post another image with a link to the slideshow.

I’m also going to be catching up with a few other photos for the days I’ve missed since the concert. October is beautiful, even in the rain! (No, the jazz standard is “September in the Rain”).


Balancing the Scimitar, 2010

bellydancer
bellydancer

Joanna’s Scimitar Dance

My friend Joanna performs her Scimitar Dance as part of her bellydance performance in our community festival last weekend. If it’s difficult to find the scimitar in this photo, it’s balanced on her upper lip.

In addition to her graceful posture and detailed costume, I also appreciated the ambient staging, as I always do with performance shots. In this case, the warm colored lights contrasting with the cool light of dusk each casting shadows overlapping at different angles added a beautiful dimension.

Not to mention my friend Kevin photographing from the other side of the stage. I’ll have to ask him if he has me in his photo!

This Scimitar Dance literally represents a metaphor—the risk of dancing with a potentially dangerous weapon, but with proper control the danger is eliminated. Bellydancing may seem fun or cute or sexy, but if you look closely at how the body moves, sometimes one small section at a time in a very complicated rhythm, you’ll understand what kind of control you need to develop.

Women often bellydance around a woman giving birth to help inspire her body to push the baby forth into the world, and also to welcome the new life with the joy of dance.

While the dance derives from folk traditions in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean tradition the music sounds distinctly Middle Eastern and I have often heard people associate the practice with Islam and object to it because of that, though it has no greater connection with that religion than it does with any other. This was performed on 9/11 of all days, and no one seemed to notice the association or objected to the bellydance performance.


Roznizhka: 2011

photo of ukrainian dancers

Roznizhka

That’s what the guy’s doing in the middle of this photo.

This is from a performance of the Kyiv Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, Three Sisters, at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall today. The ensemble is local to Carnegie and while many of the dancers are of Ukrainian descent it’s not a requirement. The choreographer, Natalie Kapeluck, is skilled in modern dance as well and is of Ukrainian descent with a great amount of knowledge of the dances, costumes, traditions and stories of the land and bases her performances on traditional stories, working modern dance and ballet into the choreography.

She manages to work all the most famous traditional steps into each performance, especially the neat ones the guys get to do like this one, other leaps completely off the ground, spins and squats and even saber dances—with plastic sabers, of course. I had no idea he jumped as high as he did until I looked at my photos, and he did it not once, but two single times, then three in a row, barely touching the ground in between the three. This is mostly teenagers, including the guy in the jump, but the ensemble also includes a few adults and children all the way down to beginners. Everyone gets to dance in the annual performance, and there was one very little boy who handled his leaps and spins with great dexterity and a girl a few years older who just never missed a beat.

I am of Ukrainian descent on my mother’s side, and while I actually know little about the traditions—neither of my parents were terribly interested in what their parents were doing as children tend to be—I must have some cultural memory because I truly enjoy the dance, the music, and the traditional costumes, so full of flowers and bright colors with lots of red, even for men. The stories are always a mix of reality and fantasy, religion and superstition, full of scenes in nature and trees that come to life and heroic quests.


New Year’s Eve at 3rd Street Gallery

three musicians in a gallery

Haywood and Friends entertain for New Year's Eve at 3rd Street Gallery.

Just a small gathering of friends as we listened to more friends, Haywood and Friends, play their brand of jazz at the 3rd Street Gallery in Carnegie, PA. From left is Phil Salvato, painter and bassist, all the paintings on the walls are his; Ron Bossetti, saxophones and clarinets and other such instruments, former high school music teacher and regular at 3rd Street; and Haywood Vincent, jazz pianist and arranger.

wall of paintings

A Wall of Paintings

photo of musicians

Ron, Haywood and Swami Shantanand smiling on approvingly.

photo of piano player

Haywood happy at his piano.

photo of gallery with piano

3rd Street Gallery, Phil's piano and paintings.

black and white photo of musician through piano

Haywood in the piano, desaturated color with film grain filter added (since photos were grainy already).

filtered photo of musicians

And because it's a gallery, a Photoshop dry brush filter of the trio.

Happy New Year!


A Tribute to Joe Negri Slideshow

tribute to Joe Negri

At rehearsal, Tom Wendt (from back), Joe Negri, Michelle Bensen, Max Leake, Tony DiPaolis.

It’s all together now, music and everything, the slideshow from the performance.

We welcomed Joe Negri and and his quartet for the “A Gala Tribute to Joe Negri on October 1, 2011 at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall. His quartet includes Max Leake on piano, Tony Dipaolis on bass and Tom Wendt on drums. Special guests included Michelle Bensen on vocals, Sean Jones on trumpet, Mike Tomaro on saxophone and Roger Humphries on drums.

I simply enjoy photographing performers, and I know the hall and stage of this Music Hall so well, even in the dark, tiptoeing around with my camera, trying not to disturb the audience during one of the silent moments of a piece of music, just to get the shot I envision. The lighting on this performance was particularly interesting, and I enjoyed the first set of photos with the violet glow during the rehearsal, and that red background during the performance.

You also get to see the glitterati who attended as we had the largest crowd for a benefit we’ve ever had, nearly 400.

Unfortunately, my 70-200 zoom quit communicating with my camera just after Mike Tomaro came onto the stage, so I didn’t get all the dramatic close ups I usually get during a performance. That lens is f3.5, a little better in low-light situations. The 18-35mm zoom is an f4.5, not very good in low-light and everyone is too far away when I’m photographing during a performance. That left my good old 50mm lens, the original from my Pentax K1000, totally non-digital but an f1.8 and great if I don’t need a zoom. It’s still the best lens I have and saved the day.

You can see this slideshow on Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall’s website in Photo Album under “About Us”. You can go directly to the slideshow here, but please browse the other photo slideshows which are also my work, as is the design of the website itself. In addition, please visit their page on my website to browse newsletters, post cards, posters and other items I’ve designed for them. This is my beloved local public library, the place I’ve been visiting all my life to read and take out books, do research, and just to hang out in big beautiful old building—it’s now one of my customers. I couldn’t be happier to use my skills and talents to help enhance the facility’s image as it moves through its capital campaign to renovate for the first time in over 100 years.