Saturday, April 23, 2016

Record Store Day

Every April since 2007 one Saturday is set aside just to celebrate record stores and music sold on vinyl records. They call it "Record Store Day" - imagine that!

Before the age of CD's and digital downloads, every month, every week, every day would have been Record Store Day.  Sure, there were cassettes and those awful 8-tracks because spinning vinyl in your car wasn't a option.  But there was something about the anticipation of searching out the newest albums, standing bent over the front of long, waist-high wooden cases of creative album covers, sorted alphabetically and by genre, fingering through each album to find new music or that classic disc for your collection.

Where I lived, there was a favorite spot in a neighboring town where we went to buy new albums.  It was a small, bright store really in business to sell audio equipment - stereos, speakers, turntables and all the related accessories - however the store also had several long cases filled with vinyl records.   Many of the teenagers who visited the store knew and greeted the store's owner by name. Grabbing the newest release before it sold out meant the trip was successful but there were always plenty of other albums to flip through if you arrived there too late.

Last Saturday we headed into Chicago to celebrate Record Store Day and we planned our route to visit five different locations around the city.  These days my husband does the searching, mostly for more obscure titles and filling in the gaps of his collection.  I go along for the interesting locations, the people we meet and, lets face it, the fantastic options for a great breakfast and lunch.
The weather was beautiful.  It was a great day to be in the city and we hopped around from neighborhood to neighborhood celebrating record stores and music with a lot of other folks.

At a pop-up location in a sweet little brick building in Logan Square, we waited in a line that extended from the front counter to the rear wall and back towards the front again in a large loop. At a popular store in Lincoln Square, a five-piece rock band was tucked into the back of the store, playing tribute to David Bowie by covering only Bowie songs.  At a store in Wicker Park, if you made a purchase, you could spin a wheel to win free stuff - it was all stuff the store probably needed to get rid of anyway, but it was still fun and I didn't see anyone pass up the opportunity.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Bare Trees

I know it is April in Northwest Indiana and we are all anxious to see buds forming on the trees and green in our landscape again.  However I love photographing the shapes of trees, proudly standing and reaching long after their leafy garments have fallen to the ground.

Trees have a mysterious beauty and grace that can only be seen once they have shed their green robes.   Yes, they are beautiful when they are full of spring blooms, majestic in summer's green mantle and breathtaking in autumn's fiery display.  But beneath all those trappings, each tree hides a personality that can be witnessed only when the sap flows down to the roots and winter's winds scatter the leaves.

Boughs and branches curve this way and that, always reaching like bony fingertips up and out and over.  No two trees are the same, no shape duplicated.  To me they are fascinating!

They stand in stark contrast against the sky - silhouettes that remind me of the Asian art I tried to emulate as a young girl.  Dropping a large dot or two of India ink on slick white rice paper and blowing air through a straw to make the ink travel across the page uncontrolled,  I was able to create dark, meandering lines that looked like branches and vines.  My artwork was a pale comparison to the artistry of the real tree trunks and branches I love to capture in my photographs.