Monday, June 30, 2014

When Worlds Collodion

How about some wet plate collodion photography?

Photo by Nadezda Nikolova

I met the beautiful and talented Nadezda Nikolova at the Harry Dean Stanton Fest, where I accosted her and and her handsome escort in an effort to get interviews for my silly movie with Josh Flowers.

She introduced herself and her photographic work and asked if I would model for her.

Would I!?

A lovely day for some wet plate collodion #photography, no?
Do not make fun of his homemade lens cap.

I met Nadezda at Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate in Lexington a week ago, and we worked from mid-morning to late afternoon, taking nine photos.

Nadezda uses an nineteenth-century photography process with the handsome camera above. Because the images must be developed before the plate dries, she uses a craftily-constructed dark room in the back of her car.

Here's her feet as she works in her mobile studio:

developing from the norm

The process requires skill, patience and luck. When everything works perfectly, it's like magic.

Nadezda Nikolova
negative space

These are my favorite photos from the day...

Photo by Nadezda Nikolova
shoe stopper

Photo by Nadezda Nikolova
give me the slip

Photo by Nadezda Nikolova
branch dressing

I am in awe of the remarkable luck that brought in contact with this brilliant artist. I am a big, giant ham and would happily model for most anyone who told me I'm pretty. But Nadezda is one of those rare talents that you only meet once or twice in your life.

I can't wait to be back in front of her antique camera.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Stanton Deliver

You know who Harry Dean Stanton is, right?

Good, 'cause Josh Flowers and I are making a new video about the Harry Dean Stanton Festival!

He made this face all the way down to Lexington.

Lexington local Lucy Jones organized the festival to honor the prolific actor who has been in approx. 928 movies, from Alien to Pretty in Pink. (Alright, I made that number up. But he does have something like 200 acting credits.)

Lucy Jone: Awesome and funny!

HDS is a central Kentucky native and everyone we met was proud to honor a native son. We had a lovely weekend gallivanting around town, interviewing fest attenders and even spending some time in same tiny, crowded bar as Harry Dean Stanton himself.

Michele Phillips and HDS, costars in Dillinger and cohosts of a Q&A at the festival

Our fantastic (and selfie-skilled) camera operator Donny Black was a great help. Mostly because I'm pretty useless with a video camera.


We can't wait to share the fest with y'all!

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Aesthetic Absconder: Suffragettes

So, what's this new employment I've been using as my excuse for sparse updates, you ask? I'm now working at the League of Women Voters!

This historic organization (we're almost 100 years old!) has its roots in the women's suffrage movement and I've been rather inspired by our founding mothers.

Check out these brilliant beauties...
Sophia Loebinger
Sophia Loebinger; Check out this 1909 article about her speech

Ready, Wilson and able

ca 1918
A thousand high fives to Susan B. Anthony

Alice Paul
Alice Paul is also awesome.

1917 White House
banner banter bandwagon


In 1917, Massachusetts Representative Joseph Walsh contented that he'd never yield to "the nagging of iron-jawed angels" who were "bewildered, deluded creatures with short skirts and short hair."

I don't know about you, but that sounds like a group of ladies I'd like to emulate.

So, let's all dress like suffragettes!

Suffragette Style
Fluffy blouse, Free People // High-waisted skirt, Asos // Bandana scarf, H&M // Cloche hat, Anthropologie // Heeled ankle boots, Frye

Is this perfectly Photoshopped or what? Heehee.

ANYWAY. Take yer fluffy blouse, tuck it into a pleated midi skirt, top with a hat and end with some super awesome ankle booties. Finish with a purple and gold (the suffragette colors) sash and you're ready to march on Washington.

Or, wear it to the Bunbury Music Festival and turn all the heads in town because you're not wedged into shorty shorts and a flower crown.

After all, it's your vote to make.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Present Day

Occasionally, someone will give you a gift so wondrous that you have no way of paying it back, have no words with which to adequately thank them and have no idea how you became so lucky.


I totally got a gift like that yesterday.

My lovely friend Anneliese recently lost an aunt. Dealing with the loss of a loved one and a sudden influx of her aunt's objects, Anneliese had a sad heart and a full home to somehow clean up.

So, she chose to do the most beautiful thing: Allow her friends to sift through her aunt's jewelry.


And now I have a Ziploc baggie full of gorgeous items that were much-loved from a gorgeous aunt who was also much loved.


A while back, I swore off "bullshit jewelry": the cheap, bright sparkles they sell on the clearance racks of department stores. While decorative, these pieces felt empty and their lack of meaning made them seem ugly to me.

These gifts from Anneliese are the opposite of that: these are rings and necklaces that have a story and a worth outside of the shine of their rhinestones.


And, whenever I wear them, I will think of the fabulous aunt I never got to know and the great acquaintance who transformed her personal tragedy into a gift to her friends.

And that is beautiful.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Quick and Derby

Hey! Remember me?

Attempting new employment has left me with little time to play on this here blog, but as I settle in, I'll be more apt to update.


Anyway, yesterday was the Kentucky Derby. Did you wear a hat?

DSC05628 DSC05627
hat me at hello

I did!

hat to be you

Quincy and I really enjoyed watching the race, but one member of our family just wasn't into it...

tongue-el vision

One's an old sourpuss, anyway.

white lace dress - Free People
vintage 1940s peach silk slip - secondhand
vintage 1980s straw hat - Julie's Inspiration
brown leather riding boots - Charles David via Goodwill

Friday, March 28, 2014

Radio Aid

Sooooo... Do you want to be in Josh Flowers' radio play?

Image courtesy of the Old Time Radio Catalog

This could be you!

Okay, we're not making anyone wear costumes...

Image courtesy of the Digital Deli

This could be you!

I'm helping Josh Flowers with a retro-style radio program. I'm "producing," which, as far as I can tell, just means "doing whatever Josh Flowers doesn't want to do." Hm.

Anyway, we're hosting an open casting call for voice talent on April 12 at the Cincinnati Public Library downtown. We want folks for the following roles:
  • Narrator: male, traditional announcer with deep, manly voice
  • Hero: male, classic mid-century radio superhero, lunkhead
  • Android: male, self-aware robot servant that is more human than our hero
  • Robot 1 & Robot 2: gender-neutral, robots
There's a girl who gets to scream, too, but I have a feeling that part will go to someone very involved in the project... It's me! That's just a perk of "producing."

Want to be a part of the action? Learn more about the casting call here (PDF).

After we record the first episode, we will use it to gain support for a live show. Our ultimate goal is a live performance: voice actors and a foley artist on stage reading the script in front a audience while the show is broadcast live on the radio.

Pretty rad, no?

Josh Flowers and I are huge nerds who love classic radio programs and the way they usurp the imaginations of their listers. We're pretty excited to bring the format to new audiences.

Image courtesy of Memories of WCBS

Pretty exciting!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Recycling Reception Reflection

As an environmental evangelist from Boone County, Kentucky, I was pretty jazzed to attend the grand opening of the county's new recycling center.

Ribbon Cutting
Greg Middendorf, Melissa Gabriel Grandstaff, Kelly Chapman, Judge Gary Moore, Scott Pennington and Dennis Gosney cutting the ribbon

...And not just because I totally adore Kelly Chapman, the supervisor at Boone County Public Works Division of Solid Waste and lynchpin behind the expanded recycling services.

Recycling Center 03
Kelly Chapman in her new facility

...And also not just because I give hoots about conserving natural resources.

The most exciting part of the new recycling facility is that it expands services to residents while saving tons of money.

Tons of money, y'all.

While I realize an outline of county recycling procedures might lie a little outside the confines of this blog's intended topics, I have to share the stellar program with you. It's amazing.

Recycling Center 19
Dennis Gosney, recycling center operator and total Vanna White

When I worked for Boone County years ago, we contracted recycling services with private businesses. They charged the county to provide drop-box bins and then haul away the bins once they were full of recyclables. Then, the company would sell the recycled material they collected from us for more money. That business plan, while surely lucrative for the private company, didn't make much sense to Kelly, especially when the county was paying more than $50,000 a year for the privilege of having our material hauled away.

So, through state grants from the Kentucky Division of Waste Management, Kelly created a county-run recycling drop-box program. Instead of paying someone else to collect recyclables, the county did it in-house, and then sold the sorted recyclables to third parties. This not only saved taxpayer dollars, but made money for the county.

Recycling Center 15
Dennis and Kelly in the new facility

Because of the savings, they were able to expand the program. When the county-run program began 2.5 years ago, there were six drop-box bins where residents could toss their recyclables. Now, there are more than 20 bins and around 32 tons of recyclables are collected every month.

For the record: That's 32 tons of discarded items that don't go into a landfill. Every month.

The growing program highlights the savings that the Boone County has enjoyed. In 2013, the county processed 781 binfulls of recyclables. If a private company were still running the program, they would have charged an estimated $148,390, plus rental fees for the drop-box bins. Instead, the recycling program made more than $66,000.

Recycling Center 02
They also have a cat on staff that earns its keep by eating vermin, or "disease vectors" as we call them in the biz

With the expanded program, the county was also able to offer recycling to all Boone County schools, something that was just too expensive to do before. Each school is outfitted with recycling containers and supplied with an individualized recycling program. Kids learn how to recycle in the classroom, and hopefully, they learn a little about natural resources and economics, too.

Recycling Center 05
The sorting line, where recyclables are sorted and tossed down chutes to bins to be baled

And now we get to the new recycling facility. For the last couple of years, the county had to separate the recyclables by hand, meaning that they would dump the binfull of recyclables out and inmates in the county's work-release program would pick through for plastics, aluminum, steel cans and paper, then bag each material.

The new facility will allow the county to process a load of recyclables in a quarter of the time, and to triple the amount of recyclables they can collect. That means that they can take in more material faster, selling the sorted recyclables and bringing in even more revenue.

Recycling Center 23
Baled cans, ready to be sold for cash

If it sounds like I'm giving you the hard sell on this program, it's because I am. I am totally awed by this because while, yes, I am in love with the idea of everyone recycling all the time, it has to make fiscal sense. And Kelly has worked hard to get grants, balance the books and ensure that Boone Countians are getting the best deal possible. They are saving money while saving the Earth.

Recycling Center 11
Kelly Chapman and Judge Gary Moore

Of course, Kelly couldn't have made the program happen all by herself. Judge Gary Moore offered thoughtful support and guidance for the Solid Waste Division, while ensuring that the taxpayers' concerns were addressed first. Scott Pennington, while only serving as the County Engineer and Director of Boone County's Public Works department for a short time, has been instrumental in the program's development. Kelly's trusty team of Melissa Gabriel Grandstaff, Dennis Gosney and Greg Middendorf have done tons of work to make the recycling center what it is. And, naturally, without the grant and know-how provided by the Kentucky Division of Waste Management, none of this would have been possible.

Kelly and Melissa Gabriel Grandstaff

I asked Kelly how she saw the recycling program developing in the future. "This is a hard question," she said. "I hope we continue to grow and expand. I hope we offer more recycling to Kenton and Campbell counties. It would be amazing if we could get every school in Northern KY to recycle."

I totally agree.