This is tasty sample of images to be shown later this month at the St. Paul Art Crawl. I’m excited to finally present images from my past and current wanderings through various foreign countries. This show I’ll be hitting it all with portraits, Lomo, cityscapes and the occasional abandonment-the tasty bits!  Take a look, and make sure you pop into the studio April 27, 28, 29th.

Check back here for the official show card and more details on events, parties and opening hours associated with the crawl.

Jax Building

Casa Alacran Studio-Gallery – 407-B

Lower Town St.Paul MN

(fixed *&%$ thumbnails)
Last Bell, Ismailli, AZ.  Lomo
Cityscape, Baku, AZ. Lomo
Island Cruise, Istanbul, Turkey.  Lomo
Prostitutes,  Xachmaz, AZ. Lomo
New photographers, Mingivicher, AZ. Lomo
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Courtesy of an old Fed3, un-photochopped and raw.

Light at the top of a mill. Somewhere in Minnesota in the middle of a road trip with the Aussie.

When I still thought Broken Glass was fantastic. Rooftop in St.Paul, Minnesota.

Paying my dues to ‘Angsty Lonely Chairs’ and ‘Dramatic White Space’.  Factory in Pennsylvania in middle of road trip.

Dramatic Black Space. Car Factory somewhere in between Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Niagara.

Son, follow the path of light.    Same Car Factory

But you know?  TGC Loves YOU!      Same Car Factory.

Make art from Wire + Tags.   Same Car Factory.

Faux People pose in Awkward window fashion.  On the way to Heavey Khemicals in Ukraine.

Follow crooked shadows nowhere.  Wandering in Kiev, Ukraine.

Tipsy, Flipsy in the Bus Graveyard!   Kiev, Ukraine.

Office.  Pripyat Chernobyl, Ukraine.

Bleak outlook.  Pripyat, Chernobyl, Ukraine.

Propaganda got them a musty closet in the middle of a nuclear disaster. Pripyat, Chernobyl, Ukraine.

Weeee feel the radicals in your hair!!!  Pripyat, Chernobyl, Ukraine.

Dish up Wip-lash with a taste of Meltdown. Pripyat, Chernobyl, Ukraine.

Nature takes over the Dodge-ems.  Pripyat, Chernobyl, Ukraine.

….may cause purchase of large gob off fish eye lens you don’t know how to use, subsequent badly photochopped snaps and green/orange babies/body parts)

We did this in ’08 …illegal tour?

LoMoFlo

August 10, 2010

Baku Queue

Ismailli Storm Light

Baku

2009 International Film Festival, Baku

Playground, Baku

End of the Tracks, Mardekend

Mardekend Puppy

Goychy, 6.30AM #2

Goychy, 6.30AM

Sleeping Manhole Cover, Kiev

Cave Monastery, Georgia #3

Cave Monastery, Georgia #2

Cave Monastery, Georgia

Song Zang 2009

Last Run of Lahic Bus

Gozel Salon, Ismailli

The Road Trip Begins!

Retro: Kiev

February 6, 2010

No fuss. Back from the Amerikastan, rested, clean, in top fighting form, ready to take on another 9 months of adventures in the AZ-I’ve been writing a bit to ward off the freezing (literally) night. While the present tales of hot showers and holiday and cute boys are being cleaned up; rescued from the depths of my hard drive, a few retro stories from the past year or two.

Kiev Style ’08:
An entire day was devoted to underground goodness of the kind that gets Siolo all hot n bothered, makes me long for the Lab, and causes Qx to suddenly remember (and sing purposely off key) all the bad music from the last 50 years.
We donned ‘Himza’-the steroid pumped bruther of regular hip/thigh rubber, the smallest pair was big enough to engulf most of me up to the chest region and required a sling/beanier to stay up-swiftness/agility was reduced to negative numbers, Ds just laughed at my expense- on loan from the Kiev crew, which consisted of several guys and 2 amazing bad arse ladies, (who over the course of the day and into the night showed how the ladies roll style through the drains )and dropped through a manhole into our first Kiev drain. How fresh: my first time after a year of drain drought, the stank of mold with dead leaves, the echo of cars over grates, the rush of jumping blind into the dark, the odd acoustics of a group of people moving though RCP; being underground, and suddenly realizing that I had missed caving/draining/tunnels and all the good memories associated with it. Funny that a year can make you nostalgic for concrete tunnels and p00 laced water.

The Kiev crew bounded through the drain, leading us to a drop shaft where we signed the guest book, while taking hits of mysterious liquid that tasted of carrots/spices/rum/drain water; my contribution was ‘Bomba’! (One of the first Azeri slang words I learned) Heading towards the exit, Siolo may have taken it upon himself to explain the deep meaning of Sewerfresh, though in-between Qx singing, me falling, and Tatiana talking/laughing while she watched me fall, it was a bit difficult to decipher if he was talking drains or cars or women.

Making a good exit we had a few moments break before executing several ninja moves (dodging cars) across a busy highway,(with Qx and I providing the comic relief of running while holding up Himza and looking as though we were on audition for the Miss US Bottom Heavy Competition) and found ourselves in Stalin’s Tunnels. Wading through 3 km of tunnels (which seemed longer due to the hauling of 10 lbs of rubber around my arse) the boys managed to leave T in tears of laughter at their silly/dirty goofiness. Discovering what has been aptly named the ‘Loleller Coaster’ we indulged our immaturity and took turns careening wildly down the tunnel on a rickety wooden platform-which was surprisingly resilient given that it could hold 2 Ukrainians an Aussie and an American (all Himza’d up) with out breaking. Reaching the end of the tunnel, we were presented with a climber’s underground Holy Grail-a several story high ventilation shaft of rusty honeycomb walls, dripping water, haphazard platforms and moldy smell. The small beam of light at the top beckoned. We heeded its call; challenge intoxicating adrenalin pumping, and head torches beaming. Reaching the top we scrambled through a window and fell out the rabbit hole of a Soviet wonder into the late afternoon sun-this exit also ripped the seat of my pants, rendering a gleefully scandalizing perma-moon. Besides the endless jokes and a few pats from the Aussies, the perma-moon was unremarkable on the metro, where we wisely stood next to a man who was sporting leopard print hot pants-the idea being that his spandex nod to caveman couture would out-horrify any observers.

The 2008 !!!

June 6, 2009

 april-016

Jan-June ’08
Volunteer Youth Group from School #1 with the special needs children; at the HA Park.Peace Corps Insider did a story about the children. This was one of the first big projects I did with youth, and for a fresh n00bie it was a lot to tackle; the kids from school#1 were amazing and really committed a lot of time to help the children at the hospital. Story associated with this project: February 2008: Blue and Failure

The last night in Tbilisi, GA.
March ‘08
(there are no pictures left from this trip since my computer crashed…check out FB)
Spent the afternoon on the private rooftop patio of the presidential suite of a prominent hotel watching the sun set and dangling my feet 90+ feet above traffic. Set out on a wander to find the underground brothel turned restaurant and somehow (due to me) ended up discovering an abandoned metro/tube stop that was connected to a mostly abandoned underground shopping center with a few barely alive strip joints. Unfortunately the rest of the group lacked a sense of adventure/taste for the underground, but was overwhelmingly apt at stating the obvious as evidenced by this little gem uttered at the top of a stairwell: ‘Its dark down here and it smells like pee.’
*slaps forehead with palm of hand*
Resigning myself to a small tantalizing glimpse of GA possibilities, (vowing to return sometime) we carried on and eventually found brothel turned restaurant due to shortcut taken through newly found abandoned metro/tube stop. I spent the remaining evening gawking at the stunning array of fascinating characters collected in the Kinkali House. This place makes it on the list of top places to eat, 7 levels, (6 of which are underground) faux maroon velvet everywhere, floor to ceiling mirrors, the Alco/smokes menu the same length as the food and the waitresses getting high in the restroom!

Feb. BurnOut

Feb. BurnOut

Silliness
Feb. ‘08
In Baku at the now demolished Absheron, a seminal moment becasue it represents that Donny was out danced by someone (!!!) and was too tired to make it into bed. Found him at 7 am while out the door for a run. Its worthwhile to know that the both of us have been talking about/planning  a biking/hiking adventure (since waaaaay back in ’07) to foreign lands with possible hostile conditions. This is also noteworthy since I rarely talk about my friends, clearly showing that I am, in spite of my protest otherwise, a typical self-centered twenty-something.

 

 nov-11Dec08 027

New Flat

Old houses, New Houses :Most of Spring, Summer and Fall of ’08
Was chased out of first house by crazy yelling xanim who wanted more money.
Ran for it and deposited myself in new yard house where life seemed better until the Landlady climbed up on the roof at 7am (To dry berries. Seriously.) and peaking in my window caught me doing yoga…in a sports bra and boy shorts. (At least her spying was rewarded)
Was kicked out of yard house by yelling Landlady and son, much to the amusement and general shock of 7 small children, 5 xanims, 4 old men, 3 housewives, and 2 taxi drivers who had gathered to watch the show once Landlady and Co. started yelling and my possessions appeared in a messy heap in the middle of Side Street 4.
Finding these types of things hysterical, I couldn’t help waving and blowing kisses to the audience as I drove away in a taxi.      Was officially kicked out the night before leaving on holiday, unsure if I’d have a place to live when returning, I was a bit keen on keeping my clothing… This was not only a stupid choice but also an embarrassing choice as the result was dragging around a Awful Bloody Hell Huge pack for 2 weeks in eastern countries and then 6 weeks of meetings after…then I gave up and threw away most of my clothes. Sometimes I’m a Low Slerner. (However, due to a great climbing buddy from MN, my clothing supply will soon be replenished to a PC level of excess.) With extra space/midget beds/pillows/blankets this means the flat has become the central hotel of ISM with a revolving door of scruffy PCV’s randomly showing up. This also means I expect a few of my more adventurous friends from outside the ‘Baijan to visit in the ‘09 before I leave. Make your reservations now.

july08-013

The summer photography class. L-R Back to Front: Salguk, Torgul, Farqu, Gunel, Titi, Lili, Narmine
What an introduction to inside lives of youth in ISM. It started as a photography class, but turned into something akin to The OC: ‘Summer in the ‘Baijan Edition. The essays were sharp (the youngest in the class was 15) and at times difficult to read due to subject matter. I’m not sure what’s more surprising, that the youth really threw themselves into the project (I had doubts if they would actually be interested in participating) or that they started to really talk to me about their lives. (And the lives of everyone else in ISM.) The teens in ISM have the same issues as the teens in America, they just manifest/deal in a different way. Shocking, huh? The summer ended in a bit of sadness, with half the class leaving for university in Baku and the other half reluctantly returning to secondary school classes.

istanbul-08-280istanbul-08-273  

Istanbul, Turkey
June ‘08

Sitting on the edge of the Bospherus drinking Effs Dark with Rob, talking, laughing and just being; then hookah and an in-depth discussion of old boyfriends/old girlfriends…Talking shit to the confused hostel owner at 3 am, pissing him off and then not apologizing, of course (somehow I see a trend here…)  Rob and I share a talent for finding bad fashion, being inappropriate at the worst/best times, being mistaken for movie stars, being really really good looking and having a love/hate relationship with members of the opposite sex. I had not expected to miss my family; was surprised when I cried myself to sleep after saying goodbye at 3 am.

 

 

Istanbul 08 246

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GLOW2008 045

GLOW!

July ‘08

A hyper mix of Azeri/American girls for one week at camp.  It could have been a recipe for disaster, but instead was a wonderful time of teaching teen girls how to be strong/independent/adventurous/caring/passionate leaders.  This project took up an enormous chunk of time and the efforts of around 20 PCV’s (just to acquire funding) which is entirely worth while when the girls, ages 14-17, learn new life skills.  For most Azeri girls, this is the first time they have been away from home with out their families and introduced to new concepts of ‘self worth’ and ‘individual abilities.’

 

 

Aug08 023

Aug. ’08 

L-R: Aching, Jody, Unkonown,Rikki, Sara,Kat, Jason, Colleen

In Laich, the day I rescued London Mark from the Clutches of  Wretched Sleeping Arrangements, Overpaying, and Language Innocence (by inviting him back to ISM and then spending 2 hours on the bus trying to teach him all the Azeri insults I knew.)  Unfortunately, we both left for adventures elsewhere in distant countries soon after his one night in ISM with 10 inebriated PCV’s, several sour bubbly 33’s and one smelly squat.

 

 

 

Aug. ‘08  (pictures on the way…)

Kiev/Moscow/Drains/WanderingAtNight/Hookah/Vodka-IronBru/HawtMen/Partical Colliders/VastIindustrialWastLand/Dirt/Gime/RedSquare/Happiness/JumpingFreightTrains/

DodegyUndergroundStructures/Best2Weeks/Metro/Indipendence Square/Nassssty/Dsankt/Siologen/Quantum-X    

 

 

 Kiev 183

Sept. ’08

 Jason and I give Toy posing our best effort on his last night in the ‘Bajian before returning to Americastan.  Jody and I keep it hard core reprezenting the 4’s and 5’s!!  ‘I kess’es you, miss for you’ 

I hate saying goodbye. Kiev 179

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WinterPhotoClass 002Fall/Winter Photography Class

 (a few of the kid’s photos) 

These kids are from the Russian sector of School #1.  Most of the first 2 weeks of ‘class’ wasDec08 001all of us figuring out how to communicate, eventually, we recruited Lili to translate, the boys stopped being scared, the girls stopped giggling and the group started snapping amazing pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current Location

The view out my kitchen window makes waking up worthwhile…if I actually fall asleep.

 Nov 006

 

 

 

Dec08 002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

131Summie WasteLand

Oct. ‘08(this is for you Steve, though apologizes; the picture is pathetic, yelling fat man wouldn’t let us get closer. I’m sure you remember this chyxana?)

Met up with a guy who had the paper, stamp of approval, signature, get out of jail free, VIP, Leet Ninja, hard hitting pass, approved by no less than an Azeri Government Branch allowing him free reign to go above/under/around/through Baku taking pictures.  Fortunately we were able to swap stories/tales/tips and spend 2 days photographing before he left for somewhere outside the ‘Baijan.153

 

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Toy

Oct. ‘08Kiev 238

The nails

The n00bs

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 jan09 009

Ninja the Kitten as a centerfoldjan09 018

Nov.’08

I like small helpless animals. I do not however like feral crazy animals.  While Ninja made a good show, he is, at the time of this post….Gone.  While he did boost my popularity with certain male volunteers (!!), he was kicked out recently (last Feb.’09) due to complications with HouseTraining. (There is a follow up story to this involving my mostly toothless landlady)

 

 

 

 

FreshMeat   Dec. ‘08    (pictures on the way…)The addition of 2 hot new site mates has boosted my ISM social calander by at least 90%.  The AZ6’s hold promise, Marina has perfected her ‘I’m Disinterested, Hot and Board as Hell’ Toy Photo Smile and I have already trained Tim in the “Maxium Obatinium of Free Food from Individuals Helpless to Rresist your Good Looks” skill. 

 Dec08 016

Christmas Joy

Dec.’08

In the SouthRegion of Lankeron with the lovely Katie, Nate, Jane, Tor, Whitney, G-Strap and Rache.   Mimosa and the gift from Jane of a sock animal to give me someone to talk to when she is not around .

 

New Years! (none of the pictures are blog safe. trust me.)

Madness, of course.  It started with a French Man, stumbling over train tracks, a package, hair dye, and climbing over a fence, it ended with a Belgian Pilot, counting down to New Years 7 times, a Blizzard, a coffee shop, 2 nights on the PCLounge Floor and dressing like Xanims from the clothing stash on the bathroom floor.

 

snaps! photos! fresh!

October 17, 2008

blue n red (moscow)

blue n red (moscow)

better at night (moscow)

better at night (moscow)

chillin (moscow)

chillin (moscow)

Jet Li - the early years (moscow)
Jet Li – the early years (moscow)
classy

classy (moscow)

oh what fun it is to ride..
oh what fun it is to ride..
that face looks innocent...

that face looks innocent...

Ne qeshank!

Ne qeshank!

wiplash
Hardcore Eleet!!

Hardcore Eleet!!

Tasty decay
Tasty decay
still life
still life
all dressed up, nowhere to go

all dressed up, nowhere to go

GREEN GRASS!!! (Moscow)

GREEN GRASS!!! (Moscow)

all eyes

all eyes

future models, FLEX YOUR RIGHT BICEP! (moscow)

future models, FLEX YOUR RIGHT BICEP! (moscow)

For your first time:

     Over a breakfast of Siolo munching Snickers, me spazing out over bananas, Qx/Ds eating a strange meat combo, and the nuclear physicists laughing at us all, we collectively decided several things:  Ds/Qx would die cuddling in the Gobi, (Siolo wants the pictures, I want the cams), our hostel beds were stolen from an orphanage, tight red shorts must only be worn by attractive females, and the drinking of tap water straight from the faucet was not a good life choice that would most likely result in the Big D.  With these stunning revelations taken care of and thoroughly discussed we chose, as a nice warm up for the day, the abandoned structure across the street.  Meeting up with the Kiev Crew we gave it an hour in the abandoned hotel/apartment/office building, which was mostly unremarkable, except that it had a small bit of everything: pealing paint (for the noobs), graffiti  (for the artistically angst), fully furnished studio (for the 5 finger discount) and overflowing toilets (for those who need to feel hard core).  Concluding that this place was just too good to keep for ourselves, Qx/Ds were kind enough to share the goodness with the sexually/fashion confused proprietor of out hostel convincing him that chicks really dig hobo squats and dead pigeons.  Whatever they said worked and within 24 hours the confused youngster was clambering around in piles/puddles of stale crap/urine with a girl he’d only just recently met; laughing gleefully at the corrupting of yet another innocent, Ds/Qx, felt their evil deed for the week had been done and retreated, for the moment, into arguing with Siolo about the finer points of things NSFW.

 

Soviet Era Heavy Khemikle Plants

    With the promise of all sorts of drainage/outfall wetness/RCP/Diggers shenanigans once night fell, Siolo agreed to decaying topside fun and after several dodgy street crossings, a trip though the lovely Kiev metro and walking though a sadly decrepit bazaar of faucet products, faux Armani jeans and mysterious belt buckles, we arrived at a vast expanse of awfully gray, awfully ugly structures.  This was acres of industrial at its apocalyptic best, served raw, and bleak with a side of scruffy, crusty scrappers, and roaming dogs the size of small horses. Dodging cussing men, thugs in tinted window cars, and downtrodden workers  (who lounged outside gypsies wagons in Speedo style boxers) we made it through five or six factories, breathing in the leftovers of abandoned labs, khemikle mixers and experiments gone bad.  We saw it all, labs for producing a mutant form of humans, hulking machines for ripping, turbines to brew all sorts of nasssty soviet substances; it was the debris of a clash between humans, khemikles, money and ideals; debris that was beautiful in its mostly washed out hues of blue, grey, yellow and red. (If you ignored the smell, there was nothing beautiful about the smell)  Mid way through our posh VIP tour, we stumbled into a warehouse containing an entire armies worth of gas masks bursting out of stacked crates sitting in the middle of a powdery blue/green mess.  Tossing out any concern of death by powdery blue/green mystery substance, we did our best to stir up clouds of colorful dust while posing for pictures in equally dusty gas masks.  When the dust settled, everyone was 10 points more elite, and could now brag they’d run with the big dawgs and infiltrated the gas mask breading ground; somehow one of these masks jumped into my possession.  (Soviet Era Gas Masks: a bold way to yell IM F@*KING HARDCORE UBERELITE! Pick yours up now before the posers swipe em out from under your blue stained khemikle fingers.)

 

Learn the meaning of ‘Collector’ grasshopper; it’ll get you far in life:

         Tired from rotting our lungs the best we could on khimkiles, we took a few hours rest in the fire hazard hostel, carefully trying to not fall through rickety wooden bed slats that apparently were made to only hold130lbs and were approximately 5 inches too short for Siolo who had to assume the fetal position every night as he climbed…into the top bunk. (This is an elite maneuver that really only Siolo can execute with precision)

Fueled up on a few nasty energy drinks, and maybe a hit (or several) of vodka, we found ourselves in the outfall of one of the most popular drains in Kiev (at least according to the Diggers) with a dozen or so of drain/RCP/outfall/drop shaft/overflow/rickety ladder  loving individuals, AKA ‘Diggers’.  Siolo took one look at the crowd of slightly damp, slightly scruffy and mostly stylish Diggers and knew he was home; with mad abandon he talked ‘drains/cars/b00bies ‘in rapid succession, drawing, along with more vodka hits, a crowd of cheering/laughing friends who taught him that the proper word for Drain is ‘Collector!’ and Sewer is ‘Fecal Collector!”  At some point in the night, sitting on the outfall, Ds/Qx and I gave up, Siolo, bourn on the wings of fire water, outtalked, out BS’ed and out sang us by a good 2 hours and made more friends than any Aussie ever has (or ever will) in one night in the Ukraine.  Eventually we left, to cries of ‘COLLECTOR!’ (which had become, due to libations, the unifying cry for drain lovers across the world…or something like that), and wearily made our way back to the fire hazard hostel, where we appropriately pissed off the owner by our late 12 am arrival.

Soviet Era Heavey Khimikals:1

September 27, 2008

(summary of the places we saw)

Train Yard:

Old trollycar graveyard, though it had lots of broken glass goodness was a short visit.  We were chased out by an obese yelling man in camo pants, his dog (which was the better looking of the two, even though both had the same amount of hair) and several mothers who felt obligated to add their reproches, (something about corrupting the kiddies, I’m sure) just for the hell of it.

 

Soviet Warehouse? Storage?

An amazing night, that started well with a trip to a grocery store in which everything imaginable was stocked in the produce section in abundant heaps of various colors, shapes, and textures that involved broccoli, spinach, and pineapple; 3 delicacies that rarely make their way to my village.   There was also an entire cooler stocked with beer which caused a moment of confusion, when upon being asked to choose a beverage I didn’t see 33’s and was at a total loss on which brand to consume. The bus ride to location was surprisingly more crowded then any Azeri bus I’ve been on (though not hotter, doubt that any bus, crowded or not can be hotter than a Symquat bus in Aug) but was redeemed by two things: I was not the smelliest person riding and was smashed up next to the hawt Aussie(s).  (The plural is for Qx’s embarrassment/benefit)  Hauling bags of tasty loot we made our way to the top, while the Kiev group, in a mixture of Ukrainian/Russian/English/Hand gestures gave us the history of the building, which I may or may not have correct.  The summary is that in the midst of building a place to house or make computers either the money ran out, they got board, someone died, the soviet era ended, or possibly all four.  In any event the hulking remains were basically a brick and concrete playground of interconnecting stairs, massive rooms, ladders, and multilevel rooftops, one of which served as the perfect host for a bonfire, roasted food, and good conversation.

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