To-do list: Find God

It’s a little odd that I’ve been working so hard the last couple of months and don’t really have anything to show for it just yet. I’m in the process of reading and editing the first draft of Vestal, so even though it feels mentally like the major push of getting it written is over, I’m still not quite at the point where other people are able to read it. My newspaper’s Best Of issue doesn’t come out until May 15, so the visual evidence of the fact that I really have been working pretty much non-stop for the last two months is all but invisible to the public.

All of my recent stories are tied to either Vestal or Best Of–my panic when a model I had set my heart on couldn’t participate in a shoot and the first thing on my to do-list for the next three days was literally “Find God.” (Which I did, by the way, as you’ll see in another month when I can finally post these images I’ve been talking about.) Or walking through downtown San Luis Obispo at 9:30 a.m. with two masked Crazy 88s from Kill Bill after a photo shoot. The scheduling challenges of rounding up all the members of the local media for a really rather cool photo shoot surprise, which we’re shooting on Tuesday. My really rather crazy Facebook posts looking for tridents, the Bride’s yellow tracksuit, angel wings, lettermen’s jackets, and a number of other seemingly unrelated items. Trying to find someone to paint gold dust on a barista at a local cafe I frequent. For that matter, cornering a barista at a local cafe and asking him to be in a photo shoot.

Of course, I’m talking about this as though it’s almost over and it’s not. I’m not even making my final, exhausted sprint down the straightaway toward the finish line. We’ve got nine photo shoots total, and I’ve only completed five so far. It’s more than half, it’s true, but given how exhausted I feel, more than half doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment. Fortunately, three out of the final four are already scheduled and most of the costumes and venues have been sorted out.

And I realized that I DO have something to show for this, even if it’s only a few photos from the newspaper’s Facebook page, with practically no context, that we’ve been posting to pique our readers’ curiosity. So here they are. Almost all of them pertain somehow to Best Of and those that don’t I’ll explain inasmuch as you can explain the editorial department’s antics:

The production department, specifically Dora Mountain, has been hard at working promoting the paper’s Best Of issue in an effort to get as many people to vote as possible. (Sort of the opposite of what’s going on nationally, with certain politicians trying to make it more difficult for people to vote.)

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This was from our very first shoot at Tigerlily, a salon in San Luis Obispo. The brunette model is New Times arts editor Erin Messer. The rest in this shot were all recruits. It was actually a really fun day. And ridiculous, of course.

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This would be me at Costume Capers in San Luis Obispo picking up costumes for the next two photo shoots–Monday evening and Tuesday afternoon. I was tired from two back to back early mornings, and obviously prefer to be behind the camera offering direction rather than in front of it.

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This was when New Times illustrator Neal Breton showed up at the office with a painting for senior staff writer Colin Rigley, who won a Facebook giveaway. It has nothing to do with Best Of, beyond illustrating that it’s hardly the only time of year when my work environment is not what you’d call normal.

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This was from our second Best Of photo shoot, which was possibly even more ridiculous and joyful than the first. Of course, I had my hands full trying to keep spaghetti and flying French fries away from expensive lettermen’s jackets. Also, I got suckered into playing a jock because we didn’t have as many models as I would have liked.

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Our staff writer Rhys Heyden is really attached to this basketball we have hanging around the office, so when he left for a little while, Erin proposed making “Basketball Rhys” who occupied his desk for a little while. Again, nothing whatsoever to do with Best Of. This is just New Times.

1544386_763825673628812_1219872527_n-1A scene from our third Best Of photo shoot at Phoenix Books. That’s Arts Editor Erin Messer’s husband, Ken Samuels (left) and New Times photographer Henry Bruington (right). Which means that I had the honor of pushing the button to take the photo for this very important photo shoot.

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Colin got bored, or possibly antsy, and decided to Photoshop all our heads onto the classic Christmas pageant dancing scene from Charlie Brown. The gang’s all here–the entire editorial department, in all our weird, brilliant glory.

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And this is a background shot from our last photo Best Of photo shoot, which took place Thursday morning at 8 a.m. (Yes, I’m still catching up on sleep.) And I’m proud to report that all these models are New Times employees, (l-r) Dora Mountain, who handles marketing now; Calendar Editor Trever Dias; Leni, who works in the production department; and Colin.

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