Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sandra Bernhard in Seattle

This past Thursday June 21, 2012 Sandra Bernhard performed her first of what was to be 5 shows at the Triple Door Theater in Seattle.  The show is called "I love being me, don't you?"  The title refers to the overwhelming number of people that create Facebook and Twitter posts about the most mundane things in their life seeking some way to fill a void that most don't even realize exists.  I myself and very guilty of this, constantly seeking attention via social media.  In fact, as soon as I am done posting this blog I am going to post a link on my Facebook page even though I have already shared the photos there (thanks for coming by the way :)  Shameless I know but it's what I do.  It's probably what you do too. 

I had set up early in the morning and was shooting portraits for work with the same setup I was using for Sandra so I had a good idea of what I would be getting once she arrived.  It was essential I be prepared to pick up my camera and fire fast so she could get in and out.  I had promised her Manager the longest part of the shoot would be to make it 5 floors up the elevator to the room I had set up and that I would take no more than 3 or 4 photos and be done.

Sandra arrived at around 4pm and proceeded to sound check.  The rehearsal took longer than I had thought it would so I was getting nervous it wouldn't happen.  She was set to go on stage at 7:30 and after several hours of waiting on standby her Manager came and got me at 7:15 after she had put on a gorgeous dress that was to be a focal point of her show in just a few short minutes.  The pressure was on!  I was more determined than ever to be quick and efficient.  We got to my faux studio which was basically a glorified hotel room where I had haphazardly moved furniture around to create an open space large enough to hold my lights.  I was using 3 Elinchrome D Lights, a couple of 8 inch reflectors, a huge Octobank and a Profoto ringflash.  My models earlier in the day had commented a lot that the ringflash was pretty intense on the eyes so I was nervous it would bother Sandra right before the show.  On the contrary, when I gave her the disclaimer that the bare bulb was intense she knew the light well and told me to light it up!  She stood in position and immediately gave me an awesome look, I fired 3 shots and said "OK, were good."  She looked at me as though I were from the Moon Titan.  "Screw that, we're taking some pictures!" she said.  My heart skipped a beat!  I had remembered seeing her HBO special Sandra after Dark in the early 90s.  On that show she had Tom Jones as a guest so I was playing a Tom Jones CD on my daughter's boom box.  It was a depressing song on at the time though so Sandra told me that I needed to change it.  I fumbled around until I found the song She's a lady.  "Turn it up!" she instructed and I obliged.

She proceeded to dance and sing for the camera for then next 5 minutes and I was firing my new 5D Mark III away pushing the battery pack for the ringflash to the limit.  She has a way of being sexy, seductive, cool, fun, intense and funny all at the exact same time.  I don't think I have interacted with anyone like her in my life.  The song ended, the shoot ended, we gave each other a high 5 (I was wayyy to sweaty for a hug...tmi?)  and we walked back to the venue.

I met up with my beautiful Bride and we rushed into the venue where we had front row seats so I could fire off some shots of her show.  The show was hilarious.  She had myself and the rest of the audience cracking up from start to finish with her stories (my favorite was about the plumber).  Her mannerisms, wit and voice made the show extremely entertaining.  Her wardrobe change near the end of the show made it even more..err, for lack of a better word...stimulating.  Sandra Bernhard is about as awesome as it gets!  Go see her show!

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