Wednesday, September 14, 2011


By the whimsies of the fates I recently photographed, for their respective promo purposes, these two seemingly philosophically polarized bands on the very same day. Though opposites in matters of faith, they shared far more traits than one first might suspect. Both sang with conviction and performed with finesse while remaining thoroughly entertaining with just a soupcon of Retro-cool. And both espouse, through their art, human decency through personal actions.

The young lady above is Reesi Rocca, whose energy, drive and moxie I genuinely admire. Her touchstone is Michael Jackson and similar bigtime shows of chart toppers: her singing delivery and moves certainly match them. It's a big show with a full band, backup singers, costume changes and well-performed modern hiphop choreography. One family of fans drove approximately 150 miles to witness this show, carting one very happy little boy who presented Reesi with long-stemmed red roses.

Husband Darryl and she are practicing but non-proselytizing Christians, content to be decent people in show biz, letting their actions speak for them and exclaiming "God bless!" when they're especially pleased.

BONUS photo op from the shoot: pictured below, Reesi and MJ, the family Golden Retriever who, as a certified Service Dog is allowed to come into clubs and venues serving food to add bonus promotional contact with Reesi's adoring public after any show.

Earlier in the day I photographed a Hollywood concert by
The Heathens, an ensemble of atheists who are also professional musicians. The venue, owned by a local atheist society, can't display its appellation on its own building (and instead is named after a famously intellectual tv star from the 1950s of similar mind) since such would be eminently in danger of oppositional fanatics vandalizing it.

The Heathens included fine artist/web designer/videographer/ chamber music arranger/rockin' tribute band member (LINK) and
Fastfilm colleague Joel Pelletier who sang many numbers solo self-accompanied on guitar and keyboard before the band assembled onstage. His own deconstruction of the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields," a famously orchestral avant garde piece for a chart hit of the '60s, remained a wonder of arranging economy as well as of insight to its emotional context.

Other Beatles' material remained relevant such as John Lennon's "Imagine," somewhat of a hymn for atheists with its calm, quietly optimistic, secular take on equality for all humans. Otherwise much of the Heathens' repertoire reminded one of Tom Lehrer and the early 60s' folkie era with satire aplenty. They fervently sang of their philosophy, and as the society chairperson reminded the audience, they made sure they always endeavored to do good to highlight same. (The society's next project was participation in an AIDS walk.)

BONUS photo op from the shoot: a Heathen's glorious, custom leopard-printed Gibson guitar and ukelele, seen below.

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