Around 1995, my friend Benny finally persuaded me to go with him to a swing dancing club in Hollywood. Convinced it would resemble an old folks' home, I fought the idea for a quite a while. We finally went, and ended up patronizing that club at least twice a week...for more than 4 years. That club was The Derby. While there were a few house bands who played some danceable music, there was one band that stood out. They called themselves Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. The band members all donned vintage suits and hats, and had such charisma and an infectious energy. To this day, when I hear the first six notes of "Go Daddy-O", I have to dance. So, a couple of months after becoming somewhat of a regular, somebody propped up a movie poster near the dance floor. I believe the film was called "Swingers." Within a few weeks of the film's release, there was a line around the block to get into the club. Things had changed completely. I now had to call ahead and have one of my bartender friends sneak me in the backdoor. This club, band and film created the swing scene in the 90's. Following the passing of the owner, and some financial hardships, The Derby sadly closed. What was once the coolest place to dance is now a Chase Bank.
Fast forward several years. I recently decided to shoot a series of images centered on musicians. I immediately thought of Glen Marhevka. He is the trumpet player for BBVD, and I figured he'd be game for a shoot. After months of messaging on the facebooks, we finally locked down a date to shoot. Naturally we shot under the overpass on Overland Blvd., just down the road from where they shot "The Wizard of Oz." Though I was not able to convince Glen to "trash the suit" in the L.A. river after the shoot, we shot everything I had visualized. I also got a free mini private concert. Not a bad way to spend one's morning. Here are a few of the resulting photographs.
For my fellow strobists out there, the lighting was kept rather simple. I balanced for the ambient (whether in the shade of the overpass, or in the direct sunlight), and filled in the shadows with a bare Alien Bee B800. When you're working alone, are slightly tilted, and have a breeze to contend with, your visions of putting up that 60-inch Octa go right out the proverbial window.