A crazy weekend

Last weekend was very interesting. About a month earlier, I got a message from a friend of mine at the State Department. He was bringing a Malaysian folk singer and a documentary film crew to Chicago to film the singer studying Chicago blues. He wanted some suggestions, so I volunteered to set some stuff up for them and be their guide for a few days. What a cool experience! I met them Friday morning at a Muslim community center on the south side and led them to the Chicago Cultural Center where the singer (Halim Yazid- check him out on uTube; he has had 800,000 hits) performed in front of a noontime audience. We then went on a short tour of Chicago blues landmarks, and ended the afternoon at the Chess Records Museum. Later in the evening, we met at Buddy Guy’s club, where I got them an interview with Buddy and also with Lurrie Bell, who was performing that night. Shortly after that, they witnessed and filmed a jam session with Lurrie, Buddy and Billy Branch, a legendary blues harmonica player.

The next afternoon we went to Billy Branch’s house, where he and Halim jammed together in the basement and wrote and performed a song together. Just a really cool couple of days.

The following day, for something completely different, I photographed a band called Straight No Chaser. That was a challenge- 10 guys singing acappella and moving around like crazy! The guys were really nice, and put out the challenge- to get a good shot where you could see all 10 of them. Very tough, but I got a few.

Right before the show, I went out to find a good shooting spot and watch the opening, very funny video. Halfway through the video, the announcer started outlining the rules and regulations- no smoking, etc. When they came to the part of the announcement talking about no photos allowed, the video screeched to a halt and a new announcer yelled “Wait, not for our show. We want everyone to shoot as many pictures as you can, and post them to as many websites as you can. We also want anyone with a video camera to shoot as much as you can and post videos to uTube!”

WOW, WHAT A CONCEPT! And it really didn’t hurt their draw, they played in front of 10,000 people in 24 hours in Chicago.

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