This is Bryan Willis.  He is a professional playwright.  I have a rabid hunger for conversations on out-of-body experience, and I think have developed some tools in my life to identify the people, from all walks of life, who can provide me with this gratification.  I was in Evergreen's communications building one night, I think working on a recording class project.  I exposed my Freudian Id to Bryan.  He said I shared traits with the main character of a play he was putting on here called 'Northwest Passage'.

I wouldn't say Robbie is my best friend, but I think I respect him more than anyone in Olympia.  He's the first 21 year old I think I've ever met who is not just a fully functioning adult, but has really refined tastes and developed perceptions.  He is also without fail the best dressed person in the City of Olympia.  For this night, and this night only, he covered a room in the back of Yes Yes with photos from his life as an exhibit.

This is Jim.  He's really nice, and reminds me of my Godfather, Lewis MacAdams, who is a poet.

If I'm up early, or still up, once in awhile I have breakfast at The Spar diner.  I always have the same thing (I don't eat eggs).  I have this French toast platter where the bread sandwiches Canadian bacon, which I love.

I'm not sure if there has ever been made a photo book of pictures of waitresses, but I think it would be a good idea.  Being a waitress must be one of the hardest jobs in the world.  Waitresses in diners especially seem to be expected to provide a maternal comfort to their customers that is hard for me to dissect.  I've been in a lot of diners, and especially if you go there the really weird hours, you get a lot of these super loner type guys who go there all the time, same time every day, and the waitresses are like the only female figure in their lives.  The maternal energy is often really strong and forceful, even in the young women.

This is Scot Whitney.  He is the in-house director for the Olympia State Theater, the only professional live theater venue to my knowledge in Olympia.  I interned for him last quarter, doing sound design research.  It's funny how all male directors I've met talk the same, regardless of what they're talking about.  It definitely behooves a director to be both extremely articulate, and really passionate, like cheerleader passionate, at the same time.  A lot of times people who have been trained in academic environments to be articulate sort of step back from their immediate emotions when they're making a point, but a director needs to really sell you on something so that you feel it in your gut.

Wendy is from Minnesota, and works in the third floor office of the Communications building.  It has not passed my attention that nearly all of the interesting Evergreen students work shifts in this office.

This is Domenica.  She's Aerick's fiancee.  Aerick was covered in the second photo essay.  Domenica and Aerick are of that strange breed of eccentrics where they have a crisp way of dealing with what's in front of them, but don't seem to carry the emotional weight of cynicism.  I met Domenica in the library shortly after my last photo essay was published.  Domenica brought out her digital camera to show me her 'photo essay', but first she had to check to make sure she had taken off all of the 'dirty pictures', which charmed me.

This is Thea and Peter.  They used to be a couple, but now they're just good friends.  I am indebted to them and them alone for tremendously assisting me in recently moving out of my old house and cleaning it up.

Bryan's play.

I was really traumatized when the state-wide smoking ban went into effect, and I couldn't smoke at Le Voyeur (my bar of choice).  So I joined the Eagle's Club, which as a private establishment allows smoking.  Standing in this photo is Scotty, the bartender.

That same night, I went to Le Voyeur.  In the bar of Le Voyeur, there were nine French guys from two different bands, that were on tour here.  I was delighted at this, because I love all French people.  I introduced them to Melanie (who recently went back to France, but was the official French person in Oly indie rock).

After leaving Le Voyeur I went to see Melanie and Calvin play a show.  Calvin is a genius at storytelling to crowds. 

Tender Forever.

I went back to Le Voyeur, where two of those French guys were back at the bar.  I bought them some drinks.

I went to Santa Monica for Christmas.

My dad's career has been one crazy ride.  He speaks epically about the things he's seen working in rock and roll, then film, then high finance, then Video On Demand, and now a USC professor.  My dad sort of indirectly taught me how to give pep talks to musicians.

My dad's walls are covered with his enormous photography collection.  The photo in the middle is an Avedon of my dad feeding 'The Band', whom he was road manager for.

I went on a walk every night staying at my mom's apartment in Santa Monica.

My aunt got me 40 ties from thrift stores for Christmas, which was one of the most eccentric gifts I've ever received.

My mother would never pass up a ride on a neighborhood swing.

This is Ben Johnson.  I had an excellent conversation with him flying from LA to Sacramento (he got off, I returned to Sea-Tac.)  We pretty much covered all the bases, and had double large drinks.  He's a fifth year student at UC Davis.  I forgot what his major is, but his career ambition is to brew beer.  I told him of the legend of the Crunk House, which relocated to Davis from Santa Cruz.  Now that Tyson is in Boston and Jed is in Oakland, I don't know who's carrying the torch.  The Crunk House is going to get its own page on my new website.  I taught myself how to dance at one particular Crunk House show.

Ron makes $17k/year playing the organ and directing music at a Lutheran church.  He's sort of this quiet type but perfectly amenable to engage in brisk conversation.  We had had a few conversations here and there since I got to Olympia, but this night he invited me to his house to watch an experimental film by Brian Eno.

The film's box instructed that you turn your television on its right side.

The film is video paintings.  The model for the paintings was moving in extreme slow motion, and the video was digitally processed to look painterly.  The pace of the video is so slow that you have to readjust yourself, get that it's not a movie.  It has a cool ambient soundtrack by Eno and Daniel Lanois. 

I got permission from Ron to post all of these pictures of his home.  I really like photographing living spaces, especially kitchens, that really look lived in and not like out of a magazine.

This is Liz and Dan.  Liz is my new landlord.  She is the best landlord I have ever had, by far.  Our chemistry is good.  I can't believe she picked ME out of a handful of other interviews to live in her home. 

Dan is Liz's boyfriend.  He's really aggressive socially, in this weird comical way.  Much weirder than me.  I think I can owe Liz's comfort with me to her relationship with Dan.

Jeff joined the table and told a story.

Le Voyeur, and Oly in general, is extremely photographable.

I had totally forgot Red Pony Clock was coming up.  Santa Cruz's legendary John Garmon is in that band now, so the whole band might as well have been blood relatives of mine.

I have a history of being alone and lonely on New Year's Eves.  I decided this year to be alone and lonely at Le Voyeur.

Behavior from people like this guy in an LA bar on New Year's Eve would probably be really grating and annoying, but in Oly the general appreciation of human spectacle is pretty high.  People drink so much in this town that I think everyone has quite a bit of the beast.  I'm glad I've yet to witness a single fist fight (or worse) since moving here.

Natalie and Jameson happened on Le Voyeur and I wasn't lonely anymore.  They stayed the whole night.

This guy has one of those faces where I can tell he's really nice.  He was nice when I took his picture.  I didn't know what to say to him after I complimented his mustache.

Red Pony Clock came up.  Both because John is in the band, and because their humanism is similar to that found in SC indie rock, I sort of consider RPC to be a Santa Cruz band even though they're from San Diego.  The leader of the band is Gabe.  In this picture he's playing the keyboard, but he plays guitar as well and sings.  Gabe is very eccentric and theatrical, but sort of keeps a straight face while he does this.

John Garmon.

After the show we decided the band would sleep at my house, but first we went for a late meal at the Rib Eye, Oly's most rockin 24 hour diner.

At the Rib Eye, the french fries are 'bottomless'.

As we entered the Rib Eye, I saw this girl Chloe, and recognized her from her Friendster photo.  She's friends with Dennis Driscoll.  Dennis had told me she had a similar mental state as me, so I was eager to meet her.  I just sort of stopped at her table, told her that I was excited about getting to know her, and kissed her hand.

Her friend showed me her tattoos.

John's personality is like a can of really refreshing 7-UP.  Every other sentence that babbles from his lips is extremely smart and funny.  It's hard talking to him sometimes, because I just want to be an audience to his theater.  Plus, he is absolutely the best person to talk to if you want to know how a mutual friend is doing.  His characterizations of people are razor sharp.

This was the last photo I took of the band.

I was so fucking depressed, like unable to leave my home, for at least a week, before Dennis and (unexpectedly) Chloe pulled me out and took me to dinner.  This evening, I relished in the good company and totally let my dogs out.  A highlight of my contributions to the dinner conversation was when I reenacted at some length the collective sound of a room full of people having totally inconsequential conversations.  I think I impressed Chloe with my performance of this sound, which made me happy.

A friend of Dennis' from England made this custom guitar strap for him.

Dumpster Values is moving into a new, larger store on 4th Ave.

There's this diner about midway through the 4th Ave. strip.  I forget what it's called but I went in there one night for hot chocolate, which came out of a machine.  I thought this place too was really picturesque.

This is Alma.  You can only sort of see her face, but trust me, she's really cute.  She also has these feminine charms that I strongly approve of in a romantic partner.  Like this really good combination of dorkiness but being elegant and well spoken at the same time.  For a second I thought I had a shot at her, but then realized it wasn't to be.

Damn right.

This is the 'Northwest Passage' play that Bryan Willis wrote.  I thought it was clever and funny, but I tend to think interesting rants are only performed like good free jazz. 

I met with Bryan after the play.

To all you Dennis haters - I'm sorry that Dennis graces all of my photo essays so frequently.  It's just that he's my best friend in the NW and I find him to be extremely photographable.

Robbie played a totally kick ass show at the Yes Yes CD release party.  Robbie is the kind of person who could just define himself around being extremely well dressed all the time and smart and well spoken, but when he plays music he puts the entirety of his being into the performance.

Christopher played a great show.  I had been meaning to see him play for a long time.  I was very impressed with his set, in the vein of Nick Cave.  After his set I had a very intense conversation with him on the value of theatricality in music, where we bemoaned the genre of NW-style 'personal expression' acoustic guitar music, especially its seeming stranglehold on the Olympia scene.  I ventured that most music played in this often unfocused and unmotivated genre suffers because most of the practitioners of this genre do not reflect a meditation on the inevitability of death in their work.  Christopher joined in saying most music in this genre is marked by a lack of 'necessariness'.  I said that the experience of fundamental social alienation is a reflection on the divide between living and the abyss, a contrast that gives a communicator a place to begin the structuring of their dialogue.

Bobby grew up in Arkansas, and said he didn't learn the concept of a foreign language until he went to Connecticut to finish high school.  He has that totally adorable boyish Southern charm.  Though I have never heard him, he apparently plays a mean banjo.

The next day I saw an experimental show at Yes Yes.  Arrington and Derek did several improvised pieces that were by far the most engaging musical performances I've seen from Olympia artists since moving here.  Arrington is in touch with this really intense primal energy, and it's interesting to see how he incorporates it, or rather references it, in his social behavior.

I took Bethany to a K Records showcase on the Evergreen campus.  The vibe in there really felt like it was a school play that you were forced to see.  I guess a lot of the people there were actually interested in the music and not just looking for some free entertainment, but I think a huge part of social development is pursuing your interests in environments that aren't necessarily welcoming of you, and certainly don't have this sterile 'safe' vibe, like adults are watching over you making sure everything goes smoothly.  I am for intimidating venues.  I think that has to be half the fun of getting into live music, learning to navigate your way socially.  The stakes were extremely low at this show, which I think equally affects the performer as well.

When I look into the camera, it's like looking into the abyss.

Nicholas Taplin © 2006