Monday, February 22, 2010

Two Meade-Bellinger short films: "TEXAS BARBECUE TOUR 2009" and "INFRASTRUCTURE at CHURCH of BOSTON"

Both released last night.



Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Real Hephzibah People, Take Two, Hephzibah, Ga. (DS09/DH09)

As soon as I saw a town called Hephzibah on the map, I wanted to go there. It was kind of on the way from Augusta to Savannah, so we stopped at the one gas station in town to take on fuel. One couple was making out at the c-store, the boy seated on the curb and his young lady leaning over him. Next to the gas station was a brilliantly painted wood and cinder block restaurant, THE BURGER SHACK, desolate and bathing in the moonlight and the weak fluorescence emanating from the gas station.

I tried shooting the shack with two or three different lenses, and I wasn't getting it right. Of my three companions, at least two were already in the air-conditioned car and itching to go. It was just before ten, and the drive was going to take over two hours. We thought that our chances of drinking in Savannah were just about to die in this lonely country town.

Just as I was about to walk back to the car with my camera bag, I heard an engine revving up in the unlit, adjoining parking lot. Suddenly, a Dodge pickup came tearing out of the darkness, directly at me, with just its parking lights on. Meade's eyes registered the fast-approaching truck. Being from Queens, we thought we were in for some type of altercation, a good ol' street standoff.

The truck screeched to a stop about ten yards from us. A voice came from the blackness behind the wheel of the pickup: "Y'all take a picture of us!"

Out stepped three teenage Hephzibans into one of my favorite shots of Deep South 2009, Real Hephzibah People:

We chatted with these kids for a while. They were kind of shocked by our ambitious roadtrip plans; none of them got out of town often. They were just whiling away this hot, humid, late spring Thursday night in the Family Dollar parking lot. Meade and I brought them over to our vehicle to introduce everyone.

There were two girls and a boy. I've forgotten two out of three names, but the girl pictured at the top of the post was named Savannah.

"Y'all be careful, especially in the city," she said just before we shipped off. "People are crazy out there."

We got to Savannah after midnight but stayed up til 3 or 4. A couple nights later, when we made a late-night fuel stop deep in the Florida panhandle, and almost a dozen teens were found in and around the gas station, it just made sense.

Cross-posted to Flickr.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

INFRATOUR: Will it happen this summer?

FACT: The band will have by next month 11 original songs.
FACT: The live show rocks.
FACT: Dan Meade and Rob Bellinger are professional roadtrippers.
FACT: We know people all over America.
FACT: We want to play American music for them.
FACT: We can afford to do so.

So what's to stop us?

Do you have any suggestions for additions or deletions to the map...or venues where our sound would go over well? Please comment below.

View INFRAtour `10 in a larger map

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Snow's BBQ, Lexington, Texas: 2009 Visit

Snow's serves the best barbecue in Texas, as judged by Texas Monthly (not the New Yorker). The Manic American team visits Snow's every December to have brisket for breakfast and check in with the crew.

Please check out the photos from this year's visit on Flickr. Here are my three favorites:

Tootsie Tomanetz, Pitmaster

Brisket, Pork Shoulder, Jalapeno, Sauce

Owner Kerry Bexley Explaining His Art

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Smitty's Front Entrance, Lockhart, Tex.

From ABBQ09.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, December 25, 2009

Humans in the Trees (ABBQ09)

Merry Christmas from the Manic Americans.

Come see Infrastructure in Manhattan tomorrow!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Of the tens of thousands of digital photos I've taken, this is my favorite. It says: you have a family of amazing friends who will meet you in Texas and drive out into farm towns to eat the best brisket on earth. And in the city of Burnet (BUR-nit), they will stand before your tripod and mimic the action of the giant electric Santa. And then they will vanish inside the fuselages of airplanes and return to the cities whence they came.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Austin: This is the plan...

...unless someone tells me otherwise.

Yes, it is Sunday at 4:50-something a.m. Disastrous chest cold continues.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Twelve Shots from Day Two of Deep South 09

When it comes to photography, the B-roll is more important than you might think. They might not be the best shots, but B-roll photos are the journal--my journal--of my endless travels throughout North America. Here are some shots from Deep South 09, Day 2 of 12, that are important to me. Seeing these images jogs my memories of rolling through north Georgia and southern South Carolina; once jogged, my mind will deliver the minutest memories.

Full set on Flickr.

Next, I think I will post the photos (some A-list) from the Brothers' trip to Austin in May 08, in preparation for ABBQII next weekend.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, December 04, 2009

ABBQII (Austin BBQ 09) is less than a week away.

Here's what I have so far:

View A.B.B.Q. II in a larger map

Here's my suggested itin:

FRI AFTN: Record-setting crew of 6 arrives, lunch in town (Iron Works?)
FRI EVE: off to the Hill Country town of BRADY, which has 3 BBQ joints and is known for cabrito (goat). Possible stops at either Cooper's location, as well as the Burnet holiday display.

SAT MORNING: Out to Lexington to hit Snow's before the brisket runs out.
SAT DAY: Cruise anywhere east of Austin. Plenty of choices on the map.
SAT NIGHT: Dale Watson @ The Broken Spoke
SAT LATE NIGHT: Sam's BBQ? Open til 2.

SUN AFTN: Breakfast at Opie's or The Salt Lick
SUN EVE: Comatose state
SUN NIGHT: Heybale w/Redd Volkaert @ The Continental Club.

MONDAY: Chill until flights out.

Jetblue had AUS on sale for $99 each way from NY and BOS this week. Let me know if this sounds like fun, and we'll get a bigger van.

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, November 20, 2009


Three weeks from today, this crew plus one will be in the air for ABBQII. Here we are, deep in the Okefenokee swamp, waiting for Dan to crash the boat into the trees...

Labels: ,

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mega-Manic Fall

It's 3:33 p.m., and the sun has already clocked out here in Boston. In dark times, you have to make your own weather. This is what I'm working on:

11/16-19 NY for work
11/19-21 Boston for life and rehearsal.
11/22-23 Toronto for work (looking forward to this, as I've never been to the city before).
11/24-29 NY and Philly for Thanksgiving.

And then:
12/11-12/14: ABBQII in Austin! With a crew of at least 5!
12/18 INFRASTRUCTURE at Church in Boston
12/26 INFRASTRUCTURE at National Underground in Manhattan.

Doing stuff is awesome.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Archie Phillips, Taxidermist, Birmingham, Ala. (DS09)

Oh, yeah, I have 4,000 images from the South that I haven't posted yet.


Labels: ,

Monday, September 21, 2009

Momentary Update.

I'm tired. That's probably because, in addition to doing my job and biking everywhere, my band played its first gig in Cambridge and is actively trying to book two more, in Boston and New York. Dates are set for CPCCPCIV1 and ABBQII2. The Labor Day beach week in NC turned out to be a huge success for photos and stories. Meade and I are inching toward launching our road stories website, MANICAMERICAN.COM. It'll be an exhilarating fall.


Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Waiting for Dan in the Airport.

When I couldn't sleep, I thought about Kansas City. We met in the MCI airport before 9am central and scared the shit out of everyone on the rental car bus. Middle-aged travelers stared nervously at the airplane vignettes embroidered into the fabric of the bus seats as Dan, dressed as a Motley Crue groupie, and I, dressed as myself, rained verbal shock and awe upon the bus from its backmost compartment. We were stoked. We retrieved our MAGNUM LAND BARGE and laughed about it. We drove to Joplin, met our friends from the Near South Tour, ate BBQ and drank Michelob AmmberBock until we passed out in an alcoholic food coma, then woke up and ate Midwestern pizza until we passed out again, then ate the cold pizza for breakfast on the front porch as the Saga of the Headless Mannequins heated up.

It was absolutely fucking awesome.

Last night, anticipating further awesome, I passed out for three hours, took a cab to Logan, flew to Charlotte, flew to Wilmington. Haters in NY and Boston assured me I was flying into a hurricane and would be delayed all day. Absolutely not.

I had great seatmates. The first guy, a very burly and footballesque southerner, told me he could make a proton stop wherever he wanted it to inside my body. The second guy told me that his brother is making a killing as a hairdresser in Wilmington. His wife doesn't work, and he's raising two kids on cutting the hair.

Who the fuck marries a male hairdresser?

Anyway, here I am. Waiting for Dan in the airport once again. It's later in the day, but once we get some cue in us, the energy levels should be up, and we should be terrifying beachgoers, the elderly, and our friends, as usual.

Labels: ,

Friday, August 21, 2009


More to come.

Labels: , ,

Friday, January 30, 2009

Art Travel and the idea of MEMPHQ

There are maybe three types of travel.

In business travel, you have clearly stated objectives and a tight schedule. You go from airport to business hotel to place of business and try to get something done. It is often exhilarating, and always better when you have time to explore.

In vacation travel, you go somewhere and do nothing. It sounds boring.

What I'll call art travel is a combination of both. You throw a dart at a map, then come up with a crazy schedule to cover as much ground and eat as much food and see as much music as possible. Your partner(s) are there for the same reason. All day long, you are seeing....framing shots with your eyes, shooting them with your camera, experiencing America in your lifetime. You bring home stories and thousands of images--raw materials for something you'll make later.

I am about to do about six weeks of business travel. The D50 now comes on all trips.

After that, though, it appears there'll be a scheduling gap before DS09, the most touted roadtrip yet. So we're thinking of going to Memphis for a weekend. Just check out this Google Map some guy made of all the BBQ joints there, and you'll be sold.

Labels: , , ,