Camiesha Cassanova, A Wilder Fire

I met Camiesha in an Uber pool in Manhattan. I got into the car and was immediately struck by her beauty. I told her so. “Are you a model?” I asked. She said, “No, but I want to be.” We exchanged numbers and two months later she agreed to meet me in Rockaway on the last perfect summer day in September. We met at Playland, and talked for maybe 15 minutes before walking to the beach. And we just started shooting. Cameisha knew exactly what to do, how to look, how to move, she’s so natural in front of the camera … Continue reading Camiesha Cassanova, A Wilder Fire

Karina Rykman, Bass and Beyond

I met Karina in 2011 when she accompanied Alex Skolnick on bass for an “UnBlock the Rock” fundraiser in Jersey City. She wasn’t even 21 yet, we had to ask for permission from the bar to let her in. Five years later, she’s touring with Marco Benevento, filling in for usual bassist Dave Dreiwitz when he’s on tour with Ween. Rykman started playing guitar at 13, adding the bass soon after. In 8th grade, she joined her first band, “False Arrest” started by her friend Bobby just weeks after she got her first electric guitar. “I told him I only knew how to play power … Continue reading Karina Rykman, Bass and Beyond

Rockaway Beach, Hurricane Hermine

Maybe it’s because my mother was born there or that it has such a huge Irish history, but I feel at home at Rockaway Beach. To me it’s the perfect mix of a rooted, working class community and surfers. Of old world class and grit with just enough places to get a good cup of coffee or a tasty beer. I love Rockaway. You have to pay to get on the beaches in Jersey, it acts as segregation against folks who don’t have a lot of income. But in Rockaway everyone is welcome. I planned on going to the beach on … Continue reading Rockaway Beach, Hurricane Hermine

Communism and the Art of Detachment

I tried to find my zen initially in July of 2003, at a meditation camp in Thailand. At this world renowned Buddhist training camp, you cannot talk, you cannot write, you cannot read. You meditate for 10 days straight. It supposedly changes your life. The night before I left for meditation, I went out with a man I had been traveling with, a man I now believe to be the one who got away, and drank my whole face off. In Chang Mai somewhere. His name was Brett and he was, besides my sister, the funniest person I ever met. … Continue reading Communism and the Art of Detachment

Statement for Briant, Rockupation of City Hall, June 1, 2012

In dreams I see myself flying…                                                         –Invisible Wounds (Dark Bodies), Fear Factory I know introducing a photo exhibit on Cuban metal with a Fear Factory  song is strange. I know. I actually discovered Fear Factory in Havana after spending a month with Escape in 2007. And when I hear Fear Factory, I remember Alejandro Padron, the drummer of Escape, in a larger way, in a way that transcends any kind of sadness I … Continue reading Statement for Briant, Rockupation of City Hall, June 1, 2012

Cuba, Heavy Metal and Pope Benedict

Benedict said the “ambition and selfishness of certain powers” took “little account of the true good of individuals and families,” and added that it was impossible to “continue in the same cultural and moral direction which has caused the painful situation that many suffer.” (Wall Street Journal, on the Pope arriving in Cuba) As the director of They Will Be Heard, and the Executive Director of UnBlock the Rock, I read these words and felt compelled to share my thoughts regarding Cuban heavy metal band Escape and the Cuban heavy metal movement in general. I don’t think it can be … Continue reading Cuba, Heavy Metal and Pope Benedict

Socialism is Lame, Capitalism Sucks

*Originally written in January 2012. When I was 25, my second first true love of my life and I broke up and moved out of our 1 bedroom apartment with the closet that was too shallow and the kitchen with linoleum floors. I was convinced that the psychosis driving us apart stemmed from the fact that we were organizers in a well meaning but misguided organization that plotted to overthrow the capitalist system and usher in a new society based on austerity and justice for all. As the organization came crumbling down around us, because we were too annoying to … Continue reading Socialism is Lame, Capitalism Sucks

Spain, Stocks and Rock UnBlocked

When I read the news of Spain’s youth taking over the streets, I had my typical these days reaction which was to bounce up and down in my seat and contain the energy surging in my veins that wanted me there, now, into the hopeful and encouraging FB status and link that maybe some would comment on. Boo.

But as a recovering lefty activist, I was inspired to see people redefining their movement to change the world outside of the left/right paradigm that has dominated the discussion of class politics for the last 50 years. Why is UnBlock the Rock so … Continue reading Spain, Stocks and Rock UnBlocked