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2003-09-22

Hi again! If you hadn't noticed, I am traveling around the US and writing about it. I am looking for nice, fun people who can put me up for a few nights and feed me and pay my way (since I am broke) and show me a good time (since I like good times). If you think it might be fun to host me for a day or two or three, email me at justingrace AT mac DOT com with your info and address and phone number. I am especially looking for places to stay in the southern USA. Right now I really need a place to stay in or around the following places:

•Central Texas
•Mississippi
•Alabama
•Tennessee
•North/South Carolina

Thanks in advance for your help! And now...


US Tour Day 6: Photo Shoot

I didn't know what to expect when I rolled into Glenn Campbell's studio in Los Angeles. I have spent lots of personal time with Glenn and his assistant Jessika, but this would be our first professional endeavor together.

I arrived at the sort of apartment building that actually has a fancy name of its own, such as The Belvedere or The Claremont or something similarly ritzy sounding. I had a car full of garment bags and backpacks and shoes and hats, and I was instructed by Jessika to leave these things with the doorman. "Move over, slaves! It's doorman time!" I don't think I have ever even encountered a doorman before. I felt like I was in a movie about someone else in a time before my parents were born in a place I had never been but I thought it might be New York.

I felt awkward and out of my comfort zone. This was only exacerbated by the relentless Los Angeles heat—it caught me off guard, and I was dressed inappropriately enough to be uncomfortably irritable. By the time I lugged in bag after bag from my car (which was double parked by the curb) I looked like I should be on the cover of Grumpy, Sweaty and Disheveled Magazine.

The elevator in the building was way too old to inspire any feeling of safety in me, and a glacier could have cut the Grand Canyon twice in the time it took for the ancient machine to heave me up to my eighth floor destination.

But, my spirits were lifted once I walked in the door to the studio. Glenn and Jessika hugged me, and their familiar voices and energies soothed my irritation like night cools the desert. They were like an oasis of refreshing familiarity.


I met my stylist, Tracy, and we started to brainstorm and talk about our ideas for the shoot. My goal was to leave that day with images for my new album, PR shots, and head shots for acting work. My homework before the shoot was to go to the bookstore and get a bunch of magazines and cut out pictures that inspired me or that had elements I wanted to incorporate into the shoot. So, I spread out about forty pages on the long wooden table, a very regal feast–sized table made of rich, dark–stained wood—the sort of table nobody I know would ever own, let alone do something as possibly disastrous as eat food near or on. I felt so dangerous—like a reckless, drunk maniac in the fancy crystal section of Nordtsrom's—as I used the hand–held razor to surgically remove pages from each magazine, the table's immaculate finish was only millimeters away from the perilous blade and my clumsy hands.

Glenn and Jessika looked over the pictures and talked amongst themselves as I familiarized Tracy with my wardrobe. No matter how many times I have a photo shoot, it always seems so funny to write about these sorts of things, using such words as stylist and wardrobe. It just seems like those are the sorts of words that snotty actors use during dinners with one another, and not the sort of stuff that falls from the fingers of lewd, wayfarer–perverts/self–indulgent recording artists like moi.

The four of us worked together to pick out five looks from my wardrobe. My wardrobe had recently emerged from the garment bags and it was now arranged neatly on a tall, shiny metal rolling clothes rack. I had somehow crammed just about every single piece of clothing I owned into my tiny car for this trip, and I felt very satisfied now that I saw my shirts and pants and such all hanging on hangers and about to be put into actual action.


And, then we started to shoot—snap, snap, snap. The shoot was a merry–go–round, whirling me between wardrobe and makeup and the set and then starting the circle over again. It all felt so fast, yet the hours just melted away like ice cream on the sidewalk in that late summer heat. Before I knew it we were done, and it was 9 PM.

I felt dizzy, disoriented. My brain was shivering. The lump of synapses in my skull was tired from all the work it had done. Being a subject or model in a shoot requires use of a different part of one's brain—the strange little bit that's responsible for understanding how one's likeness appears to a third party. Anyone can develop this part of their brain, but people who don't spend much of their time as models or actors may find this part sore after a day like I had.

I loved the stretch I felt in my brain, though. It made me know in the marrow of my bones how much I love to be in front of the camera, captured like a product, encapsulated in an image. This is the way I want to spend my life, I thought, a constant representative of art, working without rest, laughter my only repose.

It turned out I would be right on the money about not getting any rest. Glenn invited me to a party after the shoot in West Hollywood—a birthday event for a friend of his. He told me there would be lots of industry people and a lot of folks that work in the adult movie business. He then asked if I thought that sounded like fun. I imagined myself handing out my offensive buttons to porn stars in a chi–chi Southern California setting, laughing at the irony that drenches each moment of my ridiculous life. It sounds like tons of fun!, I said.

And what happened at the party that evening, my dear friends, is a whole 'nother story.


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