Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ye Olde Wine

What happens when you have all of this wine that needs to be distributed and no pictures of the wine bottles for your website? You have your Sales guy (Steuart Martens) call Kip Pierson Photography. Stu and I have known each other a little over a year now through the DC Triathlon Club and though he'll never boast about it Steuart is one of if not the fastest swimmer I know. "Sure" you say, we all know some "fast" swimmers. No...this guy is fast...really. A former University of Purdue swimmer, this past summer Stu set a world record for the fastest swim across the San Francisco Bay. A world record! Now that's fast!

Well, needless to say, Stu is faster than me in the pool and for that he probably took pity on me and called me up to see if I could help. And though I've done ZERO product photography I was willing to explore to realm of possibilities.

Formed in summer of 2008, Tradewinds Specialty Imports, LLC (“Tradewinds”) came to life based on their founders’ passion for Spanish wine and food, and the burning desire to share such rich and rare specialty items with US restaurant goers and wine enthusiasts.

Through a partnership with their Spanish exporter, they provide a portfolio of Spanish products with an optimal blend of quality and value. This is achieved by visiting many vineyards and manufacturing facilities across Spain to develop an intimate knowledge of the owners, workers and production process. And now they have a website!!! So go check it out. They've got some great products. Also, look to see when there next wine tasting is...knowing Stu, it should be fun.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Richard "Guess how old I am" Yingling

21? 30? 18? 25? 40? If you guessed any of these, you would be wrong. Though his surname is Yingling and though he tells me he is related to the "Yuengling" lager that we all no from Pennslyvania, Richard is not old enough to drink. NO. In fact, Richard is not even old enough to drive. Yet he is old enough to graduate from high school on be on his way to Howard University to pursue the age of 15. Yes, 15 ladies and gentleman. Needless to say, I was stunned. In fact, Richard is the youngest of 3 and all of them graduated high school early and began their college career long before most even thought of going to college. How is this possible? What type of genes our his parents producing? What's their background? What kind of jobs do they have? Are his parents the best parents ever? Well, luckily for me Richard's Mom came along for the photo shoot. (After all, how was Richard going to get there? DRIVE? I don't think so.) And the answer? Home School. TADA!!! That's right, 3 kids, all home schooled, all graduating early, and all smart as a whip. Now you may say home schooled children lack the social skills necessary for everyday life...I disagree. If you were to ever meet Richard you'd agree. He's a smart, young, polite and articulate individual and with all the freedom that comes with being home schooled, Richard gets hones his "social skills" in the theatre acting with adults and other kids his own age. In fact, it was Lexi Haddad who recommended him to me--the girl who was 14 going on 30. These kids are amazing. What's not to like about being homeschooled? Best of luck to you Richard!

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

THE FAITHKILLER Production Photos

Who will stand up for justice?
Who will defend us from ourselves?
Who will you trust with the power of the Brain Drain Gun?

When an ambitious young network television producer resurrects a 1940s-era radio program and recasts its central character as an atheist superhero, conflicts over the nature of faith and the power of belief erupt across lines of family, politics, and culture.

"The Faithkiller" is a parable for an age in which old-time religion collides head-on with the New Atheism… and neither side comes away unscathed.

Taffety Punk Theatre, winner of the 1st ever John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company @ the 2008 Helen Hayes Awards, embarks on a new endeavor from playwright Gwydion Suilebhan. Directed by Artistic Director Marcus Kyd and featuring Company Member Kimberly Gilbert (both fellow Academy for Classical Acting grads like myself) , Suilebhan says that The Faithkiller is an investigation of sorts into “the difference between faith and belief.” The play’s inquiry spans history, denomination, and race, as characters grapple with thorny questions raised by the strictures and demands imposed upon them not only by Christianity, Islam, Judaism, but also by the militant, fundamentalist atheism that has appeared in recent years, most prominently in best-selling books by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens.

So if you'd like to come all the info is below. And if you know MJ and Kimberly at all, you'll know you can always count on great performances from these two. Best of luck folks and BREAK A LEG!!!

WHAT: The Faithkiller

WHEN: March 30, 2009 (Opening Night) 7:30 p.m.
April 1-3, 8-10 and 15-17 (Wednesday-Friday) 7:30 p.m.
April 4, 11 and 18 (Saturday) 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
(Pay-What-You-Can Previews March 27 and 28 at 7: 30 p.m.)

WHERE: Capitol Hill Arts Workshop
545 7th Street SE
Washington DC 20003

TICKETS: All tickets $10
Or call: 1-800-838-3006

Gwydion Suilebhan is the author of Abstract Nude, The Great Dismal, and The Butcher. His previous work with Taffety Punk includes the world premiere of his play Let X (2006) and contribution of a prologue to the company’s production of Cardenio Found (2007). His plays have been produced, workshopped, read, and commissioned by the Kennedy Center, National Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Mead Theatre Lab, Theater of the First Amendment, Rorschach Theatre, Intentional Theatre Group, Source Theatre Festival, and the Capitol Fringe Festival. He has received two Individual Artist Fellowships and a Larry Neal Award from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and has twice been accepted into the Cultural Development Corporation’s Mead Theatre Lab program. He was recently named a finalist for the Washington D.C. Mayor’s Arts Award in the category of Outstanding Emerging Artist.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

SunTrust National Marathon

In its 4th year the 2009 SunTrust National Marathon and Half Marathon would once again see a record number of participants. With its self-imposed limit of 8,000 runners by race day, a big increase from the 5,000 registrations received in 2008, race officials made a big push and extended their marketing tour all over the country. They canvassed races up and down the East Coast, from Richmond, VA to New York---and that help spread the word about the scenic race that takes runners past monuments and historical locations. It also helped recruit more international runners than in the past.

With that said, the registration caps placed on a hometown race such as the SunTrust National Marathon allows many unseasoned marathoners the opportunity to take their first stab at the distance in an officially sanctioned race. Not too big and not too small, the National Marathon provides that "just right" feeling when one attempts their first row with the almighty 26.2 mile distance. Some win, some lose, most are sore afterwards and all are certainly proud to have accomplished what 6 months ago was an impossible and daunting task. One such individual to take on that task was Kevin Pierson: Basement dweller of 1009 Independence Ave. SE Washington, board treader of the Washington Stage, a Michael Chiklis look-alike and my brother.

Long time coach potato, 1st time marathoner. What's was once a much larger version of a brother was now toeing the line at RFK stadium Saturday morning nearly 35 lbs. lighter than we he began this transformation. Question was: Would it translate into success? The PRIMARY goal---finish the marathon. The GOAL WITHIN THE GOAL---finish in under 4:00:00. (Exactly :10 under my 1st marathon nearly ten years ago.) The IMMEDIATE goal---keep one foot in front of the other.

The morning came early than expected. My thoughts of getting up and photographing the race for him passed by in my thoughts, but a recent running injury to my right shin left me doubting my ability to move well enough to photograph him. But guilt and the inability to return to a reasonable repose gave way to better judgement. Pants on, Under Armour layered up, batteries charged and bike helmet snapped, I took off down the street in hopes of catching the action before it such luck. The lead group was coming at me at full speed and my only thought was "SHIT! How am I going to find Kevin in this throng of people?" If he was smart and stuck true to his word he would find the 4:00:00 pace group leader and stay close by his side...........And so he did.

My goal today wasn't to interfere with his race. My hope was that I could be as covert as possible, but we both know that wasn't going to be possible. Over the course of 26.2 miles I was bound to be spotted, but by no means would I attempt to coach him in this race. It was his race, to be run the way he thought best and by no means was I going to even talk to him. (Though near the halfway point level heads prevailed and a brotherly word was spoken here and there.) So...with target locked in, camera switched on and table trays secured in their upright position we took off---Kevin on foot, myself by bike. This is story of Kevin Pierson, 1st time marathoner.

Post-race photo I made Kevin pose for...still in good spirits.

Monuments, monuments, monuments.
(Kevin is in the middle at the background with the white hat and has yet to notice me)

Do you think he noticed me?

Yes, and notice me he did.

A smaller marathon than DC's other marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, but in my opinion---much more scenic.

RFK Stadium
Former home of the Redskins and Nationals.
Current home for D.C. United.

First time marathoner and already a veteran at communicating with the volunteers for water.

Coming out the the 12th St. Tunnel.

I judge thee a true marathoner.

Home of the National League Washington Nationals

This is my favorites sequence of pictures from the race. There's always a story within the story. Notice Kevin pointing for the water in frame 1, eyeing the water and stretching the hand out for the water in frame 2. Then notice the intruding hand creeping into the picture in frame 2. Enter frame 3 and the thievery that then ensues. Now notice Kevin's face.

"21 down, 5.2 to go. What's my pacing? Can I make 4:00:00?"

The hills of Minnesota Ave.

Yes, that close. It was interesting to see Kevin to go from jubilation, to exhausted, to smelling the barn and then back to jubilation. A roller coaster of emotions packed in to one tiny race.

RFK and the finish line up ahead.

Officially a net time of 4:02:56, but with the slow start behind the line, the chip time was 3:58:01.

As you would expect, Kevin quickly made friends with the runners around him. Kevin and David Peikin, pictured here, ran together for nearly the 1st 20 miles. Misery loves company.

Smiles return shortly after finishing, perhaps even slightly before the line. Perhaps 3 feet before the line when you're sure to finish even if you pass out---that's if you fall forward. :-)

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