Elvis Presley is alive and kicking and running as an independent candidate in the Yukon‘s upcoming Territorial Election.
Gilbert Nelles has claimed to possess the soul of the King of Rock n’ Roll since an encounter with a UFO in 1986. He has legally changed his name, released 2 albums, performed with Chubby Checker and won a Pink Cadillac in Las Vegas, and has been the subject of a documentary film called The Elvis Project. Elvis’ website lives here.
Elvis’ campaign poster as seen in Ross River:
A letter to the Yukon News from Elvis Presley that I liberated from the bulletin board at Ross River’s general store. Click on it to get a closer look at Elvis’ plans to build a tourist attraction in the town in hopes that people will start calling Ross River Graceland II instead of Lost Liver.
A video I dug up on YouTube of Yukon’s Elvis Presley:
Today while at a coffee shop I came upon a photography book called Down Home: A Journey Into Rural Canada. I flipped through it haphazardly, expecting to find the usual Canadian postcard landscapes, and instead found something I couldn’t put down until the closing coffee bar staff pried it out of my hands.
Canadian photographer William DeKay spent 18 months in 1993-1994 travelling 80,000km across his home country in a camper exploring the lives of people who live in the expansive rural areas. He partied with Mounties, mourned with the Inuit, participated in sweat-lodge ceremonies, checked lobster traps and hunted whales with fishermen, dogsledded with trappers, spelunked with gold miners, herded with cowboys, and basically photographed & talked to anyone across the country who was willing to share some time with him.
I don’t know if I’d be getting overly sentimental about my home and native land to compare it to classics like Robert Frank’s The Americans or John Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley, but in any case DeKay’s portraits of the people living in the little corners of this giant land impressed the pants right off me. Did I mention Neil Young wrote the forward?
As far as my inter-sleuthing can determine, the book is out of print so make sure to keep an eye out for it at used bookstores and coffeeshops if you’re into photography, photojournalism, and especially if you have any connection with rural Canada. I’ve included a few photos from the book I managed to find on the Interweb and you can find more information about William DeKay on the National Geographic website here.
On a cold, windswept beach in Meteghan, Nova Scotia, members of La Baie en Joie dance troupe practice a drama about a fisherman lost at sea and his grieving widow. – William DeKay, Down Home: A Journey Into Rural Canada
First-grader Rachel ponders her math assignment in the one-room Waterton Hutterite colony school in Pincher Creek, Alberta. The children have two instructors: a colony member who teaches them in the German dialect their parents speak at home and an English-speaking non-Hutterite, certified by the province. At age six, Rachel is just beginning to learn English. – William DeKay, Down Home: A Journey Into Rural Canada
Wind dries both laundry and cod for Howard Hinks of Lourdes, Newfoundland. The fish constitutes a fair bit of his winter food supply. The steady decline of the fishing industry over many years has devastated Canada’s easternmost province. Over coffee in Hinks’s kitchen, a neighbor became tearful as he talked about his children having had to move away and about the grandchildren he never sees. All over Canada, I ran into homesick, transplanted Newfoundlanders. – William DeKay, Down Home: A Journey Into Rural Canada
Although I stayed away from larger cities, I couldn’t resist Thunder Bay and its Big Shiver, an annual event during February’s Northern Lights Winter Festival. About 50 people took the plunge into the McIntyre River of northwestern Ontario, whose waters registered 33°F (.5 °C). The gathering captured my impression of Canada’s sense of humor and spirit and the creativity of rural people as they make their own fun. – William DeKay, Down Home: A Journey Into Rural Canada
Carpenter Robert McLean of Eddies Cove West in Newfoundland dashed to his hat collection when I asked if I could take his photograph. He chose this spot and stance. On my journey hundreds of families spontaneously invited me into their homes. They fed me, showed me their photo albums, shared secrets and quizzed me about their countrymen. Many said I was living their dream. – William DeKay, Down Home: A Journey Into Rural Canada
Rusting antique farm machinery is a staple of the prairie landscape, but Saskatchewan old-timer Wilf Stamm wouldn’t let that happen on his spread. That very morning as Stamm ventured forth with his paint buckets, his son chided him for spending time on old junk. Imagine how vindicated Stamm felt toward sunset when I stopped and wanted to make photographs. He told me, “I’d rather wear out than rust out.” – William DeKay, Down Home: A Journey Into Rural Canada
His shift over, Réal Villeneuve stands outside an entrance to the Silidor gold mine in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec. A few minutes earlier, 1,200 feet (366 meters) below ground, the temperature had been 45°F (7°C). On the surface it was minus 40°F (minus 40°C). Traveling and living in my camper during one of the coldest winters on record taught me a lot about basic survival. I could not be carefree about where to stop for the night, because it had to be someplace I could plug in and find water. – William DeKay, Down Home: A Journey Into Rural Canada
It’s not often a video on the Interweb stops me in my tracks for any reason besides being gut-bustingly hilarious. I discovered this a few days ago and am still thinking about it so thought it warranted official sharing. Watch this if you’re an aspiring photographer or artist of any sort. Video is by the so-called sucksessful Atlanta photographer Zack Arias.
I must confess, I have a wee bit of a compulsive creeping habit. My notebooks are full of coffee-shop eavesdroppings, my nights in the city are filled with walks centering around who has left their curtains open & lights on, and I’m always on the lookout for notes & other scraps of themselves people have discarded. For example, this note I found in the grocery store the other day.
I love everything about this note. How it’s written on teddy bear stationary. How the personal parts are in loopy lady handwriting while the grocery list is neatly printed. How garbage tags immediately follow a string of xoxox’s. How it’s lunch meet. How the washer in dishwasher soap is underlined implying that at one point Jason screwed up the shopping and got some sort of other soap instead. How there are Hungry Man’s for dinner. How it all ends with massage oil. And how it was discarded in the grocery store’s chocolate bar display.
Anyway … here’s hoping Jason managed to get the right soap this time & got lucky that night.
“So, how many brothers & sisters do you have?”
It’s a small-talk question I’ve grown to dread. I always find myself fumbling for a flippant answer like, “Oh, I’m one of those (l)only children” … all the while seeing the questioner’s eyelids lower with the sudden suspicion that they’re talking to a spoiled & selfish brat who is probably very unhappy, lonely, and dysfunctional.
Us only children have had a bad reputation ever since the late 19th century when that jerk of a psychologist G. Stanley Hall claimed that only children could not be expected to go through life with the same capacity for adjustment as children with siblings because “Being an only child is a disease in itself”. Media of the time jumped on board with Only Child Syndrome, one journal stating ”It would be best for the individual and the race if there were no only children”.
Well, I’m here today to rescue “Only Child” from its stereotypical pairing with the word “Syndrome”. Yes, I’m sibling-challenged, but I think if you look at the following photargument you’ll see it has not created a maladjusted monster at risk of contaminating the human gene pool.
Some people might argue I’m casting my dinner bowl aside like a grubby & ungrateful little princess. However, I would argue my mother forgot my usual puréed caviar & Baby Dom and the storm-scale temper tantrum on the horizon is completely warranted.
Some people might argue I’m exhibiting classic signs of early onset couch-potatoery, most likely caused by a lack of young playmates. However, I would argue that without young playmates to distract me I had already developed the capacity to meditate deeply on the meaning of life … and look darn sharp while doing it too.
Some people might argue I’m seeking solace from my fortress of sibling-less solitude in cocoa’s comforting arms. However, I would argue beaming out from behind that beater is the grin of someone who knows something the rest of the world doesn’t, namely the hidden health benefits of chocolate consumption.
Some people might argue I’m a walking flashcard for classic signs of exhibitionism, most likely stemming from being reared in a center-of-attention type environment that bred a being with the unquenchable desire to remain the center-of-attention by any means necessary. However, I would argue that the sheer magnificence of my flexibility renders this point null.
Some people might argue if I’d had siblings to sadistically torture I wouldn’t have manifested masochistic tendencies towards engaging in activities such as putting my own tongue in the vacuum cleaner. However, I’d argue that … well … really, it’s hard to argue with sadomasochism and perhaps on second thought we could scrap this piece of evidence as irrelevant to the case, which I think has already been sufficiently made.
Here’s another one of my favorite old photos. Just like the last old photo I posted, it’s from 1952 and features my Grandfather looking nonchalantly bad-ass.
I’m also fond of it because it’s hand-painted, which is a look I used to spend hours mucking around with photo paints trying to recreate (that is, until the whole turpentine incident caused me to question the very core of my relationship with paints. … we’ve since decided to spend some time apart, but I hope once we work through our individual differences our love can be rekindled).
Today I have the urge to show off one of my favorite photos in the galaxy. I certainly didn’t take it, unless of course there’s a past life I’m forgetting. The photo is from 1952 and is of a gang of bluegrass bandits, one of which is my grandfather. He’s the bad-ass looking man smoking a cigarette and holding a guitar (second from the right).