Friday, June 22, 2007

Pick up a copy of, FLIP TO PAGE 4!

You'll see this photo taken by me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cami Airisol: Winner of the Air Guitar Championship @ The Varsity

It's my first photo that has ever been published in print. In a deal that happened in about a two hour time slot yesterday, I got my FIRST PHOTO EVER PUBLISHED IN PRINT!

Plus, they paid me...another first...which fucking rules on many MANY levels...because now I can actually pay my T-mobile bill with real money and not love bucks.

Check out the online version here.

I only told a few people about it yesterday. My sister called me and woke me up this morning to congratulate me. I couldn't stand still at work. I wouldn't fully believe it until I saw it. I was worried that, even though I signed a contract and spoke with the woman several times and she even told me what page it would be on, it wasn't going to be there. When I got to the red brick apartment on the corner, Jen and I, at her urging, went romping through the streets of Uptown to find a copy of Through the sticker blanketed window, we saw it in CD Warehouse. I ran heart was racing...I opened the paper and THERE IT WAS! Jen just started squealing. I'm pretty sure I made a boner comment. It was so wonderful.

And, to quote Jen, "it's bigger than the Ryan Adams picture!!!!!"

Then we made a promise to each other to continue working really hard, keep one another in check and never sell our souls to Noah's Arcade.

This makes me so happy.


I am proud of this. I also am REALLY motivated to move forward, a wonderful feeling. I want to do this. I want to work at this. I have so very very very much more to learn. I sure do love this camera thing an awful lot.

First stop, air guitar. Next stop, Bruce wrapped only in an American Flag for the cover of JONESIE JAMZ.

Kiddin' I'm done now.

In short, pick up a copy of!

Also, I have really amazing friends who support me on so many levels, even when I ramble, even when I talk too loudly, even when I'm a mass of tears. I must have done something right to have these awesome characters in my life. It really does make me feel as if there's an army beside me. So...thank you!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

T'is a phenomenon...

A phenomenon called THE JONESIE FACE!

Just to prove that something exists beyond The Jonesie Face...

Good times with Good times with The Girls (& The George, The Carl & The Alex.) Good times at The Nomad. Good times at The Spins (especially when The Laptop is not The Stolen.) Good times, indeed.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Twin Cities f*cking ROCK...then and forever!

Paul Westerberg at The Fitzgerald Theater
June 16, 2007

Thursday, June 14, 2007

For Family, We Sing a Love Song for the Hoot

I picked Jen up and we drove the special route to avoid the horrific 35WS traffic, twisting the Honda through Kings Hwy and past the graveyard, parking behind Java Jack's. We got there early, in past weeks, it would have been early enough to have our choice of seats. Not this week. Stacy came running up the stairs.

"It's really crowded already," she said.

It was the final Hoot for the season. Maybe. HOPEFULLY returning in the fall.

Of course it would be crowded.

Jen and I weaved through to the back. I threw my purse and camera bag down and we settled into our spots. Jen popped open her PBR and I debated on whether or not to buy a cookie. People were spilling in as, out of sheer laziness, I decided no.

It was close to 6:30pm. Jim scanned the room.

"Alexa! Jen! Get down here. Up front!" he shouted.

I looked at Jen.

"You go," she said.
"You sure?"
"Yeah. I wanna stay back," she answered assuredly.

I weaved back to the front. Stacy and Andrea were huddled down on the floor, in front of the tables and right by the stage. There was no room by Stacy as Tony Nelson's giganto-camera bag was splayed out. But there was room between Tony Nelson and the stone wall. It was unavoidable then that I would meet him, this man whose photos I've seen everywhere, whose giganto-camera sneaks over my shoulder at many shows, as I was about ready to practically straddle him to sit down in my seat.

The Hoot began.

I am thrown back to my first Hoot on that freezing day in February, when I walked down those basement stairs with an old friend from college. We sat up against the stone wall, huddled off to the side. Anna drank whiskey that Stook! and Jim handed out as I sat quietly, looking at all the people I knew. Well, not knew but read articles and posts, saw pictures, heard tunes...for over a year. I shivered in the cold, intimidated and intrigued.

The next week, I mustered up the courage to say hi and converse for a bit. The week after, at Jim's urging but still afraid I was overstepping some strange boundaries, I went to the bar with all of them. The week after that. The week after that. The week after that. There would be more bars, shows we would dance at, shows we would cry at, birthdays we would celebrate together, texts and emails we would send daily, Mofo qualities would be debated, records we would shop for, meals we would eat at 2am, apartments we would sit in, drink in, gossip in, smoke in. This was my Friday night for five months. It was inevitable. We had the same Friday night plans for five months. We loved the same thing.

These people, who I watched from a distance (I swear not creepily) for over a year, almost two years, are my friends. They are now real people to me: flawed, wise, so smart, snarky, creative, motivated, hilarious and kind. They have accepted me, that crazy Bruce Springsteen girl with the plastic jewelry and the camera, the animated photographer who loves to dance and write. They are my friends. They are mentors, people whose work I so greatly respect, who I can talk to and learn from, people to stand next to at shows and be really excited with about music.

And the Hoot began.

I sat wedged between the photographer and the wall, my camera in hand. My legs were contorted, half way beneath the stage. I sat directly under Jim Walsh and periodically knocked into him throughout the night. He loomed over me, casting a shadow of comfort and glee. The Hoot was his project, his labor, and he gave it over to us over and over again. Jim listens, loves and explodes with a fierce dedication. He never ever judges you for being passionate and excited, if it is true, because those qualities overflow within him. He is a friend, a fellow tramp and an inspiration. Thank you just doesn't seem like enough.

Through all the five months, I didn't shoot at the Hoot. It was my time to just sit and stare and listen. Relax. Which is much more difficult for me to do than it should be. Plus, I was and am still a bit intimidated. That's a quality that's difficult to shake. I'm learning. I'm shaking so hard.

I would shoot this Hoot...and be so very glad I did. I can say with full confidence that this was one of the greatest nights a small coffee shop in Southern Minneapolis has ever seen. One of the greatest nights I have ever seen, too.

I cried and laughed and I wasn't alone.

The performers were Jim Walsh as The Mad Ripple, Leslie Ball, Stook!, Terry Walsh (Jim's brother aka Uncle Bird), The Cates and Strange Friends...with some pretty effin' spectacular guest appearances.

Jim sang his familiar tunes. That's what makes this place home. Leslie Ball tells a story about a goose and his welcomed geese friends. She sang and I gained a new respect for the wacky woman who runs Ball's Cabaret. Stook! ripped the place apart. We all sang along to A song is mo' than just a song. Home. Terry bounced and thrilled and inspired with a song about riding bikes the wrong way up 35W. We all laughed. The Cates, Erin Kate and Caitlyn Smith, swept over the room with one guitar and two beautiful voices, clean and aching sounds. Strange Friends, planted in the back of the basement, picked us back up again.

There were more stories and songs. One after the other. Again and again.

Then, I witnessed a moment in my live music history, a song I will never forget.

Caitlyn Smith began to strum the guitar and Erin opened her mouth to sing. What I remember is not exact. The timing is not correct. But the memory is.

Day Break My Heart

If this is war, please declare it.
And if you like, I will turn the other cheek.
For you.
For you.

I'd run away but you'd just follow.
And so I stay and wait for your next move.

(((Erin's little girl, who had been jumping back and forth between her mom and her grandpa, reached out her arms to be taken back to her mom. Erin held her.)))

Day break my heart. Don't spare me.
Day break my heart. Don't spare me.
Day break my heart. Don't spare me now.

Heaven knows, the road ain't easy.
I'm not a saint but I am testing my wings for flight.
For flight.

(((Erin's girl began to wiggle a bit in her lap as her arms wrapped tighter around her daughter.)))

Day break my heart. Don't spare me.
Day break my heart. Don't spare me.
Day break my heart. Don't spare me now.

(((Erin got choked up. Tears welled in her eyes as her voice catches in her throat.)))

Day break my heart. Don't spare me.
Day break my heart. Don't spare me.
Day break my heart. Don't spare me now.

(((She cried, clutching her daughter. Tears poured from her eyes as she lifted her head up and sang above the audience.)))

There is no guard at my door.
There is no guard at my door.
There is no guard at my door.
There is no guard at my door.

(((I could not stop crying. I saw Stacy and Andrea on the other side of Tony, tears pouring from their eyes as Erin sang above their heads.)))

Say what you want
About me
It doesn't hurt
The way it used to for I have grown anew.

Day break my heart. Don't spare me.
Day break my heart. Don't spare me.
Day break my heart. Don't spare me now.

((( I had trouble taking pictures as I couldn't see through the blur of my tears. I also didn't want to come outside of myself for this moment. I sort of pawed at the wall and rested my splotchy and stained cheek against the cool stone. Erin held her baby, sang and wept.)))

Day break my heart. Don't spare me.
Day break my heart. Don't spare me.
Day break my heart. Don't spare me now.

(((I am not alone as I see women, men even, Stook! even, tears in their eyes. Wiping their eyes. The room was silent besides Erin and Caitlyn's voice, the guitar and the child's occasional happy yelp. I felt isolated in my little box between the photographer, the wall, the audience, the stage. I felt so blessed at that moment to be in Minneapolis, in that basement, amongst these people. My home is brimming with such talent and it's honesty and integrity shot to my core. There was absolutely nowhere else I should have been right then. Right now.)))

There is no guard at my door.
There is no guard at my door.
There is no guard at my door.
There is no guard at my door.

(((I want to be brave. I want to be courageous. I want this inspiration always. I want love. That's what I thought as Erin broke, relived with such strength and beauty in front of us.)))

The song ended. I remained in a state of disbelief, tears falling from my face and snot dripping from my nose. My heart hurt so badly.

"What's that little pistols name?" Jim said.

I'm not sure Erin heard him. She didn't answer and left the stage shortly thereafter to return a song or two later.

I saw kleenexes in front of Stacy and tried to Jedi them over to me. Andrea and Stacy were holding hands. Tony sat next to me and I didn't want to ask him to hand me the tissues. I didn't really want him to see my face and my eyes. It was just me and I felt both incredibly fierce and torn apart. Isolated in a community and yet still part of those people.

Maybe then, maybe a few songs later, it was Andrea's turn to sing. She got up and held Stook!'s guitar.

"I don't play the guitar and I'm not a songwriter," she said.

Andrea then said she was inspired to write her first song after a Hoot party at Jim's house, when all these musicians played round robin with their words

"Hey, you've written a song. You're a song writer," Uncle Bird said.
"Yeah," Andrea said as she looked down.

She sang a beautiful song about voices, musicians and words. About falling in love with the people in the room. I cried, residual tears from Day Break. I cried because I was so proud of Andrea for getting up there and sharing her voice and her words.

It had become a gigantic night. A gigantic night that would soon explode when Jim's wife, Jean, stood up.

"Hey, we might need to take a break," she said.

And there was hububhubub as Jim and she discussed the line-up change. The next band needed help with their gear. More hububhubub. Then...

"Hey Gary, come up on stage," Jim shouted to the other end of the basement.



There he was, Minnesota legend, musical legend, rounding the corner in denim, sunglasses, cowboy boots, white man's afro, full cool motherfucker glory.

Marc Perlman, Dan Murphy and Kraig Jarret Johnson with his very very pretty hair followed behind. We were gonna have a Golden Smog party!!!

I was sitting two feet away from Gary freakin' Louris, the lead singer of The Jayhawks, a band who has painted the landscape of Minnesota, of many states, for many people. For many of my Hoot friends, The Jayhawks are their Bruce Springsteen. Gary Louris is their Boss. And I love him so much for that. Well, amongst other things like a totally badass, totally inspirational career in music.

Plus, last year, I fucking sobbed like a little baby as I played a live version of Better Days over and over and over again in my car, deleting a number from my cell phone. Finally ending a relationship. Saying goodbye.

Driving to Missouri, I love to listen to Hollywood Town Hall because it is just that album that is your home.


Golden Smog, bitches. I'd be a sorry liar if I said I knew everything about them (as I am HORRIBLE with names) but I knew enough to be completely star-struck and tongue-tied. They fucking jammed!! I looked around with a shit eating grin, eyes still burning as Stook! and Steve sang gleefully to their idol. Andrea looked over at me and just mouthed "OH MY GOD!" "I KNOW!" I mouthed back. I just leaned back against that stone wall and listened to the legend, snapping photo after photo.

Everyone sang their fucking hearts out. And then Golden Smog left. After that, I couldn't sit still. The Hoot continued as High on Stress came up, Gary came back looking for his capo. I ran around. Taking pictures of the audience, of the wall, of the babies. I was going to fucking remember this basement for the rest of my life.

It lasted for four hours. When we left, Jim offered me the Hoot poster I was willing to pay for and I gingerly peeled away the lid to take it home. We all sort of parted our ways to rejoin for a bit at Keiran's. We were all in a daze. All tired. All a little bit broken. And happy. And thrilled. I wanted to sleep and listen to Day Break in the privacy of my own room. And brag to Philly friends that Gary Louris had apologized that he couldn't play my birthday Hoot. And look at my photos to think about where I have come in the past five months. How I have grown. What I've learned to accept and strive for. The perspective I've gained about what excites me, who excites me and what I look for in people. The freezing cold Hoot of February has become this fire for me.

It was about everyone that night. We have become this community of basement dwellers, music lovers, men and women who experience the energy that only could be produced by that dark, windowless room underneath the coffee makers, pastry buyers, dog walkers, city livers of South Minneapolis. The Mad Ripple led us proudly along on an awesome spiral into musical insanity away from the everyday.

I'll miss it so much but am ready to throw myself into this summer. If for some reason the Hoot ended with that show, I'll be okay because, like Pete said, then it's just not meant to go on.

Plus, I'm not the same person who walked down the stairs in February. When I walked up last week, there was an army beside me.

I have pictures to supplement this story which I will be posting within this entry shortly.

I'm not dead.

But Shaly Sha, my sweet little lady with the angelic voice and those innocent eyes as vast as that pearly moon, will be dead when I get my mits on her.

Sunday night, at rehearsal when I was describing something strange about printing off an email I had sent to myself, I had a massive epiphany.

"Hey everyone. was sort of weird cause, when I printed off the email from myself, there were lyrics at the bottom. I don't know why."

But then I realized that I do know why.

I have had one of THE MOST fantastic practical jokes ever played on me.

Let me start by saying this...if any of you have received an email from me in the past...oh...I don't...THREE included a signature that was not my own, never conceived by me, nor my idea.

Yes. I enjoy Kelly Clarkson as a guilty pleasure. I think she's a lot of fun. I'd actually go see her in concert. But I CERTAINLY don't love her enough to include her song lyrics as a yahoo email signature. I don't even KNOW how to create yahoo signatures.

But Shaly Sha does. And when I asked her to check my email three weeks ago while I was at work, that sweet little lady got me back. BIG TIME. for every perverted email or myspace blog I've ever posted when she asked me to check her email or her myspace. I guess sending old professors/mentors emails that say "Man Gary I just realized I really love fucking goats" from your friends accounts really ISN'T a good idea. Or posting blogs about how I, Alisha Speilmann" am such a bitch isn't such a good idea either.

I made her promise me to not send any emails out from my account. I thought she probably would cause that's what we always do. But when she called me back and told me she really hadn't, and I checked my sent folder and realized she really hadn't I did think it was a bit odd.

Touche Shaly Sha, brilliant move my dear friend, I will end you.

Because Alisha Rose Spielmann put this as a signature to my emails.

by Kelly Clarkson

I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly
I'll do what it takes til' I touch the sky
And I'll make a wish
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway
Out of the darkness and into the sun
But I won't forget all the ones that I love
I'll take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway

How do I know it was she?, one might say. Well...let me just reveal that Miss Clarkson and her tunes are quite an inside joke between Shaly Sha and myself which date back to an afternoon in New York City when I sat and listened to Miss Shaly Sha belt her heart out.

What lies behind those hazel eyes?, Kelly might ask. Well I have discovered what lies behind Shaly's hazel eyes...PURE EVIL!

I can't be mad at the fact that I have sent dozens of emails to a vast spectrum of people (thank god no potential employers) because it really is a perfect practical joke. I would never have known had I not sent the email to myself so I could print it.

It's so perfect that I think I'll take a risk, A CHANCE EVEN, and break away Shaly Sha's head from her body.


Gird your loins, Shaly Sha. Cause Kelly is out to KILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!