RBL Rock Star: All-Stars

Back in July of 2006 I was lucky enough to get to go to the party MSN threw for Rock Star at the Roxy. Tommy Lee, Jason Newsted and Gilby Clarke were all there – and all the singers in the cast. That was the night that Dilana told me she loved ROCKBAND.COM and had been reading the posts before she left for the show, and she mentioned specifics that made me know she really had read it all!

The entertainment for the night was Dave Navarro’s band, The Panic Channel and my favorite band, the Lovehammers.

So the Lovehammers are finally up on stage, and it had been almost five months since I’d last seen them live, so I’m really looking forward to it. And then lead singer and season one contestant, Marty Casey, makes a comment about how he might have been better suited to the current season – which makes sense on the surface since his music is harder than INXS. So maybe he would have been a better fit on the year with the harder rocking band? And the crowd cheered and Tommy Lee nodded in agreement and the singers all clapped enthusiastically. Yeah, I can buy that.

But later I kept thinking about it, and Marty was the top vote-getter in season one. INXS chose JD Fortune to be their new lead singer, but the public made Marty the top vote-getter. You can’t really do better than that! So it got me thinking – what if they did a show with no band, and the winner truly was the popular vote-getter? It’s was an interesting premise. And guess what? The exact same thing happened in season two. Toby Rand was the top vote-getter, but Supernova wanted Lukas Rossi. I am ALL for the band choosing who they like best – no disagreements from me on that process! But it is still interesting to consider what would happen if there was no band.

In 2007 CBS failed to renew Rock Star, so at RBL we started the Big Letter Writing Campaign – and I believe we sent in a pile of mail. But still no more Rock Star. Then at the end of the year with the writer’s strike looming, it seemed like there was perhaps an opening to get Rock Star back into production. Plus I was looking for a little fun… So we cooked up RBL Rock Star: All-Stars! The premise was to pit the nineteen favorite singers from both seasons against each other in a competition that would last fourteen weeks, and with no band and no judges, it would be the people voting who would select the Ultimate Rock Star.

We’ve been watching videos and voting like crazy for fourteen weeks, and we’re now down to the finale week. And it’s been a blast! Our finalists are…

JD Fortune
JD Fortune from Canada, winner of season one and lead singer of INXS.

Toby Rand
Australia’s Toby Rand, the top vote-getter in season two, and lead singer for Juke Kartel.

/ Photo: Cheryl Spelts
And finally, the top vote-getter in season one, and lead singer of the Lovehammers, Marty Casey, from Chicago, Illinois.

If you have time on Sunday and Tuesday, stop by and vote! And write a letter to CBS – I want Rock Star back on my TV!

Marty Casey & Lovehammers



These have never before been seen in public – but they’re fun, so why not share them?! I was going through some old work last night, and found these, and decided to share them in the discussion thread for our RockBandLounge.com Rock Star: All-Stars – more on that later! But for now, just enjoy the Lovehammers, circa 2006…

And if you’re wondering where the inspiration came for these shots, take a look at http://www.harrybenson.com. Harry Benson’s shot of the Beatles in the middle of a pillow fight is one of the most iconic images in rock photography – and a personal favorite!

Finding the art in a few blocks…

My favorite fun lens is a Lensbaby 3G. It looks really odd, and the images it creates are not exactly normal – but it’s fun, and if the conditions are right, it can create the most beautiful images! I walked around in downtown Fallbrook today – just headed north from the studio, with just my camera, my keys, and a LensBaby! I have some attachments that make the LensBaby more versatile, but I left them in the studio – I wanted to see what I could get with one lens, walking just a couple of blocks.

While I was shooting in front of the Art & Cultural Center, I looked up and noticed a woman with a camera across the street in the Village Square, and then another one, and another. Because the LensBaby is good for shooting close up, I’d been so focused on the small things directly in front of me, that I hadn’t noticed all the people with cameras across the street. I have a feeling there was a class at the Art Studios this weekend – and I was totally wishing I could sneak in and see what they ended up getting! A few of them started to make their way across the street as I started to walk back, so they were shooting in the exact same area where I shot, just moments later. It would be fun to see what other people would do – so if you’re reading this, and you were there, send me your link so I can check out what you got!

LensBaby // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Plant life, abstracted by the lens. There is a large Bird of Paradise in front of the Art and Cultural Center, and these are the stems and leaves. I have a shot of a flower below from this same plant, but this is the shot I prefer. I mean look at those colors!

LensBaby // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

This looks like a watercolor painting to me – it looks unreal. And look at the egg-shaped circles of confusion. Beautiful!

Lensbaby. Fallbrook, California // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

This was right in front of the Art & Cultural Center – it’s a potted plant and I love the way the leaves blur into nothingness. That is what the Lensbaby is all about!

LensBaby // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Another abstracted shot – this is a patch of weeds bordering the sidewalk – but the lens abstracts them so beautifully, it looks like paint on a canvas.

LensBaby // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

The rest of the images are less abstract, but still fun. This one is the same Bird of Paradise plant as above, from another side, with the window display of the Art and Cultural Center in the background. The window is decorated in a really pretty color palette right now, and this bird fit right in. It still abstract, in that it’s the lines and colors that make the image – rather than the subject matter.

LensBaby // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Behind the Art & Cultural Center and Primo’s, there’s an old pepper tree. One hundred years ago there were a lot of pepper trees in Fallbrook, but slowly they seem to be disappearing. This one is not that old, but it is old, and it reminds me of the kind of a tree frequented by elves and fairies and all the little creatures that populated the poems my Great-Grandma wrote to entertain us when I was a child. The sun was shining, the sky was bright blue and beautiful – my Great-Grandma would have loved this tree and this moment!

LensBaby // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Bark from that same pepper tree.

LensBaby // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

One of my neighbors has a big plant with these long yellow blooms. Each bloom is as long as your hand.

LensBaby // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

On January first I shot this same tree right before sunset and it was covered in yellow-green leaves. Now it’s bare.

LensBaby // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

And finally some more weeds, just around the corner from my studio. Backlit and beautiful!

My Diet Coke addiction is no more!

Thank heaven! As of today, it’s been three weeks since my last Diet Coke, and the headache is gone, and I finally am starting to feel good again. Caffeine withdrawal does not cause a particularly bad headache, it’s relatively minor, but it hangs on for days and days, and the days turn into weeks. I shot the images below on Day 10, and you can see it in my eyes – you can tell I have a headache just by looking at me!

But the good news is that’s finally all behind me, and I feel so much better!

The last image I included just because I like it!

Happy New Year!

New Year’s Day can be the laziest day of the year – I mean there’s nothing you absolutely have to get done. Unless you’re heading to the Rose Parade, or a football game, or an Open House, what plans do you have? Unless of course you have a long list of resolutions and goals and this is the first day of the new year and you can’t wait to get started!

I had fun today – I lounged some, and then worked like mad on all the new stuff I want to do this year. Ended up being a very productive day! And then at Sunset I did a little shooting around the neighborhood…

Sun Setting on the Little Church

This is the view from my front door, looking West. That’s the historic First Christian Church I’ve blogged about before, from a different angle. A few months ago the trees had so many leaves, I could barely see the church in between, but now I have a pretty good view.

January Sky

Such an amazing sky just before sunset. It was bright blue with some white fluffy clouds, but then these dark grey clouds started to blow in, and it made some interesting patterns in the sky.

Dancing Palms

I love the way the branches on these palm trees dangle and dance so gracefully. And the sky looks like an ocean between them.

Yellow Tree

You can see the sky is getting pink behind these leaves. I am in LOVE with this tree. So pretty!

Motion Blur

Find some flowers, add a little movement, and Voilà! I think camera movement is a tricky thing to do well – but this shot works for me. It gives the plant a magical quality, in my opinion.

Diet Coke

And finally, my nemesis… I’m including this shot because it’s New Year’s Day and the one sort-of-resolution I have this year is to give up Diet Coke. I am not expecting to give it up totally, forever, so it is a resolution I’ll break eventually, but the longer I go before breaking it, the better! It’s bad for me, I’m totally addicted, and I love it. But it’s time to break the habit. I do love the tag line along the top of the can, Give, Live, Love. Sounds great to me! But I can do without what’s in the can – at least for a little while!