Brian Wilson 1: Getting There Is Half the Fun, Right?

As with Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, it was one email to Brian Wilson’s publicist (listed on his web page) that got me a photo pass within 24 hours.  I love it when they make things easy like that.  You’d be amazed at how many artists don’t have contact information on their websites or Facebook pages.

On the day of the concert, schools closed early due to 100 degree heat. By 7:00, the temperature had dropped thirty degrees in short order, bringing with it a torrential rain storm and driving winds that slowed up my drive to the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ. Normally about 25 minutes, this ride took me closer to 40.

Thankfully, I made it with a little time to spare (and then the show started 15 minutes late, anyway), found the local parking garage (only $1 an hour!), and walked in a mere drizzle a block away to the theater, which faces out onto a side street. It was easy to find, with the police car lit up out front acting as security. Police and theater security were all over the place inside the theater, too. One at every exit, one at every corner, a couple out near the lobby. Is this part of the theater contract with its talent, or just a side effect of having open bars in the lobby and in the theater, itself?

My photo pass was waiting for it, thankfully, and I got it at Will Call without a problem. Just in case, though, I did have a printout of the email exchange that got me the press pass, along with the publicist’s phone number. She was in California, so I stood a chance of getting her if I needed to in a fix. It was 7:45 east coast, so still before 5:00 out in California.

Ceiling detail

The center of the ceiling, probably about ten feet across.

The theater, like the Bergen PAC (and also the Morristown Mayo PAC) is a restored classic old vaudeville/movie theater, with a domed ceiling and lots of cool architectural detail. The floor plan allows for either general admission shows (no seats) or a seated reserve situation, as this concert had. I asked an usher which way they wanted photographers to go, and he pointed me to “the guy in green” in the front corner by the stage.

The guy in the green shirt was there chatting with a security guy, so I asked them where to go, where to stand, etc. I didn’t realize at first that the guy in green was another photographer, who seemed a bit weirded out that someone was treating him as a theater authority. Or, maybe he was just confused that I thought he had some authority. I don’t know.

Then he asked me who I was shooting for. I don’t know why that question threw me. I have no problem talking to publicist and theater personnel about being a photography educator or blogger or website owner or even just a “blogger.” But that feels like lying when I say it to another photographer. I just mumbled something about shooting for myself, and the publicist being nice enough to let me come. “Yeah, that is nice,” he said, surprised.

So I took up a position along the side wall and waited for the show to start, which is did almost a half hour later. In that time, I fidgeted with my camera, attempted some shots of the theater, itself, and tried not to look like an idiot.  I probably half succeeded in that. . .

I wish I had taken a picture of the outside of the venue on my way in or out, like I did for the Steve Martin and the SCR show last month, but the rain outside kept my camera in its bag…

Tomorrow: Lens Selection, and an actual picture from the concert!

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