Last night I headed back to Morty’s Comedy Joint after a fairly long hiatus. There were lots of new faces but the basic crux of the place hadn’t changed a bit.
First up, as is typical, you have your regulars, your “house comics.” You can tell these guys are polished, smooth and in their element. Their expressions reveal confidence and their sets are well rehearsed. They are your comics of tomorrow and a very amusing tomorrow it will be. Facial reactions range from “happy welcome” to “I just swallowed a bug” to “God, it’s me, Luke. Please help me, I’ve just swallowed a bug.”
Next you have your up and coming comics. They’re here for the sheer thrill of competition as they duke it out in a winner-take-all fight for comedy supremacy. Of course there is the fact that the winner is determined by vote of the audience and the comics bring all their friends to pack the house but that’s neither here nor there. Never once has that mechanic of the competition swayed the outcome of one of these immortal battles of fisticuffs!
Here the expressions rage hard from “I don’t think that’s a schmedium, honey” to “yeah, I’m 19 and I’m already cooler than all y’all” to “who? me?” The bottom row I leave as an exercise to the reader.
The closers are your old pros. One thing I love about the comedy scene is the equality of it all. Too fat for other jobs? Don’t play nice with others? Too ugly for contact with the general public? Fuck it, come on down! Comedy folks love everybody.
Ryan Niemiller is hilarious and I can’t stop thinking about him trying to unbutton his shirt… I feel bad for thinking about it… but I still can’t stop thinking about it.
Last but not least we’ve got the legendary Chris Bowers. As rumor would have it he’s one of the absolute nicest guys around but he seems so put together and with-it that he’s too intimidating to talk to. I’ve exchanged a few words with him and I felt like I was going to shake myself apart like a rusted out 72 Pinto running down the interstate on four bad tires. I’m 6’4 and 250 pounds and the dude makes me feel like a little kid.
And there you have it, one night of great comedy at the city’s best venue for comedy. Your comedians for the night were:
- Ryan McMannis (host)
- Ray Hensley
- Luke Basile
- Logan Baert
- Deon Curry
- Lissa Sears
- Riley Dismore
- Cale Forbes
- George White
- Mike Williams
- Grant Weber
- Ryan Niemiller
- Chris Bowers
You can find full-size originals on our IndyLivePhotography website for this show and dozens of others.
It’s been my observation that photographers are an extremely varied bunch and that it’s difficult for any potential customer to know exactly what they’re getting when they look at partnering up with an artist. Most people who go in search of photography services seem to think of the standard school pictures photographer who tells you to tilt your head in such and such a way and smile just -so- and only takes a picture once you’re positioned just how they want you. I am not that sort of photographer. In fact I might be more properly called a hunter than a photographer if that’s your standard of service.
As example I give you the shot to the right. This photo of Stoop Kids in their Square Cat Vinyl show last November represents my hunter philosophy when it comes to shooting. The entire show and their interaction with each other is summed up very neatly in this one photograph. They are one of the most dynamic bands I’ve seen on stage and I was giddy to capture their souls. Lead singer and bass player practically nose to nose while the saxophonist peaks out under the mic stand.
Philosophically, I truly believe that posed photography represents more of the photographer than of the subject. When I shoot I want to capture the reality of what’s going on in a spontaneous and creative way. Not cast my own thoughts and opinions on what should be onto the situation. Your photos should be about you and who you are, not some aesthetic that some photographer prearranges for you.
Next we have Breezy Peyton of Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band from the HiFi in March of this year. For this show we were packed in like sardines and couldn’t move without getting in the way of a lot of other people so we dutifully stood our ground just to the left of center stage for the whole show. When I’m shooting, my absolute #1 priority is to make sure I’m not disturbing anyone else at the show or distracting from the entertainment. If you’re lucky enough to get into a show then you’re a guest and you should act like one. I refuse to use flash or supplemental lighting of any kind because frankly, flashes are annoying as hell. If I can’t get a shot without getting in someone’s way then I don’t get the shot. Simple as that.
I’m also not a fan of fancy post-processing. There are some amazing tools out there that will let you make your photos look like just about anything. But that is, frankly, a fraud. The world is more than nice enough just as it is without a lot of augmentation. Get the shot that’s there and if the light’s blue then bloody well make the picture blue. It’s the photographer’s job to capture the moment, not create it out of whole cloth.
The last point I’ll make is about capturing pivotal moments. As example I give you this shot from last year’s Parkour demonstrations at the State Fair. I love the expression of the guy who’s not literally walking up a wall. This whole show was filled with amazing moments and you almost couldn’t click your shutter fast enough. For me, this is the essence of “hunter photography”. Grabbing that perfect moment out of the air at exactly the right time and bottling it up for all to see is, in my mind, the whole point.
So that hopefully gives you a bit of a sense of my own personal philosophy on photography. If you’d like to see more of my work please visit my site at RobSlaven.com or on Facebook (IndyLivePhotography | Rob Slaven Photography).
Contact me for photo ops in the Indianapolis and surrounding areas at IndyLivePhoto@gmail.com or in the comments section.
The Tow Yard represents to me the point at which… well, the cascade of knowing people began. I was introduced to this event because of a connection that I will refer to as “Jon”. I know Jon because I met him on my very first foray into the Indianapolis music scene. He and his fiancee Hollie were at the first open mic that I went to in Irvington and, because Jon is one of those people who just automatically endears himself to people, connected with me. He is, as I’ve said, the nexus of Indianapolis music. At any rate, to summarize, Jon introduced me to Steve…
Steve does a very impassioned open mic at Tow Yard brewing each Thursday. He inherited it from someone else and frankly… well, frankly I’m disappointed in the city at how poorly it is supported. Why in the heck aren’t we supporting local artists just getting out and doing their thing? It’s an abomination. There’s so much of it on Thursday alone that I can’t possibly cover it all and yet we’re all sitting at home watching TV. Grrrr. I mean come ON! How much more sincerity do you want?
He’s laughing outside… but inside… he’s crying because you don’t support the local arts. Just saying.
So believe it or not, it’s not just a bunch of white dudes. We have some level of diversity. This particular not-white-dude was hilarious. Why didn’t you come out to see him?
As a photographer, I … well, honestly… I don’t hear much. You could be screeching at the top of your lungs about … well, anything, and I would’t give two shits. But visually…. well, this duo rocked it.
OK, so moving on from that particular amazingness… there is more amazingness.
Remind me again why you aren’t going out and hitting the Indy scene and supporting all the awesome this that’s going on….?
So seriously…. why are you sitting at home watching NetFlix? I’ll admit that I spent a LOT of time not understanding what Indy has to offer but now… now you can’t possibly be in any doubt about what an amazingly rich and diverse universe awaits you. I expect to see YOU out and about the next time I hit the streets. And just to be clear, the next time I hit the streets will be tomorrow. So get out there or be forever branded lame and unhip. Indy is where it’s at… but where are you?