Friday, December 31, 2010

Other favorites

I spent so much time working on my favorite songs that I never really made it around to making other lists. So here, on a whim, are other favorites of the year.

Album: The National - High Violet (Runners-up are Drake's Thank Me Later, Beach House - Teen Dream, LCD Soundsystem - This is It, Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot ..., Sleigh Bells - Treat, Best Coast - Crazy for You)

Movie: Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (Runners-up: A Single Man, Winnebago Man, Catfish, Exit through the Gift shop, Inception)

Book: Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (It came out in 2009, but I read it this year) (Runners-up Patti Smith's Just Kids, Tom Rachman's The Imperfectionists)

Concert: Wild Flag

Moment: the first time I held my nephew

Vacation: Orcas Island with Ev

Coffee bean: Extracto's Sumatra Permati

This year, of course, wouldn't have been so wonderful without visits from Amanda and Neola or without Saturdays with Ryan, so thanks you guys for being so wonderful. I love you!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Been talkin bout Jackson ever since the fire went out

Earlier this month, I went to Jackson, Miss. and got on everyone's nerves by videoing them a little too much. I wanted to remember them in motion. Now, you can too.

I went to Mississippi from Casey Parks on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Arts and crafts

A remnant from Dustin's graduation preparations


Monday, December 27, 2010

Family ties

I have the cutest nephew of all time.




Saturday, December 25, 2010

Favorite songs pf 2010 (1.10)

1. Robyn - Dancing On My Own
There are slower, prettier versions of this song that fit the wistful lyrics better, but I prefer the electric original. Something about the energy is both desperate and defiant at the same time. Plus, the electric has that funny little percussion piece (it sounds like a pencil beating on a pipe to me) that I find absolutely addictive. Homegirl dances like crazy, and why not? This lonely song is somehow the most fun single of 2010. For a while, I couldn't decide if this or "Bloodbuzz Ohio" was my favorite, but for me, the choice boiled down to this: This song sounds like 2010 to me. When I think back to this year, this will be the song I remember as defining my moments.

2. The National - Blood Buzz Ohio
A gorgeous song about one of life's most conflicting duties -- going home. The "blood" here is family, home, which can give the best and worst buzzes. The instrumentation is magical, I think, and Matt Beringer's baritone shines all the more in its levelness because the music is so soaring. Honestly, I love this song too much to be able to write about it.

3. Arcade Fire - Sprawl II
I wish, I wish Régine Chassagne sang more often. I know Arcade Fire is an album band, and this song fits in thematically with "The Suburbs," but "Sprawl II" is its own moment, totally removed from anything else in its glory. It is the song at its musical and lyrical best. I love that they twisted a Haitian proverb (Beyond mountains, there are mountains) into a comment on something decidedly American. Sometimes, I wonder if the world's so small. It's the only Arcade Fire song that ever made me do the Running Man dance.

4. Best Coast - Our Deal
This song is just so plaintive and pretty. "When you leave me, you take away everything." I'd say the song is sad, but it feels a bit different than that. It's more ... resigned, I guess. She wishes he'd tell her things, but that's not their deal, so ... that's it. Vocally, this is Bethany Cosentino at her best (probably because she sounds a lot more Neko Case than surfer girl).

5. Kanye West and Bon Iver - Lost in the World
Bon Iver's "Woods" (from 2009's Blood Bank EP) had good parts, but it dragged on into some lengthy weirdness. Here, Kanye takes the best part of Bon Iver's original and builds it into a hell of a song. This song is so full, it reminds me of church. Kanye's retreat isn't a whiskey still -- it's the whole damn city. Either way, they're lost. And as the Gil Scott-Heron sample (from 1970's Comment #1) asks, "Who will survive in America?"

6. Big Boi - Turns Me On
I love this looping lush vocal/keyboard beat. I just love how much the voices play into making that beat. It's so funky and smooth, partially, I think, because those keys really anchor everything. It's a hell of a nasty song, lyrically, but the sound is so smooth you could miss that nastiness. Big Boi is just so creative, so unlike any other rapper. This song, this whole album, is so far ahead of where the rest of rap is, I cannot believe he wrote it two years ago.

7. Janelle Monae featuring Big Boi - Tightrope
Monae is definitely my 2010 crush of the year. She has such a pretty face, and I've always been a sucker for saddle oxfords. I don't know how to characterize most of her songs, but this one is such an obvious hit. Is it a rap song? Is it soul? Jazz? Big band? Who cares! It makes me want to dance. I like how they repurpose the chorus line "I've got to keep my balance" into some kind of repeated chant background noise at the end. My favorite part is when she sings (raps?) "Some callin' me a sinner. Some callin' me a winner. I'm callin' you to dinner. You know exactly what I mean. I'm talkin' boutcha."

8. Katy Perry - Teenage Dream
When Randi first told me she liked this song, my response was something akin to "Absolutely no way will I listen." I hated every Katy Perry song I had ever heard. Then, one late night driving home from work, I heard it on the radio, and I was hooked. It is just a perfect pop song. It totally lives up to its theme - listening to it, I feel like a teenager again (in the good kind of way, that is). This song reminds me of Ryan. He's so full of youthful joy, and spending Saturdays with him this fall (usually watching Gossip Girl or doing something photograph related), I remembered that I'm not old, not yet. Anyway, this song makes me feel downright joyous.

9. Drake - The Resistance
This song is everything I love about Drake. Sometimes I worry he's going to become too much of a mainstream rapper, rhyming about how awesome he is. But this song is him at his lyrically best. It's a song about the changes he has made since becoming famous, the way his friends resent the fact that he isn't the same man he used to be, and how all of that scares him. "What am I afraid of? This is what dreams are supposed to be made of." What other rapper would write lines like this: "I heard they just moved my grandmother to a nursing home, and Il be acting like I don’t know how to work a phone. But hit redial you’ll see that I just called some chick I met at the mall that I barely know at all. Plus this women that I messed with unprotected texted saying she wish she woulda kept it. The one I’m laying next to just looked over and read it. Man, I couldn’t tell you where the fuck my head is. I'm holding on by a thread." It's a struggle he never resolves on this album. The theme carries on into the next song ("Over") with more energy but the same confusion.

10. LCD Soundsystem - Dance Yourself Clean
I love most songs on this album, but this one immediately stood (and continues to stand) out to me. The lyrics are more clever, and I love the beat and the way it builds into something so dancey and energetic. This summer, I spent my lunch breaks biking up some ferocious hills near my office. I began each ride listening to that song precisely because of the way it builds. I usually made it to the first hill just as the song really kicked off. I moved my foot harder down on the pedal just as he sings, "I miss the way the night comes."

Friday, December 24, 2010

Favorite songs of 2010 (11.20)

11. Damien Jurado - Arkansas
iTunes says I listened to this song more than any other this year. That's probably because I'm always in the mood to hear it. The line "I never feel magic unless I am with you" is always stuck in my head.

12. Kanye West featuring Pusha T - Runaway
I think this could have been the best song of the year if Pusha T's rap was not included. I hate to say that because I am a huge Clipse fan, but Pusha T just totally doesn't fit here. Kanye's portion is a mediation, a push-and-pull list of everything he has ever done wrong (it's the one justified mention of his dick on this whole album). Run away from me, he says, then later admits he isn't sure what he'd do if the "you" in this song actually did run away. His part of the song is so complex. He's regretful. He's proud. He doesn't know why he's an asshole, why he's addicted to hood rats. Pusha T's verse is so simple and stupid. I have no idea why it's included. The rhymes are juvenile. The subject matter is even worse (Let's drink mai thais? an ode to his watch? Seriously?) Thankfully Pusha T only lasts a minute or so of this nine-minute wonder, so I can spend the rest of the time just listening. The music in this song is amazing. That lone, repeating plaintive piano plunk. That eerie sample coming in with the rest of the electronic buzz and the Pete Rock drum beat. It is a song to remember.

13. The Walkmen - Angela Surf City
This song builds from a pretty simple drum and clangy guitar into something very furious. I like pretty much every Walkmen song ever written, but "The Rat" (from 2004's Bows + Arrows) is easily their best song. They don't usually sound as energetic as they do in "The Rat," but this song comes fairly close.

14. Stephanie Finch - Count the Days (1-2-3-4-5-6-7)
Finch sang back-up in the Red House Painters, and this song illustrates so well why she should be front-and-center. It's a cover of an old soul song by Inez and Charlie Fox. Their version is more doo-wop-boppy, and Finch slims it down to something more mournful. She has a kind of Aimee Mann-sounding voice on the album's slower songs, but here, she sounds totally soulful.

15. The National - Lemonworld
I love those first few guitar strums. I love Matt Berninger's deep, understated voice. I love the lyrics ("try to find something on this thing that means nothing enough" is my favorite). I love the doo doo doo doo. It's such a nihilistic, depressed song, which is a good soundtrack when you're in those places.

16. Kanye West featuring a whole bunch of people - All of the Lights
Hands-down, for me, the best beat of the year. It is so frenetic, so eerie yet celebratory. I love when he uses horns in his production. Kanye -- in a rare turn of not talking about his dick -- sounds great, too, talking about the ghetto, about wanting custody of some fictional daughter, but "her mother, brother, grandmother hate me in that order." This song reminds me of the things I used to love so much about Kanye. I can't hear half of the guest singers (Elton John? Elly Jackson from La Roux? I mostly hear Rihanna and old nasty Fergie), but there is definitely some polyphonic greatness happening in this song.

17. Drake and The-Dream - Shut It Down
As you can tell by the rest of this list, I have plenty of Drake love. But for me, this good old fashioned take your clothes off song is so good because of The-Dream. He has the absolute prettiest voice in R&B right now, and he can write his ass off (He wrote Beyonce's "Single Ladies" and Rihanna's "Umbrella," for instance). When he comes back in with full force at the 4:30 minute mark, my heart always jump a bit.

18. Taylor Swift - Speak Now
My second favorite mainstream pop song of the year. The first time I heard it, I listened to it on repeat for more than an hour. It's clever, cute, catchy. I've read that her voice doesn't hold up in concert, but whatever magic her producers have done on that instrument her, it works. She sounds great. Swift is such a great writer. I love that she tells stories. I love how realistic they seem, even in a song like this about busting up some boy's wedding day. I haven't seen a video, but I don't need to. She paints the scene so clearly. This song is just so imminently likeable.

19. Beach House - Zebra
I'm surprised I like a song with so many horse metaphors (are they metaphors?), but this song is so pretty, it leaves me helpless. I love everything about the album "Teen Dream," and Zebra is the perfect opening mood-setter. Her voice is so good and so unique.

20. Tyree Harris - Memory Lane
Again, from Tyree's album REALmatic. "Memory Lane" is the name of a song on "Illmatic," but it's nothing like Tyree's version, which samples Earth Wind & Fire. It's just such an infectious, smart song about "super bad nostalgia." He raps of being grounded half his life: "How'd I learn to write? Being grounded, drowned in thoughts and etching shit all night." This kid is for real, one of the best up-and-coming rappers. I've heard something from his next project, and you do not want to miss it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Favorite songs of 2010 (21.30)

21. Tyree Harris - I Rap For
Tyree was 15 or 16 when I met him in a high school newspaper class. I was there to help edit some articles, and he gave me his rap CD. I didn't expect much, but I was blown away as soon as I listened. This kid can rap. He's 20 now, and this song comes from his latest album REALmatic. It's a spin-off of sorts of Nas' seminal "Illmatic." This song twists words from Nas' "Memory Lane" into a slow-buzzing, thick hook. I like Tyree because his songs tell a story.

22. Cee Lo Green - Fuck You
Cee Lo knows how to write a viral hit (Remember "Crazy" in 2006?) I guess I'm not different than anyone else in saying this was immediately my favorite song when I heard it. Its overplay might have made it less likeable, but I don't want to forget that first moment, when hearing the doo-woppy, cussing songjust made me absolutely happy.

23. Japanther - $100 dollar remix
This song is just down-right infectious.

24. Drake - Over
The beat in this song is just so freaking good. I love every change it makes, but the best part starts in at about 42 seconds and sounds like frenetic bells. It's addictive and even if its lyrics aren't as interesting as some of the other songs from Thank Me Later, it is a perfect pop song.

25. The Magnetic Fields - Walk a Lonely Road
Claudia Gonson totally makes this song for me. Stephin Merritt's voice is so deep it's almost harsh, but then suddenly he, and all the musical bells and whistles, disappear, leaving only Gonson's pure, pretty voice. It is one of my favorite moments of any song this year. I don't mean to diss Merritt's part. Without his juxtaposition, that wouldn't be so special.

26. The National - Terrible Love
I read about this gorgeous song before I heard it. That line -- singled out by the New York Times -- "It's a terrible love, and I'm walking with spiders" was baffling on paper, but listening to it is a different experience. It still doesn't make total, regular sense, but hearing it makes it so much prettier. The song sounds so understated but that line says so much. Maybe the NYT said it best: 'Matt carries around a notebook that he fills with fragments of language, single lines he invents like “terrible love and I’m walking with spiders.” “The challenge,” he says, “is to write the rest of a song that holds up to that feeling of anxious, nervous love.” He likes images that are blurry and suggestive, snapshots that don’t exactly mean anything but allow the listener to feel that they do.'

27. Lovers - Boxer
I love the way the boop-boop keyboard beats play with Emily Kingan's steady drumming in this song. And I love (even more) the way Cubby Berk's voice stays steady and pretty under Kerby Ferris' ridiculously catchy harmony. Something about this song makes me want to march in step. It stays stuck in my head for weeks at a time.

28. Lil Wayne f/ Drake - Right Above It
Lil Wayne was behind bars when this track dropped, but he sounds no less in control because of it. I first heard this song at a football game, playing loud over stadium speakers on a cold night. As soon as it started, I felt strangely warmer, like I was in some special moment. Maybe it's the beat -- a slowed-down crunk soundalike that's high pitched enough to nearly harmonize with Drake and Wayne's voices. There's nothing special about these lyrics, but I find the song totally hypnotic.

29. Sleigh Bells - Tell 'Em
For the record, I do believe that "Crown on the Ground" and "Rill Rill" are far and away the best songs on "Treats," but both of those songs also came out on Sleigh Bells' 2009 EP, so I don't consider them options for best 2010 songs. That said, I feel fairly equally about all of the other songs, but I wanted to highlight one because I love that album. Anyway, I chose this one, maybe because it's the first song and that thundering open set the pace for the whole album. This is the perfect soundtrack if you ever find yourself biking up monstrous hills on your lunch break.

30. Lovers - Barnacle
I love this Portland band. This song, in particular, has such pretty lyrics. "You hold on, dear, like a barnacle on your ship of fears. And I am out here, like an island on a sea of tears. If I could tear you away, I would."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Favorite songs of 2010 (31.40)

31. Gayngs - Faded High
I just like the way this song sounds. I like the way it changes a bunch of times (like at 1:35, when he says "I want your body on me). I like that the cheesy keyboard/computer fake-sounding beats are irrelevant behind all those voices.

32. Spoon - Out Go the Lights / Goodnight Laura
I put these two songs together because they are next to each other on the album and because I like them equally and for the same reasons. They're pretty, and they sound different from the Spoon songs I first loved a decade ago. For me, they really stand out on Transference as the truly memorable songs.

33. Drake and Alicia Keys - Fireworks
I could actually do without the hook in this song, but I love Drake's rap. It's so different than any other big hip-hop star's rhymes. Take for instance, this, from the verse about Rihanna: "I'm just such a gentleman. You should give it up for me. Look at how I'm placing all my napkins and my cutlery. I can tell it wasn't love. I just thought you'd fuck with me. Who coulda predicted love could strike. Now you stuck with me. I kept my wits about my luckily. What happened between us that night it always seems to trouble me. ... There was smoke in the air before. Now it's me clearing it. That felt good, and I learned a lesson from it though. You never see it coming. You just get to see it go."

34. Janelle Monae - Dance or Die / Faster
These songs actually bleed into each other, so I can't really split them. They sound like one long song to me. Sometimes that long song reminds me of Madonna. Sometimes it sounds like some future hushed and hurried rap. Sometimes it sounds like Lauryn Hill. Her voice is great. These songs are catchy, the kind of music I like to listen to when I mop my floors on Sunday mornings (Imagine me, if you like, singing into the mop's handle, twisting over the wet floor like I was some jazz dancer).

35. Big Boi - Shutterbug / Shine Blockas
OK, these two songs do not smash into each other, but I couldn't figure out which one I liked better. Plus I wanted to cheat and cram more songs into my top 50 list. Both of these are total rap bangers, the kind of songs you want to play really loud when you're heading out for some memorable night of partying. I can't believe the record label sat on this album -- if only for these two songs. They seem so obviously hits to me. Shutterbug, in particular, has one of the most memorable beats of the year.

36. Robyn - Hang With Me
I love the beat in this song, and I love her voice. She sounds so measured but so full of life. Maybe it's that beat keeping her in line. I can't decide if this is a dance song or a sing-along, but I liked it as soon as I first heard it. I like it more every time I listen. Plus, there's that part in the end of the middle of the song where she holds that note forever.

37. Best Coast - Summer Mood
I could pick any number of other songs from "Crazy for You" to be in this spot. Each song is so catchy and fun to sing. They're simple songs. I wouldn't suggest listening to most of the lyrics if you're seeking enlightenment. And I wouldn't suggest seeing her in concert (so boring), but the album is seriously fun to listen to. After so many listens, the repetition of Summer Mood stands out for me as one of the album's highlights. I especially like the end part where she's singing "that makes me moooooooody." There's something about her flat "that" that really appeals to me.

38. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Home
There was a time this year when this would have been my favorite song of the year. I loved a live version especially. The group just looked like it was having so much fun. And while I still think it is one very great song, I may have worn it out with all my repeated listening. I like listening to it and bouncing around while singing it.

39. The Drums - Down by the Water
This song reminds me of the kind of lonely oldie that a movie might play while doing a pan of all the wallflowers at a dance. But its lyrics are more plaintive: "Everybody's gotta love somebody. But I just wanna love you my dear." It's the kind of song you might hear and think you'll forget. But hours later, you'll instead find yourself unable to stop humming its simple chorus.

40. Cults - Go Outside
This song is so cute to me, and even better, it was free. The group released a little mini album on their Website. It's a sing-along, or a snap-along, whichever your preference.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Favorite songs of 2010 (41.50)

I've been making lists of my favorite songs for nearly a decade (At least publicly anyway -- My brother told me this weekend he remembers me making these lists as a kid). For this year's choices, you can click on the name of the song to hear or download the song. Some are links to Youtube. Some are links to free mp3s. Enjoy! And tell me your favorites!

41. Arcade Fire - We Used to Wait
I love the repetition of the piano. I love the way the songs starts with the repeated "I used to." I couldn't relate to most of the Arcade Fire album "The Suburbs," but this is one song whose lyrics really meant something for me. I miss waiting for things. I miss what life used to be. The 24-hour news cycle, the rush of adult life -- none of it compares to the way time used to move.

42. Drake - Karaoke
Drake waits nearly two minutes to begin rapping in this three and a half minute song, but I think that's a good thing. His singing voice is so pretty, so measured here that the rap is almost unnecessary. In only a few lyrics, Drake paints a picture of losing a girl who doesn't want to come along with his new successful life. He even makes time (in sparse words) to describe here lighting a tea kettle. (Put your hand to the metal and feel it / But do you even feel it anymore?) Most of the album drills home just how much he's made it, but always with a caveat: "Don't be fooled by the money. I'm still young and unlucky."

43. Tegan & Sara - Turnpike Ghost (Steel Train cover)
In which Tegan and Sara cover their opening act's song, totally outperforming the original artists. This is catchy as hell when T&S sing it.

44. Perfume Genius - Learning
This song is soft like raindrops, so I'm not at all surprised it comes from Seattle. It's a good soundtrack for days when the sun is down by 3:30 p.m., but it's also good sing-along music. The piano part is so simple. His voice is so soft. But there's something very arresting and dramatic about the two together.

45. Delorean - Simple Graces
This song is good summer (windows down) driving music. I have no idea what half the lyrics are, but I just think the song is so fine to listen to.

46. Hot Chip - One Life Stand
I love the phrase one life stand, and I also love the beat in this song. It's slow, but danceable. The steel drum is nice, too.

47. Laura Veirs - July Flame
This song came out so early in 2010 that I nearly forgot about it is I made this list. But I spent many of my early rainy 2010 days listening to this on repeat as I drove to work. She's a Portland girl, so I imagine the Northwest rains might have been playing as she crafted this song, even though it's a song about July. Either way, it's just a really pretty song, and it shares a name with a variety of Northwest peach. I like the way it builds toward that powerful (and strings-laden) end.

48. Julian Lynch - Rancher
This is song is more woozy and electric than I might normally like, but I like the way it somehow embodies both dark and light. Some of the sounds are unlike any I've ever heard. Most of the time, I listened to this song in the thick radiator heat of my apartment, and when the song ended so soon, I'd listen one more time.

49. The Magnetic Fields - You Must Be Out of Your Mind
I'm sure most people don't think the latest Magnetic Fields album is all that great, but I spent a lot of time listening to it this year. This song starts the album with a slew of quirky lyrics (You can't go around just sayin' stuff because it's pretty. And I no longer drink enough to think you're witty.), but amid that there's this: "If you think you can leave the past behind, you must be out of your mind." That followed me for a good chunk of the year, and it did so in this tight little catchy tune.

50. Spoon - Mystery Zone
This is exactly what you'd expect a mid-tempo Spoon song to sound like. Not ground-breaking, but definitely listenable. I like the rhythm. I like his voice.

Honorable mention: Northern Portrait - When Goodness Fails
The lead singer's voice sounds like Morrissey. His lyrics include "I'm gay in the old-fashioned sense of the word," "I have come to disappoint you" and "you're so impossibly cruel." One look at the album cover, and it's pretty clear they're trying to mimic? honor? etc? The Smiths. Still, this song is really fun to listen to.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fall in photos

Fall has felt like winter for months, but officially, it's only ending now. I took about 1,000 photos this season, and if you want to see them all, you can visit my Flickr album.

Here's one shot from my last weekend in Fall, spent in Fort Worth, Texas, with my family.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Waiting a long time

My brother graduated college with a degree in social work on Saturday. He's only the second person (and the first male) from our whole extended family to ever graduate college. And while I was mostly just drinking and making out when I was in college, Dustin was working in the Army (he took classes while in Iraq! even) and raising a baby. I am totally impressed. Anyway, I did a lot of videoing the day of his graduation, and I compiled it into this little production:

Dustin's graduation from Casey Parks on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

We are the champions

Last weekend, I covered a late-night pep rally for the paper. The football team had just won the 6A division state championship, and though I was moving fairly frenetically, I managed to take a few photos that I liked.




Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small


After visiting Mississippi, I made a list of characteristics my utopia would have. Here are my must-haves:

- warm all year long
- all my friends live on the same street
- great produce
- bikeable
- affordable housing
- near a body of water
- good movies come there
- has a front porch
- has a tree house in the back yard

Pretty sunsets (like this one in Las Vegas) wouldn't hurt either.

Friday, December 10, 2010


One time, Jay told me something (maybe it was me?) looked cuter than a kitten in a cupcake hat. I've never been so blessed as to see such a sight, but I am blessed enough that Neola made me a cupcake out of scratch. She used Guinness to make it, y'all.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My stuff: David

Apparently there are still people around town in Jackson, Miss., who know David only as his comic-drawing alterego, Gorjus. He writes/draws/makes the zine The Sandusky Review and runs the blog Pretty Fakes and is all-around the very coolest.

David explains his favorite things:

1. zine stapler - I make zines with this.

2. Jerry Lee Lewis - Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On record - I wasn't allowed to have music growing up. This is the first 45 I ever bought. I paid $5 for it at a record store in San Antonio, and that was the start of my record collection.

3. Alabama license plate - I really love Alabama. A big part of where I grew up was loving football. It's a big cliche to say football is a religion in the South, but it's totally true. It's the great equalizer.

4. Animal Man comic - This page is the reason I became a vegetarian. I read this when I was 14, and it didn't take at the time, but it left a seed in my head. The character is talking about the ethics of eating animals. It's not much, and looking back, I think, 'Really? That's all it took?'

5. 307 - This is a badge from my 1967 Camaro. 307 was how big the engine was. I wrecked it in Starkville -- totally sober. My dad found the badge in his basement recently and gave it to me.

6. Polaroid Sun 600 - My main art in my 30s has been Polaroids. Of all the Polaroid cameras I use, this is my favorite. I don't know why. It doesn't really take the best photos of all of them. But it has traveled all over the country with me.

7. Rubber stamps - They were a present from a friend. At first, we used them for fliers for a band, but then I started using them with Polaroids a lot.

8. Kill Rock Stars bracelet - I used to wear a lot of jewelry. I bought this in the late '90s. The record label Kill Rock Stars sold it. I liked having a cultural signifier. It was a code. Wearing this in a small town, you're saying you're a feminist. You're not a racist. You like punk rock. You're a real person.

9. bullet shell - This is from my grandfather's funeral. He was in the army in World War II, and at his funeral, they did the 21-gun salute. He was the first person I was close to who died.

10. button - This is from 2008, when I went to Florida and worked with the Obama campaign. With the 2000 election in mind, they brought a lot of lawyers to Florida to answer questions, etc. We had no problems where we where. It was just an awesome public service exercise. I felt connected to a larger whole.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

From the aisles of the Mississippi Grocery

I'm back in Mississippi for a few day, and already I'm re-finding treasures I'd forgotten, like drank and Crisco.



Thursday, December 2, 2010

If you've never had waffles without syrup

Here's the video I made for Tyree Harris. Check out his album REALmatic. It's so good.

Tyree Harris - Memory Lane from Casey Parks on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Coming soon.

I've learned a lot in the last two months as I work on a video for Tyree Harris' song "Memory Lane." Mostly I've learned that I don't actually know how to make a rap video. But in the meantime, I'm learning things to do better next time. After about a billion hours of fiddling, I am now doing what I hope is a final export!

Picture 3

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Stuff: Amanda Allen

Amanda explains:

1. Origami - My friend Gabriel made this for me before he moved back to Montana. I always thought it was inspiring. I keep it on top of my computer.

2. Key - I got this as a present from my friend Patricia for my 26th birthday. I think it came from an antique store in Chelsea. She got into a bad bike accident shortly thereafter. I have a tattoo of this exact key now.

3. Cup - Before my parents were married, they had a set of camping cookware. There are only two remaining artifacts of that set. I have one, and my dad has one.

4. Horseshoe - I bought this at an antique store on South Congress Street in Austin. I bought it on my last afternoon of the trip. For no particular reason I had a goal of bringing an old horseshoe back with me. Maybe I was listening to too much Ryan Adams. This was the dingiest one, the one I wanted. It's one of the best reminders of a solitary trip/

5. Scissors - I bought these in July at a stationery store. They're Indian tailor scissors, and they are incredibly sharp and precise.

6. Dracena Palm Tree - My mom bought it as a start on Maui when I was a kid. It's a good 16 years old now.

7. Record - This is my mom's original copy of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Right before my mom and I moved to Hawaii, we had a huge barn sale, and my mom was selling all her original Pink Floyd and Beatles records for a quarter each. I knew that was a mistake. Thankfully, most of them didn't disappear.

8. Kodak Camera - My grandpa gave me this and two other cameras. I think this one was made in the '30s. My uncle once described it as a Wizard of Oz camera.

9. Bobo the Bear - In 2008, I found him in a free box in front of my house. He's kind of ratty and disheveled, but I felt some kind of affinity for him. Later that year, I was having a lot of anxiety, and I would wake up in the middle of the night. If I snuggled Bobo, he calmed me down.

10. Where the Sidewalk Ends - My grandma bought this for me at Village Books in Bellingham, Wash., when I was 7. We used to spend many rainy afternoons at Village Books. If I had to set fire to my bookcase, this is the book I would save.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

But there's something about the summer

Last summer I borrowed Quentin's Canon AE-1 film camera. He left for Nebraska before I finished the roll, so the film took a ride to Omaha. He mailed the roll back to me a little while ago, and I finally had it developed. I miss the heat!




Monday, November 15, 2010


   /ˈwɪstfəl/ Show Spelled[wist-fuhl]
1. characterized by melancholy; longing; yearning.
2. pensive, esp. in a melancholy way.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Friday Night Lights

More photos from my life in 2010 attempts. When I was a teenager, I spent most Friday nights clutching hot chocolate and vaguely paying attention to the score at football games. I haven't been to a game in more than a decade, but Friday night I went to the Aloha high game. Aloha is this unincorporated community I cover. I'm busy working on a series of articles about it right now, and the football team has a kind of rags-to-riches story. Seemed like as good a chance as any to get some good reporting in. The picture-taking was just a bonus.




(This previous photo is of two pre-teens. The girl (left) is asking the boy if he has a girlfriend).





Thursday, November 11, 2010

@the Ace

For the last assignment in my photography class, we're supposed to take a bunch of pictures this week (ideally 360 a day!) of life in 2010. After class, I made a list of places in Portland I wanted to go. First up was the Ace Hotel. I kept trying to be surreptitious, which does not make the best pictures. I just don't know if I have the guts to be one of those 50's-era photographers who just walk right up to people and take their photos. And I'm too nervous to ask a person in a coffee shop if I can take their photo. So here is what I came up with:

Ace Hotel

Ace Hotel

Ace Hotel

Ace Hotel

Ace Hotel

Ace Hotel

Ace Hotel