Top of the blues to ya!


drummer at the 2012 blues music awards

This drummer seems to be having the time of his life as he performs with his band in the 2012 Blues Music Awards in the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee, May 10, 2012. I had to squeeze my ungainly frame between a couple of shipping containers to get the shot but cannot argue with the results.

Being a blues fan and a photographer — and hovering around the stage — and shooting the 2012 Blues Music Awards at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee is a highly desirable combination of circumstances I recently enjoyed. You can get in on the start of this story on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com. We’ll wait here until you come back.

Johnny Sansone

Click on the harp player for more pictures

The room was packed with performers and blues fans from around the planet, in fact, you’ll see a picture of international blues standout Ian Seigal below as he performed in the program.  The format of the program alternated between conferring awards with performances by bands and individuals, many of whom received awards that night and previously. It was hold on to your hats, let the good times roll. Before the night was over the audience was dancing in the aisles. Upward to 2,000 attended the event. Attendees dictated the dress code which went from black tie to blue jeans — and it was all smiles.

Eric Bibb

Eric Bibb, 2012 Blues Music Award Acoustic Artist of the Year turned in an energetic performance. As you watched and listened you knew that every fiber in his being was going into his tunes.

As an art form, the Blues is purely American and purely southern in it roots. Past that, you’ll find blues fans in every corner of the earth. Though the uninformed might consider the blues to be a somber expression, nothing is further from the truth. In most performances, even the most jaded cynics can be seen tapping their fingers or moving their feet. The true believers are playing air guitars and grinning from ear-to-ear. It was that kind of night. The music was infectious in a good sort of way.

Wayne Russell

Wayne Russell, normally found playing bass in the Reba Russell band (she’s his wife), was providing his stellar services to another band in the program. Russell is not only a talented musician but is a gifted visual artist as well.

Ian Siegel

Ian Siegal performs in the 2012 Blues Music Awards. The misty appearance adds some oomph to to the back room blues ambiance of this picture.

Grady Champion who bills himself as “The Mississippi Bluesman” was the closing act. As the program wound down, he wound up and had the audience on its feet, clapping, tapping their feet and dancing in the aisles. Everyone left with a smile on their faces. Mind you, the program runs from 7:oo p.m. until 1:00 a.m. At 1:00 a.m., there was still a respectable and happy crowd left.

Grady Champion

As he whipped the audience into a happy frenzy as the closing act, Grady Champion turned to me and smiled. I took the hint.

I shot just over 2,700 exposures and filled four 8-gig cards and part of another. I selected 107 images to include in the galleries linked below. You should get an idea of the great celebration by taking a tad of time to peruse the pictures.

2012 Blues Music Awards Gallery 1
2012 Blues Music Awards Gallery 2
2012 Blues Music Awards Gallery 3
2012 Blues Music Awards Gallery 4

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

You belong in a zoo II


bears having a spat in a pond

This pair of grizzlies in the new Memphis Zoo Teton Track exhibit were feeling frisky. The huge enclosure area looks like more area than a football field to me. It has rocks, streams, a pond, and miscellaneous other appurtenances to make grizzlies feel right at home. This bear family, there are three, like a lot of other families, was showing a difference of opinion on some thorny matter.

A great day for bears

Memphis Zoo panda

See panda pictures >>>

Per chance it was something in the water or air, but It was a great day for bears at the Memphis Zoo. Much to the delight of a respectable size crowd, a rare panda, three grizzlies, and a polar bear were all strutting their stuff on a steamy mid-south afternoon. A short rainfall also invigorated some otherwise sleepy critters.

You can see a couple of panda pictures, a shaking polar bear, and a big tiger “making a face,” all on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com, where this story started. Click here to go there, a very cool thing to do. We’ll wait while you look. The click is worth the trip.

Support your local meerkat

Much less ferocious and high on the “… awwwwww … ” scale, the Memphis Meerkat family was on its best behavior, calmly standing for endless portraits. Social in nature, if you see one, others are certain to be nearby.

Meerkats at Memphis Zoo

These small critters were welcomed to the Memphis Zoo with giant city-wide fanfare in the early nineties. The meerkat display continues to be one of the most popular exhibits in the zoo.

Unlike his cousin at the Little Rock Zoo who has shown a profound personal dislike for me, this lowland gorilla was gracious enough to strike a good pose. His generosity was short lived. A few seconds after this shot, he turned his back to me. Must be a karma thing.

lowland gorilla at memphis zoo

This big boy is king of all he sees. It’s a good thing to be the 800 pound gorilla.

After the short rain which interrupted this trip to the zoo, several of the critters showed renewed vigor and movement. Though this tiger remained where he (or she) was, he (or she) showed a great deal of interest watching the other tiger in the enclosure cavort and show off. You can see the tiger making a face on the Corndancer Photo of the Weekpage or in our consolidated weekly gallery.

Memphis zoo tiger

This huge kitty looks a bit disgusted observing the other tiger in the enclosure emit a substantial roar and then “make a face” at surprised onlookers.

The Memphis Zoo has a pair of good looking Cheetahs. They were at rest for the most part during my visit. As I arrived at the Cheetah enclosure, the Cheetah below was pacing and showing off her body made for speed. It was just after the rain and by the time I had removed the Nikon from the bag, the cat had showed her catness, and taken her place of rest. As a long-time cat owner, I am painfully experienced at seeing photo ops instantly vanish once the camera is in hand.

reclining cheetah

The speed demon rests. Seconds before I brought the camera to bear, she was strolling the Cheetah stroll. Typical cat. Wait until the camera is in hand and stop doing what you are doing!

Despite a persnickety cat, a great visit to the zoo. This zoo points out that recent surveys place it as the nation’s number one zoo in popularity. They’ve got me convinced. Tired and sweaty, I still did not want to leave. Finally temporal needs overwhelmed unsatisfied curiosity and quite simply, “I split for the crib.”

BUT WAIT, THERE IS MUCH MORE!

Mother duck and ducklings

Click on the ducks for more critters

Every week we shoot more than there is room to display on this blog and the Corndancer Photo of the Week page. This week there is a bumper crop of additional 17 panda pictures, 11 more grizzly pictures, a couple of ape, polar bears, and ducks. Click here to see those cool shots. You’ll see larger, higher quality pictures of everything. Some not published any where else.

Thanks for dropping by,
Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/grist-june5-10/index.html