Mildly Amusing Musings & Some Photographs



Self Portrait in chrome

Self Portrait in chrome

I could have shot this Cadillac all day. Besides my reflection, you can also see Asbury Park’s Paramount Theatre / Convention Hall.
Oh, how I miss chrome.

Let’s Have a Party! Wooooooo!

(C) Conn!

Pictured here is Wanda Jackson at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, NJ on August 25, 2012.

This is one of the first photos I edited with my new computer & Lightroom 4.  Phase One of Operation Conn! has begun.  My old pc decided he wasn’t going to connect with our new internet provider so I took him for a checkup.  Said checkup revealed that his capacitors were dying.  The technician said I may have a few more weeks without glitches or a few months.  His last upgrade was about 15 years ago & there was also no easy way to revamp his system to make way for the extra speed & power a new camera will require.  Despite knowing that a mac or at least a laptop would be more practical, I opted for a touchscreen desktop HP.  I waited nearly a week to disconnect my old pal, buy Lightroom, and hook up my new friend.  My old friend served me well & I still didn’t throw him out.  I left him just where he has been for the past 15 years & set up the new pc in front of him.

Prior to the upgrade, Photoshop Elements 5 was my editing program but I kept reading about Lightroom 4 & how great it was so I made sure it was my first purchase (especially when I heard Wanda was coming to town).  I meant to write immediately to document my return to the future (or at least the today) but, of course, I didn’t so now I am writing as a fly has landed on my screen & continues to mess with my typing & as I have 400 photos open in LR waiting to be edited.  400?!  That is insane.  I used to only be able to open about 20 at a time.  With a week of LR editing behind me now, I definitely do not hate it the way I did on first use.  I still dislike that simple terms like “open,” “save” & “close” are “import,” “export” & “delete” in LR.  I also dislike not being able to add text or multiple layers but I now have Elements 10 to take care of that.  I am fairly certain that all sounds pretty amateur to whomever is still reading & didn’t stop when I kept referring to my old pc as a him or didn’t stop at the mere mention of *GASP* editing photos on a pc!

What else is new?


I LOVE Gaslight Anthem’s new album, “Handwritten” & cannot stop listening to it. I am currently eating a Fruit Roll Up.  Despite not watching them, the Olympics did what they have done to me every fourth summer since I was little; they made me start swimming laps again.  I broke my second lawnmower of the summer & had to weedwhack the entire lawn.  I ordered new red boots for my Wonder Woman costume.  addicted to “Entourage” & watched the whole series in less than two weeks & have not stopped watching for over a month.   I do not blog often enough but did start an Instagram to also not keep up to date.

That is about all.  I am hoping Phase Two, buying a new camera, begins within the next few weeks.  I am definitely leaning toward the Canon 5D MkIII but the Nikon D800 is also an option.  I will have to weigh the cost of lenses & batteries for both.

Oh, that isn’t all!  I love Wanda Jackson.  She rocked my socks off.

Flava in Ya Ear – May 15, 2012

I just uploaded my pictures to ADAY.ORG for their worldwide photo project.  The goal was to capture your daily life in ten photos shot on May 15, 2012.  I worked that day but I also had to to take Big Papi to Mini to have his power steering replaced.

My loaner was a 2012 Mini Countryman.  I loved the color & the SiriusXM.  I didn’t have anyone with me to take advantage of the extra roomy backseats but they looked really nice.   There was a sunroof for the front & a moon roof for the rear but I still prefer the full convertible.

Most of the day was grey & rainy & my workload was so spread out that I didn’t have much time during work to shoot anything outside of my route.  Around noon, I decided to take advantage of the loaner Mini’s SiriusXM radio & I started shooting what I was listening to as well as a photo of what was outside at that time.  Syncing the photos to the radio photos was a task I would never complete in a timely fashion & I couldn’t find just ten that worked well for the project.   This made me miss SiriusXM & it also made me want a radio that displayed all the titles of what I listen to.  I suppose an iPod would work too but I liked the idea of selecting from 100+ stations that I didn’t control.  I did take a break from the radio for a little bit to re-take the “There’s A Law” shot I missed last time I had a loaner.

Subsequently, I tested some of the other CDs I had with me to see which would register the song titles.  Besides those few, here is what I listened to May 15 between 11:57am & 6:13pm when I returned the loaner.

I wound up not getting the power steering repaired because they saw my brakes & tires as a bigger safety issue & I just couldn’t afford both.  Big Papi & I are in a very abusive relationship.  Whenever something breaks, I feel like I should sell him & get something cheaper to fix but then I see him & drop his top & our love affair continues…

I really love my expensive, little buddy. His brakes, two tires, a belt and an oil change came to $1100.  The power steering & new related hoses will be in excess of $1500 but they said I can’t damage it anymore than it already is & I can continue to drive him without power steering.  K turns are now Super Triple W turns but otherwise I almost prefer the tighter steering & my arms really could use the workout.  Already the driving muscles I used to have from driving the Dart are coming back.  I wish the Dart would come back too.

“I’ll close my eyes & listen to you read the story…”

I keep not finishing any of the SXSW posts that I start writing because I am too lazy to upload the photos for the third time (they’re already on facebook & flickr) SO I am just going to post a bunch of highlights, starting with my most favorite moment.

During the BLURT Magazine/ Dogfish Head IPA party at The Ginger Man on Friday, March 16, 2012 at SXSW…

This is Jon Auer & Ken Stringfellow playing/singing “Solar Sister” about five feet away from me.   I am not able to post my own video of this event because someone (me) was screaming a bit too loudly.  I get excited. I can’t help it, especially when I’m in an open space & may have consumed a few glasses of wine.  You can see a great video of it here & be sure to listen up for a special name change in the middle.  When I heard it live, I thought it was just my imagination.  Actually, this whole night was nearly out of my imagination.

Earlier in the evening, Ken started his set with my most favorite of his songs, “Any Love (Cassandra et Lune)” & also played my second favorite, “One Morning” as well as a boatload of great new songs whose titles I don’t know.

Mmmmm… Gretsch.  I love Gretsch.

I have continued my trend of being too close to get good shots.  Luckily, I have great memories despite having a crappy memory.  I shot this with my newly acquired Sony Mavica CD-400.   When we stopped in Delaware on the way to Texas, my brother gave me it because he wasn’t using it anymore.  I had previously had the 300, 400 & 500.  As my dad upgraded, I would get the old one.  I would then find a way to crack the LCD screen.  One time it was because someone said they saw a snake & I fell while running away.  Motherfuckin’ snakes.   Unfortunately, we weren’t in any one place long enough to charge the batteries fully so I didn’t shoot too much with this.

This was also our first time seeing Jon Auer solo.  His “Burn & Shine” medley was particularly exceptional.  He didn’t break any strings though. This might be the first time we’ve seen him play & not break a string.

His open hand was begging for a glowing orb.

I know driving to Texas isn’t free, but did I mention this was a free show?  It was AND there was more greatness to follow when Jody Stephens joined in for some rollicking Big Star songs.

Many special guests came out, including some of the great “Third” singers/players, John Doe, the guy from Blitzen Trapper, Ian Moore & Peter Buck from R.E.M.  I kept thinking Peter Buck looked like Bill Murray so I couldn’t say hello because I kept laughing, expecting him to start reciting “Groundhog’s Day” lines (because I am sure that is what the real Bill Murray does when he isn’t loading Tia Carrere’s band van).

I should start taking notes of set lists or get a new battery for my video camera so I can at least have a poor recording to reference.  Suffice it to say that this only fed my frenzy of adoration for these guys.  Every time we see them together, I fear it will be the last time & I don’t ever want that to be the case.  I do want the next show to be somewhere where it is ok to dance though.  The sitters behind me weren’t too keen on my desire to dance to “September Gurls.”  I hate sitting down almost as much as I hate being quiet.

These guys are the greatest.  Induct them into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame now please (& don’t forget John Fry).

“It’s in the silence, you can hear the same words…” – BEST of 2012

I’m only 17 days late to the new year.   Oops.

Best Albums of 2011 – “Virgins of Menace” – The Disciplines

& “Elsie” – The Horrible Crowes

Best 7″ – BIG STAR With John Davis:  Live Tribute to Alex Chilton – “Don’t Lie to Me”/”In the Street”/”When My Baby’s Beside Me”

The above also represents my proudest photographic accomplishment thus far.  To have one of my photos on the label of such sonic beauty makes me incredibly happy.

My VERY favorite photo of the year –

Boyd Tinsley - By Conni Freestone

In a year that I lost count of all the shows I could not shoot (due to lack of money, credentials or both), being able to shoot Dave Matthews Caravan was an extraordinary experience.   There are shots from the festival that are technically better than this shot of Boyd Tinsley but this one is my favorite.  It was the third night of DMB & they were playing “Seek Up.”  I just happened to be positioned right where Boyd stepped forward.  Looking at this, I can still recall my shaking knees.  I wanted to drop the camera & just dance along to the music and, at the same time, I wanted to make sure the settings accounted for the different lighting downstage.  I wanted that moment to last forever & now it can & that is why I love shooting concerts.

Runners-up for favorite moments &/or photos include:

Jody Stephens drumming "September Gurls"

Watching Jody Stephens drum  “September Gurls” at the Big Star Third show March 26, 2012.   From the balcony, I could see just how the sticks hit the drums & cymbals.  I was mesmerized.  Where was my video camera?!


Snowball 37

September 19 – Snowball 37 & Nick Clemons Band at Sullivan Hall – One of the most fun shows of the year.  This marked the live debut of SB37 with sax & the energy of the show was really high.   This is one of my favorite pictures because James looks like a cartoon eagle.  I love the shadows & absolutely could have cropped it differently, but it is still one of my favorites.  This show also rocked because Binky & Tony were there.


Snowball 37 - Conn!

Snowball 37’s Family (Re)Union Show with five of the six Fagan siblings & one next generation Fagan.  January 21, 2012  They played my favorite part of “Across the Sea” in a Weezer medley.  Ahhhhh…


Nick Clemons - Conni

November 5 –  Nick Clemons Band & Snowball 37 at Tiki Stadium.   Nick has an incredible voice & a band full of talented musicians.  This was another high energy show.  I love both of these bands.

Flaming Lips - Conni Freestone

Shooting the Flaming Lips gave me chills even though it was 85 degrees outside.


November 14 – That is my skirt & Ken Stringfellow’s shoe.  While I am sad to have not seen the Posies as a whole in over a year, it was more than pleasant to be sitting so close as he sang & played.   I do regret not having a camera that can shoot noiselessly over ISO800.  Too much flash was too rude so the actual photos of this show are not the best.    Good thing Ken has a new album coming out.


brian fallon - conni freestone

September 8 – The Horrible Crowes – I couldn’t afford the Gaslight Anthem shows this year & I would have missed this were it not for the great people at The Aquarian Weekly.


jonathan tiersten & david fagan - Conn!

Any time Jonathan Tiersten & David Fagan play together is great.  This particular shot is of their “Under Pressure” duet on September 11.  I chose this show because of JT’s performance of his song “Underbelly” that night.   Just go to the video & let him take you to church (or as much church as you can be taken to when Ayn Rand inspired the song).


My favorite show of 2012

Bruce Springsteen & JT Bowen - Conni Freestone

Twice this year, we found ourselves watching Bruce Springsteen play the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park (for $10 each).  The second time, July 17, was a tribute to Clarence Clemons and featured The Sensational Soul Cruisers with J.T. Bowen (pictured above).   Listening to J.T. Bowen, I was transported to the Memphis of my dreams, especially when he sang “Try A Little Tenderness.”  I wanted to melt right into the floor.   I can’t find video of that song but you can watch this instead.  Forward about halfway through & you can hear “Shake.”*   He absolutely, positively stole the show for me.  His performance alone would have made this my favorite show.  Other reasons this was my favorite – hearing them talk about Asbury in the old days reminded me of my dad, JT Bowen reminded me of my dad (looks, not voice), the music was so damn good, I had my honey with me AND, because of this show we now have another extremely talented, awesome friend.

*Please let me know why you would ever shake a bowl of soup though

Must’ve put a spell on you baby, Must’ve kept on coming back

When I took this picture a year ago, I tried to find out the name of the guitarist/guitar tech on stage.  I eventually forgot to keep looking.  I didn’t make the connection when I heard about The Horrible Crowes, read the liner notes or met Ian Perkins right before the show.  It wasn’t until I was editing my less than stellar shots of the Horrible Crowes show that I realized, & I am about 90% sure, that this photo is my first photo of The Horrible Crowes. 

If you want a review of the show, please pick up the September 28, 2011 issue of The Aquarian Weekly.  Because I am horrible at being objective & putting into words why I like something if I really like it, it took me about seven hours to write.  One hour of that was trying to find out the name of the last song that Brian McGee (the opener) sang.  I left it as the unknown Plow United song.  Then, I started trying to make a comparison between The Horrible Crowes & The Rat Pack but it just didn’t work out right so I cut it.  I also had difficulty expressing just how much I loved Ian Perkins’ guitar.  It is very similar (the same?) as Chris Bell’s that Jon Auer played “I Am The Cosmos” on at the Big Star Levitt Shell show. 

Ian Perkins' Gibson ES-335

The lighting at the show was very low which sets a great tone but make my cameras very noisy.  It didn’t help that the Nikon is stuck at ISO200 (see previous blog) or that I left the better Canon battery (that holds a charge for more than 15 minutes) charging at home.  Also, I had to respect the first three songs photo policy which meant I missed the really cool shots of Brian & Ian.  Next time, I must remember to bring a point & shoot for such instances.  The following are some of my favorites:

Alex Rosamilia playing the Nord.  He also adopted a pitbull from Liberty Humane Society.  This almost makes me happier than the music :)

Ian Perkins playing the aforementioned Gibson ES-335.

For more, please visit my flickr & keep an eye on The Aquarian.

Hey reckless mind, don’t throw away your playful beginnings…

 My first Dave Matthews concert was in 1998? with my bestest buddy in the whole wide world, Thindy.  After that one, there were many more.  I don’t think I ever appreciated the sound of the guitar until I saw Dave Matthews.  Listening to DMB made me feel happy, sexy, one with the world yet totally detached from it.   My Thindy moved away, my other friends don’t really like DMB & new worlds of music were opened up to me so I lost touch with my “playful beginnings” until this past weekend…

It was a tremendous honor & a re-birth of sorts that found me front & center in the photo pit for this past weekend’s Dave Matthews Band Caravan shows in Atlantic City.   I still have a ton of pictures to edit but I am not sure any will be as cool as this one:

Boyd smiles
This was from the Sunday show.  I believe the song was “Seek Up” but all I was trying to do was not let my knees cave in.  Boyd Tinsley violining like a fiend, making beautiful music mere feet from my eager ears.  I didn’t have time to double check the settings & prayed this would turn out so I could remember this moment forever.  Selfishly enough, my primary reason for wanting to photograph musicians I love is so that I can relive the experience.  If seeing the photos transports me back to the moment, I am satisfied.  Of course, it is also great when they take other people to that place too.  So, fan or foe, present at this show or not, here are a few other shots…


More photos will be added to my flickr

Thank you Dave Matthews Band for a weekend of beautiful music & reminding me of why I fell in love with you in the first place :)


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