Brothers of The Bean

© John Gellman

I’m in Chicago visiting family, and my brother, Tom Gellman, took me to see the famous bean sculpture in Millennium Park. The actual name of the huge, highly polished stainless steel sculpture is Cloud Gate, but everyone calls it the bean because of its shape. We walked underneath the bean and Tom leaned over me as I laid on my back shooting up. He looked at the image on the back of my camera and asked if he was finally going to make it onto my blog. I told him, “Yeah, you probably are.”

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In memoriam – Dennis Peron, the father of medical marijuana

© John Gellman

My family spent several days in San Francisco in the summer of 2007. I called my San Francisco relatives and asked them where to stay. They told me they knew a very nice guy who volunteered with them at a soup kitchen and owned a guest house called the Castro Castle. So we called the guy and stayed there. He was Dennis Peron.

I had no idea who he was. I didn’t know that he was considered the father of medical marijuana in San Francisco, and thus California, and thus the United States. He opened and ran the first public marijuana dispensary in the country. He co-wrote California’s Proposition 215, which became the first statewide medical marijuana law. He was on the cover of High Times magazine. He was a very prominent gay rights and AIDS activist who was part of Harvey Milk’s group of close friends and associates. It was an honor to meet him and stay at his place. He was the most interesting guy in San Francisco. Dennis was such a nice man, and his guest house was a unique piece of the psychedelic sixties in the present day. There was a miniature Golden Gate Bridge in his back yard surrounded by lots of large, healthy marijuana plants among all kinds of cool stuff. We ate great Chinese take-out around his kitchen table with Dennis and Cleve Jones. We loved it there. My whole family was enchanted by Dennis.

Dennis Peron passed away Saturday afternoon at the age of 71 in a San Francisco hospital; the result of lung cancer. He made a difference. He will be missed. Read his New York Times obituary HERE.

I took these pics of Dennis in front of his Castro Castle on a nice summer day in 2007.

© John Gellman

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The Outlaws – It’s about time

© John Gellman

I was in such pain for a couple months before my recent foot surgery, I didn’t feel like doing anything. So I pretty much did nothing. Now that I’m almost fully recovered, and am completely pain free, I’m looking over some of the images I shot during the months before the surgery and found some pics that aren’t too bad. So it’s about time that I post some. Here’s a shot of the Outlaws performing in Nashville in mid October, 2017 with Billy Crain sitting in. L to R: Chris Anderson, Henry Paul, Steve Grisham, and Billy Crain.

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Snack time is over

© John Gellman

Midnight Snack has been one of my favorite local bands since the first time I saw them busking downtown shortly after they arrived in Asheville several years ago. They have worked hard, played consistently (both on the sidewalks and in local venues), toured, and recorded new music. They have taught and mentored several local musicians. They have been good friends to me. I always enjoy hearing them play, and running into them around town. The band has decided to call it quits and move forward on personal projects instead of continuing as a group. I will miss Midnight Snack, but the friendships will remain and hopefully flourish, as they are not leaving town. Midnight Snack’s last show will be tonight at the Mothlight in West Asheville. I’ll be there, and I should be easy to spot. I’ll be the old guy in the wheel chair. (The roll in rock ‘n roll) I took the picture above backstge before a Midnight Snack show last April.

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In memoriam – Will Wojenski

© John Gellman

My friend, Will, battled depression for many years until he couldn’t take it any more. He took his life here in Asheville on October 31st. He was 22. I met Will not long after he moved to the area to attend Warren Wilson College a few years ago. He used to hang out in front of the Flatiron Building, where my studio is located, and there are some tables, chairs, and an electrical outlet. We are both night owls and it was not unusual for me to find him there charging his phone or laptop when I was leaving late at night. He  eventually dropped out of school and turned his attention to busking. Will was extremely smart and funny too, so we became friends.  He liked to sing and play his guitar, eat fettuccine alfredo, have conversations about science and things I largely did not understand, and watch movies. He had a kind heart. I will miss him.

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Benefit For Puerto Rico – Sunday the 22nd @ Fleetwoods

© John Gellman

Poorboy Krill, above, has gotten together with several other buskers to produce an afternoon of music at Fleetwoods in West Asheville benefiting hurricane relief in Puerto Rico. Music starts at noon on Sunday October 22nd with Dylan Grove, followed in order by Lo Wolf, Stevie Lee Combs, Poorboy Krill & Friends, Vaden Landers & The Do Rights, and Lyle Rickards. This is a great opportunity to hear several of the great musicians that have been featured on this blog for a most reasonable price while helping victims of the recent hurricanes that devastated Puerto Rico.

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Busker of the day – Conor Moor

© John Gellman

As promised, Conor Moor is the other half of the busking duo I mentioned yesterday. Or should I say one third, since they have apparently added a bassist/guitarist today. That’s how things go on the sidewalks of Asheville. I neglected to say that they are going by the name Rich Girl  Poor Boy. I think one of them had a rich girlfriend at some point, and, well, you can guess the rest of the story. (Traveling and living out of a car should be a dead giveaway.) Conor is a very accomplished singer/songwriter/guitarist who fronts two other bands, including the Tangerine Acid Love Machine, that I presume are on hiatus while he is traveling. I haven’t heard his other bands, but I do hope he sticks with this one long enough to record some music, because these guys are REALLY good.

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Busker of the day – Joseph Williams

© John Gellman

Joseph is half of a duo that stopped me in my tracks in front of Mast General Store in Asheville a few days ago. He and his traveling companion, Conor Moor, have some great material and they play it pretty damn good. They impressed me enough to listen to a few songs and invite them up to the Flatiron Studio for some photos. Joseph and Conor don’t don’t really have a band as such. They have just been traveling, singing, writing, busking, and playing the shit out of their guitars, while living out of Joseph’s car for the last few weeks. As you may notice in the pic, a trip to the music store is next on the agenda to buy guitar strings. They each have their own projects, and I have no idea how long this duo will last, but they are certainly worth hearing if you get the chance. And stay tuned. Conor is up next.

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