I Have a Story

I have a story - one that I keep mainly a secret for now, that I hope to someday share. I've exposed it very little - only when I felt it was necessary to continue living - to a few people who were at the right place and the right time. Some might see this story as personal and therefore able to be kept secret forever, never meeting the light of scrutiny and love it may garner. I see it as something that lives inside of me, pressing buttons and writing speeches that are never delivered.

Some days, like today, something happens to remind me of this story, and I feel compelled to climb on to the nearest roof and scream it, from beginning to end; but I know those times and this time are not the right time to share. And furthermore, I beat myself up over "not the right time", because I know that in my heart, there is no right or wrong time. My story has an agenda - a cause- and every day it stays a locked in that secret place, I feel I'm missing a battle that needs it - that needs me.

There is a story that happened, that exists in history, and leaves me with days like today when I wonder, when will I be able to tell this story? When will I feel comfortable to take what will inevitably be given in return?



Music and Fog

A month or so ago, I agreed to shoot some promotional photos for Wee the Band, who are a fun and sultry vocal pop band from San Francisco. Now, when I heard their music, I thought of a dark bar with a red glow; but their time constraints allowed only for a quick outdoors location. We settled on Treasure Island, which has a magnificent view of the city - but of course, it's been foggy and cold here (San Francisco in the summer!) so the plan was modified somewhat.

Beginner's tip #3289237 - a band with six members is not as easy to shoot as a band with 3.
Especially when said band is freezing.

I really enjoyed meeting Wee the Band and had a great time getting their shots. I think they're fine, but I look forward to doing an indoor shoot sometime soon!

Wee The Band

Wee The Band

Wee The Band

Wee The Band

Wee The Band

Wee The Band



The Cerrito Theater - I Won't Write a Eulogy

Imagine: a movie theater within walking distance from home, where the concession stand bursts with home made brownies, veggie burgers and pints of local beer. The 1930s late-Art Deco structure has been renovated to its original grandeur; the cozy individual theaters split evenly between seats and giant, plush couches. There's no Digital Dolby sound, or Imax-sized screens, but they play a cartoon before the feature - - only a cartoon; no loud, frenetic previews. Here, you might find the new Paul Rudd comedy I Love You Man, or the mega blockbuster The Dark Night, and if you're lucky, you'll make it to a Sunday showing of a classic; Rear Window, Indiana Jones, or the 1930s version of War of the Worlds. The best part? Admission for two = $14. Unless it's Wednesday, that is - because that's two-for-one night.

Sounds amazing, right?

That place? It existed, here.

Cerrito Theater, El Cerrito California, May 21, 2009

For this little city, locked between the violence and struggle of Richmond and the indie fabulous Berkeley, lost within high cost of so much in the Bay Area, the Cerrito Speakeasy was a sanctuary. It was a symbol of what's important; community, family, and great entertainment all wrapped up in one historical package. A place where I always felt welcome among friends.

The woman in white is, in fact, staring shockingly at the letters on the marquee. When she saw me snapping photos, she asked, "what happened"? I told her about the situation that had lead to the closing of the Cerrito Theater. As I finished, she clutched her belly, which barely formed a tiny baby bump, and said, "I was so excited to bring her to Baby Brigade".

As we chatted, two middle-aged men walked up to the ticket window and peeked in the doorway. One turned to me and said, "Are they closed for the day?" She and I exchanged a glance. "No, it's an indefinite thing" I replied. The man turned to his friend with wide eyes. "What happened!" the other asked.

So, what happened? Of course, money; like the Parkway that fell before it. This story, however, is frustratingly sad, between the Fischer family (who opened and ran the theater) and the city of El Cerrito who seem unwilling to compromise. That being said, the unfortunate truth is that neither party is fully accountable for the desperate times The Cerrito has faced.

Built in 1937 and operated until the early 60s, the Cerrito went dark for over 40 years and was used as a furniture warehouse. In 2001, the theater became available for sale, and a group of citizens called Friends of the Cerrito Theater organized to save the building and turn it back in to a movie theater. The city of El Cerrito purchased the building, and hired the Fisher family (of Speakeasy Theaters) to run the business. Over the next few years, the Fischers (along with many donors and the Friends of the Cerrito Theater) renovated the building and in 2006, the doors were opened once again.

Last month, the Fischers were forced to close their flagship theater, the Parkway, in downtown Oakland because of financial issues. While it was hoped that the closing would bring business to the Cerrito (and it did), a matter of only weeks passed before the same fate befell the second theater. If you're interested in reading the details, you find them here.

With the Fischers' lease being terminated, the website for the Friends of the Cerrito Theater has blogged that they are in full support of working to find a new operator for the establishment as quickly as possible. Sadly, in this economy, there will be nothing 'quick' about this situation. I sincerely hope that the City Council, who have been the acting party, understand what they've lost when the corner of Central and San Pablo Avenue is dark.


Well, I heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
Well it goes like this: the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah.
Hallelujah -

Well, your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to her kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah.
Hallelujah -

Baby I've been here before
I've seen this room and I've walked this floor
You know, I used to live alone before I knew you
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
And love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah.
Hallelujah -

Well there was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show that to me, do you?
But remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah.
Hallelujah -

Maybe there is a god above
But all I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
And it's not a cry that you hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah.
Hallelujah -

(from somewhere in between here and there, it creeps up when you least expect it, and reminds you of what it really means. )



Someday I'l Blog Again...

...really, I will.

Last weekend, I shot engagement photos for an old work friend and her fiancee, who are marrying in New York this summer. I won't be shooting her wedding, but I had a good time following these two around for a bit.

They're gamers - and hardcore ones, at that - so it was fun to incorporate a little of their lifestyle into their photos.

Amanda, Art and Puppies

The Gamer Couple

Amanda and Art

Amanda & Art




Back Home

First Image - Hanna and Clint

Here's one image from the wedding I shot this weekend in Wisconsin. It was a whirlwind - I'm back now and working to complete the last final for this semester. Tomorrow, I'll sleep all day...and then get back to work!



April Showers bring May

For the five of you who read the blog, sorry I haven't updated much. Ya'll know I'm doing something or another and well, blogging ends up at the bottom of the to-do list.

Aside from that, I'm over the top obsessed with microblogging via twitter,(and YES, I WAS THERE BEFORE OPRAH!) so if you follow me there, you'll get more Nissa in real time than you ever needed.

When I logged in to blogger this evening I noticed that the mobile blogging has gone out of beta and is now available for all carriers, so I'm going to try updating from my Blackberry to see how that works. Might be a fun alternative to web blogging! I see you can also upload pictures to the blog.

Last Friday, I put up an exhibit of 4 photos at the pet store. We had a small opening reception, which was fun. I have since sold two out of the four, and hope to sell one more (one is of Margot, and I don't intend to sell it, but have gotten the most complements on that one). It was a bit nerve wracking leading up to the exhibit. Something new I haven't done before. But, it turned out fine in the end, and now I'm prepared to do it again.

I'm traveling to Wisconsin this weekend to photograph the wedding of a family friend. I am very excited, not only for the wedding, but for a weekend back home. I will be spending Friday with my wonderful friend Sara, who also met me in Vegas last October for a fun getaway. Sunday, Mother's Day, my Dad is having a little cookout party. The weather looks to be in the late 60s - 70s, with a chance of some rain. I would LOVE to see a thunderstorm, but it doesn't look promising. Here's hoping the weather will stick it out for the wedding.

There's a lot of hot topics i'd like to write about but sitting down to formulate my opinion in sentences seems like a stretch right now. Maybe while I'm on the plane.

Anything on your mind? Leave me a comment.



How Two Girls Who've Never Made a 3D Whale Cake Succeed, in 7 Steps

Whale Cake - Step 1

Whale Cake - Step 2

Whale cake - Step 3

Whale Cake - Step 4

Whale Cake - Step 5

Whale Cake - Step 5

Whale Cake - Step 5

Whale Cake - Step 6

Whale Cake - Step 7


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