A Night at the Bloggers’ Bistro: Live by the Image, Die By the Image (Real Bad)
We came together because we were young and foolish and full of cock-eyed optimism. We thought we could change the world, maybe a bit. Little did we realize how deeply unflattering our photos would turn out to be.
Neil Jensen has a regular feature over at What’s The Point? he calls Unflattering Photoblogging Edition, and in it, Neil grimaces for a camera, then posts the disturbing results. And when it’s done on purpose, of course, it’s all good.
But the evidence from Saturday night’s Bloggers’ Bistro will produce a whole other level of disturbance. Never have so many wonderful people, filled with so many lovely ideas, produced so many aesthetically questionable photographs.
But it’s not to be helped. Information wants to be free, and so to our muttons.
The Euro Cafe:
Fighting the Power with Baklava
The Euro Cafe has rapidly become the default option for any mildly subversive political gathering. The interior is a wild mix of ’70’s disco, Eastern European memorabilia, and the generic psychedelic party room they used every time someone dropped acid on The Mod Squad.
Add to the mix the fact that the owner, Vlad, is always more than a bit reluctant to turn off whatever Eastern European motorcycle documentary he’s currently projecting on the back wall, and it’s a visually arresting locale, to say the least.
The idea was to fill this off-center room with a few handfuls of off-center bloggers, mix, and serve. That’s precisely what we managed: a meeting of the like-minded, the politically bold, the eternally under-siege.
In no particular order, we had a full Seven Days contingent, with Freyne and Resmer (as well as mini-Resmer); the men of Green Mountain Daily (J.D. Ryan, Jack McCullough), as well as an erstwhile man of GMD, Odum; Neil Jensen and unflappable friend Oliver; Charity Tensel and Haik Bedrosian; the reclusive Yusef; Jason Lorber and Max, his extremely cool son; Michael Wood-Lewis, of the Front Porch Forum; Bill Simmon, who kicked off the event with a spontaneous Youtube seminar; and many more.
And with the exception of Haik and Charity, no one’s going to get a call from the producers of Survivor or American Idol. In fact, after a look at these photos, the rest of us will have our numbers pre-emptively blocked.
Even Odum, greeted like a conquering hero, full of Southern wit and charm, was bested finally by the digital lens.
And if you think we intentionally selected the worst of the lot above just to pay him back for the pictures he photoshopped of us after the barbeque last year (including one holding a severed head) you don’t know VDB very well.
In fact, we selected the best of the lot, because we really didn’t want to have to publish the more objectionable shots, like those to the right, and of course, below.
If anyone did manage to look together and well turned out, it was blogger, journalist and Burlington bon vivant Peter Freyne. And it was wonderful to see him, but Peter’s presence did leave us a deep ethical quandry.
When everyone cleared out, there, on the central table, was Peter Freyne’s notebook, the one he takes out whenever he gets a tip, or takes down a name, or unearths a particularly promising bit of muck.
Imagine having Gandalf forget his magic staff when he’s finished his breakfast and left your hole in Bag-End. The temptations are extreme.
It was a mark of the group’s inner beauty, though, so in contrast to our outer lack thereof, that none of us even thought to open it. In fact, we have a call in to Peter even as we speak, to arrange the hand-off.
But that, when you come right down to it, is the beauty of the three-dimensional, the face-to-face, the meat space: you can shake hands and trade objects, and come out stronger and more firmly united all the way around.
Whatever your cosmetic limitations.
[Many thanks to Yusef and Alex Ball for the photos. You did your best with what you had to work with.]
on March 7th, 2007 at 2:19 pm
[…] Winner of the Vermont-bloggers-are-not-the-most-photogenic-lot essay contest? Philip Baruth, hands down: Never have so many wonderful people, filled with so many lovely ideas, produced so many aesthetically questionable photographs. […]