Month: April 2010

Tammi Stewart, Remembering Her Father

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Tammi Stewart is the daughter of Nicolas Kirk, a bailiff who was seriously injured during an escape attempt by death row inmate Ronnie Lee Gardner. Kirk passed away in 1995, Gardner has been on death row for twenty-five years. From Christopher Smart’s story:

Although unarmed, Kirk confronted Gardner the day of the courthouse shoot-out in an effort to stop him. Gardner shot Kirk in the lower abdomen. The bullet ripped through his small intestine and lacerated his appendix and bowel before lodging near his hip.

It took a year for him to heal, but he was never the same, ValDean Kirk said in an interview. From the day of the shooting forward, her husband was in constant pain and suffered from depression and nightmares.

“It ruined everything for us,” she said. “He just wasn’t himself after that.”

Kirk retired in 1993 and died of a heart attack in December 1995.

“I definitely think Ronnie Lee should get the death penalty,” ValDean Kirk said. “I feel sorry for him. I don’t hate him the way I used to.”

But the Kirks’ eldest daughter, Barb Webb, said she has no sympathy for Gardner. His execution will bring long-needed closure for her family, she said.

“It’s absolutely disgusting. It should never have taken 25 years” for Gardner to be executed, she said. “It’s been a roller coaster for us. My dad never got closure.”

Another of Kirk’s daughters, Tammi Stewart, has remained angry at Gardner because he has never said that he was sorry. But the apology from Gardner’s family Friday means a great deal, she said.

“I think they really mean it,” she said. “It makes me feel 100 percent better. It’s so sweet.”

Gardner will face the firing squad on June 18th.

Karl Rove’s ear and friends from California High School

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So many brilliant people came out of my high school. After a day like today, running around to three assignments that resulted in nothing but average photographs, it was good to get some inspiration from old acquaintances. I read an interview with fellow California High School* alum Phil Jaurigui, who runs Swing House Studios in Los Angeles. Those are some of his clients listed above. Read the list and weep. Phil was my partner in a high school Photo class (which I flunked). Phil probably got an A. He had skills, like so many Cal High students. For example, check out Cal High’s own F Scott Schafer, an amazing photographer who taught me everything I know about working in a darkroom.

Here’s a great quote from the end of the interview with Phil, which to me says as much about photography as it says about music:

If you’re a new band, just rehearse as much as you can, write and record as much as you can, and don’t look to anybody else to help you as far as building your sound and your audience. The only way you can do that is just by playing, playing, playing, playing relentlessly. The bands that survive—Wilco, AFI, Green Day, and a few others—they’re great bands, they’re valuable bands, and they’ll go on forever and forever because they never stopped touring and never stopped recording whether they had a record deal or not. That’s the way you gotta look at it, that it’s do it yourself. If you do it yourself long enough, you’ll eventually get good at it, and someone will notice it.

I needed something like that. As proud as I was of my photo of Karl Rove’s ear today…

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…I’ve got to keep shooting, shooting, shooting, shooting, shooting relentlessly.

Here’s the full interview: Interview with Phil Jaurigui of Swing House Studios | LA Music Blog

* That’s really the school’s name, see: Picture 3.png