Remembering Andrew

 

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I sat in the darkened Club Vera in Holland last October, listening to the music on stage and thought, in this messed up world, there is no greater humanity. What I saw on stage that afternoon brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face, simultaneously. I sat, holding Andrew’s hand, as band after band, all friends of his, took the stage to honor him. Each band played one or two Dead Moon songs, some set to their own band’s style like the lounge electronica version of “Dead Moon Night” by Das Audio Combo. Andrew’s dear friend Jozzy took the stage with the Dead Moonlizards (they’d changed their name for the night, adding the “Dead” to their usual moniker the Moonlizards) to sing “I need a shot of Dead Moon,” a song he wrote about Andrew for his own band The Bips. The music ended with a jaw-dropping solo of “Dagger Moon” by Eric, another dear friend.

Andrew watched the stage all through the show with pure adoration. At times he’d mouth the words to a Dead Moon song, or tap the drum beat with his cane. But what he was really doing was cheering on, with deep pride, his friends and their musicianship. He knew the night was about him, but for Andrew, the night was about friendship and music. That was the shared humanity I felt in that room.

Andrew was not driven at all by ego and the need for fan adoration, but by love. He needed to be loved in all the forms of that emotion, especially in the form of friendship. His friend Kate Fix called him an empathic imp, the perfect description. Andrew was generous with his love and friendship in return. As the Beatles line goes, “The love you take is equal to the love you make.” To have a deep bond with Andrew was to have the best friend ever in your back pocket for life.

Thankfully, we have music to heal our wounds in a time when we have to create gofundme campaigns for people who are sick. Andrew’s world was one of dimly lit clubs, loud bands, and friendship–not one of doctor’s offices, radiation masks, CAT scans, hospital beds and the rest he’d endured in the past year. Ultimately, Andrew’s world was one in which he inspired others to be their best selves.

I can’t pinpoint any moment that marked the beginning of the end. His death came suddenly and unexpectedly, it was not on par with what the doctors had been telling us. It will be hard for all of us to let go, to believe that Andrew is gone and won’t “be here later,” walking through the door with his buoyancy and smile and jokes. Though there will forever be a hole in the heart of our creative community here at home and around the world, Andrew’s left us with some good rules to live by, though…in addition to his music.

  • Live your passion on your own terms–be the drummer, not the dishwasher
  • Treat others as you want to be treated
  • Don’t miss opportunities–actually, he told me he learned that from Fred
  • Don’t sell yourself short
  • Wear a good hat

Andrew was the person I admired most in my life, though this is not my loss alone. We live in a messy world during tumultuous times. But, even when we feel our own lives are out of control, we have to be outward with our good intentions. We have to keep spreading the love.

I’ll leave us with these words from American author Ralph Waldo Emerson as they embody Andrew’s enduring spirit:

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty and to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better through music or your relationships; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; This is to have succeeded.”

Camping at Summer Lake Hot Spring, Oregon

By Neva Knott

I amble around the Pacific Northwest often. A recent Memorial Day, my friend Chandika and I took off on a suggestion from a coworker of mine to Summer Lake in Central/East Oregon. We stayed at the Hot Spring campground there; it’s a cool place–the owner has set up Airstream trailers as cabins and a tent area in a field. It was casual and friendly, so much so that he made us coffee in the morning, since we’d forgotten the French press.

These photographs were shot with my Holga plastic camera and film. If you’re not familiar with Holgas, the distortions and vignetting are part of the charm of the camera.

Beachscapes at Fort Stevens, Astoria, Oregon

By Neva Knott

A photography teacher once quoted a famous photog, whose name I’ve now forgotten, stating that photography has nothing to do with the beach. I disagree. The place where the sky meets water and water meets land is magical, mysterious, and abundant of life.

Footsteps, Fort Stevens, Astoria OR

Fort Stevens, Astoria OR

End of the beach, Fort Stevens, Astoria WA

Sea Lions in Astoria, Oregon

By Neva Knott

Sea Lions resting on the docks in Astoria, Oregon. Most, if not all, of these are male California Sea Lions, distinguishable by their darker color and dog-like bark, according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. This is a charismatic species; these lounging and napping sea creatures draw an audience when they’re in town. And, they cause an uproar with Astoria’s citizens who use these docks–the sea lions are noisy, smelly, cause damage to the docks, and take up prime mooring space.

As a naturalist, I’m on the side of the sea lions. They come in for the smelt run and stay for the salmon run. What people don’t understand is this: when we take up wildlife habitat, they will “invade” our habitat.

Whale Bones Memorial, Newport, Oregon

By Neva Knott

For me, this memorial is a visual connective element between humans and the circle of life. The enormity of the whale reminds that we are not the primary species on the planet.

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Zihuatanejo Fishing Boats

By Neva Knott

Easter, 2011. I traveled to Zihuatanejo to spend nine days by myself on a beach. I wanted to hear another language. I wanted to feel a different culture. I was in graduate school and bartending and burned out. I stayed at a little place called Treetops in a little palapa of a cabin. I spent most of my days on a beach chair under a palm-front umbrella, reading and napping and watching the ocean roll along.

When I travel, I like to make photos that show the essence of the place, that narrate how life is lived there. While Zihuatanejo is just down the road from Ixtapa, a major tourist resort area, and is famous as the filming location of The Shawshank Redemption, it is also a fishing village.

Trees and Trash, Zihuatanejo, Mexico

By Neva Knott

Easter, 2011. I traveled to Zihuatanejo to spend nine days by myself on a beach. I wanted to hear another language. I wanted to feel a different culture. I was in graduate school and bartending and burned out. I stayed at a little place called Treetops in a little palapa of a cabin. I spent most of my days on a beach chair under a palm-front umbrella, reading and napping and watching the ocean roll along.

Every few days while in Zihuatanejo, I walked this mile-long dirt road from my beach cabin at TreeTops to get to the highway and bus-stop to go into town. The trash dumps under every tree stood in sharp contrast to the lush beauty of the flora. As with the tide-line trash I depicted in my previous post, this problem is not unique to Mexico.

This is my first sketch of an environmental photo story.