Friends of LITA | Q&A with Robert McGinley aka Shredder Orpheus!

March 11th, 2015

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Twenty five years ago, a group of skaters and musicians in Seattle, helmed by our interviewee, Robert McGinley, got together to make an epically weird, epically awesome post-apocalyptic skate-rock opera called Shredder Orpheus. The film tells the tale of skateboard-guitarist Orpheus and his band of shredders, who journey to hell and back (literally) to save the world and Orpheus’ girlfriend from deathly television signals. The soundtrack of the film features music and performances by Seattleites such as Roland Barker (Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Blackouts) and Bill Rieflin (Ministry, King Crimson, Blackouts), poet/performance artist Steven Jesse Bernstein, guitarist Dennis Rea, and Amy Denio. Shredder Orpheus, beloved by its ever-growing band of cult fans, is a snapshot of Seattle’s rich subculture during a vibrant time in the city’s history. It’s also just absolutely bonkers, creative, and very entertaining. To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Shredder has some screenings and other fun things in store for us. below, we get to ask the shredder himself some questions! AND, he even managed to summon from the Grey Zone some of the film’s characters themselves to answer a few as well!

We’ve got Shredder Orpheus LPs in stock. Each LP comes with a DVD of the film!

Shredder Orpheus is about 25 years old now and it’s themes are still relevant. How do you think its relevancy and its place in pop culture has changed with the times? What has it been like watching that change take place?

This is a great question but since I am not sure how to answer it I decided to ask my characters about the relevancy of Shredder Orpheus after 25 years. Here are their answers:

ORPHEUS: “25 years ago I gave up my corporeal existence pursuing the love of my life into the underworld of the Euthanasia Broadcast Network. Although the internet did not exist then, media sedation and consumption stimuli was accomplished by television. Today I am compelled to warn all sentient beings that we face an exponentially greater problem: the new medium of the internet and its co-option by corporate advertising interests represent a grave threat to free and creative minds and a disruptive force of meaningful interaction between human beings. Eurydice and I want to remind you that no matter what the designers of hi-tech social media platforms and corporate marketers want you to believe there is no substitute for the hi-touch experience that feeds the soul. Don’t “friend me”, “like me” or “follow me” or any other virtual crap. Lets get together and skate, rock out and dance. Less digital -more analog please!”

AXEL: “Microwave radiation from television was pervasive 25 years ago. Today we get many times more exposure from the constant use of cellphones and computers. Immunity is compromised, leaving us vulnerable to a host of diseases as our addiction grows. Goddamn bunch of shit! Jesus, Buddha: BUST IT! “

HADES: “The ‘soothing’ ray from a T.V., a computer, smart phone or virtual reality platform is “comforting” because it co-opts your nervous system and penetrates your consciousness with ease. If you ingest too much you don’t have to think anymore- you ‘give yourself to the ray!’ In some ways the devices (emphasis on VICES) function like an interactive hard drive with the ultimate goal of shaping thoughts and desires and driving consumption habits. Most importantly, the ‘immersive’ experience can be deadly and divorce you from a clear conscious awareness, which is great for me!”

SCRATCH: “How do we fight suppression of the human soul by consumerist propaganda? THRASH IT! Since ‘THE RUST NEVER SLEEPS’ thrashing everyday is good mental- spiritual hygiene like brushing your teeth.”

How was the soundtrack of the film shaped by the Seattle culture from which it was born? Who was most involved in developing the soundtrack? Who were main the musical influences?

Music needs to be at the center of any play, film or opera based on the myth of Orpheus, a musician/artist who journeys to  the world of the dead. Roland Barker (MINISTRY, BLACKOUTS) was the composer and driving force behind the music. Roland and I were fortunate to find and convince amazing musicians to be the band, The Shredders, which consisted of Bill Rieflin (percussion), Dennis Rea (guitars) and Amy Denio (bass) with Roland on keyboards/synthesizer. At the outset Roland told me that he wanted the music cues in the soundtrack to be heavy on percussion and guitars with a nod to Jimi Hendrix, Dick Dale, Agent Orange and the pantheon guitar surf music. However, at that time there was no genre’ of music called “skate rock”. I think Roland and the band meshed perfectly to create music that supports the edgy tone of the film.

In previous interviews you’ve talked about how fun some of the skating scenes were to make. What scene was the most difficult to make, and why?

Every skate scene had challenges in that most of the locations were stolen and we had to be very stealth with lighting a location at night. Since I was used to sneaking into parking garages with a pack of skaters I was comfortable with it and had my fast talking gear at the ready in case we got busted by the authorities (which we did by both the U.S. Coast Guard at the Port and Seattle Fire Department at the train station). By far the most fun was shooting in a garage called DEVO which Axel refers to. We found this awesome action stunt photographer, Stan Larson, who was an expert at radical handheld P.O.V. shots while doing somersaults off ski jumps. Since GoPros didn’t exist he bolted a 16mm EMO camera to a piece of plywood that he had put trucks and wheels onto and skated on it while we blasted down the ramps. After a few takes he took the EMO off the board and just improvised handheld shots.

The most difficult scene to make was the one night exterior at the Port of Seattle. We couldn’t shoot because our costume designer, Marienne O’Brien, was arrested and put in jail on her way to the location for unpaid parking tickets. They impounded her car with all the costumes in the trunk for 20+ people and wouldn’t release her or the car without bail. We went through the last of our petty cash to get her out, but by the time we had her and the costumes on set, 12 hours of shooting had to accomplished 3 hours before the sun came up. The scramble ensued and even though we didn’t get everything we wanted, we got what we absolutely needed.

What are your thoughts on the skate world today? How has it changed since Shredder came out?

It’s certainly more mainstream today. In those days there were no such things as a “professional skater,” corporate sponsorship or the X Games, like there are today. Tony Hawk, Stacy Peralta and the Z Boys were the pioneers of what has become a major industry. Interestingly, skateboarding has gone the way of many alternative ventures by starting out as counter culture rebellion and then getting swallowed into the pop mainstream. It has also become a more female activity today. (Scratch in S.O. was ahead of her time).

Shredder is a cult classic these days… Have you had any crazy fan encounters?

At the Halloween screening last fall, audience members showed up wearing costumes inspired by Shredder Orpheus characters. Crazy funny!

Other crazy fan feedback would include these reviews:

“Sure, the film looks like a veiled excuse to film people doing skateboard tricks in a dystopian landscape ruled by a sinister television station, but it has a lot to say about mass media, the afterlife, love, youth culture and corporate mind control.”

The review also references Persephone’s (Vera McCaughn) brilliant speech: “…if the appearance of Hades caused me to nearly lose it, I lost it completely when Persephone shows up and says, ‘Praise the ray,’ and launches into what has to be one of my favourite monologues ever recited in a motion picture.”

  • Jimi Nguyen’s YouTube channel, Shit I Think About, has a hilarious review describing Shredder Orpheus as “…bat shit crazy.”

 

You made this movie without having gone to film school. Do you have any advice for young filmmakers attempting low-budget projects without a film school background?

You learn from your mistakes, so be patient. Remember, Woody Allen has been known to reshoot entire films. It’s a cliche but the most important thing is your screenplay. If you are a first-time screenplay writer (as I was with Shredder) and think you are done after a few drafts, you probably need to let a lot of people read it. Hopefully, you have a good mentor, like I had with Jesse Bernstein, who can help you drill down on any weaknesses in your script. The other thing to consider is the tone of your film. The hard lesson as a director is what I call “tone control”– if you shift or combine genre’s your audience/marketers may have trouble with your film. In Shredder Orpheus the tone shifts from comedy to tragedy.  I personally like dancing on that line but it can be risky.

You’ve said that Jean Cocteau’s Orphee films and the skate vids of Stacey Peralta and the Bones Brigade were big influences for you. What elements did you most admire of those films?

What I saw in Jean Cocteau’s Orphee was the artist portrayed as a voyager into the underworld (subconscious mind) where Orpheus demonstrates that love is stronger than death. The Orpheus Myth is western civilization’s oldest love story and with the help of Joseph Campbell’s books on the hero’s journey I was able to find my story structure for Shredder O.

Stacy Peralta put rock music to skateboarding and it was fun and inspiring to watch. Skating in parking garages in Seattle was crazy nocturnal fun and descending down the ramps felt exactly like we were on our way to the underworld!!

Ultimately, the seed for Shredder Orpheus came from skating and being an amateur mythologist and the film is a synthesis of these personal endeavors 25 years ago.

What films, music, and/or literature has been inspiring you lately?

Pan’s Labyrinth for film. And I pay close attention to films like Her and Transcendence. Cyberpunk literature, aka Neuromancer (William Gibson) and non-fiction like This Is Your Brain On Music by Daniel Levitin. I follow developments in new technology and am an avid student of A.I. and its implications for our future… singularity, etc. The Human Use of Human Beings by Norbert Weiner and the science of Cybernetics are cornerstones to my view of the way the world works.

What’s next for you and for Shredder Orpheus?

There will be a few more celebratory 25th anniversary screenings of Shredder including the midnight screening at Cinefamily on April 11th. It may play as a midnighter once again in Seattle later this year. There are a lot more creative story ideas that can be mined from the Shredder Orpheus themes. One Shredder inspired story is in the works with a recently completed screenplay. Stay tuned!

Disto Roundup | Deadgirl, The Duke Of Burgundy, and The Visitor

March 9th, 2015

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Joseph Bauer’s score to one of the most brutal independent horror films of the last five years, Deadgirl, is now available for the first time on vinyl in a limited edition of 500 copies on 180g, two-tone wax! Deadgirl is the story of two high school boys, Rickie and JT, who discover a beautiful zombie chick imprisoned in an abandoned mental asylum. She cannot die and she also cannot escape from these two hormonal, angsty trespassers. The film is very dark. Its score is vivid and brilliant: at times beautiful, at times melancholy and ambient, at times mischievous and exciting. Director Marcel Sarmiento supervised this release, which was sourced from the composer’s original master recordings.

Listen to the soundtrack on Spotify.

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Cat’s Eyes’ rich soundtrack to Peter Strickland’s inflammatory and sensual 2014 film The Duke Of Burgundy is now available for preorder! Harpsichord, violin, flute, and harp flutter through the tracks, lead occasionally by an ethereal female voice. The film itself tells the tale of a woman who studies butterflies and moths, and begins testing the limits of her relationship with her lover. It is visually stunning, as well unsettling and kinky as hell. Cat’s Eyes’ sumptuous and haunting score holds its own without even the context of the film. Check out this interview with Cat’s Eyes about their approach to the project and listen to a stream of the album.

Also, check out the film’s trailer:

 

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We’ve got another gorgeous release from Mondo available for preorder: The Visitor soundtrack by Franco Micalizzi, with art by Jay Shaw. Pressed on black vinyl and randomly-inserted sunburst vinyl. In Giulio Paradisi’s 1979 film The Visitor… no, you know what? I’m just going to quote IMDB directly because it’s priceless and I couldn’t say it better myself:

John Huston stars as an intergalactic warrior who joins a cosmic Christ figure in battle against a demonic 8-year-old girl, and her pet hawk, while the fate of the universe hangs in the balance. Multi-dimensional warfare, pre-adolescent profanity and brutal avian attacks combine to transport the viewer to a state unlike anything they’ve experienced… somewhere between Hell and the darkest reaches of outer space.”

What more could you want? A fat, funky score to go along with it, you say? Well, here you go. This amazing 2LP, 180gram vinyl reissue of Micalizzi’s score just begs for a full, high-quality listen.

Spotify Playlist: The Supreme Jubilees’ Influences by Leonard Sanders

March 6th, 2015

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We’ve got a treat for y’all to take with you into the weekend! We asked Leonard Sanders from The Supreme Jubilees to make us a Spotify playlist, and the man made us two! One of secular influences and one of gospel influences. Fab stuff.

The Supreme Jubilees Gospel Influences

The Supreme Jubilees’ Secular Influences

 

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New LITA Release! | ‘Songs From Suicide Bridge’ – David Kauffman & Eric Caboor

March 5th, 2015

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It’s an important day at Light In The Attic headquarters. We’re releasing into the world a very special project that we’re particularly proud of. Gorgeously gutting, hauntingly beautiful, and impossible to find previously on vinyl, Songs From Suicide Bridge has been an office staple on repeat for years and it is an honor to finally be able to bring it to a wider audience.

 

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We love this album for its brilliant songwriting and emotional performances. We love its purity, authenticity, and simple beauty. We love the story of two close friends trying to make it in Los Angeles in the early 80s, but finding their heartfelt folk-rock lost in a sea of new wave pop, unappreciated and overlooked by the industry. To this day, David & Eric are in awe, almost skeptical, that we believe so much in this album. We can’t wait for them to see that (hopefully) you do too.

 

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Here’s one of our favorite tracks from the album, but really, they’re all good. Check it out here and if you like it, get the vinyl if you can because this album is best heard in full, not on a computer. Prepare for tears.

There are 200 deluxe white vinyl copies available, which come with an original ‘Greetings From Suicide Bridge’ postcard, featuring the album’s namesake, historical Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena, CA. 

 

 

This is why we love what we do here at Light In The Attic. We get to breathe new life into music like this that never got the love it deserves. We think it will most certainly find that love now.

 

Three New Titles From Shadoks Music

March 2nd, 2015

We’ve got three awesome new European underground reissues from Shadoks Music available for preorder this week!

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This is Shadoks Music’s third release from the great Finnish psych band, Charlies. Recorded in ’69-’70 in the drunk tank of the local jail (one of the member’s fathers was a police officer, so they were granted access), this album finally achieves the heavy underground quality that the band felt their previous releases lacked.

 

 

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Catching up with the love and peace sentiments of the rest of the Western world, Austrian band Nostradamus formed in Vienna in the late 60s. With influences such as The Jimi Hendrix Experience,  Cream, and King Crimson and the addition of a violinist, this album is one of the best and most unique Austrian releases of the time.

 

 

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Also influenced by powerful trios like Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Young Flowers formed in Copenhagen in 1967. Progressive and with a uniquely Scandinavian sound, Young Flowers released a second album in 1960, ‘No. 2′, which has since become one of the most important and sought after Danish albums. Full of fuzz guitar, great vocals and an underground vibe, Shadok’s reissue comes as the original did with a silver cover. Plus this version comes with a bonus poster. Oh and by the way, the band has two upcoming shows in Denmark!

Free Basin’ Friday | Michael Chapman – ‘Window’ Contest Results

February 27th, 2015

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Thank you so much to all who submitted. We loved looking at these.

It was agonizing to pick just one favorite, and we spent way too long deciding. The winner is… this magical little moment from zheabs! It somehow feels like it has a Michael Chapman vibe.

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Congrats!

Thanks for playin’ everybody. Wish we could give you all something.

Thin Lizzy Liners Pt. 3 | Vagabonds Of The Western World

February 25th, 2015

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Our favorite bits from Kevin ‘Sipreano’ Howes’ liners for Thin Lizzy’s third album Vagabonds Of The Western World:

  • “Perhaps it was the weed, perhaps it was the Guinness, but Thin Lizzy had somewhat unrealistic expectations after their recent commercial success.” The label was expecting “Whiskey In The Jar Pt. 2,” but the band wanted to reinforce that they were a serious band. They released “Randolph’s Tango,” expecting a huge hit.

“When we were on the road,” Eric Bell recalls, “we would stop at service stations, and Phillip would buy all of the music papers. The first page he’d turn to was the chart. ‘Where is it?’ he’d say. ‘It’s fucking nowhere.’ And this went on week after week. I think we got one mention.” – Bell

  • Philip was … heavily into being Irish, even though he was a black man. He loved Ireland and he loved the Celtic mythology and the drawings and the Book of Kells type of artwork. Philip was steeped in that. He read quite a bit about that, and it was one of his best subjects in school. He was genuinely into that mythology of Ireland, so he started using it in his own work, you know.” – Bell

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  • The album cover was designed by Phil’s friend, Dublin-based artist Jim Fitzpatrick, who was also known internationally for his iconic and often reproduced two-tone 1968 portrait of Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara. He also specialized in Celtic art and science fiction illustrations. He’s still making art in Ireland, and the above is a piece of his.

  • On the Vagabonds cover you can find: Phil, Bell and Downey, a futuristic aircraft, Celtic engraved stone tablets, a floating city, and there’s even a little red mouse running across the bottom left corner.

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(Image via BareBonesEZ.Blogspot)

  • “As kids, we all used to read Batman and The Green Lantern, but Philip had retained that. Touring England, we’d be driving down the motorway and would occasionally stop at a service station to get a cup of coffee or use the toilet. Philip would often come out with about six Marvel or DC Comics under his arm, [The Incredible] Hulk, whatever was out in those days. I remember him pointing to these little squares, and inside the square, about the size of a postage stamp, would be a drawing of Silver Surfer standing on top of a hill or Batman standing at the top of  a building. All of their poses would be very dramatic, and Philip used to point these out to me and say, ‘Hey Eric, look at the way he’s standing there.’ He took that on. He started trying out these dramatic poses that these heroes would have. Very strong, static, balanced sort of poses.” – Bell

  • Radio Luxembourg DJ David ‘Kid’ Jensen was a huge Lizzy supporter since day one, yet band had never met him. Finally, Phil’s mother Philomena said to the boys, ‘Well, what you’re going to do now is, I’m going to get you a big magnum of champagne, the best that you can get, and you’re going to fly over and meet this man and thank him very much.’ And so they did. Kid interviewed them live on air. Bell and Downey got smashed on the champagne and spent the whole interview giggling in the corner while Phil tried to keep it together.

  • David ‘Kid’ Jensen is the voice that opens ‘The Hero and the Madman.’

New Distro Label: Futurismo!

February 24th, 2015

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We’re delighted to present a fresh, bright label from London for whom we’ve just begun distributing. Futurismo‘s manifesto states:

We believe that neither pop nor art should be mutually exclusive, that the past and the future can synchronize in the moment, just as creativity, danger and fun can co-exist on the same plane. Life should be about fun after all. Serious fun.

Since it’s start in November of 2014, the label has put out several releases revolving around the genres of new wave, post-punk, no wave, avant garde pop, and synth punk. And with an eye to not only music, but art and fashion as well, Futurismo is a tastemaker to watch.

Delaney Jae Williams, the label’s director says:

My aim is to generally release objects by artists that need reappraisal or reinstating in the consciousness, using high-end production and forward thinking, innovative design. My intention is to give more attention to lesser known records than major labels give to revered recordings. My main interests are unreleased recordings and redux versions of existing records that include new artwork and extras.

We’ve got three great new releases from Futurismo available for preorder, each with multiple color variants:

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Thin Lizzy Liners Part 2| Shades of a Blue Orphanage

February 23rd, 2015

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Our favorite moments from Kevin ‘Sipreano’ Howes’ liners for Thin Lizzy’s second album Shades of a Blue Orphanage

  • Regarding the critical reception of the bands eponymous first LP: “Upon release, the album had sunk faster than a leaky wooden vessel attempting to cross the Irish sea.”

  • “We weren’t self-sufficient by any means. You’d depend on your girlfriend  or mom sending you some cash  from Ireland, just to exist.” – Downey on the band’s early days in London.

  • Sipreano On ‘Buffalo Gal’: “[it] contains stout elements of what many perceive as the ‘classic’ Thin Lizzy paradigm: anthem meets nostalgia aimed straight at the heart.”

  • Sipreano on the band member’s unique music tastes: “Bell was a total blues freak, while Downey threw jazz and R&B into the mix. Lynott was perhaps the most eclectic.” Bell states, “When we travelled in the van, Philip would have cassettes of ZZ Top, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and then you hear James Brown and people like Wilson Pickett and all these soul guys who were coming out at the time.”

  • If David Bowie was on, Philip would be watching him, like fucking every move.” – Bell on Phil watching other acts from the sidelines.

  • Lizzy did covers of “Street Fighting Man,” The Doctor Who theme, and “If 6 Was 9″ as part of their set list before and during the making of Blue.

  • Bell on the birth of “Whiskey In The Jar-o”:

“We were rehearsing in a pub in London, and there was nothing happening. We couldn’t get any songs together. It was just a negative sort of day,” says Bell. “Philip picked up a guitar and started singing these old folk songs on his own, just for a laugh. After about ten minutes of this, he eventually got onto ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ [a traditional Irish folk song]. At this point, me and Brian said, ‘Aw, fuck it!’ and we started having a laugh as well. So we started playing along with him until Ted Carroll (co-manager) came into the room. He had been looking for a new amplifier for me, an HH transistor amp. No valves. We were excited to try it out.
Ted said, ‘What was that song you were just playing as I came in?’
Phil said, ‘Wot? Fuckin’ good amplifier, Ted!’
‘Yeah, what was that song?’
‘Ah, man, we were only fuckin’ messin’ about.’
‘Yeah, but what was the song?’
‘Oh, “Whiskey in the Jar.”‘
‘You know what? I was standing at the bottom of the stairs before I came up, and I heard you playing that, and I said to myself, “I think that’s a fucking hit record!”‘
And we all fell about laughing, you know. We thought he was having a joke. About six weeks later we were recording ‘Black Boys On The Corner’ for the A-side of our next single, and we really hadn’t got a B-side together.
Ted was there that day and said, ‘Why don’t you try “Whiskey in the Jar”?’
We were all, ‘You gotta be kidding! We are not that type of fucking band.’
And he said, ‘Well if you haven’t got anything, why don’t you try it?’
The rest was history.

  • Decca switched the sides of their ’72 single so that “Whiskey” was on the A-side. Lynott was furious. And when the single was sent to radio stations it came with a little bottle of ‘liquid courage’ and a Thin Lizzy sticker.
  • On Lynott dressing the part of a frontman: “Philip was besotted with clothes,” remembers Bell. “When I first met Phillip he was wearing white Oxford bags [loose fitting trousers], brogues, and a sort of Humphrey Bogart groom coat. He was worse than a woman, you know [laughs]. Really he was.”

Free Basin’ Fridays | Michael Chapman – Window (Clear Vinyl) IG Photo Contest!

February 20th, 2015

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Next Tuesday marks the official release of Michael Chapman’s  Window, the final installment of our ongoing series reissuing Chapman’s groundbreaking albums for Harvest Records. This album blends pastoral folk with baroque psychedelia and it is super awesome.

In celebration of the release, we thought it might be fun to see what’s going on outside your window. Post your favorite photo that you’ve taken either of your window or of the view outside your window on your Instagram account for a chance to win a copy of Window on beautiful clear vinyl!

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To enter, follow us on Instagram (@lightintheatticrecords), post your photo and hashtag it with #IWantWindow and @lightintheatticrecords in the caption. The staff here at Light In The Attic will announce a winner on Friday, February 27th and  commenting on the winning photo with instructions on how to get in touch. Original content only please.

We’ll post all the submissions we get in an album on our Facebook page for the world to see and feature select favorites on our blog and other social channels!

Get to snappin’, ye Ansels and Dianes. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!