Thursday, September 11, 2014

Jimi Giannatti's Nine Questions Has Special Timing: Happy Birthday, Amy Ross

Posted By on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 4:07 PM

I swear the timing of this week's Nine Questions was just that, perfect, albeit heartbreaking. This past year, I've become a fan of Jimi Giannatti's work—his photographs, as well as the posters he designs for local musicians and shows. They are beautiful, just beautiful. And I swear, if you see this tall-drink of photographer walking the streets of downtown Tucson with his camera in hand, it's absolutely fun seeing him work, too.

Last year, on Monday, October 14, Bisbee musician Amy Ross, hospitalized in Tucson due to significant health issues stemming from lupus, died. We learned that the next day, in response, her partner in life and work, co-conspirator of Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl, Derrick Ross, took his own life. It was a tragic loss for many in Tucson and Bisbee's arts communities, but especially a small group of friends close to the musicians, which includes Giannatti.

Thing is, today's Amy's birthday. Yesterday, Giannatti shared her music with us most of the day on his Facebook page. The loss still runs deep, hell, it's only been a year. So, I don't know, perfect timing? I had no idea. Maybe, just maybe, a bit of an unintentional hug to Giannatti and her other friends whose hearts still feel broken.

So happy birthday, Amy. And take some time to read Giannatti's Nine Questions this week. And make sure you put this on your calender, the 2nd Annual Benefit For Amy and Derrick Ross: A Celebration of the Lives, Love, and Music of Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl, Saturday, December 6, at The Flycatcher, 340 E 6th St. Proceeds, like last year's event, will go to the Lupus Foundation of Southern Arizona. Don't worry, we'll have more the closer we get to the date of the event.

From the event's Facebook page:

Last year you all helped us raise $4000 which was donated in the name of Amy & Derrick Ross to the Lupus Foundation of Southern Arizona. This time we want to raise even more money to help fight this horrible disease that took the lives of our dearly loved friends.

This year we will be having two venues, Cafe’ Passe’ and The Flycatcher (both just doors down from one another on Fourth Ave.) At Cafe’ Passe’ we will be presenting some of the finest acoustic singer/songwriters from Phx., Tucson, Sedona and Bisbee playing the songs of NMWG, as well as, songs that are influenced by Amy & Derrick (6pm-9pm) and then at The Flycatcher, we will be presenting larger (and much louder) bands and performenrs (8:30pm-1:00am).

Tickets will be $7 for either venue, OR a $10 wristband will get you into both.

Please help us the honor of the lives, the love, and the music of these two very special humans on this very special night.

Final note: One of challenges with Nine Questions, is that damn short intro. I asked Giannatti, mostly knowing his photography and the cool things he does at Pop Narkotic, to share some more about his life with me so I could craft an intro. He told me today that this is the G-rated version, but who cares—what a life and man, looking at what he shared about Amy and Derrick and the benefit coming up in December, what a friend.

Here's what Giannatti shared, not to embarrass him, but simply because, it's pretty cool:

I’m a self-taught photographer who moved from Phoenix at the age of 30 to NYC (1980) where I spent a decade shooting for modeling agencies, fashion and music magazines. I also saw the other side of the photography business as the photo editor for SPIN Magazine. In the nineties I bounced around between New York, Paris, Los Angeles, and Ojai. At the age of forty I put my photography career on hold and went back to school at UCLA where I graduated Summa Cum laude with degrees in History and African American Studies and then attended Claremont for a Masters in US Social History. After school I reinvented myself as a live-music photographer and have have shot over 300 concerts, and nearly nearly fifty covers for several music magazines. In 2009, my divorce from my 20-year marriage sent me on a soul-finding drunken journey across the Southwest where I landed up in Bisbee. While in Bisbee I formed a close friendship with Amy and Derrick Ross and began making posters for their band, Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl. With Bisbee’s rich music scene, I soon began doing posters for other Bisbee artists and bands such as Dylan Charles, Mike Montoya’s (Fatigo), Buzz and the Soul Senders among many more. I was privileged to be part of the inaugural group that launched the Bisbee Royale Experiment where I worked as both, poster maker and booker. For those nearly two years I was introduced to and worked (and partied) with many of Arizona’s best known bands and musicians. While at the Royale many friendships and relationships were formed (and regretfully some were lost as well). The disappointment of the Royale’s decision to become a restaurant and movie theater along with Tucson’s ever growing music scene made moving here a must. I feel Tucson’s downtown vibrant music scene is one of the most eclectic and exciting local scenes in the country today. The choices of good quality live music on a random night in this city is sometimes staggering (and even at times frustrating). On any given night you can catch fantastic acts at The Rialto, Hotel Congress, The Flycatcher, Makers House, Che’s, Cafe’ Passe’, Sky Bar, The Hut, Playground, or The Surely Wench - all within walking distance from each other. The camaraderie among the musicians and bar owners is like none I’ve ever seen. Tucson has also awakened my love of photography once again and I seem to find something simply glorious or banally beautiful around every corner. These days I am proud, humbled, and blessed to call Tucson my home (for now at least).

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