As the final exclamation point to the Casbah's 25th anniversary celebration -- the winner of the club's year-long free pass to every single show at the venue in 2014 was announced today: Jason Bang, make your way to the winner's podium!
The Golden Ticket (as we referred to it in our article last month) was a once-in-a-lifetime contest that any live-music lover would be thrilled to win. As expected, there were quite a few entries and all of them were pored over by the three-member panel of judges.
Tim Mays, Tim Pyles and Rosemary Bystrak scrutinized the #casbah25 hashtagged photos and videos -- and they sure had their work cut out for them.
“There were hundreds of entries. We went through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and looked at a ton of photos,” SD: Dialed In blogger, and SoundDiego contributor, Rosemary Bystrak told us. “There’s a tab on Instagram where you can search for #casbah25 and see thumbnails of all the pics tagged with it. There were so many great ones that it was really tough to choose. But it wasn’t really a scientific thing by any means [laughs].”
As the photos and videos poured in throughout January, Bystrak told us that they did have one special consideration: “Some photographers and particular individuals in the city already have media access to the Casbah so we wanted to make sure we gave the opportunity to someone else.”
According to Bang, the grand prize winner: “It's quite shocking. There were some really good entries but I felt that if any of my shots had a chance, it was El Vez. Well, that and the shot of Tim Mays exiting the bathroom while struggling with his zipper. That shot has mysteriously disappeared.”
Vanishing, compromising photos aside, it looks like he’ll have a pretty full schedule for the forseeable future.“These are the shows that I would go to: Cibo Matto, Metalachi, Free Salamander Exhibit, Blu and Exile, Russian Circles, This Will Destroy You, Kool Keith, and the list goes on and on.”
While we’re just a little envious of his awesomely good luck, he put in the time and energy that a lot us didn’t. “I was actively trying to win that pass,” he told us. “I attended 10 shows and shot 33 bands -- not only pictures but video as well [see his YouTube videos from the shows here]. After being laid off from my job in December (I taught nude yoga to senior citizens), I figured this would be the perfect opportunity for me to put my photography ‘skills’ to the test. I mean, who wouldn't want a pass from one of the best places in San Diego? Aside from Thad's, in this instance, I'm referring to the Casbah.”
In case you haven’t noticed, Bang has quite the sense of humor -- but all jokes aside, we’re dying to know: What was his favorite show last month?
“I would have to say the OFF! show. They were frenetic (which always makes for some great pictures) and the packed house was an ocean filled with knuckleheads, Neanderthals, and nincompoops. Sadly, though not surprisingly, I was in the latter category.” Sounds like a good time.
I guess my blurry photo of the Gods of Science at SoundDiego LIVE on Jan. 23 didn’t make the cut, but after seeing the winning photo above, the judges definitely made the right choice. It perfectly captures El Vez, the self-proclaimed “Mexican Elvis,” fully airborne in a bright red, leather jumpsuit – surrounded by his musical cohorts Pat and Lety Beers (who also play in the Schitzophonics together).
It’s a clear, colorful action photo that exhibits exactly what the Casbah is all about: Rocking out and having fun.