My New Year’s Eve, Imagine Dragons Play for the Kids, and My Thoughts on Award Season

Greetings everyone and welcome to my January edition of “The Outsiders Guide to the Inside of Hollywood”. This is going to be a little different from some of my previous blogs. This will be the first blog of my Best Of 2012 series. I will introduce you to one of my favorite talent and band I discoveries of the past year. I’m also going to share my New Year’s Eve with you, which will be followed by special benefit for Children’s Hospital Oakland with Imagine Dragons. I’ll be also giving you my first thoughts on the 2013 Award Season.

Nigel Who? “One with the Clouds” 2012 Men’s Fashion Collection Show

2012 saw a number of first experiences for Jonathan Scott Shensa Photography. In August, I was contacted by an actor, model and promoters I had worked with in the past. I was asked about covering fashion designer Ronnie Bogle’s, Nigel Who? “One with the Clouds” 2012 Men’s Fashion Collection Show at Umbrella Salon in San Jose. If anyone knows me knows that when it comes to fashion my cloths collection consists of, a number of Concert T Shirts and whatever feels comfortable. I could probably count the number of designers I know on one hand. For me being at a fashion show would be like Hank Williams Jr., playing at President Obama’s Inauguration. I decided it would be a good idea to broaden my portfolio and experiences and took the chance of going. I had a decade ago judged model and talent competitions when I worked with talent agents and managers. It turned out to be a very interesting night. After the show was over I took some post show pictures. My biggest surprise wasn’t discovering a new model (all the model’s did an amazing job), it was someone who also was covering the event.

Introducing Denise Berry

At the end of the show I had a problem. I was not given a list with the models names. My celebrity wire service, I work with, requires the names of anyone in the photos I submit. I started to chase down the models and ask them for cards. Unfortunately many of the models didn’t have any cards. I then saw a videographer talking to one of the models. I got her information so I could add her to my submission.

A few weeks later I was contacted on Facebook by Miss Berry, and decided we would meet up in downtown Santa Cruz. I then Googled Denise and found out some surprising information. I was not shocked to find out that she was a former Miss California contestant, what I did find out was she was the first ever Iraq war veteran to compete for Miss California. Denise served her country in the United States Army for six years as a sergeant and combat medic. She even has a bachelors/ masters in international business.

Denise has a radio/ video show  called “Living Dee Life” where she currently interviews fashion designers, music artists, and entrepreneurs. After meeting up with Denise in downtown Santa Cruz, we walked around and I took some candids in shops we visited. I have to say she is one of my favorite actors / models to photograph. Her personality really come out in a photo. Every time I photograph her she has a different and diverse looks. She is always positive and gives that energy back in everything she does. She has that love for fashion that you can see in her eyes when she talks about it and her favorite designers. She also is an amazing interviewer able to relate to all different types of guests and personalities. Check out her company’s site at and see for yourself why Denise does live dee life.

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Project X Santa Cruz – NYE Party with “The DANCETRONAUT’S”

Months ago, I knew this would be a New year’s Eve I’d be dreading. The reason being it was going to be my first NYE of my Forties. Originally I had hoped to go away like my 30th Birthday in Vegas. When that didn’t happen. I ended up deciding to work in Santa Cruz at an Award show that friends of mine were hosting, performing at. Unfortunately just 3 days before the event the promoters and producers cancelled it. At this point it was too late to find another gig and the concert I would have gone to was sold out. I thought about staying in and ringing in the New Year with Buffy (Cat). I found out that Denise was going to be attending and covering a Project X Santa Cruz – NYE Party with “Dancetronaut”. The Dancetronaut’s are A fully sustainable mobile production company based out of Santa Cruz, CA. providing top of the line sound system technology, world renowned DJs, cutting-edge stage lighting and visual effects and professional dancers, and performers. I decided that it would be a fun and different way to spend the New Year.

I headed up to Santa Cruz and decided to stay at the Days Inn, where two other from people I knew from Reno were staying. One of them was a photographer I met in Reno a year ago who now covers events in the Reno area for PR Photos. Cate Vail also has her own Photography company called Sirens Photography. Besides covering major entertainment events in Reno, Cate specializes in Art Photography and her infamous Mermaid fantasy imagery. The other person was someone who I had worked with in Reno and the fashion show in San Jose. Joseph Squellati, is an accomplished fashion host, who has developed a loyal fan base on the hit international show “Wake up Call”. You can also see him on Joseph is also the Southern California fashion blogger for Joseph also has an amazing and inspirational story to tell.

After heading to the ocean and shooting some sun set landscapes from the lighthouse area, I headed back to my hotel. I was surprised to hear a knock on my door. It was Cate and Joseph who happened to be staying in the room next door. We ended up going to the pier and met up with Denise for dinner. The restaurant was great. I enjoyed talking with Cate about photography.

Just before getting ready to leave I got a call from Denise who was already at the party. Unfortunately, we had bad reception, but I did hear her say something about glow sticks. I now realized that the location was a private home not a club or place. I started to drive being navigated by navigation system on my phone. After traveling on main roads I ended up somewhere in the Santa Cruz Woods. Of course, Murphy’s law kicked in as not only did I loose cell reception but I also lost my Navigation system. As I drove another mile down this deserted road, I started to think of movies like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th. I decided to turn around and then saw a green light in the distance. I followed it and found the house where the party was being held.

After parking down a dirt road in the back I started to make my way to the house. The scene was broken down into 3 different kinds of groups. Outside were people chilling drinking and smoking. This is probably where I would have fit in normally being a long haired concert T-shirt jeans wearing guy. Because it was New Year’s and I actually bought stuff for the original event which was a dress up event, I wore a purple dress shirt and black dress slacks with a black sports coat. just then, I ran into Cate and her husband. As we walked into the house the second group of people were where The Dancetronaut’s, were performing was set up as a club / rave scene where people danced to DJ’s with a light show. The house was crowded and I started to get the feeling people were staring at us. I wasn’t sure if it was because they didn’t know us, we were dressed up or we were too old. After feeling like I was at a High School party for a few minutes we saw Denise and Joseph. I took some candids of them and of some of the DJ’s and party guests and friends. I then followed Denise and Joseph as they interviewed the promoters. After that I walked around and took some pictures. People didn’t seem to be into it. Still feeling a little out of place I decided to do a wardrobe change. I turned in my dress shirt for a black t-shirt, I created to promote a script I’m writing (Johnny Paparazzi in white letters) and a black hat. All of the sudden, I got people mobbing me asking for pictures. After people got drunker the pictures got a little wilder. In the end I had a great time ringing in the New Year with friends I knew and some I  just met.

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 Imagine Dragons in Concert Benefiting Children’s Hospital Oakland at The Independent in San Francisco – January 5, 2013

If you’ve read some of my previous blogs, you might remember eight months ago I told you about a brand new band I had just seen that blew me away. Normally when photographing bands I’m in a zone and block everything out. Last May I was working the Live 105 BFD concert in Mountain View Ca. The first band I photographed that night had such amazing energy. They put on such a great performance and I was immediately hooked. That Las Vegas band 8 moths later have enjoyed commercial successes that include a hit single and top 5 album. The band I’m talking about is Imagine Dragons. When I heard that the band was doing a charity benefit for Children’s Hospital Oakland in San Francisco at a 500 person club I knew I had to go. I decided to try and ask their management company if I could photograph it for PR Photos. I doubted it would be able to happen since it is such a small club and there is no photography area. I ended up getting contacted by their label who said they didn’t have any tickets for media. I then was able to get one when the box office randomly released tickets at that moment. I immediately was told that I had permission to shoot. I was happy that because I bought a ticket I would now be able to see the whole show too. Normally for concerts you are escorted in and out after 3 songs. So I try and not officially apply for shows I want to see.

On the night of the show it rained. Luckily as the show got closer it was down to a drizzle. After about 45 minutes of circling I found a spot a few blocks away from the club. As I headed to the box office I heard the club blasting “Radioactive” one of Imagine Dragons first singles. As I got closer and looked through a crack in the door I saw it was the band actually doing a sound check. The music and vocals sounded loud but perfect. I knew this was going to be a great show.

Bay Area musician Brad Brooks opened up the show with an interesting set. He reminded me of a combination of Bob Dylan meets Elvis Costello. After his performance a $10,000 dollar check from 104.5 KFOG was presented to Children’s Hospital Oakland. A few minutes later Imagine Dragons hit the stage. I must say this 500 person crowd was one of the loudest ones I can remember.

The band opened with the song “Rocks” from their debut CD Night Visions which made it all the way to # 2 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums. From the second the band hit the stage you could feel this was a special night. Not just because the chance of seeing a band that one day soon will be headlining arenas in a small and intimate club. The show was a fundraiser for Children’s Hospital Oakland a research center the only independent children’s hospital in California, treats cancer, asthma and disorders of the heart, blood and nervous system. Dragon’s lead singer Dan Reynolds stated “Tonight we’re doing something that means something”. The band played an amazing 13 song set. This was the third time I saw the band play in the last year and even though every show was amazing this one really stood out. It’s such a rare opportunity to see a killer band in a small club. Imagine Dragons are one of thoses bands where the crowd feels like they are part of the show. Singing along and dancing to every song the band played. Highlights of the evening were an in your face version  of “Radioactive”, “On Top Of The World” and a crowd singing version of “It’s Time”.

The band played almost their entire “Night Visions CD. Several times during their performance Dan thanked the crowd. At one point he was overcome by joy from the thunderous crowded reaction. He recalled the last time they played The Independent as an opening act. One thing is for sure the days of Imagine Dragons opening for anyone will come to an end soon. I expect huge things from this band. Everyone who was at the Independent will look back on that show and be able to brag about seeing them in a small and intimate setting. The band kicks off their first headline tour this spring. For tour dates in your area go to:

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My Take On the 2013 Golden Globe and SAG Winners and the Oscar Nominees

If your a fellow movie lover like me you probably know we are in the middle of Award Season. Last night at the SAG Awards, in what my friends in the media called another upset, best Cast went to Argo and best Actress in a Drama Jennifer Lawrence for her work in “Silver Linings Playbook”. Even though both also won Golden Globes it was seen as an upset with “Lincoln” the favorite to take the top prize. I however could not see this as a shock. I would have voted the same way. The fact that Ben Affleck was not nominated for an Oscar for Best Director was a travesty. If the Academy is going to have more than 5 nominees for Best Picture (9 this year) they need to add nominees to the Best Actor Actress, and Director category too. This was an amazing year for films. I really loved Silver Linings Playbook, Life of Pi and Les Miserables. This was one year where I really wished the Oscars had separate categories for Drama and Comedy/ Musicals. There is no fair way to compare these amazing pieces of art we got this year. One thing that the season has taught me when it comes to Television is, I need to start watching “Homeland”. I will go much deeper into the Oscar nominations on my film festival blog Oscar weekend.

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Thank you for joining me and letting me share my thoughts and experiences with you. Follow me on Twitter at or on Facebook at


About Jonathanshensa

I'm a Celebrity Event Photographer, producer and Screenwriter. I also worked with promoting bands and spent 5 years in music management. In my younger days, I was also an Actor, News reporter, DJ, and have worked at Talent, and Management companies. I love the mass media but also love to talk about everyday topics. I want to have a positive and creative impact on the entertainment business. Check out my entertainment blog, "The Outsiders Guide to the Inside of Hollywood".
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