Sunday, January 20, 2019

EVE BABITZ WRITES FOR SOMEBODY'S SINS

photo booth candids of Eve Babitz, collection of her sister Mirandi Babitz, images circa 1976

Eve Babitz very graciously gave a reading at my first solo music photography exhibition way back when. It was a selection from "Rosewood Casket" about Gram Parsons, although he was not so named, from her amazing Eve's Hollywood book. You want emotional, deceptively simple writing boys and girls, start by diving into this one although her second tome Slow Days, Fast Company is the most lauded of her five non-fiction works and its first edition boasts that amazing cover with the Saluki dog representing all young Hollywood beauties...

Eve's Hollywood is laced with rock and roll, albeit discretely omitting names, and outlines so much about my demographic that has eluded capture heretofore. Los Angeles shares one gigantic parallel with London of the same 1960s/70s eras-- despite the hugeness and variety within these locales, the most interesting aspects of their social and entertainment biz' beating hearts remain accessible only if an insider invites you in. Eve's writing is an instant "Open, Sesame!" to the riches of Ali Baba's secret caves...

Happily all the fiction has been republished (there are two further non-fiction books) and is readily available negating their previous collector prices. Hollywood's Eve, her just published biography by Lili Anolik reminds why Babitz is not only important but indispensable to Los Angeles literary history.
 Image result for slow days fast company Related imageImage result for Hollywood's Eve 

P.S. The ex-husband of my friend, legendary singer Leslie Knauer (see LINK*) is the photographer in question who immortalized Marcel Duchamp posing with a young Ms. Babitz, naked, both playing chess at an art museum. This cultural godhead image can still be purchased from its maker or at the Robert Berman Gallery, Santa Monica, see LINK** .  

https://fastfilm1.blogspot.com/2016/02/leslie-knauer-jonneine-zapata-ruby.html
**  https://www.artsy.net/artwork/julian-wasser-duchamp-playing-chess-with-a-nude-eve-babitz-duchamp-retrospective-pasadena-art-museum-1





Thursday, January 17, 2019

'AMY' WINEHOUSE DOCUMENTARY

 
Can you see who this is? You knew what she looked like when she was dressed to the nines, fancy, beautiful, retro. This screen capture isn't indicative of bad times or exploitation, just security tapes of an artist looking in a mirror, alone with herself for better or worse. It was the one travail she couldn't handle, and proved lethal. 
   
It might have been a more apropos graphic to promote the 2015 documentary "Amy" directed by Asif Kapadia. The world's rarest orchids cannot survive even a cocooned hothouse without care 24/7, such is their bargain. She should have had it since, as Tony Bennett reminded us in the film, she was that important. And yes, it could have been possible. The too far gone insane and truly evil seem to be immune, but others can saved by the right experts. A physician friend reminds me that drug and alcohol addiction are harder to cure than cancer, but herein, no one in her immediate familial relationships pushed hard for medical care.

Note that the anomalous greatness is taken for granted, and all that's left for discussion is her medical/psychological plight. Explanation: not in the film, but dead on, author Nick Coleman's phrasing of Amy Winehouse's "...terrible, bone-eating pain that is always the result of too much compulsion;" i.e., the very template for superiority in the arts.

One such observation stood right out to me. One of her producers/song collaborators pushed for medical help for her when he first became aware of the problems, very early in her career. He claimed if she had gotten longterm help way before she was a media figure and subject to a very exploitative tabloid press personal harrassment every time she went outside, the whole process may have gone easier with less resistance from her and possibly put her on a better road; i.e., those who backslide repeatedly until something clicks later on and they give it a chance.

Artists are artists because we perceive life differently. Add deep seated psychological problems that one may or may not be born with to the whole miasma, and it can incubate forces which may not have been so overpowering in more ordinary lives. The documentary then adds specific, poignant evidence, like the dismissive jailbird husband asked about Amy and quoted saying directly to the camera "I can do better."  I hope that's his fu-kin' epitaph, "I can do better..." when the inevitable catches up to his future anonymity.
 Image result for Amy winehouse documentary

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

DEMONS IN THE PUNJAB thought for 2019

Writer Todd Everett reminded his Facebook friends yesterday of occasional gems on normal broadcast television with the unexpectedly moving monologue on fine art greatness on a Dr. Who rerun, "Vincent and the Doctor." 

Today's fare included this verity: "Ordinary people who have lived here all their lives, whipped into a frenzy to be part of a mob...We've lived together for decades, Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh. And now we're being told our differences are more important than what unites us... I don't know how we protect people, when hatred's coming from all sides." 

This was from late 2018's "Demons in the Punjab" written by Vinay Patel, also from the time travel series Dr. Who about the tragic upheavals of the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 (two million killed, 14 million displaced,) with clear comparisons to all of today's political parties. Let it sink in for all 2019--what unites us is more important than our differences...
Background on the Partition: LINK*
Beautiful Andalusian horses standing in for India Marwari horses, with Andalusia Spain standing in for the Punjab forests and plains...
Image may contain: 1 person, riding a horse, sky, outdoor and nature *https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/05/partition-70-years-on-india-pakistan-denial

Monday, December 31, 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019

As my Happy New Year gift to all, here's the incredibly wonderful Evie Sands singing "Burn Down The Mission." This 2012 cover of the 1971 classic is the closest I get to nostalgia, but still... in 1971 its author was a brand new artist, the most accomplished weirdo ever to burst onto the domestic charts, thanks to Elton John's breakout performance at our tiny L.A. Troubadour club where he was photographically documented solely by my future better half Kurt Ingham. 1971 was our local sea change from hippie to glam, I was working my way through UCLA with photo journalism, and everything seemed bright and different and new and all ahead of us baby media mogul types of the "UCLA Mafia" of future entertainment biz professionals. Flashforward 47 years. Things always will be different and new, the idea is to try to shape the inevitable changes into something good as well. Due to the inescapable logistics of our demographic, 2019 will bring more deaths and physical pain. I will be right there beside it trying to drag it back into the arenas of the good, productive and essential for myself and everyone I know. Help me now! and Happy New Year 2019 from HH...

Thursday, December 27, 2018

XMAS PRESENTS DELUXE 2018

 We do try hard... 

 
Great Christmas! My present to my better half Mr. Twister is running around wagging her tail and chewing a bone at 
the moment.

And from Mr.Twister to me, a beautiful art book of luscious Japanese prints plus... this just published tome that's a real find: it's just so rare to find critiquing that matches the quality of its loftier subjects.  I haven't encountered music writing this vivid since Nick Kent and John Mendelssohn in their heydays.
 
A writer of constant, breezy zingers moored to an inquiring, feeling mind, author Nick Coleman is your impassioned pal on a jag about rock and soul, bon mots galore on every page, every paragraph. However, he's emotionally generous with enough depth to make this cynic get teary-eyed with his description of Amy Winehouse's "...terrible, bone-eating pain that is always the result of too much compulsion."  Recommended read, bigtime,* to remind us why we document great music...



*with this warning-- for American readers and others unfamiliar with this British scribe, there's a surprise, unhappy ending.

Friday, December 21, 2018

SUMMER FLASHBACK...

While the weather forecast prognosticated 108 degrees in our area, July 6th, 2018 hammered us where we live at 117 F.  Yes, 117 Fahrenheit. (47.222 C.) A first in recorded local history. Tons of trees perished and most all of our garden was scalded from the top down. This weather can kill you similar to blizzard conditions: unless specific precautions are taken, you will die if you remain out of doors.

MEET BELLA

Meet Bella from Southern California Golden Retriever Rescue, new friend to Gia the Scottish Deerhound and Livia the Borzoi. As depicted herein, she is settling right in. 
All is calm, all is bright...


 



















First playdate with visiting Scottish Deerhounds Fain and Eroica. Running with the big dogs!
 Below, Fain is actually howling with delight, not biting! 












Below, guest photographer 
© 2018 Kurt  Ingham 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

REST IN PEACE PETE SHELLEY

Pete Shelley, deceased at age 63 from a heart attack. Solo or with Buzzcocks, it was all so damn catchy! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

REST IN PEACE LEA BISHOP of Enumclaw, Washington



Pictured above with her well nigh perfect Scottish Deerhound multiple Best in Show  Champion Rayne An Gael and 3 of her puppies that she bred (daddy was Ch. Benachie's Bobcat); below showing my Scottish Deerhound Karis: Lea Bishop. Little blurbs don't sum up such a life so well lived. She was a survivor, as both her parents died young. She was a self-taught expert on fine hounds and showing them. She was an expert seamstress at stage costuming, which was how I met her at UCLA with Kirk Henry's, John Mendelsohn's, Ralph Oswald's and my future better half Mr. Twister's band (see LINK*). She became my sighthound mentor, unusual as we both were relatively young to specialize in purebred dogs. 



She was a fine, self-taught travel photographer who exhibited often. She used her initial relocation to learn a new vocation, and climbed up the ladder until she was the head of the entire Senior Center for which she first worked in the Seattle area. She bought sports cars to drive around in Europe then imported to sell here in the U.S. to finance selfsame trip. 

She specialized in showing, breeding and enjoying Borzois, then Scottish Deerhounds where her Merridale Farm kennels enjoyed its most rousing success, then Petit Basset Griffon Vendèen ("PBGVs,") then Italian Spinones, all lovely, fuzzy hounds. Why did she quit Deerhounds, often called "the most perfect breed under Heaven" as by Sir Walter Scott?  Because, dear readers, Deerhounds are also called "the heartbreak breed," but that's a whole other story although a hint can be found here LINK**...
                                 


 ←Lea with her 
Italian Spinone  
puppies;
UCLA rock and roll
daze 1970: Lea top row far right, Mr. Twister bottom row far left plus the rest of the band, its roadies and their rock press →



 She had a wicked sense of humor, once suggesting naming her puppies "the terrorist litter," which prompted me to call my first Arabian horse the apropos Muslim sobriquet Idi Amin, since most would hear "Idi" as "Edie."  After the breakup of her first marriage she visited a counselor with whom she told me she felt at ease only after he sang "People Are Strange" by The Doors to her at her insistence. On one visit, the comedy Best in Show hadn't been released to her area yet so we enjoyed Almost Famous together at her local theatre, guffawing loudly at the insider rock and roll jokes to an otherwise silent audience.
Vintage Jane Asher look for Van Nuys High School portrait (which is in our current neighborhood but much changed since then. For instance, no natural redheads like Lea matriculate whatsoever...)
I always had a great time whenever we got together. The photo at the very top represents such a happy memory of Twister's and my visit to her Deerhound-filled farm of that era.
 She sent thrilling accounts of her world travels via Christmas cards with her second husband Emerson. She gave me a fine, vintage Landseer etching of a Deerhound when I had cancer in 1984. After our mutual dog showing friend, acclaimed Deerhound breeder Jana Brinlee informed me how really ill Lea was at this stage of her own cancer, I tried calling all the phone numbers I had for Lea. I never got through. Now I never will. Rest in peace, Lea...



Two of Lea Bishop's travel photos, of Italy and Thailand. 



Below, a dog show in the 1970s, Lea with her Borzoi and our friend Debbie Reinberg.


* https://fastfilm1.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-history-of-mr-twisters-rockpunk.html
** https://fastfilm1.blogspot.com/2010/10/secretariat-and-drusilla.html

Sunday, September 23, 2018

R.I.P. ROBERT MATHEU

It is with great sadness I report the death of my colleague ROBERT MATHEU on September 21, 2018.  He is survived by his wife Sheryl and three young daughters. Robert is deservedly well known for his extraordinary photos in the late 1960s/early 1970s of his native Detroit acts like The Stooges, MC5 etc., and since then of everyone in music under the sun. 

He is seen here backstage at the Dec. 1, 2011 Iggy and The Stooges show at the Hollywood Palladium with his longtime friend from 'the good old days' Evita Corby, whom he hadn't seen in quite a while and with Allie Shields, daughter of the late Sabel Starr Shields.  (Evita was Stooge James Williamson's girlfriend in the 1970s, and Allie's mother's sister Corel Shields was Iggy Pop's paramore during the same era.) 

 Despite his professionalism, Robert always seemed to be in a great mood and loved to joke around. My friend Evita reminded me of another side of jocular Robert though. When James was onstage, she said Robert was very protective of her, since young beauties like her were a magnet to too many creeps otherwise.
↑Photo on this book cover by Robert Matheu.

↓ Robert Matheu, Ron Sobol and Kurt Ingham at Jeff Gold's Iggy Pop book Total Chaos signing in 2016. All three had photographed the Stooges live back in the day...
 
 ↓ Below, here's Robert in full raconteur mode on the right with Jimmy Recca, one of the three still living Stooges, trading Detroit war stories in Robert's house, 2010. You can go to LINK* for more details.

 Also, please go to LINK **
 to read my obituary of Robert Matheu in prestigious Detroit Rock and Roll Magazine.

Our longtime mutual friend Jeff Gold of RecordMecca.com also wrote a touching piece at LINK***


*http://fastfilm1.blogspot.com/2010/08/swapping-detroit-rock-and-roll-war.html
**http://www.detroitrocknrollmagazine.com/2018/09/detroit-rock-photographer-robert-matheu.html
*** https://recordmecca.com/news/rip-robert-matheu-photographer-music-historian-author-and-friend/

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