Sunday, October 18, 2020

TALES TOLD OUT OF SCHOOL: I WAS A TEENAGE BOOKING AGENT, SNARING LEGENDARY 1960s BAND KALEIDOSCOPE for my High School Prom!


(now out of order, but what was second in a series of tales told out of school, both literally and figuratively, how my Swiss Cheese brain remembers such events which may or may not be accurate at all. Preface: I attended a girls' private prep school in the 1960s with a student body who often mimicked the creativity of that era with their own high spirits, a pendulum reaction to the heavy course load and voluminous homework from which many of us still haven't caught up on lost sleep some forty-plus years on and from which many of us still retain permanently stooped posture via carrying heavy textbooks. Well, it's not like there existed alternatives to those heavy textbooks. We didn't have personal home computers because no one on this particular planet in this galaxy had them yet. So let's roll back the roiling mists of time to The Pleistocene of my youth.) 

I was a teenage booking agent! Or at least I flexed the right connections and pulled it off. My reluctant date for my high school (prep school) prom (see above yearbook photo of body language miserableness, the fellow second from right next to yours truly teenaged edition, faces disguised to protect the innocent. The curious may follow this LINK* ) was the nephew of Classic Hollywood actress Loretta Young, in a large Catholic family of good looking cousins, one of whom was David Lindley. 

Lindley remains well known for his versatility on assorted instruments which has bolstered his career as solo artist and side person/session person for assorted A List musicians like Jackson Browne. In the 1960s, he graced the now legendary band Kaleidoscope, known for pleasantly foisting its extremely eclectic tastes in myriad styles at unsuspecting audiences, as well as earned reputation for fabulous musicianship in also pleasantly foisted exotica instruments like ouds for their mideastern selections, or fiddles and mandolins for country songs, then as rare as hen's teeth in '60s psychedelic rock bands.  They released four albums of eclectica for Epic Records, a reasonable legacy.


I was dancing and trying to recalibrate my miserable prom date so no photos by me. But the one above does document my classmates trying to boogaloo and frug to Kaleidoscope tunes like "O Death," (Ralph Stanley's bluegrass classic) or to the tabla rhythms of "Egyptian Gardens." Our equally unlikely locale for this great band? How this happened escapes my Swiss Cheese memory, but, dear readers, it was indeed The Daisy Club in Beverly Hills, only the the most exclusive private club for exclusive entertainment biz types in the exclusive 1960s. Courtesy of  Michael Snider, for directing one and all to showbiz archivist extraordinaire Allison Martino's "Vintage Los Angeles," well illustrated  Daisy history piece, see LINK**

 

 

http://fastfilm1.blogspot.com/2010/06/charisma-asserts-early-in-hollywood.html

** https://martinostimemachine.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-daisy-in-beverly-hills-daisy-which.html

Friday, October 9, 2020

READY, STEADY, GO! new DOCUMENTARY

 

My friend Harvey Kubernik gave me The Story of Ready, Steady, Go!, a most enjoyable new 1-hour documentary dvd on the British pop/rock/soul show broadcast in England from 1963 to 1966.

Factoids: The closeups were necessitated by the first basement tv studio being so darn small (24 ft.?) The doc has amazing editing to show such a span of a show mainly destroyed by its own network. Out of an original total of 178 episodes, 170 episodes are missing and a further 3 are incomplete. One of its few saviors, its director Michael Lindsay-Hogg noted "Most of the shows were wiped because tape was so expensive, so stuff like the James Brown special and The Who special are gone forever. I took home £37 a week but, every so often, I'd buy a video tape and preserve it. It cost me £1 a minute, but the only reason any shows survive is because I did that." 

Here's a link to Harvey's exploration of this fun, iconic show, as in “You could see the Stones, the Beatles, the Yardbirds, Lulu, Donovan, Them, Sandie Shaw, the Who or the Animals playing to an audience as cool as they were." Click:  LINK*

 

 An acquaintance thought that Patrick McNee's Leslie Eton-Hogg character in "This is Spinal Tap," a music mogul, was based upon the director. Uh, in name only! Director Lindsay-Hogg may hail from Hollywood royalty, credits a-glitter with A-List stuff, but he is wholly comfortable in the more rough and tumble world of rock and roll past, and the rockers are comfortable with him. He directed the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus amongst many others, check his imdb.com c.v. Patrick McNee symbolizes the more bon vivant music exec...

 

*https://www.musicconnection.com/kubernik-interviews-on-ready-steady-go-recent-documentary-and-upcoming-book-release/

Thursday, September 10, 2020

REST IN PEACE DAME DIANA RIGG

Rest in peace Dame Diana Rigg, who excelled in her profession for her entire long lifetime. I saw her famous Abelard & Heloise stage play with her full frontal nude scene at the Ahmanson Theatre, 1971 in Los Angeles. Wet blanket critics at the time stooped to criticizing her physique! 

 Rigg's Mod icon Mrs. Emma Peel in the original "The Avengers" showed the 1960s what a self-sufficient tv heroine acted like who still remained amenable to partnerships, and her leather catsuits plus, dare i say, kinky boots, indeed pushed fashion boundaries of mainstream broadcast in both her native Britain and America. A brave, talented beauty...

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

JANIS JOPLIN's 2020 LEGACY

 Stamp: Janis Joplin (United States of America) (Music Icons) Mi:US  5102BA,Sn:US… | Janis joplin, Usps stamps, Forever stamps


Our friend Harvey Kubernik just contributed a Sept. 4, 2020 feature story to Music Connection Magazine on 2020 legacy of Janis Joplin. Here's the bit he added from me:
 
Heather Harris: "Martin Scorsese used the rousing rocker 'Combination Of The Two' by Big Brother and the Holding Company in his best soundtrack film Bringing Out the Dead, (1999) to encapsulate two out of control professionals on the move at the speed of light. No one says "completely crazy" quite like actor Tom Sizemore, and his character's partner Nicolas Cage was dealing with the life and death import of their job as ambulance medics by trying it Sizemore's way for a night, in this case completely nutso. ‘Combination’ was the stone cold consummate choice for this scene, even if it features less of lead singer Janis Joplin in this track. That particular band and her WERE out of control professionals, delivering life affirming songs and shrieks despite the reminders of everyday mortality. Perfection!
"Combination Of The Two’ began the second album by Big Brother And the Holding Company, Cheap Thrills with the equally legendary artwork by prototypical San Francisco psychedelic cartoonist R. Crumb. It fit the era of coordinated act and art as superbly as the Sgt. Pepper cover had and was just as original."
 
“In a better universe, Janis should have had a long career as not only a topflight interpretive singer but also patron saint of undervalued women who achieve. What does it do to the psyche for a young girl to be voted ‘Ugliest Man on Campus’ by her so-called student peers? In her case it became source material. That's how someone in their teens and mid-twenties mustered the moxie to sing of pain with breathtaking exactness of emotions."
 
“Janis Joplin is one of the few dinosaur era legends always embraced by each succeeding generation. Her ability to transmit the universality of pain transcends all the folklore of the 1960s.
“I never had the pleasure to see or photograph her, but my husband Mr. Twister said she was the only act he'd ever seen wherein immediately after one of her heart-wrenching showstopper ballads the audience was stunned into awestruck, hear-a-pin-drop silence. He only saw her at the Shrine Exposition Hall in Los Angeles and the old Fillmore in San Francisco. I wonder which of the two audiences proved that reverent?”

Monday, June 29, 2020

NATIONAL CAMERA DAY 2020

photos © Heather Harris, Kurt Ingham, Donna Balancia. It's National Camera Day. I've been at this rather a long time (first pic is from the original Glam 1970s, with very first sighthound Lucretia Borzoi as a puppy.) Favorite equipment over the decades: Rolleiflex medium format (not pictured) for studio, Panasonic Lumix (not pictured) to not scare those in the public eye and Nikon D3 digital for everything else.

My tech advancement would have been nil without Mr. Twister's patient guidance. He is pictured at bottom in a 1970s self portrait with his Pentax ES with its 180mm f2.8 Sonnar lens, and then more contemporarily. However, the world doesn't want you to see me doing this again any more...
 
At the Great Pyramid, Egypt; at photo session with Iggy Pop and Don Was 1990↓


←with James Williamson in studio; ↓ with Zander Bleck in club
↓Mr. Twister and self in 1980


 Mr. Twister1970s self portrait with his Pentax ES, and more contemporarily
 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

MILTON GLASER, GRAPHIC DESIGN TITAN, rest in peace

We never met, but this book was one of the major influences of my life, through his dedication and persistent innovation as much as the visuals themselves. 
Rest in peace Milton Glaser who passed away June 26, 2020 from a stroke at age 91.

This compendium of his most famous worldwide graphic design work was published in 1973, four years before his "I ♥ NEW YORK" logo made its civic debut. The cover depicts his illustration of Bob Dylan for a poster that accompanied a Dylan record album.

This Aretha Franklin illustration of his appeared in Eye Magazine (of the 1960s,) and he invented this type font too. The Mahalia Jackson promo posters feature it as well.
No photo description available.Milton Glaser. Mahalia Jackson (Poster for an Easter Sunday ...

Monday, June 8, 2020

IF YOU COULD TAKE AMERICA BACK TO ANY YEAR...etc...

My friend, singer extraordinaire Ron Young of Little Caesar and the Tighty Whiteys recently posed the question Q: "If you could take America back to any year to 'Make It Great Again,' what year would it be and what makes us so great?"
 
Make way for a ( I hope) rare parade of narcissism. Here's my replies...

A: "I'm voting for the heyday of the Tongva Native Americans (later renamed Gabrielenos behind their backs.) They lived in West Los Angeles and Santa Monica, gathered to chat at their oasis at what is now University High School, went to the beach, went fishing, walked in the woods with their dogs and families day after day and lived in a beautiful spot with ideal weather and abundant food resources. If you add 'shopping' to that list, they had the perfect West L.A. lifestyle for thousands of years!"


 112 Fern Dell Tongva Gabrieleño Site Griffith Park | Flickr
(photographer unknown) A photo of a lovely site once inhabited by the Tongva in Los Angeles, Southern California, ever so slightly further east in a Fern Dell park because West L.A. has destroyed all evidence of Tongva except for the oasis above. On a happier note, much has been done to study and revive understanding the Tongva language.

Ron's is a popular forum on social media, and hundreds of replies offered dozens of different eras including, inexplicably to me for those who knew it personally, the 1950s.


The Way We Were: The Photography of Julian Wasser: Limited Edition ...
(cover of his book "The Way We Were" by photographer Julian Wasser)

A: "I was alive in the 1950s and the era was AWFUL. I cringed when people applauded the "Mad Men" lifestyle all those years removed. Misogyny was practically written in stone, integration and civil rights took masses of education to penetrate national mindsets and actually accomplish, and the clothes only flattered those whose good looks were part of their overall job skills (actors and models.) 

In contrast, photographer Julian Wasser explained in the forward to his cool book "The Way We Were" how Los Angeles in the 1960s, when he first got into the biz, really was different than not only how it is today, but from the rest of the world. He explained that pre-inflation/recession etc., you really could live in a non-slum area here for very little money, single-income, modest-income families really could purchase an actual house, you really could pursue your preference of a job in the entertainment spheres because access was far more open. 

There was a fun cultural revolution going on in all the arts, youth were educating themselves on every big picture with facts to contradict their prior generation's conclusions, and even if you weren't motivated to make it in the biz/change the world for the better/become champion surfer of the universe, Los Angeles/Hollywood in the 1960s was a fairly pleasant place and time to be."

 Ron Young in Little Caesar, then and now, photos by me

 

Saturday, June 6, 2020

BLACKSTAR AMPLIFICATION STREAMING SHOW WITH JAMES WILLIAMSON, DEC MARTENS AND LOREN MOLINARE / Overview of JAMES WILLIAMSON solo work.

photo of James Williamson for Blackstar, left, by Heather Harris. Dec Martens pic uncredited. On the record covers below, my photos are indicated, otherwise pictures are by other photographers.


On June 5th 2020 guitarist Loren Molinare of The Dogs/ Little Caesar/ Michael Des Barres and the Mistakes' interviewed James Williamson of Iggy and The Stooges and Dec Martens of Oz' hottest hard rockers Amyl and the Sniffers for Blackstar Amplification via its Facebook page (LINK*.) Detroit/L.A. legend Loren and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Stooges' guitarist, fellow Detroiter James have been my longtime, frequent clients plus their music shaped my life even before any association--Iggy and The Stooges whom I first photographed in 1973, and The Dogs whom I first reviewed in 1978: both found their places of honor in my 1978 book "Punk Rock 'n' Roll"--so this was a "must listen." 

Loren Molinare in The Dogs and Little Caesar (photos by Heather Harris)

(Using my skill set to get these screen captures of all three looking good simultaneously during the broadcast is also the closest I've come to live music photography in thirteen weeks because of the CoVid 1984 lockdown/complete self-isolation house arrest for those of us over 65/cessation of live music for the foreseeable future and/or 2021 in Los Angeles.)


James recounted highlights of his Stooges' career, including the most anarchic set the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has experienced, and his (few, since he's so sui generis) teen influences including Bob Dylan. He admitted that he had seen Dec's band Amyl and The Sniffers on one occasion while he was jamming live with his friend Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys, and quite naturally was impressed with their extreme vitality. James then outlined his many solo projects since the final Iggy and The Stooges tour of 2013 (of which I photographed four of their gigs inclusive of the very last Stooge gig ever at LINK**.) I am proud to note that I have done the art direction for them, and lots of their photography too. Blackstar Amplification will archive this streamed broadcast and offer it on demand on their Facebook page in future.

Below, his solo albums Re-Licked, Behind the Shade with James Williamson and The Pink Hearts, the EP Acoustic K.O. with Deniz Tek, the singles "Sickkk" with Maia, "I Got A Right" and "I Love My Tutu"  with Lisa Kekaula, "Open Up And Bleed" with Carolyn Wonderland and "Blues Jumped The Rabbit" with Petra Haden. ( I also drew his Leopard Lady Records logo.) He also can be found playing smoldering guitar on recordings by Cherie Currie of The Runaways, O.G. punk Robert Gordon, David Hasselhoff (don't snicker, it's the elegant Lords of the New Church should-have-been punk classic "Open Your Eyes," strangely relevant anew,) Mitch Ryder's adrenaline-charged "Devil With A Blue Dress On" for his 2019 Detroit Breakout LP and Wendy James of TransVision Vamp's sterling cover of Bob Dylan's "It's Alright Ma I'm Only Bleeding."


 ↑ James Williamson and The Pink Hearts (Petra Haden, James Williamson, Frank Meyer, photo by Heather Harris. They were absolutely MIGHTY and magnificent performing live! Go to LINK*** which features a precious few live concert videos of them by Allison Ayala.)
(↑ Petra Haden photo by Heather Harris)
(↑ drawing by Heather Harris)

*https://www.facebook.com/blackstaramps
**http://fastfilm1.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-very-last-stooges-gig-ever-92813.html
*** https://fastfilm1.blogspot.com/2019/11/james-williamson-and-pink-hearts-2.html

Sunday, May 31, 2020

R.I.P. CHRISTO

 Image may contain: outdoor
The Gates, Central Park NYC 2005, installation by Christo and Jeanne-Claude (photographer unknown.) R.I.P. Christo, who with wife Jeanne-Claude constructed huge outdoor, temporary art installations all over the world since 1962. I retain somewhat mixed emotions, since one of their 485 lb. art objects killed an onlooker in 1992 during a freak windstorm in the Tejon Pass here in SoCal, and another when the whole project was taken down. Art exists to make us happy or challenge our thinking: there's enough out there that can do us in. But one supposes that's the random law of averages at work regarding massive, heavy 3-D things of any sort. And their art always was public and intended to be out there, free, for all to enjoy like these beautiful textile "Gates" in Central Park...

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

R.I.P. MICHAEL McCLURE



Left to right: poet/playwright Michael McClure, musicians Mike Watt and Ray Manzarek of The Doors at a spoken word performance by all three at McCabe's, Santa Monica, California in 1985. 

Rest in peace Michael McClure, who died today in Oakland CA from after effects of a stroke a year ago. He bridged Beats and Bay area hippies, with no little notoriety from his play "The Beard" in Hollywood, wherein he was arrested for obscenity every single night it was staged... 

Worthy obituary by Sam Whiting, plus fascinating photos all throughout the photogenic McClure's life, click LINK *

https://datebook.sfchronicle.com/books/michael-mcclure-famed-beat-poet-who-helped-launch-the-sf-renaissance-dead-at-87
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