Friday, July 31, 2009

SHE ROK LIVE



Here's some vintage, late 1980's shots I took of one of my friend Mary's metal bands, She Rok. Mary, a superb bassist far better known for her legendary Detroit band The Dogs and alt-power trio Kanary, has always been in great bands no matter what era.

She Rok might have been most famed of all of 'em if the original lead singer, Emi Canyn had remained in the group. Emi both fronted She Rok and sang backup while wiggling around in nurse's mufti for Motley Crue arena shows simultaneously, later marrying its guitarist, eventually drifting away to the Crue miasma fulltime. She was a looker who could really sing full on. She knew what boys liked. And the band kicked metal ass. All the right commercial ingredients at the right time and right place for a change, sigh, but for naught.
"Emi" was pronounced "Amy" and despite what myriad books say, my spelling of her name is correct as that's what she herself specified. The last She Rok pic is from their appearance in Penelope Spheeris' film just before "Wayne's World" rocketed her to A-list directors, "Thunder And Mud."(see video clip at bottom)

Here's Emi with Mary and Gerri in She Rok


Thursday, July 30, 2009

A FINE PHOTO OP WITH MIKE WATT et al.


photo (C) 1989 Heather Harris

A fine photo op shot from twenty years ago: left to right Michael McClure (poet/playwright of "The Beard," a work closed by police every night it played in L.A. in the late '60's,) Mike Watt (musician extraordinaire,) Ray Manzarek (same!) and poet Michael C. Ford at one of Harvey Kubernik's Spoken Word nights at McCabes, West Los Angeles.

Harvey kick-started the whole spoken word as well as rock performances by musicians trend, by the by, from Henry Rollins onward. While at MCA, he figured out that licensing for signed music artists was still up for grabs in spoken word.

In the early 1980's Harvey produced a series of record compilations, many with Mike Watt and New Alliance, of musicians, actors, writers and assorted local characters on Los Angelo-centric releases like "Hollyword," "Black Angeles," "Neighborhood Rhythms," "Voices of the Angels" et al. I miss the cross-pollination of the punk and post-punk days in the music biz: it's now only found on cable.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

BECOMING AN ARTIST: includes some RATHER EARLY PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK

photos ©
Heather Harris 
1966, 1968.
Models: Robin Stickney, Heidi Cooper







I drew pictures from age three, always from photographs. In my early teens I became aware of copyright law, so took up photography from which to draw with impunity. Then I shot photos because it was like drawing but quicker, with your ideas still on paper like my drawings. These were not snapshots, but pictures of friends that we planned ahead. All the locations were trespassed to get these shots, and were taken with my first 35mm camera, a used Edixa with Tri-X.
 
Below © 1969 Heather Harris. Jim Suede at the San Gorgonio Pass (near Palm Springs CA) when the Cabazon dinosaurs first were being erected.


Below photos © 1969, 1970 Heather Harris (Suzie Mathers, Sally McMahon. For more about the model on the left see LINK.) I had finally been able to afford a Nikon camera.























I was self-taught. These were more portrait experiments with shots of friends (for how I learned available light concert/action shots, here: LINK.) I unintentionally was gravitating towards tighter "studio" cropping, higher contrast, and occasionally a cinematic feel. (Models below right, Teri Digneo and Steve Gross. I've forgotten who my 1930s-inspired Glam model visitor on the left was.) I was pushing the Tri-X for portraits now ("fast film") as well as for my live music shots.

photos © 1971 Heather Harris 

 
Once I was at UCLA, I had access to renting darkrooms and could manipulate the photos of my friends. Everything you all now do in Photoshop with a click, I did in a darkroom with silver nitrate, fixative chemicals and light. The above (Barbara Legarra) was shot in a dorm room in front of a poster, then converted to Kodalith for high-key effect. Below, Crickette Lum in two location shoots, not trespassed as we lived there respectively.
 

When I initially upgraded to studio lighting (my first were tungsten!) it was immeasurably easier to take photos of my friends, as I had subconsciously been working towards a studio look since I picked up a camera, using directional light from lamps, car headlights, windows with curtains blocking what I didn't want, etc.
Below is one of the last photos I took of a friend as a portrait experiment. I had been getting work as a photojournalist since the late 1960s in college, but hadn't advertised myself as a portrait photographer until I had the studio equipment and more self-taught expertise to insure I could manufacture whatever look was called for in a studio. For these first forays, of course it helps if your friends are professional models, like these last two subjects (Leslie Kenhart above, Linda Daddy below) were!
I am no longer in touch with any of these friends from my photographic past except a handful online: few of these subjects lives in Los Angeles any more.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

AWESOME COLOR LIVE!



There's no excuse for everyone not to check out this incredible band: they tour the U.S. generally twice a year and have two cd's available. Awesome Color are an exceptional power trio of the faster/harder/louder mien, with a few twists.

They're monsters live, there's nary a weak link, they like to entertain themselves as well as the audience (when I saw them singer/guitarist Derek used a plugged in Vox practice amp as a bottleneck slide, with raucous feedback along for the ride,) and they don't sound like anyone else on the scene, despite occasional comparisons of drummer Allison to her onetime mentor Scott Asheton of the Stooges. I love it when young bands get everything right.












Photos (C) 2008 Heather Harris. Do not duplicate, reproduce or link, unless you're Awesome Color

Thursday, July 9, 2009

FULL FAME DISCLOSURE

Mr. Twister (who is Mr. Fastfilm) and I both have worked in the entertainment industry here in L.A. for rather a while, and we finally deciphered the code of how well one knows famous people. Here's the lexicon.

Examples:

I know X = I've been in the same room as X.
No, really, I know X = I've spoken to X.
X is a close personal friend of mine = X spoke back to me.
X is a dear, dear, close personal friend of mine = X spoke more than two words back to me.
X and I are really tight = X didn't call security on me.
I've dined with X = we were in the same restaurant at the same time.
I've worked with X = we were both involved in the same job, production or project.
X has worked closely with me = X spoke back to me while we were both involved in the same job, production or project.
X and I partied together! = we shared the same connection. 8-)~

Now, in true mathematical word problem fashion, how would you decipher the following? (true life examples from our past):

Sample Questions:
Q: Mister Twister went to a Watts Music Festival in the early 1970's. What is his relationship with Muhammad Ali?
A: He "knows" Muhammad Ali, because the latter was also in the stadium audience with everyone else.

Q: In the pre-digital era, Clint Eastwood and I were both waiting in a Hollywood pro photo lab, and he asked me why I used Agfa Portrait 120 reversal film, as I was dropping off a quantity of it I had shot. I explained that I liked the slightly warmer tones and somewhat diffused quality.
A: Clint Eastwood and I have "worked together." (Although later we actually did. See LINK.)

Q: Ray Davies and I were both kicked out of a bar together, he for forgetting his passport ID, me for having none, being underaged at the time.

A: We are "close, personal friends." Trick question, as we both barhopped with a mutual friend!

Q: I set up a blind date between future astronaut Sally Ride and Jerry Mathers, TV's "Leave it To Beaver" when all of us were teens.
A: Defies categorization, as they hated each other.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

STACEY Q VERSUS NIAGARA





Photos (C) 2009 Heather Harris.
First, an outtake for my tv commercial ad for Warner Special Products' "Supergirls." I appreciated the chance to take stills for a tv advert; however, they said get models who look like musicians without giving me a budget to do so. Instead, I got musicians who looked like models. Kirk Henry, left, was a well-known L.A. musician, and had been in films. He introduced me to Stacey Q, right, before her "Two Of Hearts" single broke. Warners were then gobsmacked to discover a #1 hit single artist in their own tv ad for girl groups.

Then, the inimitable Niagara Detroit, live in Los Angeles with Dark Carnival.
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