Friday, May 27, 2011

ART SHOW and NOSTALGIA at the former RODNEY'S ENGLISH DISCO

The May 20th opening of Adrian Wong's multi-media installation was held ltd Gallery on 7561 Sunset Blvd, one time site of Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco, Hollywood Glitter Ground Zero playhouse on the Sunset Strip from 1972-75. Artist Wong flew in from his abode in Hong Kong, although he grew up in Chicago as those who inquired of his impeccable American English learned. Above and below, Rodney and his colleague Evita Corby, a rock fashion designer/stylist who once booked acts in other clubs after the English Disco enjoyed her teenaged patronage. Disclaimer: as a non-dancer* I never darkened the club's doors back in the day.
The evening took a pensive turn when a slide show of habitues at the English Disco was launched on the gallery's office computer.

An art show may not have been the ideal locale for the gamut of emotions evoked by photographs of both good times and lost friends (literally and figuratively) for those who knew and cavorted with them; i.e. pointing out on the pc monitor the late Sabel Starr, a vibrant scenester in her own right and little sister of Evita's friend Corel Shields.

Fortunately, local music biz author Harvey Kubernik and graphic designer Mark London are now on board to help Rodney concoct his definitive written history of this iconographic club-house of L.A.'s original Glam era youth. Working title: "Rodney's English Disco: A Glitter Revolution." With Rodney, they're marshaling extensive photo archives for this book to be published in 2012 heralding the forty year anniversary of the club's opening.

Below, the artist Mr. Wong explains his ocean films room to Ms. Corby and is seen with an art compatriot through watery images of same below as well. The buffet reawakened my long dormant taste for caviar...




























Art lovers all!





Above, an update via 9.24.11 from ltd gallery and Pacific Standard Time (art consortium via the Getty art museums of
Los Angeles.)


*dancing to music as an automatic response to rhythm is anathema to live music photography and promotes camera shake so I carefully disciplined myself not to do so. At least that's the rationalization from this klutz.

Chris Difford has the last word on Glam nostalgia et al.


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Sunday, May 22, 2011

LESLIE KNAUER, Story Continued

This radiantly smiling countenance belongs to Leslie Knauer, singer/songwriter/guitarist of The LovrBombz and a vocalist with one world-class set of pipes. The 'Bombz, including a rhythm section Al Teman and Dan Fabiano sporting frocks and fishnets (but manly frocks and fishnets, see below) performed at West Hollywood's Genghis Cohen night before last. For Leslie's history and tons more of my photos of her, see LINK.










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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The lost TAM LIN movie

One should be a fan of British cinema, retro pop culture, fantasy/ folklore, and personal auteurship for maximum enjoyment of this likeable but format-challenged film from the late 1960's/early 70's. I sure am, and as such quite savored this cinematic retelling of the Tam Lin ballad, that ancient tale of role reversal with the fair maiden having to save the dude in distress, rare then as now. It's sufficiently enjoyable that I immediately transferred its only available format, VHS videotape to dvd for repeated future viewings. One suspects it had been slated for same, what with its 17 minute director's introduction, but remained lost in the ectoplasm of Republic Pictures' post-demise assorted distribution deals. One further suspects that its release under of aegis of an Ava Gardner tribute series was the ticket for its seeing light of day at all post theatrical debut. It's been written that Roddy McDowell lost control of this, his only directed film, with it subsequently languishing in drive-ins of the 1970's under such noms-du-exploitation as "The Devil's Widow!" (lurid poster at bottom.)
As McDowell's sole direction job, this is a movie one ever so wants to be as good as Charles Laughton's similar solo effort "Night of the Hunter," which it isn't and cannot be, as few films can match "Hunter's" expert, mannerist weirdness. McDowell's is a B+ to Laughton's A+. What it does share is the quirkiness of a singular vision, seeming unlike anything else of its respective era while still conforming to mainstream requisites, and the retelling of a dreamy but occasionally frightening fairy tale in modern clothes, with assorted decidedly odd touches. A true loss to cinema that both actors never directed another film. Simply put, it's the Ballad of Tam Lin (its original title in fact) retold with late '60's characters, and peopled with a cast of still working, familiar British names like "Deadwood's" Ian McShane (representing the titular captured knight Tam Lin,) Stephanie Beacham (the Hammer horror ingenue,) here as the ballad's brave, resourceful and knocked up Janet, "AbFab's" Joanna Lumley as one of dozens of young sybarites with both Cyril and Sinead Cusack in tow. Ava Gardner as the controlling "Faerie Queen" seems an apt focus of the swirling debaucheries and cruelties rationalized as group activity fun. This, strangely, isn't so much part of the fantasy as modern viewers might conclude: some of us who were adolescents in the '60's remember the genuine, wealthy older types lending their mansions to us young'uns in order to share in their decadent fun, whether vicariously or actively.In "Tam Lin" you'll find a little seen but quite good updated fairy story, plus amusing music from live jazz to the Pentangle, great late 1960s/early 70s fashion forward costuming, retro period fun, gorgeous Scottish border scenery and an always great to watch cast. Time for whoever owns Republic this week to fund that dvd or streaming release. 
 ~~~NEWS ALERT 2015: it has been released on Blu-ray!~~~
 
  Lurid much?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

CHAINSAW live video footage, Euro-tour 2003

Below is a snippet of the rare footage from the 2003 Chainsaw reunion Euro-tour with supplemental film production and commentary by its bassist therein, Olivier Vuille; lead vocals and aggro by my better half, Mr. Twister; and incidental music by Fellini's own scoremeister, Nino Rota. And did they rock, hell yeah! 28 years after these punk pioneers had called it quits, assorted all-ages audiences in sold out clubs all over Italy welcomed Chainsaw back ever so raucously as one can view in the video via this gig in Rome.

Momentum continued domestically. Below, my photo of one of two Chainsaw-USA reunion gigs shortly thereafter, with formidable rhythm section Mary Kay and Tony Matteucci of The Dogs happily stepping in. But destiny cannot outwit the time-space continuum of predetermined fate: once again Chainsaw broke up, according to some, for all the exact same reasons for which they broke up originally. Plus ca change, plus la meme chose (since I don't know the Italian for this maxim.)

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Friday, May 13, 2011

OUR ROCK AND ROLL BATHROOMS

The most eclectic and/or rare art resides in my photo studio bathroom. The studio originally was the barn of our 1912 farmhouse, and the back wall of same had been painted with a mural of The Promised Land (some of it seen at left in the photo above) in place of an altar when it was converted to a church for revival meetings. The Ann Arbor Rock and Roll Revival show poster above the utility sink (dating to when I used this space as a darkroom) is a brand new acquisition, a gift from Retrokimmer three weeks ago when I visited there and photographed the Tribute to Ron Asheton/Iggy and The Stooges gig. Atop the wood shelf is an old art school oil painting I did, with a 1978 theatre flyer below. It's by Edward Gorey of the London production of "Dracula" starring Terence Stamp, which Mr. Twister and I saw there. Below a signature work of Niagara's (Dark Carnival and Destroy All Monsters chanteuse) "This Band Sucks" giclee is an impossibly rare poster of English Boy Ltd., the vintage mid-1960s modeling agency made up of the coolest who's who of Mod/Psychedelic London's fashion, music and art scenes, illustrated with dozens of said scenesters from Brian Jones, James Fox, Suki Potier, Chrissie Shrimpton and Marijke Koger to various Ormsby-Gores and Raineys. And how did Mr. Twister procure this originally? He was one of their models during his sojourn one 60s summer hanging with the cast of Mick Jagger's best film "Performance."


In our upstairs water closet are rock and roll magazines, rock and roll books (plus a Zelda Fitzgerald biography or three,) a large giclee print by Niagara (the Marlene Dietrich at left) and Marijke Koger-Dunham's (besides being featured at English Boy Ltd, the pyschedelic stylist to the Beatles, fine artist and member of The Fool) two fantasy prints. Yes, I have a retro paisley bathroom. Two of these books have appearances by yours truly. Rebel Music by Harvey Kubernik has my shot on the cover, and We Got the Neutron Bomb (History of L.A.Punk) actually quotes me. I had to answer someone's comment of "If I had this bathroom I'd rarely leave it" with my own confession, "I don't do those sorts of things any more."




Addition as of
November 2016
at top of this pic: 
"Narcissistic Seahorse" 
by Inger Lorre 
of The Nymphs










What's in the downstairs' bathroom? Below, another Niagara giclee ("One of us is loaded,") one of Twister's 60s interior design posters, and an actual original 1973 David Lance Goines print of "Der Blaue Engel" ("The Blue Angel." I guess we like Marlene Dietrich icons in our bathrooms.) Mary Kay, bassist of legendary The Dogs and I both constructed as well as designed this loo, replete with our knocking out part of the wall and tiling over it, building a graceful plaster curve to the tub and, to play up the 1912 aspect, wall-papering all 4 walls and the ceiling (of the latter quoth Mary, "Never again!") During said construction, a faux supervisory Twister would stroll by and ask how Lucy and Ethel were doing!
The more observant will note the barbed wire embedded in the toilet seat, bottom photograph, pun intended.
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PETE the PEACOCK


Marijke and Don's peacock Pete strolls through their ranchette.

Monday, May 9, 2011

JOHN "WALKER" MAUS rest in peace and a discourse on 30 CENTURY MAN film

One of the more delightful and impressive clients I've had the good fortune to photograph, John Maus a.k.a. John Walker of The Walker Brothers ("The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Any More," "Make It Easy On Yourself") has passed away at the age of 67. John, besides playing guitar, originally was primary singer of the internationally chart-topping pop/rock band, a position which gave way to the mystique and sonorous baritone of Scott Walker with successive recordings.

A decade and a half before The Ramones became faux siblings with their nom du entertainment biz, John Maus, Scott Engel and Gary Leeds had became The Walker Brothers. As tall, hospital-skinny, long-haired musicians with bangs past their eyebrows working the Sunset Strip of the early 1960s, they looked generic and germane to same; a move to England guaranteed their sublime individualism with this provincial but appealing image.

After peaking on worldwide music charts, solo releases and a few reunions, the Walkers faded from all but the Classic Rock&Pop airwaves. The following piece, written two years ago in conjunction with the debut of director Stephen Kijak's (who since went on to direct the Rolling Stones' Exile On Main Street dvd accompanying its re-release) "30 Century Man" documentary on Scott Walker explains the breadth of the massive popularity of The Walker Brothers in their place in time.

It's not released in the U.S. yet, (Ed.- since rectified) but eventually should be. The subject is American, but his pre-eminence is strictly European. Fans of "Absolutely Fabulous" should remember Patsy's older sister claiming she was the subject of a Scott Walker song, fans of director Minghella's first (and best) film "Truly Madly Deeply" (comedy-tragedy-ghost story: deserves own eventual blog) should remember the woman and her ghostly dead lover singing a raucous cover of "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore," while fans of oldskool retro-60's classics on classics radio should recall "Make It Easy On Yourself" plus many anthemic others done with the same sonorous baritone over an orchestral sweeping vista.

The film is "30 Century Man" and the subject is Scott Walker. Once upon a time in the 1960's, three typical tall, skinny Sunset Strip denizens with long hair and bangs past their eyebrows plus failed C.V.s as musicians moved to England, wherein the intrinsic lack of tall, skinny Sunset Strip denizens with bangs past their eyebrows would allow them to actually stand out. And they did, to eventual mega-stardom. Precursors of the Ramones' hat trick, these unrelated chums named themselves the Walker Brothers, surrendered to mainstream pop, and had enormous hit after enormous hit there, with their flagship sound of Scott Walker's baritone crooning. However mushy the MOR slop tended to be, at least it was interesting having "one of our own" youth culturers singing this way, and all three looking so shaggable. Believe me, David Bowie was listening INTENTLY to this particular sound, and you can hear it every concert he sings to this day.

Huge hits written by the era's best other songwriters, genuine Beatles-esque fan mobbing, compromises, breakdowns, substance abuse, what photographer/director Larry Clark called "the usual betrayals in the music biz," then it gets weird. Prettiest boy and main voice Scott derails, joins a monastery, emerges as a Jacques Brel interpreter, then a techno-artist songwriter before there actually is techno, then avant-garde orchestrator cum performance artist for music that has no categorizing description, all of which he warbles the highest brow intellectual themes over. He releases his work maybe once a decade. This is the story of Scott Walker, a man rightly called the most enigmatic figure ever in the history of popular music, depicted from infancy to 2006 in "30 Century Man."

The director gives us "listening heads" instead of the talking variety, what with David Bowie coming aboard, Radiohead, Brian Eno and others chatting about Walker's influence upon their own work. Even 60's compatriot Lulu inquires to the only director that's managed to snag an interview with Walker if he's still gorgeous (A: yes, in a tall, skinny, bit of receding hairline, wildly creative, intellectual mien way. Plus he's been sober now for decades. The guy laughs a lot for a supposed morbidly reclusive type, too.) Many depicted fans of old don't "get" his newest work, voicing Luddite disdain for something so far ahead of what's going on now (whenever "now" is: that's the beauty of the avant garde) that they fail to embrace pure innovation for its own sake.

You'll see recent footage of him orchestrating in the studio (replete with a percussionist pounding a huge side of pork, or recording sounds under a wooden box,) and explaining his difficult themes with assured ease and aplomb. Thank gawd Scott Walker is still around, for this is one former pop star turned composer who is actually working at the peak of creative powers right here, right now, a massive achievement for anyone, but especially former popstars. Trent Reznor should be so lucky when he's Walker's age. Check out "30 Century Man" when it's released to watch a fascinating musical journey.

Below, a VERY early Walker Brothers video, showing twin appeal of John and Scott as co-singers

and the trailer for "30 Century Man: Scott Walker" documentary by Stephen Kijak


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Saturday, May 7, 2011

24 HOURS before the TRIBUTE TO RON ASHETON in ANN ARBOR starring IGGY AND THE STOOGES

Well, firstly it was snowing on April 18th in Ann Arbor. I may have pissed off the locals when they queried how this SoCal native liked the snow with a reply noting its utter exotica to me. No matter, gracious hostess and bloggist extraordinaire Kim Retrokimmer Maki scooped yours truly up for a whirlwind working vacation tour around assorted music-related sights of A2.
Above, Ms. Retrokimmer is pictured with
Rick Ruiner of The Ruiners, then below with the formidable Deniz Tek (see info two graphs from this) added to this crew after her own interview segment for Ron Perry's filmed documentary on the entire span of the Detroit and Ann Arbor music world, "Detroit Rock Project." Besides being an interviewee, Deniz, a good friend of the late Ron Asheton, was slated to play Ron's guitar both literally and figuratively at the tribute to the latter.

The driving tour not only included the 14 foot bridge that the Stooges' 16 foot equipment truck once plowed into to the extreme detriment of truck, Stooges and instruments alike, plus the former domicile of Ron Asheton but also a rather poignant four mile stretch of highway between Arbor Hills, a swank community, and the Coachville Trailer Park, a place of decidedly smallish mobile homes even for its genre. This was the trek the young Iggy Pop walked daily from where he told his ritzy school's bus driver to let him off, back to where he actually lived and wished to keep secret from his classmates. Retrokimmer herself has blogged on how this peculiar combination of shame despite a loving family and the tiny, caged parameters of his home environment despite the parents' middle class dual incomes may have contributed to Iggy's extraordinary career drive and lifelong revolts for freedoms LINK.



Nightlife included a sojourn at The Blind Pig/8 Ball. Above, left to right: ?, Chris Box Taylor (guitarist for Mazinga, Powertrane and new father of a baby boy named Asheton in honor of Ron,) filmmaker Amy Verdon (one of several contributors to Iggy and The Stooges' forthcoming dvd of their live show for All Tomorrow's Parties, NY, 2010,) Kim Maki, Amy's husband, Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman punk star guitarist, singer and perennial over-achiever as a former "Top Gun" Navy jet pilot and current E.R. surgeon) and photographer Anne Laurent.

Below, Kim Maki chats with Hiawatha Bailey (singer of The Cult Heroes, A2 mainstay music legend) and Amy Verdon.

Below, Amy Verdon quaffs a brew while Scott Morgan (well-loved soul singer of The Rationals, Sonic's Rendezvous Band and many more) and Deniz Tek catch up, Anne Laurent listening intently.

The next night, Iggy and The Stooges
with Deniz Tek and Henry Rollins played the Michigan Theatre (marquee below,) an intimate venue holding 1,700 rabid fans in A Tribute to Ron Asheton.
Below, I check my camera equipment as the mirror reflects my hotel room's much appreciated jacuzzi. To be continued...go to LINK

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Monday, May 2, 2011

EVIL

May 2, 2011
from my friend "Kimba":
"Let's not lose our footing dancing on evil's grave."
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