Monday, February 24, 2014

JAMES WILLIAMSON: ENGINEERING HALL of FAME AND ROCK and ROLL HALL of FAME INDUCTEE

James Williamson and Linda Williamson at the 2.20.14 ceremony for James' induction into his alma mater Cal Poly Pomona College of Engineering Hall of Fame which features permanent displays of all its inductees, his own seen above. This makes the former technology corporate executive and current guitarist of Iggy and The Stooges the sole member of both the The Engineering Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Williamson co-wrote and shredded on 1973's game-changingly influential LP "Raw Power."

The newly unveiled Engineering Hall of Fame ceremony marked the 55th anniversary of the college and took place outside between the two Engineering buildings in Pomona's warm February weather, where we find Linda and James, below. Inspired by nascent computer technology, James attended and graduated after Iggy and The Stooges broke up in the mid-1970s with its eventual resurrection in the the 2000s and James rejoining in 2010. Cal Poly Pomona is part of the Claremont, California complex of world-renowned universities, and its engineering school vies with Stanford and Cal Tech as one of the three top tech destinations on the West Coast.

Below, Dr. Mahyar Amouzegar, Dean of the College of Engineering, far left, addresses all 22 recipients in the Hall of Fame's unveiling ceremony with James at far right amidst assorted "Captains of Industry."











Favorite part and understatement of the century, when all new Hall of Fame members' positions and accomplishments were read to the audience with a momentary, surprised pause at "James Williamson, Vice-president Sony Corporation, Technology Standards, retired, and member of Iggy and The Stooges band...well, that's interesting!"


Left, James obliges with autographs for 
Cal Poly Pomona College of Engineering Stooges' fans. Center and right, James in his other Hall of Fame role, 1973 and 2013.

When queried on his decision to switch gears from music to computers in the 1970s, James quoted his own honorarium, "My advice to the kids at Cal Poly on my Engineering Hall of Fame Plaque (is) '20 years from now the only regrets you'll likely have are the passions you didn't pursue.' I would have missed a lot if I'd had a hit record back then and we would most likely have killed ourselves. . . much better to be obscure in our case." Posterity now celebrates James Williamson as an inventor in both music and technology, expressions of his truest passions.

 HORSEY SIDE TRIP:
Guest photographer of the next three pics after her portrait, Amy D'Allesandro (below left) and I planned our Pomona trip to include visiting the Kellogg Arabian Horse Center at Cal Poly, part of its Equine Sciences program. The Kellogg Arabians' stud farm has been going strong there since 1925: its West Coast bloodstock Crabbet Arabian Horses (see breed savior Lady Anne Blunt's story in LINK) had been cast as Rudolph Valentino's mounts in his silent films "The Sheik" and its sequels. The delightful 1 and 1/2 week old foal who greeted us attests to the center's current breeding program success.
 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

R.I.P. CHRISTOPHER JONES: the secret life of a talented fine artist

 



My cousin Virginia suggested I note the Jan. 31, 2014 passing of her hometown-- Jackson, Tennessee --notable, actor Christopher Jones, who succumbed to cancer at age 72 (relatively recent photo top left by Greg Bryan.) His Jackson TN beginnings though were Dickensian, with his brother and him relinquished early on to Boys Town orphanage when his mother was institutionalized. He joined the Army to escape, went AWOL, made an Indiana James Dean homage road trip with a stolen car, hit New York for acting training, then did 6 months in MP slammer for same. But he always adored the world of the movies throughout, and made his way thusward again.

Despite obvious high points like his iconic lead Max Frost in 1968's Wild in the Streets (middle promo photo with Diane Varsi) Youth Culture-satirical film, his career was an oddly thwarted one. With good looks often compared to his almost comtemporary James Dean plus assorted Broadway stage and minor screen leads under his belt, he was cast in two big budget, A-list films The Looking Glass War and David Lean's Ryan's Daughter. Problem: his voice was dubbed in both features, news of which scuttled his future casting. His marriage to Susan Strasberg, daughter of his former acting teacher Lee, terminally foundered.

After snorting, drinking and smoking his sorrows away in our vintage mid-1960s Sunset Strip culture, his self-admitted 1969 breakdown ensued, and retirement to what should have been his true profession all along: visual fine arts. He had indisputable talent. The top left photo depicts his sculpture of Rudolph Valentino as displayed at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in our home town.

He summarily claimed in a 2000 interview, "The movies kept me going for a long time.
I am happy. Everyo
ne has regrets, but I don't have many that I want to talk about. I did exactly as I pleased -- within my world." 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

THANK YOU ANDY SCHWARTZ

Thank you Andy Schwartz, he of New York Rocker, Epic (Sony) Records, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame writing and publishing credits, for the following compliments:

 "Always a pleasure to make a real-life friend from a Facebook "friend," as when Heather Harris and I met for the first time today over coffee in Sherman Oaks. Heather schlepped along her portfolio, and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to page through her historic and eloquent shots; her subjects range from Buffalo Springfield and the Stooges to an intriguing group of forgotten all-female hard rock bands of '80s L.A. with names like "MisGuided." In my experience, too many photos of musicians onstage tend to look like all the same picture, but this is definitely *not* the case with Heather's work. Here, Bo Diddley and Willie Dixon sign their names on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1989."
- Andy Schwartz 


 


Right and left: personnel changes in I980s/90s metal
band Misguided; below, live

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

R.I.P. SHIRLEY TEMPLE BLACK- Tales Told Out Of School 8.0

(Eighth 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 its 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.)

Highly accomplished, wildly popular actress and United States Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslavakia Shirley Temple Black passed away today. She not only was sufficiently trustworthy to represent her country as ambassador, but also survived extreme child stardom with her head on straight. After a brief teen marriage to handsome John Agar, (an understandable quest for an adult identity,) her next marriage to Charles Alden Black lasted for 54 years, with a normal family life, much philanthropy, work for the Republican party and, to her infinite credit, she was amongst the first celebrities to speak openly about her own breast cancer in 1973.

Ms. Temple as child star with equine friend.

My mother's aunt's daughter went to the Westlake School for Girls at the same time as Ms. Temple Black. The main stories filtering through were that a) she was nice and b) the school stables and horses were situated at the nearby Bel Air Hotel grounds, with students riding down Sunset Boulevard. Ancient history: today Sunset Blvd. is just another winding, congested corridor of West Los Angeles so dangerous that pedestrians can not even cross for that same span from school to hotel; however, the Westlake school uniforms did not change from the tenure of Shirley (pic at top in prep school mufti, circa the 1940s) to my own era (below pic, yours truly circa the 1960s, posing with the school newspaper reporters. I was staff cartoonist.) Carrying hefty bookloads of homework appears to have been a common denominator from the 1940s through 60s...

Friday, February 7, 2014

VINTAGE 1973 IGGY AND THE STOOGES PHOTOGRAPHS


A lot of my vintage 1973 live Iggy and the Stooges photos will be found in this LINK of the Feb. 7, 2014 edition of Detroit RocknRoll Magazine online, with the story of how my musical tastes in rock became non-provincial...(And if the link within the link isn't hot, try clicking THIS.)

IT WAS FIFTY YEARS AGO TODAY book cover by me


My contribution to American Beatlemania anniversary: I designed this It Was Fifty Years Ago Today book cover a few months ago. Music historian, writer, producer and author Harvey Kubernik wrote this unique perspective, just released this week to coincide with selfsame anniversary of the Beatles first appearance on tv's The Ed Sullivan Show to 73 million viewers, or 40% of the entire nation. 

 Info to obtain this unique perspective on real-life Beatlemania amongst then and future entertainment industry personnel and fans, click LINK.

 My graphic idea was to emulate limited color printing solutions of 1964 (examples below) while tying it in to the publishers' exclusive black and white Ed Sullivan show photograph. This design style emulates a true to the era, pre-psychedelic juxtaposition of black images on eye-dazzling, Op Art day-glo colors as popularized by Andy Warhol, Bridget Riley, Roy Lichtenstein and others. Psychedelia so dominates 1960s' histories that many forget the plethora of other styles before and after, wherein graphic designers employed their outrageous creativity to circumvent limited printing budgets (inapplicable to our It Was Fifty Years Ago Today book. We just wanted it to look era-apropos as opposed to second guesses by those who weren't there.)



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

SOME EUROPIX

Leipzig train station, Germany 1993
Communist Party rally, Rome, Italy, October 1978
Chainsaw tour, Naples, Italy 2003

LIFE HERE WHEN THERE ARE CLOUDS

 Yesterday the clouds became little farm animals trying out the Kama Sutra, above.
 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Rest in peace PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN

"Bazoomer.com" screen capture from State And Main. Remember the good.

And  I'm guessing accident. I interviewed two rockstars, Tim Buckley and Paul Kossoff who died shortly thereafter in the exact same fashion-- after longtime sobriety they went and did their normal "bad old days" huge dosage and promptly kicked (and I don't interview rockstars any more. Spooked.) Secondly, remain empathetic. If someone who seemingly has it all STILL feels that bad, it indeed is bad. Lastly, a lot of drug usage in the entertainment biz starts with bigtime pressure to lose weight...

Saturday, February 1, 2014

CAROLYN WONDERLAND LIVE! 1.14.14



Tearing up the stage at the Mint 1.14.14, Austin, Texas' own Carolyn Wonderland and band made their Hollywood audience jump for joy as well throughout a 100% all stops out performance. Of the above photo, Carolyn generously claimed, "Wow, thanks for capturing that moment. It really felt just like that!"
 















Since the mid-1990s Wonderland has been winning myriad awards for her bluesy rock passion in both her vocals and highly adept guitar playing, most memorably with slide and steel that night at the Mint. Her performance encompassed rockers, ballads, honkytonk stomps, originals and covers (I heard Johnny Winter/Rick Derringer in there!), all with an endearingly sincere, direct rapport with her audience each and every minute onstage. Offstage her sense of humor has embraced projects with appellations like The Imperial Monkeys and Texistentialism. Carolyn Wonderland retains many name-drop fans/supporters within the ranks of The Bigs in music from Malibu to Sturgis. Quite deservedly so! 




The band:  
Carolyn Wonderland, guitars, trumpet and vocals; Cole El-Salah, keyboards and key-bass; Rob Hooper, drums. Guests in encore jams, Ty Taylor and Nalle Colt of Vintage Trouble, vocals and guitar respectively.                      


"Still Alive And Well..."

  PHOTO OPS:

  Two six-string slingers-- Carolyn with fellow Texan James Williamson, legendary hotshot guitarist of and producer of Iggy and The Stooges. It's known that they've collaborated on an as yet unannounced project. Carolyn's gesture is American Sign Language for "love," lest Wonderland fans surmise she's gone all out Heavy Metal.  Below, Scott Thurston,
keyboardist for the 1973/4 Iggy and The Stooges before his current longtime gig as Heartbreaker for Tom Petty & The; Carolyn Wonderland and James Williamson.
Above, rock couturier and onetime garter belt-clad back cover star of the original Kill City release by Iggy Pop and James Williamson, Evita Corby; Carolyn Wonderland; James Williamson.
Above, left to right: Toby Dammit, drummer for Iggy and The Stooges on tours; Evita Corby, Scott Thurston, James Williamson. Below: guest photographer Evita Corby snapped two shots of Scott, James and your humble photojournalist enjoying the moment, with and without shades. 
 

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