Thursday, January 19, 2023

Rest in peace DAVID CROSBY

I took this at the Greek Theatre, Hollywood, in 1969, their second ever gig (after Woodstock.) Neil Young was just sitting in, they were still CSN. My six degrees of separation were that someone I knew was friends with Crosby and his soon to be tragically killed girlfriend, Christine Hinton, and we once went to visit them in their Beverly Glen canyon home. Crosby was out, and I thought Christine one of the worldliest young women I ever had met, what with her sultry voice and longer than waist length hair. Crosby loved her so much that her death seemed to have messed up the entire rest of his life. Somehow, despite much physical wreckage, he managed to keep his wonderful singing voice right up to the end. Rest in peace, David Crosby.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Rest in peace CHRISTINE McVIE

photos © 1975, 1994 Heather Harris. Rest in peace singer/songwriter/keyboard player/fine artist Christine McVie, nee Perfect. Seen at left in both my photos, a 1975 rehearsal at the Aquarius Theatre with then new lineup with Buckingham/Nicks; 1994 performance at the Universal Amphitheatre, another venue that is no more. According to today's New York Times, "...she died at a hospital but did not specify its location. The statement also did not give the cause of her death. In June, Ms. McVie told Rolling Stone that she was in 'quite bad health' and that she had endured debilitating problems with her back."
What little contact i had with her she seemed like a nice person who nonetheless was no pushover. She was a major freedom fighter by being A MUSICIAN rather than a female musician, always deserving of respect for her work, solo or with Chicken Shack or Fleetwood Mac. I explain to my harder rocker pals that she sold millions of records because her soft rock songs were never formulaic, were always catchy, and were always identifiable as her work.
Below, front cover art of Fleetwood Mac's "Kiln House" album painted by Christine McVie. She formally would join the band on the album after this, "Future Games" in 1971. Fleetwood Mac's discography, starting in 1968, consists of 18 studio albums, 9 live albums, 23 compilation albums, 1 EP, and 62 singles.
                                May be an illustration

Sunday, August 29, 2021



Yes, it looked this far away. Or more like this far away. Photographer unknown

It was 55 years ago today: The Beatles performed for 45,000 fans at Dodger Stadium, Anaheim, their L.A. area engagement on Aug. 28, 1966, one day before their final show ever at Candlestick Park, San Francisco. My friend Sally A's part of the tale: "I was there. 'Sat with my friend Heather's mother and two of Heather's friends (Rob F. and Carol L.) What a night. Heard nothing but screaming and faint music. But I would not have missed it for the world. My boys......"

I trust the statute of limitations has expired in the intervening 55 years, so that I may answer the unspoken question the world cries out to know, where was HH?  I was with Rich C. as his mule. My beach bag was recruited to carry his giant reel to reel tape recorder with which he had yearned to document the set. Unfortunately as it was returned to its owner, he dropped it and one of the tapes unspooled all the way down the bleacher rows of Dodger Stadium. Even without the hiss of this very public mishap, all that could be heard later in playback was the roar and din of screaming pubescent females. Good times!

My mother was there to chauffeur us all, it only seemed fair to buy her a ticket. Some of us were quite underaged. Rich C. was Carol's boyfriend, so I really was brushing up against possible legal ramifications as a favor to a good friend who was not my date.

Sally A.'s final pronouncement: "Heather is telling the truth. I was standing at the top of the steps and watched as the tape unspooled all the way down the steps. Boy, did we all panic."

Tuesday, August 24, 2021


The sad news is true: Rolling Stones' drummer Charlie Watts has passed away in London at age 80 after an emergency heart operation. If you want to honor his memory, some of the charities and foundations that Charlie and his bandmates have supported are Doctors without Borders, Make a Wish, Farm Aid, Save the Children. The causes they find worthy are Aids & HIV, Cancer, Animals, Economic/Business Support, Education, Human Rights, Mental Health.

I loved the book Sympathy for the Drummer: Why Charlie Watts Matters by Mike Edison which finally explained what it was that he excelled at to non-musicians like me. Here are some of his chart drawings acknowledging his bandmates' tempo "uniqueness." Further admiration for his staying with his original, pre-fame wife Shirley, and ownership of Halsdon Arabians.


Charlie and Shirley Watts with one of their Arabian horses from their Halsdon Arabian Stud Farm, fair use from their farm promotional material, and with their dogs on their bed, photographers not indicated. I'm glad that their animals made this couple so happy: those are pretty genuine smiles...

A very worthy tribute to Charlie Watts can be found here, click LINK * It's a cool piece about his actual friend Charlie Watts, by our actual friend Harvey Kubernik, 
that was just published in Ugly Things magazine.

Monday, July 12, 2021

SANTA BARBARA HORSE SHOW for gaited and other breeds JULY 9, 2021

Cue "I Hope I Get It! God I Hope I Get It!" from "A Chorus Line." Lining up for the final judge's decision at the Santa Barbara gaited horse show at Earl Warren Showgrounds, a National Multi-Breed show, my photos from July 9th of a four day show. 

On left, a Rocky Mountain Horse hopeful, on right, an Andalusian hopeful. The one on the right needn't have looked so worried: she earned a blue ribbon.


Above and below, Mindy Smith, who trained my own Rocky Mountain Horse mare, riding SG's Singing Sinatra owned by Natalie Hodges, in Trail Pleasure Open, stallions and geldings, for this breed.

 Below, Mindy Smith and husband Brandon Wayment's gorgeous black Rocky Mountain Horse stallion Sam's Ebony, ridden by the latter.

         Above, an equitation class of disparate steeds. Below, Tennessee Walking Horses.

 Above, speed demon Hackney ponies in the Roadster Class. Much of this high elevation of the legs is natural. Carriage horses and ponies were bred that way for 100s of years to safely traverse muddy roads. Where I learned to ride as a child over a half century ago had a Hackney specifically for beginning jumping riders. "Yogi Bear" naturally lifted his feet so high that he never hit a rail of the jumps ever, giving these beginners a lot of confidence.
Small equestriennes on enormous, shiny American Saddlebred horses.
Above, stunning Andalusian in a class labeled Iberian Dressage Suitability.
Below, beautifully turned out vintage carriage and Andalusian team in "Concours D'elegance" class.


Saturday, July 10, 2021

I AM QUOTED FOR A FEATURE ON THE FILM 'THE SPARKS BROTHERS' r.e. a chance encounter 50 years ago...

                                            Promotional graphics courtesy of Focus Features


I haven't seen The Sparks Brothers, the documentary film directed by our household fave Edgar ("Baby Driver") Wright but nonetheless was asked to contribute to Harvey Kubernik's feature about it in Music Connection, published today. Here's my observations, as follows:
"Noted photographer/writer Heather Harris provides a unique view of Ron and Russell from fifty years ago which is quite illuminating.

“The Sparks Brothers = The Marx Brothers, geddit? Like most of the UCLA community of artists, musicians, filmmakers and entertainment journalists of the late 1960s/early 70s, we all knew who one another were, despite the student body numbering some 40,000 souls at the time,” recalls Heather.
“We all liked the same wide nets cast of pop cultural happenings and would see one another at their gigs and assorted exhibits, film premieres etc., which is why I can verify the filmic reference of the initial name change of the band Halfnelson.
“I'll let someone else explain ‘the UCLA Mafia's’ future successes in the entertainment world, but what follows is its origin. Halfnelson and Christopher Milk were the two house rock bands of UCLA in that same era, the latter being fronted by my future better half Mr. Twister who was also a widely published music photographer then and containing amongst illustrious others Rolling Stone and Creem music reviewer John Mendelssohn of assorted notorieties.
“We all started our respective creative careers while still in university, partly because the ambitious entertainment sections of The UCLA Bruin, Icon and Index (both of which I was editor of in my last years at UCLA) put one in direct contact with all the record companies and movie studios of the era, who were more than happy to welcome loquacious students to freebie gigs and film previews to expound happily and wordily about their product. They even provided us with travel junkets!
“An Icon or Index review, good or bad, was after all a free advertisement to 40,000 young consumers,” she explains. “This made all parties, students, musicians, artists and company publicists alike very happy indeed in this all win/win scenario.
“We all liked everything new and cool no matter what medium, usually to incorporate magpie-like into our own effusive creations. Which is why it wasn't unusual to encounter Sparks' Ron and Russell Mael at a rare live concert by Greek avant garde composer Iannis Xanakis in West Hollywood. Xanakis was one of the very few serious musicians to incorporate the then spankin' new synthesizer (Moog or ARP) into his compositions. Since synthesizers were monophonic at the time despite their inevitably multi-tracked use in studios, the brothers probably shared a similar curiosity to see how this could work live.
“After the show I introduced myself as a fellow UCLA student who had seen them play live and I asked when they would do so next,” remembers Harris.
“They were cordial and replied that the very next day they were leaving Los Angeles for England to further their music careers, which for once did in fact spell fame and fortune, ‘This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us,’ etc. success ongoing up until today. If this isn't like encountering Secretariat right up at the starting gate of the Kentucky Derby, then at least to continue the equine analogy, it's like encountering Cinderella stepping into her pumpkin coach drawn by six white horses and about to go to the ball. Life-changingness ensued, at least for Sparks."

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

REESI ROCCA and MISS JJ in BE THE SUPER HERO YOU, newly published children's book

Be the Super Hero You by Reesi Rocca, a highly positive children's book for all ages is newly available on Amazon, Kindle and paperback. It features an illustrated version of Reesi and her real life cute Golden Retriever Miss JJ throughout the book, dealing with some surprisingly dark issues. Solution? They give back to their neighborhood and concentrate on doing good deeds. Balancing the bad with good is a great lesson for all, and there's nothing preachy or pretentious whatsoever, rare in children's literature. And who doesn't dream of a better life with super powers shared with their best friends/pets?


I have photographed and supported Reesi's work over the years because of the unusual arc of her endeavors: no matter how outlandishly imaginative the ideas (Michael Jackson in a flying supercar with her dog and her; music videos with stadium lights and dozens of dancing girls) she makes them happen for real. And how many wildly creative artists can say that? (all photos by me)

And here's her most elaborate video, cut&paste

was it all a green screen dream?






Wednesday, June 23, 2021


 For those who doubt bon vivant Beard's sincerity to the cause of saving African wildlife, today's Women's Wear Daily offered this: " For those who doubt bon vivant Beard's sincerity to the cause of saving African wildlife, in the Seventies, Beard once found a game poacher on his 49-acre (Kenyan) property, tied the man up in his own animal snare wires, stuffed a glove in his mouth and left him there. That deed cost Beard a week in an African jail...
In the Seventies, Beard once found a game poacher on his 49-acre (Kenyan) property, tied the man up in his own animal snare wires, stuffed a glove in his mouth and left him there. That deed cost Beard a week in an African jail."

Bad news not crisis-related...Police searched unsuccessfully for famed photographer Peter Beard after he wandered away from his beachfront home in Montauk NY on Tuesday 3.31.20. Beard, 82, has dementia and was described by police as “vulnerable.” Beard has lived a controversial if adventurous life, but it's undeniable that his 1965 photo book "The End of the Game" was a major force in jump-starting awareness of the doomed plight of wildlife in Africa.




                                                    fair usage from the front cover of Betty Davis debut album

My take: the world is definitely a better place for the existence of the 2017 documentary Betty Davis- They Say I'm Different. Buy it! Stream it! Whatever it! Its filmmaker Phil Cox faced an EVEN MORE ELUSIVE subject than Steven Kijak did with Scott Walker: 30 Century Man. Take in the director's fifteen minute explanation of context and Betty's own contribution in the special features, which then makes this shortish film complete. (my educated guess is that contractual obligations relegated all this pertinent info to the special features addenda. And then those glimpses of the lady, both visual and information-wise add up nicely.)

She was an awfully important total pioneer to have dropped off the face of the earth without having died. Betty's explanation in the special features of her total withdrawal from the music world made perfect since to me, since it was in our fellow artist's jargon of metaphor. In Japan for a performer's live residency, she welcomed a spiritual hike on Mt. Fuji. There she saw a poor mother monkey carrying around her dead infant. One couldn't tell if the mother knew it was dead or not, but the monkey couldn't take the next step to stop carrying it with her. 

Betty created an unprecedented career of writing, producing and performing her own audacious funk (the first African American woman to do so,) so different for her career era (1968 - 1979) in its authenticity and specificity of everyday sexual concerns of young women. It was so very ahead of its time (way before Madonna, Prince, Lady Gaga, Fugee Lauryn Hill, etc.) that what she had given birth to could not survive alone. And unlike the monkey mother, she took the next step and stopped carrying it with her...

Also in the special features is an all too familiar tale (particularly to Stooges fans of 1972-4 Raw Power era. Ask me sometime to recount my own Antiques Roadshow moment of discovering I had 50% of their known live footage in the universe) of the rarity of film footage of such pre-video, pre-digital artists. It took really expensive, specialized equipment to shoot low light indoor stage film footage then. But I'll save that tale for director Phil Cox to tell. Other favorite moments: her former band reassembling for a conference call to her, reassuring her "The big record companies don't control everything any more. Come back!" plus Betty echoing the very words of another similarly named icon, Bettie Page, who both declined being filmed in the present tense saying "Nobody wants to look at an old lady... 🙁 "

Tuesday, March 9, 2021




Once upon a time a publisher publicly impugned science fiction writers, so a bevy of science fiction writers deigned to embarrass selfsame publisher.  Three dozen fantasy and sci fi writers under the nominal guidance of James D. McDonald devised a  perfect revenge--their own equivalent of the "Bad Hemingway Competition" or the "Bullwer Lytton Bad opening sentence to a nonexistent turgid novel" competition-- and wrote a smoldering trainwreck of a terrifyingly bad novel entitled Atlanta Nights, authored by "Travis Tea." They did not consult with one another to guarantee zero continuity whatsoever, and let the typos, plot holes, nonsensical passages, grammatical errors and legendary incongruities rip.

Those legendary incongruities would be: characters change gender and race; characters die and reappear without explanation; there's a missing chapter; two chapters have the same number; two chapters are word for word identical; the denouement, such as it can be, is in the middle of the book; and lastly, the most incoherent chapter of all was "written" by a random text generator based on patterns found in previous chapters. 

And the impugning publisher accepted the manuscript on Dec. 7, 2004 for impending publication. Legal advisors to the wacky bunch promptly convinced them to divulge the truth, and the offer was retracted. However, available in print it remains to this day, and all proceeds go to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Emergency Medical Fund.

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