Thursday, November 18, 2010


Above, the house built by my maternal grandfather (see LINK for his unusual adventures) in 1923 in a compound of three homes near the family farms. One remains my uncle and aunt's residence and the other two (like the one above now owned by my mother) occasionally find members of the family temporarilyvisiting therein.

Above, the original house that burned to the ground on the day my grandparents' first child was born with a troubled delivery. Its ad hoc caretaker (a trusted, close relative) had gotten blind drunk and knocked over a lit lantern.

The sunken garden with the children's wading pool, formerly canopied and surrounded by irises. Frog seen from the back was a fountain, sundial at left, bird bath on right.
Above, view towards the small town from front yard.

Above, some of the long driveway entrance.

Above, two views of the porte-cochere (definition: carriage entrance through buildings,) first looking towards the back yard which used to have a log cabin museum and livestock pasture, both now part of my uncle's estate, and the vista via the driveway through the front yard of the estate.

Abandoned gazebo

I stayed in my grandfather's separate bedroom, above. Nothing was changed after his death on October 17, 1989 (which was my birthday.)
Above, the parlor, much changed by my mother since my grandfather's death. Below, hand-painted vellum lampshade showing original house before its Southern Colonial facelift via
the front porch columns

Comestibles once were served by cooks like Fruzie Chambers and maids with names like Diora in the formal dining room (above, with a mirror filling in for the large oil painting of wild ducks that once was there) or in the breakfast nook.
The photos on the nook's back wall feature the house's only full-time residents, my grandparents. I photographed the one on the right of my grandfather who outlived his wife by 25 years, reaching 104 years with his health pretty much intact. Dachshunds helped.

More Southern Gothic: William Faulkner was our distant relation, and used to take the train up from Mississippi and sleep on the front porch of this very house. Drunk. My grandmother was an unconditionally forgiving, generous soul:
she quite liked him.

Below, children's playhouse shaped like original house, now next to a very large annex built onto one of the original houses enclosing a baronial great room.

Below, the dogs' graveyard, with four of ours--Crystal Scarborough (Golden Retriever,) Phaedra (Borzoi,) Morgan Le Fay (Scottish Deerhound) and Lucretia Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound)-- in the front yard of the estate under the holly tree.

One bookshelf of Parksacres contains an encyclopedia from 1879 with sad entries that made this amateur zoologist teary. It described the Quagga and the Passenger Pigeon as contemporary, living, breathing animals, not extinct victims of heedless destruction. Read the copy I enlarged on the quantification of the latter species (2 pp.)

Late '60s folk troubadour Arlo Guthrie sang of the City of New Orleans train, and as seen above, this very one rumbles along noisily and twice daily betwixt the estate's large front yard and the small town. My uncle the Civil War buff likes to fly Confederate flags and does so undeterred as he owns most everything in sight within the small town except the two other homes in the compound and assorted churches. At least the flag from the victor in the "War of Northern Aggression" gets equal billing on the plantation flagpole.

In 1973 Michael Lesy wrote "Wisconsin Death Trip" which instantly proved a counter-cultural favorite and eventual bestselling book detailing the nostalgic trevails of ordinary 19th century Americans of all strata born, working and dying in rural Wisconsin. This Tennessee death trip was to bury my father in my mother's family's private cemetery in the pouring rain. Like the book, the visit prompted reflection on what has gone before. I photographed some of it with my inexpensive snapshot camera for anyone reading this, for myself and for posterity.
A funerary addendum:
Aforementioned rain prevented my photographing the "family black sheep" who was buried upside down without her full name on a tiny headstone in the family cemetery, far away from her relatives. She was my adventurous grandfather's real mother, reputed to have run off with the farm foreman and never mentioned again, although it was her own inherited legacy that provided the basis to all the family farms. Pure Southern Gothic.

Time warp flashback above relevant to the third photo down from the top: how the children's wading pool appeared in the 1960s with my two cousins, one now sadly gone, two canine friends, and myself. More at LINK

Saturday, November 13, 2010

RUBY FRIEDMAN ORCHESTRA at Rodney Bingenheimer's new club

The Ruby Friedman Orchestra performed at the 11.12.10 Rodney on the RQQ presents Club Romper Stomper, as hosted by perennial Mayor of the Sunset Strip and DJ, Rodney Bingenheimer.

This proved a terrific pairing. Ruby Friedman performs as out there a full on, torchy-emotional singer as one can be and still remain under the aegis of rock and roll, ably abetted by the Orchestra which includes a fulltime trombonist. She always dresses for any occasion, shall we say, "unusually" (but flatteringly and interestingly. And her Facebook posts remain a hoot what with their surreal philosophizing. She just may be a closet intellectual.)
But RFO music is the show and the real deal. They've already earned nationwide aural recognition for their song "Shooting Stars," the theme for tv's "America's Got Talent." It's only a matter of time then before America correlates the faces of this hearty ensemble with their songs. It's way fun to photograph, see and hear nascent talent on the rise before it explodes. I felt the same twinges 40 years ago seeing another young redhead, Bette Midler, when she began her own worldwide conquest. More RFO: LINK

Rock couture designer Evita Corby, Rodney Bingenheimer, writer Dire McCain at the show

Rodney, one of radio KROQ's top DJs who along with Sex Pistol Steve Jones, remain the only two allowed to program their own music shows hence the breaking newcomer acts fame of each, is no stranger to club impressario-ship. He helmed both the E Club and the Glam world's infamous Rodney's English Disco in the mid-70s, ground zero for amok nubile nymphets versus rock stars, both equally matched. You can view the infamy back in the day firsthand in Bob Gruen's excellent "All Dolled Up" documentary of the New York Dolls, readily available on dvd, or watch a cunning simulation via the recent film "The Runaways" (LINK) which featured music from my 1970s via punk rock, glitter and Iggy and The Stooges, a refreshing change from the MOR mellowmush or discodance usually offered up cinematically for the era.

Evita, Dire, Ruby Friedman and her sister Anthonia (Toni) Erebor

also performing, Nuggets-drenched, garage-esque, energetic-y The Woolly Bandits (below right) featuring singer Christa Collins

Ruby and Rodney onstage (below)

after the show (right)

and from the show (below)

NOTE: link directly back to if all elements such as photo layouts or videos aren't here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I'm not a lyrics kinda gal myself, responding far more to overall sound, passion and delivery, but these two examples are exceptional. The first is by Chris Difford of Squeeze, so no surprise there at its excellence.

The latter was written by inordinately clever, famed television writer/producer Joss Whedon trying out a Walter Mitty-esque persona of Broadway musical librettist and composer, and superbly at that (watch the whole episode some time: "Once More with Feeling," Buffy the Vampire Slayer. All its songs are in different styles, tailored to each actor's abilities.) Best lyrics I've heard in decades, simple yet revealing.

Great transposition of plot specifics to a more universal meaning, in the same manner that hard rock/blues/metal power trio King's X effortlessly makes their lyrics of the sacred sound profanely secular as well.

1975         Rest In Peace

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Coloring phantasmagoria for Ed-E

I didn't take the original black and white photograph, but I did do the art direction for this release by Ed-E Roland and thoroughly transmogrified the pic by making 4 different colored images of it on separate plasticene cels as if it were a 4-color printing proof (cyan, magenta, yellow and black,) flopping one of them, and setting all 4 at just the right askew angles to set off the newfound rainbow effect in Ed-E's hair for the back + front cover of cd booklet.

LEMMY live!

Lemmy! Motorhead! An oldskool proof sheet! (I always shot fastfilm color negative unless asked to do otherwise.) Digital is faster now, so problem solv-ed as Clouseau would say.

Monday, November 1, 2010

TRIBUTE! Gigging as Iggy and The Stooges, The Who or The Cramps

It takes a lot of moxie really to be someone else for an hour or so, particularly while performing complex hard rock music and attempting your own stab at the same technical proficiency of its originators. These three tribute bands not only play the songs with conviction but also hurtle into the parallel universe of resembling their respective idols as well.

And it takes more than derring-do to impersonate the vintage 1973 Iggy and The Stooges, it takes real athleticism/contortions, abandon and more than a snort or four of self-destructiveness. The Raw Power Rangers' "Iggy," really lept on top of the club bar, rolled throughout the audience insulting them all the while and duplicated all the famous shenanigans and conniption fits he could pack into a 1973 era Stooges set.
The band which includes David Arnson as The Ig and former Germs drummist Don Bolles as Rock Action began as a void-filler before the real Iggy and The Stooges welcomed "Raw Power" co-writer/guitarist James Williamson back into the touring fold. So now it's about accuracy of the ambience.

The Raw Power Rangers live,
mingling with baffled audience,
dodging plastic cups thrown onstage
"Ron Asheton"

Raw Power Rangers' "James Williamson" Andrew Scott was thrilled to pose with rock&roll fashion designer Evita Corby, a key player in the actual 1972-5 Iggy and The Stooges saga.

The Raw Power Rangers, 10/28/10
at The Echo

The Who Show during 2010 gig, not a still photo shoot.

France DiCarlo, "Keith Moon"

(Left) "John Entwistle" (Joel Pelletier) in Isle of Wight skeleton suit for Costa Mesa Performing Arts Center performance ;
note French horn player for recreation of the full "Tommy" work (Right)

Jimmy the Mod (singer Steven Shareaux) from "Quadrophenia" comes to life as a separate character onstage in The Who Show, much to the audience's delight.

Video below: The Who Show (with a former lead singer but directed by Jeff Stein ("The Kids Are Alright" documentary on The Who when all four original members were alive.)

Jack Atlantis (left) of The Human Flys, a tribute to The Cramps, in his own deranged interpretation of Lux Interior. Fetching drummer Constance Moss (right below) plus assorted, scantily-clad percussion hotties of the XX chromosome persuasion helped dispel the lack of an Ivy Rorschach-esque lookalike, although lead guitarist David Holleman, "Poison Oak," filled her stilettos nicely without donning selfsame apparel.

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