Sunday, October 30, 2011


Production stills by me from the video production of "Her Name Was Jane" by The Dogs also starring Evita Corby and Mike Hudson. The selection is from The Dogs' newest release "Hypersensitive," due this December.  The one degree of separation garnering the director's services for The Dogs occurred via a Las Vegas location shoot for guitarist Loren Molinare's other band Little Caesar. A rare cover for legendary Detroit-spawned punk/hardest rock trio The Dogs, "Her Name Was Jane" was penned by East Coast fellow punk legends The Pagans. The latter's singer/songwriter Mike Hudson, in another single degree of separation, is related to one of The Dogs via a former marriage. The video's amusing casting coup comes from augmenting The Dogs' own powerful, live performance footage with the lyrics' storyline featuring Hudson himself and Evita Corby as its protagonists.
Above, Ms. Corby looking very Vivian Leigh. Mr. Hudson, who runs the Niagara Falls Reporter newspaper with his wife Rebecca and is now a multi-published books' author of subjects ranging from crime to music, provided the read, his own "Diary of a Punk" found in a critical scene within the song's breakneck-paced punk confines. Ms. Corby is a well-known rock and roll couturier and runs her own vintage apparel store Velvet Threads in Atwater Village CA. Her first brush with visual rock fame came 37 years ago via her appearance on the back cover of 'Kill City' by Iggy Pop and James Williamson.
photograph above by Suzan Carson

"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Evita takes her Dylan Thomas seriously as she flips off Mike after completion of "Jane's" tragic death scene, fully worthy of Sarah Bernhardt in 'Camille' or Maria Callas in anything. Evita's acting debut also included "Jane" slapping Mike silly.

All is forgiven in post-production. Above, left to right: Tony Dog, Evita, Mike. Below, your humble photographer joins the same lineup in a photo by Loren Dog.

LESLIE KNAUER, Architecturally Digested

Mary Kay, bassist of The Dogs stays at her chum Leslie Knauer's (see LINK) polychrome digs whenever she gigs in L.A. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Leslie's celebrated joie de vivre erupts equally in her interior design sense as much as in her songs. While waiting for Mary to get ready to be schlepped to the airport, I took these discrete, non-privacy invasive snapshots of Leslie's guest house for Architectural Digest's hypothetical Fauve/Outsider Art/Bizarro World edition to share with you all.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

THE DOGS live 10.15.11 at The Redwood

Legendary Detroit-to-Los Angeles* punk/hardest rock power trio The Dogs --Loren Molinare, Mary Kay and Tony Matteucci-- played a packed Redwood Bar, downtown Los Angeles 10.15.11 with a special sitter-in: Mike Hudson of fellow legendary punk band The Pagans.

A relative by prior marriage to one of The Dogs, Niagara Falls NY newspaper owner/reporter Hudson was only too happy to trek across country to jam their cover of his "Her Name Was Jane" (see photos above.) "Jane" not only will appear on The Dogs' eagerly awaited new "Hypersensitive" release but also was filmed two nights later by big league video studio S.J.S. Entertainment, roping in Hudson and friend of the band Evita Corby, normally a rock clothing couturier, to portray the song's protagonists. (See forthcoming blog.)
Objectively as well as subjectively, I'm pleased as punch to report that this was one of the best Dogs' sets in the 25 (of their 40) years I've been present to witness and photograph. Their massive sound was correctly full on for the venue, their set proffered a perfect combination of older and newest material, and the band, always peripatetic and active, seemed to be having as much of a blast as its loyal fans.

Below, the backstage blues with Mary and Tony waiting to play and kick ass!
Above, all a musician's essentials: set list, Finger Ease, towel and liquid refreshments. In this case it's bassist Mary's.
PHOTO OPS section:
Above, left to right Tony Dog, Mary Dog, Evita Corby (who starred in the Salvatore Severgandio video production of The Dogs' "Her Name Was Jane" along with its author Mike Hudson of The Pagans,) Loren Dog and Danny DeMuff (1980s Dog.)

Mike Hudson, fun lovin'
attorney Anne Marie,
Julie Scher Molinare (Mrs. Loren
Jimmy Recca (bassist of
The Stooges
circa 1971.)

The Three Graces-
Anne Marie, Julie Scher Molinare, Evita Corby.

Below, Rebecca, good lady wife of Mike, gets to know Jimmy Recca somewhat better.

*whereas their spankin' new dvd is called "The Dogs, L.A. to Tokyo." Fuller description and where to order on future blog.

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Monday, October 17, 2011


A dog bereavement floral arrangement, seen at a veterinary clinic prior to its delivery, 'made me sad...

Friday, October 14, 2011

DEATH OF A TREE and the planned urban degeneration of quality of life

The above tree is/was an Alleppo pine, 80 feet tall, and a fully drought-tolerant species appropriate to the area. Despite its 300 year lifespan, it is in the process of being cut down. In what seems a juggernaut of conspiracies to erode all possible quality of life issues in urban locales, the new owners of the property were ordered to cut down the tree or else their new purchase would never be insurable. After searching for any possible alternative they had no choice but to acquiesce in a city known for instant litigation if so much as a twig falls on a passerby, otherwise living in their own home purchase would be deemed unlawful by its noncompliance with insurance.

So much for expansive shade, verdant beauty and combating smog with Amazon rain forest-like oxygenation. The new homeowners at least posted the reason for this travesty, and also allowed a holistic consultant neighbor to organize a "celebration of its life prayer ceremony" mid-death of the tree attended by many. The top photo features a daylight full moon (between the telephone pole and the palms left of center) which is not supposed to exist any more than 80 foot trees in cities.

The above photo represents a bit of the immediate area circa 1912. This now enormous basin of suburbs was once described as a perfect savannah a la the Serengeti, meaning enough water to support seasonal grasses and shrubs, (hence the initial dry-farming/limited livestock practices were ecologically sound) but rather few trees for a locale teeming with human and animal life (the vestigial latter I still encounter constantly when trail-riding the area's perimeter: bobcats, coyotes, deer etc.) Therefore each large tree evolved into map markers of sorts. The destroyed Alleppo pine tree was how one identified this locale from the top of the nearby mountain range that separated this valley from the rest of the burgeoning city until more familiar building landmarks were built. And soon its death will be complete.

In my informal survey of mature trees in the immediate locale above, note the mini-grove of California Redwoods adorning the (rare for this city) 1912 domicile of Fastfilm and Mr. Twister, no doubt planted as a grove to reinforce each tree plus positioned to shade the upstairs bedroom from the sunrise; also the gallery of palm trees lining the street that once led to the estate of the area's developer a century ago, traversed by an early morning bicyclist exercising his fortunately unseen purebred German Shepard Dog.

Why "fortunately?" Because this city outlawed purebred dog breeds four years ago with a sterilization of all dogs of 16 weeks of age mandate, with no exemptions (its so-called ones required documents that don't exist in real life plus $500 per dog per year multiple licensing plus business licenses for the requisite kennel license. Kennel licenses are always denied in this locale due to setback zoning laws. So--- utterly deliberate sabotage.)

Its unintended consequence, foreseen by the true animal lovers that fought same, became a metropolis wherein the only dogs that are available are the ones at the pounds bred by gang members and similar: pitbull and pit-crosses make up roughly 75% of its pound populations, with the remaining percentile chihuahuas, chihuahua-crosses and a few true strays.

The faces below represent what is now considered illegal and undesirable for this metropolis which demands that they should have been sterilized at 16 weeks, an interruption in the growth hormones essential for lifelong bone health in large dog breeds. The law now guarantees that the probability their deaths from osteosarcoma be raised to 40%. In simple math, the law requires your large dog breed, such as the ones below, die at age six instead of at least over ten years old.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Above, on the hottest day of the year, a luncheon social yesterday at a vegan eatery with Ms. Mary Kay, bassist of The Dogs (LINK) and Ms. Evita Corby, proprietress of Velvet Threads and rock 'n' roll couturier. Mary is seen multitasking a call to her husband, dining and engaging in frantic gesticulation to the photographer, seen in photo at bottom as calmness is restored. (Photo by Evita Corby.)

Denizen of
Las Vegas and occasionally Michigan, Mary was in town for The Dogs gig at The Redwood Bar, downtown LA. this coming Saturday. She regaled selfsame luncheon social with tales of Vegas kitsch and her own proto-punk days in NYC with The Dogs, who lived alternately in Greenwich Village and The Electric Circus Club building where they rehearsed. Patti Smith was their neighbor and Kiss opened for them, as did the Stilettoes, wherein the beauteous Debbie Harry wasn't yet even the lead singer...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Up close & personal with all-star guitarists RICK VITO, GLENN BALLARD and BO DIDDLEY

Rick Vito, famed smoooooth blues/rock axeman for so many of The Bigs (every time you hear Bob Seger's "Like A Rock" in those Dodge Ram truck tv adverts that's Vito's licks,) when he was guitarist alongside Billy Burnette for Fleetwood Mac circa the '90s. This was taken with a medium format Rolleiflex in my studio to resemble, at his request, a live stage shot.

He was sporting the greatest rock jacket since Nudie's bespoke one for Gram Parsons with the nekkid women, pills and weed leaves seen during the Flying Burrito Brothers' era (my photo of same LINK. I'm partial to Sneeky Pete's applique pterodactyl.) The man has style. The man also has manners, as he remains the only client to date that brought yours truly a little hospitality gift for doing the session (a large plastic tiki head.)(I still have it.)

The man also has quite a career, and an interesting new musical direction of late. From his signature tasty blues a la Peter Green meets Jeff Healey seen in the video below (along with aforementioned fashions and sleek Art Deco-esque "Streamliner" guitar)...

to today's Rick Vito, below in a video of Mick Fleetwood's Island Rumours Band, playing his beautiful custom Moore Bettah ukelele (curly koa wood, rope purling and a tiki headstock! I guess he has another signature besides his Reverend Signature guitar) at a gig in Maui, HI.

Collaborator of Alanis Morrissette and rightly credited with jump-starting her post-teenybopper career into its respectable and enduring singer-songwriter one, Glenn Ballard is seen circa 1995 above in his home studio where many of the "You Oughta Know" et al ideas germinated.

Although understandably far more swank 'n' spacious given his success, the Ballard abode wasn't all that far away from our own digs in a part of SoCal that attains ridiculous heat temperatures in the summertime, and I remember being impressed with, besides his talent, the coated window panes in his home studio. They were the same fog-blue that I've tinted his portrait above, which surely supplemented the home air-conditioning with an illusion of cooler climes outside.

And lastly, the man his bad self, Bo Diddley. Inventor of da da da da da, DA dah!--the Diddley beat backbone of rock 'n' roll. And on 5.2.89 guitarist Nancy Luca jumped onstage to jam with him at Hollywood's Coconut Teazser club. The brass! But his sidelong glance that I shot from being up close and personal: priceless.

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Possibly the smarmiest photo I've ever taken since I've never worked the celeb circuit per se. (I'm avoiding impugning paparazzi since I know a highly talented one, Brad Elterman LINK. His celeb photos are the ones you wished the paparazzi had taken, interesting ones that revealed perhaps why its subjects reveled in charisma from Hollywood glitz glamor to punk rockers. And in a particularly famous series, shooting a desperate starlet disco-dancing topless at the Playboy Mansion, instead of obsessing on Hef, the babes and the A through D list.) Yes, it's later outted lip-syncers Milli Vanilli winning their Grammy for Best New Act, 1989 despite not having sung on their own music releases.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The discrete charm of an IGGY POP magazine cover shoot

Someone on Facebook asked me if I hung out with Iggy Pop who was this person's hero. Rather than proffer a terse "no not really" I wrote the following about the above photo session.

A: You have good taste, because although Iggy has owned up to his setbacks in life, many of them incredibly self-destructive, he has overcome them all, stayed with his unique artistic principles and forged real success from them, eventually garnering his much-deserved, worldwide recognition.

I'm a photographer, which is like "staff." That means I'm there to do a job on a limited time basis (and The Stooges have their own photographer which would be the ultra-talented Robert Matheu) so I don't have a lot of "face time" with these artists. The most access around Iggy was in 1990 for a magazine cover studio session with Don Was and him.

I'm not a naturally chatty person, so I told two of my three assistants (pretty girls, one under twenty years old. Had the clients been gay, I would have tried to hire good looking young men for similar eye candy) that their main job was to chat with Iggy and Don so I could stick to my technical concerns and cameras. When I did make small talk with Iggy, he showed his famous charm and prescient sympatico by choosing a conversation topic dear to me-- masterful Japanese film director Akira Kurasawa-- with no prior prompting whatsoever as to my own tastes.

He's a smart as well as intuitive guy, and for someone who's one of the art form's best ever practitioners, one with a lot of interests beyond rock and roll. And for a down-to-earth touch, he had borrowed that fabulous star-spangled leather jacket from a friend of his then guitarist Whitey Kirst (LINK) just for my photo session. (Results above and below. Trivia: as this was the pre-digital era of media, neither photo was retouched as the deadline was far too tight for post-production detailing.)

Saturday, October 1, 2011


This was shot in the 1960s in Westwood Village, a tony burg of well-heeledness in Los Angeles wherein Day of the Dead figurines would have spelled exotica. A teen without any professional counsel whatsover, I shot black and white at first because it was cheaper, then later because most of the periodicals to whom I'd sell photographs only printed b+w anyway. An eminence grise myself these days, I've added some sickly, pale color undertones here to play up its Tim Burton-esque qualities.
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