Saturday, November 26, 2011

CUTE COUPLES of the early 1970s

I took these shots of people I knew while strolling around Westwood Village during my UCLA daze. Top photo: Teri Digneo and Steve Gross, both fresh from London in respective trendy haircuts and sharp threads. Steve became an attorney who reputedly worked with Warren Beatty amongst others. Teri, whose coiffure belied by my black and white photo was sort of purple, was a former classmate of my then roommate, "the most photogenic person I ever met" LINK.

Other photo depicts then actress Melissa Greene and friend whose name is lost in the sands of time. Melissa starred memorably in a "Rockford Files" tv episode as its title character in "Aura Lee, Farewell," and in the film "Electra Glide in Blue" with Robert Blake. Her journey post-acting into that of teaching creative writing within the polished academia of the East Coast remains sufficiently unusual that it should be read by its initial chronicler here: LINK.

Neither couple remained together.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Comedienne Andrea Walker set up this promotional shot we did as soon as she heard I owned a Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound dog.) It depicts her supposedly askew priorities in life, glamourous evening clothes and requisite accessories of the rich and famous while her poor little child (her actual son) goes hungry and in rags waiting for mommy to notice him.

This photo dates from the early 1990s, and Ms. Walker appeared on dvd collection "Funny Ladies" with her peers Ellen DeGeneres, Margaret Cho, Wanda Sykes and Sarah Silverman amongst others, all gleaned from their performances at West Hollywood's Improv Club. That Walker deserved to be in this illustrious company spoke well of her hilarious 'burb-tweaking sarcasm. I haven't been able to find many updates on her online except for a few blurbs about a proposed sitcom based on her own life as a divorced mother of two sons in Culver City, California and her real estate sales day job vs. comedienne's life at night. Our Borzoi named Phaedra, however, lived to a unusually ripe old age of 13 and a 1/2 years, which compares to Methusulah for large sighthounds.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Top photograph: Niagara at the well-attended opening of the Destroy All Monsters Retrospective last night (11.19.11) at Prism Gallery (second photo and all others herein) in Hollywood which displayed the work of the initial collective of fine art colleagues which morphed into a band of the same name.

D.A.M. the art school squadron bivouacked in Detroit were Mike Kelley, Cary Loren, Jim Shaw and Niagara. D.A.M the band roped in Ron Asheton of The Stooges, Mike Davis of the MC5 and an ever-osmosing roll call until becoming so different that its name changed into Dark Carnival.

These artists/musicians were the American 1970s equivalent of The Fool, The Dutch/English 1960s artists/musicians: highly influential in graphics, fine art, style and music respectively, and the real deal in all fields. D.A.M. had numerous releases in the original punk era, and a great deal of coverage in the burgeoning fanzine scene that predated e-zines.

As a former UCLA art student also enamored of Japanese monster movies (photographed my own collection and wrote an article on the subject for Crawdaddy magazine, 1976) and punk rock (wrote the first book on same published in the U.S., Punk Rock 'n' Roll, 1977,) I was in hog heaven at this exhibit. I'll let my photos tell its story with a tidbit of context below, although the astute easily will pick out Niagara's unique stylings of pop art-ish femme fatales.

A brief aside in explanation of some of these artifacts from the early '70s--- In the last two photos, on the left the hydra-headed cobra was emblem of the Symbionese Liberation Army, cadre that kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst, while on the right with the red hair colored in, is seen the most idiosyncratic, oddball fashionista of the post Belle Epoque, Marquesa Casati.

Before those images in expositional material that accompanied the exhibit for context: Bernardine Dohrn (correct spelling) was titular figurehead of uber-radicals the Weather Underground, no doubt welcomed by the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) spoofed in the flyer; many art students delighted in making images from the then newly available to the public color xerox machines which made suitable full gradation black+white pictures as well (this is where the punk style of same originated); and so many of these paintings are 8 1/2 x11" or 8 1/2 x14" not only because that was a popular size for printed flyers and xerox images, but also because we art students tended to draw on any found paper around, comprised mainly of the standard sized ones.

Exuberant artist in front of her own all-knowing eye on the hagiographic Niagara book...

Check out more coverage of this event and wonderful further links related to its participants from Ann Arbor's own Retrokimmer who is friends with so many of these D.A.M. individuals! Go to LINK

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

POTICHE reviewed for my non-European friends

It's a 2010 French retro-film (set in the late 70s with horrendously kitsch but accurate polyester clothes, and deliberately garish color schemes via the crew's perceptive art dept.) about a complacent rich trophy wife who rises to the occasion of being a very competent businesswoman with eventual higher feminist aspirations when her bullying husband Monsieur Pujol, who runs
her father's factory, falls sick.

That sounds pretty dry, but after a deceptively slow first fifteen minutes to establish everyone's seemingly immutable lot in life, la merde hits the fan and "Potiche" can be a scream!

Example: the wife joining with her husband's mistress in the striking factory workers' chant of " Pujol, asshole! Pujol, asshole!" (or at least that's how the captions read in English. What little translation I did remember seemed okay for the slang.) Now picture the actualization of Gerard Depardieu '70s disco-ballroom dancing with his fellow acting icon Catherine Deneuve. And the latter even singing her speech during a plot twist at the very end (reminiscent of the oddness of Kitano Takeshi's "Yojimbo" samurai remake ending in a huge dance number.) French farce indeed!

However, like la belle Deneuve herself, there is hidden depth to the pretty picture seen by the world. The undercurrent of the movie is about youthful alliances and promise, and eventual choices we've made over the years that deviate from same far more than planned, plus life's turmoil when they're re-confronted and turned topsy turvy by freak happenstance.

The universality of the leads' star power charisma plus the film's entertaining contradictions (light+ serious, witty+ silly) warrant delving into the "special features." We can witness Ms. Deneuve's incredible patience with M. Depardieu's nonstop clowning around between takes, although he more than redeems himself with a touching address to the entire crew and cast on the last day of the shoot. He, in all aspects, now is the Marlon Brando of France, oui? Outsized talent, outsized everything.

Stickler's point: as usual, non-classic French music can wax a bit soppy to the ears of my fellow edgy Americans, but bear with it for an overall highly rewarding film.

Bonus irony for cogniscienti of French cinema or Deneuve's c.v.: the Pujol business is an umbrella factory, a sly upgrade of 1964's "Les Parapluies de Cherbourg" (still pictured below) a breakout role for the then just out of her teens and sublime Deneuve...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

L.A.'s best live acts: THE DOGS, LITTLE CAESAR, MICHAEL DES BARRES BAND (and bonus Canadian Web of Spider)

Detroit/L.A. rock legends The Dogs live 11.4.11 at the Juke Joint, Anaheim, Calif., a rare reunion in anticipation of their new Dec.1st release "Hypersensitive."
Hey, that's my job! Above, wildly enthusiast Dogs fans outsource
photography while moshing and clambering onstage to yell along with the Dogs' songs they all know by heart. More Dogs' info LINK
Above and below, The Dogs: guitarist Loren Molinare, bassist Mary Kay and drummer Tony Matteucci. Still transgressive, fierce and enduring after forty years performing together (sticklers' addendum- Tony joined circa the '80s.) New historic Dogs' 2-disc dvd, rare videos of live performances and even rarer live tracks-- like the Whisky A Gogo gig with Sid Vicious and Tony Sales sitting in over a montage of vintage photos--available here: LINK.

There's this legitimate reason to photograph The Dogs, Little Caesar, the Michael Des Barres Band and Web of Spider performing live whenever I can (besides the fact which the cynical might note, 50% of them became steadfast clients of my studio sessions.)

No, it's that the first three remain Los Angeles' best live rock acts. (Web of Spider with Canadian Whitey Kirst at its helm is classified more globally, but also in the best live acts cladistically seen often in L.A. category.) Below, Little Caesar playing Brixton's, Redondo Beach, Calif. 10 28.11.

Loren Molinare does double duty as co-guitarist with Joey Brassler of the mighty Little Caesar, known for its tight, hard & fast aggro and the world-class, soulful and powerful vocals of Ron Young. Note Ron's newest fashion statement/experiment (for Halloween?) of Newsboy from Hell.

Cut to The Viper Room the next evening, 10.29.11 with The Michael Des Barres Band/Web of Spider with Whitey Kirst.

Putting on the ritz, the costumed Michael Des Barres Band go all out for Halloween with high spirits via their energetic soul rock and their frontman's famed, interactive rapport with the band's audience...

...while Web of Spider with Whitey Kirst (below) blast their musical onslaught and destroy guitars to evoke seasonal holiday scariness.

A very special PHOTO OPS
Perhaps because these nights flanked Halloween before and after, exceptional opportunities arose for PHOTO OPS.
Above after the Michael Des Barres Band/Web of Spider gig, Steve Tetsch and Evita Corby astride one of the hogs traditionally parked directly outside the Viper Room. Night shot without flash. No hog was harmed in the making this photograph.

Below, Michael Des Barres, Evita Corby and Steve Tetsch and Michael's friend far left enjoy cinematic-looking moonlight (also shot without flash) outside the Viper Room storefronts; then Michael and Evita.

Above, Evita and Joel Turrisi. These two worked together at The Roxy club in Hollywood almost three decades ago.
Evita and a surprised Whitey strike a familiar pose with a hidden theme. (Whitey was Iggy Pop's most longtime solo career guitarist, and Evita has a very similar picture with Pop himself taken by Natalie Schlossman circa 37 years ago when both were Iggy and The Stooges inner circle...)
Above photo taken by Steve Tetsch, Evita, Whitey and yours truly in a Halloween costume: I was clad all in my own clothes worn during and saved from 1967.

Directly above, co-Editor of Paraphilia online magazine (find my photo-features therein on both The Dogs and Iggy and The Stooges at LINK) Dire McCain gets up close and personal with The Dogs' merchandising, and batty with her little friend at The Dogs' Juke Joint gig below.
Above, Dire communes with Elvis, twice, inside the club and below with Loren Dog and Tony Dog after the gig; and with the addition of Mary Dog and an unidentified Dogs' fan outside the club in the photo at bottom.
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