Wednesday, January 30, 2013


 Above, not exactly a rainbow, but actual non-retouched, post-rain polychrome hues. This turned out to be the sole rainstorm of 2013 in Los Angeles, which was experiencing a drought with a 3 inches total rainfall for the entire year.
Below, "Let us in!!" (Meanwhile, Mr. Twister was grabbing towels for those muddy paws...)

Monday, January 28, 2013

SAUROPOD in the San Fernando Valley

Recycling from the photo studio-- behold, a life-sized sauropod dinosaur, possibly a mamenchisaurus, that I made from a ruined seamless paper backdrop to decorate our domicile for Halloween, mounting our front porch. The second in a series of two, the first being an 18 foot rhamphorhyncus pterosaur. These shots were the only ones unearthed in my better half Mr. Twister's Great Closet Archaeological Excavation last night. Photographs circa the early 1990s...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


After an instantaneously major setback the very nanosecond I began physical therapy yesterday at the halfway point through convalescence (sufficient pain to cause hyperventilation and screaming all last night,) a plan had to be devised today in avoidance of self-pity. (Answering the unspoken question, doctors in 2013 Southern California are loathe ever to prescribe pain amelioration to the non-dying or non-Stage 4. Too many Dr. Feelgood scares to their insurers.)

I therefore vowed to watch music dvds with tales of real life dreamers' struggles then redemption, and did so. 

First up, New York Doll about the weirdo world of Arthur Kane. It's an accurate documentary on a difficult subject with which to be objective: the post-rock-stardom life of a well known musician who bottomed out without financial success. Kane had been by far the weirdest individual of one of America's weirdest bands after all.

It provides the only cool footage of Kane's band, the legendary USA glamsters of the early 1970's The New York Dolls, besides Bob Gruen's excellent, exhaustively documented "All Dolled Up."

It's a true bridge between organized religion and rock & roll craziness, the Apollonian/Dionysian ideal, insofar as the filmmaker, a fellow Mormon like the film's subject, had to travel the same psychic distance to understand Kane as Kane had to in order to understand his newly embraced religion.

It shows the New York Dolls reunion in London's 2004 Meltdown, fun in itself, with footage of an astonishing insight of understanding backstage. Flamboyantly extroverted lead singer David Johansen immediately intuits that he's gone too far teasing Kane about the latter's newly embraced religion, instantaneously does an about face, backs off and joins in Kane's pre-gig band prayer. I like this. Also liked was his invocation to all NY Dolls living and deceased.

Kane passed away within days of the reunion of heretofore undiagnosed leukemia. Luckily this testament to his redemption remains, and truly beatific footage of a happy man awash in his life's dream come true.

Below, the teaser trailer of New York Doll:

Next up -- Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the story of Smile, an even more difficult rumination on talent deferred, holding patterns in creativity and eventual triumph due to Wilson's stature as a true titan of modern music and his own complex intelligence and concomitant demons.

Presenting the rise, fall and rise of the once lost Smile Beach Boys album, stillborn due to band politics, it was rumored to be a work which should have completed the Holy Trinity of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Raw Power for the most influential rock touchstones of the '60s and '70s. Wilson had decades of torment to work through, but fortunately retained the means to sort through (unlike Arthur) and loyal friends and some family to care.

In 2004, the Brian Wilson Band performed a completed Smile in its entirety in London, central to this film. In 1999, I actually was there to photograph its ground zero birth with The Wondermints, see LINK.

The most poignant moment in the film was not a Brian one, or even a band member noting the unspeakable, that revisiting this legendary music would only serve to stir up onerous unhappiness to Wilson, memories of the contemporary rejection of now unquestionable brilliance. To me, it was seeing Smile's lyrics collaborator, musician Van Dyke Parks collapse in his seat at the the performance end. It was if a great weight had been lifted from Parks himself just seeing that a great weight had just been lifted from his friend Brian Wilson. A cosmic sigh of relief for the both of them...
Below, the entire documentary Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the story of Smile:

Lastly, I watched the ultimate rock and roll redemption of all time.  See... LINKPerhaps those who've read this blog before are in a better position to hazard a guess! Photo below, (C) 2011 Heather Harris.

The first four words of vocabulary we learned in Synthesizer 101 class at UCLA (circa 1972, so we're talking monophonic ARP 2600s) were the descriptions of all musical sound notes: attack, sustain, decay, release.  How fitting to the lifeworks of creative types.
 NOTE: link directly back to if all elements such as photo layouts or videos aren't here.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Transformers? RoboCop? Tron? Cyborg She?* The Seattle Seahawks' new uniform?  No, it's the next phase of elbow cast once I shed the hard fiberglass purple people eater,** removable for physical therapy and bathing (not at the same time.) I thought my self portrait under our wisteria arbor should include a goose and some skin, despite the morning temperature logging in at 40 F.

*Cyborg She trailer:

**Purple People Eater, redolent of my old elbow cast (see LINK):
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Above: my photograph which appeared in the 10.8.87 Rolling Stone magazine of Jello Biafra about to enter the courtroom of his obscenity trial in downtown Los Angeles criminal court. 

On Aug.27, 1987 Jello Biafra, then lead singer of The Dead Kennedys and their Alternative Tentacles label manager Michael Bonnanno beat the rap by mistrial of the first ever such charge against a musician.  And I, dear readers, as a Southern-fried tv ad of the times pronounced it, "hepped." 

 The "distributing harmful material to minors" criminal charge sprang from a poster by Swiss fine and commercial artist H.R. Giger inserted into the DK's 1985 LP "Frankenchrist." I had provided the character witness Joan Weinstein for the defense whom those connected with the trial agreed turned the tenor of same around. I'd been approached as a presentable pro in the music biz with punkrock sensibilities ( I wrote the first book on punk published in the U.S. in 1977 ) but knew my quiet voiced delivery would not help matters as I'm far more productive behind the scenes.

To wit: I immediately suggested colleague Joan Weinstein, my former co-editor of the entertainment mags at UCLA and afterwards a professor of Art History at an East Coast university. She shared my warped sense of humor in the arts and could quote Monty Python with the best of us, yet could dazzle all comers with her undeniable academician cred. She testified on the stands on behalf of Biafra and Bonnano for three straight hours (average for others: a half hour) quoting prestigious European art journals in their original German which she spoke fluently. Joan underscored poster artist Giger's standing in the international art world beyond notoriety for set design for the big budget space horror hit of that time, the first Alien plus that pesky DK poster insert "Penis Landscape."

Judge Susan Isacoff ruled against appeals for a new trial by claiming all juries for same would no doubt remain equally deadlocked by innate demographics-- 5 to 7 in this case-- of younger jurors used to expansive freedom in the arts versus the quite elderly (most likely present in juries due that era's more reasonable laws on juror excusing) who preferred the strictures of censorship of their own youths. In it's a small world trivia, the judge was my parents' own directly across the street neighbor.

To thank me for providing witness Weinstein whom his lawyers knew would prove helpful, I was given the exclusive access to Biafra and hence Rolling Stone shot. I wanted him to look like the confident rockstar that he was/is, rather than cowed defendant or goofy punker that other press then depicted. 

 Your other unsuspecting factoid about this case besides my part in supplying the most influential character witness remains its genuine legal importance. Biafra and Bonnanno were the sole two charged by their own magnanimous prior agreements, hopeful to reduce the case against its plethora of original defendants: every single person involved in the manufacture and distribution of this release, regardless of their actual non-participation in its art conception and subsequent design. Had they lost, edgy art for commercial usage immediately would have become extinct in the United States: no one would dare fabricate or distribute any item vaguely controversial for fear of immediate imprisonment. Why? Because all American jurisprudence works entirely upon successful precedent rulings.
Below left, sample H.R. Giger "Alien" design                                                         
                                  Right, sample eBay sale of complete 
Frankenchrist package

Monday, January 14, 2013

PETER FONDA, first published photograph

Above, probably my first published photo although not when it was taken. This backstage snapshot later appeared in Gram Parsons, A Music Biography by Sid Griffin, published in 1985. Relevance: Peter Fonda covered the Parsons song "November Nights" on a 45 rpm single released on Chisa Records (video below.) The rest of the pertinent info lies in the caption, excepting the rare circumstance of a backstage shot for me: my date was pals with Fonda.

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

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Mr. Kilmister entertains in his Motorhead combo during some metal festival, and proved the best of the lot.

~~sad update obituary, click LINK*~~ 



Frost on the weeds this morning still around at 9 a.m. in 
sunny Southern California. Below, deerhound gapes in
awe at retriever reveling in frost nap...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


'LOVE this. Fair use photos credited to Yeecoo herein are of Liu Qianping, a 72-yr-old grandfather in China who recently became a heretofore unlikely but now highly in-demand professional model of young women's fashions. After he playfully tried on his granddaughter Lu Ting's store's shipment of clothes and then posed for same as a lark in her promotions, Lu Ting's store sales instantly quadrupled. Jean Shrimpton/Tyra Banks/Gisele Bundchen stardom beckoned then exploded domestically!

And he really is a great model, meaning he intrinsically knows how to show off the clothes (and we XX chromosomesters should all look this good!) He does his own styling plus accessorizing with a few provisos to all photographers: age-appropriate session time limitation and assorted few tricks of the trade; i.e, he always covers his neck (bane of us geezerettes) and the everpresent shades promote an overall girlish illusion. 

 Liu's new meme starpower in China emerged in a viral phenomenon in their own media of other laolaiqiao, loosely translated from the mandarin as funny things the elderly do. Based on nascent pop culture successes alone, will China become the new Japan?*
*see definitive textbook above

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Instead of blond on blond it was ochre on ochre. Last night, a chance to meet online personae at dinner and to find them delightful personages all. New pals musician Tony Erba, photographer Shel Greenberg and musician David Liston surround my L.A. friends rock 'n' roll couturier Evita Corby and writer Mike Hudson (of The Pagans.) Tales of punk rock, photography and East Africa: my favorite dinner conversation! 
      Above, yours truly in arm sling and purple cast added to the mix-- photo courtesy of Evita Corby.

Monday, January 7, 2013


Sad report just in that Huell Howser, broadcast host/producer of decades of highest quality human interest stories for American public television has passed away. 

My late cousin Lee saw Howser's initial news forays in Huell's native Tennessee which would explain the laconic but educated Southern accent, unusual in nationwide televised broadcasting. From news work in NYC, Howell moved to Los Angeles in 1981 to start a legendary career with PBS devising the highest quality human interest stores and travelogue shows constructed from Howell's innate curiosity about unusual historical aspects of his new location, his unerring taste in making bizarre subjects still appeal to mainstream audiences, and his superb folksy rapport with people from all walks of life. His shows graduated from "Videolog" short features to regular shows like "California's Gold."  

If you want to remember Howell's expertise in human interest stories while weeping uncontrollably, rewatch this video piece below on the elderly animal trainer saying goodbye to his beloved elephant for the very last time.  Rest in peace, beloved broadcaster.


Saturday, January 5, 2013


This is the only known pic of the American all-XX chromosome supergroup that never was, unnamed, a onetime jam. All superb musicians, left to right Jan King (the Orchids, Medicine Ball, many tv productions playing guitar like Hendrix,) Melanie Herrald (Bad Xample, genuine powerhouse voice in that metal band,) Tami Peden (Crying Blue Sky, Medicine Ball,) Mary Kay (The Dogs, Kanary, She Rok.) They imitate the LP cover of Cream's "Goodbye" release in response to my suggestion of supergroup status at the time of this shot was taken, roughly the early '90s.

Friday, January 4, 2013


 I did something today! Despite temporary disabilities of broken elbow and knee I was able to accompany my better half Mr. Twister to the Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Above, Twister approves of Clockwork Orange Milk Bar props. 

 LACMA had curated this exhibit as part of a catch up mission to acknowledge motion picture artistry as part and parcel of L.A.'s innate culture. Kubrick accomplished what no other visionary in Hollywood could, not even fellow film titan Orson Welles, that of directing major productions on his own terms-- what, when and how he envisioned all components. Granted, he eventually had to relocate to England to cement this.

Twister and I were particularly interested in the many lenses displayed. Kubrick, a widely published pro still photographer pre-movies, utilized a dizzying array of lenses that were cannibalized from still cameras or bizarre technical uses unrelated to cinema to achieve the astounding visuals in his films Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange, Spartacus, Lolita, Eyes Wide Shut, The Shining et al.

The above Fairchild Curtis lens next to the 2001: A Space Odyssey baby "starchild" prop is a Cinerama 160 degree wide angle lens generally used in planetariums, but used by this director to show  H.A.L.'s p.o.v. in the film and according to some reports portrayed the malevolent computer itself.

My shot below is Mr. Twister, UCLA film school graduate whose biography veered into rock stardom and other surreal detours. The 35mm motion picture camera (couldn't determine if Arriflex or Mitchell) is on a Majestic tripod, just like the one in my photo studio!

  Above, Twister 
gallantly pushed 
 my inflexible carcass around in a wheelchair
then took this pic in front
of art installation. Right,
awaiting elevator on my own hind legs while Twister shoots an impromptu Mapplethorpe-esque shot. My chapeau du jour was an unqualified hit with fellow art patrons, who so declared.  Guest photography courtesy of Kurt Ingham.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

LESLIE circa 1983

My friend Leslie Kenhart circa 1983 in her modeling days. This photo of mine appeared in Creem Magazine in John Mendelsohn's 'Eleganza' column.


 Coen Brothers-esque forced perspective of some of our thumb drives, which include actual thumbs...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


 Bored witless by convalescence, I set up a piece of mylar on my car to use the changing cloudy sky as backdrop and photographed my favorite satin, ankle-strapped platform shoes worn circa 1972 that I saved. These, my first pics taken in the 2013 new year, were shot with my lightweight Panasonic Lumix "purse camera" and taken with my wrong (left) hand.

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