Tuesday, August 20, 2019

ONCE UPON A TIME... ON FACEBOOK; or THE WHOPPER regarding Keith Richards

Once upon a time...on Facebook. This is a hearsay tale of hearsay, impossible to prove anything. The blameless will remain nameless, but also the blamed. Keith Richards will remain uniquely himself as he has been for over a half century. (Photo below Keith's solo album cover fair usage © Mark Seliger.)

Image result for public domain photo keith richards under the influence

"R.C." spilled her personal fantasy of being part of Keith Richard's life into Facebook. The adopted persona was a music tour photographer who had taken over her obsession's inamorata role from his actual adored wife Patti Hansen, the timeline for the fabrication being the last four years. The drive shaft that initially made it run was attention to minute details.

R.C. posted obscure Instagram pix incorporating a real, present day photo diaries of the Rolling Stones' current 2019 touring, of Richards' kids, grandkids and assorted insiders in his life like his guitar technicians, not to mention plus the interiors of his many homes plus current tour hotel rooms. Vacation pics from his Jamaican and Parisian homes popped up sporadically. There appeared an explanation of the British tax laws which precluded his fulltime residing in his stately British country home. 

She concocted Facebook personas to write back to her like his son from his long relationship with Anita Pallenberg and or his daughter-in-law with all the grandkids, not to mention KR himself "explaining" his contentious onetime collaboration with Chuck Berry. She edited soundbytes of Richards' "Life" audio book and played them back as "voicemails" to an early doubter.

Her FB page attracted actual people who knew the Stones (self definitely not included) as well as fanboys and girls. She chatted with the daughter of one of Keith's late friends with whom he'd genuinely enjoyed a warm, close friendship. Two journalists from both the West and East Coasts contacted me privately saying many fishy things which R.C. was starting to spout did not add up in real life, and none of their press friends saw hide nor hair of her on this tour. I replied I'd dig a bit too.

R.C. had posted many, many live shots of this tour plus previous ones and claimed they were her own photographs. Most of the current press are attributed to agencies, but I finally found some hard evidence. On her Facebook page, R.C. claimed she took these rather stunning shots of the Stones live in New Orleans which actually were taken by a NOLA.com staff photographer Chris Granger, click LINK*

above, a pic by who knows? Fair Usage, and apologies to its maker 
plus all within. R.C. originally claimed it showed Keef and her as a couple 
amongst 2019 tour personnel, but has since edited specifics out.
  Then other friends from Facebook contacted me with more exasperation. The punk rock writer to whom she played the "voicemails" called her out privately and left. Others who questioned her publicly were "blocked." One pal even contacted the photographer Chris Granger who as you can imagine was not at all pleased, and who then called a really close relative of R.C. by telephone. BINGO...

The close relative alleged R.C. was schizophrenic and had been institutionalized but presently resided in her condo digging up dirt on Keith Richards on her computer. The close relative had not been aware that R.C. had been posting her fantasies as reality on Facebook. Assurances were offered that R.C. didn't have sufficient personal transportation to be a stalker. I do feel very sorry for this close relative.

This made more sense, a music fan turned super obsessive born of the desperation of mental illness, which no one can help having. She spends all day and night finding obscure, present day Keith references online and inserting herself into them. I knew a sad parallel. I once asked a friend of mine who was, unfortunately, terminally ill and has since passed away why she posted photos of the Stooges all day and night. She answered that there was nothing else she'd rather do than immerse herself in the Stooges for what time she had left.

R.C. since has removed incriminating attributions of her own authorship of photographs by other people, nor is using names any more, just pronouns, "following" along the tour in real time. Before this, I was briefly on her Facebook page, discussed non-Stones music, photography, British pop culture of the 1960s/70s, and the work of Frank Lloyd Wright with her. I felt like the Maysles Brothers studying Big Edie and Little Edie Beale in Grey Gardens, easier to do when the subject is intelligent and genial as well as disturbed.

Eight years ago I really put some thought into what was the adult version of being a rock music fan, and came up with that angle for my reportage on the tribute to Ron Asheton by Iggy and The Stooges in Ann Arbor in 2011, click **LINK I don't ignore fans; their viewpoint on FB has been helpful to bolster my work. One fan at the Ann Arbor gig said I was the only photographer who still made Iggy look dangerous.  I interviewed three of them for that piece, and pondered on some of the weird variables of adult fandom and fanfiction like "slash fiction" (writing about any fave, literary, film, music or otherwise in pornographic situations.)

Some fanfiction was quite good, like that proffered by Alan Rickman fans online, and a Beatles-based one from 1966, graphics/selections/addenda at bottom in red font. I wish R.C. had embraced fanfiction instead of what she's doing now, which had a potential for cruelty to real people and endless liability to her...what a whopper! 

Last words on the matter courtesy of my longtime friend, music author Harvey Kubernik who noted that to him the worst aspect of the deception was this: in R.C.'s and my brief discourse on music photography, music and Frank Lloyd Wright, her complete misrepresentations meant that I had lost a potential online friend...

P.S. I later warned select Facebook friends who had quoted R.C. therein of her real identity, forwarding this blog piece. Imagine my surprise when one of the most influential American drummers of the 1960s in one of the most influential American rock bands of all time immediately wrote back that she (like me) had delayed ceasing the online FB friendship with R.C. and blocking this person outright because she the drummer (like me) had quite enjoyed seeing all those current, intimate Rolling Stones photos not readily available to American media!  It was great to know that this icon who had changed the direction of all American rock could still be a Stones fan herself and retained the same curiosity about them that I did. Example: R.C. daily had offered obscure shots like this one below with its seemingly personal slant of Keith in his lovely English digs going to enjoy an al fresco meal with his family. 
 (actual photographer not cited of course, please count this as Fair Usage)

 P.P.S. Mental illness, delusional personas, a terminal illness, this is all so negative! I'd like to end with a tiny, positive silver lining. The plight of this real, terminally ill Stooges fan found its way to the real Iggy Pop, who promptly reached out to her in time before her passing away from cancer. This very nice story is here, click ****LINK

Addendum Fanfiction # 1 Article by the late Janey Milstead, great stringer for the L.A. Times and assorted teen mags of the '60s and first editor of the first periodical for plus size women, BBW, writing under the pseudonym Shirley Poston in 1966 for the house organ for its radio station, the KRLA Beat.
This is an example of fanfiction done correctly as well as entertainingly. The below is of its era and therefore incomprehensible to those who weren't teenage girls who liked the Beatles in the mid-1960s, as stylistically it is written imitating the whimsy of John Lennon's first book "In His Own Write." To save this over-long, cryptic explanation, here is John Lennon reciting his own "writty" from his second book of whimsy, "A Spaniard in the Works," click LINK***

Related image
Addendum Fanfiction #2--Magda Grantham from AlanRickman.com "Flights of Fancy" 2002 wherein the original storylines based upon and within the confines of the Rickman characters' period timelines of his movies has been changed into film sequences with the same characters, all of whom are continued by all of the members of this group. Her chosen character was George, Sheriff of Nottingham, Rickman's portrayal of same remaining the primary reason ever to watch Kevin Costner's version of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Promo pic of his appealing villainy above. Magda added his good lady girlfriend Joya early on:  Joya placed one hand on the railing and looked down into the water with a grim scowl. Then she froze, her hand tightening until her knuckles were white. A series of thuds could be heard, then one hand appeared, flailed the air and then grasped the railing. Someone was panting heavily, drawing in gasps of air almost painfully. Joya laughed with delight and tossed the facemask aside. Crew members ran forward to seize the hand and pull as hard as they could. A tousled black head of hair, now soaking wet and stringy, followed and soon George was on the deck being attended by most of the crew.

He lay for some moments, breathing deep and often. Joya set her oxygen tanks aside and fell to her knees beside him. Her long fingers stroked his hair tenderly and a sweet smile curved her lips. 

Finally he opened his eyes and stared at the sky above. At a sign from the captain, two of the crew gently lifted him to a sitting position. George examined them curiously, as if he could not understand who they were or where he was. Joya sat back on her heels and smiled fondly when he finally looked in her direction. He eyed her from her hair to her knees. She stroked his arm, her hand trembling slightly. He blinked, his breathing becoming more erratic, as he struggled for speech. Joya leaned forward, her lips parted. With an herculean effort, he finally managed to talk.

"Are you out of your mind? What happened to your dress? Get down to that cabin and put some clothes on! Immediately!!!!" He whipped around to face the stunned observers across the deck, shoving a crewman forcefully aside. "And all of you animals better just put your eyes back in your heads! She's spoken for already!"

Joya frowned. Lightening flashed from her blue eyes. "George. Look at me."
"Eh? What?" He glanced back at her. "Why haven't you gone to change -"
WHAP! The sound of the slap echoed in the silence. Joya rose to her feet and crossed the deck to the ladder. At the top, she glanced over her shoulder. "You no longer have any right to express an opinion on anything I might do. We are finished, George." She turned her back with finality and disappeared into the cabin area. 

Behind her, the crewmen rushed away to other tasks that were safely on the other side of the boat, the FOF actors grinned at each other and some pumped the air with their fists, and George sat with his jaw hanging open, staring at the place where Joya had stood only seconds before.

*   https://www.nola.com/multimedia/photos/collection_b627816a-a78a-11e9-8f5b-976570d44a23.html#11
**  https://fastfilm1.blogspot.com/2015/12/iggy-and-stooges-live-tribute-to-ron.html
*** https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVkkNKQCJEA 

Saturday, August 17, 2019


 Image result for animation, the charge of the Light Brigade
R.I.P. the acknowledged best animator in the world, Richard Williams who passed away at the age of 86, August 16, 2019. He pioneered SO many then innovative techniques in films and media, including slow fades between etching-like line drawings to add action to an antique art medium, best seen in the first video clip *LINK , the opening credits to the 1968 film The Charge of the Light Brigade. 

The second clip **LINK documents his much messed with animation opus The Thief and the Cobbler, which is the animation equivalent of Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons. Yes, The Thief and the Cobbler, was released, but much changed for the worse... Oh yeah, most commercially he animated Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

*  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8kIPiyhw4A
** https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6mbXRD-U74

Friday, August 16, 2019


Photo by me, reprint from the book Gram Parsons, a Music Biography by Sid Griffin, for which I did the art direction in the mid 1980s.  Rest in peace Peter Fonda, seen here at left backstage at a Byrds' concert Feb. 22, 1967. He was great friends with this band, and Peter even covered one of Gram's songs "November Nights" for a single. (Gram was a member of the Sweetheart of the Rodeo era Byrds.) My date at right whose privacy I will respect was friends with Fonda, since then as now I'm not much of a backstage habituè.

Fonda was 79, and still acted in substantial roles in films up until his passing from lung cancer. There was so much more to his C.V., from 1962 through 2019, than his breakthrough work Easy Rider in 1969. It's rare to have a fulfilling career this long in Hollywood. Another source of pride: his daughter Bridget Fonda remains an acclaimed actress, and in my opinion was robbed of an Oscar for her unforgettable supporting role as a twisted beach bunny in Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown.

Colleague Debbie Schow best characterized him on Facebook "Peter Fonda could have been just a spoiled Hollywood brat but he became an accomplished actor and ground-breaking film-maker. The world is a lot more interesting because of him."

Post-publication trivia: C.A.F.F. stood for Community Action for Facts and Freedom.
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