Tuesday, July 26, 2005

More Germs Filming Reflections

Sharing part of an email my Germs Movie Set experience. Scroll to previous post for other insights and reflections. I censored this. See the movie when it comes out and tell me what you think. I won't make up your mind for you.

Gentlemen [Roger, writer/director and Kevin, producer],
I don't recall writing both of you for the memorable experience on your movie set. I'd write Steven [Rhino Films Pres] and Matt [Producer], but don't have their contact info, so will you please forward this to them? Words can't express both the very happy and very sad thoughts on my 55th birthday, hanging with Lorna and Hellin. That was pretty intense. I haven't spent such quality time with them since our punk days. This time we were more honest with each other, having grown from our struggles to mature, looking back at what we did. Survived not only those halcyon revolutionary punk days, but our own personal journeys.

None of you realize the hell we three put ourselves through. I just re-read "Lexicon Devil" and "We Got the Neutron Bomb." I was reminded, by the Canterbury Tales in "Lexicon," that we lived on the edge that most people can't even imagine. I'm told by many they are "punk - just like me, cos they do their own thing, they rent a place, hang art, and play albums." Ah, we lived among murderers, rapists, hustlers, drug dealers, prostitutes, psychotics, thieves (I was robbed w/gun day I was to buy an early video camera, shoot Go-Go's before they left for first Brit tour. You should have seen the face of their manager, Ginger, when I told her that. She knew what dangers, what lines I crossed to raise money and make my place amongst the crowd to take memorable photos). She knew the op was lost to doc those days as only I could and did, but w/video. X, Clash and others would have been captured by me. My best on-stage Clash shots stolen from photo lab. We lived among disease, filth, poverty, police, wild abandon and the best rock money can't buy.

We survived that, to still look so beautiful and vibrant - I think we all look better in many ways. It's an inner beauty, and Lorna and I are in better shape than before. You should invite Alice Bag and Pleasant Gehman: such beauties, but that Plez was zaftig, voluptuous, big compared to average pop star models these day. That's why I went on and on about Bijou being so skinny. We were substantial women, in real physical space - our bodies, but also in energy, vision, soul, creativity and intelligence.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Brendan Mullen and I: moving forward

Spent 4th of July weekend at wonderfully talented and loving Allison Anders' home. Brendan Mullen and I decided we'll never agree on certain transactions regarding his use of my photos, tis better to work together than fight. Whew, that was a long time coming! As I've said in print since the Masque days, Brendan brought a lot to the scene. As Rover wrote in her Alice Bag interview (alicebag.com), and Peter Urban, manager of the Dils, Zeros, Negative Trend and others, just told me: Brendan was very paternal and well-meaning in the early Masque days. I add, he was so cute! A mass of soft curly hair, vivid blue eyes, a shy smile and that seductive Scottish accent, how could a few of us not sleep with him (even if he doesn't remember, I do!!). So here's to a better tomorrow and our shared past!

Germs Filming: What We Do is Secret

When I wrote my last post, I had NO idea the Germs film would actually be produced. What does that say about my intuition and timing? Check out my Germs pix on my Germs, Bomp and Masque pages at www.jennylens.net.

I spent my birthday, July 20th, on the set of the Germs shows at the Fleetwood [many don't know the Smokestack became the Fleetwood] and Whiskey, hanging with Pat Smear, Lorna Doom, Paul Roessler of the Screamers, infamous Hellin Killer and Jena Cardwell, but on the sidelines. My shot of Lorna, Darby, Pat, Jena, Hellin, Trudie, Pleasant, Alice Bag, Nicky Beat and others is in Lexicon Devil, page 36, September 23, 1977, in Tower Records lot before the Palladium Punk Fashion show.

I was constantly told: "Jenny, it's a movie." But it will go down in history as the way it was, when my photos and research and notes from others make it easy to replicate the truth, which the movie, like all movies, deviates from those easily verifiable truths.

Thank goodness Pat and Lorna are on set, assisting the eager and talented cast. Pat is tirelessly training them re playing and involved in the sound of course. Pat and Lorna are receiving well-deserved accolades for their selfless contributions.

But how the hell do you do a Germs film without Pleasant Gehman??? And assign historical events initiated by Pleasant to others??

That said, of course it's amazing that a film is being made about the Germs, Screamers, and others -- a small group of people who changed world culture. I always knew punk would be a vital component of rock history, like Elvis, the British invasion, hippies and summer of love. That is the MAIN reason I took so many early photos. I knew it would be like a comet, bright and the initial phase short-lived, but it's really larger than anyone realized. I don't care what anyone writes about it seeming to be organized -- few consulted with each other and believed it to be the next big thing.

I certainly was among the very very few who knew its potential and was scorned by press/record company personnel and even punks for my intuition and art/music history knowledge this would be huge and long lasting. Which is one of the reasons it is so huge. Everyone feels like they discovered it themselves.

The reason early punk exists is its truthful reflection of our society of outcasts, as documented by the musicians, photographers, writers and artists WHO WERE THERE and MADE IT HAPPEN.

I spoke with the beautiful, lovely, charming, talented, gracious, warm Lorna Doom. I've found so many photos of her and Darby, described them to her, not only what they wore, but where they were and the dates. I shot them at so many parties, backstage, the Masque, shows, on the street -- for a variety of reasons, mainly that we were part of that very early small circle of punks, so our paths crossed all the time.

She said she "misses Darby so much" -- it's obvious from my photos they were extremely close friends. I asked her and others if they thought anyone would pay attention to the Germs if Darby didn't kill himself. We all know the answer to that: his suicide generated all this interest. I asked/said to her: isn't that the tragedy of all this?

A couple of years ago I asked my friend, archivist/musician David Jones, why the Ramones are so very popular now that so many are gone? When Joey died, I read tons of obits from people who claimed to be long-time Ramones fans. As Johnny said, if everyone who said they saw them really did, they would have been huge earlier. David said it's our obssession with dead stars.

What the fuck is wrong with our society?

Ok, how do I reconcile that with the fact I don't want to alienate myself from the people involved with this movie? I don't want to sound bitter or negative. As Paul Roessler keeps reminding me, he's trying not to say anything bad about people cos it comes back to bite him. Paul is such a sweet, sensitive soul. He and Hellin just celebrated their 25th anniversary, worked so hard at staying in love all these years. It's heartwarming to be around them.

Why do I feel like crying? Hellin cried on the set and later Paul held me as I cried. It's not because of the loss of Darby -- I was never close to him. I miss Tomata from the Screamers far more. I'm crying because I have so much work to do (EVERYONE on the set, especially the fans, costumers, producers, photographer etc know exactly who I am and love my work). I'm crying because I'm being showered with so much love, acceptance, validity, compliments, admiration, envy and gratitude by fans and people in the industry every single day. I am stunned, overwhelmed, but my hard work has only begun! And I still haven't made money! It's relentless.

I'm crying, realizing the reality of what we did. I cry when I find the most stunning photos that I never knew existed! Lorna said to me on the sidelines of the set, "none of us did what we did to make money, get famous." By studying art and artists AND movie-makers, I learned great artists always follow their hearts and find the truth in their art.

I cry when I know what should and could be shown, shared, discussed and is disregarded. I was repeatedly told they are working hard to present the "truth." Of course I told them that's "bullshit." I cry cos I'm so truthful that Dickey Barret, morning DJ on indie, said on the radio I "need to learn to lie." NEVER!

I've influenced and changed the lives of many, one of the reasons I took photos. Now I have to change my life for the better. But it means sacrifice, not going to art or music shows or movies. My photos are calling me, and they are so demanding and needy.

I can't rely on anyone who wasn't there to tell our story. This is a good start, but when will I learn to accept what is, not what could be? When my body has turned to ashes, then I hope my soul will be at peace with what others have done to our story. 'Tis better to be looked over than over-looked, but can't they handle the truth?