Thursday, January 19, 2006

Rizzoli, Glen E. Friedman, Shepard Fairey, Mr. Music Head, Brad Elterman, PhotoLA: one day/eve in my life

Rizzoli called and my first book, "Before Hardcore" is being fast-tracked, Glen E. Friedman is editing/choosing my photos and I'm also writing accompanying text, telling stories of how I came to meet someone and shoot them, memories of the shows, parties, spontaneous fun. Just so happens many of the people I shot became famous later. Others infamous for being part of the scene and rarely seen. After the call, drove to Shepard Fairey's office/gallery to pick up photos from a show, where he saw my black and white photo collage, "Punk A – Z, 1976-1980."

Every year Shep designs a limited edition t-shirt in collaboration with another artist. He chose me. Am I flattered? Ohmygod. That will be out in late summer. I spoke with one of his designers, who also purchased two of my favorite photos.

You have NO idea what it's like to see an 8 x 10 of a beloved or newly discovered 35 mm slide or neg. Better yet, 11 x 14 and if you really want your breath taken away, you should see my 16 x 20s of the Screamers, Stones, Ramones (live and individual off-stage) and I can image what the others will look like! Brings tears to my eyes. They are just stunning photos of an era that has been mythologized and here's the real deal. My photos, who knew? My friends and fans, but not me.

Monday night Shepard's publishing partner, Roger Gastman, spent 4 hours choosing photos for an upcoming book about the LA scene. We talked about design, hardware, a variety of issues. He reiterated Shep's intention of using some of my photos for graphics because I initially contacted Shep about that. I now realize I've got to go through some of my most beloved photos and choose some icons whose facial expressions exemplify them for him to choose. I've got my work cut out for me! By the way, Shepard Fairey is the BEST DJ in any town if you want a great mix of classic punk songs, some well-known, some rare but strong and vital. I wish I had more time to go to art openings just to dance to his music as I did at Track 16 for the recent LA Weekly Cover art show, which of course Shep's art was prominently displayed.

Next stop, Mr. Music Head which I discovered because Henry Rollins turned Sam (the owner) onto Neal Zlozower. Now he's a photographer I always admired the MOST of anyone on the west coast. Of course Bob Gruen in NY and Pennie Smith in England. I saw Neal's show on my way to the Dresden Dolls/Janet Klein Music Box show last December 29, 2005. The Dresden Dolls were amazing from my photographer's front row view. Very special.

Today I brought my portfolio and showed a few from my show. Sam compiled a list from my favorite photos to be part of his permanent collection to show and represent. I asked him why he chose certain ones. His eye matches mine and that is such a treat! We discussed the Janis Joplin photos he is selling. His back room is quite a treasure trove and I'm sure he's got more stashed away. Sam's got quite a music history and knows his stuff. What a treat because he's now one of my gallery dealers in LA. We haven't firmed prices, but he'll make room in his back room and online. While I was there someone came in and is ready to buy some of my work. Nice!

I walked to Guitar Center and put my hand into Joey Ramone and Exene's hands, and a few others, on their walk of fame. What's cool is X is right above the Ramones. What fucking sucks is Dee Dee Ramone's hand is missing. CJ?? C fucking J?? Anyone who knows my history knows I picked up a camera because I loved Dee Dee Ramone's cheekbones. But his lyrics were brilliant (which I knew before I met him) and he is considered THE bass player to set the standard for those who followed. And he's not represented? No statue in the cemetary, no street named after him, and no hand in the bronze entry to the Guitar Center? Is there no justice? I am outraged on his and all his fans' behalf. They were filming for MTV, so I signed a release and someone took a digital shot of me. But I didn't stay long enough to be filmed. I have a life.

Into the shower in time for the reception for the PhotoLA show at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. They had terrific food, but it was freezing. I've never been so cold while eating such delicious food. I went off my raw foods diet to freeze? But the show was very informative. I've never been with a group of serious photo collectors and dealers.

I've gone the Civic many times before and after shooting punk for a variety of trade shows, buying gemstones and beads or other art shows. But when I walked into the women's restroom in the lobby and saw the blue and white tile on the floor, I hallucinated back to when I walked in there and it was smoky and full of women fixing their makeup and whatnot, just as I did tonight. But we were rock 'n' rollin'. The Clash? Iggy? Devo? Was I stoned that night on acid or speed and always, the music, the scene -- my friends, the whole atmosphere, taking pix. What a flashback!

While driving from Western and Wiltern to West Hollywood, every few moments a ghost appeared and woke me from my reverie of book and photo thoughts or just dealing with the traffic. Apparitions from the donut shop across the street from the Starwood. I remember X's John Doe being on stage and pointing to it as an intro for "Sugarlight." About being high on speed and hanging at the donut shop with the cops. Right on, John, that's what punk was about.

I wasn't one to hang out with performers and friends after a show, sweaty, excited, all ablaze cos of the night and while stoned. But I totally understood that song. I either was with a man or dropped film off at various labs and off to bed in "the city of electric lights." Or I spun around and stayed up for days in the darkroom and/or shows. I digress, but I can NEVER drive into Hollywood or West Hollywood, let alone both in one day, without my life flashing in front of me. I have so many sense memories, the kind that when I looked up and saw the Chateau Marmont, I remember sleeping in a bungalow with Barry Baker, one of the Clash's roadies. But I was too shy to ever ask the group for a pose. And I slept with three of their road crew. I never asked for it and I never asked anything from them.

I remember the nude swimming party Tomata du Plenty from the Screamers, others and myself created that caused us to be thrown out. Ha, ha, I was thrown out of the Chateau for swimming while nude and punk. Damn, I can't get away from not only those memories, but I can see it: the constant movie of my life as an early punk. So that's why I'm doing books.

And gallery shows. I'll be part of a group show, opening February 18, 2006, Gallery Revisited, Silverlake. I met the owner, artist Leora Lutz, last summer, in Chinatown to check out the scene and one of her artists, Josh Petker, whom I found on myspace when I had time to explore. Now I'll be in a show with him! I have my first solo show from Sept to Oct. Ohmygod. My first solo show. Leora and I are born on the same day!!! Natalie Wood and Emma Peel aka Diana Rigg, and I've met others, but can't remember, July 20. Our birthday is the first day man walked on the moon, perfect for us moon children!

PhotoLA: ran into photographer Brad Elterman, known for his '70's Beverly Hills lifestyle and rock photos. And a very special blast from the past, artist/interior designer to the stars, the humble and talented Brad Dunning, who was thrilled to hear of my progress and book contract. He's been encouraging me to get books out there and soon.

The downside of the show was: my photos should be worth a lot of money when I'm dead. It's awful how low the prices are for living artists and how high when they are dead. Our crazy society who values artists, musicians and film-makers after they are dead.

I was wide-eyed and teary standing in front of one of my favorite photos of Garbo by Steichen. I saw Man Ray (my fave shot of the whole show), Irving Penn, Weegee (going to his show at the Getty soon), Cartier-Bresson, a lovely Imogen Cunningham, an Ansel Adams and Edward Weston (both landscapes) and others I can't spell, all selling for a lot of money. But not many contemporary photographers and other than a few shots of Dylan, the Stones and one of Lennon, Marley, a few others, I couldn't stop wondering where were the serious collectors of the icons of our era?

I always tell people selling rock photos is tough finding the very specialized market of those who appreciate these photos and also having money. It costs a lot to make prints, let alone the time and money invested in taking the shot in the first place and holding onto the slides and negs all these years. It's obvious the serious entertainment photography collectors are not going to PhotoLA. But it was fascinating to see the photos, and choices regarding size, mattes, frames and subject matter.

I started the day with less money than my rent next week, let alone any other utilities. Next week I'll pay up and focus on the book and gallery shows. Gotta raise enough money here and there to pay for those.

I'm not worried. The universe responds when you do the work. I'm meeting terrific people, talented and bright who love my work and share, encourage and collaborate. What a trip! As my mother, friends and fans would say: about time! A helluva a lot of work, being archivist, dealing with photo labs, website, web sales, emails, contracts, administrative tasks, endless filing, digitizing, resizing, organizing, labeling, describing my photos, learning new software all the time. I pray I make enough money to keep it going.

I thank you all for sending our gratitude and good wishes.

Oh yeah, I'll be a nun. As Barbra Streisand asked in "Funny Girl": "does a convent take a Jewish girl?" I'll be nun-like but not Catholic and not very Jewish either. I won't be seeing my old movies at UCLA (that hurts my soul. It's the hardest sacrifice and one I never forget!), art openings, rock shows, parties, TV, reading and answering much email. Oh yeah, I've given up men for awhile. Life is too full. But I can't wait to get back in that game, when the time is right!

PS I am really sorry I am not providing links to those mentioned. I should be in bed, full day tomorrow and this is quite an adventure for a 55 year gal! You try it at 25! Age is attitude. I don't look nor act my age. My mother says I shouldn't admit it. Anyone with good math should be able to figure it out, so why lie? Ha ha. But sorry about the links.

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