December 30, 2014 § 4 Comments
After the Cocker Tour, I went back to live (mostly) at Fanny Hill, the mansion up on Marmont Lane in Hollywood that Warner Brothers/Reprise rented for the band. One night we all went to see Patti perform. I’d met her on the Cocker Tour at the Chelsea one night in New York. Or at least she remembered me when I met her again a couple years ago. I barely remember that a group of us, including Joe, Leon, and well, a whole bunch of us spent the night into the early hours of the morning there hanging out in various rooms in that great hotel. I wish I could go back in time and replay those times, but I refuse to spend too much time pining or regretting the past or fearing the future – now is the best time to be alive!
I met Patti again a couple years ago. She had just completed her album, Banga, which accompanies us on long journeys, every summer in the car, as we sing at the top of our lungs along with her. That afternoon, she honored me by remembering me from the 70s. I gave her copies of my two books. I’d just read “Just Kids” twice in Yelapa, where I had days of lazing about reading. I told her I’d shown my work in Arles at the Photographer’s Festival in the 80s with Robert, and we’d had a photo taken of us together. He was so shy, always sitting alone – I’m sure I was asking him if he wanted company. I recall him being very friendly. I’m always looking to help loners feel connected. I saw Robert again in LA, when we were both part of a book of 100 photographers called “24 Hours in LA”
Patti inspires me deeply. So does her daughter, Jesse Paris Smith, who I have plans to interview soon. Both are, well, beautiful and authentic, and both make music that fills my soul and drives me to want more of it. I don’t know many women my age who are as comfortable or natural aging, or seemingly so, as Patti. And I identify with the two of them as mother and daughter working together. I have worked with my daughters, Heather and Genevieve, for years – it is one of the greatest blessings of my life to be able to work together with the people I love the most in the world.
When I saw Patti in NYC a couple years ago, I simply wanted to hold on to her. She came over to my table and we talked. I love her. I guess I resonate with her. I am glad she is so human. Listening to her speak on a radio broadcast once, I heard her say “I’m not Mother Teresa” and talk about not feeling she deserves some of the accolades she gets because she is certainly not a saint – she’s said she isn’t always as nice as she would want to be. So, she’s human! Aren’t we all. That makes me like her all the more. It reminded me of Maya Angelou, who told me, “I make mistakes, daily.” I love people who reveal who they really are, warts and all. People who give it all they’ve got, who don’t take on the projections we put upon them. I remember my friend, Lindsay Wagner saying to me once, “Hey, I’m not even Lindsay Wagner.” Joe Cocker was like that, too. A person of the people. That is what Patti feels like. A person of the people. It inspires me to do the same. 100% – give it all I’ve got!
I wanted to hold onto Patti that day I saw her in NYC, so I did what documentary photographers do, I photographed her. I wanted to gaze into her eyes; to ask her questions; to be her friend. Yes, that is what I wanted most of all, to be her friend. Like a teenager in school, wanting to be friends with someone, someone I longed to know how to be like more. If I’d known her in high school, I would have asked her to come sleep over at my house and we would have snuck out at night and gone to Hollywood to hang around the music scene.
I’m so glad Patti Smith was born, and that she lives, and that she is so accessible and that she has raised two beautiful children who are making beautiful art, fantastic music, awesome waves in the world. Here’s to Patti Smith. May she have a long, healthy, muse inspired and love-filled life.
December 23, 2014 § 7 Comments
JOE COCKER (20 May 1944 – 22 December 2014)
I met Joe Cocker a week before we took off — all 45 people, 3 kids and a dog named Cannina, plus a 5 man film crew, on a mad, fabulous crazy two month tour of the US, hopping from stage to plane to bus, to hotel, to bus to plane to another stage. Joe was loving and funny and soft and broken-hearted. He was a ball of energy, often in his own world but always willing to connect. I had a crush on him, which he knew but never took advantage of. I was the youngest member of the tour, besides the children, and I had never been on a rock and roll tour before.
Denny Cordell, who produced the Tour, said I could go after I showed him I could take pictures. So, I packed and a week later was on the bus. I loved Joe. I will always be grateful I got to be part of the show as well as one of the two women photographers (Andee Nathanson was the other), in the rambling circus, which was Joe Cocker, Mad Dogs and Englishmen.
Joe modeled for us all a freedom of spirit and abandon that has become for me a bar to aspire to in any given moment. He was lost and in pain during that tour – he did everything to excess – drugs, alcohol, and I imagine women, but who knows. I was not privy to that, other than the rumors of the Butter Queen and her daring court, and the doctor who came onto the tour to give rounds of shots to any of those young musicians who strayed off the path of the straight and narrow!
Joe stayed alive through all those years of public drunkenness, eventually finding his grace in his wife, Pam, who he says saved his life.
Joe is a legend. He should have been inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame – a huge mistake, but maybe not — maybe that omission will cause people to speak up and honor his talent and his life even more than if he had been.
To me, Joe is the kind of person my father was, true blue. 100% loyal and 100% in. When, after 30 years of not seeing each other, and having hundreds of thousands of people come through his life, he remembered to bring me a tape Bobby Torres gave him the night before in Portland, when he played in Seattle a few years ago. When his concert was over and he was brought to greet friends, he pulled it out of his pocket and handed it to me. He’d been carrying it in his pocket for me.
Stay tuned for a rocking slideshow of the Joe Cocker, Mad Dogs and Englishmen Tour
June 17, 2012 § 3 Comments
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Please join me at the opening of Refocus: Multicultural Focus
Arena 1 Gallery, Santa Monica
January 7th, 2012
part of the J. Paul Getty, Pacific Standard Time initiative
In 1981 the exhibition Multicultural Focus was mounted at Los Angeles Municipal Gallery Barnsdall Park where Josine Starrels was Gallery Director. Organized by Sheila Pinkel and curated by twelve artist/curators in the Los Angeles area — three each from the black, Latino, white and Asian communities — it was the first cross-cultural exhibition of photography in the Los Angeles area. Refocus: Multicultural Focus will include current work by most of the original artists in the exhibition. A catalogue will accompany the exhibition providing information on the original show juxtaposed to contemporary work and statements by participating artists. A new catalogue essay will reflect the changes that have taken place in multiculturalism and photography during the intervening thirty years. Participating artists include Arden Alger, Don Anton, Stephen Axelrad, Carroll Parrott Blue, Elizabeth Bryant, Gillian Brown, Steve Beherns, Dennis Callwood, Todd Gray, Robin Lasser and Adrienne Pao, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Willie Middlebrook, Patrick Nagatani, Peter Reiss, Joan Salinger, Rick Tejada-Flores, Linda Wolf, Nancy Webber, Mihoko Yamagata and Bruce Yonomoto.