Category Archives: Photography
Burlesque, Burlesk, Burly-Q. However you spell it it’s still all the same – Great! Burlesque as a form of entertainment lasted a good long time. Starting in the 1860’s and sort of ending in the 1960’s with a resurgence in the 2000’s, Burlesque basically meant Variety Show with (hopefully) a striptease in there somewhere. It evolved into pretty much all Striptease by the 1950’s. Never overly raunchy or pornographic, Burly-Q was all about suggestion, the hope to see a shapely leg or glimpse of a breast. Toward the 60’s it got a bit dirtier, but as they say, “The times, they were a-changin'”.
Anders Petersen is a Swedish photographer born in 1944 and still active today. From 1967 – 1970 he photographed the regulars (street hustlers, pimps, prostitutes and crazy people) of the Cafe Lehmitz in Hamburg Germany. The resulting book was first published in 1978 by Schirmer/Mosel in Germany. Café Lehmitz has since become regarded as a seminal book in the history of European photography. I found out about it (I’m embarrassed to say) from researching the Tom Waits LP cover of Rain Dogs. I always thought the man in the photo was Tom. Needless to say, he is not. His name is actually Rose, and the photo is called Lily and Rose and is actually the cover of the Cafe Lehmitz book.
The Victorians got up to a lot of shenanigans and had some pretty odd customs and past-times. They made elaborated brooches and dioramas from the hair of a dead loved ones. They photographed the dead as if they were still alive, sitting upright, eyes open, or holding their poor dead babys. They had a general obsession with taxidermy (they stuffed anything). They made hats out of cats, birds and other small animals. They loved anything gothic (Dracula, Frankenstein and Dr. Jeyckl and Mr. Hyde came from the period). Freak shows were a main stay – think Elephant Man. And for whatever reason they liked to photograph themselves w/ skeletons. Some of these would be deemed risque, some just weird and probably one or two from some long forgotten gothic theater. I think they were just bored and need to stretch out a bit from all the rules of the day-to-day Victorian society.
We all know there’s deeper, darker more important events happening right now – and goddamn that orange turd, but here’s a bit of rock n roll love to get you through the day. Stay strong, love when you can and keep laughing. Let’s start with Bowie and Iman (who would be barred from entering the US today).
What’s odd is that Bonnie and Clyde took so many pictures. Pictures of themselves, their gang, their guns, their loot. They would have been social media sensations had it been 40 years later. What’s also odd is that, though not Warren Beatty or Faye Dunaway, they were incredibly cute and apparently very much in love. Bad people to be sure, but they were really just kids, Bonnie was 19 when they met, Clyde was 20. Their short romance and crime spree would end in a hail of bullets only 4 short years later.
David Bowie and Iggy Pop first met at NYC hotspot, Max’s Kansas City, in 1971, while Bowie was on tour with his album The Man Who Sold the World. The then-largely unknown Iggy made a deep impression on Bowie, (and was part of the inspiration for Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona). Bowie invited Pop, who was experiencing heroin addiction, to London, where he helped mix Iggy and the Stooges’ album Raw Power. Though the album would eventually become a classic, the band collapsed under the weight of Pops drug addiction and general bad behaviour. Returning to California, Pop would check himself into a mental institution in an attempt to overcome his heroin addiction. Bowie remained one of his few friends and visitors. In 1976 riding a wave of hits Bowie toured his most recent album Station to Station bringing Iggy along for the ride. The pair moved into an apartment in West Berlin, (over an auto parts shop) where Bowie would began the first of his Berlin trilogy of albums – LOW, and also collaborating on writing and recording Pop’s first solo album, The Idiot. In 1977, Iggy Pop finally went on a 30-date world tour as a solo act. His backup band included David on keyboards and backing vocals. Bowie remained truly in the background behind the keys. No costumes or stage show, Bowie wore bell bottom turned up jeans, flannel shirt and cap. It was meant to be Iggy’s show not the more famous Bowies’. That year the two also collaborated on Pop’s second album, Lust for Life, which would become Iggy’s long-awaited critical and commercial success, (with the title song eventually appearing in tons of commercials and films, most notably the opening for the Danny Boyle film Trainspotting). Iggy and Bowie would remain friends for the rest of Bowies’ life.