"Rodeo-- New York City, 1954. By photographer Robert Frank.
It was fifty years ago that Robert Frank released his iconic and historical work “The Americans”. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is honoring Frank by hosting “Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans, showcasing the photographic fruits of his cross-country journey from 1954-1955. In 1957, Frank casually showed his American photo essay to the young beat writer, Jack Keruoac, whom he met at a party in New York City. Kerouac was impressed and responded with– “Sure I can write something about these pictures,” and penned the introduction to the U.S. edition of The Americans. Robert Frank’s work is now widely considered an important, intimate peak inside small-town America, but originally it was not met with open arms by all– at the time of its release many of the images were considered controversial, while other critics just outright dismissed his work as a blurry mess of nothingness. Check it out for yourself at the Met from 9/22/09 – 1/3/10.
"Indianapolis" from The Americans by photographer Robert Frank.
Sonny Barger aboard his 80-inch Harley stroker with high bars and long tailpipies, 1959. This bike design was considered pretty progressive for it’s time.
Ralph “Sonny” Barger, long considered the Godfather of the Hells Angels MC (having started the original Oakland chapter) is definitely an original “one percenter” if there ever was one. There’s a lot of very interesting history behind Sonny and the Hells Angels that I can’t post, so if you’re itching for more, check out his books. Here’s a little collection of pics, along with some of Sonny’s personal accounts on his life and times, and the history of the club– and be sure to check out the vintage Hells Angels video at the end of the post.
From Sonny Barger’s autobiography–
“When I saw The Wild One, Lee Marvin instantly became my hero. Lee’s character, Chino, was my man. Marlon Brando as Johnny was the bully. His boys rode Triumphs and BSAs and wore uniforms. Lee’s attitude was ‘If you f*ck with me, I’ll hit you back.’ Lee and his boys were riding f*cked-up Harleys and Indians. I certainly saw more of Chino in me than Johnny. I still do.”
Sonny Barger of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.
(Photo caption above) Ralph “Sonny” Barger, (C, front row), President of the Hell’s Angels Oakland chapter, announces at a press conference that the notorious California motorcycle gang would not stage a demonstration 11/20 against anti-Viet Nam marchers. Oct. 16th, during a VDC march through Berkeley, several of the club broke through police barricades and assaulted several demonstrators. Barger said his group was calling off its plans because the marchers “may provoke us to violence.” LTR: Top, Tiny Walters, (L), Ron Jacobson. Seated, Skip Workman, Barger, and Tom Thomas. Oakland, CA –November 19, 1965.