Karlheinz Weinberger’s photography is often described as, “What happens to white Switzerland when black music is played by a white man, and then radioed across the Atlantic to Europe.” While there are clearly strong homoerotic overtones present and some may judge and decide to look no further… I’m drawn to the strong fashion stance and attitude of rebellion in these kids that is driven by the American music and movie scene of the time (Elvis, James Dean, Gene Vincent, etc.) that they masterfully embraced and evolved into there own subculture, Halbstark or “Half-Strong.” Almost 50 years later, it still inspires.
Photographer Bastian Glaessner shot these incredibly cool pics of the UK Atomic Festival described by the organizers as– “…an international line-up of bands & DJs playing in spectacular indoor venues, traditional flag-start drag racing, air displays, jiving, bopping & strolling, an enormous big-top with a 6,000 sq ft dance floor, a pre-1963 car show and drive-in movie, poodles, roller skating… and the best festival atmosphere ever!”
“On slight short notice I headed up north last weekend to meet up with a bunch of UK retro heads that got together on an old 30s airstrip outside Northampton to celebrate the annual Atomic bash of serious vintage fair. This mid-century-inspired festival had everything the gentleman drag-strip connoisseur’s heart might desire– a field full of polished pre-’63s metal to draw you in, plenty mean Rock ’n’ Roll fuzz booming from the speakers of the multiple stages, the gravity defying riders of the Demon-Drome of death spinning their 1920s Indians up the 30 foot wall and last but not least a glorious stretch of glaring concrete that just begged the rod riders to be raced!” ~Bastian Glaessner
“Despite the somewhat grey skies the eclectic mob turned out in style! Bombers, raw jeans, pomaded hair and neat pressed curls as far as the eye could see. From gear-heads to knuckle freaks, young-guns to old-timers, everybody made an effort and rocked up spotting their most stylish attire. It all made for a photographers dream really.” ~Bastian Glaessner
“Me and some buddies of mine had traveled to Daytona hoping to see Leo Payne. There were rumors he was going to come there and kick ass. All the fast street bikes parked on Main Street to show off your stuff and get up races but there was no Leo Payne. One sinister looking Sportster was parked there when we arrived. It looked like a Cafe racer. After looking at more “fast looking” bikes I went back to be with mine. Soon a guy came up and started looking my bike over thouroughly. It had twin Linkert carbs and Dytch big bore cylinders on it, a dead give-away. This guy asked who it belonged to and I proudly raised my hand. “Want to go out in the country and race” he said. That’s what I’m here for I said. He went to get his bike ….and it was the Cafe looking bike. It was about 10:00 pm as we headed out and at least 25 bikes went with us to watch. We found a long straightaway and decided it was good. The guy asked if I wanted to start from a dead stop or a rolloff. I said a rolloff. We were both side by side at about 20 mph when we turned the throttles at exactly the same instant and the other bike jumped out to a bike length lead on me and it stayed that way through all the gears up to about 130 mph, the fastest my bike would run with the gearing I had and besides it was pitch dark on that lonely highway. I was VERY disappointed to have lost as we rode back to downtown Daytona, trying to get back before the law got to us. As we parked I introduced myself and he said “I’m Danny Johnson.” It was the beginning of a friendship that lasted until his death.” ~Frank Spittle via
“A Mind Shredder, two Harley-Davidson engines, each stretched out to 107 cubic inches, power this 460 pound Goliath. The thing has already devoured a quarter mile in 8.51 and its teeth haven’t been honed. Does the monster have a seven second future?” Motorcycle Journalist, Sandy Roca, on Danny Johnson’s Goliath, ca. 1973
Danny Johnson’s rolling flame burnout on a single Harley-Davidson Ironhead drag bike.
There was a lot of love between Lady Day Billie Holiday and her beloved pooch, Mister. She had other dogs in her lifetime– a Standard Poodle, and pet Chihuahas she bottle fed and whisked around in her pocket– but none as close to her heart as Mister. He was widely thought to be a Boxer, but there are some who disagree saying he was perhaps an American Staffordshire Terrier. One thing is clear, he was a loving and protective companion, and trusted by Holiday above all others– humans included. It’s no wonder these touching photos mean so much to Billie Holiday fans and dog lovers alike. He would chaperone her to the clubs where she performed, and stood watch over her in the backstage dressing room. Billie would sing to Mister, and reward him by cooking him juicy steaks. 100 years after her birth, she is still bedeviling our ears with her sweet, sorrowful tunes and haunting us in pictures. RIP Lady Day, and her sweet Mister.
Originally included in a 1949 cover story for Ebony magazine, this photograph shows Holiday at home in her Harlem apartment cooking a steak with her beloved boxer, Mister. The article, titled “I’m Cured for Good,” came after numerous incidents with the law due to Holiday’s ongoing struggle with narcotics. This was the first time Leonard had ever met the singer. “On arriving, I was greeted by a woman in an apron and housedress,” recalled Leonard, “whom I initially mistook for the maid, until I realized she was the great Billie Holiday.” –Photographer Herman Leonard via
Portrait of Billie Holiday and Mister by William Gottlieb at the Downbeat in New York, Feb. 1947
The epic tales of Laurel Canyon’s heyday continues to linger like the warm smell of colitas rising up through the air… It’s here that the SoCal sound was born out of an era of relaxed morals (
fucking sex), folks expanding their mental horizons (drugs), and a wave of eclectic misfits coming from all over to launch, reinvent, or escape their musical careers (rock ‘n’ roll) in this sleepy, smoky, winding hippy enclave. And the women, Mama Cass & Joni Mitchell, were the (wise and worldly beyond their years) matriarchs watching over over this peaceful, easy-feeling, community headquartered on Lookout Mountain. Henry Diltz was a friend and photographer to many in the scene those days, and his visual record and memories of these times is priceless.
“When I first came out to L.A. [in 1968], my friend Joel Bernstein found an old book in a flea market that said, ‘Ask anyone in America where the craziest people live and they’ll tell you California. Ask anyone in California where the craziest people live and they’ll say Los Angeles. Ask anyone in Los Angeles where the craziest people live and they’ll tell you Hollywood. Ask anyone in Hollywood where the craziest people live and they’ll say Laurel Canyon. And ask anyone in Laurel Canyon where the craziest people live and they’ll say Lookout Mountain.’ So I bought a house on Lookout Mountain.” —Joni Mitchell
The last time TSY posted the epic Photography of Pulsating Paula the interwebs superhighway stream was so strong it blew the plastic housing clear off my Commodore 64. I’ve since upgraded to a refurbished Apple III and am ready to roll. With Daytona Bike Week fresh on everyone’s mind, let’s go back to a time before many of you were born– the 1980s. Not the strongest era in terms of aesthetic, but these are bikers. And luckily for them they’re largely immune to vapid societal fashion trends and fancy pants grooming. What you get is straight-up lettin’ it all hang out, livin’ the life Daytona. You don’t like it, stick it.
Max Bubeck sitting on his 135.58mph hybrid Indian Chief/Scout that he rode at Rosamond Dry Lake on June 27th, 1948. The Fred “Pop” Shunk-built “Chout” is as lean and mean as a straight razor except, for two badass methanol-fed Schebler carburetors that look big enough to pluck poultry. Bubeck’s “Chout”, sporting custom cams and a single speed gearbox, still holds the record for the world’s fastest unfaired Indian motorcycle.
The amazing story of Bill Thomas’ Race Cars badass (pre-Charger) Chevy II / Nova Fastback, bought by CKC Racing Team back in 1964 for $2500! Supposedly it has survived and resides somewhere in PA after changing hands–
“Up until that time, the fastest car I had ever driven was a Corvette. That Chevy II used to do some incredible wheelstands, which made it a handful to drive. There was no way you could get off the throttle and get back on it again once it stood up on the back bumper, and it used to do that a lot! I remember one time at Houston Raceway during a match race with Dickie [Harrell], we both stood our cars up on the back bumpers, and the crowd went absolutely wild. Another time, I bent the front axle so badly on re-entry that J.E. had to use a floor jack and a torch to straighten it out just so we could load the car back on the trailer.” –Driver, Cal Callier via
1964, Callier and Kristek posing with the “orange car,” the team’s Chevrolet small-block-powered AA/FD that ran consistently at 190.00, and the team’s new Bill Thomas Race Cars ’64 A/FX Chevy II powered by a 427 Z11 carbureted big-block. Photo by Peter Peters via
Denim Dudes is a cool new book by Amy Leverton that profiles many of the top designers and innovators in the denim world. The photography is stunning, shot around the globe, as it tracks down denim gurus in the US, UK, Europe, Japan, and Australia. There are definitely some friendly, familiar faces. Like Donwan Harrell of PRPS, King of Japanese denim, and the first to bring it to the US years ago. Dude is world renowned as a leading authority on denim and washes. I was blown away that Donwan chose to wear the Blackbird jean made from 14oz raw Japanese denim that we collaborated on for The Selvedge Yard a few years back. It was truly humbling to crack the cover and see Donwan Harrell proudly wearing our jean. Damn. Thank you.
1957 – Elvis Presley poses beside a Christmas tree in his home in Memphis, Tennesee. When Elvis recorded a cover of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas, it made him livid, and he launched a campaign to have it banned from radio airplay. Berlin despised Elvis, and felt that he was degrading the song, which held a very personal and painful meaning for him, long kept secret.