Martin & Osa Johnson- Safari Film Legends

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In the 1930s, when the last unexplored regions of the world were being “found,” Martin and Osa Johnson, an American couple from Kansas, delighted audiences in theaters with films of their aerial safaris throughout Africa and Borneo.  Both pilots and photographers, the Johnsons explored Kenya and Tanganyika in 1933, taking the first aerial photograph of Mt. Kilimanjaro and documenting herds of wild animals on the Serengeti Plain.

 

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BUDDY HOLLY | ROCK & ROLL PIONEER

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Buddy Holly and the Crickets

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It was fifty years ago– February 3, 1959, that the chartered plane carrying singers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper, fell out of the sky and rock ‘n’ roll was forever changed.  Although his success lasted only a year and a half before his death, Holly is described by critic Bruce Eder as “the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll.”  His works and innovations were copied by his contemporaries and later musicians, notably The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and exerted a profound influence on popular music.  In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Holly #13 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

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TSY STYLE HALL OF FAME | GARY COOPER

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Gary Cooper Sportcoat

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No one before or since, epitomizes elegance and style like the legendary Gary Cooper.  No, Cary Grant doesn’t even come close.  He was a fashion protege of Gary Cooper without a doubt– even Grant’s stage name was crafted by movie studio executives to look and sound like Cooper’s.

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GaryCooperAscot

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No one has ever worn an ascot as well as Gary Cooper– a look that truly requires sartorial swagger and a deft hand.  Cooper was always in command of his clothing– never the other way around.

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EASYRIDERS DAVE MANN | BIKER ART

 

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My stepdad was a biker, and not exactly a warm and fuzzy guy. He rode a classic ’79 Harley Davidson Lowrider, and his little friend was always along for the ride– a .44 magnum strapped to his leg “for all the honest world to feel” (as Townes Van Zandt would say). Sounds cool, but like a lot of things– you tend to idealize it when you’re on the outside looking in. We didn’t exactly fit into the norm, nor did we to care to. Let’s just say it wasn’t a typical childhood, and we got a lot of stares. I was not invited to a lot of sleep-overs either.

Easyriders magazine was a part of growing up, and exposed me to a lot of… you know, art. Yeah, there’s other stuff in there too that a kid shouldn’t see, but I was fascinated with the illustrations by Dave Mann– and still am. They’re incredible.

Dave Mann’s dad was a lifelong illustrator and active member of the Society of Scribes in London. The younger Mann was born in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1957 he first drew pencil sketches of hot rods while feigning attention in high school. His crude sketches opened the door for Dave’s first job, pinstriping cars for Doug Thompson and Ray Hetrick’s custom car shop in Kansas City.  The wild allure of the West Coast drew Dave and buddy Al Burnett to Santa Monica, California. While cruising the seaside community he stumbled across Bay Area Muffler, an area custom car house, and there discovered completely insane chopped Harleys. The bikes drove him wild. They projected freedom, power and mobility with every chromed curve. He was immediately hooked.

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THE LEGEND OF SAILOR JERRY | TATTOO MASTER NORMAN COLLINS

 

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If you don’t know who Sailor Jerry is– you don’t know tattoos. Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins (1911-1973) is considered the foremost American tattoo artist of his time, and defined the craft in two eras– BSJ and ASJ (before and after Sailor Jerry). Arguably, he did more for the ancient art of tattoo than most any other single person.

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At age 19, Sailor Jerry enlisted in the US Navy. It was during his travels at sea that he was exposed to the art and imagery of Southeast Asia. Artistically, his influence stems from his union of the roguish attitude of the American sailor with the mysticism and technical prowess of the Far East. He maintained a close correspondence with Japanese tattoo masters during his career.

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sailor jerry tattoos cards

Sailor Jerry regarded tattoos as the ultimate rebellion against “the Squares”. His legendary sense of humor is oft reflected in his work– but he was never one to compromise his professionalism or take his craft and responsibilities lightly.

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Sailor Jerry’s first studio was in Honolulu’s Chinatown, then the only place on the island where tattoo studios were located. His work was so widely copied, he had to print “The Original Sailor Jerry” on his business cards. There’s a guy up in Canada that goes by the same name, but don’t be fooled– although he’s good in his own right, he ain’t the original Sailor Jerry.

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sailor jerry tattoo

Sailor Jerry remained a sailor his entire life. Even during his career as a tattoo artist, he worked as licensed skipper of a large three-masted schooner, on which he conducted tours of the Hawaiian islands. Sailing and tattooing were his only two professional endeavors.

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Sailor Jerry went out of his way to mentor those tattoo artists whose talents and attitude he respected, among them tattoo legends Don Ed Hardy and Mike Malone, to whom he entrusted his legacy of flash designs. He also railed against flashy tattoo artists such as Lyle Tuttle, and what he called “hippie tattoo” culture.

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From his 20s to his late 50s, he stopped tattooing entirely as a part of a disagreement with the IRS. Believe it or not, Sailor Jerry only tattooed for approximately 12 years.

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In 1999, Ed Hardy and Mike Malone partnered with an independent Philadelphia company to establish Sailor Jerry Ltd., which produces rum, clothing and other goods. Some say that Ed Hardy sold his old mentor, Sailor Jerry, up the river– taking much credit for Jerry’s style and pocketing the dough. Sailor Jerry (and Von Dutch alike)  may be rolling in his grave.

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sailor jerry tattoos care

Originally there were few colors available to tattoo artists– Sailor Jerry expanded the array by developing his own safe pigments. He also created needle formations that embedded pigment with much less trauma to the skin, and was one of the first to utilize single-use needles and hospital-quality sterilization.

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norman collins sailor jerry tattoos

Tattooing legend Norman Collins AKA Sailor Jerry

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Tattooing legend Norman Collins AKA Sailor Jerry

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Hollywood Icon Marlon Brando’s Canyon Home

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Marlon Brando and James Dean were contemporaries– with a very contemptuous relationship.  The were often compared, and neither one was appreciative.  Brando publicly ridiculed Dean, accusing him of “wearing my last year’s wardrobe and using my last year’s talents…”  Dean later responded– “I was riding a motorcycle long before I heard of Mr. Brando.”   To Newsweek Dean said– “People were telling me I behaved like Brando before I knew who Brando was.  I am neither disturbed by the comparison, nor am I flattered by it.  I have my own personal rebellions and don’t have to rely on Brando’s.”

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HOLLYWOOD ICON JAMES DEAN’S NYC APARTMENT

JAMES DEAN NYC APARTMENT

James Dean’s New York City apartment

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What’s better than a piece about classic Hollywood Icons and their old pads?

The bull horns and matador cape were of special meaning to Dean.  He had read the novel Matador by Barnaby Conrad, and for a while was obsessed with dramatizing it as an internal monologue without words, using just a few props.  Dean also loved to play his bongo drum along to jazz records late into the night.   He hung with a small, close-knit circle of actor/artist friends.  Among them was a young Martin Landau.

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