PHOTOGRAPHY OF KARLHEINZ WEINBERGER | THE 1950S ROCKER REBEL YOUTH OF ZURICH

KARLHEINZ WEINBERGER REBEL YOUTH ROCKABILLY BELT

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.

KARLHEINZ WEINBERGER REBEL YOUTH DENIM DUDES GANG

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ATOMIC MID-CENTURY VINTAGE FESTIVAL | PHOTOGRAPHY OF BASTIAN GLAESSNER

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!” Bastian Glaessner atomic-1

“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

Bastian Glaessner atomic-22

“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

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BILLIE HOLIDAY’S SWEET MISTER THAT CHASED HER DOGGGONE BLUES AWAY

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.

billie holiday 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

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Portrait of Billie Holiday and Mister by William Gottlieb at the Downbeat in New York, Feb. 1947

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ELVIS PRESLEY KING OF HOLIDAY ROCK | THE “WHITE CHRISTMAS” COVER CONTROVERSY

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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.

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BETTIE PAGE QUEEN OF CURVES | BUNNY YEAGER WORLD’S PRETTIEST PHOTOGRAPHER

For me, Bettie Page & Bunny Yeager epitomize iconic American pinup photography. Not just of the 1950s… Ever. In 1954, Bettie Page was working with Irving Klaw in NYC and decided a break was in order, so she headed south to Miami for relaxation and fun in the sun. That’s when fate struck. Bettie met Bunny, and the rest is pinup history. Bettie Page never looked better than in the capable hands of Bunny Yeager (herself a former model) who arguably shot the best and most famous images of the black-banged beauty– like the epic Jungle Girl shoot (shot at the Africa USA safari Park in Boca Raton), and the game-changing image of Bettie posing nude in a Santa cap for Playboy magazine in 1955.

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“When I first saw Bettie in the nude, I was pleasantly surprised; she looked great. She walked into the room on tippy-toes, like she was wearing high heels, which made her look taller and more natural at the same time. The first thing I noticed was that for some reason when she was nude, she did not seem naked. I had never seen anyone with an allover tan and she looked like the perfect doll or mannequin. Bettie was a true nudist and maintained her glorious golden olive color by sunning herself everyday. She would lie on the banks of the miami River. Maybe it was her tan, or maybe it was her attitude– she seemed completely at ease.” –Bunny Yeager, excerpt from Bettie Page, Queen of Curves

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WHEN PLAYBOY INFORMED SEXY DESIGN AND MADE THE BACHELOR PAD A CULTURAL ICON

Debuting in 1953, Hugh Hefner’s Playboy magazine represented the ultimate liberated lifestyle for men of the 1950s, ’60s and beyond. Some called Hef’s imaginative, artistic spreads on architecture & interior design nothing more than self-indulgent, male sexual fantasy cloaked under a flimsy cover of so-called culture. For the man that wanted to be (or fantasized of being) the master of his own hedonistic domain — Playboy was his blueprint. And Hef perfected his own personal blueprint for tapping directly into the wallet of a new consumption-based male ideal that thought (and bought) with their crotch. The Playboy man now sought the aspiration of sleek, modern design that Hugh brilliantly linked with the primal desire of getting laid.

Whatever the angle, it cannot be denied that scores of men were introduced to, and educated on, the finer points of Mid-Century Modern Design and the masters behind the movement that is now an iconic part of our history. And the Bachelor Pad, dripping with sexy, come-hither vibe, an inhibition-busting bar, and the latest modern marvels to dazzle her, was born thanks to Hef — who literally fleshed-it-out and showed us just how good it could look, make you feel, and improve your net worth with the ladies.

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GEORGE SMITH SR. FOUNDER OF S&S CYCLE | TALE OF THE H-D KNUCKLE DRAGSTER “TRAMP”

The story of a young man’s need for speed that would lead to the founding of the legendary S&S Cycle Equipment is chronicled in these amazing archival images on their website. They show founder George Smith Sr. as he builds his Harley-Davidson Knucklehead racer called “TRAMP” that became the testing ground for innovative after-market performance parts that are now the gold standard for the industry– S&S Cycle.  

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1941– George Smith Sr. pictured here at just 19 yrs old on his 80″ Harley-Davidson Knucklehead. He would go on to found S&S Cycle Equipment with Stanley Stankos in 1958. (via)

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“PENTON: THE JOHN PENTON STORY” | FROM THE WOODS TO THE WORLD

“After losing his wife (and mother of their 3 boys) in 1958, John Penton went on an absolute tear on the enduro circuit trying to outrun his grief. Family members cared for his boys while Penton dismissed the winter cold and rode off for Daytona on his 175cc NSU motorcycle. Stopping in Atlanta, Penton won the Stone Mountain Enduro, then rode the NSU to Florida winning the Alligator Enduro, and racked up  a few more wins across the Midwest– including his first victory at the Jack Pine.

Penton closed out 1958 with a road trip to Mexico. Upon hitting California on the way up the Pacific Coast, he decided it was time to return home to Ohio and did so non-stop– inspiring his brother Ted to challenge him to break the New York to Los Angeles transcontinental record.”

John Penton_June 10 1959_Trascontinental record

“On June 8th, 1959 John Penton recorded his time and location with Western Union in New York City and set off for California on a BMW R69S outfitted with an oversized gas tank. On June 10th, just Fifty-two hours and eleven minutes later, Penton rolled into Los Angeles. His record was heavily advertised by BMW, and newspapers all over the world covered the record run. Penton was now a legend in motorcycling.” via

But the story of John Penton’s awe-inspiring career does not end there. Find a screening of “Penton: The John Penton Story” near you by going to http://pentonmovie.com/see-the-film/  and reserving your tickets. I’m also proud to announce that the film will be entered in the 2nd Annual Motorcycle Film Festival in Brooklyn, NY held Sept. 24th – 27th.

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BUSTY BETTY BROSMER | PINUP PHENOM & 1950’S COVERGIRL QUEEN

betty brosmer

Betty Brosmer was the highest paid supermodel of the 1950s – winning more than 50 beauty contests before the age of 20 yrs old, posing for more than 300 magazine covers, and stunning men and women alike with her insane hourglass figure (38″-18″-36″)! You litereally could not go anywhere without seeing her image in a magazine, on a record album, or store window display. She married the fitness icon Joe Weider in 1961, and joined his fitness lifestyle empire. Together they co-authored several books on bodybuilding, and founded the International Federation of BodyBuilders. Check out this trove of photos of Betty Brosmer in her stunning prime.

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