1976, The Runaways — Lita Ford, Joan Jett, Jackie Fox, Sandy West, Cherie Currie — photo by Tom Gold
The Runaways teenage, all-female rock band was co-founded in 1975 by guitarist Joan Jett and drummer Sandy West. The two were joined by Cherie Currie, Lita Ford, and Jackie Fox and became the main core of the group. Vicki Blue, Micki Steele (who’d later join The Bangles), Peggy Foster, and Laurie McAllister also flowed in as others dropped-out, and they eventually broke up in 1979. The Runaways actually saw greater success in Japan than here in the US, where many critics and serious rock fans alike had a hard time taking the sexy teenage girls from LA seriously. Their mania and memory largely slipped into a slumber until being sparked again by the 2010 biographical flick, The Runaways.
Being a child of the ’70s & ’80s I was aware of The Runaways, but was exposed more to TV than the live music scene. Suzi Quatro (who inspired Jett) was riding a wave of curiously sexy, somewhat androgynous, lady rocker vibe and saw decent TV airtime. I’ll admit, I was intrigued. Pinky Tuscadero definitely had my attention too. Then Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and Lita Ford (now a pursed-lipped, metal guitar goddess), shot back into the rock limelight wiser, and with stronger musical chops. Looking back at The Runaways, one thing I’ll say is that they were well-merchandised, as witnessed by the great archive of images that have successfully survived the test of time.
Josh Kurpius talks about how he got into photography, metal-smithing, and building his very first bike — a ’77 Harley-Davidson Ironhead called The Locust. For him it was all about learning hands-on, in the moment, being intentionally self-reliant, and discovering where it takes you. Sometimes it’s more about the journey than the destination.
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.
“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
Pulsating Paula tapped TSY with her eye-popping photographic archive of the New Jersey bike and tattoo crowd she shot back in the ’80s & ’90s. These images speak of authenticity, grit, and good times. Looking at these raw, honest shots what speaks to me is that life itself is f’ing good, if you have the nuts to truly go out and live it. It’s not the stuff. You need to show up, be authentic, truly appreciate family & friends, where you are and what you have. When you do that you realize you have all you need.
“Born in Jersey City. Moved to New Brunswick when I was 8. Got married to my first lay in 1973. 10 years later he bought me a camera, a Canon AE1. I still have it. Started taking photos of biker parties and tattoo events. Sent them into ‘Biker Lifestyle’ magazine who later Paisano publications took over. They came out with ‘Tattoo’ magazine first of it’s kind ever. Between the Biker and Tattoo magazines I had thousands of photos published. The 10 minute set up of my photography studio consisted of 2 flood lights that burnt the shit out of any poor person in front of them, and a 6×9 foot black cloth I got from Kmart that was tacked onto a wall. Never considered myself professional ever. I just loved doing it with every fiber in my body. I know the wonderful people I met and places I been in this journey will live on forever in my photographs. I’m so glad I was there with you.” –Paula Reardon (aka Pulsating Paula)
Photographer, Jim Marshall, stated the this shot of Johnny Cash warming up for his 1969 concert at San Quentin Prison is, “probably the most ripped off photograph in the history of the world… There was a TV crew behind me and John was on the side of the stage. I said ‘John, let’s do a shot for the warden.’” Well, that was all the motivation Johnny Cash needed to look straight into Marshall’s lens and emphatically flip him the bird.
The first prison concert Johnny Cash ever played was at San Quentin back on January 1, 1958. Little did Johnny know that In the audience was a young man from Bakersfield, CA who’d go on to become a Country Music star in his own right with the hit Okie from Muskogee — Merle Haggard. People talk a lot about New Year resolutions, but for Merle this would be the real deal — he decided to straighten out his act, and try to carve out a music career for himself like Johnny Cash. And he did, even appearing later on The Johnny Cash Show twice. Just goes to show that wherever you are, and whatever you’re facing, never stop believing that you can turn things around.
A collection of TSY’s favorite vintage pinup beauties in awkward Thanksgiving shots, because WTF really wants to watch that parade on TV one more time…
Marilyn Monroe as vixen pilgrim, circa 1950
“Style is one of those things that’s nearly impossible to define and even harder to quantify, but when you see someone with style nothing could be more obvious. These photographs and films were shot for FLAUNT magazine’s denim issue. I was looking to shoot a fashion story that had some movement, because to me style is about so much more than how you accessorize, it’s about how you move and how you carry yourself.
A while back I saw some shaky footage of some gals trick-riding at a rodeo and was really captivated by it. It was beautiful, strange, athletic and dangerous. That’s a pretty good starting point for interesting pictures, so earlier this year a small crew of us travelled to the Riata Ranch which is at the base of the Sierras in a small town called Three Rivers. There we shot some of the best trick riders on the planet dressed in an eclectic mix of denim, bondage gear, shearling, fur and leather. Thanks to everyone who helped out, the Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls and Flaunt.”
Denim Style — Participant at the 1st Annual Pendine Sands Hot Rod Races wearing Lee jeans. Photography © Horst Friedrichs
Horst A. Friedrichs’ thoughtful photographic curation of British style continues with his latest release Denim Style. The foreword written by Kelly Dawson, co-founder of Dawson Denim, traces the origin of denim (one of the world’s most honest, durable, and coveted fabrics) back over a thousand years ago to the dye houses of Japan, where the art of Aizome (dyeing with the fermented leaves of the indigo plant) began. The Japanese later learned to grow cotton and began weaving by hand. From there she traces the lineage of denim across France, Italy, and Britain. We so often think of denim as the quintessential American fabric, which for us it is, but many countries and cultures shared in the evolution and passion that gave us the fabric that has touched all of our lives. I mean really, who doesn’t have a favorite pair of jeans?
Leave a comment here about your favorite pair of jeans and I’ll select one submission that will receive a copy of Denim Style signed by Horst A. Friedrichs himself.
RHINEBECK GRAND NATIONAL SUPER MEET, RHINEBECK, NY by Chris Logsdon
I first heard of The Rhinebeck Grand National Super Meet on a cold February day from a silver-haired New Yorker in a west side deli, “…Great bike show, small town just north of Hyde Park. You gotta go,” he said. Four months later I would experience it for myself on the back of my Triumph Legend. After three hours of riding picturesque Route 9 in Upstate New York, I turned into the open fields of the Dutchess County Fairgrounds where the weekend-long meet has taken place each year since 2007.
Among the hundreds of antique motorcycle parts vendors, motorcycles and collectibles for sale, previous years highlights included the Antique Motorcycle Timeline which displayed extremely rare motorcycles from the turn of the century all the way to up 1972, The Wall of Death Motorcycle Show, The Evel Knievel Traveling Exhibit, as well as The Antique Machinery, Tractor and Truck show.
This is the one event that I seriously regret missing this year!
Dirtquake USA, brought to you by See See Motorcycles & Sideburn Magazine is the self-described “…go fast, turn left celebration made for anyone and everyone with motorcycle unfit for the half-mile Castle Rock Dirt Circle. A spectacle that cannot be unseen, an event that will leave you trembling in anticipation as world class racers compete in four uncommon categories: Inappropriate Road Bike; Street Tracker; Kitchen Sink; and everyone’s favorite Chopper Flat Track.”
Check out the amazing recap film by Ray Gordon’s Throttled Films which somehow captures the spirit of the event that to me feels like the epic The Bad News Bears bike scene on Rocket Fuel. “It sure was a hoot, and I can’t believe we pulled it off! I don’t think a group of people could’ve had more fun. It’s just impossible.” ~ Ray Gordon
(Do not miss the 4:00 mark…)