Above: Photographer Eliot Elisofon in the Congo, 1951 (Joan Elisofon/National Museum of African Art)
Time’s passage can elevate and it can also erase. Once great men can see their fame grow as the years pass while others who were prominent in their day are practically forgotten. The latter circumstance is the unfortunate case with Eliot Elisofon, arguably a lost titan of 20th century photography. If the name does not ring a bell, you’re not alone. While Elisofon was a staff photographer for LIFE magazine during WWII and after, part of a team of luminaries like Alfred Eisenstadt and Margaret Bourke-White among others, his name is not very well known today. And that is a pity because Elisofon had an important and multifaceted career from the 1930s until his death in 1973.
American soldiers in North Africa during the Allied Tunisia Campaign, 1943 (Eliot Elisofon—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Jessica Tandy & Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire, 1947 (Eliot Elisofon—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Born on the Lower East Side of New York City in 1911, Elisofon graduated from Fordham University and promptly became a member of the socially conscious Photo League in 1936. Continue reading →
Roxy Music need no introduction, but here’s one anyway… Founded in 1971 and led by the inimitable Bryan Ferry, the band have been hugely influential on multiple genres of music spanning several generations. I mean really, how many groups or individual performers can you think of that were simultaneously influencing punk bands like the Sex Pistols and pop acts like Duran Duran? Their musical range and originality still influence artists 40 year later.
They put out several great records between 1972 and 1982, all but one of which featured album art made up of super-hot supermodels in various costumes, becoming a trademark feature of the band’s image. Individually they’re all pretty solid albums, but for my tastes the best overall Roxy Music album is actually “The Best of Roxy Music”, released in 2001. A lot of “best of” records seem to fall short, suffering from bad decision making or publishing copyright issues that seem to always leave one or two great songs off of the list. However, “The Best of Roxy Music” shines from start to finish. It is a great introduction to the band as well as a great go-to record for devoted fans. Check out the weird but genius, “Mother of Pearl” or the hard driving pop masterpiece, “Virginia Plain”. Or tune out the world and listen to the sugary sweet ballad, “Oh Yeah.” It’s all good stuff so you can’t go wrong. Get the album on iTunes, or on Amazon right here. Unfortunately this record isn’t available on vinyl, but write your Congressman and cross your fingers…you never know. And of course, if you really can’t bring yourself to buy a compilation record there’s also a great box set, including every studio album the band made. Happy listening!
Above from left: Mssrs. Jones, Watts, Jagger, Richards, and Wyman in Ireland, 1965.
One of my favourite film genres is music documentaries. They offer a fun insight into the bands, indulging us fans and giving us a glimpse of what went into a certain record or period of time in a band’s career. For me, one of the best music docs of all-time is “Charlie Is My Darling”. There have been a lot of documentary films made about The Rolling Stones over the years. From the seminal concert film “Gimme Shelter” to Robert Frank’s unreleased (but often bootlegged), down and dirty “Cocksucker Blues”, to the nearly unwatchable 2008 bloated disaster of a film by Martin Scorcese, “Shine A Light”. The Rolling Stones have had their magical career covered from every direction, but never so insightfully as in this not often seen film from 1965.
There might not be another guitar in the world that has had such a scrappy rise to fame and fortune as the Fender Jaguar. From a debut full of big hopes, to a slow decline into the cheap seats, to a meteoric resurgence that ended in a permanent place in guitar history, the Jag has had quite a ride so far. Equally loved and hated by guitar players and collectors, the Jaguar is a one of a kind guitar, and my personal all-time favourite.
Amazing condition 1965 Jaguar in very rare Charcoal Frost finish (Image from Jay Rosen)…
A Quick HIstory-
Introduced by Fender in 1962, the Jaguar came loaded with all sorts of bells and whistles, and was meant to be Fender’s new top-of-the-line model (priced accordingly higher than a Stratocaster!) For better or worse, this plan didn’t succeed. Most customers felt the Jag was a bit too flashy or weird looking, and the Stratocaster remained the king of the Fender line-up. Fender then began marketing the Jaguar largely as a “Surf Guitar”, as Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys were known for playing them at the time. They also tried to lure customers in by offering custom nitrocellulose lacquer finishes for a 5% add-on to the sticker price. But alas, even the cool finishes couldn’t do much to boost the popularity of the Jaguar. By the late 60’s the Jaguar had been relegated to the backseat of Fender’s line-up, and production of the original guitar finally ceased entirely in 1975.
Leaving the weekend in our wake on a beautiful late Summer Sunday, the Manhattan & Brooklyn Bridges and the new Freedom Tower & Downtown New York recede in one of the world’s great urban panoramas. Finally, New York City has begun to take advantage of its fantastic waterways and the stunning views they provide. For 5 bucks, you and your bike can travel to Brooklyn and Manhattan by boat and take off from there to find food, fun and adventure in the greatest city in the world. Not too shabby and beats a cab if you’ve got the time. You’ll definitely get a better tan, as well.