Posts Tagged ‘Photographers’

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One More For 2011…The Final ON THE SCENE Of The Year

November 20, 2011

I am determined, doggedly , to end 2011 on a high note with an original December ON THE SCENE to remember.

We are booking artists as we speak and within a week or so I should be able to let you  know the interview line-up. There’s an Academy Award winner on the to-get list who I would love to interview so stay tuned.

And, this past week I found out that the most popular ON THE SCENE episode of 2011 which features interviews with Darlene Love and photographer Timothy White, will receive a special encore spin and I’ll know the date later this week.

That was such a great episode because Darlene Love was fresh from learning that she would be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. For me, it was the ideal interview: an extraordinary talent at an emotional,  pivotal moment in life reflecting on all the pivotal moments that got her to where she is today. (You can watch it by clicking the credits page of http://www.johnbathke.com) And Timothy White, well, he is the most prolific photographer of movie posters and billboards and celebrity portraits. And with that comes a wealth of stories about shooting Hollywood’s A-list. We shot this piece at his massive studio in Midtown. Together, Love and White were a fascinating combination.

So check back soon there’s a lot to coming up to tell you about.

 

 

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Baron Wolman And The Rolling Stone Years

August 6, 2011

I know it’s been a great interview when I feel lighter after we’ve finished. It happens when I interview an artist for “ON THE SCENE” who inspires me, or makes me laugh, or just happily shares their insights and passion for what they do. That’s what I experienced today when I interviewed photographer Baron Wolman.

Wolman was the original chief photographer of “Rolling Stone” magazine in the late 1960s.  He photographed the genesis of musicians who became rock icons including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia and Tina Turner.  Wolman is a natural born storyteller, animated and willing to vividly take you inside his photo sessions like they happened yesterday.

I interviewed him in a break from his book signing in Westwood, New Jersey for his just published, “The Rolling Stone Years,” 175 pages of photographs but what I love more, it includes the story behind the picture.

Wolman and I lamented how difficult it is between artist management and publicists and sometimes restrictive venues to get access to properly document and produce  unique artist portraits (in my case, journalistic profiles).  Then he asked me, “let’s see, how should I sign your book?” I thought for a minute and answered, “how about ‘here’s to all access?”  He loved it and that’s how he signed it, I guess that is our common ground.  Can’t wait to take it all in page by page.

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The “Lost Bohemia” Of Carnegie Hall

May 26, 2011

A documentary doesn’t have to be technically perfect, but if it has compelling personalities and is emotionally honest, well,  those stories win me over every time.

“Lost Bohemia” is one of those documentaries, now playing in a limited release.

It chronicles the accomplished, eccentric, spirited singers, dancers, photographers, musicians, actors and myriad other artists who lived and worked in studios located above Carnegie Hall…some for 40 years and longer.

Until, Carnegie Hall wanted them out.

Photographer Josef Astor, one of the residents, started filming his most colorful fellow tenants after he moved into the studios in the 1980s. He didn’t know then that 20 years later they would all be embroiled in a landlord-tenant dispute with Carnegie Hall that would last several years and result in each and every artist being evicted. Despite a charter by Andrew Carnegie himself providing for artist space above the incredible hall.

The documentary is worthwhile if only to see the charismatic photographer Editta Sherman, who held out as the last tenant until age 97 or so.

I saw the doc Sunday at IFC on 6th Ave and  I was reminded how this story has played out again and again: artists, who find affordable space and a supportive community, end up getting kicked out when there’s just too much profit to be made or efficiencies to be had, by the corporate ownership.

For at least three years I covered the battle between artists working (and a few living) in a warehouse on the waterfront of Jersey City, New Jersey. 111 First Street. I was there covering the case so much, in fact, I got asked by a couple artists  if I wanted to move in “off the lease.” But that would have put me in a conflict of interest.  But it was an intriguing idea.

In the 111 First Street saga, the warehouse was in terrible shape, a relic of the city’s industrial past and of no use except to the artists who did flourish in the gigantic studios and cavernous exhibit spaces. And it was located in a part of town no investor wanted to touch for decades. Until the 1990s when the local economy took off and 111 First Street became prime real estate for posh waterfront redevelopment.

So, the fight was on with the owners wanting the artists out and the artists claiming the demolition and gleaming hi-rise planned for the site went against the city’s arts district master plan.

It ended as well for the 111 First Street artists as it did for the ones in Carnegie Hall. In March 2005, I was there as the very last tenant turned in his keys and told the manager he hoped the big hi-rise someday collapsed on her head. Or something like that.

What makes “Lost Bohemia” stand out is the larger than life personalities of the artists whom most of us would never have known without this film. Some died over the years of filming.

I wonder how many artists are living this same story in cities and towns across the country right now?

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Elizabeth Taylor And ON THE SCENE This Weekend

March 25, 2011

With the death of Elizabeth Taylor, we’re presenting an ON THE SCENE encore of our interview with paparazzi, Ron Galella.

Galella shot Taylor for decades, most frequently during her marriages to Richard Burton, and often to the couple’s great chagrin.

But his stories of his encounters with Burton are fascinating and with the current interest in Taylor and her relationships, it’s an appropriate time to have another look at Galella’s work.

Tune in March 26, 27th, 7 AM, 12 PM, 4:30 PM each day for a revealing look through the paparazzi lens of Ron Galella.

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Darlene Love And The Rock Hall Of Fame

March 12, 2011

Monday night when a group of iconic figures are inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, I think no one in the bunch will be more appreciative of the moment than Darlene Love.

If you follow ON THE SCENE and my blog you know that I interviewed her a few days after she found out that she would be inducted.

“It’s like winning the Oscar, the Grammy, the Tony altogether, that’s what it’s like for me to get into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame” she told me as she choked up with emotion.

Love is 69 years old, she’s been performing professionally since she was in high school, and spent nearly the first half of her career as a back up singer in the studio and on the road for Cher, Dionne Warwick, Tom Jones and Bette Midler, who will induct her into the Hall of Fame.

Love is one of the few singers who can receive a lifetime achievement type award, perform at the ceremony, and not sound like her lifetime of achievements are behind her. Her voice is strong, vibrant, and contemporary.

It’s interesting how many people have emailed or spoken to me since the ON THE SCENE interview aired…a friend of mine who grew up in Greenwich Village remembers her shows at the Bottom Line, another friend would go see her Christmas show at Rainbows and Stars, another loved her on Broadway in “Hairspray.”

Because of the interest in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, the ON THE SCENE episode featuring my interview with Love (and also celebrity photographer Timothy White) will get an encore presentation this weekend, March 12th and 13th at 8 AM, 1 PM and 11:30 PM each day.

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New Features On The Site

February 23, 2011

Many of you who are new to my blog find me through online searches for stars or shows that I have interviewed or am writing about. Take a minute to click on my homepage and you’ll find some video just added including new bonus features with singer Darlene Love and celebrity and movie poster photographer, Timothy White.

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ON THE SCENE Encore

February 16, 2011

The most recent ON THE SCENE episode featuring my interviews with singer Darlene Love and celebrity and movie poster photographer Timothy White, will have an encore presentation this weekend.

Tune in Saturday the 19th at 8 AM, 1PM or 11:30 PM and Sunday the 20th at 8 AM or 1PM.

And check my blog archive for the back story on both interviews.

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Record Hits To The Blog…And The Show Goes On

January 24, 2011

Not only did you watch ON THE SCENE this weekend…the blog set an all time record for views. I guess everybody was looking for more about what they’d seen and that’s cool.

If you missed Darlene Love and Timothy White, I’m hoping we get a timeslot for an encore of this show soon. But for now, the work starts again on the next episode, more interviews, more stars and more of those fascinating artists you haven’t heard of…but won’t forget once we introduce them to you ON THE SCENE.

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ON THE SCENE: Baby’s Got Back Story

January 22, 2011

So you are watching this weekend…blog hits are spiking after ON THE SCENE airs, thanks for that. I appreciate it.

Since a lot of you are coming here for more on the show I wanted to give a little more behind the scenes info and give my impressions of the artists who are on this weekend: Darlene Love and Timothy White.

There were many unknowns for me going into both interviews because I had never met Love or White, had seen very little video of them, and until I sat down to interview Love, never had the chance to speak to her. That’s not uncommon for a tv interview, but I just didn’t have a sense of her personality.  I had read Love’s autobiography the weekend before the interview.

I knew immediately Darlene Love came ready to talk and reveal. The expression on her face is open, she’s vibrant, friendly, and on a high with her upcoming induction into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. As I say in my previous post, what locks her in for me is the up and down story of her career, all those almost-but-not-quite big breaks, trying to emerge from being a background singer to stand in the light. All those things the rest of us can relate to in our own lives. Three things I am hearing about her from people who have seen the show: she looks amazing at 69 years old, her voice sounds stronger now than on her early recordings, and her story about gun-toting Phil Spector shooting up the bathroom at A&M Records has people stunned.

I reached Timothy White about three weeks ago, I got his email from someone we have in common. I had just recently become aware of White’s photographs. He called me and we had a short conversation and that’s when I asked him to be on the show. But he asked one question that stood out.

“Is this going to be sound bites or a conversation?”

I’ve heard the question before and it’s a dead give-away…he’s no doubt had bad interviews in the past, or a disinterested interviewer just wanting to get it over with, or felt pressured to synthesize his thoughts into 10 second snippets to make the editing easy.

“It’s a conversation,” I assured him. “I want to hear about why you decided to be a photographer, your relationship with the camera and of course stories about the celebrities you’ve shot, people are very interested in that.”

The studio you see in my show is his work space on 54th Street. It’s where he keeps his digital and analog archive (that’s what’s in the rows and rows of metal file cabinets you see behind me at one point.)

I think it’s a fascinating juxtaposition…here’s Darlene Love whose career didn’t go as she wanted for decades….she ended up working as a maid after 20 years in show business. And Timothy White, a success since he was in his 20s…one of the most prolific celebrity photographers in the United States, a Hollywood insider with a lucrative specialty in shooting movie posters. I understand his success, now. Besides his talent for photography, he has a way of connecting with people one on one, and an engaging energy that the stars he shoots respond to.

If my tv station is available on your cable system, you also have access to  its premium website http://www.news12.com where I have another blog, and there’s video posted there of Darlene Love describing the role Bruce Springsteen played in her getting into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.

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ON THE SCENE Star Power

January 22, 2011

Everywhere you look there’s a star on this weekend’s ON THE SCENE. In person, and in photographs.

The show features my interviews with singer Darlene Love and celebrity and movie poster photographer, Timothy White.

We taped the interview with Love just a few days after she got word she’s being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame…her dream come true.

“It’s like winning the Oscar, the Tony, the Grammy, all together, that’s what I feel about getting into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame,” she told me as tears welled up in her eyes and her voice cracked with emotion.

Her life story is what compels me  most and it’s a story for all of us who didn’t peak at age 23, who have faced roadblock after roadblock and pushed our way around them, and who keep setting goals…and celebrating hard earned successes.

Timothy White photographs Hollywood’s A-list…Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson and just about every other star you can think of.  We interviewed him at his studio on 54th Street and every drawer he opens has another celebrity photo inside and another fascinating story behind getting “the shot.”

So if you’re local tune in January 22nd and 23rd at any of these times: 6:30 AM, 9:30 AM, 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM either day…the show must really have star power to get that much air time!