PICTURES & WORDS
Pictures & Words is the seventh in a series of artist books published by STH editions. When they contacted me and showed me the previous books, I decided to take a slightly less serious approach to mine. I was inspired by burlesque pitch books, mid-century flip books, Andy Warhol’s Index and Chris Makos’ White Trash. The left side is a flip book with dancer Eric wearing the g-string he wore at Cats in Times Square two decades ago – creating compositions that reminded me of Franz Klein paintings. The g-strings were made by a single designer for the dancers at La Escuelita, Sally’s Hideaway, Stella’s and my favorite, Cats. The g-strings were fitted perfectly to each model and had long fringe and tassels, sometimes below the knee, and were synonymous with Times Square underground male burlesque in its last years. The film illusion with sound also moves and the song I chose was “That’s the Blues old Man” by Johnny Hodges from 1940… which was adapted by Duke Ellington and the Jimmy Forrest to become Night Train – to me the seminal stripper song.
The images on the right are some of the sexiest t-shirts I own. I didn’t want them to look lifeless. I wanted them to be coming at you like you were being approached at a bar stool. Some of them have stories and all of them are originals. The New York Dolls shirt was originally owned by Jayne County. The Eagles Nest shirt, also from 1972, was worn by Oliver Rish. The Body shop shirt was a generous gift from Kitten Natividad. The Seka was purchased from Seka when I had the pleasure of meeting her in college. The Punk magazine shirt was a gift from director Charles Atlas. The Madam Adista originally belonged to muse Melody Rodgers. Both the Doctor X and BAD shirts were made famous by Debbie Harry. The Cheap Trick was my first concert shirt. The Lou Reed Transformer shirt is my all time favorite and original, and echoed in the Shake Her lounge shirt with a Tex Avery wolf. Fast Freddy and the Playboys were a 1970s male strip group that were so popular they had an LP and merchandise. The Invaders t-shirt is one of the oldest I own and is from an outlaw motorcycle gang.
The t-shirt as printed outerwear can be traced back to early hot rod culture and was quickly adopted by MC gangs and clubs. Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll is an original tour shirt for Ian Dury and the Blockheads. The Sex Machine tour shirt from the Flying Lizards is a parody of the terrible Frankie Goes to Hollywood t-shirt which was also new at the time. The Kitty’s Pleasure Palace is included because it’s the best logo.