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COOL PEOPLE – Grateful Dead reuniting for 50th-anniversary shows and iconic photos by Jim Marshall


Grateful Dead reuniting for 50th-anniversary shows
By Todd Leopold, CNN
Updated 1549 GMT (2349 HKT) January 16, 2015

141017123036-greatful-dead-sf-horizontal-large-galleryThe Grateful Dead in San Francisco in the 1960s. From left, Bill Kreutzmann, Bob Weir, Ron McKernan, Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh.

Story highlights
The Grateful Dead is reuniting for three concerts
The legendary rock group formed 50 years ago in San Francisco
(CNN)The Grateful Dead is planning on making one final splash — or should that be “Ripple”?

The venerable San Francisco band is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its formation with a three-day stand at Chicago’s Soldier Field on July 3, 4 and 5, it said in a news release. The band’s last concert took place there 20 years ago.

The four original surviving members — Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir — will take part, along with Phish’s Trey Anastasio and longtime Dead pal Bruce Hornsby. Keyboardist Jeff Chimenti is also participating.

Guitarist Jerry Garcia died in 1995. The band has also lost other members, including Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, a singer, organist and harmonica player who died in 1973, and keyboardist Keith Godchaux, who died in 1980.

Many of Jim Marshall’s photographs have become iconic, but even more — such as those from the book “The Haight” — have rarely been seen. Here, Jimi Hendrix is shown playing in San Francisco’s Winterland ballroom, 1968.

Grateful Dead: The Long Strange Trip Begins

You can’t talk about Jim’s massive and influential coverage of seminal San Francisco bands without focusing on his work with the Grateful Dead.

And you don’t have to be a Deadhead, Fellow Traveler, Merry Pranskter, aging hippie, boomer or any other member of the gigantic global tribe that avidly follows the band — and its myriad offshoots today — to appreciate the magnitude of The Dead’s importance, then and now.

Since I, once again, came very late to the party and (full disclosure) respect but don’t exactly “get” all things Dead, I have relied on the stalwart photo research of JMPLLC archivist and Dead photographer extraordinaire in his own right Jay Blakesberg. Kudos also must go to my wonderful partner and longtime Dead fan, Dan Sullivan, for his research, insights and caption support.

According to Jay, who shot his first Grateful Dead Show at the Meadowlands in 1978 and has poured over hundreds, if not thousands, of Jim’s Grateful Dead images in the JMP archive, “The first photos of Jim’s I saw as a teenager were of the Grateful Dead playing live on Haight St. on the inside of the Live/Dead album.  So all these years later when I got a chance to look at his proofs from that concert, for example,  it was interesting to note how few shots of the band there really were among all the frames.

“I know from shooting the band so much over the years myself that you maybe had five minutes of their full attention before they would start goofing off just to torture you.  They really just didn’t care about their image much, it seemed, and so you had to be really quick and patient.  I can only imagine what it must have been like for Jim, like herding kittens or something.

“And I also think that maybe Jim was looking at the events the Dead played from a historical perspective, there were so many great shots of the crowd from the top of a Victorian.  Jim was capturing the scope of the moment even though he probably wasn’t there on assignment or getting paid.

“Did he know it was going to be viewed 30-40 years later as this incredible moment in history?  Probably not, it’s just the way he shot and he probably thought to himself,  “I’ve got enough shots of the band, I just got them yesterday.  Maybe it was sort of a ‘been there, done that’ feeling and he was more intrigued with the scene around them.”

Speaking of the scene around them in the early days, the band was nothing if not a lightning rod for authority and its more tyrannical side … as it was for all those who opposed that authority.  One of the more perfect early examples is the Dead’s 1967 drug bust at the band’s house and headquarters at 710 Ashbury St.

Here’s drummer Mickey Hart’s recollections as told toSpin magazine in a Q&A from 2009:

“Q: I recently re-read an article about the infamous drug bust at the Grateful Dead house in 1967.  What’s it like to look back on those days in San Francisco?

“A: We were kids doing what kids do — and we were set up!  Not that there wasn’t a lot of dope in the house, but the inspector actually planted the stuff that they arrested us for.  They could have gone into our cabinet and found a whole bunch of it.  We were set up, but it made us famous.  Getting busted was the best thing that ever happened to us.  We made headlines.  It certainly didn’t stop our way of life — in a way, it validated it.  We thought that these people really violated our sanctity.  We didn’t take it sitting down.  So I look back on it and go, ‘Wow, that was really fun.’ “

And here’s a link to a a rather low-fi video of the press conference where Grateful Dead manager Danny Rifkin (that’s the Dead’s manager Rock Scully to his right) makes a rather eloquent case for the band and against fear tactics.  It’s amazing this argument is still raging nearly 45 years later.

Lately It Occurs to Me


Truckin’ got my chips cashed in. Keep truckin’, like the do-dah man
Together, more or less in line, just keep truckin’ on.

Arrows of neon and flashing marquees out on Main Street.
Chicago, New York, Detroit and it’s all on the same street.
Your typical city involved in a typical daydream
Hang it up and see what tomorrow brings.

Dallas, got a soft machine; Houston, too close to New Orleans;
New York’s got the ways and means; but just won’t let you be.

Most of the cats that you meet on the streets speak of true love,
Most of the time they’re sittin’ and cryin’ at home.
One of these days they know they gotta get goin’
Out of the door and down on the streets all alone.

Truckin’, like the do-dah man. Once told me “You got to play your hand”
Sometimes your cards ain’t worth a damn, if you don’t lay’em down,

Sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me;
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me What a long, strange trip it’s been.

What in the world ever became of sweet Jane?
She lost her sparkle, you know she isn’t the same
Livin’ on reds, vitamin C, and cocaine,
All a friend can say is “Ain’t it a shame?”

Truckin’, up to Buffalo. Been thinkin’, you got to mellow slow
Takes time, you pick a place to go, and just keep truckin’ on.

Sittin’ and starin’ out of the hotel window.
Got a tip they’re gonna kick the door in again
I’d like to get some sleep before I travel,
But if you got a warrant, I guess you’re gonna come in.

Busted, down on Bourbon Street, Set up, like a bowling pin.
Knocked down, it get’s to wearin’ thin. They just won’t let you be.

You’re sick of hanging around and you’d like to travel;
Get tired of traveling and you want to settle down.
I guess they can’t revoke your soul for tryin’,
Get out of the door and light out and look all around.

Sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me;
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me, What a long strange trip it’s been.

Truckin’, I’m a goin’ home, Whoa whoa baby, back where I belong,
Back home, sit down and patch my bones, and get back truckin’ home.

The band, commonly known as “the Dead,” formed in San Francisco in 1965, part of that city’s growing rock ‘n’ roll counterculture scene along with Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company and the Charlatans. It developed a hardcore fanbase of Deadheads thanks to tireless touring and a close-knit, open-minded culture.

Its songs include “Ripple,” “Uncle John’s Band,” “Truckin’,” “Box of Rain” and “Touch of Grey.” The latter is the Dead’s only Top 10 hit.

“It is with respect and gratitude that we reconvene the Dead one last time to celebrate — not merely the band’s legacy, but also the community that we’ve been playing to, and with, for 50 years,” Lesh said in the news release. “Wave that flag, wave it wide and high.”

More information can be found at dead50.net.

The Grateful Dead and Bob Weir’s long strange trip



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Documentary on Ernest Hemingway The Writers Block Library


 Hemingway in Cuba, 1952: Portrait of a Legend in DeclineBen Cosgrove

141217-ernest-hemingway-06 141217-ernest-hemingway-05 141217-ernest-hemingway-02

That Ernest Hemingway was, for years, the most celebrated writer in America is hardly surprising. After all, if he had written nothing besides, say, The Sun Also Rises, the early collection, In Our Time, and the superlative“The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,”he would still be an indispensable American writer. The preposterous literary myth that Hemingway himself created and nurtured, meanwhile—that of the brawling, hard-drinking, thrill-seeking sportsman who is also an uncompromising, soulful artist—ensured that generations of writers would not merely revere him, but (often to their abiding detriment) would also try to emulate him.

So . . . despite what countless acolytes might claim, Hemingway was not the greatest American writer of the 20th century. He was, however—and more than five decades after his death, he remains—the single most influential, most parodied, most prominent, most immenseAmerican author of the past 100 years.

Incredibly, one of Hemingway’s most highly regarded novels, the short masterpiece, The Old Man and the Sea, was first published, in its entirety, in a single issue of LIFE magazine in September 1952.

At the time, Hemingway was—if we might employ an apt metaphor for a man who fairly worshiped machismo—the heavyweight champ of American letters. Even if his productivity had waned, and even if the searing brilliance that defined seemingly every story and novel of his early years had, by 1952, been reduced to an occasional flare of the old genius, “Papa” was still a cultural force to be reckoned with.

(A mere two years before, John O’Hara, in a New York Times review of the novel, Across the River and Into the Trees, had gone a bit overboard, calling Hemingway “the most important author living today, the outstanding author since the death of Shakespeare.” But such was the shadow he cast.)

Warranted or not, the hubbub that attended Hemingway turned any new story or, better yet, new book into a publishing event; the Old Man and the Sea LIFE issue, to absolutely no one’s surprise, was an enormous success, selling millions of newsstand copies in a matter of days. The novel itself earned Hemingway his first and only Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and remains among his most widely read works.

And yet, as anyone who has indulged an even casual interest in his career knows, by the early 1950s Hemingway’ private world was one increasingly defined not by protean artistic achievements, but by rivers of booze; bewilderment at his own diminishing powers as a writer; depression and even rage at his failing, once-indomitable health—in short, by a host of personal, relentless demons. The larger-than-life figure who prized “grace under pressure” above all other attributes was besieged; in less than a decade, his demons would drive him to suicide by shotgun.

 All of this helps explain why, when LIFE’s Alfred Eisensstaedt went to Cuba to photograph Hemingway for the September 1952 issue, he encountered not a gracious, if perhaps prickly, fellow artist and man of letters, but a thoroughly disagreeable, paranoid, booze-sodden lunatic.

Eisenstaedt was able, eventually, to capture a few usable images of the middle-aged man who was soon be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. His cover photo of Hemingway, in fact, is something of a classic: a riveting portrait of a no-longer-young, still-formidable literary lion.

But the experience of trying to photograph the 52-year-old writer, as Eisenstaedt recalled years later in an interview with historian Alex Groner, was a stressful and at times even frightening misadventure.

Hemingway, Eisenstaedt wonderingly noted, drank from the moment he awoke until the time he went to bed, with a lackey constantly plying him with booze; obsessed over his virility (sometimes literally pounding his chest, “like King Kong,” to illustrate that, while perhaps diminished, he was still a man to whom attention must be paid); erupted into violent rages over minor slights, both real and imagined; rarely spoke a sentence, to anyone, that wasn’t peppered with obscenities; and generally behaved like a buffoon.

Words and phrases that crop up repeatedly in Eisenstaedt’s reminiscences include “crazy,” “berserk,” “wild,” “insulting,” “drunk,” and “blue in the face.” Eisenstaedt found very few moments when he could take—or when Hemingway would allow him to take—usable photos. More than once, the gregarious, easy-going Eisie, who by all accounts got along famously with virtually everyone he met, went off by himself to photograph quieter scenes on the island, hoping the writer might calm down enough so that he might make a few worthwhile pictures.

“He was,” Eisenstaedt once said of Hemingway, “the most difficult man I ever photographed.” Coming from a man who was a professional photographer across seven decades—someone who photographed presidents, emperors, socially awkward scientists, testy athletes, egomaniac actors, insecure actresses and once, famously, a scowling and goblin-like Nazi minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels—coming from Eisenstaedt, that bald assertion about Hemingway is striking, and sadly revealing. And it’s especially sad in light of the effort that Eisenstaedt evidently put into trying tolike Hemingway.

Throughout his interview with Groner, for example, Eisenstaedt repeatedly, almost wistfully, refers to the man he went to Cuba to photograph—the man who thwarted his efforts at almost every turn—as “Papa.” It’s almost as if, years later, recounting his tumultuous dealings with the author, Eisenstaedt refers to Hemingway by his famous, companionable nickname in the vain hope of summoning something about the man that he can recall with fondness.

Ernest Hemingway was a major writer. Not everything he wrote was great; but some of what he wrote was as good as anything ever written by an American, and a handful of his works are, by common assent, vital and groundbreaking landmarks in world literature.

This gallery serves as both a tribute to Hemingway’s achievements, and a reminder of the haunting truth that when they fall, great men fall very, very far indeed.

Ben Cosgrove is the Editor of LIFE.com

HIGHWAY AMERICA- COLORADO CATTLE RANCHERS -Timeless Photographs Capture ‘The Simple Life’ of Colorado Cattle Ranchers


Timeless Photographs Capture ‘The Simple Life’ of Colorado Cattle Ranchers


Timelessness is a quality we all strive for in our images. It’s a quality earned, not given, through the time and effort put into conceptualizing, visualizing and capturing an image.

And when it is earned, the results are phenomenal… oftentimes winding back the clock or making time seem almost irrelevant to the image. Such is the case for the work of #Michael Crouser, a Minnesota-based photographer who has spent the past eight years documenting cattle ranching families in Colorado.


The photographs Crouser captures leave us guessing at when they were taken and what gear was used. #Monochrome, filled with distinct tones and dramatic contrast, the images seem to almost pop off the screen.

Speaking with the #Huffington Post, Crouser was asked about the lifestyles and work of the cattle ranching families he’s spent just shy of a decade documenting.

His reply, as you might expect, was that the work these families do is not for the faint of heart; however, for generations it’s all they’ve done, and therefore all they know. They will continue to live “the simple life” for as long as they can until developers begin taking the land away piece by piece.


On that note, Crouser goes on to point out that such a lifestyle probably isn’t going to be one that his subjects’ children and grandchildren will have.

“As the land in this region of Colorado becomes more valuable and practical for development than for growing hay and grazing cattle, ranching will disappear,” he tells Huff Po. “Along with these families, their operations and traditional ways of working.”

Below is a collection of images Crouser has been kind enough to share with us:














Crouser_M_Rolling Hay


To see more of Crouser’s #Mountain Ranch series, or if you’d like to browse through the rest of his portfolio, head on over to his website or give him a follow on Facebook and Tumblr.



The Beats: Previously Unpublished Larry Fink Photos

In 1958, Larry Fink — the photographer best-known today for celebrity portraits in magazines like Vanity Fair and GQ — was an 18-year-old college dropout. He moved from his native Long Island to Greenwich Village, and decided to hitchhike across the country with the second generation of Beat artists. “It was my fate to be aligned with the Beats because of my propensity for drugs, anger, and poetry,” Fink writes in The Beats, a new book of previously unpublished photography from his 1958 and 1959 travels. “Since they were second generation, without the same sense of immortal obsession such as the like of Kerouac and Ginsberg, they had a distinct need to be documented.”

Despite confessing that his traveling companions “did not like me much,” (a fact he attributes to his Marxist upbringing), Fink traveled with artists like Amiri Baraka and Hugh Romney (Wavy Gravy) from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to Houston and Mexico, and back to Chicago and Cincinnati. “They desperately needed a photographer to be with them, to give them gravity, record and encode their wary but benighted existence,” he reflects. Click through the slideshow for a look at the intimate, glamorous, and gritty photographs that resulted.

Larry Fink will speak at the Strand in New York on May 21 to celebrate the book’s release.


Born 150 Years Too Late -John Coffer

Born 150 Years Too Late -John Coffer





Coffer-crop-flip-1000x532WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW


Published: August 3, 2006


FRED R. CONRAD/The New York Times

John A. Coffer sitting for a portrait on his farm in Dundee, N.Y.

THERE are those who, on hearing that the tintype photographer John A. Coffer lives without car, phone or plumbing, might call him a Luddite. This, he insists, is not true — for one thing, he has a computer. He even has a computer room. The walls are bales of hay, the roof is tin, and the power source is a 75-watt solar panel outside in the pasture. Mr. Coffer, who lives on a 48-acre farm in the Finger Lakes, built his computer room in March. It’s lasted nicely through heavy rains and if it falls apart, Mr. Coffer says, no matter: He’s invested all of $15 in it.

You consider yourself a dedicated artist because you lived in a tenement walk-up without air-conditioning? Mr. Coffer, who is one of the few people credited with a recent revival of tintype photography, and who supports himself with the sale of his work and his tintype workshops, does not just make photographs as one did in the 1860’s, he lives, to a large extent, the way one might have in the 1860’s. (In late July, he played host to his sixth annual tintype jamboree, free of cost, for dozens of fellow aficionados.)

He spent seven years on the road with a horse and buggy, and that’s the way he still gets around. He uses an outhouse. He lives in a small log cabin, which he built. The heat in the cabin comes from a wood-burning cast-iron stove, so that everything in the cabin, including Mr. Coffer, has the soft, smoky scent of soot.

One also senses, early on, a low smoldering anger. Mr. Coffer, who, with his suspenders, straw hat, horse and buggy, is frequently mistaken for Amish, is not a mad artist in the woods, but he can be a somewhat cranky one. Asked why subjects in 19th-century photos rarely smiled, he says it is because they were dignified; it is only in recent times that people “feel they have to show their teeth like a used-car salesman.” He is annoyed with the values of modern women — an attitude which is easier to understand once you learn that his wife, after a short time in the cabin, ran off.

And while Mr. Coffer, who is 54, prides himself on living off the grid, he does not want to be lost there. Meeting a reporter for the first time, he brings his scrapbook of newspaper stories about his life on the road. Much of Mr. Coffer’s work in those days was at Civil War re-enactments, and as he flipped through his scrapbook, he said that he sometimes drove eight and a half days in his buggy to get to a site, while the re-enactors pulled up in their trucks or vans.

“You’d be surprised at how delicate some of these re-enactors are,” Mr. Coffer said.

No one could ever accuse Mr. Coffer of being delicate. His log cabin is 12 feet square. He hauls water from his well with a two-bucket yoke. He sleeps in a small loft, with sheets that scream out for an intervention. Since Mr. Coffer has no refrigerator to which he can affix photos, a few favorite tintypes cling to the cross-saws on the cabin wall.

One shows two young women Mr. Coffer met at a Civil War re-enactment a few weeks ago. They’d been bored, so he’d photographed them in their Civil War underwear — pantaloons and tops — along with a whiskey jug and gun belt that he added “to make it interesting.” Mr. Coffer is a man, it is becoming clear, who could use an online dating service, but as his computer is not connected to the Internet, some hardy woman of pioneering spirit will have to find him, taking care not to kick the chickens as she crosses the cabin threshold.

It is also clear that Mr. Coffer is a very handy fellow. His farm includes a half-dozen structures: wagon barns, outhouse, darkrooms, root cellar, all of which he built. The skull atop Mr. Coffer’s corral is what remains of White Lightning, an ox who appeared in many of his tintypes. Mr. Coffer reduced the skull to bone by placing it on an anthill.

Mr. Coffer is not opposed to all modern convenience. His solar panel charges batteries for the single bulb in his cabin and for the radio on which he listens to NPR. He keeps his expenses to the bone. His cabin cost $800, most of it for cedar shingles. The handsome claw-foot cast-iron tub near the woods, in which he bathes in fine weather, was $1. The 60-gallon cauldron that he uses to heat bath water was $20.

How often does he bathe?

Twice a week in winter, when he uses a portable aluminum tub indoors; every day in summer.

What about the sheets?

Mr. Coffer proudly led the way to a 1925 Maytag, which is outside the cabin, near the woods. The rubber wringer is corroded but the inside is fine. Mr. Coffer hauls the water from his well and hooks the Maytag up to a battery. The washer cost $15 at a farm sale.

The big question: why does Mr. Coffer choose to live like this?

“Modern living was always too fast for me,” he said. “I was not good at 20th-century living.”

He grew up in Las Vegas. His father was a magician and hypnotist; his mother was a schoolteacher who refused to marry his father until he became a responsible provider. That turned out to be never. His father gambled; both parents were hooked on diet pills. Both are now dead. Although his father was “kind of a louse,” Mr. Coffer admired his independence.

Mr. Coffer, as a young man, tried several careers: doing underwater construction on oil rigs; running a diving business; working as a studio photographer in Orlando, his subjects schoolchildren and businessmen.

“There was one approach to portraiture,” he later wrote, in a self-published book “Horsehair In My Soup: Book 1.” “The broad smile, the flash, the color prints that fade all too soon and the aura of glamour that surrounded the studio began to grate against my sensibilities. Something within me was intent at looking deeper than face level.”

Then one day, he saw an old wooden Century Number 4 camera in a shop window and knew, in an instant, that it would change his life. He bought the camera for $50 and began photographing re-enactments, soon trading in his car for a horse and buggy. He mixed his own chemicals, creating images on glass and metal plates.

It took about an hour to make a portrait, including sensitizing the plate, taking the picture, then developing, fixing, washing, drying and varnishing the plate. Subjects also had to sit unmoving for several seconds, sometimes with the aid of a neck brace. Sitting for that amount of time, it is difficult to hide one’s true face.

On the road, Mr. Coffer also found a wife.

“Big mistake,” Mr. Coffer says now. His wife had wanted adventure, but after a while she said she’d leave if they didn’t settle down. In 1985, they came to Yates County, where land was $300 an acre and an Amish community provided a support system for horse-drawn conveyances. Mr. Coffer’s wife stuck around for the building of the cabin. Then came her demands for the car and the phone, he said. Then, he said, after two years in the cabin, she ran off with Mr. Coffer’s assistant for the bright lights of Ithaca. She left him 18 years ago and Mr. Coffer hasn’t had an affair of the heart since.

“Nobody likes it up here, I guess,” he said, out in the canvas-covered darkroom in the pasture, as evening came on and with it time to milk the cow. “It’s like a monastery here, I guess.”

He could go out and try to meet a woman.

“I used to do all that, go to singles bars,” Mr. Coffer said. “It was cheap. It just wasn’t fulfilling. I don’t want to live up to other people’s expectations. I own this land, 50 acres free and clear. I’ve got a lot of money in the bank. I’ve been in galleries in New York. And yet girls go, ‘He doesn’t have a phone.’ ” Mr. Coffer rarely curses, but speaking about women, he does. They’ll chase down a guy 10 feet in debt over his head, working at some dead-end job, who’s got a phone and a car, he said angrily.

Actually, it’s probably the lack of plumbing, he was told.

“I love my outhouse,” Mr. Coffer said. “It is a little bit of a challenge in January, but I don’t linger out there.”

Also, since we’re on the subject, there’s no place inside the cabin to bathe. That claw foot tub near the trees might be okay in August, once, if a lady is feeling like doing a little nymph in the woods number, but after that, forget it. There aren’t many hippie chicks left. And Mr. Coffer is 54, and if we’re talking women his own age, they’ll be getting up in the middle of the night to hit the bathroom. Often.

Mr. Coffer was unmoved. He happens to like living as he does, he said. Conveniences like e-mail and phones end up being your master. Driving a horse and buggy, he’s not beholden to auto and gas companies.

“I was a great student of how people lived in the 19th century,” he said. “I emulate my heroes, the independence people had, the old wagons and things. It’s just more of an earthy way of moving, the natural rhythm, the poetry, the pace.”

And he headed down to the pasture, to the cows.


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