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Julian Lennon, Nancy Wilson Celebrate ‘The Art of Women’ Exhibit at Diltz’ Morrison Hotel Gallery

New Paths for Beloved Artists Theme of the Night

By DONNA BALANCIA

Julian Lennon and Nancy Wilson were on hand to celebrate The Art of Women, a photo exhibit at Morrison Hotel Gallery Thursday night.

Super selfies: Julian Lennon and Timothy White - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Super selfies: Julian Lennon and Timothy White – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Women on Display

The event was co-hosted by Nancy and gallery co-owner Timothy White at the Sunset Marquis-based showroom. Nancy is depicted in some of the remarkable portrait photography on display.

Both Nancy and Julian are busy, going in new directions. Julian has just released a children’s book and Nancy has been working a new band called the Roadcase Royales. But both took the time to stop and pay honor to the women of music and film as photographs of everyone from Audrey Hepburn to Stevie Nicks are hanging at the West Hollywood gallery.

Henry Diltz, Timothy White, Geoff Bywater and Nancy Wilson have a heart to heart – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Nancy Wilson on Tour?

Nancy was accompanied by her husband Geoff Bywater, who said the two have been enjoying a life that is incredibly busy, with blended families, family pets and entertainment projects. There may even be a tour in the works for 2018, we’re told.

Gallery owners Henry Diltz and Timothy were socializing with a good turnout of friends, benefactors and journalists during an evening of amazing photography and stories.

Art lovers from all over Hollywood attended the opening - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Art lovers from all over Hollywood attended the opening – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Julian on The ‘Why’ Years

As for Julian, his latest project is his children’s book which he says he created because he wants to reach families and open a dialogue about our world today.

“It’s been beautifully illustrated and has an educational message,” Julian said. “It’s aimed at 3- to 6-year olds, which many say are the ‘Why?’ years, ‘Why is the sky blue,’  ‘Why is the ocean dirty,’ so it’s about striking up a conversation with the kids today and the parents so they consider everything they’re dealing with in the future. And to imprint what the state of the world is right now, let’s hope it’s not too late as it is,” he said.

Julian said the book was a natural progression of his outreach and compliments his work in other media and the work of his foundation.

Julian Lennon wants families to have conversation - Photo ˙© 2017 Donna Balancia

Julian Lennon wants families to have conversation – Photo ˙© 2017 Donna Balancia

“I think after writing songs and having done documentaries and having started a foundation the only thing missing was reaching the children,” he said. “It was actually the co-writer Bart Davis who said ‘What do you consider then,’ and it seemed like the most natural thing to do.

Julian’s foundation is going strong.

“We deal with a lot of issues,” Julian said. “We have a couple of main causes like clean drinking water, it’s health and education and the protection of indigenous cultures and their land. Those are key elements. Occasionally we do other projects with other organizations like Music For Relief, so we work with a lot of different organizations. When they need help we help them and visa versa It’s all about teamwork in that field no question.”

Nancy Wilson shows off a cherished photo of herself in Heart - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Nancy Wilson shows off a cherished photo of herself in Heart – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Morrison Hotel Gallery continues to bring a cool crowd to the Sunset Marquis for its events. Over the last few years the gallery has hosted the works of everyone from Diltz and other fine rock photographers to Jamie Hince of The Kills, Patty Boyd and many others.

Morrison Hotel Gallery has locations in New York, Miami and on Maui.

Music Photographer Henry Diltz Has Hundreds of Album Covers And Now He has a Lucie Award

Henry Diltz

Henry Diltz

By DONNA BALANCIA – Photographer Henry Diltz will be honored next week with a prestigious Lucie Award for his work in Rock Photography.

Diltz said he never expected to be honored for his career.  After all, photography is something he just loves to do and that is reward enough.

“Being a photographer is a solo thing, the actual act of doing it, that is,” the 77-year-old Diltz said. “It’s not like being a opera singer or circus star or a rock star. You don’t get the applause. It’s something you do alone over the years.”

But as the photographer who has shot some of the most famous record albums of our era, the award is well-deserved. The Lucie Awards are given each year to exemplary photographers who make a mark in their respective fields.

“I’m aware that people have read my name,” Diltz said. “In the 1970s I noticed I did a few album covers and sold more than a million records, a million people read my name. Yes your name does get out there.”

Jackson Browne - Photo © Henry Diltz

Jackson Browne – Photo © Henry Diltz

Among some of his famous subjects are Crosby, Stills and Nash, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and many others. These days, Diltz continues to shoot but he has started to take stock in his images — and those of other photographers — as he is a curator and co-owner of Morrison Hotel Gallery located in New York, Los Angeles and Nashville.

“Around the turn of the century, Peter Blachley my partner at Morrison Hotel Gallery said, ‘You must have quite an archive.’  And I thought, ‘Archive – that sounds too professional. I don’t like the sound of that.’  But I do have a lot of cardboard boxes. People would ask, ‘Are you a professional photographer?’  I thought, no, I do it because I love it.  But then, I thought, I have supported myself for more than 50 years, put kids through school on the money I’ve made, so I suppose I am a professional.”

Diltz said his career as a documentary photographer started during the down time musicians experience between gigs.  He was playing in the band, Modern Folk Quartet in the 1960s when he picked up a camera and it stuck.

01 Jun 1973, Probably California, USA --- Neil Young Playing Guitar --- Image by © Henry Diltz/CORBIS

01 Jun 1973, Probably California, USA — Neil Young Playing Guitar — Image by © Henry Diltz/CORBIS

“In the ’60s and ’70s a lot of your life was hanging out,” Diltz said. “As a musician you’re hanging out. And musicians know how to hang out. You’re not doing anything productive, just passing time enjoying life. So as we were hanging out, I was taking their pictures incidentally.  In doing that to all of my friends, it taught me to be a documentary  photographer. I was only doing it because it was fun.

“I picked up the camera in March of 1966.  During all that time, I was exploring life. I did something else equally good, and that was to write down things I’ve heard. I have stacks and stacks of notes, I don’t write the whole conversation, I’d just be like ‘Wow, that is so great what you just said.'”

Diltz was the official photographer for Woodstock, the Monterey and Miami Music Festivals and was the photographer to document the burgeoning music scene in Laurel Canyon in the 1960s. He left Laurel Canyon when he got married, had kids and moved to the valley.

As for how he manages his inventory of life, he has tried to stay current with the most modern technology.

Henry Diltz

The photographs of Henry Diltz have graced millions of album covers – The Doors

“I always used color slides, for those there were no negatives. Say you work for a record company they want all those. With digital you can keep some also. I have a ’32-trillabyte’ external hard drive.”

His conversation is just as creative as his photography process, which legend has it is a fluid experience as simple as pulling the car over on the side of the road when inspiration strikes.

With the well-known Crosby Stills and Nash couch shoot, the group and Diltz were driving around waiting for inspiration to hit, when they found the white frame house with a couch in the front.  They set up shop and took some photos.  They realized the musicians were not in the right order and went back shortly after the shoot to simply re-arrange the guys on the couch.  The house was razed and the couch was gone.

Henry Diltz

Re-shoots on the CSN album were not to be: When the group returned, the house — and couch — were gone – Album cover by Henry Diltz

Life is not as glamorous as it appears for music photographers today as they deal with more and more issues of control, Diltz said.

“Unfortunately, unscrupulous people could make a poster out of the image and the group has no control,” Diltz said.  “As for limiting photographers to shooting the first three songs of a set, I’m not so sure why they have to do that. Maybe they want to look good or they don’t want the photographer to make a poster and make money.  That’s why they started saying ‘sign this contract.’

“But as a photographer I hate that,” Diltz said. “And I did go along and have those concerns for the first 30 or 40 years of my career. Now as a gallery owner I understand the pictures we sell are not usually taken on stage. It’s the backstage pictures that are interesting, a publisher said to me, ‘I want to see Neil Young in socks and underwear.'”

The art of the rock photograph is to capture “the seeing and the hearing,” Diltz said. “Music is the soundtrack to our life. We all have songs to bring us back to memories. As soon as you hear a song you remember. We also have eyes to see, if we’re not there at the concert another way to see the show is in magazines.

The Monkees - Photo © Henry Diltz

The Monkees – Photo © Henry Diltz

“Photography is an adjunct to hearing the music, if you can’t go to a show, you can appreciate through the photos,” Diltz said.

As for those starting out, Diltz said, “Just photograph everything you can.  Take pictures of your family, take pictures of the cat, take pictures of your friends who play in bands. I photographed my friends in bands so that on the weekend we could have a slide show.  I took photos because I wanted to entertain my friends with a slide show on the weekend.”

Morrison Hotel Gallery To Represent at The 2015 Photo Contemporary

MHG: A Relaxed Respite for Snappers and Songsters

By DONNA BALANCIA, WEST HOLLYWOOD — The Morrison Hotel Gallery — one of Los Angeles’ most respected photo galleries — has become the place to see iconic photos by rock’s most talented artists.

From May 1-3, the Morrison Hotel Gallery will participate in the 2015 Photo Contemporary Art Fair, at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood.

Morrison Hotel Gallery - Peter Blachley, Alison Mosshart, Jamie Hince, Henry Diltz

Jamie Hince’ photo gallery show celebrated by pals Alison Mosshart, Peter Blachley and Henry Diltz – Photo © Donna Balancia

Former recording executive Peter Blachley and his team have taken a passion for music and turned it into a visual tribute to some of Rock and Roll’s greatest musicians and photographers.

The music afficionado should be happy for Blachley’s passion.

Morrison Hotel Gallery, which has locations in New York and Los Angeles, hosts a range of exhibits and openings, and works by the most well-known names in music grace its walls.

Founded by music executives Blachley and Richard Horowitz, and esteemed photographer Henry Diltz, Morrison Hotel Gallery has succeeded in part because of relationships.  And if the warm-hearted founders continually add new friends the their illustrious list of famous pals.

The Morrison Hotel Gallery has hosted events featuring rare photos from musicians and photographers including Stevie Nicks, Danny Clinch, Lynn Goldsmith and other noted artists.

One recent event featured Jamie Hince of The Kills, whose exhibit, Echo Home, reflects his well-traveled life as founder of the beloved and creative musical group.

Morrison Hotel Gallery Peter Blachley, Alison Mosshart, Jamie Hince, Henry Diltz

Peter Blachley, Alison Mosshart, Jamie Hince, Henry Diltz at Morrison Hotel Gallery – Photo © 2014 Donna Balancia

Blachley’s relationships and his partnerships — in particular, his friendships with photographers like partner Diltz — have been key to success.

“We have plans to expand and we want to always have a presence in the art community,” said Blachley, a San Francisco native. “We’ll be at Art Basel in Miami this year and we really like Nashville.”

Morrison Hotel Gallery is well-known among photographers and musicians and Blachley said a goal is to make the gallery the resource for collectors of photographic works.

Morrison Hotel Gallery Peter Blachley, Alison Mosshart, Jamie Hince, Henry Diltz

Peter Blachley, Alison Mosshart, Jamie Hince, Henry Diltz at Morrison Hotel Gallery – Photo © Donna Balancia

Blachley’s fiance, Susan Brandt brings her flair for fun, and love for working with charitable groups to the gallery.

She works with the group Rational Animal and ties the charity into various events, like the Echo Home which helped to raise money for the animals.  Hince and The Kills bandmate Alison Mosshart support the charity.

“It’s a great cause and we’re happy to help,” Hince said at the VIP reception at Morrison Hotel Gallery Saturday night following the band’s Halloween performance at the LA Forum.

Few are fortunate enough in life to blend their passion and their work and earn a living at it.  In addition to always planning events and exhibits for the gallery Blachley and his Morrison Hotel Gallery group have other passions.

Blachley recorded an album, Nevada Sky, that was featured in East Coast Rocker.   READ THE REVIEW HERE

 

 

Tom Morello Tears Down ‘Velvet Rope’ for Social Justice with Jackson Browne

Tom Morello photo by Donna Balancia

Tom Morello photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA

HOLLYWOOD — With veteran rockers like David Crosby and Graham Nash and Jackson Browne, and up-and-comers like La Santa Cecilia and Rocky Dawuni, The Concert For Social Justice was one of the most inspiring concerts of the year.

It wasn’t the encore of “This Land Is Your Land,” that did it, although a concert finale that gathers Melissa Etheridge, Tom Morello and a bevy of actors and audience members to sing a well-known second-grade song is rousing.

The Concert For Social Justice at The Fonda Theatre last Wednesday night brought together a diverse group of people who want to deliver the message through song.  And it’s inspiring that singing out a message isn’t banned in our country yet. 

Jackson Browne - photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Jackson Browne – photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

After all, as our First Amendment rights and every day habits are being taken away by corporate greed and government mismanagement, it’s amazing we are allowed to gather and sing about pretty much whatever we want.  We still have that.

It’s rewarding to know how many people donate their time for a cause.  Billy Ray Cyrus, Martin Sheen, Chad Lowe, Alfre Woodard were among the actors who participated in the show.  The show was produced by RFK Human Rights and The GRAMMY Museum.

Both are both super organizations that do plenty for others, like putting on this concert that benefits the organizations’ joint K-12 education program, Speak Up Sing Out: Songs of Conscience.  The program invites middle-school and high-school students to write songs about social justice issues.

Melissa Etheridge - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Melissa Etheridge – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

And of course, the fans and VIPs who packed The Fonda Theatre and for the most part, it was a nice-looking group of well-heeled Californians.

And to have The Fonda Theatre on a Wednesday night is great, but remember, at the Fonda, you “can’t go in and out,” of the front entrance.  Even if you leave your cell phone in the taxi.  But that’s another story.

The audience was comprised mostly of those who were just old enough to go to the record store and buy Crosby Still Nash and Young’s Deja Vu album.  And since 1970, the year the album was released, many things have changed.  For one thing, while amply capable, the once-foursome is now most often Crosby and songwriter Nash who perform “Teach Your Children.”   In addition to the obvious absences of Neil Young and Stephen Stills, on the original recording, the late, great Jerry Garcia performed steel pedal.

David Crosby - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

David Crosby – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

One original from the album remains the same.  The superbly kind and professional Henry Diltz was on hand to photograph the concert.  Deja Vu is among Diltz’ more than vast portfolio of work dating back to the 1960s.  He is co-owner with Peter Blachley and Rich Horowitz of The Morrison Hotel Galleries in New York City, West Hollywood and the new location at the W Hotel in Hollywood.

Morello riled up the audience telling them to “take down the velvet rope” that separates the audience by class, and ticket price.  It probably isn’t a great feeling to be on stage and see a wall-to-wall 3-foot gap between the photographers in the pit and the adoring audience.  So Morello encouraged the audience to break down at least some barrier in their lives.  Even as a symbolic gesture it caused a rush of people to the front and a lot more happy faces.

La Santa Cecilia photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Students and Actors like Alfre Woodard perform spoken word – photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Etheridge sang some fun ones including her well-known “Bring Me Some Water,” and hosted her own secret confessions, telling the audience that she is a lesbian and she is in favor of legalizing pot.

Produced by RFK Human Rights and The GRAMMY Museum — and sponsored by 88.5 KCSN — The Concert For Social Justice featured veterans, but was really about enabling young musicians to find and create their messages for social change through songwriting.  It’s a wonderful initiative, and Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Bobby Kennedy, is the driving force.

Kennedy — with Bob Santelli, executive director of The GRAMMY Museum, at her side — thanked Browne profusely for his help, his time and his ability to gather like-minded artists to perform for the cause.  Of course, Browne looks great and is going on tour to promote his album Standing In The Breach.  He is a mellow presence among the group of fun rabble rousers.

And while headlined by Browne, Etheridge, Morello, and Crosby and Nash, the spotlight was on young artists like Rocky Dawuni and La Santa Cecilia.

Dawuni was impressive with his friendly demeanor and endearing efforts to get the audience to repeat his reggae chorus.  He is cool and his style is energetic and uplifting.

La Santa Cecilia - photo by Donna Balancia

La Santa Cecilia – photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

La Santa Cecilia is a treat with their colorful performance and up tempo music that combines beats from different regions and a style that mixes jazz, rock, tango and bolero. The band won a GRAMMY Award in 2014 for Best Latin Rock Album.

But the members of La Santa Cecilia were not the youngest people on the stage.

Jade Rhodes from the Brentwood School in Los Angeles was the first winner of the RFK Human Rights Speak Up Sing Out Music Contest and she brought the house to tears with her song, “Invisible.”  Written, and performed at the piano on Wednesday by Rhodes, “Invisible,” is based on how she imagines an immigrant student may feel in a new school.

And after Etheridge, Crosby and Nash, Morello, Browne, Dawuni and La Santa Cecilia and the actors all took the stage for the finale of “This Land Is Your Land,” Rhodes stepped up, front and center, and sang the loudest of them all.

Now that’s inspiring.

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