Category Archives: Lesbians

Ed Simmons: Dancing Girls Harvard and Stone

 

Photography and Text by Ed Simmons, Copyright 2020

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Dancing Girls Harvard and Stone

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Chuck E Weiss. Yeah, I knew that guy. The dude from that Rickey Lee Jones tune, “Chuck E’s In Love”. I was hanging around with him back in the early 80’s at Hollywood’s Club Lingeri.  I read in the LA Weekly a few years back, that Chuck E Weiss was playing a late night set at The Piano Bar on Selma Avenue in Hollywood, so I go on down to check it out.

I bet around about now, you may be wondering how in the hell does this tie into “Dancing Girls”.  Austin was the door man at the Piano Bar that night, a Nigerian with one punch biceps, tells me that on Sundays, this spot, The Piano Bar, barbecues out back, and that I should start stopping by on a regular basis with my camera. I do and we become good friends.  As a photographer, the Sunday afternoon crowd at the Piano Bar was so interesting, so friendly and open to me, but like all slices of life in LA, this ends too before long.

Austin also informed he would be working the door at a spot in East Hollywood’s Thai Town, called Harvard and Stone, that I should start showing up there,  bring the camera, Austin, a bit of a ham…likes being photographed Hollywood ya know. This spot is sorta dark, I’ve got a pretty hot camera, I figure I can hang and see what unfolds. The location is built somewhat like a Hollywood set, lots of interesting industrial architectural treatments, a couple of bars, a smoking area in the back, a stage, live music, shoulder to shoulder people,  and very hard to move around this place, no tension though, everybody’s having fun!  

 One night, I’m  hanging by the front bar at Harvard and Stone chatting it up a bit with Yale, she’s cool, mostly says she bartends at the Hollywood Roosevelt, on this nite she was just filling in. The House Band steps onto the stage and start playing this raunchy tune with a filthy beat, then out from nowhere it seems as if dancing girls started to rain down through the rafters. They start dancing across the catwalks and bar, then down on to the stage. I was shocked, well… surprised,  I didn’t have a clue and couldn’t move. This crowd was thick, shoulder to shoulder.  Hell, no one in this mob was willing to give me an inch as I clicked away.

 The show ends, so I search out Austin as the crowd begins to thin out. He sees my look and ask’s well, did you get anything good? I’m like dude, I couldn’t even move but managed to get some great shots!

Two shows go on, Friday and Saturday nights.  I found the house always full, as I worked through a few months of making images at this venue, I found a need to pre plan. Photographing these dancing girls, week to week, nite by nite I had to pick my spot. If you are a photographer in LA its best to be friendly with door men.

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Ed Simmons photographed by Bonnie Schiffman. Copyright 1972

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Studio News: Recent Vintage Print Sales

Recent Sales

 

 

STUDIO NEWS:

A pair of limited edition vintage prints from the archives of Tony Ward have been purchased for $5500.00 by a wine connoisseur based in Geneva, Switzerland. Caress. New York, 1997, a vintage gelatin silver print in the size of 16 x 20 recently sold for $3000.00.  Surrogate. New York, 1997, was sold for $2500.00. 

For information regarding print sales contact: tony@tonyward.com

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Gilles Berquet: I’ll Be Your Mirror

Exhibition Announcement: Paris

PRESS RELEASE:

Gilles Berquest: I’ll be your mirror

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43 rue de Montmorency – 45003 Paris, France

Du 2 au 30 Novembre 2019

vernissage le samedi 2 a partir de 16hr

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Bob Shell: Political Correctness

The Kiss. Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

 

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2019

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Political Correctness

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I’ve never been a particularly politically correct person. I’ve lived my life my way, caring little for the prevailing winds of intellectual fashion. Today I learned of something that really takes the cake as far as PC nonsense is concerned.

We’ve all seen the famous photo of a serviceman kissing a nurse in New York City on VJ day, the day the Japanese surrendered, ending World War II. It was a nationwide block party, with everyone carried away in jubilation. The serviceman didn’t know the nurse, actually a dental hygeinist, and his girlfriend was a bystander. He and his girlfriend were later married, and their marriage lasted until his death recently at age 95. The dental hygeinist died last year. A statue was erected in Florida a while back based on the.photo to commemorate the event. Now that statue has been vandalized with graffiti as a protest because the woman was kissed without her consent. She was interviewed multiple times, and always said she didn’t mind the kiss.

We must beware of applying today’s standards to events in the past.

The only time I’ve experienced public jubilation like that of VJ day was when I had the serendipity to be in Bonn, Germany, on October 3, 1990, German Reunification Day. I left the apartment where I was staying and went out into the streets to experience this truly once-in-a-lifetime event. I had steins of good German beer pressed on me from all sides. People were dancing in the streets and singing the German National Anthem, Deutschland uber Alles (Germany over All), at the tops of their lungs. Men were kissing women, women were kissing women, men were kissing men, and I was right in the middle of it all. I was kissed a few times and no one asked my consent. And did I care? Absolutely not! The joy was infectious, and I let myself flow with it and into it. I got very drunk that night, and I suspect, so did the New York crowds on VJ Day. So why spoil that infectious joy all these years later? If you weren’t there, you’ve no right to criticize.

The trend to apply today’s standards to people and events of the past is very disturbing. People and events of the past must be judged by their own contemporary standards. Measured by the societal mores of today, just about every hero of the past will come up wanting. We wouldn’t have this country today if not for men like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington. Patrick Henry, and so many others who wouldn’t pass muster today. But they were creatures of their times, and outstanding thinkers who fought for the freedoms most take for granted today. They did things totally unacceptable today, like suppress women and own slaves. In the modern world their behavior would be contemptible, but they were. creatures of their times.

Probably, most of us will be very much out of sync with the mores and standards seventy-four years hence. Will people of 2093 judge us by the standards of their day? I certainly hope not.

My several times great grandfather, Hugh McCracken, was a Virginia farmer. He wasn’t wealthy, but he got by. When Virginia was invaded by Union troops at the beginning of the “Civil War” he joined the 36th.Virginia Infantry to defend his homeland. Was he wrong to do so? When Virginia joined the Union, she reserved the right to leave at any time. When she decided to exrrcise that clause and leave the Union, she had as much right to do so as Britain today has to leave the European Union. I don’t expect to see Brussels sending EU troops across the Channel to force Britain back into the European Union, but that’s exactly what Lincoln did.

Luckily for me Grandfather McCracken survived the war and returned to his farm to raise a family, or I wouldn’t be here today. I’ve read his war diary, and it’s horrible. He describes scenes of dead men and horses scattered across the landscape and streams running red with their blood, and having to drink from streams with bodies in them because it was the only water. I’m proud of him for defending his home against invaders, and resent anyone portraying him as anything but a brave patriot. Would he stand up well if judged by today’s standards, more than 150 years later? Probably not, but he stands up heroic by the standards of his day, and I’m proud to be his descendant. To hell with political correctness!

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About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 11th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click here: http://tonywardstudio.com/blog/bob-shell-social-security-slavery-etc/

Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on Amazon.com . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Amazon.com.

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Elaine Walters: Fear and Age at 50

 

. Text by Elaine Walters, Copyright 2019

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Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

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Fear and Age at 50

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I feared the idea of turning 50. That number just began to hover over me around the age of 45. I sailed through my 30’s and early 40’s as if I was still a 20 year old. Those ages didn’t slow me down in the least. I felt like I had my entire life ahead of me and I had so many ideas about who I wanted to become. I lived passionately, pretty carelessly, and a bit on the wild side. I was a slave to my heart and quite impulsive because of that. But I had time, so much time make it all happen.

Then, before I knew it, I was looking in the mirror, seeing the changes. The person staring back didn’t quite look like me anymore. Then came the realization that nothing in this life is forever. I think we know that, but it’s different when the time actually comes. It’s definitely a stop and pause moment. It’s scary, the impermanence of everything, health, family, friends, careers, and the seemingly simple gift of movement. To quote a friend, “the correlation between age and loss is not unfounded.” It has definitely been a turning point in my life. A lot of reflection and “what will my legacy be, what have I done that’s important, and what happens now?”

So, here we are ~ midlife. I’m still scared, but you know what? I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone a TON in this last year. I joined CrossFit after debilitating back pain when everyone told me not to, I started a business (at fucking 50!), and last week I got in front of the camera for this photoshoot.

The photoshoot was a big one. For as long as I can remember, maybe as far back as 9 or 10, I have been hyper focused on my body’s every flaw. Every dimple, every roll. Where I’m too flat and where I’m too full. I got into bodybuilding because that’s where I was going to reshape everything that was wrong with me. I worked hard, as I always do when I want something, but the harder I worked, the harder I was on myself and my shape. The closer I got to being on stage, the more my imperfections were magnified. Then, came a moment where I thought, this isn’t what this is supposed to be about. I do this because I want to be strong, I want to feel powerful, but mostly, I want to love who I’ve come to be.

This is when my original no, I’m not comfortable enough with my body to be photographed changed to, yes, I love who I’ve become, I want to do this. I couldn’t have been more comfortable being photographed on this lovely farm. The horses, the sun, the beautiful barns. These are things that have always brought me peace, a deep connection to my soul, and all that is important to me. All of the curves that I cursed were no longer even a thought. I was at home. Maybe this is what midlife brings, realizing the things that truly matter in life, finding where beauty and strength truly exist.

In retrospect, I think I’ve lived chasing my future so intently (where will I be tomorrow), that I’ve never actually been present. I’ve never loved the moment. I’ve never loved ME in the moment ~ this moment. And the deeper truth is, I’m not sure it was my future I was chasing at all. I was chasing a better version of me. So maybe my 50’s needs to be less about fear and more about what is now, who I am now, and just loving her, in this very moment.

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About The Author: Elaine Walters lives and works in Wilmington, Delaware.  Outside of the office, all of her time is spent riding horses and running her nutrition and fitness business where she coaches clients that are fed up with the diet industry.  This is Elaine’s first contribution to Tony Ward Studio.

She can be found on Instagram @elainecoale

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