HELP SOLVE THE MYSTERY OF OTIS BLUE/OTIS REDDING SINGS SOUL
Recently, we at the Estate of Otis Redding, tried to find any record of the identity of the woman on the cover of Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul, which turns 50 this year. Soulsville, the foundation that runs the Stax Museum, has no record of it. The photographer, Peter Sahula, thinks that it might be a model he worked with regularly named DAGMAR DREGER. If it is not her, he thinks it is another model who later became famous but is now deceased. Help us solve the mystery! Is Dagmar Dreger the woman on the cover?
Help us#FINDDAGMAR so we can ask her! Post hints or information on Facebook or Twitter using #FindDagmar or email tips to email@example.com. Please use #FINDDAGMAR on any posts that you make about this effort. We think if we bring Otis’ community of fans together with the power of the internet, we will be able to find Dagmar, and solve one of the great mysteries of modern music.
The Otis Redding Team
Janis Joplin, Arcade Fire, Aretha Docs Lead Toronto Film Fest
September event also features Sharon Jones doc, Laurie Anderson’s personal essay film and new features from Gaspar Noé and Wim Wenders
BY RYAN REED
August 11, 2015
High-profile music documentaries on Janis Joplin, Arcade Fire, Aretha Franklin and Sharon Jones will be included as part of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, which commences September 10th.
Janis: Little Girl Blue, directed by Academy Award-nominated Amy Berg (Deliver Us From Evil), will make its North American premiere at the fest. The film chronicles Joplin’s “short, turbulent, epic existence,” with Chan Marshall (Cat Power) reading the rock legend’s personal letters.
The Arcade Fire documentary, The Reflektor Tapes, will make its world premiere at the fest. Director Kahlil Joseph followed the Canadian art-rock outfit as they created their acclaimed 2013 LP, Reflektor, blending performance footage with band member interviews and “exclusive unseen footage, filmed only for cinema audiences.”
The Aretha Franklin concert-documentary Amazing Grace features the renowned singer recording the titular live LP during January 1972 church services in Los Angeles. Late Oscar winner Sydney Pollack (Out of Africa, Tootsie) directed the project, which remained in studio vaults for decades and is now making its international premiere at the fest.
Miss Sharon Jones!, from Oscar-winning director Barbara Kopple (Harlan County, USA) follows the R&B singer as she battles cancer and pushes forward with her backing band, the Dap-Kings. The film will make its world premiere.
Other music-related premieres include Laurie Anderson’s Heart of a Dog, a personal essay film that “explores themes of love, death and language,” and The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, a profile of the revered cellist and his international music collective.
The TIFF’s Masters program includes several notable selections, including the North American premiere of German director Wim Wenders’ new drama, Every Thing Will Be Fine, starring James Franco, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Rachel McAdams.
On the more risqué side, French filmmaker Gaspar Noé (Enter the Void, Irreversible) will see the North American premiere of his graphically sexual 3D title Love.
Cat Power to Narrate Janis Joplin Documentary
by Jeremy Gordon
July 29, 2015 at 4:37 p.m. EDT
Janis will premiere at the Venice Film Festival
Photo by Will Deitz
Cat Power, aka Chan Marshall, has been announced as the narrator of Janis, a forthcoming documentary about Janis Joplin. In particular, Marshall will read letters written by the late singer.
Janis was made with the support of Joplin’s estate. The movie was directed by Oscar-nominated Amy Berg (Deliver Us From Evil), and will premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September.
Curtain Call: Tony Nominee Mary Bridget Davies Returns as Janis Joplin
July 22, 2015
A Night With Janis Joplin is back at the Pasadena Playhouse starting tonight.
When A Night With Janis Joplin first played the Pasadena Playhouse in 2013, one patron wasn’t pleased to find Mary Bridget Davies playing the rock icon. “A woman came out at intermission and demanded her money back,” says Davies. “This is A Night With Janis Joplin, this is Mary Bridget Davies. Where’s Janis Joplin?” Theatergoers won’t be asking that question when the show returns tonight to the Pasadena Playhouse as Davies reprises the role that earned her a Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Musical.
“She’s been dead for 40 years,” Davies laughs. “Where have you been? She was age appropriate. That made me laugh for days.”
Davies has been associated with Joplin for ten years by appearing first in Love, Janis. She was then invited to front Big Brother and the Holding Company (Joplin’s band) before embarking on A Night With Janis Joplin. “I’m not a Janis Joplin impersonator,” she says. “It’s just a character that’s near and dear to me. Being Janis, it’s just been something I love doing. It hasn’t gotten stale. I’ve been lucky. The exposure of being on Broadway got me connected with a great agency and management. I’m recording a new album of my own original stuff in Nashville and writing some killer songs. It’s all finally coming together. It’s falling into place.”
Joplin’s singing style was so unique, how has her style influenced Davies’ singing of her own material? “It’s informed me and my craft,” she reveals, “but it’s not the same thing. Maybe people could say any woman that is strong that can pull grit out of her voice, she’s got a Janis or Bonnie Raitt thing. We have to constantly label and make comparisons in that way. I love her, but she already existed. There doesn’t need to be another.”
Ten years performing as Joplin, Davies does feel that she has certain perspectives in common with her. “I do share a lot of her sentiments,” she offers. “For her it was terribly difficult being a woman in an all-male band. The climate is less unforgiving now. You’re the den mother and the wrangler and the front person and the man. She took a lot of heat for that. She was one of the first women to do that. It’s still a machine. I for one, have no intention of being a pop star. That was never in the cards for me because there’s so much self-compromise. You have to live it. It has to be that authenticity or no one’s buying it.”
When Joplin spoke of soul, she once said “You know why we’re stuck with the myth that only black people have soul? Because white people don’t let themselves feel things.” Does Davies agree? “I think it can be expounded upon. At the time she was on the money. I think people are lot more free with their emotions. It’s not viewed as a weakness as it might have been by her parents’ generation. You go to a funeral and there’s some sniffling and people are sad. I’ve had to go to wakes at a Methodist Baptist Church and people are throwing themselves on the casket. That’s so much better for you to grieve and that’s what Janis did. Culturally, 50 years ago, white people didn’t participate. It was Stepford. It was far more true then, but I understand what she was saying.”
Davies, who maintains an active and entertaining Twitter account, tweeted that she’d love to play Simone in Can-Can. “When Janis is done and my tour is satisfied, I’d love to be in a traditional musical. I went to see On the Town. I wish I was a guy so I could be one of the guys in the show. I would love to be in a real Broadway musical and wear a gown with sequins that weights 35 pounds. When your career starts paying off you become a contender. I would be so diminished if I couldn’t perform. That’s, when I came into this world, what I was ordained to do.”
The Ramones T-shirt: From cult and credible to absolutely everywhere
Tuesday 21 July 2015
You don’t even have to have heard of the Ramones to be seen in the T-shirt, bought in a high street shop. Rhodri Marsden on how a clever design can take on a life of its own.
You see them everywhere these days, on public transport, down the pub, in the local park and at Glastonbury, on the backs of everyone from Jonathan Ross to a 10-year-old girl. The Ramones T-shirt has become a ubiquitous garment, a globally recognised design that retains only a flimsy link to the music made by America’s quintessential punk band.
Many wearers couldn’t name you a Ramones song – although some might hazard a guess at “Hey Ho Let’s Go”, the opening lyric of their 1976 debut single “Blitzkrieg Bop” (currently being used in a TV advert for an online electrical appliance retailer). People of a certain age might see this as a despicable betrayal of the Ramones’ memory, but does it matter? After all, to accuse a 10-year-old child of lacking punk authenticity would seem unfair. Having become a regular fixture in high-street clothing stores, maybe the Ramones T-shirt has merely taken on a strange new life of its own.
“Any kind of band T-shirt that either goes the distance or transcends the original connection is basically down to good design,” says Josh Sims, author of the book 100 Ideas That Changed Street Style. “That good design often follows from whether the band has been fortunate enough have a good logo – like Kiss, AC/DC, or Run DMC.
They just look good, regardless of the band or its music.” The Ramones were fortunate to have a talented lighting director and art co-ordinator, Arturo Vega; his decision to adapt the US Presidential Seal to depict “the ultimate all-American band” was, in retrospect, a stroke of genius. The olive branch became an apple branch, the arrows became a baseball bat, the lettering within the seal changed as the line-up of the band changed. The shirt on sale at H&M for £7 features the names of the original line-up of Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee and Tommy; all now dead, but somehow living on, emblazoned on the chests of people who don’t necessarily know who they were.
While the case of the Ramones shirt isn’t unique (H&M also sells shirts featuring metal bands to people who don’t listen to metal), the demographic of band T-shirt-wearers has remained pretty static over the years: teenage pop acts and metal bands sell way more than hip-hop and R&B artists, with indie sitting somewhere in between. “If you look at their audiences,” says Justin Smith, director of British merchandising company Kontraband, “90 per cent of people at a metal concert will be wearing a band T-shirt and will be likely to buy one.
For us, the best-selling shirts are still ones with tour dates on the back. People want to show that they went to the big gig at the O2, the ‘I was there’ thing.” But he also considers the broadening, cross-genre appeal of band merchandise to be part of a declining tribalism among music fans. “It used to be the case that if you liked a certain band then you weren’t allowed to like another style of band,” he says, “but that’s changed a lot. A band such as [influential US punks] Misfits sell a huge number of shirts in comparison to record sales; the name isn’t big, but people just think it’s a cool shirt.”
Sims, meanwhile, attributes that broadening appeal to a music industry trying to find new income streams in a digital era. “Given that touring and merchandising are supposed to be where bands are making their money,” he says, “there’s a greater interest in selling T-shirts, and improving their design to make them more marketable.”
The various factors that lead a buyer at Next or H&M to put in a Ramones order are complex (and both companies refused interview requests) but whether they’re based on pure design, cultural echoes or some kind of ironic distance, people are evidently buying them. “I wasn’t aware of that Ramones design until about two years ago,” says Sims, “and the only reason I became aware of it is that my wife bought it from H&M for my then one year-old child. And I didn’t even know a lot about the Ramones. I knew that they were a band, that they were influential and that they played at CBGB in New York, but beyond that…”
As the band has slowly receded into history, sales of their shirts have picked up. It was reported that the day after Joey died in 2001, one American clothing chain put in an order for 10,000 units. Ramones Productions Inc, the company set up after the band broke up, still presides over the approval of merchandise and splits the profits among the estates of the former members. Punk purists might consider this to be akin to “selling out”, but the company’s co-owner, Johnny’s wife Linda Ramone, sees it as perfectly compatible with the band’s ethos.
In an interview in 2008 she stated that “Johnny did want to be the biggest band in the world”. And if that accolade is measured by sales of shirts, maybe his wish will come true.