The Blood Alley Quartet & Ukrainian Steppes Via Tony BaloneyMonday, September 03, 2012
|Blood Alley Quartet & Goldie Monroe|
From left, Randy Bowman (drums) Dave Olajide (bass),
Gus Vassos (vocals, guitar)
Anthony Walker (vocals, guitar) Goldie Monroe (vocals,burlesque dancer)
I have a friend Yuliya Kate who is now a professional dominatrix. She is pleasant and smiles but if anybody in her presence just happens to ask, “Are you from the Ukraine?” She loses her temper and blasts back, “Ukraine not the Ukraine.”
Ukraine brings to me the image of an old b+w war movie I saw when I was around 20 which featured a German Panzer army racing through Ukraine with tanks and half-tracks. Ukraine is a vastness of flat and its history (the little I know of it) is the history of invaders passing through who might stop for a bite to eat or a woman to forcibly bed. Ukrainians have seen armies come and go. They have seen history in the making much like Aristotle’s “unmoved mover”.
|Goldie Monroe, iPhone portrait|
I hate burlesque because in early middle age I was exposed to exotic dancing/stripping in Vancouver. My involvement in that scene took me to become a judge at the first ever Golden G-String Convention in Las Vegas in the mid 80s. One of my fellow judges was Tempest Storm. The competition, was unknowingly rigged against the Vancouver contingent. The performers were not allowed to remove their G-String. Older women or would-be burlesque dancers could shine while our superstars like Lusty Leanne (whose act began, an only began upon the romoval of the G-String) could not. And yet without the help of this Canadian judge (even though I did vote for her) T Rae, a proud Vancouverite won out with panache, poise, eroticism (not of the blatant kind). But being allowed to take photographs in the dressing rooms (wow!) I was attracted to the look and poise of American burlesque dancers who hailed from such places as Peoria, Illinois or Dubuque, Iowa.
|Tempest Storm, second from left, in Las Vegas|
|Laura Faye from Peoria, Illinois|
The old photograph that I have of The Enigmas features a painting by Jim Cummins (aka Braineater). I contacted him recently for info on the gal in the picture:
"That is Emmy. She was my girlfriend. She was in my movie Beauty is the Beast. She made braineater rings for me. The rings were from a design of mine of skull and bones. I think she lives in Texas now. She also played Barbra in the Modernettes video."
Now in the picture of the Actionauts, on the extreme left is Ian Noble who happened to be the second drummer of the Modernettes.
In the years that transpired I photographed Anthony Parker’s father teaching ballet to children and Gus Vassos’s father as a highfalutin, heavy duty commercial real-estate honcho. Paul Wilson Brown, the brilliant keyboard player works for my neighbour across the street who is a highfalutin real estate agent.
|My daughter Hilary & her Jim Cummins|
|Enigmas from left to right|
Paul McKenzie, Brian Olineck, Mike Davis & Randy Bowman
Cummins's Emmy behind in painting
What is the common thread here? The common thread is twofold – two men. One was and is Mac (aka Malcolm) Parry the former editor of Vancouver Magazine and the other is former Vancouver Magazine rock columnist “In One Ear” and Associate Editor Les Wiseman.
|Lenny Kaye & Les Wiseman|
|Actionauts from left to right|
Ian Noble, Gus Vassos, Steve Robertson, Sam Salmon (aka Fish in centre)
Anthony Walker (aka Tony Baloney)
|Art Bergmann left and Tony Baloney, far right|
From left to right Rodney Graham, Chris Grove (with laurel), Phill Smith , centre front, Scout Fairlane (actress,poet)
Bill Napier-Hemy, Napoleon, Jade Blade, first nurse, Dale Powers, second nurse, &
Tony Baloney far right.
Mac Parry’s Vancouver Magazine was much like the Ukrainian steppes. Doors were left open and all of Vancouver (the political, the artistic, the innovative, the interesting, etc) seemed to pass by after lingering for a bit in Mac’s office. Rock musicians (many in tattered clothing before tattered clothing had any message) checked in at reception where a string of liberal minded receptionists simply pointed in the direction of Wiseman’s office.
|From left, Alex W-H, Les Wiseman, Danielle & Mac Parry|
Vancouver Magazine on Davie and Richards
Above Mary Jo Kopechne
Left Buch Cherry, Ian Noble, Randy Carpenter
|Maurice & the Cliches|
Maurice Depas left & Paul Wilson Brown far right
I was one of the persons who while strictly speaking was a freelancer, I had a “hovering-shingle-on-the-door” relationship with Vancouver Magazine and I noted and noticed the richness of the invasion.
Under his wing, before anybody else knew of his talents, Mac had a young man with terrible case of dandruff. He was a hanger on at the office and nobody seemed to pin down exactly what he was, did. Few if any were able to discern exactly what Mac saw in the young man who was called Douglas Coupland.
|Don Vassos, Gus's dad.|
|Paul Wilson Brown, Alex W-H & Salem behind|
Photo by Gus Vassos
|Salem and her H-Upmann|
Just as Ukraine is just simply Ukraine, I can state also that Vancouver Magazine (Parry’s, Wiseman’s and others like art directors Rick Staehling and Chris Dahl) did not need that demonstrative adjective that is “the” to make it more distinct and special than it was.
|Blood Alley Quartet & Goldie Monroe|
I may be warming up to the concept of burlesque via the Blood Alley Quartet & Goldie Monroe. I enjoyed this video with no fanny wagging and other affected cutesy moves. It puts an elegant and contemporary spin on burlesque.