Sunday, July 28, 2013

Shelly's Manne-Hole -1960 - 1963 - In the beginning -

While I was taking classes in illustration at the Art Center School I got lucky...I found a job working the door at Shelly's...  Mutt Cohen who ran the Unicorn Coffee House on Sunset mentioned that Rudy Onderwyser was setting up a new jazz club with Shelly Manne and that I should see him about a gig part time ... It would not interfere with day classes and would be perfect for the weekend and maybe a day in between... The Unicorn Coffee House was in itself interesting as many of the great and not so great would pass through to take in an original coffee house folk scene...Freddy Engleberg, Harry Dean Stanton would jam blues before the show generally in the front ...sometimes in the rear courtyard...there was a neat little bookstore on the second floor in the back run by a couple that I met where I was living at the time and they put me on to that whole unfolding of the semi-beat coffee house evolution.
Rudy in the office upstairs

Rudy was a piece of work...He gave me a job on the weekends filtering out the peculiar ones; potential hot tempers or whatever and seating the serious jazz-a-philes. I had to give up the job two years later due to tough classes... I understood that a new hire replacement got into a real flap over not letting somebody in with heavy pull over the one dollar weekend door charge. 1608 North Cahuenga was in the heart of Hollywood and everybody wanted freebees by saying they were a friend of Shelly's...Shelly had a lot of friends..)

 On a visit back years later in the eighties Rudy said that they were tearing the building down And I went down to see for old times sake...The workers said they were going to dig up the sidewalk also along with the real man hole cover embedded in the concrete.. I ran down to an art store and picked up some large Strathmore sheets and some graphite and made three rubbings.

Rubbing from the ManneHole cover signed by Rudy

Richie Kamuca - Monty Budwig - unidentified vocalist
When Shelly first leased the space it was full of wild odds and ends - It kept getting added to from all sources... You can see the Schweppes man full size cut out in the upper right over the kitchen fitted with an apron and assorted beer coaster badges...also another blindfolded cutout serving a tray of beer. I donated a giant 7 foot Greek flag which hung in the back near the light between Richie and Monty in this shot.
Russ Freeman replaced Victor Feldman and Chuck Berghofer took Monty's place as the regular weekend group...Shelly paid scale - about $16.50 per night...!

This is a clip of Shelly and the group is from a TV show that featured jazz stars of the time in LA...very nostalgic for all of us old enough to remember...

After the first 2 years the space adjacent to the club (American Cancer Society) became available and they annexed it creating a much better venue for both musicians and patrons.  I found this sketch I made at the time in a journal showing the changes being made..the drawing is obviously not exactly to scale but shows the three levels that existed in the new club space ( the 1st being the highest to the 3rd a few steps down.)


Richie Kamuca

Richie and I stayed in contact also as he moved back east with the Merv Griffin Show and then back to LA in '70 ... I visited him in La during a  rehearsal Of the Griffin show and during a break he doubled over in his seat a groaned in pain... I asked him if he was OK and how long has this been going on... he said that he would see a doc soon...He passed a short time thereafter with cancer at 46...
Doris, his wife told me when Shelly came to see him in the hospital he asked Richie if he could do anything..
Richie replied "yeah...take my place..!" Rich was a supper talent and a loss to the jazz scene..

Sam SanAntone serving up
Dinner before opening w/ Tony

After the renovation Shelly booked in  Miles for a week.. this was a major event...
Rudy called me in to work the door as Art had a bad foot.  I had left the Manne-Hole the previous July due to a heavy class schedule but was happy to fill in..

Miles stayed in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and put up his sidemen  (George Coleman, Frank Strozier, Harold Mabern) in the now defunct Argyle Motel.  I Think that Jimmy Cob did the gig on drums but can't really recall that - Ron Carter on Bass.  I offered to take George and Frank down to Vic Tanny's Gym in Hollywood for a little exercise in the day - George came with me and Frank stayed behind...After the workout I took over a bottle of Metaxa 7star and took a few shots of a very young group of really gifted musicians. 
George Coleman

Frank Strozier

George Coleman

Harold Mabern

Harold Mabern
 I found these menus from the club stuck inside a record jacket of the double album of Shelly & His Men recorded in '61 in the club.

Wish that these prices were still around... It was a very affordable night out with great sounds.

Poster from Wednesday Night Promo

 One night Tony Curtis sat in with Paul Horn and played a few passable solos on flute....

Rudy going over receipts

Rudy, Sonja and Poof-Poo in the late seventies

I kept in contact with Rudy and Sonja every year after leaving LA until about 2010 when the phone went quiet and email disappeared...Rudy went down to run the Lighthouse after Shelly's closed and then tried to keep a place called Hop-Sings going... He said it didn't hop and didn't sing pooped out.. Nobody was going to clubs anymore..
During the short few years at the door and in the club anybody who loved jazz in Hollywood would show up during the week.. Clint Eastwood, Dave Raskin, Billy Wilder, Johnny Mathis, Julie London, Dizzy... tons of actors and actresses on the way up and down...I recall Sal Mineo bringing in Tuesday Weld and Shelly introducing only Sal... Tuesday Weld was already just as well known at the time and think she was a bit miffed.

One of the best sessions at the Manne-Hole was with the Bill Evans Trio in May of '63... I was happy to be there during the recording and still find this album as a favorite...with Chuck Israels and Larry Bunker....

I hope to add to this entry and if anyone out there has anything to correct or add please contact me..

There is a great blog on jazz profiles at this link.. It covers a lot of inside moves of the club etc..

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Improve your drawing part 3 - Drawing Animals From Life Or Photos

Most beginning students find drawing animals difficult as they usually like moving around.
If you find a good photo you can practice analyzing the form unfettered by a restless subject...Sleeping dogs need not apply..
Below are a few quick studies that were used for some gouache paintings done for the original owner of the Provence Restaurant Jean Michel and his lovely wife. They passed them on to their friends and neighbors at Coach Farms in Connecticut. 

Find the forms the shapes of the animal takes naturally...rectangle, cube, egg, and see if it fits.  The body parts are naturally divided into symmetrical halves.  Use this natural dividing line to hone your observational skills and get the form down on paper or canvas with solid authority.

look for the center-line down the body and head
 gouache 4 x 7

best dog Tim - 3.5 x 7  goauche

Roping steers -Cody, Wyoming - oil 8 x 11
these blue-lines were preliminary motion studies for an animatic

adding the thick and thin lines by pushing and pulling your pencil helps the feeling of action and the fur of the subject
by using straight lines against curves helps give a little punch to the forms

Thanks for stopping by and see you next time..GL

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Art Center School circa 1960-1963

I recently posted a shout-out to one of my closest friends from the Art Center, Fred Pfeiffer, illustrator,whose career ended much too soon by his own hand.  At this age we are starting to loose our pals at an increasingly rapid rate.  Nostalgia took over while digging up as much as I could find from that period to provide some  back story to a dedicated site of his work by two really avid fans Courtney Rodgers and Scotty Phillips. 
I thought it might be of interest to some still around as well as to those younger to what it was like at the former building on West Third Street in Los Angeles.

A later photo of the buildings on West Third

Lorser Feitelson
Lorser taught painting  history and technique starting generally with a short lecture and then an open session for your own project.  He encouraged younger painters to copy master paintings for technical understanding

Harry Carmean - drawing and anatomy

An accomplished draftsman, Carmean emphasized careful analysis of the human form.  The texts were Bridgeman and Peck.  Live models were naturally posed for varying lengths of time.  Conte crayon and newsprint pads were generally exclusive materials for these classes.

Morgan Henninger - Advanced Illustration class
 Assignments were given out a week in advance and the crits lasted most of the session...
Do not ever be late...(Deadline of Death)
Kaminski and Ted Youngkin at coffee before morning classes
 Typical studio class

 Paul Sousa with I believe one of the Hubner twins
taken from an Art Center Catalog

preparing a board
 studio session during break

 Roommate John Demming and my truck at our shared studio on North Cahuenga
Check out the price of gas...1962

During our last year at the center we found a muddy lot on Franklin and thought up the idea of a rope pull between the Advertising Design Majors and the Illustration Majors.  The prints below were scanned in from photostats and have lost a great deal of detail.  Below are the art directors and I believe it was pretty much an exhaustive draw as we were all laughing so hard..

 The end of the day when the Blue visited the Brown

 Sandy and Timmy

Future Mad Men around 1963-64
If anyone out there has anything to contribute to this section I would love to hear from you...GL

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Thomas P. Quinn - Brushwork, and then some..great example of confident painting style

This gouache illustration for Field & Stream by Thomas Patrick Quinn Jr. dates from 1964...This is really as good as it can get for confident brushwork - lush and creamy style..Tom was a classmate at the Art Center School and brief roommate when we were all at the old Third Street studios.  Regrettably this style of illustration was slipping into oblivion with few exceptions ( John Berkey the most accomplished among them..) Magazine illustration was about to die almost completely in a few years and advertising was rapidly moving into photography snapping the ambition of fairly well trained graduating illustrators.

             Click to enlarge...!


   When the mid sixties hit (Mad Men plus) a lot of really good people dumped out..Cooper Studios
who had most of the top illustrators and most of the top business for all of the country went down.
For the next decade everyone scrambled to pick up what they could...paperbacks, spot drawings,
packaging..whatever.  Reps specialized and some did not always cut you the best deal...keeping major shares for themselves as you rarely saw the invoices.  I was working at J.W.Thompson as a sketch artist on the Ford account doing gouache 24 sheet (bill board) comps for the new Mustang and filling in on other major accounts.  What you see on 'Mad Men' was pretty much it at the time with the exception that I did not see a lot of in house drinking but everything else was common... the AD's and writers only hired good looking women who came from the Seven Sisters (Smith, Wellesley etc) as their secretaries. All others to the typing pool and media.  Assistant art directors were hired at about $60 a week and worked the bull pen for about 3 or 4 months and then be assigned to an AD.. no raise for a year and then if you were lucky got about a grand more per year.  I had a place on Prince Street in the village at the time and occasionally a married AD would ask for the keys to my place during lunch...That was never going to happen I am happy to say..there wasn't much they could do about it as the illustrators were needed for presentations.

Below is a small sketch by John Berkey who regrettably is no longer with us.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Improve Your Painting -The Value of the Small Sketch - part 2

Working small ... 3"x5" offers a lot of benefit to your development as an artist and thinker.
First, they get a lot done in a short time..They also usually wind up set aside and eventually rediscovered as nice little paintings - real examples of your true handwriting...

gouache study

gouache study
gouache study - Maryland

gouache study - Inlet Chester River - Maryland

oil study - Vermont

gouache study - Spain