Joy Gallery’s Photography Show Heads Down Music Memory Lane

You know, when you’re a kid and you adopt a dog and have no idea what to name him, because all the names in the world just didn’t seem to do your new awesome pet any justice, so you end up naming it something straightforward like DOG? Well, that must’ve been what happened here—when this epic music photography art show ended up with the name “SHOW.” Actually, I’m really not sure if that’s the origins of the show’s name, and I’ve never had the good fortune of being able to adopt a dog as a kid, but the point is that this art show looks rad! Elaborate names and fancy adjectives aside.

This Saturday, Joy Gallery, a modestly-sized Bayview gallery, will showcase over 150 live music photographs from recent shows of today, to nostalgic photos from the mid-sixties. Some feel as if they were unearthed from a Haight Street time capsule.

Some notable names on the music history roster include Iggie & the Stooges, The Yardbirds, Janis Joplin, The MC5, The Debutantes, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Weezer, Fleetwood Mac, Ben Harper, Bo Diddley, Motorhead, Ramones, Devo, Iron Maiden, Madonna, Foo Fighters…and the list goes on. This here is the shortened list, but you can find the full list here.

Photographers include Adrian Saenz, Bernie Mcginn, Brayden Sullivan, Charles Peterson, Dallis Willard, George Sera, Greg Jacobs, Hillary Turner, Jay Blakesberg, Marginalink, Mark Madeo, Mark Murrmann, Matthew Bajda, Michael Jang, ND Koster, Raymond Ahner, Robert Sheffield, Ruby Ray, and Sara Uduwela.

In anticipation of the opening, we met up with co-curator and gallery owner Heather Rosner. We asked her to tell us more about the show and take us down her own music memory lane. She has also helped to field questions for the show’s co-curator Allen Schlung—because they are besties after all.

Where did you come up with the idea for the show and how did you go about collecting all these photographs?
Allen Schlung, my best friend, who’s invested a lot of time and money into the gallery, came up with the idea to show live music photos. We started by asking friends, posting in FB groups, and sending cold call emails. SHOW! eventually gained momentum and became a project people were excited to contribute to. One of the artists, Matthew Bajda was showing photos out of his trunk at Parking Lot Art Fair, and a last-minute photographer from Long Beach was added this afternoon.

Are most of these photographers professional photographers or a mix of hobbyists?
It’s a good mix, a few commercial photographers, artists, and music enthusiasts. Mark Murrmann is a photo editor for [independent American magazine and news organization] Mother Jones. And Jay Blakesberg shoots arena concerts, like the Grateful Dead, for example.

Where are these artists from? 
Almost all of the artists are local. Ruby Ray, George Sera, and Michael Jang shot here in the ’70s and still live here. Dallas Willard is a friend who happens to love the same music as I do, we attend lots of shows together. Hillary Turner photographed a lot of the Jazz clubs in the ’70s on up, and still lives here. Robert Sheffield used to live in Oakland, he was referred by his son who still lives here, but all of Robert’s photos are from the ’60s when he shot for The Michigan Daily. Charles Peterson is from Seattle and covered the whole grunge scene.

This show has a great nostalgic feel. Who were some of your all-time music favorites growing up?
Growing up I liked Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry & Roy Orbison. My dad had the albums and would let me play them. I still like them.

What type of music did you listen to as a teen. Any major music crushes (you’re willing to admit to) from back in the day?
I was a metalhead in middle school, I loved Sabbath. The first concert I attended was in 7th grade and it was Motley Crue and Ozzy Osbourne. My walls were plastered with posters of Nikki Sixx & Sebastian Bach, ripped out of pages of Hit Parader. But I grew up in South Florida, so I also loved 2 Live Crew and Miami Bass. As soon as I got my first car, I had a bass bin in my trunk. Allen on the other hand, was heavily influenced by punk rock, Black Flag, Stiff Little Fingers, Minor Threat. His room was covered in flyer bundles that he ordered from [punk culture zine] Maximum Rocknroll.

What’re you listening to now?
Allen and I have very similar musical taste, we both love The Spits, The Memories, and Scraper (SF). I love King Khan and the Shrines. It’s interesting how music finds you at different times. I used to hate Dead Moon, I was like ‘ugh, they’re just shitty rock n roll’. But then a couple years ago, when my dad was dying, I’d go the hospital every day for almost two months, and then I’d come home, drink vodka, blast Dead Moon, and dance around the house by myself. Now, I love them. Lots of times I put on YouTube channels or WFMU Rock & Soul Ichiban to find music. My favorite song gleaned from WFMU is Rodger Collins’, Foxy Girls in Oakland. My taste is wacky, I’ll be obsessed with The Mountain Goats one day, Dead Skeletons the next, and then Yung Lean or Rae Sremmurd…

In the days of buying CDs, where did you go?
I used to go to Uncle Sam’s on South Beach and Spec’s in the mall. I’d also buy Jam Pony Express Dj tapes from the Opa Locka Flea Market. I still have mixed tapes from from DJs and friends. Allen is a total snob and only buys records..he’s never bought a CD.

+++ “Show!” opens Saturday, May 21st, 7pm-12am,
Joy Gallery, 4921 3rd St, SF (Accessible by Muni: 23-Monterey, 44-O’Shaughnessy, 24-Divisadero, 54-Felton, T-Third)