Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Rummaging Through The Archives

I'm in the process of archiving some of my personal collection of photos, flyers, clippings, video and audio recordings from my various bands and musical projects. It's a daunting task and we are taking it a little at a time. The plan is for this material to eventually be archived at UCLA, but my husband is frustrated because he would like to scan it all and put it up on the website, only he doesn't have the time. Here's a vintage Bags flyer for a show at the Masque in January 1978.

As we were sorting through some of the boxes tonight, we came across a disc labeled "Bags Recordings" which no doubt had surfaced during the search for material for the Artifix Records LP, All Bagged Up. Some decent bootleg recordings of the Bags performing live, probably in 1979, were on that disc. My husband corrected the speed because the original source tape was warped and the results will be posted on my media pages for anyone wishing to listen.

Here's the Bags doing our cover version of the Standells' song, "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White."

Left click HERE to play in your browser OR RIGHT CLICK AND "save file as" to download the song to your desktop!


Anonymous said...

this is cool news. I am so happy to see that your archives will be in a good home. UCLA is the best place for those to be!
KUDOS to you Alice for doing this.
Now it will be a part of history that people can study.

Anonymous said...

Is this valuable stuff safe out of the storage of Alice and Greg?..how will the website grow if its out of your hands?

Anonymous said...

PLEASE PLEASE scan and post as much of your collection as you can before you let it go out of your hands, I thank you for everything you have already posted. It is a real treasure trove of early LA punk material that is unmatched anywhere else on the web, except for Jenny Lens' photo page.

Jenny Lens said...

I echo the concerns of others about scanning before donating. Do you have a provision that UCLA will high res scan the material ASAP, provide DVDs of the scans to you, and that you (and your designated others) will always have access to it?

And if people need access or usage, what will be the cost and procedure? Who will claim ownership and copyright of the material? Currently, there's movement in government, and even Google, to reassign copyrights. It's a horrifying situation for all visual creators. We don't have unions nor strong, enforceable laws to protect our own work nor our archives!

You can be assured the era of exhibits, books, docs, etc is far from over. It would be a shame if this material is too difficult to access once UCLA or anyone stores it. What if the Getty or an art gallery wants access to the material for a show about punk? Or an author or film-maker?

Hopefully access would be easier via UCLA, rather than bothering you. I've always been curious about that. There's punk footage at UCLA, but I wonder how people are able to use it, other than making an appointment to view it. David Jones certainly knows about that. His father just retired, having taught, edited books, and certainly dealt with the Fowler Museum and others. Have you discussed this with David?

It's a touchy subject, because I too am concerned what to do with not only my photos, but my archival fliers, fanzines, tear sheets, letters, etc.

The MAJOR reasons I am not with major photo agencies are: much of their material is not available to the public, and that which is, is hard to find and expensive. I would hate to see that happen to your invaluable archive.

I don't know the answer, but I do know too much material is too difficult to access unless one is a scholar, knows exactly what's in the archive and what they are looking for. I was with a major photo agency, and when Spin contacted them, they sent one jpg of the Avengers.

Then Spin found me, and my Avengers, Dils, Germs, Blondie, Fashion shot (with Alice, Darby, Plez, Trudie, Hellin, Nicky, Gena, Lorna, Darby, Pat, etc outside Tower Records) and other shots were used.

I worked with the photo researcher to provide material they didn't know existed. I told them about events and why certain photos and people were important to their coverage of the West Coast scene for their October 2007 issue. I guided them through the process, always willing to dig up more photos, provide correct crops and sizing, to do whatever needed to be done, per their schedule.

I repeatedly begged my photo agency to inform me whenever there was an inquiry. They would still get their cut, but I would certainly place photos they couldn't. They refused my offers, and I severed the relationship.

LA punk history is not understood well enough to leave in the hands of most agents and archival repositories, unless they work with those of us willing to give input, feedback and guidance.

I know I could readily find college interns and others willing to help me scan, but I need an additional computer, so we I can continue my work while someone is scanning.

Have you looked into volunteers who might have a decent laptop to assist with the scanning? Would you be open to that? Or at least insisting UCLA scans, at high res, images and provide DVDs of all the material to you?

PS Thank you to the kind comment about my online archive. I have tons and tons more to post, but programming issues prevent me from posting more. I am redesigning my site, and look forward to resuming posting, but it's going to be awhile.

I truly wish that those who appreciate what we are doing could be more pro-active and help us. It's incredibly time-consuming and in the case of posting, also involves quite a bit of programming, depending upon how the site is created.

So where's Alice's team, IF she wants the help?

FYI: when I was a teen, I attended The Teenage Drama Workshop (TADW) at CSUN. I took photos and kept news clippings and playbills. I shot some people who later became famous, as well as documented an invaluable piece of history, of that college/university and the San Fernando Valley.

I've tried to find someone at CSUN interested in not only taking my scrapbooks and a big box of color negs, but scan them and work with me to make sense of it all. So far, they are willing to take the archive, but not do anything with it. So I'm holding onto it.

(Quite frankly, I don't think my calls or emails have been forwarded to people in a position to respond enthusiastically or with authority. It's unbelievable to me that this TADW archive is sitting in a box. If/when I find someone who understands what I'm offering, I know they'd be thrilled to work with me on it. But too many people can't be bothered to put the time into pursuing my offer. So it goes.)

(This is the first time I've ever made this public. These scrapbooks are part of my legacy, so they have a certain value due to who I later became. Please people, don't attack me for stating this. I am merely sharing experiences about dealing with archives, universities and agencies.)

Jenny Lens said...

Boo hoo, I right-clicked and I can't save to my desktop. I'm using a Mac, but that shouldn't matter. I've run into this problem other times, but I don't recall why or how to deal with it.

No biggie, not trying to create more work for you or your sweet hubby, but anyone else have a problem downloading??

Anonymous said...

Try left clicking the link as normal and it might prompt you to run or save. That might work.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Alice would give up her archives if she would not have access to them. AND that they will be with UCLA, she will be treated very nicely. And that those archives can now be studied, which is always good for the history of something like the LA Punk Scene. That SO many of us were a part of and help create here in Hollywood. Thank Goodness to Alice for saving all what she has. God bless You Alice!!!! and your Mom too.

Jenny Lens said...

Thanks re the tip saving the MP3 cos it worked!! You can tell I rarely download or save MP3s. I love learning so much from Alice's blog and her readers.

Re archives: When I was with that big photo agency, they wanted me to send my files but refused to share their scans of my work with me. I never sent them my files, just my high res scans.

So please don't assume that because someone represents you or has your archive means you have access to the originals or most of all, scans. Don't assume you will be treated nicely, either. OMG.

I've learned to get things in writing! Alice taught me a good lesson in an early blog: that when you are interviewed, be sure to get a copy. Bring a camera and be documented at events.

Although I have it in my contract that I am to obtain copies of interviews, be it on DVD or tape (because some are only audio), plus I am to get copies of books, docs, mags with my photos, I can tell you I spend a lot of time asking and asking for those copies, and still end up empty too often. Or I get too busy to follow-up, although contractually it's the other person's responsibility to get things to me.

There's a doc about punk. I wrote to Alice and others, and introduced many to the director, to be interviewed. It recently came out on DVD and I was finally able to obtain a copy of it, which includes parts of my interview. But I haven't been able to obtain a copy of my unedited interview. The director repeatedly assured not only me, but others, that we would have access to all her files. Same thing with a Canadian cable company. They sent me the edited broadcast on tape, but not the whole interview. Plus the many books and mags I'm owed. The list goes on!

That's my long way of saying: get it in writing and follow-up. Make no assumptions that you can access your material (originals and scans) or that others can access them, quickly, easily or affordably.

That's all I'm saying from years of dealing with various individuals and organizations. People and policies change; contracts don't. Yet it's up to each of us to see that contracts are fulfilled and upheld.

Update: I yet again contacted CSUN re my TADW archive. When I called previously, there was no website info. Email makes a difference!

I immediately received these emails:

I'm the theatre manager at CSUN and we would love to scan your collection into our archive. As it occurs, this is the university's Fifth[ieth] anniversary and everyone is eager to take a look back. We just had an outstanding alumni award tribute for actress Teri Garr who was here in the mid-1960's."


"my apologies for non-responses. I can't imagine there to be no interest in your offer. I'm copying the director of the program. I understand you sent it to our pr man. thank you."

Actually, TADW 50th anniversary passed (I think 2007), and I was trying to include my theatre archive for that anniversary. But better late than never!

Well, things change, cos I never got this far in the past.

However, it's still not clear if I will obtain copies of the scans nor who can obtain access. Plus someone needs to come to my place so I can explain and work with them. Then they can take the files back to CSUN to scan. I'm not driving to the valley, that's fer sure! I didn't explain that in my email, so that's my follow-up.

Ha ha, who knew I have yet another historical archive? As I said in my book, "Punk Pioneers," I always wanted to be Martha Swope, the woman who shot Broadway and ballet in NY. But I couldn't imagine leaving sunny LA. My entertainment photography dream came true in punk.

I have to thank Alice for posting this subject because it's been on my to-do list to contact CSUN yet again. Your posting prompted me to do it last night!

Thanks again for inspiring me!!