BILL EPPRIDGE RIP

The shutdown is still dragging on and I need another break before I post more about the insanity. I would also much rather write an RIP for a brilliantly talented photographer, Bill Eppridge, who died a few days ago at the age of 75.

You might not have known his name at first glance—I didn’t—but if you are a Lurcher you will certainly remember this photo:

taken just a minute or so after Robert F. Kennedy was shot in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles by the psychotic Sirhan Sirhan. It was a shot taken on the spur of the moment, by someone who had to have been utterly, deeply shocked, but the composition and  lighting is about as good as it gets, a terrible illumination of a man who has just been shot and will soon die.

Eppridge took many other iconic shots in his long career. Shots of civil rights and the Beatles.

Sports stars and junkies (which inspired the Al Pacino career-maker, The Panic in Needle Park).

Barbra Streisand washing clothes in her bathtub.

Skateboarders having fun.

Hippies being hippies.

“I think what makes a picture is a moment that is completely spontaneous and natural and unaffected by the photographer,” he said.

Tell that to professional celebrity whore-rangler, that paragon of ugliness Terry Richardson. His shots are a joke.

Bill Eppridge’s were not.

AL FRITZ RIP

I finally got around to catching up on reading the papers I was too busy to get to last week, and when I saw the obituary for Al Fritz, who died at the age of 88, it brought back a wave of memories most Lurchers should share. That’s because Fritz invented the Sting-Ray bike. Kids didn’t know his name, but they sure knew what they wanted.

Before the Sting-Ray came along, we all peddled around the neighborhood on our normal-sized Schwinns. When Fritz, who worked for Schwinn, saw how kids were sticking their own long handlebars and banana seats on their bikes to snazzy them up, the light bulb went off. This bike made riding cool.

My Schwinn was like the Beatles. The Sting-Ray was the Rolling Stones.

No wonder vintage models now sell for thousands.

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE CUTE ONE

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away. Yesterday, actually, Paul McCartney turned 70. Yes, 70. He’s been Lurching for 20 years already, and still going strong, with a blissful new marriage, lots of tour dates, boundless energy, and a full mop top of hair.

As hard as it can be to get old, I’m still really glad I was around to see and hear the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show (well, you could barely hear them for the screaming). I remember buying those 45s to dance to with my friend Diane in our basement, the crummy little record player amplifying every pop and hiss. I remember hearing “Norwegian Wood” and “Yesterday” for the first time and understanding the power of melancholy. I remember hating Linda for marrying the cute one I had such a crush on, and the bewilderment when then Beatles broke up. And of course I remember the horror in December 1980 when John Lennon was gunned down.

The cute one and the sassy, smart one

George is gone now too, but Ringo is still out there, like Paul, seemingly inexhaustible and still full of merriment and music.

Here’s to 70 more!