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Jenny Lens Bio 2004

Jenny Lens Bio 2004

I wrote this in 2004. My attitude is far better, thanks to SO many great Facebook comments, messages, emails and IRL (in real life) encounters. Enjoy! I was born and raised in LA. I was a shy, introverted adolescent in the wild sixties of Vietnam protests, free love and sex due to the pill and no STDs, no AIDs, women’s liberation and civil rights. But the hippie generation were as messed up as any, far from being all about peace and love. I felt so alienated and lost, felt so fat and discriminated against, so I retreated further into art and books, rarely went to live shows, but always loved rock. I was the bookworm, making art and missing out on fun teenage years. That would come later with punk. I was so bored out of my mind in school until I finally got into college and made lots of art. My work was acclaimed early on and I could have had a successful gallery/museum career. I earned a BA in Art from CSUN and Master of Fine Arts from Cal Arts, in the crafts area. I love and miss making things with my hands cos I’m a touchy-feely woman. My work was sensual and organic, the product of a passionate woman, struggling with my identity. It really hurt when people were surprised at my work: how could this fat girl have such passion, such creativity, so many skills? They were threatened by me and I was even more alienated. If that’s what my fellow students and teachers felt, how could I deal with the head games necessary to...
Saturday is Alright for Hanging Out on the Streets

Saturday is Alright for Hanging Out on the Streets

Or was it coming home for photographing of lovely opening to find all hell broke loose in my apartment building? Moved into paradise until a despot took over. Lady MacBeth and Professor Moriarty (think meaner and vicious). Without detailing it, let’s say past four years in this otherwise lovely apartment has been hell on earth. Time to get serious about this situation. That will require also legal work, research and compiling tons of info from neighbors. I could write books about both these situations. That’s how much paperwork I’m generating. Oy. Feeling like a tiger in a cage, pacing back and forth and deeply growling, I kept asking myself why do I feel like this? Was it the fact that my photo archive is being held hostage? Despite a strongly worded demand letter from my attorney. Sadly looks like litigation. Which costs a lot of time and money. That would put someone in a bad mood. Sometimes sitting on my butt, in front of screen, for 10 hours a day every day of the week really gets to me. I just walk and walk. Around the neighborhood. Or inside the courtyard. Tonight, as I looked out my kitchen window, studying the clouds and their cool damp air, in true June gloom, I flashed onto strong feelings and one powerful image. I’m in front of my dressing table mirror, with my lotions and potions and paints. I’m coloring my face, to complement my mood and dress, before going out. Life begins at 8:45. (An Al Jolson hit from the early 1930s. Delightful.). 8:45 is when Al picks up his lady...
Go-Go’s 1977-1980 We Got The Beat!

Go-Go’s 1977-1980 We Got The Beat!

Go-Gos, 1977-1980. I loved photographing Belinda Carlisle, Jane Draino Wiedlin, and the totes adorbs Margot. A few shots of Charlotte Caffey with then-boyfriend, Leonard Phillips, singer of the Dickies, first LA punk band to get signed. Plus Jane with her then-boyfriend, Terry Graham, drummer for the Bags and Gun Club. And more, so let’s get started with some IDs and stories behind my photos. Plus so many of our friends. Good times.

Creem Magazine and Photographer Jenny Lens

Creem Magazine was THE ROCK magazine. The best of the best was, without a doubt, Creem. Forget Rolling Stone. Corporate and usually dismissive of Punk. Yes, Creem magazine was the BEST ROCK MAG. Ever. Read on to see they didn’t treat me that well, lost slides, but hey, THEY WERE IT. And Creem, of all the mags, deserves to be honored, remembered and most of all, CELEBRATED. Contribute to the documentary fund-raiser, til August 5, 2016! Creem was one of the few magazines who actually put photographer’s names on their masthead. This is a major list of who’s who of rock photography. Note the author of the Creem book is not listed. Yeah. Ok, so why we MUST have THIS version? The TRUTH. Creem magazine and I started our relationship in early 1976. Let’s start at the beginning. Late 1975, while waiting in line at the grocery store, I glanced at a new magazine called “People.” I lived in the northeast corner of the Valley, in Granada Hills. I stopped when seeing a photo of a rather androgynous looking woman. Quoting Rimbaud. I figured any rock n roller who knows the Symbolist poets is someone I want to know. I will never forget first listening to Patti’s “Horses.” My life was totally and irreversibly changed. I wanted to read everything I could about this new thing called “Punk music.” But mainstream media wasn’t having it. They were not fans. Only a handful of magazines and fanzines were covering punk in late 75 and early 76. I also had a disadvantage because I was out in the Valley. We didn’t get a...

Ghosts of My Town

Claude “Kick Boy” Bessy, in “Decline of the Western Civilization,” Part 1, directed by Penelope Spheeris, reads a letter to the editor of Slash Magazine, his role at that pioneering punk fanzine. He relates the tale wherein the writer is complaining about people who threw themselves onto the back bumper of the car and held on as the car drove away. The irony is Claude was one of the people hanging onto the car. I will never forget being at Club 88, 11788 Pico Boulevard, in West Los Angeles. I was outside with Claude and a couple other guys. The car came to a stop at the intersection of Pico and Granville. Claude ran out, grabbed the back bumper and held on for dear life as the car attempted to drive away. I was laughing, screaming, jumping up and down while clapping my hands. I’d never seen anything like it.  Club 88 was one of the few venues where I hung out and did not bring my camera. Like the Masque, it had a low stage set close on the ground with kids ferociously dancing. That made it very difficult for me to photograph without crowds. I have this thing of not wanting crowds in my photos. I want just the performers, not backs of heads. Plus I saw local bands at the intimate Club 88, whom I could photograph from a better vantage point at the Whisky or the Starwood.  I rarely ventured out to West LA except if X playing or some other favorite band. All I have in my memories. But I laughed with delight when I heard...