Tucson celebrates the art of rock n’ roll

Lighting scaffold, Woodstock Music & Art Fair, Bethel, NY, 1969
Can you spot the guy who later had pants airbrushed on him by Encyclopedia Britannica?

In conjunction with the exhibit “Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present” the Tucson Museum of Art hosts a talk by Baron Wolman from 1 to 2:30 p.m., Saturday, September 10. Free with admission.

“Rockin’ The Desert,” exhibit of photos by Baron Wolman and Lynn Goldsmith. Reception and “Rolling Stone Years” book signing, Saturday, September 10, from 7-10 at the Etherton Gallery.

Personal Stories

Big Sur Folk Festival, Esalen, Big Sur, CA, 1969

We’d like to thank Michael Maurer Smith for the frank and enlightening note he sent to Baron upon receiving his copy of the book.

“I recently got your book, “The Rolling Stone Years.” It is an absolute pleasure and treasure. And I want to say thank you.

From 1968 until the late summer of 1972 I was serving in the Marine Corps. Although I did not go to Vietnam I did serve tours in Guantanamo and Okinawa. While in Okinawa I remember one of the guys rushing into the barracks, very excited. He yelled out to everyone that they were now carrying “Rolling Stone” in the PX. That was the first time (1971) I had heard of the magazine. I’d come from a small town in Michigan and had joined the Marines at 18. I knew little about anything and next to nothing about rock and roll.

Okinawa at that time was under the control of the United States, and had been since the end of World War Two. It reverted to Japanese control in 1972. Because of this the American Military command had a firm control over what we service personnel could do, what we could read and where we could go.

At one point Donald Sutherland and Jane Fonda came to Okinawa. To prevent us from seeing them the Marine Command confined all Marines to base. I never forgot this act of censorship. Believe me it was not the only one.) So you can understand how “Rolling Stone,” becoming available in the PX on Okinawa, was so significant at that time.

Your book with its superb photographs and commentary has given me at least a little bit of the San Francisco/Rock and Roll experience I wish could have known first-hand. I’m sure it will do the same for many other veterans. For that – for giving us a bit of our youth that was denied us at the time – we are all indebted to you. Thanks again.”

Cosmic World Book Tour and More, Tucson

Joan Baez, Big Sur Folk Festival, Esalen, Big Sur, CA, 1969

Who Shot Rock and Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present – a museum-sized traveling exhibition of rock photography – rolls into the Tucson Museum of Art on Oct. 22. Organized by the Brooklyn Museum, it celebrates not only the music’s stars – Kurt Cobain, Mick Jagger, Debbie Harry – but the photography stars who made the music’s makers indelible.

Megastar rock photog Annie Leibovitz is in the show, of course, along with a host of others, including Baron Wolman, the first-ever photographer at Rolling Stone magazine; Lynn Goldsmith; and the late Linda Eastman McCartney. New York curator Gail Buckland approaches rock shots “as an art form,” says TMA chief curator Julie Sasse. “She captures an era, giving photographers credit for helping shape our vision of rock ‘n’ roll.”

Once the show was booked, the TMA folks enlisted as many partner venues as possible. The Etherton Gallery quickly took the bait. Its show, Rockin’ the Desert: Photographs by Baron Wolman and Lynn Goldsmith, features two photographers who are also in the TMA show. Wolman has “shot” everybody from Johnny Cash and Janis Joplin to Joan Baez and Mick Jagger, not to mention a groupie here and there. Rockin’ the Desert will actually open first, on Sept. 6, and continue through Nov. 12.

As the song says – sort of – there’s a whole lotta cross-fertilization goin’ on. Rolling Stone alum Wolman will give a talk about his work over at TMA, at 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 10, the same day that Etherton stages an evening opening for Rockin’ the Desert, from 7 to 10 p.m. Then, right after the party, revelers can ramble round the corner to the Rialto Theatre, for real-life rockin’ by Jefferson Starship, a band piloted by Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane fame. Doors open at 10:30 p.m.; show starts at 11 p.m.