Monday, March 26, 2007

George Barris Place

Well, it was a groove. Domenic Priore and I went down there and met up with 1/3 of the Wondermints: The great Nicky Wonder & Darian Sahanaja. We also ran into Art Fein and my good friend (and amazing cartoon artist) Patrick Owsley. Domenic's new book "Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock'N'Roll's Last Stand in Hollywood" will finally be out in June.

ABOVE: The King with Councilman Tom LaBonge being hoisted up in a crane to unveil the new street plaque seen in the first photo at the top.

BELOW: Cool new mural done for the event. I was told that there was gonna be a faux Batcave constructed in that location and the Batmobile would be seen haulin' ass outta there at some point just like the opening of the TV show. So much for rumors. I guess it was cheaper to just paint it instead!

BELOW: all I can say's the thought that counts! However this does give us a good idea what it could've looked like if Richard Belzer had been originally cast as Robin!

BELOW: The closest to Zombo I'll ever get...

BELOW: The closest to The Monkees Nicky will ever get...(but if they ever have another reunion, I hope they're sharp enough to have his number around!)
BELOW: (found on a sampler of things) If Wondermints ever get their own TV show...

I'm not sure of the exact list of who else attended. Of course Brett, George's son who I'd mentioned was Brett's sister Joji. We saw Nancy Sinatra pulling around the front of the shop, but I didn't see her at the event. Eric Estrada was there, but that's about all I can remember. All in all, it was a great day and maybe Huell Howser will finally take notice and do one of his "California's Gold" features on George. I personally wrote Howser a letter explaining that Barris' shop is basically the "Willy Wonka" factory of Hollywood auto history, but I got a generic form reply in, to them I say; get a clue, clues are free! OK back to work & see ya soon.
~ ML ~

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Here we come..walkin' down the street: "Barris Place" that is!

Well, Rodney got his due last week and now another living piece of California's Gold; George Barris will have a street named in his honor this week. In case you think don't know who the King of Kustom me, you know his work.
Start with the Batmobile, The Munster's Coach & Dragula...and then I'll let you have fun doing your own google-fest.

Here's the 411:

TOLUCA LAKE – Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge is pleased to announce a very special ceremony on Friday, March 23 honoring the King of the Kustomizers, George Barris, and the Barris family business, Barris Kustom City. Please join Councilman LaBonge and Master of Ceremonies Fritz Coleman as they unveil and christen George Barris Place, and as they honor the most famous kustom auto designer and builder of celebrity cars in the world.

Expected to attend the dedication will be some of the stars Barris created cars such as Bo Derek, John Corbett, Adam West, John Schneider, Nancy Sinatra, Dan Haggerty, Karen Kramer, Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), James Barren and Mamie Van Doren, just to name a few. Paul Casey, official Elvis of Las Vegas and two-time Entertainer of the Year, will perform Elvis’ greatest hits as a tribute to Barris, a long time personal friend of Elvis Presley. Barris built several movie cars for Elvis. The dedication will take place at 1 p.m. at Barris Kustom Industries, 10811 Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake.

Aside from fiberglass fabrications, Barris is also known for his Boss paint jobs. The "Barris Gold" is his signature color, and he's most renowned for his "scallops" rather than his flames. A scallop follows the line of the body and ends in a sharp point.
One of George's most legendary scallop jobs could be found on the back of a Porsche Spyder that was owned (and fatally un-owned) by the original Brad Pitt...a guy named James Dean.
Below is a shot of "The King and I" taken by Hal Lifson at his first "1966!" book signing at Bookstar in Studio City. At that signing we also had Batman himself: Adam West present along with Barris to sign some books (L.A. locals will sadly notice our dearly departed Sav-On in the background) You shoulda seen the look on the local policemen's faces when they saw the '66 Batmobile parked out front of the store, it was right out of a Candid Camera episode!
I went to High School with Brett Barris, George's son...this comes in handy when you just happen to need an original Batmobile on short notice...Thanks Brett & George!

One of my favorite Barris creations (also my all-time favorite movie poster seen above) is the ZZR surfmobile from the (1966 of course!) film "Out Of Sight" dig this -
Also of note to Beach Boys fans, George did a little something for the guys too (below)
BELOW: Beach Boys Buggy Kustom Cars Sticker #38
Text description written on back of the card:

From one of the biggest national contests Capitol Records ever has evolved 22 Kandy striped mini Coppers for the Beach Boys. Hub caps are made of their gold records. Red and white Kandy striped fur interior, top and curtains make this Barris special a real eye-opener.So there ya go.
Be there or be aware! I won't be posting much for the next coupla months, it's time to start on Brian's 2007 tour book and I'll be buried under e-mail's, photos, coffee and deadlines.

Until then, keep it real! ~ ML ~

In memory of our beloved Tower Records on the Sunset Strip, which went the way of Wallich's Music City this year, here's my moment from 2004. A sight that all album designers and bands throughout the years used to look forward to seeing. I'm proud to have been a part of that tradition...and just in time!
photo by Dennis Loren

Friday, March 2, 2007

Rodney on the Walk: It's All Happening!

On March 9th 2007 the Mayor of the Sunset Strip will have conquered Hollywood Blvd. too!

I was asked by my pal Rodney Bingenheimer to create the concert poster for the evening gig at the Music Box theatre to celebrate his new position on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Here's is the official announcement from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce:
WHO: Rodney Bingenheimer, Honorary Mayor of Hollywood Johnny Grant, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, President/CEO Leron Gubler
WHAT: 2,330th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
WHERE: 7021 Hollywood Boulevard
WHEN: Friday, March 9, at 11:30 a.m.

A few years ago, Chris Carter gave me the chance to design my first movie poster (above) for his and George Hickenlooper's documentary on Rodney "Mayor of the Sunset Strip". It's a beautiful poster with a silver mirror foil-stamped logo. These were only given out at the June 17th 2003 premier of the film at the Hollywood Cinerama Dome. I also designed the soundtrack sampler CD package, a promo folder, a button and the passes for the after-party event.

Unfortunately when the film was finally sold to First Look Media, I wasn't even given a shot at the art for the world release:

Them (read with lisp): "Well, we want to use someone who specializes more in movie posters"
Me (with "get a clue" frustration): "That's called an artist sir. If I make the graphic square, it's an album, if I make it long, it's a movie know, like my poster that you have framed in your front office!"

Anyway, his nephew or his friend probably got the gig or something. To me, the final art (look it up yourself) ended up looking like some kind of Clockwork Orange Halloween party. A little sour grapes? Nope. I'm happy with the work I did, I just think I should've been given a fair chance at the new package. That said, Rodney can still be heard on KROQ (106.7 FM in Los Angeles) every Sunday night, and I believe on the net too.