Dawn comes at last for rarely-seen photos by Janis Joplin's right-hand man
The person behind the camera is often as enigmatic and interesting as the subject. This is especially true of John Byrne Cooke, who was, among many things, Janis Joplin's road manager from 1967 until her untimely death in 1970.
"I knew John," says Maria Hajic, director of the department of naturalism and contemporary western art at Gerald Peters Gallery. "He was a quirky guy; he was a character. Very, very smart."
Cooke graduated from Harvard with a degree in Romance languages and played with a bluegrass band in Massachusetts before moving to San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district—ground zero for the burgeoning acid rock movement of the time. He was recommended to manage Joplin's band, Big Brother and the Holding Company, by Bob Dylan's manager, and suddenly found himself in a position to document the counterculture of the 1960s from the inside.
The series of photographs opening this Friday (the 49th anniversary of Joplin's death) at Gerald Peters features candid shots, onstage and off, of not just Joplin but Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and other music icons. The cultural mythology tied to the subjects and the photographer elevate the works into the realm of fine art, but the story behind the gallery's acquisition is intensely personal.
"He left his work to an artist I represent," Hajic tells SFR. She connected with Cooke through that artist. "I was always surprised that he liked me. …It's a personal show for me. During the time I knew him, Janis would just pop up in conversation and it'd be like, 'Wow, I still can't believe you were her road manager and you knew all of these people, and you were there to see it.' And being a musician, he really got it."
With the folks in town who experienced the '60s scene first-hand, Hajic believes Cooke's photos are especially relevant. These originals are exhibited in collaboration with a showing of original small-format films captured by Cooke on the road with Joplin, which is taking place later this month on Oct. 20 with help from the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. (Cole Rehbein)
On the Road with Janis Joplin:
5-7 pm Oct. 4. Free.
Gerald Peters Gallery,
1005 Paseo de Peralta.
This Bugs Us
You've been observing and considering paintings done with brushes and similar tools forever? Oh, how droll … how quaint. For you see, there's another way entirely, dear reader, and it's all about bugs. I speak of artist Steven Kutcher, a creator who merges his love of fine art and entomology into one passion. Kutcher captures (or, perhaps, borrows) insects from near his home and personal butterfly garden. Said insects then walk through specially blended pigments and onto the canvas, creating a strange human/insect collaboration that is both alluring and scientifically, mathematically fascinating. There's nothing else quite like it, so, should you be in Madrid this weekend, find yourself at the gallery Calliope to find out more. (Alex De Vore)
The Bug Show: Unusual Collaborative Art of Steven Kutcher:
3 pm Saturday Oct. 5 and Sunday Oct. 6. Free.
2876 Hwy. 14, Madrid,
Giants of Folklorico 2: Electric Boogaloo
You'll find an incredibly deep and rich tradition of traditional folklorico jamz emanating from all corners of the state. And while titans in the field like Lorenzo, Roberto and Larry Martínez still carry the torch, a new exhibit at the Museum of International Folk Art helps celebrate those who came before, after and all points in between. Música Buena: Hispano Folk Music of New Mexico is the intersection of four centuries, countless traditions and cultures, and that decidedly New Mexican way of making something our own. If you've had even a passing fancy for the music traditions of our state, they built this show for you. (ADV)
Música Buena: Hispano Folk Music of New Mexico:
1-4 pm Sunday October 6. Free.
706 Camino Lejo,
We've long been enamored of both bassist Casey Andersen and guitarist Mohit Dubey's styles. A collaborator with tons of locals, Andersen leans toward progressive jazz, sometimes experimental, other times not, but always jazzy; Dubey, meanwhile, is classically trained and nothing short of phenomenal. Put 'em together and who knows what might happen? The folks who pop by Dinner For Two on Monday evenings for the rest of the year might just find out. Look, brass tacks? These are two of the finest musicians in town, giants in their fields and with the kinds of resumes that earn session and gigging spots with ease. The menu's not half-bad, either. (ADV)
Casey Andersen and Mohit Dubey:
6 pm Monday October 7. Free.
Dinner for Two,
106 N Guadalupe St.,
Editor's note: A previous version of this article miscalculated the anniversary of Joplin's death.