Local photojournalist Anastasia Pantsios shot her first concert some thirty years ago (Jefferson Airplane in Chicago) and has taken photos almost continually since then, but has never had a solo show. Her first solo photo exhibit, Lyrical Spirits: The Music Photography of Anastasia Pantsios, opens this Saturday at the Kelly Randall Gallery (2678 West 14th Street) in Tremont. A collection of approximately forty photos that, for the most part, represent the last twenty years, the exhibit includes images of rock superstars (Axl Rose, David Bowie, Bono, and Tina Turner) as well as cult figures (Julian Cope, Mother Love Bone's Andrew Wood, Perry Farrell). Pantsios says she tried to capture the essence of the various performers with the photos she selected.
"I chose artists that had some resonance," she says, adding that she picked photos of individuals rather than bands.
Born in Chicago, Pantsios originally came to Cleveland to attend college at Case Western Reserve University. There she earned a degree in theater, but started reviewing and photographing concerts for The Observer, the school paper. While working for a variety of papers including Scene and The Plain Dealer (for whom she still contributes as a freelancer), Pantsios shot photos for Rolling Stone, Spin, Esquire, Creem, Hit Parader, and Circus.
Discouraged by the limits record labels started to place on concert photo shoots (most major acts now make photographers sign contracts that stipulate, among other things, that they can only photograph the first three songs of a set), Pantsios got into band management for a short time in the early '90s before returning to photojournalism and becoming the music editor at The Free Times for six years. In addition to large, poster-size prints, the exhibit will include smaller prints in a variety of different frames. Pantsios colored some of the photos and will show them in shrine-like settings, surrounded by flowers and other items. The inspiration for this part of the exhibit was The Art of Haitian Voodoo, a traveling exhibit she saw in Chicago and New York.
"I find it interesting the way some people become fans," she explains. "I was just reading about Tori Amos, and there was this one woman who makes these dolls that look like Tori. I'm sure she's not the only Tori fan who's like that. There's these fans who have altars to Tori. Almost everyone has an artist that's their artist. In many cases they have pictures or items that suggest what that artist means to them, so it's almost like voodoo, where you have different spirits for different things. In the smaller photos, I want to depict the way people adapt the images to use them in their own way."
Many of Pantsios's photos truly do reflect the artists' distinct personality traits, whether it's Prince sticking his tongue out in a playful gesture or Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson yelling to the crowd with his arms raised.
The exhibit, which runs through November 20, also includes photos of hometown heroes like Michael Stanley and Trent Reznor (and yes, all the photos will be for sale). Morticia's Chair will play at the opening reception on Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m. For more information, call 216-771-7724.
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Gund Arena held a press conference last week to announce the booking of a date (March 23, 2000) on the first Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young reunion tour in 25 years. (Tickets go on sale November 6 at 10 a.m.) In addition to featuring a nice spread of food, the press conference included a live teleconference with the band itself. Dominated by Graham Nash, who was in a wheelchair because of a boating accident that left both legs broken (he maintained he'll be "ready to rock" by the time the tour starts in Detroit on January 24), the press conference featured predictable questions and answers -- only attendees in New York were able to ask questions.
Well aware of their status as rock stars who have been around the proverbial block, band members made several jokes about their forthcoming tour, which will support their new album Looking Forward (due October 26). When asked how this tour would differ from others, Crosby said, "It will be a slightly different approach, in that I'll be awake." Nash added that "the first time you see us, we want to knock you on your ass. We don't want to be half-baked."
Nash maintained that he, Stills, and Crosby were in the studio in L.A. recording some songs -- not for any record label, but simply because of their love of music -- when Young, who guested on a track, offered to give them some songs he had written for a solo album. One thing led to another, and the group reconvened. Then, thanks to Young's connections with Reprise Records, they got a record deal and decided to tour. (The touring band will feature Canton drummer Joe Vitale, bassist Duck Dunn, and organist Mike Finnigan.) Soundbites wonders if the ticket prices (which range from $40.50 to $201) have anything to do with their "love of music."
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DJ Dominator promises he'll be spinning underground European industrial music during his sets at Splatz (1187 Old River Road). "This is for people who want to hear something fresh," he says. "There's no attitude. The Chamber has lots of attitude, and it's about the clothes you wear. With me, it's about the music. I want to create something like Max's of Kansas City."
Dominator kicked off his weekly DJ gig last week at Splatz and will be spinning every Wednesday night. Admission is free. -- Jeff Niesel
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