Saturday, January 14, 2012

Brush with Fame

Last post brought some appreciation about Janis Joplin, and Mr. Door Tree remembered a fantastic concert at Yale, back in the good ole daze, when life was more interesting in a number of ways.

And then, I have a good friend who has a 'brush with fame' memory:

It was June of 1970, when my friend was in Eden Park in Cincinnati, where her brother was setting up for a band gig, and it was a blistering hot day. She was wearing a mini skirt, as was appropriate for that time, and no shoes, so she was 'all legs' as she put it (this information is not pertinent but I like the way it sets the stage), when a young woman and three guys walked straight up to her. "Hey man, can you tell me where the nearest bathroom is?" (everyone was called 'man' back then, even pretty young women).

My friend started to tell her where a port-a-let was, but this other woman said, "naw, I mean a real bathroom." So my friend directed her to a place at the top of the hill on Mount Adams. "Thanks man", and she and her entourage hiked on up the hill.

A couple of seconds later, my friend's friends came running up to her. "You talked to her! You talked to Janis! Wow, man!" Well yes, of course, the woman was Janis Joplin, and my friend had no idea. "You didn't know who she was?" I ask now.

"Well, no. I knew her music of course, I loved her music, but I'd only seen a few blurry photographs of her, and she was dressed in a lot of layers of clothes and a big hat, even though it was really hot out."

Joplin was in town for a concert with Poco and Lee Michaels at Cincinnati Gardens, and she wanted to do a concert of her own at Eden Park, but the city wouldn't let her. It seems perhaps that she was there to hear the band that my friend's brother was in.

BRUSH with fame, as Letterman sez.

Steve Miller — Janis — 1975

Now, I don't find any source that says that this Steve Miller illustration portrait is by THE Steve Miller of the The Steve Miller Band, but THE Steve Miller was an old friend of Joplin when they were in Texas. Plus, they played at some of the same gigs. This illustration is based on a famous photograph of Joplin, but it is a nice rendition of it. Is it by THE Steve Miller? I dunno.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This portrait was by Steve Miller, artist, illustrator, who was chairman of the Art Dept at Palomar college, CA for many years. He did many illustrative portraits for the Grammys and did art work for other music industry events. I recognize this as he used to have the Janis Joplin portrait hanging on the left side of his fireplace.