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Category Archives: Bruce Brace.

Annie Leibovitz the Rembrant of Photography.

 

 

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If Annie Leibovitz had been given a paintbrush instead of a camera, she would have been put into the class of Rembrandt or Degas. Or otherwise if Rembrandt and Degas would have had a camera instead of a paint brush, they would have been an Annie Leibovitz.
Practically every photograph that I have seen is a work of art, in fact they are not photos, they are portraits. For example and there are many:
Firstly this is by Rembrandt.

 

ANNIE LEIBOVITZ  & REMBRANDT PORTRAIT 2 - Copy

 The Stone Bridge by Rembrandt.

ANNIE LEIBOVITZ  THE QUEEN PRINT

Photo by Annie Leibovitz of ‘The Queen of England’ 2007

This photo of the Queen has the touch of a master, the detail in the pose, the background, the lighting, the whole, turns it into a beautiful portrait, that could have been painted by Rembrandt.
These are some of the Queen of England collection by Annie Leibovitz:

 

ANNIE LEIBOVITZ  THE QUEEN 2 LIGHTENED

 

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ANNIE LEIBOVITCH  QUEEN 2007

 

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Annie Leibovitz was commissioned by Harper’s Bazaar Magazine to produce a collection of photos in the style of Degas, with the wonderful American Ballerina Misty Copeland, Here is part of her collection:

 

3ANNIE LEIBOVITCH HARPER'S BAZAAR

 

ANNIE LEIBOVITZ MISTY COPELAND 2

 

ANNIE LEIBOVITZ MISTY COPELAND DEGAS

 

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 Annie Leibovitz

A press release from UBS.

Annie Leibovitz Biography

Annie Leibovitz began her career as a photojournalist for Rolling Stone in 1970, while she was still a student at the San Francisco Art Institute. Her pictures have appeared on magazine covers ever since. In 1983, when she joined the staff of the revived Vanity Fair, she was established as the foremost rock music photographer and an astute documentarian of the social landscape. For over three decades, at Vanity Fair and later at Vogue, she has been adding to a large and distinguished body of work that includes some of the most well-known portraits of our time.
Several collections of Leibovitz’s work have been published and exhibitions of her photographs have appeared at museums and galleries all over the world, from the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C; the National Portrait Gallery in London; to the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.
She is the recipient of many honors, in 2006 she was made a Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French government, in 2009, she received the International Center of Photography’s Lifetime Achieverment Award, the first Creative Excellence Award from the American Society of Magazine Editors, and the Centenary Medal of the Royal Photographic Society in London. In 2012, she was the recipient of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art Award to Distinguished Women in the Arts and the Wexner Prize. In2013 she received the Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities, Leibovitz has been designated a Living Legend by the Library of Congress.

 

ANNIE LEIBOVITCH  TONY CURTIS & JACK LEMMON

Josephine and Daphne recreated.

This was taken by Annie Leibovitz 36yrs. after the original film           “Some Like it Hot” which was made in 1959.

Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in 1995, what a great photo.

 

SOME LIKE IT HOT

This is how they looked in the original with Marilyn Monroe.

 

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Liberace 1981

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Liberace’s Hands, just wearing something simple!

ANNIE LEIBOVITCH  LA DOLCE VITA

Anita Ekberg in the Trevi Fountain scene from “La Dolce Vita”.

ANNIE LEIBOVITZ  TREVI FOUNTAIN PRINT

Annie Leibovitz’s version.

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A backstage look into the working of that beautiful picture.

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Another backstage look

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In 2001 she was commissioned by Vanity Fair to produce a series of photographs called “Hollywood Legends” Which she has produced periodically to the present day.

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In 2007 Annie Leibovitz was commissioned to produce a series of “Disney Dream Portraits” by Disney Studios. Here are a few:

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These are just a few of the brilliant portraits that this Master of Photography has produced. Every accolade she has received she deserved. Long may she continue.

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“A Time For Tears”: A further instalment in the Casino de Paris Striptease Theatre Club Story

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“A TIME FOR TEARS”

A further instalment in the Casino De Paris Striptease Theatre Club story

In 1964 Danny La Rue opened his own club in Hanover Square which became a legend in night club history. This left a void at Winston’s where Danny had been performing for years. Bruce Brace, who was the owner of Winston’s, approached us and asked whether we would put on a glamour revue at his night club as Danny was no longer there.

I asked Danny what he thought and whether he would mind if we did a show for Bruce, and he said that it was fine. He forgot to mention that most of his weekly cheques from Winston’s bounced!  So his salary was always in arrears. If only Danny would have told us the truth!

The show we put on was, if I say it myself, beautiful, glamorous, funny and with plenty of nudity. In fact perfect for a night club audience.

CASINO DE PARIS NIGHT CLUB SHOW AT WINSTONS

 As you can see we had a multi talented cast and the show was a big success. After three weeks, however, the shit hit the fan! Our cheques for the production and costumes, etc. bounced.  I told Bruce that he had a week to sort out our finances; otherwise we were pulling the show, which we did as no money was forthcoming. Fortunately I had insisted on making a contract with Bruce. He wasn’t too happy about signing at the time, but I told him ‘no contract, no show!”   We took him to court and won the case with damages, which he was allowed to pay in weekly instalments as he was pleading poverty, so the payments would go on forever. The first week he paid, then nothing, so we took him back to court again and went through the same procedure. This went on for months and months. He’d pay the first week then nothing. So it was back to court again and again until finally I think it was Mr. Billy Howard who came to see me at the Casino De Paris. He told me that he was taking over Winston’s Club and he wanted to settle the whole amount and not have any more litigation. The man was a gentleman.

So it just goes to show that there was no need for me to go to Egypt or Greece to get ‘screwed’, I could stay in England and get ‘screwed’ here instead!! But at least here we had English law on our side. In the long run we finished no better off financially with all the wasted time and all the extra expenses, and with the money coming back in such small dribs and drabs. We just had to write it all off to experience, but we did learn that we could mount a very good night club show.

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Audrey Crane

In 1964, Hello Dolly opened on Broadway and we managed to get a copy of the cast album as soon as it was released. Listening to all the wonderful songs and music, I couldn’t wait to do a show at the Casino de Paris using some of the music and songs. David Merrick, the American producer of the show was a regular visitor to our club and would always pop in for the afternoon show whenever he was in London. I knew that his visits to London were always on business, and seeing our show was his form of relaxation in between his meetings. Well, we mounted a new show and were using music from Dolly for the opening of our show and also for a big finale. This was way before it opened at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, with Mary Martin. Really it was not quite legal. Ahh-Hmmm! In fact it was completely illegal, but it was worth taking the risk as the music was so good.

DAVID MERRICK

David Merrick

One afternoon my secretary told me that David Merrick was in, so I nervously waited for him to come out at the end of the show. He said to me, “You know you’re being very naughty using ‘Hello Dolly.It hasn’t even opened in London yet!” I took a deep breath and said, “I know, but you must admit that we do it beautifully.He replied, “You’re right, you do!” With that, he left the Club and the show continued its run without any problems from Mr. Merrick. He must have really liked what we did because I was told that on Broadway he was a tyrant and sued everyone! He was quoted as saying, “It’s not enough for me to win. My enemies must lose.” So it was wonderful that we managed to get off scot free and he still kept on coming back to see our shows.

SONNE TEAL MULTI TALENTED 2

Ray and I were still thinking of opening a night club as I had ‘ants in my pants’ and was always wanting to do something else, and seeing the exceptional way Danny La Rue’s club was going we went back to our original idea of a female impersonator fronting a night club. A very good friend of ours at the time was Sonne Teal whom we had known for many years since before opening the Casino de Paris. He was one of the stars at the Casino de Paris Theatre in Paris (coincidence of names they were there first!). He also worked at the Carrousel Club in the Rue du Colisee in Paris, where he was starring with Coccinelle and Bambi, both very famous French female impersonators. Sonne had the voice of an angel and the looks of Marilyn Monroe.

SONNE TEAL MULTI TALENTED

 Listen to Sonne Teal’s wonderful voice in this video tribute:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/-ehjk7kg1vs

 He could belt out numbers like Ethel Merman or be soft and melodious like Lena Horne. His sense of comedy was great and he already had a great following in London from when he worked at the Astor Club in Berkeley Square, which was not one of the easiest Clubs to play, but he played there time and time again and they loved him. Apart from being a brilliant artist, he also had a good business brain and his feet were firmly on the ground. So we put a proposition to him whereby he would have a third share in the club, to be called “Sonne Teal’s”, and we would finance the whole thing. He eagerly agreed and a deal was clinched. This meant that we were out looking for premises again!   

By chance in late ‘65 a club came on the market that was called Annie’s Room (the famous Jazz singer Annie Ross ran the place) and we took Sonne along to look at it. He loved it. The premises, which were quite large, were in the basement of a building in Russell St. in Covent Garden, practically opposite the stage door of the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane and three or four doors away from the Fortune Theatre. Remember, this was 1965 and Covent Garden was not as it is today – Swinging! The Covent Garden Market was still running and when it closed at night, there really wasn’t any real business in the area. But we thought that Sonne would be a big enough pull to bring the carriage trade along, because parking there was easy.                             

Décor wise, the place was a dump and had to be gutted because there was nothing there that was worth keeping. We exchanged contracts with the owners and we had a lease for 15 years. The building would take at least three or four months to rebuild and redecorate, so Sonne asked us whether he could take up a contract to star in the Carrousel Show with four other artistes in Tokyo, Japan. It was just for six weeks, so we said okay and he went off to Paris to rehearse for a week and then fly off to Japan. There were a few weeks before the builders started work, so Ray and I sorted out the way the Club would look.

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Of course I got completely carried away with the design and insisted that we put a glass dance floor in the centre of the club with colour changing lights underneath. This would also be used as the cabaret floor so it would serve two purposes and also add extra glamour to the show which was an important thing. “Sonne Teal’s” was going to look great!

As building started in Covent Garden, we heard the tragic news of Lydia Lova’s death, which saddened us greatly. On the 3rd of March we received a postcard from Sonne telling us that the show in Tokyo was a big success and that he would be back in London in two weeks.  The following day on the B.B.C. we heard that a BOAC passenger jet had crashed into Mount Fuji 25 minutes after taking off from Tokyo, killing all 124 people on board. We were shocked at the tragedy but thought, “Thank God Sonne wasn’t on board.” But we had forgotten that the postcard took about two weeks to be delivered. Two days later Bruce Cartwright, who was Sonne’s partner, rang us from Paris to say that Sonne had been on the plane. Ray and I were devastated. In just two months we had lost first Lydia and now Sonne. Those beautiful young and lovely people were gone forever! It was just too much to comprehend.

When later we had time to reflect, it dawned on us, that there we were in the middle of building a night club for a star who was no longer with us. We were really in the shit!

   This is my tribute to Sonne Teal a beautiful and multi talented spirit.

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SONNE TEAL 2

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Photo from the Avery Willard Book

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Photo from the Avery Willard book

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Sonne Teal with his partner Bruce Cartwright

This homage to Sonne which is in French contains some beautiful pictures.

http://www.dianeetlesexedesanges.ch/3colset008/page_sonne_teal/_page_sonne_teal.htm

We couldn’t stop the building, it had gone too far. Too much money was already involved. We were truly up the creek without a paddle! Who could possibly take Sonne’s place? There were the French female Impersonators, but none of them spoke English well enough to banter with an audience. There was an American drag act called Ricky Renee who had worked at Al Burnet’s Stork Club in Swallow Street for quite a while a few years before and whom Sonne had talked about favourably as they had worked together at the 82 Club in New York. Maybe he would be interested?

RICKY RENEE POSE 1

I rang Bruce Cartwright in Paris, who was still in a state of shock and explained to him our situation, which he already knew about and sympathized. I asked him whether he knew where Ricky Renee was, whether he was still in Europe and if he had a phone number for him. He had! Ricky was working in a night club in Berlin at the time. Apparently he had been there for a number of years. It seemed that he had made Berlin his home. So we rang him and explained our situation, telling him the full story of poor Sonne. Was he interested in coming back to London and fronting a night club with his name as Ricky Renee’s?  

RICKY RENEE'S DRIVING THE ROLLS OUTSIDE RICKY RENEE'S

Everything was under the same conditions as we had arranged with Sonne. Ray and I flew to Berlin to see Ricky and fixed the deal with him. He came to England that month and stayed with us in Marston Close whilst we finished building the club and getting a cast together for the show. Ricky had worked with Teddy Green when he was at the Stork Club and he was happy working with him again, so he was engaged.  We also engaged Maria Charles, Melvyn Hayes and Anne Hamilton, all West End performers, plus a few other dancers and singers. We had a very strong supporting cast for Ricky.

RICKRICKY RENEE OUTSIDE BILLING AT RICKY RENEE'S

All the costumes were designed and made by Dougie Darnell, who made exclusively for Shirley Bassey. So you see we had the best of everything. There was no expense spared. When the club was finished it looked beautiful, the furnishing, the exotic glass dance floor and the wonderful colour of the room. It was just the way I imagined a night club should look.

The only thing missing were the customers! Where were they? We had hoped for a phenomenal success, but it just wasn’t to be. Whoever came to the club adored the show and came back many times. The show was great and Ricky Renee was fantastic in his own way, although he wasn’t a Sonne Teal, but there just weren’t enough customers.

RICKY RENEE Foyer entrance of Ricky Renee's

RICKY RENEE POSE 1

RICKY RENEE ,RAY AND THE BACK OF MARK CANTER 2

The headaches we had were every day. Years later even Elton John came unstuck with his restaurant “Yellow Brick Road,” which was also in Covent Garden. If only it was now, you would have had to book a table weeks in advance for both “Ricky Renee’s” and “Yellow Brick Road”. Every week we had to put extra money in just to cover expenses. Salary wise we never took a penny from the club, but we lost plenty and I must say it left a bitter taste in our mouths. Well, after about six months we admitted that we had made a big mistake and decided to call it a day. We had to close Ricky Renee’s. The place was a flop! We licked our wounds, counted our losses, which where enormous, and went back home to Marston Close and the Casino De Paris, which, thank God, was still doing good business.

Ricky Renee went on to further success and later appeared in the film “Cabaret” and is still working, I believe, back in Berlin.

To see what Ricky Renee’s club looked like, click on the link below to watch “Ricky Renne, Quick Change Artist, a British Pathe Pictorial which was filmed at the club. By the time it was released in cinemas in late 1967 the club had already closed.

  http://www.britishpathe.com/video/quick-change-artist

 You can see outtakes from the film showing more of the club at the following link:

http://www.britishpathe.com/video/out-takes-cuts-from-cp-644-quick-change-artist

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You can read the full story of the Casino de Paris by clicking on the following link

The Casino de Paris Striptease Theatre Club Story

 

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