Laz writes: I'm brimming with pride to announce the next project taking place in the exhibition space downstairs at Laz Emporium from Saturday 7 May.
Ewen Spencer's While You Were Sleeping showcases the leading photographer's seminal late 1990s nightclub images:
'The Lovers' from Sonic Mook Experiment at 333 Old Street, 1998
We started out together, me and Ewen Spencer. I always knew he was brilliant. So I find it tremendously pleasing that as the years passed, and more people saw his documentary, portrait and fashion photography, they agreed wholeheartedly. My own favourite photographer Martin Parr named Ewen 'newcomer of the year' way back in 2002.
'Blind Olly Soft Rock' the DJ to blame for ironic 80s records in trendy clubs. It made a crazy kind of sense at the time (1998)
Fashionistas will know Ewen's recent front covers for arch fashion mags like Pop and Arena Homme+. And you might've seen his Channel Four documentaries Brandy & Coke, Open Mic, plus Street, Sound and Style. But when we met back in the 90s, Ewen was shooting nightclubs. Mike Skinner out of The Streets, who Ewen's photographed a bunch over the years says, "the important and exciting thing about Ewen's photos is that they take you back to the real thing."
Above: taken at Queer Nation, the club where DJs Princess Julia and Fat Tony made their names in 1999
I don't think there's anyone out there creating finer reportage photography in the subculture. So I'm made up to announce that we'll be exhibiting images from Ewen's new book While You Were Sleeping on Saturday 7 May onwards, showcasing nightclub photography from 1990s Britain.
Above: rave on Old Kent Road, 1999
Ewen's 20-something son Kuba stumbled across his dad's early work, and remarked how vibrant the clubs seemed in comparison to the sanitised dance parties of now. "When did you take these?" Kuba asked. "While you were sleeping," replied Ewen. Port magazine says in its article on the book, 'The photos are an incredible record of the past, where smoking in clubs was legal, people wouldn’t be glued to their phones; everyone seems less aware of themselves.'
Here's a fantastic interview with Ewen by journalist Clive Martin, conducted when the pair worked on Street, Sound and Style for Channel Four.
Stay locked to our newsletter and Instagram/Facebook @lazemporium for more hype. We'll have the lavish photo book of When You Were Sleeping for sale plus prints and more for sale. See you on Saturday 7 May for the opening – our doors are open as usual and it's the final day of the Rave Captured show on Thursday 27 April.
This exhibition in our downstairs space showing till Wednesday 27 April 2022 showcases Steve Lazarides' rave culture photography from the early 1990s.
Steve has installed the images in an immersive and racy manner in complete contrast to austere photo exhibitions. Swing by!
White gloves on for handling the Japanese paper editions contrasting rave's contemporary popular culture with heritage crafts!
Tons of famous people came to the launch.
'The rave scene erupted out of the ruins of Thatcher’s Britain which, especially in the North East, had decimated industry. “Suddenly, you’re watching a society trying to repair the wounds of a fucking lunatic,” Lazarides says. “And people just wanted to step out and fucking party.”
He continues: “You can only feel glum for so long, before you have to slap on your war paint and your armour and go and live life.
“It was us against the state; It was a big fuck you to the press and society, without it really being about that. People weren’t doing it as a mass protest, they were doing it because they wanted to have a good time again…But I’ll tell you what, it didn’t feel like we were losing.”
Congrats Steve on making a splash with your first ever show! Besides when some of these were chosen for the National Portrait Gallery 30 years ago.
Finally – who nicked all the OG 90s Vicks?
He hasn't got one of those big leather folders for displaying his work in, but if he did, these are the photographs Steve Lazarides would put in it.
Here's the captions:
1 Barton Hill youth club, Bristol, mid-1980s
2 Steve's dad Pete, mid-1980s
3 Tape deck at Body & Soul nightclub, NY, late 1990s
4 Rat temple, India, early 2000s
5 Tricky and notorious underworld figures, early 2000s
6 Cat Power, NY, late 1990s
7 Indian countryside, early 2000s
8 'Flower Thrower' stencil, late 1990s
9 Centre for the Dull, NY, early 2000s
10 Banksy farmyard 'Wild Style' project late 1990s
11 Sav Remzi and Andrew Weatherall, Bridge and Tunnel, Shoreditch early 2000s
12 Gulf War protest 2003
13 Jackie 60 nightclub, NY, late 1990s
14 BAST flyposters, NY, early 2000s
15 Kurt Cobain's ink pot, Seattle early 2000s
16 David Choe paints Lazarides Rathbone, mid-2000s
17 Sniff Yourself Thin billboard, NY, mid-2000s
18 Dave Grohl, California, early 2000s
19 Invader at Execution Dock Studio, 2014
Our founder Steve Lazarides takes us through his photographic career – from pre-Instagram action at Barton Hill Youth club in Bristol as a teenager during the mid-80s to Courtney Love commissioning him to document the late Kurt Cobain's sealed archive twenty years later.
The women of the Black Panther Party mini-Museum opened Juneteenth 2021.
“Progressive art can propel people towards self-emancipation” is just one of many stirring statements by Angela Davis, a totemic figure within the Black Panthers. A new museum celebrates the movement and in particular the women who made up two-thirds of the membership.
Angela Davis joined the Girl Scouts of America in the late 1950s. It was there, she says, that she learned to be a political activist and agitator. First, on behalf of the Californian communist movement Advance; as a professor of philosophy at UCLA; and then as a star of the Black Panther party. By 1969 two-thirds of Black Panther Party members were women, a fact attributable to Davis’ and other women’s sterling contributions.
The museum launches with highlights from the archive of activist Lisbet Tellefsen
Emory Douglas, the artist whose distinctive style gave the movement not only some of its most powerful narratives but also its visual brand, has said: “My daughter’s mother worked with me designing for The Black Panther newspaper. There was also Tarika Lewis, who was the first artist that worked with me on the newspaper as an artist. And then there were many other women who contributed to the production of the newspaper [such as the editor, Judy Juanita]."
Poster-sized artwork by 'Minister for Culture' Emory Douglas and others adorned the back of the Black Panther Newspaper
The women depicted in my artwork are a reflection of the party. Women went to jail and were in leadership roles. Women started chapters and branches of the Black Panther Party as well. When we used to read some of the stories, you would see women in the Vietnam and Palestine struggle and in the African liberation movement. Women were an integral part of those movements so all that played into how I expressed them in my own artwork.”
Patta streetwear's S/S '21 collection with art by Emory Douglas
Douglas’ arresting work is back in the cultural conversation this month, appearing in a collection for Dutch streetwear brand Patta. Davis’ influence too continues to be felt: not only is she credited with popularising the phrase ‘prison industrial complex’ but she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2020, for her keenly obvious influence on the Black Lives Matter movement. And that’s not all. A new museum dedicated to the Black Panthers that opened on 19 June 2021 highlights the work of the ‘Women of the BPP’, inside a 144 year-old Oakland home already adorned by a wraparound mural featuring 1960s Panthers Delores Henderson, Angie Johnson, and Lauren Williams.
The inaugural show features images by official Black Panthers photographer Stephen Shames.
The mural was commissioned only last year by the house’s owner, noted activist Jilchristina Vest. It overlooks the very street corner where Black Panthers founder Huey Newton was murdered under predictably dubious circumstances in 1989. The museum itself opens with a pop-up exhibition featuring the archive collection of Lisbet Tellefsen, and images from Black Panthers’ photographer Stephen Shames. Tellefsen’s showcase focuses on the practical action taken by the Panthers, including its free breakfast and free medical care programs. Going forward, the intention is to offer similar wellbeing schemes to the local community including yoga for children.
Beyoncé's dancers at her 2016 Superbowl appearance
The Mini Museum at The Mural is open now at 831 Center Street, Oakland 94607. Right now you’ll need to book in advance via westoaklandmuralproject.org. you can follow the project on Instagram and YouTube.
Raise the philosophical bar on your coffee table and educate your children with vintage copies of The Black Panther Newspaper, available in our Books section.
Our 'in house' columnist gives it up for the dads – in particular, her own.
It was Fathers’ Day on 20th June which is a big deal in The House of Laz. Mostly because we love any excused for a party. But The Governor is the main man and we love a day to celebrate how much the nine of us in the house love him. Admittedly that does include the two cats; they’re more grateful than most for him picking up their shit on a daily basis.
I try to celebrate my own late father all the time. I talk to him about new television shows I’m watching that I think he’d like, and new books I’m reading, and a lot of BBC Radio 4’s schedule. I am a daddy’s girl. In winter, I wear his old polo shirt in bed and always carry a tie of his (cravat to be precise) in the bottom of my handbag.
As a child he shouted at me religiously. Mostly about manners, table manners in particular, and now I do the same with my kids. For every meal. Without fail. He was pedantic about use of language, a family trait which unfortunately Mr Laz now has to put up with – don’t get me started on his Instagram grammatical errors. I have actually now been banned from looking at his page.
Dad was passionate in his love of France and all things French, signing off every correspondence he had with me with ‘à bientôt’. It was only recently that I realised how hopeful and loving this phrase is. Never ‘au revoir’, never ‘goodbye’; always ‘see you soon’. Because time apart is hard, and the thought of writing goodbye to me or those closest to him is just too dreadful.
After I had my children, dad and I became even closer. When my boys were little he’d shout at them for their table manners, then take them off to hit golf balls in the field next to the house just as he had done with me when I was their age. Some days when I’m talking to him now I’ll mention how tough it is to raise the boys. There’s an awful lot of them under my charge, and there’s a weight on my shoulders that I want to share with someone close. I can reminisce about the music that he introduced me to, and the wine, and the food, and the laugher; about the time aged four on the beach in France, I jumped on this stomach after a long lunch and made him sick; about when he took me and my best friend out the day before we got our exam results to celebrate me and my achievements regardless of the following day’s outcome; about when he chased a boy down the field who was trying to climb into by bedroom window (it’s the countryside, people) and the day I lay next to him on his small bed made up in his sitting room, and felt his last breath leave his body.
It was strange lying there, because he rarely let me cuddle him. He was terribly old fashioned (the clue was in the cravat). I knew he must have been very sick when one day we had gone for a short walk with the children and he held my hand on the way back to the house. I grabbed it so tight and had to keep facing forward because I didn’t want him to see the tears rolling down my cheeks. So much was said in that one moment and I’m so grateful to have shared it with him.
Before he died we planned his funeral together, just the two of us. Five songs we picked as we shared a half-bottle of Champagne. He couldn’t manage more than a sip and I had to keep running into the other room so he wouldn’t see my cry. But I remember every word of our final conversation before he slipped to a place with no more words.
Rather than being sensitive about a day in the calendar, I’m grateful that people know I’m thinking about my father. Rather than the other three hundred and sixty-four days, when I’m alone with my conversations to him in my head. I’ll go upstairs and look at the watch he wore that his father wore before him. I might hug the kids a bit tighter but I’ll try not to wish too hard that he were here. Getting to meet my daughter, being able to hold her little hand and to tell me how like my mother she looks. I’ll try not to hope that I don’t feel the sudden stabbing pain of grief in my stomach when I remember each day that he won’t be here again. But I will show the kids photos and tell them stories and do impression of his booming voice telling me off.
So I’m sorry if you thought you were going to hear a breakdown of Chateaux Laz celebrations. Of us running through the woods naked carrying Banksy merch or setting fireworks off the roof of the house (that’s reserved for Christmas). I just wanted to talk to my dad to tell him I love him.
30.06.21In lieu of the 2021 Folk Fayre in Somerset's most fertile psilocybin mushroom plot, here's a psych-friendly playlist for your summer plant medicine experience courtesy of the Laz Emporium team.The full playlist will er, play through after the Photek track shown above that comes first.