I was crossing Chambers Street that morning with Eileen, after dropping our daughter Sadie off at elementary school, when the first plane flew over our heads. I had a sightline down Church Street and watched that plane fly - actually glide -  nose dead center, slowly right into the building, on that blue morning. It still seems inconceivable to me that I was standing there at that moment. And today it's all coming back to me. The run across Chambers Street to pick up Sadie from school, as we heard the sound of the second plane hitting. The walk north to get out of the area. And turning around to see the first building fall as the three of us neared Houston Street. I walked back downtown the next morning to my apartment on Maiden Lane near the Towers with my upstairs neighbor Kathy to get our cats. All the checkpoints, then all the dust. My apartment was covered in it, and we never did move back in. The enormity of that day is still incomprehensible.

Sadie crossing the Brooklyn Bridge 1 month before 9-11


Joey Ramone Birthday Bash 2011

It's been 10 years since Joey Ramone "left home" -  our planet East Village. Though it's odd that there is still a Joey Ramone Birthday Bash party after all these years, just dedicating a day to Joey once a year brings a smile to my face. He should be walking among us - looking down and laughing with us as we cross 3rd Avenue and make our way down St.Marks Place or 9th Street past his favorite haunts and restaurants. So amidst all the Ramones family squabbling, I think it's just fine to honor him with his own day. Gabba Gabba we accept you one of us!

I've posted my photos of last week's 2011 Joey Ramone Birthday Bash on this site for your Gabba Gabba viewing pleasure!


St.Marks Place 1981
CBGB's 1977
with Dee Dee, Bowery 1977
Trouser Press cover outtake 1983


SEE THIS MOVIE - Incendies

On this rainy, chilly, "is Spring ever arriving" weekend in New York City, I am advising everyone I know that if you're going to see just one movie on the "big screen" this spring, Incendies which opened yesterday in NYC is the one. SEE THIS MOVIE!

I saw it a few weeks ago at the New Directors/New Films Festival (where I photographed the director Denis Villeneuve) and have been raving about it to everyone ever since. It was Canada's entry into the Academy Awards Best Foreign Film category, which doesn't come close to describing a film set mostly within civil war ravaged Lebanon over the last 30 years, with a twisted personal story too incredible, heartbreaking and shocking to describe here.

director Denis Villeneuve with friend, in NYC last month

This is the teaser from the movie's press kit:  "When notary Lebel sits down with Jeanne and Simon Marwan to read from their mother Narwal's will the twins are stunned to receive a pair of envelopes - one for the father they thought was dead and another for a brother they didn't know existed."

That's the setup which takes them and the viewer to current day Lebanon, on a gut wrenching quest through their mother's history - which by the way she never told them about back in Canada. What they find out, and how they find it out, is simply amazing. The performance by actress Lubna Azabal as the mother (pictured at the top of this post) is incredible.  Expect to leave the theater totally drained.

 Check out the trailer and I dare you to miss this film!

view full size here: INCENDIES TRAILER

Now if that's not enough movie for you to see this weekend, here are two more:

In Brooklyn at BAM Cinematek, they are showing a retrospective by Japanese director Kaneto Shindo. I never saw any of his films until last night, which just happened to be the director's 99th birthday. The film I saw was The Naked Island, which was made in 1960, but never released in the US till now. This film is pure cinema, made in black and white, with sound but no dialogue, starring the director's wife, the actress Nobuko Otowa.  Shindo's  films are being presented at BAM by Benicio Del Toro, who just happens to be a major fan of Kaneto Shindo, which should be enough to convince you to get yourself out to Brooklyn. One of the other great films they are showing this weekend is Children of Hiroshima, a fiction film, made 4 years after the bomb was dropped, also with Nobuko Otowa. No sleep till Brooklyn.

Jerry Schatzberg, Paz de la Huerta, and Benicio Del Toro last night at BAM

Not enough for you??? How about going to IFC and seeing Beautiful Darling, the documentary film about the Warhol star Candy Darling. I saw this one at last year's New Directors/New Films Festival, and it's taken a year to hit the screens. Directed by James Rasin, the story is told by Jeremiah Newton, Candy Darling's roommate and executor. There are plenty of talking head interviews, and Chloe Sevigny reads from the star's diaries. Candy Says - see this film.

Chloe Sevigny, Jeremiah Newton, and James Rasin - 

director James Rasin with Chloe Sevigny


Erin Go Bragh-less / photos by o' GODLIS

St.Patricks Day, NYC 2008

As I've said before, St.Patricks Day is Opening Day for Street Photographers - probably more like Spring Training actually.The first parade of the season. A day to get out there with your camera and work out all the kinks. You can make a few mistakes. Nobody cares. Especially the Irish. It's a great day for them no matter what. Just remember to wear a bit of green.

Here's a few pix from the Boston Parade - in Southie - in 1974 and 1975. Check out Miss South Boston 1974 - really? - and Louise Day Hicks (google her), the original anti-busing Tea Party, er Boston Tea Party candidate (not in my district you don't!) - here seen in her souped up Cadillac de Ville. Was it green? I don't remember.

Ok - Go Green, Get out there, Erin Go Bragh, Erin Go Godlis


Tomorrow is a long time / R.I.P. Suze Rotolo

Suze Rotolo with Todd Haynes 2007

It was about a year before I took this picture, a summer day 2006. I was walking east on 4th Street, near Second Avenue, when it struck me that the girl I just passed going in the other direction was / had to be Suze Rotolo. Too recognizable a figure for me to be dreaming it, I told the story to my friends, how I had passed the Freewheelin' Suze Rotolo on positively 4th street. How she looked the same as on that cover. How I hadn't bothered her to take a photo. It was just a great New York story for me. 

A similar non-meeting in passing had occurred back in the mid 1980's, when I suddenly realized that the guy who just passed me in a hoodie on lower Fourth Avenue was someone - right Bob Dylan, no actually Bob Zimmerman. He was peering into each window of each little leftover store front - a watch repair shop, a small bookstore - one by one, nose pressed up to the glass, as he continued in disheveled fashion up lower Fourth Avenue towards 14th street. I just watched him to be sure that was who had passed me. The back pocket of his jeans was sticking inside out of his pants. And after almost tripping off one of the side walks three blocks north of me he turned around, and yes it was Robert Zimmerman. Being a complete unknown. He wasn't being Bob Dylan. And I didn't take his photograph either.  Better as a story. 

So it was in fall of 2007, a  year after I saw Suze Rotolo on East Fourth Street, that I attended the NY Film Festival press screening of the eagerly anticipated Todd Haynes film I'm Not There. And it was the next day after that I was assigned to photograph Todd Haynes at a talk he was giving about the film at Lincoln Center. After the talk, I noticed Suze Rotolo hanging around to talk to Todd Haynes. And that was the moment I knew I had to take the chance to step in and ask if I could take their photo together. Not looking to be noticed, she was very obliging, happy to be photographed with Todd. When I asked her quickly what she thought of the film, her reply was "it was all about me". I don't know why, but I was under the impression that she was there to report to Bob, who never once commented on the film - though had given his approval for it to proceed. When I told this story to some Dylan insider types I was introduced to shortly after at a tribute show at the Beacon Theater, they said "you now he's still in touch with her."

Within a year after that, Suze Rotolo's book "Freewheelin' Time" was coming out, and so was she - doing interviews for the first time in her life.  Her ex - Bob Dylan's "Chronicles" had already covered the same territory from the other side of the street, in 2004. It seemed more like a beginning than an end for her. I was so sad to hear of Suze Rotolo's passing this week.  She was as cool as I thought she'd be. As soft, quiet and beautiful as Bob Dylan described her to be. May she rest in peace, her spirit sweetly walking forever down Jones Street for all to behold.

"If today was not a crooked highway...


OSCARs Shmoskers

producer Scott Rudin with winner Aaron Sorkin - yes!

You watched it. You blogged it. You avoided it. Now, it's all yesterday's news. No I wasn't there. But I have had a few close encounters, and am pulling them out of the Godlis archives, dusting them off and posting them for one last look.

Anne Hathaway 

She wore a million dresses last night. She wore this one at the opening night of the NY Film Festival in 2008. I don't think you can take a bad picture of her. 

David Fincher  - didn't win but should have

The Social Network opened the NY Film Festival last fall - easily the best opener they've had in years.I was rooting for it. But then I was rooting for punk back in the 70's. I am not a reliable predictor of mass success.
Jesse Eisenberg - he didn't win

The Social Network team - only one of these guys won

She won - Melissa Leo (rt) with Frozen River director, Courtney Hunt in 2008 

Melissa Leo won, dropped the F-bomb, uncomfortably mingled with Kirk Douglas. Here she is in 2008 at the New Directors/New Films opening night presentation of Frozen RiverIf you haven't seen Frozen River - rent it immediately. 

Inside Job director Charles Ferguson with Matt Damon - he narrates it.

Charles Ferguson deservedly won for his documentary Inside Job. That too was shown at the NY Film Festival last year. Equally daring was Restrepo, directed by Sebastian Junger, who showed Restrepo at the Walter Reade Theater (below) Human Rights Festival last summer.

Sebastian Junger , Restrepo - he didn't win, but could have

Time for just a few last thoughts and pix...

 Andrew Garfield at the NY Film Fest opening party - not nominated

Andrew Garfield, who plays Mark Zuckerberg's "friend" in Social Network,  is going to be the new Spiderman. Until then, catch him in the very creepy British trilogy series Red Riding. 

David Fincher with Gina Gershon at the NY Film Festival

Anne Hathaway - same dress, different angle

David Fincher

I took this photo of David Fincher at a "Director's Dialogue", one of the great sidebars to the NY Film Festival. Right after he finished this talk, Fincher caught a plane back to Sweeden where he was returning to the set of The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo - coincidentally starring Rooney Mara, who played Mark Zuckerberg's girlfriend from the great opening scene of The Social Network.  Until that film comes out, I suggest you rent Zodiac and Fight Club. Over and out. 


Roll on Columbia

OK, let's put yesterday's name thing to rest, and get on to bigger and better things. Like the  "on the road" version of the Who Shot Rock exhibition, curated by Gail Buckland, which started it's natural life at the Brooklyn Museum back in 2009.  Who Shot Rock opens today and runs through May 22nd at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, South Carolina. That's a little far for me to get to today at the end of February, but I guarantee you it's a beautiful place to be hanging if you find yourself anywhere near South Carolina this spring. And, get this, it's sponsored by Piggly Wiggly!

This looks like the last stop on the tour. The show's made stops in Memphis and Akron. And if you can't get to South Carolina,  you can always purchase the Who Shot Rock book - excuse me, "exhibition catalog" - here.  But what I've discovered - only yesterday, my god - is this great extended piece about the show put together by the public television station in Akron. I present it here now for your mid-winter enjoyment.


By any other name...

Shakespeare once said, "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" - well actually he didn't say it, he wrote it. But what about a GODLIS by any other name, would that smell as sweet? As I was gobbling down my oatmeal this morning, I came across a new variation on my name while reading a  review of the Who Shot Rock exhibition which opens tonight at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, South Carolina, where I am mentioned more than once as Michael Godlis.

Now maybe there is another guy called Michael Godlis with a Patti Smith photograph, but I doubt it. And actually they say some really nice things about me (and my photos) in the article.  But it's been one of those months for a photographer named GODLIS. 

When you have a photograph in the Sunday NY Times, you really want to see "credit where credit is due", so to speak. In there, my photo of film director Kelly Reichardt - whose fabulous new film Meek's Cutoff will be opening in April - was credited to David Goodlis.  Now, David is indeed my first name. And it would be cool to be mixed up with the great noir writer David Goodis, who wrote the book that Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player is based upon. But Goodlis just doesn't carry the weight of a name like Godlis. I mean Godlis sounds like an atheist - that's the point really. But Goodlis just sounds like a nice guy with a funny name.

Look, it's a real name. I didn't make it up to sound punk, like Johnny Rotten or Richard Hell. I was already Godlis. I just dropped my first name, when I published my first picture from CBGB's. But people seem to have a problem spelling a word that has God in it. Hey I've got some Jewish friends  -why not, I'm a Godless Jew myself - who won't even spell my name out for crazy religious reasons. Oy vey! But at least they're not photo editors.

And then, for the trifecta this month, I have photos in a cool new book about the The Bowery by Eric Ferrara. Now Eric Ferrara is a really nice guy, and though I haven't seen the book yet, it looks pretty great in the preview on Amazon here.  But damn if my damn name isn't spelled wrong.  Here I'm Goldis.  That's a pretty common one. Invert the D and the L and get rid of God. But again, it doesn't carry the weight of GODLIS.  Hey at least in this case, I have just one name - well one wrong name.

So who knows, maybe Shakespeare was right. But it's not as I like it. This godless rose don't smell so sweet. You know, like the sweet smell of success.


Who What Where When?

unlikely pairing: Joan Jett & Jessica Alba 

Me myself and eye have been a long time gone from these pages, so there's a lot of catching up to do. Where do I start? Well it's got to be this shot of Joan Jett and Jessica Alba, taken after BAM Cinematek's tribute to Susan Sarandon, at Susan Sarandon's ping pong club Spin New York. This shot kind of reminds me of the pictures that used to make the back page of Creem Magazine in the 70's - unlikely pairings backstage at rock shows. Joan looks fantastic (not that different from when  I photographed her with the Runaways onstage at CBGB's in 1977).
A few minutes later, Susan Sarandon and Jessica Alba were playing ping pong. No Joan Jett didn't partake. 
And Susan Sarandon looked just as fabulous as her former Rocky Horror Picture Show self, glaring from behind her during the publicity shots for the event out at BAM. 
John Turturro showed up for a screening of the film he directed "Romance and Cigarettes".
And Todd Oldham made sure to get his picture taken with Joan Jett. I squeezed an image of Susan Sarandon into the backdrop. Kool Kats. 
Joan Jett with the Runaways in 1977 CBGB's 


Marcia Resnick's been looking at Bad Boys

Marcia Resnick and Danny Fields

Let me start by saying that Marcia Resnick - who has a really sweet heart and a great eye - is one of my favorite New York City photographers.  She's been looking at and shooting Bad Boys in New York City for decades. And as Johnny Thunders said - "All the smart boys know why". That was in "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory". But actually, if you buy one of Marcia's prints on view at Deborah Bell Gallery, you can.

The first thing I thought about after leaving the exhibition, "Bad Boys" last Thursday night was -"Damn, I should have taken more pictures tonight." I was having such a good time looking at the photographs and talking to everybody - and what a startling group of everybody's it was - that I forgot to remember that I wanted to try out this new app on my phone, uh camera - the one that makes all the photos look like they were taken inside a 1950's photo booth.  

Marcia Resnick

Well, that's how we photographers are. First we stare in wonder at that great picture on the wall, then we get jealous, then we get inspired, then we shoot. And there was a lot at Marcia's exhibition to get inspired by. A lot!  People slipped in and out like they do at these events - some to see if they made the final cut onto the wall.  And others stayed all night to take it all in - like me. Flashes were going off all around, so why didn't it occur to me sooner to pull out my phone and shoot? I've got to admit, it's still a little difficult for someone who calls himself a photographer to get those words out of his mouth. Unless I'm using a weird app - like Hipstamatic, and in this case Pocketbooth - something that alters the phone picture taking experience significantly.   Well I got started shooting too late - born to lose - but here's a few of my shots from Marcia's fabulous opening. You should have been there!

Oh wait - one more thing. Did you know that Marcia Resnick and Senator Chuck Schumer went to the same High School? Not only that - they were  #1 and #2 in their class! Think about that one. 

Anton Perich

Maria Del Greco

Walter Stedding

Sid Kaplan

Eric Mitchell

Joey Zero

Tim "Stupefaction" Broun

Barry Brothers

All photos by GODLIS