Who Shot Rock & Roll, Exhibit Grown-Ups Can Appreciate

Entrance to "Who Shot Rock & Roll"

You’re almost out of time to see Who Shot Rock & Roll, an exhibit at the Birmingham Museum of Art that ends Sept. 18, 2011. This exhibit is totally worth ten bucks (never mind that you would pay $10 for some quiet time even if you just looked at a blank wall). There’s a great blend of old and new, from Elvis to Eminem. Be sure to look for these highlights:

One photograph is entitled “James Brown at Home in Curlers” and ladies, it is exactly what it says. You gotta feel reeeal good the day you approve a photo like that being on exhibit. What did his descendants have to say/litigate about it?

Thank you to the person who knew young Elvis* had to be shown in moving pictures because how else to appreciate such a hunka hunka burnin love? A clip of him singing Heartbreak Hotel should have had a fainting couch nearby. And the still photos of “Prelude to the Kiss” show him embracing an unidentified fan (circa 1956). The photographer, Alfred Wertheimer*, doesn’t know if  the fan is still alive, but if not, I say that girl died a happy woman.

Tina Turner is a marvel. She looks as vibrant in her photo from 80′s as she does in the one from the 60′s.

Madonna is photographed before she was anybody, wearing a coat and standing on the street. Why was NYC photographer Amy Arbus compelled to snap the photo? Because Arbus “recognized her from the gym and she looked fabulous walking down the street.” So no surprise that Madonna can still rock a bustier; she’s been working out at the gym since 1983.

What’s this? Johnny Cash giving a one-finger salute!

Who knew the late actor Dennis Hopper, was also an accomplished photographer? He photographed the cover for an Ike and Tina Turner album.

Grace Jones was apparently a compelling subject, as she’s in a few photos and a video. I’m just going to admit she creeps me out, which I blame on the scene where she births a bottle of perfume in the movie Boomerang.

Amazingly, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones is photographed without a cigarette in hand. However, his hands looked just as gnarled when he was young as they do now after all his years of hard living. What else do I expect? The man’s a guitarist; he works with his hands. And holds cigarettes.

If you haven’t been yet, give yourself a couple of hours to get away sans kids and enjoy the exhibit.

*Wertheimer’s photographs of Elvis will be featured in a Smithsonian Institution exhibit, Elvis at 21, scheduled for the Mobile Museum of Art September 9th – December 4th. That’s the Elvis I like, before the days of the white jumpsuit. But the jumpsuit period, we would never have known the phenomenon of the Elvis impersonator.