Twelve years today (2009), Merce Cunningham, a pioneer of modern dance and movement, died at the age of 90.
Because Cunningham was John Cage’s life-long partner in art and love, I am reminded of the time Cage visited the University of Kansas on April 15, 1988, and a series of events and “happenings” took place that day. I was shooting as much still footage as I could.
And you might enjoy this home video, brought to you by Demolition Kitchen Video, that features Marsha Paludan, Stephen Addiss, William S. Burroughs, Ted Johnson (former KU professor), Kaz Maslanka (California artist) and many other people and faculty of KU at that time. I’m even seen a couple times in there with my trusty Pentax 6x7 camera.
At the end of the day, I had the privilege to photograph Cage in my studio, due to my association and work with Marsha (mentioned above). She had organized many of the events that day along with Stephen Addiss. He was somewhat fragile at that point in his life and died from a stroke only four years later.
So, to bring this back to Merce Cunningham, I did not have a model release on me at the time of the shoot so he wrote his address with a Bic pen on a paper bag, which I still have. I mailed off the form and a few weeks later it was returned and signed by Cunningham as the witness stating that John was at least 18 years of age. (In all the years of shooting film I never did license or sell a single image)
RIP, Merce, John, and Marsha.
Now, feel the Byrne…