Once upon a time on the Bowery
Talking Heads, 1977
This was their first weekend as a foursome at CBGB’s, after adding Jerry Harrison, before they started recording the LP “Talking Heads: 77.”
The cultural obsession with crime, while not exactly laudable, is perfectly understandable. Devouring crappy paperbacks about Ted Bundy, DVR-ing “Unsolved Mysteries,” or subscribing to Vanity Fair solely for the magazine’s crime coverage doesn’t spring exclusively from prurient interest; it’s an attempt, at least in part, to understand and control something — evil, in short — that can’t always be understood or controlled.
Or so I tell myself. I own Jay Nash’s “Bloodletters & Badmen: A Narrative Encyclopedia of American Criminals from the Pilgrims to the Present” in two different editions; I have to tell myself something (besides, “Self, get a life,” which to date hasn’t worked).
So, the idea of planning a vacation, or part of one, around a famous unsolved case or notorious shoot-out isn’t unappealing to me — but there’s a difference between a tourist site and a memorial, Disneyland and Gettysburg. Anyone who’s visited a major Civil War battlefield (or presidential death sites, a la Sarah Vowell’s “Assassination Vacation”) and tried to comprehend how much human life was lost there, and how quickly, has considered the question: When does fascination become disrespect?
You’ll have to decide for yourselves whether a stop on Salon’s subjective true-crime travel syllabus is funny, sad, too tacky or scary to visit, or a combination of all of those things — but if you’ve run out of weird and/or thought-provoking vacation stops and none of your kids hates the sight of blood, we might just have something for the whole family. Or, we might only have something for your weird aunt who goes to Ann Rule book signings. And if we missed any stops, please feel free to revise our itinerary in the comments section.
Sarah D. Bunting doesn’t go to Ann Rule book-signings … but does have an Ann Rule shelf.
Sarah D. Bunting is a pop culture writer in Brooklyn, NY. Help her out with the "Briscoe Inferno" video at TomatoNation.com.More Sarah D. Bunting.
No Wave Punks, Bowery Summer 1978
They were sitting just like this when I walked out of CBGB's. Me: “Don’t move” They didn’t. L to R: Harold Paris, Kristian Hoffman, Diego Cortez, Anya Phillips, Lydia Lunch, James Chance, Jim Sclavunos, Bradley Field, Liz Seidman.
Hilly Kristal, Bowery 1977
When I used to show people this picture of owner Hilly Kristal, they would ask me “Why did you photograph that guy? He’s not a punk!” Now they know why. None of these pictures would have existed without Hilly Kristal.
Dictators, Bowery 1976
Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators with his girlfriend Jody. I took this shot as a thank you for him returning the wallet I’d lost the night before at CBGB's. He doesn’t like that I tell people he returned it with everything in it.
Ramones, 1977 – never before printed
I loved shooting The Ramones. They would play two sets a night, four nights a week at CBGB's, and I’d be there for all of them. This shot is notable for Johnny playing a Strat, rather than his usual Mosrite. Maybe he’d just broken a string. Love that hair.
Patti Smith + Ronnie Spector, 1979
May 24th – Bob Dylan Birthday show – Patti “invited” everyone at that night’s Palladium show on 14th Street down to CBGB's to celebrate Bob Dylan’s birthday. Here, Patti and Ronnie are doing “Be My Baby.”