1970/71 #1 Pasadena Art Museum With Warhol Wearing A Rudi Gernreich Dress. Artist DeWain Valentine. Venice Beach.

May 16, 1970. Paige Young makes an appearance at the Pasadena Art Museum recorded by an LA gossip columnist Marvene Jones and a photographer.

The occasion was an invitation-only gala for the new Andy Warhol exhibit.

Warhol himself makes an appearance, obviously a big deal.

According to this article, Paige Young and Andy Warhol discuss a role for Paige in an upcoming Andy Warhol film.

From the Los Angeles Evening Citizen 5/16/1970

Photo of Paige wearing her Rudi Gernreich dress with her date Bill Gardner. J Winters refers to Jonathan Winters, a show which Paige had appeared, according to some of her press.

DeWain Valentine was an emerging artist in the 1960s Venice art scene. He had an exhibit at PAM the same time as the Warhol exhibit.

LAT May 31, 1970
Column #2 of article Richard Sample told me Paige was always barefoot. (And frequently topless)

Marvene Jones reveals here that Mr. and Mrs. DeWain Valentine made up a foursome with Paige and Bill Gardner, former manager of Jonathan Winters.

Valentine played a major part of the west coast”Light and Space” art movement, along with artists Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, Helen Pashgian, James Turrell and John McCracken and more. Many of these artists lived in Venice due to the cheap rent.

The “Cool School” artists, set up shop in Venice Beach in the early 1950s. I watched a documentary of the same name for a deep dive into an art movement known as West Coast Abstract Expressionism, and the West Coast Style. The artists include now very well known names like Ed Keinholz, Wally Berman, Billy Al Bengston, Ed Ruscha, Robert Irwin, Ed Moses, Craig Kauffman, and the curator who helped bring them to renown, Walter Hopps. Dennis Hopper was friends with these artists and collected their works. Many of this group famously interacted with Warhol on his famous trip by car to the west coast in the early 1960s.

The Light and Space movement was like a subgroup of the Cool School. Apparently Irwin was in both.

Richard Sample said that he moved from Malibu to an art studio in Venice, late 1960s. Paige later joined him but Richard could not remember the location. He told me his artist neighbors and friends were DeWain Valentine and Larry Bell. (See Chapter: Interview with Richard Sample)

(I read that Robert Irwin lived right across the street from Valentine. Not mentioned by Sample.)

Paige refers to her “new Venice art studio” in interviews with Playboy magazine and US newspapers in 1969 and 70. This is the year she toured the US promoting the syndicated TV show Playboy After Dark. (See chapter: Most Public Year 1969)

I have found location of this Venice studio: 62-68 Market St. in Venice Beach.

Richard Sample’s niece Ellen Sample remembers visiting her uncle and grandfather Charles Sample at an art studio and home in Venice. Charles also had a retail storefront. Richard and Ellen recall being able to see the beach from the studi. It’s a large structure and was divided amongst many artists who rented their own studio according to Ellen.

This all describes 62-68 Market St from google maps and Valentine himself in published interviews.

Richard Sample is listed at 63 Market St. Venice, in a newspaper marriage announcement, 1968. Bride is Daryl Seybold from somewhere else in LA.

Ellen texted me that her Uncle Richard sublet the studio to Paige at one point, and she recalls some tension with Paige and Ellen’s aunts, the wives of Charles Sample and his sons. Ellen said her mother was not bothered by Paige, but that she did “go with her sister-in-laws to see what was going on at the studio” with Paige. Ellen says it was the most tension when Paige’s issue was released.

Art by DeWain Valentine around 1968
Brooklyn Rail 2019 found online.

Valentine has spoken about his Venice studio in several art magazine interviews; it’s influence on his art and his many artist neighbors and friends, including Larry Bell and Robert Irwin, particularly the years from the mid-1960s to mid 1970s.

DeWain Valentine lived in and eventually purchased the 62 -65 Market St. building as he says in this interview.

Several records with his signature and name can be seen in public building archives from LA County, now available online. 2 are seen below.

I hope to speak with DeWain Valentine about his evening at the Warhol opening and what he remembers about Paige living and painting in the Venice studio on Market St. I have left several phone messages and mailed him a copy of the Marvene Jones column. I have not yet heard back from him.

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 2: Artist Judy Chicago (L) and De Wain Valentine (R) pose during the Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945-1980 opening event held at the Getty Center on October 2, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ryan Miller/WireImage)

1971

It it was around this time that Paige moved into this garage apartment in Westwood after feeling “antsy” (as described by her friend Henry to me) living in the isolated Trancas area of Malibu This is the home where she would end her life in 1974.

Behind a duplex off of Santa Monica Blvd in Westwood. From a retail listing, 10 or more years ago. It painted a different color now and the lawn not as green, it still looks like this now.
This garage apartment was built in 1941. Duplex in front built in 1938. Owner/Builder was silent film bit player Kathryn Eddy.

Family History #1: Teens, 1920s Vaudeville. Joseph And Roxy LaRocca. Peoria, Ill. Virginia Young. Salt Lake City. The Great Depression. Jane Harker. Warner Bros.

Roxy LaRocca is Diana/Paige’s great uncle. Roxy used this as his passport photo. Postcard found on e-bay.

Family Background:

Census records, military records and local directories show that Joseph Ned LaRocca (Diana/Paige’s grandfather) was born in 1894 in Peoria, Illinois and grew up there.

Known as “Ned,” and “Ned Argo” he was a harpist in a family of several brothers, oldest brother Roxy show above and below. The brothers were all musicians and many of them toured with the major vaudeville circuits like Orpheum and Pantages.

Ned began touring in vaudeville about age 14.

The LaRocca brothers supported their widowed mother back in Peoria, after their professional musician-harpist father, Salvatore LaRocca, died at around age 40. 

Salvatore LaRocca, was from Italy and settled in Chicago before raising a family in Peoria with Rose Ann, born Dunufrio. The couple had moved to Peoria from Chicago when Salvatore became leader of a local Italian band.

The oldest brother Roxy, became a “famous-at-the-time” vaudeville harpist, known affectionately as the “Wizard of the Harp.”

The ad at lower left advertises the bill Roxy is on at the Colonial Theatre. It’s the Keith Vaudeville circuit.

WIZARD OF THE HARP

I read literally of dozens of articles from the era about Roxy’s talent and performances on the harp.

Joseph Ned LaRocca, Diana Cotterell’s grandfather and younger brother of Roxy, often used the professional name Ned Argo or just plain Argo, for his harp act. The ad below from 1925, performing for broadcast radio; the 1920s were the heyday of radio and at this point vaudeville was beginning to slide as a mass-media entertainment form. “Moving pictures” added to the lessening popularity of vaudeville.

Sacramento paper 1925 Diana/Paige’s grandfather.
Diana Cotterell/Paige’s Young’s maternal grandmother.

Ned’s wife, Virginia Young was born in 1898, was from Utah and also a vaudeville performer. Her grandfather was Brigham Young and grandmother one of his many wives: Emily Partridge Young. If you google Emily Partridge Young, you will see she holds an interesting place in Mormon history as one of the first of Joseph Smith’s “plural wives.” Virginia, seen at right, met Ned LaRocca on a Pantages tour where Virginia and her sister Josephine were performing in “The Wrong Bird,” a very successful Utah production that was touring North America. I have saved dozens of articles on Virginia Young and her sister Josephine. They toured together on vaudeville and eventually had their own act with Virginia’s husband Ned Argo LaRocca. I hope to post some of these soon. These folks had a minor kind of fame in vaudeville.

Salt Lake Tribune March 28, 1915.

From a Salt Lake paper. Marriage in 1918 Paige Young’s maternal grandparents.

The married couple form a vaudeville act and tour the US in the late teens and most, if not all, of the 1920s. Ned continues to use the name “Ned Argo” or “Argo.”

Sometimes Virginia’s sister and fellow vaudeville performer Josephine, is part of the act. The girls went by the name “The Virginia Sisters.” as seen in the ad from The Daily Oklahoman Oct. 25 1919.

(When this was published, Josephine had already been married one month to San Francisco businessman George Truman Harker)

Josephine married George Truman Harker a year after her sister married Joseph Ned LaRocca. The marriage ceremony of Josephine and George took place backstage at LA’s Pantages theatre.

Los Angeles Daily Times Sept. 15, 1919 Josephine is Diana/Paige’s great aunt.

1920 approx. Josephine quit touring with her sister and brother-in-law and moved to San Francisco with her husband George Truman Harker. The couple had a son, Jack Truman Harker in 1921, and a daughter, Mary Jane, in 1923 .

Mary Jane Harker was a first cousin to Donna LaRocca, Diana’s mother.

In the 1940s, she was known as “Jane Harker” Warner Brothers starlet. Harker had small parts in movies with stars such as Joan Crawford, Ann Sheridan, John Garfield, Jack Carson, to mention only a few.

I will be working on a video about Mary Jane Harker soon. She is misidentified on the internet.

This is the true background of Jane Harker, short lived Warner Bros. pin-up and starlet.

In the mid 1920s, The Harker family moved to South Pasadena, an affluent area then as now.

Ned and Virginia continued to tour vaudeville throughout the 1920s.

After Vaudeville died out in the early 1930s, the Great Depression was already in full swing.

Roxy LaRocca retired about this time to the LaRocca family hometown of Peoria, Illinois, where he started a magazine stand.

Frank and Rose, Joseph Ned and Virginia, moved to LA during the Depression early/mid 1930s.

Please see my next chapter Family History #2 for the family’s history in Los Angeles in the 1930s and 1940s.

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