1970/71 #1 Pasadena Art Museum With Warhol Wearing A Rudi Gernreich Dress. Artist DeWain Valentine. Venice Beach Studio. Update 3/7/22

Around May 15, 1970, A Paige Young appearance at the Pasadena Art Museum was recorded by LA gossip columnist Marvene Jones and her photographer.

The occasion was a gala for the new Andy Warhol exhibit, focusing on his use of repetition of images.

Warhol himself makes an appearance, obviously a big deal.

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.
Paige’s date Bill Gardner on the set of the Jonathan Winters Show 67-69 CBS. Paige Young said she was an extra on the Jonathan Winters show and Playboy After Dark. Both shows were filmed at CBS Television City in Fairfax section of Los Angeles.

More on Bill Gardner below.

William Louis Gardner

United States

William Louis Gardner was born in Minnesota and finished school there. He
joined the US Air Force and worked at the Pentagon in the Target Library of the world. Went on to the Pasadena Playhouse to learn television and movie making. He got a job with actress Marion Davies at her home. There He met a movie agent and started a career in Hollywood. William Louis Gardner has worked in Hollywood as the agent, personal secretary, PR advisor and manager for for Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters, Jill St.John, Bobby Van and director, John Huston. William Gardner is the author of two books, “Confessions of a Hollywood Agent,” and “The Games End.”

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

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

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

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. (see above)

Valentine played a major part in the “Light and Space” art movement, along with artists Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, Helen Pashgian, James Turrell, John McCracken and more.

Many of these artists lived in Venice Beach due to the cheap rent.

Background

Before the Light and Space artists, the Cool School or Ferus Gallery artists, had already established themselves in the early 1950s, many of them in Venice. This group includes: Ed Keinholz, Wally Berman, Billy Al Bengston, Ed Ruscha, Robert Irwin, Ed Moses, Craig Kauffman, and the curators and owners of the Ferus Gallery who helped bring them to renown, Walter Hopps and Irving Blum.

The Ferus Gallery gang famously interacted with Warhol during his well documented stay in Los Angeles in the early 1960s. Warhol drove with? from NYC to LA.

Picture

The Ferus ‘Studs’ the new generation of artists, young abstract painters, ceramicists and assemblage makers who had been flying under the wire now were the featured artists at the Ferus Gallery.The Gallery was ripe for the adventurous artists who would set the new bar in contemporary styles. The Ferus Gallery had belief in the performance of their work and was one of the first galleries to support it.

Ferusgallery.com

The Light and Space movement emerged from the Cool School in the mid-1960s. The art movement is also referred to as the “Finish Fetish School.”

DeWain Valentine developed a type of polyester resin that allowed him to make large scale pieces like the one below. Previously the material would crack when making a piece this size: approx: 17 1/4x 17/4 x 7/8.

Richard Sample told me that said after he moved to a studio-home in Venice (late 1960s) he invited Paige to move in with him there.

I asked Richard the location and he said he could not remember it, but that it was close to the ocean and his artist neighbors and friends were DeWain Valentine and Larry Bell. (See Chapter: Interview with Richard Sample)

Paige refers to her “new Venice art studio” in many interviews with Playboy magazine and US newspapers in 1969 and 1970. (See chapter: Most Public Year 1969)

Richard Sample and Paige Young joined the community of Venice artists but were “not working with the new materials” to quote Paige in a 1969 interview referring to Valentine, Bell and Irwin, not named.

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

Research shows that Robert Irwin lived across the street from Valentine. This was not mentioned by Sample, I asked him if he knew Ruscha or Irwin and some others and he did not recognize those names, he was definitive about Bell and Valentine though.

Richard Sample’s niece Ellen remembers visiting her uncle and grandfather Charles Sample at the art studio/home in Venice. Charles also had a retail storefront in addition to his studio.

Richard and Ellen both recalled being able to see the beach from the studio. 62-68 Market St. is a large structure and was divided amongst many artists who rented their own studio according to Ellie This is why the address lists a range of numbers.

Richard Sample is listed with an address of 63 Market St. Venice, in a newspaper marriage announcement, 1968.

Venice Evening Vanguard. Aug. 21 1968

Ellen texted me a story: her Uncle Richard sublet the studio to Paige at one point. Ellen recalls tension with Paige and Ellen’s aunts, the wives of Charles Sample and his sons.

Ellen said her own 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” about Paige. Ellen says the most tense time was when Paige’s Playboy issue was current.

DeWain Valentine has spoken about this Venice studio in several art magazine interviews; the influence on his art and his many artist neighbors and friends, including Larry Bell and Robert Irwin, particularly the early years of the 1960s and 70s.

Brooklyn Rail 2019 found online.
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)

DeWain Valentine lived in and eventually purchased the 62 -65 Market St. building.

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

61-65 is the address listed.

DeValentine spent a couple decades living in Hawaii as well.

I have attempted to interview DeWain Valentine, and ask about his evening at Pasadena Art Museum with Warhol, Paige, Bill Gardner and others. I’d also like to know what he remembers about Paige, Richard, Charlie Sample and their time living and painting in the Market St. studio.

I have left several phone messages and mailed him a copy of the Marvene Jones column but have not as of yet heard back.

1971

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/Broad Beach 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. Painted a different color now and 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 In Vaudeville:

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,” 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.

The LaRocca brothers supported their widowed mother in Peoria, after their professional musician-harpist father, Salvatore LaRocca, died at around age 40 in 1905?

Salvatore LaRocca, was from Italy and settled in Chicago before raising a family in Peoria with Rose Ann, born Dunufrio. The couple moved to Peoria when Salvatore was offered the leadership 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.”

I read literally of dozens of articles from the era about Roxy’s talent on the harp and his many performances. Two examples follow:

WIZARD OF THE HARP
Late 1920s. Vaudeville acts appeared with moving pictures at this time, one popular entertainment form was replacing another.

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.

Sacramento paper 1925 Diana/Paige’s grandfather.

Ned was to have a future in performing for radio broadcasts in Los Angeles.

RCA corp. did a study in 1925 and found that 19% of homes had a radio. In 1930, it was 40%. Vaudeville was beginning to slide as a mass-media entertainment form. “Moving pictures” continued to be a reason for the lessening popularity of vaudeville.

Diana Cotterell/Paige’s Young’s maternal grandmother. Salt Lake Tribune March 28, 1915

Ned’s wife, Virginia Young was born in 1898 in Salt Lake City, was 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 and her sister Eliza hold an interesting place in Mormon history as two of Joseph Smith’s first “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 toured North America. I have saved dozens of articles on Virginia Young and her sister Josephine. The sisters toured together in The Wrong Bird and eventually had their own act with Virginia’s husband Ned Argo LaRocca. I hope to post some of these articles soon. These folks had a minor kind of fame in vaudeville.

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)

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 .

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.

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

Charlotte, NC June 27, 1929

In the 1940s, Mary Jane Harker 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, Errol Flynn, Eleanor Parker and more.

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

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

Halloween Cheesecake. The Signal, Santa Clarita, 1946.

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

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

Please see my next chapter Family History #2 for their history in the 1920s, move to Los Angeles in the 1930s, Radio City from 1938 through the 1940s and more on Jane Harker, model/starlet, who worked with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. She appears in an obscure Noir film: The Unfaithful with Ann Sheridan and footage of Angels Flight. This film has been shown on TCM a few times.

imdb has Harker’s filmography correct, but the biographical information described is someone else. A “Jane Ellen Harker” for starters. It’s wrong.

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