1970/1 Pasadena Art Museum With Warhol Wearing A Rudi Gernreich Dress. Artist DeWain Valentine. Venice Beach Studio. Update 10/22/22

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.

Warhol himself makes an appearance, obviously a big deal.

From the Los Angeles Evening Citizen 5/16/1970

Column #2 of article Richard Sample told me Paige was always barefoot. (And frequently topless)
Paige’s date for the Warhol opening, Bill Gardner, is shown on the set of the Jonathan Winters Show 67-69 CBS. Paige Young said in interviews that 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 Paige’s date Bill Gardner.

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.

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

LAT May 31, 1970 Emerging artist and friend and studio mate of Paige’s and Richard Sample’s, DeWain Valentine was also showing at the Warhol exhibit.

Marvene Jones also says that Mr. and Mrs. DeWain Valentine made up a foursome with Paige and Bill Gardner. Valentine had an exhibit of his large size cast polyester resin pieces at the Pasadena Art Museum, right along with an exhibit of Warhol’s use of repetitive images.

DeWain Valentine next to one of his large works of art. I think this is the Market Street studio.

DeWain Valentine was an on-fire rising artist in the 1960s Venice art scene.

He was a major player in the new “Light and Space” art movement, along with artists Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, Helen Pashgian, James Turrell, John McCracken, Fred Eversley, Doug Wheeler and more.

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

A brief Background of the Art scene:

Before the Light and Space artists emerged, the Cool School or Ferus Gallery artists, had already established themselves beginning in the early 1950s. Many of them lived in Venice Beach, a dilapidated beach town dotted with oil rigs and and trash. The rent was cheap. They were far away from the New York City “Art Scene” so they felt free to explore and experiment.

The Ferus Group, of (mainly) men, 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 “Beatnik Scene” was also flourishing in Venice Beach throughout the 1950s and early 60s, creating a new pop-cultural icon: The beret wearing, cigarette smoking, poetry spouting Beatnik.

The Ferus Gallery gang famously interacted with Warhol during his well documented stay in Los Angeles in the early 1960s. Warhol drove with Taylor Mead? 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

For much more detail on this art movement which established the Los Angeles art scene as one on par with New York City or Europe, see the documentary “The Cool School,” available on Netflix.

The Light and Space movement emerged from the Cool School in the mid-1960s.

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.

What Paige would have seen that night at the Pasadena Art Museum in 1970.

Richard Sample

told me that 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 several 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. She was referring to her neighbors and friends, Valentine, Bell and Irwin, not specifically 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.

Ellen also remembers much talk of someone named “Valentine.”

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 Venice 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 fellow famous artist neighbors/ friends, including Larry Bell and Robert Irwin, particularly the early years of the 1960s and 70s.

Brooklyn Rail 2019 found online.

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.

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)

DeWayne Valentine spent a couple decades living and creating art in Hawaii as well.

Valentine passed away on February 2, 2022.

Here is how 62-68 Market St. looked in September of 2022. Sold by Valentine approx. 20 years ago.

From the Documentary “The Cool School.” Market St, where Valentine, Bell and Irwin had studios.

The first white building facade you see in this clip, is Valentine’s studio, where Paige and Sample lived and worked for a while in 68/69. The ocean can be seen from the location on Market St, just as Ellen and Richard Sample described it.

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

Roxy LaRocca is Diana/Paige’s great uncle. He had a harp act in the Vaudeville circuit. Roxy used this as his passport photo. 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.

His Father was Salvatore LaRocca, a harpist from Italy, 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: Marino’s, according to Find a Grave.

Name:Salvatore Larocco
Age:24
Gender:Male
Birth Year:abt 1855
Birth Place:Chicago, Cook, Illinois
Marriage Type:Marriage
Marriage Date:21 Dec 1879
Marriage Place:Chicago, Cook, Illinois
Spouse Name:Anna Rosalia Di Neufrio
Spouse Age:19
Spouse Gender:Female
Spouse Birth Place:Chicago, Cook, Illinois

Salvatore LaRocca, died at age 52 in 1906, according to records from Peoria listed on ancestry.com.

Known as “Ned,” Joseph Ned LaRocca was a harpist in a family of several brothers. The one with the most success was oldest brother Roxy, shown below.

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

The brothers were all musicians and many of them toured with the major vaudeville circuits like Orpheum and Pantages. None were quite as successful as Roxy in terms of fame.

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; they mingled for a while.

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. Her father was Albert Carrington Young, a doctor. Her mother was named Josephine Young and she died when Virginia and her sister Josephine were still children. Part of the Salt Lake drama and music community, Virginia and Josephine became vaudeville performers. 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 Josephine were performing in “The Wrong Bird,” a very successful Utah production that toured North America. The musical play was written by Margaret Whitney, part of the theater and music circles in Salt Lake.

I hope to post some of these articles soon. These folks had a minor kind of fame in vaudeville.

Marriage in 1915 Paige Young’s maternal grandparents.
Virginia and Joe Ned LaRocca marry in Utah in 1915.

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.

Screenshot from a Mormon heritage website, and below.

Sometimes Virginia’s sister and fellow vaudeville player 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)

Virginia Young LaRocca.
Los Angeles Daily Times Sept. 15, 1919 Wedding notice for Josephine and George Harker. Josephine is Diana/Paige’s great aunt. The sister of her Grandmother Virginia, who inspired Paige’s chosen surname of Young.

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 . Both were born in San Francisco.

In the 1920 Federal Census, Virginia is listed as living in Peoria, Illinois with her husband and his family, and her occupation is listed as “Actress.” Mama LaRocca was still living at this point. Virginia would give birth to Donna Virginia in 1921.

The whole family together in 1923 in Peoria. Anna, the matriarch is listed as a “widow.”

Ned and Virginia continued to tour vaudeville throughout the 1920s. The had a two year stop over in 1926-1928 in Oakland California.

1928 Oakland, California directory. Biogio LaRocca may have been family.
1928 Voter’s registration Oakland California. Joseph is incorrectly listed where his wife Virginia should be written. Virginia still identifies as a Democrat.

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. See next chapter………

Jane Harker

This is the true background of Jane Harker, short lived Warner Bros. pin-up and starlet. IMDB has incorrect information that other websites have copied. She is the daughter of George Truman Harker and Josephine Young Harker. Jane is a first cousin to Diana/Paige’s mother Donna.

MARY JANE HARKER BECOMES JANE HARKER AT WARNER BROS. STUDIO

Please see my next chapter Family History #2 for in-depth history move to Los Angeles in the 1930s, Radio City from 1938 through the 1940s and much 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. Also starring Angels Flight, one of the last remaining relics of Bunker Hill, Los Angeles. This film has been shown on TCM a few times. Along with Humoresque with Crawford and Garfield.

Halloween Cheesecake. The Signal, Santa Clarita, 1946.

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.

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