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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:33 pm 
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This right here seems to explain quite a bit.

Shrewnews wrote:
Do we even know if the blackface was Zappa's idea or Norman Seeff's? I find it interesting that Seeff was also the photographer for Joni Mitchell's Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, where Joni appears in blackface (and in male drag) on the cover.


I had no idea that was the same photographer. That generation was all about exploding old bullshit (including racist) narratives etc.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:10 am 
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Shrewnews wrote:
Do we even know if the blackface was Zappa's idea or Norman Seeff's? I find it interesting that Seeff was also the photographer for Joni Mitchell's Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, where Joni appears in blackface (and in male drag) on the cover.

Image

by Angela LaGreca
Rock Photo
June 1985
https://jonimitchell.com/library/view.cfm?id=566
The Making of the Don Juan's Reckless Daughter Cover

"In the song, Don Juan is really the art of the tongue, it's rapping - coffee house poet talk," says Joni who dressed up as a black guy for the LP's cover and sleeve. That's her too, underneath the Indian garb. The shooting sessions were upbeat, with Joni trying on different dresses and dancing around while Norman Seeff clicked away. When he asked for another change of clothes, he hardly recognized the black character that strutted from the dressing room five minutes later. "At that point, I realized I really enjoy character acting," she says.

Working again with the Camera Lucida (Lucy) machine, Joni arranged the photos agreed upon from the sessions: she blew up the shot of her as the black guy and put it in the foreground; she liked the spirit of the shot with the top hat because it symbolized what she felt was the 'magic' on the album; and she included the shot of a kid who'd been in a session for a previous album. "He was shy and had never danced before, that's why he's looking at his feet," she says. But to her, the elements were not "homogenized" enough to be the final cover shot.

When she noticed a postcard of a nude with a Mickey Mouse hat and balloons on a bulletin board she felt it was "the element that was like the cherry on the pudding that makes the whole thing come together." She worked it onto the dress, partly obscuring the pubic area and figure of Mickey Mouse (for legal reasons), I added the birds, and then had an airbrusher smooth over the edges of all the photos. She then selected the background colors from the options presented by Glen Christensen, who, she says, has a "wonderful knowledge of inks."

According to Joni, most reviews of the album missed its point: "Basically it has to do with turning your back on America and heading into the Third World...at the time Muslims were messing around in Washington, there were radical tensions. I was disillusioned. The songs on the album have a lot of ethnic references and there's a certain sentimentality for the North American Indian."


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:11 pm 
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Ha! I've had that album since the 80s and never knew that was Joni in male blackface.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:04 pm 
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That album set was pretty much what got me into Frank on a hardcore basis! I heard a few odds and ends over the years, as well as seeing the band on SNL, and The Midnight Special, but when a friend brought Joe's Garage to a party, I got HOOKED! (and bought the whole set through Columbia Records!)


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