“I drink Latte. I’m an American!” exclaimed Mick Rock, as a couple offered to buy him a cup of tea at his recent pop-up photography exhibit at the Fifteen Minutes of Fame Café on Main Street in Westport, Conn.
Although Rock was born in England, perhaps he feels more comfortable in his American skin, having spent the better part of his life living in New York City, chronicling the American Punk/ New Wave music scene of the 60’s and 70’s with a camera.
In addition to capturing legendary moments throughout the careers of the Ramones, Sex Pistols, Lou Reed, the Stooges, Blondie, Joan Jett, U2, Talking Heads (to name a few), he also took well-known photos of David Bowie, Queen, Ozzy Osbourne, Tina Turner and more recent musicians like Miley Cyrus, Lenny Kravtiz and Janelle Monae. A photographer’s passion for taking pictures never dies.
Back in the 90’s, as a high school student, Missy Papageorge, movie producer and cofounder of Company Three, had an idea to start an after hours coffee house at her father’s Deli, Oscars, on Main Street in Westport.
Lee Papageorge passed away several years ago, and since then, Missy has held onto the hope of starting up her Fifteen Minutes of Fame Café once again, in the same building, but on the second floor in a beautiful loft overlooking Main Street on one side, and the Saugatuck River on the opposite side. Papageorge had a life size photo cutout of her father Lee at the entrance of the exhibit nicknamed, ‘The Mayor of Westport,’ because of his generosity, kind spirit and presence in downtown Westport for over 45 years.
A few years back, Missy and her friend, art dealer, Suhayb Ibn M Zarroug, hosted a pop-up photography exhibit at Papageorge’s 4,000-square-foot loft in New York, featuring the photography of Robert Whitman, which Rock attended. Papageorge, Zarroug and Rock became friends and decided to revive Papageorge’s Fifteen Minute of Fame Café, transforming the Westport loft into an exotic space of Rock’s classic Photos, open bar, DJ’s, and dancing.
Designer Cristian Siriano, film producer Liz Vap, fashion stylist Lo’renzo Hill-White, Patti Hansen and daughter, Theodora Richards were several of the guests present Friday night, at the VIP opening party of Rock’s exhibit.
To add to the elegance and excitement of the evening, there were vintage and new Ferraris hosted by Black Horse Garage, lined up in front of the Main Street entrance for everyone to view as they entered the exhibit or just happened to be walking by.
The brilliance of Rock’s photography is that the musicians in the pictures practically reach out as if they are about to say something to the viewer, something revealing, transferring the narrative over to the viewer and left to their imaginations.
Rock hasn’t held an exhibit in years, but thanks to Papageorge and Zarroug, Rock’s personable presence, the revival of some of Rock’s classic photos and the Fifteen Minutes of Fame Café, the evening turned out to be a memorable time for all.
The pop-up exhibit runs August 12 -14 from 1-5:00 p.m. at the Fifteen Minutes of Fame Café, 163 Main St. in Westport.
Photos courtesy of Gale Papageorge, Ike Abakah, Dean Dempsey and @stevieworld.usa.