Northwest Film Forum

The Northwest Film Forum is a Seattle-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization supporting year-round programs of artistic film.
From April 23 to May 9, 2004 They exhibited the following of my MC5 photos in conjunction with their April 23 to 29 screening of MC5 - A TRUE TESTIMONIAL.

In Wayne's mother's yard 1965 or 6.

Boblo Island

Boblo was an amusement park on an island downriver from Detroit that large triple decker ferry boats would transport people to for summer excursions. These pictures were probably taken in late summer 1965.





The Grande Ballroom

Opening Night

A posed picture at the Grande, not too long after the opening.


Rob at Provo Park in Berkeley on Sunday March 23, 1969

Fred at The Straight Theater in SF March 14-16, 1969

Wayne at The Fillmore West in SF, November, 1969

Michael at The Fillmore West in SF, November, 1969

E=MC5 at the Fillmore West in SF, November, 1969

Kicking out the jambs at the Mar Motel in Berkeley, March 1969.
This picture, bad pun and all, got The Berkeley Barb busted for the first time in it's history.

Kicking out the jams at Provo Park, Berkeley on Sunday March 23, 1969

Emil Bacilla in late 2003.

Emil Bacilla in 1965 or 6.

Click here to email me


Here’s a few paragraphs about my relationship with the five and this showing.

Bob Derminer (aka Rob Tyner), was one of my best friends in high school in Lincoln Park, a bedroom community west of Detroit. Wayne Kambus (aka Kramer), Dennis Tomich (Thompson), and Fred Smith also went to LPHS, although I didn’t know them. Michael Davis went to high school in Detroit. I’m particularly fond of the first picture because it speaks to how early those days were and demonstrates how serious the guys were about the band thing.

I had a VW Bus and became the “road crew” on a lot of their early gigs although they did their own set up. The Boblo gig was a particularly good one, at least photographically.

We were all beatniks back in the day and were attracted to the Wayne State neighborhood, John Sinclair and The Artist’s Workshop. As the guys got to know John; he became their manager, The Grande opened, and things took off.

I spent the years ‘66 thru ‘68 going back and forth between Detroit and San Francisco and drifted away from the Trans-Love community. I finally decided on SF and moved out for good at the beginning of 69. Most of the pictures in this show come from their trips west in March and November of 69.

I watched them crash and burn from a safe distance. There but for Grace, actually Suzanne, but that’s another story.

The Future/Now folks contacted me 5 or so years ago and I supplied them with a bunch of pictures and a little bit of 16mm. I discovered then that things are decaying. Silver suspended in gelatin is succumbing to physical, chemical and organic forces.

Then, over the past couple of months, the NWFF and another group contacted me about pictures. I don’t have a darkroom and the local Lab charges quite a bit. As the other deal crumbled I discovered a local rental darkroom and was thinking of making some prints when NWFF agreed to cut a check.

Hopefully this is the first step towards some degree of preservation through the making of prints. It’s tempting to see photography as more substantial than more ethereal arts such as music but the rate of reproduction changes the reality. Music’s fuckin as rabbits and photography’s as Buddhist sand paintings.

Anyway, thank you and NWFF for this occasion. It is, after all, my first show.

Emil Bacilla