Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Between Two Worlds

Posted in Uncategorized on April 5, 2014 by Gwendolen De Lacy

Shots Cover 2014

I’m proud to announce that we’ve now had our first photographic feature in an American magazine publication.  SHOTS Magazine is an independent, reader supported magazine (in production since 1986), which prides itself on exquisite presentation of the image.

This magazine not only pays homage to fine art photography, but each edition has its own completely unique feel and focus, providing publishing opportunities for artists from all over the world.  Photographer, Russell Joslin has been the sole editor and publisher of shots since 2000.  His own photographic work was featured at last year’s Ballarat International Foto Biennale and is truly beautiful.

Maggie and I are grateful for such a sensitive and comprehensive story. Most importantly, Russell’s perfectionism with the presentation of the Diaz images took me to a whole new level of understanding and I thoroughly enjoyed the process.

The Spring 2014 issue, THE CITY brings together a compelling selection of images by 37 photographers from 14 countries. It is currently available when you subscribe. Check out this truly independent and unique magazine:  http://www.shotsmag.com/current.htm

The Lady Diaz

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on February 27, 2014 by Gwendolen De Lacy
Maggie at Fannie's, Inkerman St 1989

Maggie at Fannie’s, Inkerman St 1989 G De Lacy © 2014

Last night, Maggie refused to attend her own birthday party.  To make it perfectly clear, she rejected the need to insert her ‘falsies’, apply her brows or do that stunning thing she used to do with lipstick and a mirror. Maggie Diaz has dementia.  She knows me, but she thinks I’m the photographer and that I run a newspaper.  When I show her scans or framed photographs on the wall, she can no longer recall the moment that she took them. Only a year ago, she was still able to give commentary on ALL of her images – even if she couldn’t recall eating lunch.

Friendship is not over.  Connection is not dead.  She lives between two worlds, but what’s strange is that it feels like we’ve already said our fond farewells – many times.

As it happens, a few party goers and I, gradually lured MD into Graze on Grey for a cocktail.  Once again, she was in her element – surrounded by her own photographs and flirting with the only two men at the table.  But the most joyful moment for me, was when she spied Kristy – a gorgeous young woman, who recently purchased a Diaz print as a surprise for her boyfriend.  MD took one look at her and “shot her quick”.  She didn’t need a camera – she just knew what she was looking for and expressed that clearly.  Everyone saw it happen and it was delightful.

As we wheeled Maggie back to her room, she seemed happy and ready for bed – no longer agitated.

Sometimes her irritation is purely physical – it’s like she wants to get out of her chair, but doesn’t know where she wants to go.  Sometimes it’s like she’s stirred by incomplete thoughts and memories that cause her to want to pace and wander.  The staff tell me that it’s after my visits that she usually heads for the gate.  I hope that tonight she won’t be left with the same inclination.  We all feel it as we hover around her room, guilty to be creating so much excitement, only to be leaving her in complete silence.  Happily she waves us off – relieved to be finally tucked up in bed, surrounded by the most beautiful birthday tulips and roses – in reds, pinks and yellows.

Thank you to everyone who came along and to our consummate hosts Neil Perch and Mohammad Ahmat at Graze on Grey.  The Lady Diaz never tasted so good!

Extra special thanks to Trudy Schuringa for recording the event – please enjoy a selection of images by Trudy below.

Maggie sips a Lady Diaz with Kristy watching on... By Trudy Schuringa © 2014

Maggie sips a Lady Diaz with Kristy watching on…
By Trudy Schuringa
© 2014

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Our photographer, Trudy Schuringa – laughing because Maggie is making Brent blush!

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All images above by Trudy Schuringa Photography © 2014

All images above by Trudy Schuringa Photography © 2014

The Blackstone Magic Show

Posted in Uncategorized on August 3, 2013 by Gwendolen De Lacy

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People ask Maggie why she chose photography.  Her response is always the same – she actually wanted to be a painter or a sculptor; that she’d been to art school  and had always been good at drawing.  Photography had presented itself as something she could use ‘to make some loot.’  The added bonus was that being behind a camera, also gave her a way of being in the world that finally made some sense.  In her own words, photography “stopped me from being lazy and gave me a reason to go out.”

She had been a rather “odd child” and was always wandering off.  Her temper tantrums matched her bright auburn locks and the teachers would tell her to stop staring.  By the time she was in her late teens, she’d experienced a girls’ reformatory and after taking herself on a bus trip around America, arrived home and collapsed with a nervous breakdown. There are details about this time, that will be revealed in the ‘tell all’ Diaz book, but at this stage, suffice to say that things were not looking good for Maggie.  In about 1945, her mother took her to a Park Avenue psychiatrist who gave her electro shock treatment and it was explained, that this was the same therapy being given to return servicemen and it would do her good.  The doctor also suggested that she might be a canditate for the sanatorium on the hill, if things didn’t improve, and that perhaps she should take up smoking “to relax”.

A few years later, as Maggie sat in the queue for work as a domestic help, her brother was performing in The Blackstone Magic Show as a professional skater and showman.  In 1949, he  sent her a telegram, “Blackstone wants another girl, send a picture!”

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She did indeed send a picture, and was sent the fare to join the troupe at Blackstone Island for rehearsals.  “I had to wear an Indian costume and shake my ass – it did me good.”  She spent a solid year touring with the Blackstone company, which unfortunately then had a sudden break in production, as “Old Mr B” was not in good health and had started to cancel shows.   On the strength of her year as a performer, however, she had gained enough confidence to walk into an Ad agency and introduce herself as spot sketch artist and was given a job as a Girl Friday.  Maggie was soon working as a photographer’s assistant and within a very short time, handed her own camera, which she had to pay off out of her wages.  From here, she won a prize in the Chicago Tribune, which helped to set her up as a freelance photographer and she started to call herself Maggie Besson – after her brother’s wife, Betty Besson, who had also been one of the Blackstone showgirls.  Margaret (Marge) Reid became Maggie Besson.

For a long time I had been searching for evidence of Maggie’s presence in The Blackstone Magic Show.  She had told me that both her brothers had kept news cuttings and photographs, (which had disappeared) and she kept mentioning a certain news article that appeared in a New Orleans newspaper.

Late one night in 2011, I did my usual Google search on Blackstone Magic Show, New Orleans 1940s – 50s.  This time, a new site came up – ‘Blackstone’s Elusive Moth’ Adele Friel had written her memoir of touring with Blackstone in the 1940s to 1950.  I was excited because the dates matched.  I sent off a note  and I called my message:

MR B’S GIRLS.    I thought that if Adele had known Maggie, she would understand what this meant.

Memoirs of an Elusive Moth cover

How lucky it was that I used this subject line, as Adele explained that as a famous veteran of the magic world, she receives plenty of unwanted mail.  It was my subject line that had her thinking…’How could anyone know that we called ourselves Mr B’s Girls?’

So I was rewarded with this reply:

Dear Gwen,

Somehow I did open your message and got the most wonderful surprise of all … a contact with one of Mr B’s Girls!!!  I know her as Marge Reid.  And YES YES YES!! 

This is exciting …

Gwen, it is so good to know about Marge.  I never kept in touch with anyone from the Blackstone Show after I left on April 1, 1950.  The last day of the 1949-1950 season.  Now, it will be a pleasure and fun to be in touch with Marge.  I do hope we can work this out.  Marge’s brother Tom and his wife Betty were also on the show when Marge was in the cast.

I remember Marge like it was yesterday.  She had a good sense of humour.  I do remember the newspaper photo taken in New Orleans.  Each one of the Blackstone Girls was holding either a dove or a bunny.  I have one copy of that newspaper picture.  All yellow and a bit torn.  Betty Stolle was the featured “girl” in the article which accompanied the photo because she did all the BIG illusions in the show. 

The letter went on to talk about all sorts of details of the show and within a few weeks I had a copy of the newspaper article, copies of programs which featured Maggie, along with a cast list.  You can see Margaret Reid listed under ASSISTANTS TO MR BLACKSTONE.

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New Orleans Article

 Cropped article

 

‘Don’t call me Marge! ‘ This was one of  the first things Maggie said to her old buddy Adele, when I got them on Skype and they spoke for the first time in more than fifty years.

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Finding Adele, was one of the precious and “magical” moments of the Diaz project – piecing the story of Maggie’s life together.

On Sacred Ground – the show goes on!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 30, 2013 by Gwendolen De Lacy
Maggie young glam 1940s

Margaret Eunice Reid (Maggie Diaz) c1940s

It is with great pleasure that I announce an indefinite extension to the current exhibition at Graze on Grey.  We’re loving it so much, we don’t see any point in taking the photographs down. Maggie and I adore wandering in “next door” to catch up with friends or just have a quiet cocktail.  Now that Neil Perch (Co owner at Graze) has created ‘The Lady Diaz ‘ cocktail, we’re celebrating with an on-going launch, so let us know when you’d like to join us. 

We’ll be at Graze on Grey @ 101 Grey Street, St Kilda, this Saturday the 1st of June from 3-5pm if you’d like to come along!

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We are also creating quite a stir with our Table for 18 dinners – a partnership with chefs, Neil Perch and Mohammad Ahmat. 
So far we’ve had the chance to dine with Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier – no one will forget the preview of their ‘Stories of Ghosts’ album, which made it an extraordinary night.  Dave Graney’s tales of St Kilda via Adelaide with some classic  tunes, a mini guitar lesson and a few revealing lines about the life of a rock star cowboy and song-writer, poet was super cool.  Brian Nankervis made us all feel like we were at Rockwiz – gave us the back story, recited some classics, quizzed us and then gave us tix to a Rockwiz taping! 

Robert McClosky -one of our guests, enjoyed the night so much, he posted this review on Face book:

Last night, Brian Nankervis was a genius mix of court Jester and Bard at the table for 18 at Graze on Grey where the Bedouin Kitchen used to camp.  The South American grain and tomato terrine with basil sauce, the lamb slice in pastry with pea purée and the Pavlova were delicious.  The ambience was comfortable.   The Table for 18 functions are a logical entrepreneurial reaction to a room and a table in an intimate restaurant and the human need to enjoy a dinner party with booze, art and entertainment.  If you like the Crimson Goat evenings at Moubray hall you may really enjoy the smaller evenings at Table for 18.  Brian has the mental capacity to burn someone’s self confidence to death with acidic comments but he was charming, funny and inspiring with not even a skerrick of malevolence. Richard Mitchell was deft and positive as MC and kept the enjoyment moving all night. The likable waiters at Graze on Grey kept the delicious food coming, the wine flowing and water in my glass as soon as it emptied.
 
I have to give acknowledgement to the good company of the other 17 though the evening was marred by 9 of them beating my team in a quiz by one question and winning standing room tickets to Rock wiz. I am deeply suspicious that the last question was fixed like a European soccer match but at the moment I have no proof other than inferential reasoning; how can someone recognise a 40 year old song from one note?
 
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Table for 18 is a fabulous combination of fine food, good company and amazingly intimate performance surrounded by Maggie’s photographs.  And if you happen to buy one on the night, your dinner price is automatically refunded!

Our next event will feature a man who had one of the biggest hits of all times around the globe.  I’m tempted to call it – ‘Shaddap and Eat!’

Table for 18 –

Joe Dolce &

Lin Van Hek

Stories, songs, poetry and fine food

 DW5a

Thursday the 27th of June at 7.30pm

3 course meal with French bubbles on arrival

Limited number of tickets available at $100 per person

Graze on Grey, 103 Grey Street St Kilda 

To book this event, please go to http://www.trybooking.com/CVZK For further enquiries, please call Neil on 90770421 after midday Tues-Saturday or neil@grazeongrey.com.au

Any Diaz print purchases will have their ticket price deducted and 5% of sales go to Sacred Heart Mission.

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Joe Dolce with that Monkey, by Maggie Diaz c1990

Joe is most famous for his number one hit in 1980, Shaddap You Face, which remained the most famous successful Australian-produced single in Australian history for over 30 years and is one of the biggest and most covered hits of all time.  Joe’s most recent album, The Wind Cries Mary, was named Album of the Year in 2007 by Radio Melbourne.  An established poet and essayist, Joe won the 25th Launceston Poetry Cup in 2010 and appears in regular publications, including this months’s Quadrant Magazine, which features Joe and his partner of 3 decades, Lin Van Hek.

Lin Van Hek and Joe Dolce created a folk music group in the 1990s, called Difficult Women, which paid tribute to legendary (and often forgotten) women of the past.  This is in stark contrast to their collaboration in the 1980s, which saw them responsible for the theme song ‘Intimacy’ created for the classic science fiction film, Terminator!

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Lin Van Hek by Maggie Diaz c1990

Lin Van Hek is a dynamic performer, published author, poet and artist, with work currently showing at Busy Bird Publishing Gallery.  She has also recorded a solo album, River of Life – which features the songs of New Zealand writer, Kath Tait.  Lin has worked for over two decades with a group of women in North Vietnam designing, manufacturing and trading in ethical, non-exploitative, hand embroidered silk garments and textiles.  She is an advocate of  hand made houses and divides her time between the city and a stone house on the Brass Knocker Creek.

Lin and Joe have revealed to me that the week of our event is actually their 33rd anniversary, so they’re saving up the celebration for us.  It will be a night of passion, celebration and YES Joe will sing THAT song – with a couple of extra verses thrown in! Places are limited, so book now! 

http://www.trybooking.com/CVZKGraze_on_Grey-Logo

 

Healing the Bay Exhibition

Posted in Uncategorized on February 4, 2013 by Gwendolen De Lacy

Maggie and I are proud to be associated with this exhibition which opens tomorrow night at Gasworks.  We met with Mia Jevic, photographer and organiser of the event at Graze on Grey last week and handed her  a framed Artist’s proof of ‘Coming or Going’ – self portrait at Station Pier, Port Melbourne 1960s. It seemed a very appropriate image somehow!  Works will be for sale at the event, which will feature local and indigenous artists.

Maggie meeting Mia Jevoc at Graze on Grey

Maggie meeting Mia Jevoc at Graze on Grey

Healing the Bay – Art Exhibition

Tuesday 5th  to 24th of February, 2013

OPENING EVENT 6-8PM will include healing and indigenous smoking ceremonies

Gasworks Arts Park

21 Graham Street, Albert Park

For more information go to http://www.planetaryhealingartists.blogspot.com

The ‘Healing the Bay’ exhibition is an initiative of The Planetary Healing Artists Association of Australia.

Coming or Going, Self portrait 1960s

Coming or Going, Self portrait 1960s

Table for 18 Events – 2013

Posted in Uncategorized on February 3, 2013 by Gwendolen De Lacy

Happy New Year !

We continue to celebrate Maggie’s latest exhibition at Graze on Grey with our Table for 18 events and we’re honoured to have Mr Brian Nankervis as our next special guest.  If you haven’t had a chance to check out ‘On Sacred Ground’  you can have a great night out and catch the exhibition.

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BRIAN NANKERVIS – TABLE FOR 18

POETRY, STORIES, LAUGHS & FINE FOOD

GRAZE ON GREY

103 GREY ST, ST KILDA

THURSDAY 28TH FEBRUARY 2013 @ 7.30PM

$100 per head includes a 3 course dinner with complimentary French bubbles on arrival.

Places are limited, so go to http://www.trybooking.com/CIXD or search Trybooking with name of event.

TABLE FOR 18 IS SPONSORED BY MAGGIEDIAZ.COM and 5% of our print sales go to Sacred Heart Mission – The Heart of St Kilda.

Iced coffee at Graze

Maggie enjoying an iced chocolate at Graze on Grey last week.

 

Season’s Greetings

Posted in Uncategorized on December 28, 2012 by Gwendolen De Lacy
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Nylex Clock, Yarra River Melbourne 1960s

Dear Friends,

Maggie and I would like to send you special wishes as 2012 comes to a close.  We hope that you’ve had a lovely festive season and look forward to more excitement in 2013.

SAMSUNG

Maggie with son Stevan and my daughter Matilda, Sacred Heart Christmas Party

Our Table for 18 events continue at the home of Maggie Diaz images – Graze on Grey, with another legend of Australian Music – Mr Dave Graney. I’m happy to say there are still a few seats left, so if you’re intrigued, don’t hesitate.  Deborah Conway was extraordinary last month, along with the other Diaz events, so I’ve posted a few shots below.  People who attend our functions and purchase a Diaz print, have their ticket price refunded and 5% of all sales go to Sacred Heart Mission.

Dave Graney – Table for 18

Songs, stories, readings and fine food

Legendary – invisible rock singer, cowboy…

3 course meal with French bubbles on arrival

@Graze on Grey

103 Grey Street St.Kilda  90770421

Thursday 10th Jan 2013

 

$100 per head

www.trybooking.com/CEJV                                                                         

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She’s a nigger, don’t take her picture.

Posted in Uncategorized on November 17, 2012 by Gwendolen De Lacy

1/25 Archival digital print SOLD

Maggie Diaz – On Sacred Ground @ Graze on Grey till 20th March 2013

Upcoming events:
Table for 18 with Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier

Stories, songs and fine food.
Thursday 6th December 2012 at 7.30pm
3 course dinner with complimentary French bubbles on arrival
Places are limited. Go to http://www.trybooking.com/CCXB

 

 

On Sacred Ground

Posted in Uncategorized on October 2, 2012 by Gwendolen De Lacy

Luna Park, St Kilda 1960s

Maggie Diaz has never returned to the USA, but the St Kilda area in Melbourne has been her sacred ground for more than 40 years.   We think it’s fitting, that at 87 years young and now recovered from pneumonia, she has an event close to home. 

Situated right next door to the Sacred Heart Community, where Maggie has been in residence since January, Graze on Grey is a stylish venue and the perfect location for a little show. 

 

 

 

 

When Maggie was first settling into the ‘Aged Care’ environment earlier this year, we would wander in to Graze for good coffee, food and chat and then we started to meet friends and patrons of the Diaz project there.  I joked with chefs and owners – Neil and Mo that we were using their restaurant as our office and lounge room and they encouraged us to do just that.  The next logical step was to hang some pictures! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Print selection is in progress, so we welcome suggestions!  If you have a favourite Diaz image that you would love to see featured, please let me know…

 

Table for 18 Event

 First 18 people to book for dinner, will join us for our opening event.  

Thursday 1st of November 6.30pm

Graze on Grey, 103 Grey Street, St Kilda / Phone:  9077 0421

You will be greeted on arrival with complimentary French bubbles and canapes.  This will be followed by a 3 course menu, which has been designed especially for us (includes vegetarian options) and all for the great price of $65

Framed Diaz prints will be on display – along with folios of prints to look through with Maggie.

Strictly Bookings only:   http://www.trybooking.com/BZBK

To view the menu, go to www.grazeongrey.com

Your dinner price will be refunded on any purchase of a Limited Edition Diaz print. 

5% of all sales will go to Sacred Heart Mission – The Heart of St Kilda www.sacredheartmission.org

 

A Little Miracle

Posted in Uncategorized on September 11, 2012 by Gwendolen De Lacy

Hi Folks,

Many of you will be aware that Maggie has had a stint in hospital and it was pneumonia, so indeed very serious.  I’m delighted to report that she has made almost a full recovery – quite miraculous in just a couple of weeks. Thanks to Adele, our magical friend in the USA (more about that soon) who called on a favour from a close buddy and the heavens above…indeed her prayers were answered! Also thanks to Maggie’s American family who called and sent messages. Good friends, Wendy, Gabrielle and Anne dropped by to dispense rice pudding, ice-cream and help Maggie keep her fluids up. She is not an easy patient, so nursing staff were very grateful to have all the support they could get.

While in the hospital, Maggie was moved three times, but in one location, there was a spectacular view of St Kilda Road, and we discovered that the elderly lady next to Maggie was also American and a violinist from Balaclava (Maggie’s home for more than 25 years).  The old gals liked the sound of eachother’s voices; it was  creative and connected conversation about things other than the weather or being ill…and all about a homeland far away. It definitely helped!

Maggie is now back at the Sacred Heart Community – a place where she receives respectful and constant care in relaxed surroundings.  A few weeks before Maggie became ill, she was photographed by Melbourne’s Mark Munro for Sacred Heart’s Annual Report. Here are Maggie’s selections from the day.  She absolutely loved the shoot, which was done just off Grey St in a most suitable laneway…

               

Check out more of the work of photographer, Mark Munro at www.markmunro.com

All above images © Mark Munro

His truly impressive and beautiful, abstract ‘Factory Series’ has seen him receive recognition as a fine-art photographer.   

         
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