On Tour Since 2007

We did our first Unguarded Moments show in October 2007 at Erin Austen-Abbott's One Night Stand at the Ole Miss Motel, a pioneering gallery concept.  Its been a never ending tour since then....

Unguarded Moments, Backstage and Beyond

To many people, Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde, Joan Jett, Belinda Carlisle and Billy Idol were always pop superstars with gold and platinum albums, Grammy nominations and inductions to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

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Chrissie Hynde, The Pretenders, 1980
first published by UK zine Zig Zag


The truth is, in 1977, they were all gritty punk rockers hanging out in night club backrooms with their friends. They wore vintage or home-made clothes and did their own hair and make-up. They partied with each other and punk rockers from other cities, as inadvertent good-will ambassadors for the new music. Those parties, backstage rooms and unguarded moments are presented here, in the UNGUARDED MOMENTS: BACKSTAGE AND BEYOND touring exhibit of photos from the Golden Age of Punk Rock.

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Debbie Harry of Blondie and Pleasant Gehman, 1978

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO SEE

The velvet rope, the locked door, the secret password – it is human nature to want to sneak a peak into the hidden world of the “beautiful people” – celebrities, rock stars and their companions living the life reported in gossip columns and on tabloid television shows. Unguarded Moments give you that glimpse.

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Joan Jett and Billy Idol, 1978


Unguarded Moments satisfies our human curiosity about “the other” – “the renown” - celebrities and the infamous.

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While this collection showcases a most famous and enigmatic superstar at his peak, Bob Dylan in an Unguarded Moment, some of the then-unknown punk rockers have become bonafide international stars in the 30 years that have elapsed since their ground-breaking punk days. Deborah Harry of Blondie, Joan Jett of the Runaways, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, Belinda Carlisle of the Go-Go’s, Billy Idol, then of Generation X and three of the original members of the Ramones – Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee are all bold-faced names. Others, like Stiv Bators (also deceased) of the Dead Boys have influenced legions of musicians who became more well-known than their idol.

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Dee Dee Ramone and Stiv Bators, 1979

While most of the celebrities and rock stars seen Backstage and Beyond reign supreme in the underground world of punk rock in the 70s, a few more highly recognizable mainstream and iconographic stars are featured in this exhibit (e.g.: Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, James Garner, TV's "Maverick" and "Rockford").

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Photographer Theresa K., Keith Richards and Punk Magazine mascot, the late John Spacely

Punk rock has been embraced by the mainstream. All media is once again responding to the Sex Pistols marketing genius on the 30th Anniversary of the release of their only album. More venerable institutions such as the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, and colleges and universities are offering courses of study, seminars and lectures on the topic! More and more consumers, ranging from fans to the simply curious are joining alongside cultural scholars to dig deep for evidence from the early days of this movement looking for a story behind how and why rock n roll’s rebellious nature continues to be a dominant force in contemporary culture. This exhibit is a MUST-SEE EVENT!

Unguarded Moments is a visual record of the life, times and trajectory of punk rock pioneers, their friends, fans and the celebrities, who like the beautiful people of Andy Warhol’s ‘60s, came to revitalize their “street cred” by slumming with the “stars of tomorrow” in the gritty backstage environs of the Sunset Strip. The images provide a taste of punk rock history as it was being made, and as seen from the inside.

Every picture does indeed tell a story.

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Belinda Carlisle, 1977

Punk rock music, style and fashion brewed up as a zeitgeist around the world. It grew up in the public eye in New York City. It exploded in London, and the kids in San Francisco, Los Angeles and the world over heartily embraced it.

While punk rock developed as a simultaneous culture clash everywhere, it was in Theresa K's native California where she captured the ultimate in punk rock's most identifying character trait - nihilism, and at the same time, its exact opposite: promise and exaltation.

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The Germs play with toy guns in their first ever rehearsal, 1977

California punks were anti-hippie – a movement born in their own San Francisco; they were definitely anti-disco and like most kids, they were also anti-parent and anti-social. West Coast punk attitude was powerful and shocking in comparison to the laid-back, easy-going California style that gave to pop culture rock n roll's biggest selling band of all time (The Eagles).

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Patricia Morrison of The Bags, 1978
defining style for future Goth chicks everywhere


Many of Theresa's photos taken in various Unguarded Moments, Backstage and Beyond have already laid the visual foundation of our collective punk rock memory. In addition to shooting the photos that adorned some of LA's seminal punk singles picture sleeves such as The Germs Forming, scores of Theresa's photos have been seen in magazines such as Creem, Rolling Stone, Playboy, Trouser Press and Music Life, in various fanzines from LA's Lobotomy, of which she was part, to the UK's Zig Zag.

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Cynthia Ross (The B-Girls), Stiv Bators and Joan Jett, 1979
First seen in Creem Magazine, now featured in two books on Joan Jett!


Her vintage work is currently featured in various recently published books, including PUNK365 by Holly George Warren and BOMP! by Suzy Shaw and Mick Farren. She was also one of the many punk rock veterans who contributed to Amy Wallace and Handsome Dick Manitoba's The Official Punk Rock Book of Lists.
(October 07 publication dates for all three titles.)


Two books on Joan Jett also feature her works (Joan Jett by Todd Oldham and Joan herself, and Bad Reputation, by Dave Thompson).

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Before he was Darby Crash, the Germs singer called himself Bobby Pyn, 1977

The photo above, of an introspective pre-Darby Crash Bobby Pyn is one of the earliest photographs taken of him. None of the band members had their punk hair cuts and punk clothes yet! They were playing together as a band for the first time in this ad-hoc rehearsal room fashioned from Pat Smear's mother's West Los Angeles garage. The images gathered on this early 1977 day represent the tone and calibre of the Unguarded Moments collection.

This moment of introspection reveals neither Bobby Pyn nor Darby Crash, but the inner Paul Beahm, the young man who would take his own life on December 7, 1980, just a little more than three years after he decided he would take music and the world by storm. Ironically, Darby's punk rock suicide was overshadowed even in the local news by the international tragedy of Beatle John Lennon's murder on December 8, 1980.

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The Germs "forming" outtake, 1977

This image, renown to the punk rock and record collecting communities since early 1977, is an alternate frame from the first ever photo sessions the Germs did. That day's shoot yielded the cover of their single "Forming." It was a session they asked for; a favor from their friend, photographer Theresa K., then a student at UCLA, living in the dormitory Hedrick Hall. Paul Beahm, the man who would become Darby Crash often sought refuge in the Hedrick 3rd Floor North Lounge from a school and home life that didn't understand him.

The Unguarded Moments collection within the Punk Turns 30 archive is the only one anywhere that truly shows The Germs as they were Forming.

Mostly, Unguarded Moments joyfully illustrates a phenomenon unique to the bi-coastal Los Angeles/New York culture: the intersection of punk rock with the Rock Elite and other boldface names.

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Blondie, Sabel Starr and Rodney Bingenheimer visit The B-Girls Backstage, 1979

In her travels to San Francisco, New York and London from her native Los Angeles, photographer Theresa Kereakes gained the trust and confidence of many interesting punk rock personalities who willingly submitted to her camera. Kereakes captured intimate and unguarded moments of punk legends Debbie Harry, super groupie Sabel Starr, Mayor of the Sunset Strip Rodney Bingenheimer, Joan Jett, Billy Idol, Darby Crash, Dee Dee Ramone, Stiv Bators, Belinda Carlisle, “It Girl” Pleasant Gehman, members of the Sex Pistols, The Cramps, The Avengers, and many more.

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Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols, 1978

In addition to the Germs Forming photo, many other Theresa K images have achieved icon status and wide exposure, such as the “Joan Jett and Billy Idol party at Joan’s Place” which has been published in 47 rock magazines around the world since 1978. Other images such as a “Rockford Files”-era James Garner posing with a scion of rock n roll roots, Billy Burnette, will be seen for the first time in this exhibit (and you'll have to go to a show to see it!)

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Joan Jett and Billy Idol party at Joan's Place, 1978
published worldwide

Unguarded Moments: Backstage and Beyond is nothing short of an illustrated history lesson about a time where music evolved from predictable pop to chaotic experimentation. Full of dates and times and places, Unguarded Moments presents the people who, intentionally or not, revolutionized the popular culture of the late 20th Century.

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Rodney Bingenheimer and Go Go's guitarist, Charlotte Caffey, 1980

During summers off from college, and after graduation, while working as tour manager and publicist for mainstream, “alternative” and punk bands, Kereakes took her camera on the road to clubs and recording studios and returned with images of all the emotional, spiritual and cultural shifts that changed the course of popular music.

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Billy Idol, 1978

Ultimately, Unguarded Moments: Backstage and Beyond is that rare backstage-pass, an elite VIP invite to the after-show party and every rock 'n' roll fan's dream. Layered beneath the gloss and the grit is the truth behind fame: everybody has an unguarded moment where their innate humanity is revealed.

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Dave Parsons of Sham 69, JFK Airport Lounge, 1981

Theresa has been exhibiting her Vintage Punk Pictures since September 2004 on a never-ending tour of United States rock festivals, night clubs, art galleries and indie record stores. The exhibit, Punk Turns 30 has met with rave reviews, celebrity endorsements and has landed in Cleveland, Chicago, Nashville, New York City, Memphis, Tampa, Tallahassee, Milwaukee, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The associated website of photos and behind the scenes stories, www.punkturns30.com has logged over 940,000 unique visitors, with more taking a peek every day .

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Tour graphics, poster/handbills by faggotybackpack design

We Want To Be A Book When We Grow Up

Sadly, all the handmade, hand-bound collector edition books of the handbills and Tropicana Motel images have sold out and are out of print.

I am, however, putting together the comprehensive coffee table version of this exhibit, plus my tour diaries and photos I took on the road with this show.

Right now, I'm looking for ways to raise money to make that happen.

Selling prints helps - so if you want to buy anything from the Unguarded Moments collection or from the Punk Turns 30 archive, please email me

Thanks for your continued support!

Unguarded Moments IN THE NEWS!


Several images from the Unguarded Moments: Backstage and Beyond collection are part of the Christie's Pop Culture Auction, to be held on June 23, 2009.

You can view the eCatalog RIGHT HERE or simply visit Christies.com and peruse their site. The Unguarded Moments images of The Germs and Belinda Carlisle comprise lots 49 and 50 in Christies Pop Culture Auction - check them out!

In 2008, Christie's, the venerable auction house, held two wildly successful, highly regarded and heralded auctions of Pop Culture artifacts. The November 2008 auction focused largely on memorabilia from the punk rock era. (Visit the NYTimes for pictoral coverage! or read their comprehensive coverage)

Now, in June 2009, punk rock once again comprises a healthy chunk of the items on the auction block.

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The Germs - this image is one of the prints in Lot 49

We at Punk Turns 30 (which would be me, speaking as the Royal "We," god save the queen...) are both proud and perplexed about this phenomena.

On the one hand, we think, HELL YEAH! at the thought of being deemed collectible by an institution such as Christie's. It helps to bolster the notion we have held for our lifetime that photography IS fine art.

On the other hand, we simply feel like "Forrest Gump."  Who'da thunk that our misspent youth would become noteworthy rather than notorious?  Maybe it is notoriously noteworthy.

At the end of the day, we have YOU to thank:  the fans, the followers, the collectors, friends, family and supporters.

Now... please tell your rich friends about this auction!