Detroit rock 'n' roll photographer Leni Sinclair and late poster artist Gary Grimshaw honored with dual exhibition in Royal Oak

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MC5 band member Wayne Kramer in Ann Arbor, Michigan - B&W photograph, 1969 - PHOTO BY LENI SINCLAIR
  • Photo by Leni Sinclair
  • MC5 band member Wayne Kramer in Ann Arbor, MichiganB&W photograph, 1969

When we last spoke with iconic Detroit photographer and activist Leni Sinclair, 81, she told us that, of her 100,000 or so negatives (a number she estimates as being higher but says she lost count), her favorite photo isn’t one of rock stars like Iggy Pop, Aretha Franklin, the MC5, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, John Lennon, John Coltrane, or ex-husband and marijauan activist John Sinclair, or the 1967 Detroit rebellion. Sinclair’s favorite photo is one of herself, though not a self-portrait — it’s one that represents the attitude, tenacity, and badassness that her work has become associated with.



“... it’s one of my favorite photographs of my life,” Sinclair told Metro Times. “And that’s me standing at the Berlin Wall with a hammer, knocking it down all by myself. I gave my camera to a bystander and said, ‘Could you take this picture of me?’ And that’s how it happened,” she says.

Sinclair’s photos have become synonymous with 1960s Detroit, as has the work of Gary Grimshaw, the late poster artist known for his trailblazing psychedelic work during the Grande Ballroom era. The former Minister of Arts of the White Panther party in 2006 told former Metro Times editor Brett Callwood that he couldn’t afford to buy his own work.



The pair, who teamed up in 2013 to publish a limited run of their co-published, self-funded, and crowdsourced book, Detroit Rocks: A Pictorial History of Motor City Rock and Roll 1965 to 1975 (which is going for as much as $795 on bookselling sites) are to be honored with a one-night only joint exhibition of their work at Edo Ramen in Royal Oak. Marcie Bolen (the Von Bondies) will DJ from 6-10 p.m. and author Peter Werbe will be signing copies of his latest book Summer on Fire which combines “history and inventive remembrances” from Detroit’s history-changing summer of 1967.

Event begins at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20 at Edo Ramen; 4313 W. 13 Mile Rd., Royal Oak; 248-556- 5775; edoramenhouse.com. Event is free.

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