Thursday, September 22, 2016

Remembering: John Palatinus, 1929 - 2014

John Palatinus, Berlin Pride, 2014

It is hard to believe that today marks the second anniversary of the death of my friend, John Palatinus.

We met each other because of two posts (here and here) I'd made about him back in 2007.  A friend of John's was a visitor to v-m-p and passed the links along to him.  Not long afterward we met face to face -- living only 13 miles away from each other!

Soon after our first meeting, the possibility of an exhibit of John's "forgotten" photos raised its head -- eventually leading to the wild group exhibit "Tomorrow's Man" at Rick Castro's Antebellum Gallery in Hollywood.  This led to his solo exhibits in Paris, Berlin, Palm Springs, Koln (Cologne), London, Antwerp, Los Angeles (again!), and finally in Oslo, Norway!

I was able to use my rudimentary Photoshop skills to recreate 18 of his photos (from poorly printed magazine pages, four original photos and three original negatives) for that first exhibit.  For the June, 2014 show in Oslo, we had 50 of his physique photos reclaimed and reproduced at 13 x 19 inches (and many much larger), as well as photos he took in Paris in the 50s, New York, Palm Springs and even Havana, Cuba (which he visited in 2011 on a cultural trip with the American Ballet Theatre).  While every show was exciting and unique, the Oslo show was certainly the pinnacle when it came to content, publicity, and most importantly -- attendance.  His European agent (and 20-year friend) Bernd Althans and new Norwegian friend and mover-and-shaker Atle Fossdal put together 10 days of excitement that I was able to share with John as we made our last trip together.

John Palatinus was a whirlwind of energy and lit up every room he walked into, easily making friends from every walk of life in every city he visited.  Early 2014 saw him start to slow down, until he had a heart attack one evening at the end of August.  He underwent bypass surgery that was certainly ill-advised and passed away three weeks later.

From the spring of 2009 to the fall of 2014 it was my great good fortune to have John Palatinus as a wonderful friend.

I love you, John!

Surrounded by friends while riding a party float, Berlin Pride, 2014