A group of local and regional photographers recently released a concert photography book featuring stills of past live performances at local bar and music venue, Alex’s Bar.
By donating 100% of the profits from book sales directly to the bar, the photographers hope to help support the live-music mainstay during the COVID-19 pandemic until business can return to normal operations.
The concept for the book was imagined by local photographer John Mairs, who said the idea came to him one morning as he was looking at Facebook posts owners Alex and Paige Hernandez were posting about their efforts to stay open despite closures.
Due to a city-wide mandate halting all outdoor dining, the couple was forced to close their business only a month after getting the green light to open a parklet in-front of their space. The owners have since reverted back to offering a drive-thru liquor store, which Paige Hernandez noted previously is hardly sustainable.
“I’m just seeing them do everything imaginable, and I’m thinking ‘God, is there anything we [as photographers] can do to help,” Mairs said.
After putting out the call out to his friends and fellow colleagues, Mairs compiled the hardcover book featuring full color and black-and-white photographs from 11 photographers, including Mairs, and features 73 stills from some of the best, wildest shows ever held at the venue.
Some highlights include punk rock veterans such as The Mummies, The Damned, Le Shok, Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, The Cadillac Tramps, Manic Hispanic, The Adolescents, and The Mink Daggers—with photos of both the late Steve Soto (Adolescents, Agent Orange) and Mike “Gabby” Gaborno (Cadillac Tramps, Manic Hispanic).
“It was a great idea,” said Steve Allen, who contributed photos of The Mink Daggers, The Damned, and The Grabbers. “I hope whatever it gets raised actually helps because Alex is literally a premier bar. I mean, there’s not many bars that have a stage and a sound system that provides the type of music that they provide for people.”
Photographers who submitted their work include Jason Cook, a prominent Southern California concert photographer; John Gilhooey who shot over 150 OC Weekly covers; and Greg Jacobs who has contributed to VICE/Noisey and Razorcake. Other photographers include, Albert Licano, Steve Allen, Greg Jacobs, Chris Porter, Nancy Huizar, Michael Bunuan, Roger Krueger, and photographer Bobby Rio.
“Alex’s Bar Long Beach” costs $34.95 and can be purchased online via lulu.com. To purchase a copy visit the website.
So far, Mairs said 172 books have been sold since launching the project mid-December. The books are ordered on-demand and cost $20 to make; the rest of the proceeds will be donated directly to Alex’s Bar.
“When it comes down to it, I’m hoping everybody realizes it’s a fundraiser,” Mairs said.