LA Knockers's Blog

Los Angeles dancers

Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

L. A. Knockers

with 11 comments

LA Knockers: Marilyn, Jennifer, Yana

June 22, 2010

Miracles of the Internet age!

Yesterday, I searched Google for LA Knockers and found 4 wonderful videos on You Tube, of this amazing dance group, lovingly edited by Marilyn Corwin, the curly hair blond bombshell I fondly remember.

I logged on to Facebook and found her email, I wrote her a message and she CALLED ME!

Not only that, but she put me in touch with LA Knockers creator and choreographer, my old friend Jennifer Stace.  She is now living in Baja California, close to the other stunning dancer, Yana Nirvana!

I used to photograph these wonderful girls in all kinds of fantastic attires and dance poses, when I was a photo-journalist living in Hollywood, starting from 1976 until 1984.

I will now edit all these images, select my favorites and post them on this blog.

I hope lots of old and new fans will find this and leave their comments.

Thanks!

Elisa Leonelli, photographer (see About LA Knockers page for more info)

And now enjoy the first LA Knockers video (more to come as  you scroll down)

Written by laknockers

July 4, 2010 at 7:34 pm

L.A. Knockers fashion

leave a comment »

In those years, 1979-1980, I had been shooting some fashion in my studio and on location, so I decided to print a promotional card to advertise this kind of photographic work.

A photo of the L.A. Knockers was included.

Written by laknockers

June 28, 2010 at 8:24 am

LA Knockers headshots

leave a comment »

Jennifer

Yana

July 27, 2010

After becoming friends with Jennifer Stace, Marilyn Corwin and Yana Nirvana, during our first photos session in 1976, they asked me if I could take B&W headshots of them, because they were needed to print 8x10s for their work as dancers and actresses.

I readily complied and we shot 2 rolls of negative film.

Here are some of the results, my favorite frames.

Marilyn

Written by laknockers

June 24, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Marilyn Corwin

with 2 comments

Marilyn

July 28, 2010

Marilyn sent us these thoughts

I always felt like was a little too funky to  fit in with my blonde hair blue-eyed California girl image… it wasn’t until I experienced Jennifer teaching her creative, outrageously funky dance moves and fun combinations to James Brown, Rufus and soul tunes that I found my calling. Her students resembled a mix of sorority girls, from Chicago to Beverly Hills.   I noticed a blonde blue-eyed ice skater, Natalie, doing these robot and locking moves alongside a girl I thought I had watched  on Soul Train, Lissa. Yana was a tall athletic blonde, striking and  unusual.  Adding to the eclectic mix of beauties was Denice, a curly-haired dancer from UCLA, perhaps a princess type but certainly not in attitude.  It was so exciting watching these white Girls get down and funky in their striped knee socks, knickers pants, sport tops and hats.  I thought “I want to do that.” Jennifer’s class was a blast!  Her work always left room for individual self expression. What a great fit!  After class Jennifer approached me and asked if I was interested in joining her company.
From Tokyo to Las Vegas, with Dick Clark and Frank Zappa, the L A Knockers have been turning heads  and raising eyebrows, in films, commercials, on stage  and television, since the mid seventies, with their unmistakable trend-setting rule-breaking fashion styles.

Were we chicks and babes?  Never!  Strong women and individuals?  Always! We ARE the L A Knockers!

Read about Marilyn’s credits as an actress, dancer and choreographer in her IMDB biography.

Written by laknockers

June 24, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Kimberlee Carlson

with one comment

Kimberlee

August 3, 2010

Kimberlee Carlson wrote these comments.

In 1976 I was 18 years old when I met Jennifer and the LA Knockers. I had barely managed to graduate from Palmdale High and that summer found myself at a dance class in Hollywood with no plans for the future other than that I love to dance and dance hard. I had had ballet training as a child and in high school was that embarrassing white girl who was always the only one rocking out whenever there was some sort of a rock band or music assembly. Then I find this class and there was Jennifer Stace and the Knockers. All attitude in torn Betsy Johnson tee shirts, giant yellow leg warmers, hot pants, Biba maroon lipstick, saucy smirks and Parliament Funkadelic. I had found a home.

Kimberlee

Diligently I worked my way into the group by first becoming a Knockerette.  This required attending and assisting Jennifer’s classes and keeping her Lucky Strikes lit. Her class was where she created an environment for the wacky and rhythmic. She was audacious and confident.  She created a hybrid style combining street dancing (Locking, Pop Locking, Waacking, etc)  with her ballroom training, which may seem contrary but really worked. The ballroom gave the moves a certain amount of discipline and composure and the street dancing gave it the sex appeal and the attitude. The late 70’s was the beginning of the era of the comedy clubs.  At the Improvisation and the Comedy Store we became the house showgirls with our live band. It was a family affair for Jennifer.  Her son Michael Cavanaugh, a successful funk keyboard player played with us and wrote several originals songs for us. I would say we were the original Pussycat Dolls but with a sense of humor. We didn’t dance like ladies. The style was seriously funky and seriously fun to do and perform. This was the beginning of the era of when street dancing crossed over and became legit and professional (now it’s ubiquitous and is called Hip Hop).

I never had so much fun and I am forever grateful for that experience. Jennifer’s standards and her exacting rhythmic style helped train me to become the dancer and mover that I am today (after several incarnations I am now in Western Montana teaching movement, Feldenkrais, Salsa).  She was my dance mother.

Becky Jordan

with one comment

Becky

August 3, 2010

Becky wrote (July 21)

Hi Elisa,
I have been working extra hours last few weeks.  I got together with Marilyn Saturday, it was great.  She showed me the blog (I am a little computer challanged!) it’s FABULOUS.  I will get something to you this weekend.
Bless you for doing all this, I have wonderful memories of our shoots with you!  Becky

Becky called me (Aug 16) and said:

I was taking dance classes at Dupree, decided to take a rock class, met Jennifer and fell in love with her style.  From then on, every moment that I could get away, I came to take her class and learn that style!

Written by laknockers

June 24, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Patti Nelson

with 4 comments

Patti/Trish

August 3, 2010

Patti Nelson now goes by the name of Trish.  She lives in Colorado Springs  Lisa Durazo (now Rebik) is in touch with her, she writes:
(July 29) Hi Elisa,
I just spoke to Patti (Trish), she doesn’t “do” e-mail so I’m forwarding all the LA Knocker stuff to her sister. She’ll visit her sister and read everything. I’ll stay in touch with her, so that she can send a little memory blurb to you.

Jennifer Stace remembers:

Patti, Eileen, Lisa

(July 31) Patti created a spot for herself because she was a gymnist and could do acrobatics, which was a plus for my choreography; acrobatics were becoming fashionable at that time.

Those two girls, Lisa and Patti/Trish were two peas in a pod, adorable! Both were fine dancers and improvisers. Patti brought in Lisa (Durazo) and Lisa brought in Eileen (Molloy) after Patti left.  Patti and Lisa were roommates and Eileen was their best friend; they were both beautiful dancers. Eileen was a classic beauty and dancer. She displayed a first class standard of excellence and was one of my favorite dancers.   Lisa tapped like a fiend and could spin like a top.  She had a magnetic personality on stage.

They joined the company late, and traveled with us to Japan. All three were excellent performers and were a major and bright addition to the LA Knockers!

Written by laknockers

June 24, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Jennifer Stace

with 2 comments

Jennifer

August 6, 2010

Jennifer writes:

In 1987 I moved to Baja, not to retire but to start the next facet of my life. I wanted to read, write and think – things I’d neglected for years. I wrote a memoir, The Philosopher’s Daughter, as a tribute to my son, Michael, who died in 1994, and I hope to get it published next year. And now after writing about my life, I felt the urge to swing across the dance floor again. I’d been doing yoga, but dancing brings music to the spirit and laughter to the soul, energies I’d sorely missed. Today I’m teaching retirees how to do hook turns, ripples, swing their hips while whaacking their arms to Latin Rhythms.  They love it and I love them. Thanks everyone for the joyous times we shared.

Read a write-up about Jennifer (click on it to enlarge)

Baja Times

Final comments from Jennifer:

It wasn’t just a twist of fate that brought all these beautiful dancers together. It was a sense of the unusual, the joy of laughter, and rebelliousness in their characters.  The LA Knockers created a pocket of special-ness that lasted for years. Across Los Angeles to Texas and up to Canada and over the sea to Japan, we entertained audiences everywhere, getting fired even retired, but we never gave way to the mundane. We reveled in our eccentricities. It was a privilege to work with these amazing women and to create with and for them a spot in the world of funk, a kookiness, into a theater of the bizarre. We found a wonder in life and created hilarity instead of straight up and down entertainment. When I look back I’m filled with awe at what we accomplished. It shines on every page of our blog that Elisa Leonelli, who believed in us from the start, created. We see ourselves dancing in videos from edited versions of our shows created by our own, Ms Marilyn Corwin. Thank all of you for your phenomenal contributions to the L A. Knockers. It was a time in my life I’ll always treasure.

Written by laknockers

June 24, 2010 at 12:49 pm

One more article!

with 2 comments

Corrier Boy (c) 1980

January 10, 2012

It was only today that I found another article, with my text and photos, that I was able to place in a magazine I worked with, Corrier Boy Music, a weekly supplement to the Italian newspaper Il Corriere Della Sera, dated February 27, 1980.  It advertised the show that the Knockers performed at the Playboy Club in the ABC Entertainment Center in Century City.

Happy New Year!

Elisa Leonelli

Written by laknockers

June 24, 2010 at 9:25 am

Posted in Photography

LA Knockers studio 1976

with 5 comments

LA Knockers 1976. Jennifer Stace, Marilyn Corwin, Yana Nirvana

LA Knockers 1976. Jennifer Stace, Marilyn Corwin, Yana Nirvana

June 12, 2015

Welcome back, we have some new photos for YOU!
I am scanning a best selection of my color slides for archival purposes, at higher resolution.  So I am revisiting my extensive photographic coverage of the LA Knockers, and choosing those images that I feel are worth preserving for posterity in digital format.  The original transparencies will also be saved.
Here’s 2 additional poses from that first studio session of 1976.
Watch Jennifer Stace, Marilyn Corwin, and Yana Nirvana kick up their heels and shoot from the hip!

LA Knockers 1976. Jennifer Stace, Marilyn Corwin, Yana Nirvana

LA Knockers 1976. Jennifer Stace, Marilyn Corwin, Yana Nirvana

Written by laknockers

June 16, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Italian blog

with 4 comments

 Jennifer, Patti, Becky, Lisa, Eileen, Yana

Jennifer, Patti, Becky, Lisa, Eileen, Yana

July 20, 2015

An Italian blog just published the story of my career, with advice for young people on how to make it in another country.  I made sure that the LA Knockers were mentioned, with a photo of those wonderful girls, and their names too!  I picked the lineup of a November 1980 photo session in my studio. Jennifer Stace as Boxer, Patti Nelson as Military Cadet, Becky Jordan as Cowboy, Lisa Durazo as Sailor, Eileen Molloy as Military Police, Yana Nirvana as Baseball player.

See the earlier post on this blog, and the 2013 post.

See the third chapter of my career, if you read Italian.

For those who don’t, I created a website, Elisa Leonelli-My Career, with English translation.

Written by laknockers

June 16, 2010 at 4:20 am

Black on Red 1980

with one comment

Patti, Eileen, Yana, Lisa, Becky, Jennifer, Joan

Patti, Eileen, Yana, Lisa, Becky, Jennifer, Joan

July 21, 2015

As I continue to scan more photos of the LA Knockers for my archives, I chose another pose of this line-up for the song “It ain’t the Meat, it’s the Motion” with Jennifer Stace kneeling next to Joan Wolfsohn, standing Patti Nelson, Eileen Molloy, Yana Nirvana, Lisa Durazo, Becky Jordan.  Also from November 1980.
See the earlier post.

At that November 1980 photo session, I also took one roll of 120mm film with my Hasselblad.   See below.

Patti, Eileen, Yana, Lisa, Becky, Jennifer, Joan

Patti, Eileen, Yana, Lisa, Becky, Jennifer, Joan

Let’s Twist Again

with 4 comments

Lisa, Suzi, Becky, Kim.

Lisa, Suzi, Becky, Kim.

July 25, 2015
Photo session in my studio, August 1982. 1960s mini-skirts for the Twist dance routine: Lisa Le Cover (Kessler), Suzi Lonergan, Becky Jordan, Kim Blank.
Above a 35mm photo, smaller rectangular format, with my Nikon FE2 camera.
Below a 120mm square format photo, shot with my Hasselblad camera. See earlier post

Lisa, Suzi, Becky, Kim

Lisa, Suzi, Becky, Kim

Written by laknockers

June 10, 2010 at 3:30 am