Lupe Max, San Francisco 1990.

Saturday, 24 April 2010 I once photographed the lead singer of a San Francisco girl band called Lupe Max (the name of the band now escapes me).  She was very beautiful with long, wavy (and at that time red) hair, tattoos and lots of earrings.  She also had earrings in places where there were not necessarily any ears.  Her small house had one main room that was packed full of an array of the most incredible, hippy dippy junk and there were feather boa's, whips, Nazi helmets and all sorts besides.  It was hard to find anywhere sensible to even sit down.  She collected animals but, apart from her pet white wolf, a boa constrictor and a couple of caged tarantula’s, they were all dead animals.  Not stuffed animals, you understand, but squashed road kill she’d just up peeled off the road.  She had 3 or 4 cats, a couple of dogs and several others that were way,way past any sort of forensic identification whatsoever.  They were all laying around and propped up as a sort of household decoration.  It seems that she just liked the way they looked, all brown and decayed and disgusting looking.  I’d been there about an hour, I’d finished photographing her and I was just packing up when a pile of old her clothes in the corner stirred and some guy emerged, stood up, rubbed his eyes, looked at me accusingly and stormed out of the room.  “Oh, that’s okay" she said "he's my boyfriend.”  Until that point, I’d thought we were in the room alone.  I made my excuses and left.  She lived in a dangerous part of Potrero Hill, but I felt safer outside.

Actually no, I was just kidding about the last bit.  She was very sweet it was just all the dead stuff that spooked me a bit.  The last time I saw her, about a year after the photograph above was taken, she'd cut off all her beautiful hair and she looked like a changed woman.  I met her for a coffee on Market Street.  She looked and sounded really scared.  Apparently she'd been involved in some sort of business deal "south of the border" that had gone wrong and she thought the other party might be out to get her.  She was quite a hard core biker and would not have scared easily.  I know a little more than I'm saying but I obviously can't write down it here.  It was certainly not good.

I haven't seen her since.

I really hope she was okay because she was a great talent and a real one-off.  If you know where she is now, or know anyone who knows where she is, please send her my regards.