Monday, December 26, 2005


It's been a while since any new softball photos were put up, so to respond to the requests for more of such nostalgia, here's another batch from the days of the Fan District Softball League. Above is a random gathering of Back Door Bombers, and others -- such as Darryl Cohen (drinking the beer on the left):
In the above phograph, top row (left-to-right) they are: Karen Smith, Les Smith, Dennis Madigan, Trent Nicholas. Second row: Chuck Wrenn, Gussie Armeniox.
The Back Door's nearly-svelte owner John "Big Daddy" Richardson was perhaps more of a "Medium-Well-Done Daddy" in this era. The picture above, as well as the two above it were all shot at John Marshall HS by Danny Brisbane in 1977.
This 1983 team photo of the Biograph Naturals, a group of semi-wily veterans who finished the season at 18-15 and may have surprised themselves by having a winning record, was taken at Chandler Ballfield by David Stover.
The black and white above was shot at the Fan District League's 1985 All-Star Game at the Columbian Center. On the left in shades without a beard is Artie Probst. His two thirsty buds to the right are the late Fitz Marston and the late Paul Soble. When one recalls the pedal-to-the-metal scene at any of Soble's legendary Christmas parties at the original Floyd Avenue location, Paul and his pal Fitz are missed all the more at this time of year.
And speaking of Soble, here's a shot of Paul enjoying himself on July 4th as only he could, from the same summer as above. (the last two are from SLANT's first year archives)

Saturday, December 03, 2005


The Orthotonics (first and briefly known as the Orthotones) were a notable art-rock/jazz-fusion band based in the Fan District in the early-to-mid-1980s. Oddly, their recordings were probably more popular in Eastern Europe than here. Phil Trumbo, mentioned in the post below, was one of the originals and the group’s handbill artist for the first couple of years.
The Orthotonics were key players in Richmond’s then-peak of a certain culture that had the Fan’s music scene closely connected to the coolest of such scenes on the East Coast and beyond. In those days a band’s handbills/graphics were a big part of its image. That was just as true in New York as Richmond. Also in the original group were Pippin Barnett, Danny Finney, Rebby Sharp and Paul Watson. They were funny, they took chances and they could play. The Orthotonics practiced in the empty Biograph, after the place was cleaned up in the wee hours. It was convenient because half of them worked as the theater's janitors at the time. Today Trumbo lives on the Left Coast. Always a snappy dresser, he is shown above with his daughter Leela, 10, in October of 2005.
And, above is a shot of Phil talking with one of the original cashiers, Susan Eskey, at the Biograph's first reunion party on Feb. 11, 1975, the theater's third anniversary.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


The Halloween photographs in this post were taken by Tom Campagnoli in 1980. They were sent in by Phil Trumbo who found this site by luck. I hadn't heard from Phil in nearly 20 years.

As it was in the day, the theater’s lobby doubled as a gallery space. Trumbo had the distinction of having his paintings on the walls of the Biograph more often than any other artist. Trumbo was the leader of a pack of VCU fine art students/grads who painted in a cartoon style. His handbills for the band in which he was an original member, the Orthotonics, remain collector’s items today.

Phil and his then-partner Steve Segal directed a short sci-fi film (40 minutes of cartoonish footage known as pixilation), “Futuropolis,” that premiered at the Biograph in 1984. As I recall, it took them five or six years to make it, one frame at a time. Two of the Biograph's cashiers played the same part, because the first one moved away after a couple of years of it.

Later Trumbo was an art director for Pee-wee’s Playhouse. Now he's art-directing video games out on the West Coast.

This site has also brought in emails from others who have moved away from the Fan District and haven't been heard from in a long time, including David Giles, who was an usher/projectionist (1979-82) and a fine cartoonist in his own right.

Hopefully, as the word spreads and others stumble across the Biograph Archives, we'll have more pictures to put up and more stories about where they are now. By the way, for readers who wonder what is happening in the old Biograph building today, it is still standing and has been converted into a cyber cafe called Hyperlink.