Rose Hartman, the “Relentless” Photographer of Studio 54 Excess, Refuses to Slow Down

Rose Hartman - Donna Karan's 5 easy pieces

)tis Mass, who directed a documentary about her in 2016, called her “incomparable.” Asher Edelman, whose gallery in his ever-ascending East 70th Street townhouse is now exhibiting her work, dubbed her “infamous.”

But what adjective would Rose Hartman use to describe herself? “Relentless.”

The octogenarian photographer, who captured Bianca Jagger atop a horse at Studio 54 and Lou Reed chatting with Andy Warhol, cannot be stopped, not even by a recent ankle injury that’s put her in physical therapy. In addition to the Edelman exhibit, recently extended through February 28, she is currently working to secure a museum show, getting ready for an auction of her work in Paris in early March, and preparing a new book, tentatively titled Rose Hartman: In Pursuit of Style.

Where she finds that style these days, however, isn’t in the models and stars who once inspired her. “Lately I’ve been shooting windows,” she says from the floor of her studio apartment while adjusting the Velcro strap on an elastic ankle brace. “I’m calling the series ‘Femme Fatales.’ These windows to me equal total fantasy. The window wants to draw you, the passerby, into the shop. The lighting, the clothing, the objects—window displays are definitely an art.”

With this new series, a fantasy world devoid of flesh, blood, sweat, and tears, it’s easy to infer that Hartman is looking to recapture a particularly excessive fabulousness rarely seen on living contemporary mortals; an over-the-top, peacocked bedazzlement immortalized in her first book, 1980’s Birds of Paradise: An Intimate View of the New York Fashion World.

Hartman is vocal about her disappointment in the current crop of “It girls” and next-gen catwalkers. “Models nowadays are so boring. I can’t believe it,” she says. How can they be more super, you dare ask? “I think they have to have what is known as a personality.”

Is “Femme Fatales” an anthropological lament for larger-than-life glam, now confined, if not within the frames on her wall or in coffee-table books, than to sterile glass boxes? “We’d have to call a psychoanalyst, but I think you have a point,” she says.

The Edelman exhibit, featuring roughly two dozen of Hartman’s most iconic images, allows a glimpse through Hartman’s lens at the upper echelons of fashion, film, art, and music, in all their striking, candid glamour during the heyday of Studio 54.

Rose Hartman - Bianca Jagger

“It was a beyond fascinating time, almost impossible to describe,” says Hartman from inside her charming West Village apartment, where a visit is sure to include a last-minute plea to fix a distressed bedside lamp or a wobbly, pre-war doorknob. Though Rose can wax on rather poetically about her time elbowing her way into Studio and dancing the night away, she’d rather point a frustratingly ignorant millennial visitor towards Ian Schrager’s recently released, hardcover tome, Studio 54 (Rizzoli), which conveniently lounges within arm’s reach and paints a rather lucid picture of Studio’s past, present, and future significance. Hartman has a dozen images in the book, she’ll have you know (especially as you’re lingering anywhere else within its confines), alongside many other great photographers. Bob Colacello, who wrote the book’s forward, once called Hartman’s close-to-transcendent image of Bianca Jagger the venue’s most defining image.

Hartman’s ankle injury (a screw came loose from a previous surgery) didn’t keep her from strolling by Bergdorf’s or Saks Fifth Avenue over the holidays, or swimming laps at her local Equinox. But it’s temporarily slowed her down, a frustrating reality for a person whose will, mind, and eye are as sharp as ever. “I used to walk all day, whether in Paris or London,” she says. “I was never someone who just liked to sit in a café. I liked to peer into an alley or window and watch the people go by. Now I have to do a lot less of it and it’s very difficult for me.”

The injury resulted in an upcoming auction and joint exhibit of more than 250 of Hartman’s images at Paris’s esteemed Hôtel Drouot being pushed back to March. By then she hopes to be able to traverse the City of Lights in sensible New York City gear and visit her favorite museum, the European Museum of Photography in the Marais, also her dream exhibition space. “Every time I’m in Paris I go to that museum,“ says Hartman with the earnest pride of a well-seasoned aesthete and a humble pilgrim’s relentless determination. “I would describe it as a more intimate museum as opposed to the Louvre, which I would never walk into. I cannot bear to be surrounded by 10,000 people who know nothing about art searching for the Mona Lisa.

by Kurt McVey at Vanity Fair




pursed lips


You know the word trumpery has been around since 1456. I am surprised that it is not now in more common usage.

Trumpery 1456

“deceit, trickery,” from M.Fr tromperie (15c.), from tromper “to deceive”, of uncertain origin.

Spelling influenced by trump (v.). Meaning “showy but worthless finery” is first recorded in 1610.

The Great Dictator

Dear All,
My friend Steven McClymont wrote, quite rightly so, that Trump is so foul he couldn’t find the humor in my last email. He said “it’s like making a joke out of Hitler’s mustache.” Constructively, he sent Charlie Chaplin’s final speech from “The Great Dictator”.
Worth a serious read.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone – if possible – Jew, Gentile – black man – white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.
Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost….
The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men – cries out for universal brotherhood – for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world – millions of despairing men, women, and little children – victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.
To those who can hear me, I say – do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. …..
Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes – men who despise you – enslave you – who regiment your lives – tell you what to do – what to think and what to feel! Who drill you – diet you – treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate – the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!
In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” – not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power – the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.
Then – in the name of democracy – let us use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world – a decent world that will give men a chance to work – that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!
Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world – to do away with national barriers – to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!
Final speech from The Great Dictator Copyright © Roy Export S.A.S. All rights reserved

The Day Donald Trump First Became a Stable Genius

Dear All,

If he wasn’t so sick and dangerous this would even be funnier but have a good chuckle.


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 at The Washington Post January 12 at 2:28 PM 

“….Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star…..

….to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius….and a very stable genius at that!”

— President Trump


When the American people voted unanimously to declare Donald Trump a genius (this is what it means to be elected president on your first try), at first, he did not feel any different.

The shape of his thoughts in his head felt roughly the same, and when the sentences formed they did not appear to weigh any more than they had weighed before.

He was sitting in Trump Tower idly looking over at the bookcase when he suddenly noticed that some of the words on it were not “TRUMP.” He did not remember having noticed that before. Curious, he stepped closer and began to read. One of the books was in German. He loved reading German, he discovered. He loved reading, full stop.

He read all the books, ravenously, so quickly he could scarcely believe it. By 4 a.m. he had read everything there was to read in Trump Tower (in fairness, there was not much to read in Trump Tower) and had to call out for more books. Encyclopedias. Histories. Memoirs.

He read them all until his eyes watered and his head ached.

Before, he had felt vaguely confident that if he ever sat down and thought about it he would probably be able to grasp the concept of special relativity. Now, finally, he sat down and thought about it. He did not immediately grasp it, which surprised him, until he realized that he had to learn the mathematics in which it was grounded first.

By lunch he had it figured out.

He built several ant farms, each with a different model of government, to see which would run the most efficiently. He learned the word “syzygy.” He read “Ulysses” and the entire critical apparatus.

“Did you know,” he said to Ivanka, when she joined him for lunch, “that the heartbeat of a mouse is 650 beats per second?”

“No,” she said.

“That must be so fast,” he went on. “Like a buzz, almost.”

“Yeah,” Ivanka said, looking a little worried.


No one around him noticed the change immediately.

His team came in and said that he had lots of great ideas and the best brain, but then one of them tried to distract him with what was clearly a child’s coloring puzzle.

“You have a lot of letters praising your performance yesterday,” someone said.

He looked at what she was handing him.

“Those aren’t letters,” he said, faintly. “Those are – you just printed out some stuff from the website for ‘Fox and Friends.’”

Everyone exchanged a concerned glance, which he picked up on, and he quickly found an excuse to leave the room.

Had the people around him always been so … distinctly underwhelming? Trump wondered. He went to the window and looked down. There were several protesters with signs that contained obvious solecisms. This was a word he understood now.

At least he had Steve Bannon, who was definitely an intellectual. Or he always looked rumpled, which seemed like much the same thing.

“Send in Steve,” he said.

Bannon came in, and Trump was excited to finally be sitting there, head to head, with a fellow genius.

But when Bannon opened his mouth, none of the things that came out made any sense.

“Steve,” Trump said, “talk like you usually talk.”

“I am,” Bannon said.

Trump blinked repeatedly. “No,” he said. “Usually you sound smart, and now you sound like someone dumped out the contents of some rejected Wikipedia pages onto the floor at random. Speak like Thomas Cromwell, although, ha ha, before the beheading.”

“Thomas Cromwell was beheaded?” Bannon asked.

Trump blinked levelly at him, and soon Bannon thought up a reason to go away.

Trump looked over his speeches again.

“Have they always been so … racist?” he asked, quietly.

“What?” Steve Miller said.

Jared Kushner pushed the door open.

“I am going to solve the conflict in the Middle East,” he said.

Trump sighed loudly.

He called for a hot towel and put it on his forehead and went to bed early.


The next morning was distinctly unpleasant. An aide came in and turned on his shows, as usual.

A few minutes in, he became agitated. “What is this?” he kept saying. “This is for imbeciles. Why have you taken away the intellectually stimulating show I usually watch and replaced it with this?”

“You love this show,” Hope Hicks said reassuringly. “You watch it every day.”

“I can’t possibly watch this every day,” Trump said. “This is tripe. Also, why does everyone keep sending me steaks that are cooked to the consistency of vulcanized rubber? Only an idiot would order steak cooked that way.”

No one made eye contact with him, but that night for what they claimed was no particular reason his entire family showed up.

“Ha,” Trump said, “Look, it’s a community production of ‘The Lion In Winter.’” He laughed long and hard. Don Jr. laughed immediately and Eric did not laugh at all. Ivanka and Jared looked nervous and exchanged a glance.

“Lion?” Eric said. “Where?”

“It’s not about actual lions,” Trump said, “Obviously, it’s symbolism.”

“SIMBA-lism,” Melania said.

Trump looked at her and they shared a brief smile.


His daily routine began to grate on him. All the television and the sitting. There were no books in most of his rooms, and all information presented to him was in the form of pictures. This newfound genius and stability just made him worried and indignant all the time, and none of the food he felt he ought to eat tasted good at all. His people were not what he had hoped. His agenda seemed haphazard at best and misguided at worst.

His head ached all the time. Once he used his excess mental energy to tip over a glass, but nobody gave him any credit for it. Just for kicks, he raised and lowered the flag on the Interior Department so that it appeared Ryan Zinke was there when in fact he was NOT but that was not as much fun as anticipated. Everything began to wear on him. He could not sit through international summits. Everyone spoke too slowly.

Gradually he tried to move things that were bigger and bigger. By the end of the first week he was able to knock rockets out of the sky. He sent a tweet about it, but nobody understood that this was what he was trying to say. All the TV ever seemed to show was people closely misreading his tweets. It was miserable. It was a nightmare.

Maybe, he thought, he would wake up and everything would be back to the way it was, and he would still know he was smart without having to see the people who said so. Maybe, if he just used all his brainpower, he could restore the world to the way it was before. Maybe all he had to do was concentrate.

I’m not sure what happened after that, or how he currently spends his days. One set of rumors was recently published as a book. But we know better than to believe it.



Please Support Mental Health #2

Donald takes formal steps toward 2016 presidential run

donald 1

March 18, 2015


Gekko Does Not Support “Dr. Strangelove” or “Commander-in-Chief.”


May 5, 2016



Fake Renoir favored by our lustful leader

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July 29, 2016



Donald Trump doesn’t have a clue about economics, and doesn’t have a clue about macroeconomics. I imagine you would have one of these dictatorships which are favorable to his friends and unfavorable to the rest of the country…”




October 5, 2016


Trump’s budget: the dream of a paranoid strongman and a vicious Scrooge

“…Only to say I hope his “infrastructure spending” includes a secure looney bin to house him and his cohorts if this all continues.”

GOP Presidential Candidates Take Part In CNN Town Hall In Milwaukee

March 17, 2017




The American political world in extreme volatility, unlikely to survive the madness of its President. U.S economic growth stalled – growing at rates below the rest of the developed world. Why don’t the markets reflect these and other real problems in the U.S economy – with an occasional correction or, at least, some downs with the ups?

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May 15, 2017



(Too many to list)


July 6, 2017



trump salute

October 25, 2017




December 4,2017



This Tax Bill Is a Trillion-Dollar Blunder

Dear All,

Though this article by Mike Bloomberg is now moot as to its purpose, its content is worth a read.

Asher Edelman

children starving

By Michael R. Bloomberg

Congress and President Trump put politics ahead of smart reform.

Last month a Wall Street Journal editor asked a room full of CEOs to raise their hands if the corporate tax cut being considered in Congress would lead them to invest more. Very few hands went up. Attending was Gary Cohn, President Donald Trump’s economic adviser and a friend of mine. He asked: “Why aren’t the other hands up?”

 Allow me to answer that: We don’t need the money.
 Corporations are sitting on a record amount of cash reserves: nearly $2.3 trillion. That figure has been climbing steadily since the recession ended in 2009, and it’s now double what it was in 2001. The reason CEOs aren’t investing more of their liquid assets has little to do with the tax rate.
CEOs aren’t waiting on a tax cut to “jump-start the economy” — a favorite phrase of politicians who have never run a company — or to hand out raises. It’s pure fantasy to think that the tax bill will lead to significantly higher wages and growth, as Republicans have promised. Had Congress actually listened to executives, or economists who study these issues carefully, it might have realized that.

Instead, Congress did what it always does: It put politics first. After spending the first nine months of the year trying to jam through a repeal of Obamacare without holding hearings, heeding independent analysis or seeking Democratic input, Republicans took the same approach to tax “reform” — and it shows.

The Treasury Department claimed to have more than 100 professional staffers “working around the clock” to analyze the tax cut. If true, their hard work must have been suppressed. The flimsy one-page analysis Treasury released — which accepts the White House’s reality-defying economic projections in order to claim that the tax cuts will pay for themselves and then some — is a politically driven document that amounts to economic malpractice. So does the bill itself.

The largest economic challenges we face include a skills crisis that our public schools are not addressing, crumbling infrastructure that imperils our global competitiveness, wage stagnation coupled with growing wealth inequality, and rising deficits that will worsen as more baby boomers retire.

The tax bill does nothing to address these challenges. In fact, it makes each of them worse.

EDUCATION: The bill, by limiting the deduction for state and local taxes, will make it harder for the localities to raise money for education. The burden will fall heaviest on cities with poor students, making it harder for millions of children to escape from poverty — and leaving more and more businesses with fewer qualified job applicants.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Restricting state and local tax deductions will also mean less local investment for infrastructure, and by raising deficits, the bill will constrain federal infrastructure spending. Our airports, railways and roads are in desperate need of modernization, and our energy grids are vulnerable and inefficient. Yet spending on those and other needs, which acts as a catalyst for private investment, will become more difficult.

INEQUALITY: If Congress wanted to raise real wages and reward work, there is a simple and proven way to do it: expand the earned income tax credit. Instead, it seems to believe that lower corporate tax rates will magically lead to higher wages, which fundamentally misunderstands how labor markets work.

In addition, by eliminating the requirement that individuals buy health insurance, many young and healthy people will drop out of the marketplace, causing health insurance premiums to rise for everyone else. This is nothing more than a backdoor tax increase on health care for millions of middle-class families that will leave them with less disposable income for savings, investment and spending.

DEFICITS: The bill’s cost — $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion — makes it more difficult for taxpayers to afford Medicare and Social Security for the baby boom generation, which is now hitting retirement. Republicans didn’t grapple with those costs. Instead, they kicked the can down the road. Ignoring the bill’s price tag, or pretending we needn’t worry about deficits, is like ignoring climate change or pretending we needn’t worry about its effects. I’ll say one thing for Republicans in Congress: They’re consistent.

In effect, the tax bill achieves four main things:

  • It takes money away from schools and students.
  • It restricts our ability to invest in infrastructure.
  • It does nothing to boost real wages while making health insurance more expensive.
  • It makes it harder to control the costs of Medicare and Social Security without cutting defense and other spending — or further exploding the deficit.

To what end? To hand corporations big tax cuts they don’t need, while lowering the tax rate paid by those of us in the top bracket, and allowing the wealthy to shelter more of their estates.

To be clear: I’m in favor of reducing the 35 percent corporate tax rate as part of a revenue-neutral tax reform effort. Right now, the corporate code is so convoluted, and rates so high relative to other nations (thereby creating an incentive to keep profits offshore), that the real rates companies pay can be wildly divergent. This is neither fair nor efficient. Eliminating loopholes and reining in the offshoring of profits can and should be done in a revenue-neutral overhaul of the tax code.

Republicans in Congress will have to take responsibility for the bill’s harmful effects, but blame also falls on its cheerleader-in-chief, President Trump. A president’s job is to get the two parties in Congress to work together. Yet Trump is making the same mistake that Barack Obama made in his first two years in office — believing that his party’s congressional majority gives him license to govern without the other side.

The tax bill is an economically indefensible blunder that will harm our future. The Republicans in Congress who must surely know it — and who have bucked party leaders before — should vote no.


Bubbles and Tulips


Dear Friends,

A cautionary tale for 2018. Sorry! We are in a world of “fake markets” built on “fake news” and “fake expectations.”

BitcoinBITCOIN – As those of you who have tried know you cannot efficiently spend Bitcoins. There is no protection against theft, fraud or other forms of destruction of one’s investment. Money laundering, not a favorite of government agencies, runs rampant as there are no reporting or other requirements. One would guess rogue nations, arms dealers, hackers and all types of fraudsters make use of the system. We rate the Bitcoin 🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷

real esateNEW YORK REAL ESTATE – Though statistics indicate a slight decline in prices from the high point in the market, anecdotal observation tells us the prices of middle to high priced categories of residential real estate have declined by as much as 20% prior to the recent tax bill. Now with interest and state taxes virtually non deductible the interest in owning multimillion dollar town houses, condominiums and coops is substantially reduced. Loans on private housing, after ranging as high as 80% of appraised value are quietly going underwater while Wall Street bonuses (bond traders at zero for 2017) shrink and disappear. Foreigners show less and less interest in buying in New York (U.S.A) for a myriad of reasons starting with privacy. 🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷


CONSUMER GOODS – The new tax plan will reduce disposable income available to the poor, middle and upper middle classes – especially homeowners in highly taxed states. It will deprive eight million poor children of medical care. Eventually it will affect social security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, all benefits that are now available to the lower income through the upper middle class income levels. In the initial stages of the tax plan incomes from $50,000 to $200,000 will be reduced according to the housing, interest and state tax situation of the families. These families, though low on the wealth scale, account for 95% of wages earned in the United States. This broad category of earners spends 100% or close to 100% of all income received. Though Trump/Munchin/Cohen statistics contemplate a 2.9% growth in 2018 consumer spending, more analytical, less political estimates contemplate little or no growth with an increase in inflation and interest rates not a great consumer product scenario. 🌷🌷

SteelMANUFACTURED GOODS – The U.S. is likely to be cut back on exports and on the imports of inexpensive raw materials – 2018 will be the start of serious isolation from world trade. 🌷🌷

stock exchange.jpgSTOCK MARKET – Supported through the Trump first year by government intervention, “The Plunge Protection Plan”, the market will continue to depend on government intervention. Underlying economic and financial fundamentals are unlikely to feed the bull. Should Pence replace Trump the market ego trip and government support are likely to stop. 🌷🌷


BOND MARKET – Not a chance 🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷


SAUDI ARAMCO IPO – The highest risk low return vehicle offered in years. 🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷

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ART MARKET – Fake Renoir favored by our lustful leader. Over the last couple of years the top of the market has been frothy while the rest has been lackluster. How will coming transparency, regulation and taxation affect the prices and liquidity of art? More about that in a forthcoming column which will be published regularly in an exciting magazine beginning in March.

For your bubble exposure in 2018 drink Champagne, stay liquid, avoid all other bubbles.

Asher Edelman