PictureBox, 2013. Softcover, 96pp., 8.5 x 9 inches
In 1972, the legendary musician, composer and mystic Sun Ra (1914-1993) was hard at work scripting and acting in the now classic documentary on his life and work, Space is the Place, as well as publishing his second book of poetry. The book of poems (now extremely rare) was designed and edited by Ra's manager, who asked one of Ra's band members in the Arkestra--the drummer and percussionist Ayé Aton--to contribute images to accompany Ra's poems. The final publication contained three photographs of Aton's indoor, space-themed murals. Published here for the first time, the full set of photographs forms an incredible and revelatory body of work, and is presented here alongside a cache of never-before-seen contemporaneous photographs taken on the set of Space Is the Place in Oakland, featuring Ra in full regalia, wearing outrageous Egyptian costumes borrowed from a local masonic temple. These spectacular photographs--unseen artifacts from a now remote time--offer us a special and often entertaining behind-the-scenes glimpse of a much-missed musical visionary.