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CREEM is BACK at the Birmingham Museum
The Birmingham Museum has completed the installation of the Charlie Auringer Reading Room. Charlie Auringer (rock photographer and long time art director from CREEM's inception in 1969 to 1986) has donated his collection of magazine is
sues, objects, memorabilia, and other CREEM documents to our museum, making it the most important collection of CREEM available to the public. (Watch a fascinating YouTube interview with Auringer by BackstageGallery.com about his work and days at the magazine.) Visitors can immerse themselves in a reconstructed CREEM-style office with interactive IBM Selectric typewriter (just like in CREEM's editorial offices), surrounded by loads of original artifacts. A special feature of the room is a study station for visitors and researchers to peruse a complete online collection of CREEM through a special partnership with NA Publishing, which has created a fully digital collection. From the computer station, patrons can read some of the best rock criticism ever published in its original context, or even download complete copies of CREEM for their use. Boy, Howdy!
CREEM Gets Recent Media Attention
Interest in CREEM has been on the upswing, from researchers to documentary filmmakers. Check out the links below for two recent audio interviews .
Former CREEM writers/editors Susan Whitall and Bill Holdship were featured on the Ann Delisi Essential Music program. In this 15+ minute interview, the two talk about what it was like behind the scenes at CREEM, and why it is an important part of rock history.
The interview coincides with a fundraising effort to launch a documentary film by Scott Crawford about CREEM entitled Boy Howdy: The Story of CREEM Magazine. Listen to the interview with Ann Delisi (by permission of WDET-FM and the Ann Delisi Essential Music program).
Michigan Public Radio's Stateside with Cynthia Canty recently featured an interview with former CREEM editor Susan Whitall and Birmingham Historical Museum Director Leslie Pielack regarding CREEM's impact on the American rock music scene and some of Ms. Whitall's experiences with the bands, the fans, and the
legendary staff. Listen to the interview. (Right: the museum display of the CREEM exhibit included a mock office with 1970s memorabilia, an old period desk, an IBM Selectric typewriter with CREEM stationery for visitors to interact with, and a cutout of famous writer/editor Lester Bangs looking on. Photo, BHMP)
The Birmingham Museum Collection
In 2014, the Birmingham Museum (formerly Birmingham Historical Museum & Park) featured a large display devoted to CREEM Magazine as part of its Sounds of Birmingham: A Community of Music exhibition. "America's Only Rock 'n' Roll Magazine," as CREEM called itself, was published from offices in downtown Birmingham from 1973-1986. It was second in circulation only to Rolling Stone, and is noted for its bold gonzo style of rock journalism, especially associated with legendary rock critic Lester Bangs. CREEM launched the careers of many other famous and talented writers and photographers, and was a significant force in American music culture during its heyday in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Despite the historic and cultural importance of the magazine, our exhibit was the first in-depth curated presentation of CREEM in a museum setting. We worked with former CREEM staff and conducted additional research to help tell the magazine's unique story. The exhibit attracted attention from all over the country, and generated two reunions (one of which was videotaped in oral history format) of former CREEM editors and photographers. It also resulted in the donation of the most significant collection of CREEM materials in any public institution--the personal collection of Charlie Auringer, longtime Art Director at CREEM from 1969-1986.
The Charlie Auringer Collection consists of photographs and snapshots, negatives, slides, pre- and post-production art, layouts, corporate documents, newspaper and trade publication clippings and other ephemera, merchandising items, books, and dozens of magazine issues. In addition, the museum has acquired 74 additional magazine issues, for a current total of 108. Other photographs, memorabilia, and CREEM-related historical materials continue to be donated to our permanent collection, helping to build a more extensive archives. (Photo, right; Art Director Charlie Auringer at the CREEM Offices, c. 1976)
The goal of the Birmingham Museum is to make these materials accessible to the public electronically as well as physically. The collection is currently being processed, but check back to get additional information on our progress. You can reach the museum Wednesday through Saturday at 248-530-1928.