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Michèle Benson is a multi-award winning entertainment/portrait photographer whose work has appeared on and between the covers of, Rolling Stone magazine, People, The New York Times, Musician Magazine, Guitar Player Magazine, Good Times Magazine, Santa Cruz Metro, The Sentinel, BAM Magazine, LA Weekly, etc. Her subjects have varied from entertainment personalities, musicians, film directors to authors, from the extra-ordinary to the ordinary women and men of the Arts. Her thirty years of photography have not only been an investigation into the expression of the human spirit, but also into the natural wonders and sacred sites of our planet.
Michèle has been a consistent contributor to highly acclaimed record labels and tour books for Warner Brothers, Elektra Asylum, first place award with the advertising club of Monterey Peninsula, Sam Seagull awards, The Grammy Awards, Best of Awards with Santa Cruz and voted best photographer in Santa Cruz County. She has toured with such bands as The Doobie Brothers, The Eagles, Gregg Allman, David Lindley of Jackson Browne and many more.
She is a noted film still photographer on movie locations and film company shoots such as ‘Tilt”, with Brooke Shields, ‘Creator’, with Peter O’Toole, ‘Wild Rose’ for VH1 with Ginny Mitchell, The Humans, feature music video for Capitol Records; independent films, ‘Blur’ a thriller film with director John W. Kim, and ‘The Stronger’, a suspense film with director Bernadette Wilson. Further, she has worked as line producer and assistant director to many productions and in house production person to the Digital Media Factory.
Michèle had her own weekly music column for many years, ‘Night Moves’ with Good Times Magazine, which she also illustrated with her photography. She was owner, publisher, editor to ‘The Dragon’s Quest Magazine’ a 72 page quarterly publication based on Celtic Shamanism. Further, she founded and ran ‘Sacred Tours” an international tour company that explored the spiritual sacred sites in the UK, Italy and Egypt.
Her book ‘From Rock Stars to Stone Circles’ is in process now due to be published in 2011, seaming together rock musicians and sacred sites around the world. At present she is also actively working as producer, director, screenwriter on the completion of a feature film ‘The Catalyst Film Project’ slated for the Sundance Film Festival, Santa Cruz Film Festival and others to be announced 2011, based on thirty years of rock’n’roll as house photographer at The Catalyst Club in Northern California. A permanent gallery of her rock photography resides at The Catalyst encompassing over thirty years of top-notch musical performers.
Though a graduate from San Jose State University, with a B.A. in Radio/Television/Film her minor in photography, Michèle considers herself a self-taught artist and entrepreneur. The wide range of Michèle’s talents, skills and achievements are products of a belief she holds constant: photographic creativity is based on the capturing of the essence of the artist’s self expression and soul’s purpose at that moment - and that displays what art truly is - through a looking glass into the wonderland of what they have lived and have to share.
Dean Newbury was born in Boston, Massachusetts in May of 1951, His father was the musical director of Barnum and Bailey Circus. He traveled with his family and the circus until the age of 6.
Dean grew up playing music and settled in Santa Cruz in 1972. He worked as the booking agent at The Catalyst and later changed careers and opened two restaurants. He currently resides in Felton, California and has a weekly variety show airing on Santa Cruz Community Television station.Dean Newbury worked at the Front Street Catalyst in 1972. In 1976 he along with the entire crew moved down to the Pacific Avenue location as it exists today.My inspiration was in the form of a gift to give father figure Randall Kane in 1998.
No one would ever understand this magic place and it's people without a filmed history. Dean asked Michèle Benson, local entertainment photographer and Catalyst film historian for much needed help. Dean and Michèle worked for ten years to produce this documentary. Dean and Michèle would both like to thank Greg Kihn, all of the cast, crew, and musicians for their help throughout this project.Especially, Randall Kane for his passion and vision which lives on through the Catalyst.