Neil Leifer kicked off 2010 with our first IRIS Nights lecture of the New Year and boy did he just raise the bar!
We had such an amazing turnout that we actually had to turn a few people away (we're SORRY!)
... over 250 people filled our digital gallery AND our workshop area. Neil
- always the prepared professional
- was at the Space early to run through his slides and do an interview with KCAL (which they will be running on Super Bowl Sunday of course). He also took the time to chat in our Reading Room with one of our previous esteemed lecturers, David Hume Kennerly.
Also in the house for Neil was recent lecturer Howard Schatz:
Neil was so prepared he brought his own introduction, narrated by Alec Baldwin(!). He watched with great joy as Alec, Sly Stallone and numerous luminaries sang his praises before he even reached the podium.
Once he took 'the stage' we sat rapt, listening to the master regale us with tales of how a hard-scrabble hobbyist kid (yes that's him in the picture below!)
...became the youngest photographer to grab the cover of Sports Illustrated. Neil's a natural storyteller and a huge fan of his subjects
...whether it's Muhammad Ali
...or it's Fidel Castro!
Neil peppered his lecture with threats to reveal the score of the Texas/Alabama BCS Championship game being played in Pasadena during the lecture, but he was loudly overruled by our guests who didn't want the surprise ruined.
Whether you were a sports fan, a photography buff, a history nut or an A-List photographer, Neil offered a highly entertaining evening
...looking quite at home talking from our podium.
Afterwards, Schatz and Kennerly hung out for a while, chatting
...while Neil settled comfortably in for a long line of book-buying fans
...for whom he signed everything
...books, postcards, napkins.
He was so comfortable, in fact, and the audience was so appreciative, that we're going to have him come back on February 13 for a special Saturday IRIS Nights lecture
-completely new, unlike his first program.
What can we say? We love having Neil here and we're glad the feeling is mutual!