The 1970s was an age of innocent decadence, the time before the fall, a time where the country cracked open and out of it came creatures with big hair and vibrant personality, the kind of characters that have that old school je ne sais quoi that makes their shenanigans a delight to watch.
Take Judi Jupiter as she weighs the situation in the new book by Meryl Meisler, Purgatory & Paradise: SASSY ‘70s Suburbia & The City (Bizarre Publishing). It was July 1977, Westhampton, NY, and Miss Jupiter was taking her top off as she weighed big nuggets of weed on a triple beam balance scale. She looks at the camera through a thicket of bangs all but obscuring her eyes. She’s but one of hundreds of subjects Meisler came upon in her travels across Long Island and NYC, subjects that were outrageously stylish and sexy.
As Meisler writes in the introduction, “This book encapsulates my coming of age: The Bronx, suburbia, The Mystery Club, dance lessons, Girl Scouts, the Rockettes, the circus, school, mitzvahs, proms, feminism, Disco, Go-Go, Jewish and LGBT Pride, the New York streets, friendship, family and love. I had to photograph it to make sense of it all. To hold onto the time, to release and share it, to put it in perspective and move on. It was sassy, but also sweet, and so was I.”
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