Photographer goes from punks to pugs for a dog run’s aid | East Villager & Lower East Sider

Photographer goes from punks to pugs for a dog run’s aid

Gabba gabba huh? A pugged-out version of the “Ramones” album cover — featuring dog heads and furry chests and stomachs — is the cover of the Washington Square dog run’s 2014 calendar.  Photo by Roberta Bayley
Gabba gabba huh? A pugged-out version of the “Ramones” album cover — featuring dog heads and furry chests and stomachs — is the cover of the Washington Square dog run’s 2014 calendar. Photo by Roberta Bayley

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON  |  As the resident photographer for Punk magazine, Roberta Bayley captured iconic images of and hung out with the likes of the Sex Pistols, Blondie, The Clash, the New York Dolls and the Ramones.

Bayley still hangs with a really cool guy named Sidney, but, well, he’s not a punk — he’s a pug. And, yes, if you ask her, he definitely rocks!

You’ll often find Bayley and Sid at the Washington Square Park dog run, where they mingle with the run’s other “rock stars,” like pugs named Biggie Smalls (actually, there are several Biggies), Subee, Dexter, Maud, Louie — and don’t forget Peanut.

To help the nonprofit dog run’s cause, Bayley has allowed her famed photo from the Ramones’ 1976 debut album to be used for the cover of the run’s 2014 calendar. However, the image has been “reimagined,” with the addition of the heads of some ruff rockers — Buddy Ramone, Kaysar Ramone, Ajax Ramone and Jackie Kennedy Ramone. The 12-inch-by-12-inch calendar’s cover is autographed by the photographer and suitable for framing.

Dog owners could buy a month in the calendar for $600, or just pay for their dog’s photo to appear in it. Bayley herself bought a month, which features not four, but 12, pug-rockin’ Ramones.

“Some of the pug owners paid $100 or more, some paid much less,” Bayley said. “I just reserved the September page, and then I collected money from people according to what they could afford. Some pug owners do extra work for the run, so this was their reward. Louie Ramone is on there because he’s 19 years old (the oldest pug I know), and the only black pug I could find who wanted to be on the calendar. His owners are musician John Kruth and painter Marilyn Cvitanic. I tried to include all the pugs I know. I got 15 to commit.”

June sports a Brussels Griffon page — “The Griffon Bunch” — à la the “Brady Bunch” in their boxes during the TV show’s opening credits.

Scattered throughout the calendar are dates sporting individual dogs’ photos, marking their birthdays or other significant dates. For example, June 3 sports the reminder “Molly Eisner Shafer Human Parents’ Anniversary,” plus a smiling photo of Molly. September 21 is marked, “Puppy Mill Awareness Day.” Also doody noted — umm, make that, duly noted — is the all-important “National Scoop Up Poop Week,” which coincidentally commences on Palm Sunday — definitely, a time to be considerate of others. “Spay Day USA” is Feb. 26, according to the must-have date marker.

A longtime East Villager, Bayley lives on St. Mark’s Place — “Right near Japadog,” she noted.

Gabba gabba huh? A pugged-out version of the “Ramones” album cover — featuring dog heads and furry chests and stomachs — is the cover of the Washington Square dog run’s 2014 calendar.  Photo by Roberta Bayley
Gabba gabba huh? A pugged-out version of the “Ramones” album cover — featuring dog heads and furry chests and stomachs — is the cover of the Washington Square dog run’s 2014 calendar. Photo by Roberta Bayley

As for the Ramones album cover photo, Bayley said there are a lot of stories about where it was shot, but the actual location was E. Second St. between the Bowery and Second Ave., in what is today Albert’s Garden.

“It was a playground at the time,” she recalled. “I shot three rolls of film.”

Because the calendar is for a nonprofit, they don’t need the band’s permission to use the image.

“I’d always wanted to do something with the Ramones picture,” she said. “This is a small print run, so hopefully we won’t be sued.”

As for the Ramones themselves, she reflected, “They were a weird bunch of guys, but I loved them as a band.”

She noted that Johnny Ramone may well be giving the finger in the classic photo, which she didn’t even realize back then.

“It would be in keeping with his persona,” she admitted.

Just 500 calendars were printed, and only about 100 remain. The proceeds will go toward buying essential supplies, like baggies for picking up dog poop and trash bags.

The effort has been a howling success, and is near the target goal of $15,000.

As for Sidney, Bayley’s buddy, he’s 12½ and she loves him.

“Getting him was the best thing I ever did,” the legendary lenswoman said. “It’s transformative. It gets me out of the house every morning. My social circle is larger because of the dog run.”

Among Sid and his fellow canine all-stars at the run, there are some human celebrities, too.

Alec Baldwin came once but someone videotaped him secretly and posted the clip.

“It’s all over the Internet,” Bayley said. “I’d be angry, too. … He’s never come back.

“We had Aaron Neville. He had a little dog, Apache. Parker Posey is a regular. We used to have Mary Louise Parker, but she got rid of her dog.”

The late James Gandolfini was a regular, too, but would always have his dog off-leash on the way to the run and so got slapped with a few summonses.

Not only is the calendar fun to look at, it was a lot of fun to make, as well. For instance, a careful perusal of Bayley’s September page will reveal a French bulldog wearing sunglasses in the back row among the pack of Ramone pugs.

“That was my little joke,” she said, “to make it like he snuck into the photo pretending to be a pug.”

The Washington Square dog run “Keeping Tracks 2014” calendar ($20) is available online at http://wspdogrun.org/shop/2014-calendar. Or buy it at the following stores: Trash & Vaudeville, 4 St. Mark’s Place; Cadillac’s Castle, 333 E. Ninth St.; Whiskers, 235 E. Ninth St.; Manitoba’s bar, 99 Avenue B; Pet Bar, 132 Thompson St.; Dog Wash, 177 MacDougal St.; Pup Culture, 521 Broome St.; Beasty Feast, 630 Hudson St.; Wagwear, 48 E. 11th St.; and Canine Styles, 59 Greenwich Ave.