Rita Moreno will admit to some similarities with that great, comic character Googie Gomez, who she played in the film version of Terrence McNally‘s play The Ritz. They are both survivors, they are not losers, and they will both always come out on top.
Moreno certainly came out on top - she won a Tony Award, for her original stage performance as Googie, in 1975, and was the star turn of Richard Lester’s film version of McNally’s play, the following year.
The Ritz tells the story of Gaetano Proclo (Jack Weston), hiding out from the Mafia at a gay bath house. The film crackled with McNally’s superb dialog, and the brilliant performances from Moreno and Weston, with the support of Treat Williams, F. Murray Abraham and Jerry Stiller.
In this interview, from December 1976, Miss Moreno and director, Mr. Lester discuss their roles in the making of this cult film, which certainly deserves to be rediscovered a great comedy classic.
Famed cult actor extraordinaire Udo Kier is a demigod for those of us with a palate for both art house and exploitation. The man has been bringing his own brand of presence and charisma to the silver screen, of which the likes haven’t been seen since Conrad Veidt. Kier’s filmography alone is a paean to the weird and wonderful world of fringe film making, ranging from Dario Argento’s horror masterwork, Suspiria to Paul Morrissey’s double threat of Blood for Dracula and Flesh for Frankenstein to Lars Von Trier’s The Idiots and Melancholia. Kier was even in The German Chainsaw Massacre, which by title and cast alone is something I desperately need to see. He’s also flirted with the mainstream, appearing in everything from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective to Blade and more recently, an episode of the TV show, Chuck.
But I am not here to regale you with tales of Kier’s idiosyncraticly impressive acting resume. Not at all, because in addition to being a phenomenal actor, Kier also made a music video where he turns into a bird of prey! In 1985, Kier wrote and recorded a song entitled, “Der Adler” and made one incredible video for it. It truly has to be seen to be believed, featuring Kier as a haunted businessman with a loving family that he seems detached from. He becomes obsessed with power until he ultimately transforms into a hawk. There’s lot of great horror-type imagery, including one shot of Kier writhing on the bathroom floor in elegant attire, no doubt an homage to his turn in Blood for Dracula.
Unfortunately, “Der Adler” is the only song that Kier has recorded to date. It would be interesting to see what he would do nowadays music-wise, especially since he’s still very much active creatively. The whole stark-Euro synth feel of the song works perfectly with the lyrics, as well as the visuals. Kier did some promotional work for the single in Europe, in particular appearing on German television. To my knowledge, the only notable appearance of the song in the US was Kier performing a section of it during the infamous lamp dance in Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho.
So if you have lots of love in your stir-crazy heart for Udo Kier like I do, plus have a weakness for sinister Euro-synthpop, then you must check out “Der Adler”. Enjoy!
Sunday seems like a good day to post a shimmering slice of psychedelia. So, here’s Tame Impala’s Beatleesque “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” from one of the best albums of 2012, and a favorite of mine, Lonerisms.
This is a tough song to pull off live. On record, it is dreamy, ethereal, delicate and in my experience that is hard to replicate on stage. But Tame Impala manage to do a very effective version on the Jools Holland Show this past Friday night.
This song is infused with John Lennon’s vibe. Same is true for the second, “Elephant,” (with a smattering of ELO and Slade thrown in).
In this excerpt from British TV show The Real…, Larry Hagman spares no details in describing the time he drove Keith Moon to rehab after the drummer over-indulged in Black Beauties (amphetamine). Moon and Hagman were friends, having originally met on the set of Stardust, a 1973 movie about the Brit rock business starring David Essex.
21 years ago today, Klaus Kinski died of a heart attack at the age of 65.
In one of his rare appearances on German TV, Klaus Kinski dances with Austrian singer and dancer Margot Werner. Kinski manhandles Werner with the intensity of a tiger about to eat his prey. He’s practically licking his paws.
This gives me an idea for a demented version of Dancing With The Stars involving serial killers and assorted psychotics.
The song is “Zuhälter-Ballade” from the Threepenny Opera.
Robert Mitchum started out making Westerns at $100 a week, and all the horse manure he could take home. It was, he says, like “playing Cowboys and Indians out in the fresh air,” and was better than working. The way Mitchum tells it, he got hired to play himself, and only worked when his family got bored of him hanging around the house.
Mitchum may have been self-effacing, but he was always very sure of himself. He was grounded, centered, and that’s what made hims attractive - you knew you could rely on him. In this interview for French TV, Mitchum suggests acting is 10% talent and 90% craft; talks his experience of working on Ryan’s Daughter; and explains why his favorite actor was Charles Laughton.
This is not a “best of” for 2012. It’s just a compilation of songs released this year that inspired me to hit the “repeat” button on my car stereo more than a few times. There are tunes here that are from albums that I loved and a few from albums I never heard. In putting this playlist together, I resisted the rock snob in me and went for what gave me simple pleasure as I cruised the streets of Austin in my jet-black Fiat with the volume knob turned up to 11. There are songs in this mix that will probably lose me the respect of some of my musician friends and critics. Ask me if I care.
She Brings The Sunlight- an awe-inspiring slab of psychedelia from Richard Hawley’s latest and best album, the unexpectedly lysergic Standing At The Sky’s Edge. Be Above It - trippiness from Australia’s Tame Impala, a band I thought had aspirations they couldn’t meet. I was wrong. Their sophomore album, Lonerism, is undeniably brilliant - a headphone record best listened to with eyes closed and mind wide open. Stay Away From Downtown - from out of the past, Redd Kross emerge from the L.A. ‘burbs with one of the best pop anthems of this or any year. Layer upon layer of sonic goodness. Hey guys, please don’t wait another 15 years to release an album. Rock ‘n’ roll needs your energy. Go Right Ahead - punchy garage rocker from The Hives sounds like a classic to me…or at least a very good ELO track. Hold On - Alabama Shakes deliver something so close to the r&b bone that when I first heard it I thought it was a decades-old soul rarity. I’m Shakin - hard to believe that Little Willie John’s much-covered classic could be given new life, but Jack White gives “Shakin” some fresh sizzle (with a squeal that would do Ned Beatty proud). Down To The Bottom - Baby Woodrose makes music that sounds like a darker version of Love’s “Forever Changes” or “Surrealistic Pillow” as performed by demonic Hobbits. Stay Useless - Cloud Nothings prove that there is life after punk: more punk! Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings - Father John Misty’s crusty hippisms are shroomtastic and spookily hooky. Just Me - Diamond Rings aka Boy Division. Call Me Maybe - or crazy. I don’t care. Bubble-gum has always been high on my list of guilty pleasures and Carly Rae Jepsen delivers a really good sugar rush. How To Be A Heartbreaker - Marina And The Diamonds. See Carly Rae Jepsen. Survival - Bloated, bombastic and pretentious arena rock that shamelessly revels in its excesses. Muse, I don’t give a shit what anybody says, I think you’re cool. Ode To Sad Disco - Mark Lanegan writes songs that make me weep with envy. His new record Blues Funeral is my favorite of 2012 and one of the most emotionally resonant albums I’ve heard in ages, heartfelt and gloriously gloomy. Fitzpleasure - At first, I thought getting into Alt-J would be harder than shoving my 185 lb. body into a pair of Ben Sherman jeans. Turns out these British basement-dwellers create hugely like-able pop tunes that sound like some strange indigenous music from another planet. This is world music. The question is: which world? Mature Themes - If Frank Zappa and Capt. Beefheart popped onto the scene today, critics would dismiss them as hipster bullshit - kind of like they’re doing with Ariel Pink. Fuck em all and let The Godz sort em out! Cellophane - Like it’s title, Ladyhawke’s Beatleesque confection is all sparkly and shiny. Plastic fantastic, lover. The Healing Day - Bill Fay can miraculously play his piano and lay his hands on you at the same time. The doctor is in the house. Twisted Road - Neil Young’s acid flashbacks are more interesting than most peoples’ entire fucking lives. The history of rock ‘n’ roll in one battered suitcase. Desert Raven - Jonathan Wilson plays the kind of Southern California hippie music I used to hate. What happened? Is the acid finally kicking in? This Year - The revolution will not be televised, but nobody told Boots Riley of The Coup. Oakland’s radical funksters re-define the meaning of “political party.”
The video contains a bunch of clips from experimental films, both new and old, as well as some soft-core stag loops and found video footage. I hope you dig it. Not suitable for work.
Milestones is both an intimate and epic exploration of what happened to the young radicals who were involved in the anti-war and civil rights movements of the Sixties. Directed by master film maker Robert Kramer and John Douglas, this three hour-plus film interviews over 50 members of the “Movement” as they struggle to keep their ideals alive in settings that range from communes to urban lofts and decaying tenements. It is a powerful, absorbing and often sad testimony to the complexities and frustrations of being an idealist and activist in a world grown increasingly cynical. Dreams die hard and when they hit the dust we are all given a taste of the bitterness of their dying.
t’s raining in Northampton and Faith Harrington has Friday evening ahead of her, her favourite outfit and her favourite face, her top tunes shimmering on the CD player: “When the lamp burns low on the bureau, even though I’m far from you…”
In a curtain-raiser prelude to their forthcoming short film Jimmy’s End, Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins, with Siobhan Hewlett, introduce us to a world of unfamiliar atmospheres, precarious entertainments, and insidious detail.
Act of Faith unveils an isolated corner of the modern night, where carrion crows become the only comforters and it’s a quarter to eternity…