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Timothy Leary’s Dead (but he’d have turned 89 today if he was still with us)
10.23.2009
12:45 am
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Timothy Francis Leary was born on this day in 1920. Leary lived one of the most out-sized lives in all of human history and his story is the story of the latter half of the twentieth century. He was a brilliant psychologist, philosopher, author and of course, the man who turned on the world with LSD.
 
Was Leary a great man? He was too complicated to be called a great man, but he was a great revolutionary. Nixon called him the “most dangerous man in America” and Leary most certainly lived up to that description. It’s been said of historical figures, especially controversial ones, that it takes 100 years after their deaths before history can properly judge them. If you divorce Leary the man (a charming Irish con man, basically) from the vast cultural changes he and other hippie leaders ushered in and all of the doors they broke down for future generations to live freer, more fulfilled lives, you’ll get a better perspective on how important of a character he was. He is a pivotal figure of the greatest era of social change in history, a spiritual revolutionary in the most profound sense.
 

 
Bonus clips:
 
Timothy Leary meets Cheech and Chong and Pee-wee Herman!
 
Timothy Leary in Folsom Prison

 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.23.2009
12:45 am
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Online Auction of Rare Lenny Bruce Memorabilia
10.16.2009
10:20 pm
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An online auction of rare memorabilia from the estate of comedian Lenny Bruce, whose outspoken views on sex, drugs and religion paved the way for generations of comics, is currently accepting bids.The auction, set up by Bruce’s daughter, Kitty Bruce, is to benefit Lenny’s House, a nonprofit recovery program for women who are dealing with drug and alcohol addictions. Items for sale include Bruce’s typewriter, several private family photographs, his bed frame and one of Bruce’s trademark black trench coats, often seen in his arrest photos. This is the first time items from the Bruce estate have ever been put up for auction.

Other celebrity supporters who have also donated items include Chris Rock, Yoko Ono, Hugh Hefner, Jonathan Winters, Elizabeth Taylor, Carl Reiner and Arianna Huffington.

Bidding on the auction will end Oct. 28, and that evening a benefit for Lenny’s House will be held at The Laugh Factory comedy club with performers Paul Mooney, Rick Overton, Paul Provenza, and Bobby Slayton, with Richard Belzer hosting. Tickets are $35 and $50.

Auction details are at lennybruceofficial.com

Cross posting this at Brand X

Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.16.2009
10:20 pm
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Pee-Wee Herman on Crack: The Thrill Can Kill
10.16.2009
12:29 am
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Nothing is scarier than a serious Pee-Wee moment. :3 :3 :3

Posted by Jason Louv
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10.16.2009
12:29 am
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Waiting For the Firesign Theatre or Someone Like Them
10.15.2009
11:58 pm
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Word of mouth “buzz” should prove strong for reunited comedy icons The Firesign Theatre’s four evening run at the Barnsdall Gallery Theater after Wednesday’s well-received opening night. Performing some of their “greatest hits” including the complete librettos for fan favorites “Don’t Crush That Dwarf Hand Me the Pliers” and their debut record 1968’s “Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him,” the troupe were in fine form, winning two standing ovations from the wildly enthusiastic audience. The second act consisted of scenes from “Anythynge You Want To: Shakespeare’s Lost Comedie” which the group has been working on and retooling for several decades and an appearance by their most popular character, Nick Danger, “America’s Only Detective.”

More from The Calendar: The Firesign Theatre returns to its Los Angeles roots

Here’s an extraordinary performance of the Nick Danger adventure Frame Me Pretty from an 1981 episode of Evening at the Improv:
 

 

The Firesign Theatre’s “Forward Into the Past”
Where: Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.
When: 8 p.m. Oct 14 to 17
www.firesigntheatre.com

Cross posting this item from Brand X

Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.15.2009
11:58 pm
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Samuel Beckett Speaks
10.14.2009
05:41 pm
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Footage of Beckett speaking is incredibly rare, so I was thrilled to stumble across this extended clip from ‘87’s Waiting for Beckett: A Portrait of Samuel Beckett.  In it, the playwright discusses the video production of “What Where.”  Beckett died two years later.

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds: Snape Does Beckett

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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10.14.2009
05:41 pm
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In Praise Of Oliver Reed
10.14.2009
02:03 pm
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Back in my Z Channel days, no actor seemed to show up more often—or was more welcomed by me—than England’s late great Oliver Reed.   In his 40-year career, Reed made nearly 100 films ranging from The Brood, The Devils, Tommy, Burnt Offerings, to the film that killed him (in a Maltese pub, of course), Ridley Scott’s Gladiator.

I think even as a kid, I was able to identify Reed’s onscreen appeal.  It’s the same element missing from so many of today’s career-focused actors: joy.  Reed loved performing, loved having an audience.  As might be expected from the man who once famously said, “My only regret is that I didn’t drink every pub dry and sleep with every woman on the planet,” Reed loved life, loved living it, and he clearly planned to squeeze from it every possible drop of pleasure, pinball wizards and haunted houses be damned.

Even “King of Cool” Steve McQueen proved no match for the Oliver Reed lifeforce.  The story goes that McQueen flew to London to discuss a project.  Putting business aside for a bit, the pair went on a marathon pub crawl which resulted in Reed vomiting on McQueen.  The project was never consummated.

Fortunately, we have all those many great films to remember Reed by.  But now, thanks to YouTube, we can revisit some of his more memorable small-screen performances.  Reed was a frequent, frequently drunk, guest on television both here and in the UK.

In a testament to the saccharine and stage-managed nature of our current talk show landscape, witness below as Reed gropes feminist writer Kate Millett on British TV’s After Dark.  Thanks to After Dark’s supplying of Reed with a “booze buffet” before and during taping, what starts out as a sober-minded discussion on militarism, masculine stereotypes, and violence to women, soon devolves into something else:

 
And that’s just the mesmerizing endpoint to an escalating, tour de force Reed workout you can watch in its entirety here: I, II, III.  But even on the dog-and-pony circuit this side of the Atlantic, Reed was no more willing to dilute his behavior.  His face-off with David Letterman follows below:

 
Bonus I: Oliver Reed drunk on Aspel and Company

Bonus II: Drinking With Oliver Reed

(Thank you, Chris Campion!)

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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10.14.2009
02:03 pm
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Forward Into the Past: The Firesign Theatre Returns to Its Los Angeles Roots
10.08.2009
10:56 am
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I have a short article in the Calendar section of today’s Los Angeles Times. It was clear to me when I read what my editor there, Dean Kuipers, added to my original draft that he, too, was a big Firesign Theater fan:

The Library of Congress called the Firesign Theatre “the Beatles of Comedy” when its 1970 album “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers” was selected for the National Recording Registry.

An apt comparison, considering that, along with contemporaries Monty Python in Britain, the searing and psychedelic satirical troupe helped invent a literary brand of album comedy that lodged itself in the culture of college students across the country. The group paved the way for later arrivals such as Cheech & Chong, “Saturday Night Live” and Second City.

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of one of its most popular characters, detective Nick Danger, Third Eye, the four-man troupe makes a rare local appearance next week, performing Oct. 14 to 17 at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre with a new show, “Forward Into the Past.”


Read the entire article at the Los Angeles Times

Tickets on sale for the Firesign Theatre show in Los Angeles next week here

Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.08.2009
10:56 am
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Kobe’s Gigantor Finally Unleashed!
10.07.2009
02:43 pm
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For what seems like days now I’ve been waiting for the official unveiling of Kobe’s true-to-scale statue of one of my childhood cartoon heroes, Gigantor (Tetsujin).  Like many of the stories I gravitated to back then, it was about a boy and his subservient robot.

More memorable than the cartoon, though, was Gigantor’s American theme song, whose cover by The Dickies was celebrated both here and in the UK.  You can watch their live version here, but in honor of the big guy’s unveiling, why not check out the original?

 
Kobe Tetsujin Officially Unveiled

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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10.07.2009
02:43 pm
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It’s Firesign’s World, We Just Live In It! Proctor and Bergman Part 2
10.07.2009
12:48 am
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(Part 1 is here) In which Philip, Peter and Richard discuss the upcoming Firesign Theatre shows in Los Angeles (buy tickets here), the future, conspiracy theories and why everything you know is wrong, the health care debate and why the birthers are actually right about one thing: Obama IS an alien (from outer space. Peter’s got the proof).
 

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.07.2009
12:48 am
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He’s Still the Great Gore Vidal, But Boy Is He Cranky
10.06.2009
08:30 pm
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(Above, Gore Vidal visits “Mary Hartman” (Louise Lasser) in the mental hospital on the Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman soap opera)
 
I have revered Gore Vidal my entire life. He’s a great writer and he’s a great American, perhaps THE great American gadfly amongst men of letters. The older he gets, the more spiteful he becomes about the state of this country. Interviews with Vidal in recent years fall into one of two categories, sometimes they’re terribly amusing, but alarming, other times just alarming. Lately, he’s really letting it rip. He’s 83, why should he pull any punches? In this long interview from London, a cranky Vidal holds forth on the Obama presidency with a jaundiced eye:

Gore Vidal is not only grieving for his own dead circle and his fading life, but for his country. At 83, he has lived through one third of the lifespan of the United States. If anyone incarnates the American century that has ended, it is him. He was America’s greatest essayist, one of its best-selling novelists and the wit at every party. He holidayed with the Kennedys, cruised for men with Tennessee Williams, was urged to run for Congress by Eleanor Roosevelt, co-wrote some of the most iconic Hollywood films, damned US foreign policy from within, sued Truman Capote, got fellated by Jack Kerouac, watched his cousin Al Gore get elected President and still lose the White House, and ?

Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.06.2009
08:30 pm
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