Create the most “liked” caption, as determined by our readers in the comments, for this photo of Allen Ginsberg, Joe Strummer and Mick Jones and you’ll win a collectible Allen Ginsberg figurine from the fine folks at Aggronautix.
Awesome six inch tall figurine of the king poet of the Beat generation, Allen Ginsberg. Comes with Uncle Sam top hat, glasses, beaded necklace, a groovy coat plus a CD of Allen live at the Knitting Factory in 1995! The CD includes five previously unreleased spoken word pieces. The perfect addition to your shrine to the awesomeness that is the Beats! Figure designed by Archer Prewitt of The Cocktails and The Sea and Cake!
To enter the contest, you must first be following Dangerous Minds on Twitter or Facebook. Post your caption in our comment section and Dangerous Minds’ readers (the most discerning readers on the planet) will pick the winner by clicking the “like” button. The caption that gets the most likes, wins!
The contest will run through Memorial Day weekend and the winner will be announced on Tuesday, May 29. Good luck and have fun.
UPDATE: Bay Area Gooners has the most “liked” caption: “Count ‘em boys, 112 lines and not a goddamn one of them rhymes. Now, THAT is punk rock!”
Philip K. Dick - The Penultimate Truth succeeds in shedding some light on the visionary author despite having an unnecessary framing device involving special agents that seem to have wandered into the film from the pages of one of Dick’s short stories. The screenwriter of the documentary, Patricio Vega, is also a writer of detective shows for TV networks in Argentina so I guess he couldn’t help himself. Fortunately, it’s only a mild distraction from an otherwise sturdy documentary directed by Emiliano Larre in 2008.
The film includes interviews with Dick himself as well as with three of his five former wives, his stepdaughter Tandi Ford, writers Ray Nelson, Tim Powers, K. W. Jeter and Dan O’Bannon, his therapist Barry Spatz, and numerous friends from his past.
Here’s the back story of the famous William Burroughs/Jimmy Page Crawdaddy magazine cover story of June 1975, excerpted from LZ-‘75: The Lost Chronicles of Led Zeppelin’s 1975 American Tour by Stephen Davis. Read the original article, “Rock Magic: Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin and a search for the elusive Stairway to Heaven” by William Burroughs here.
The long black limousine carrying Jimmy Page to his encounter with William Burroughs made its way down Fifth Avenue in a light snowfall. The car stopped in front of 77 Franklin Street in a dark, shabby neighborhood of vacant or abandoned industrial lofts that were slowly being reclaimed by young artists and urban pioneers. Jimmy was greeted at street level by James Grauerholz, Burroughs’s young assistant, who led Page up four steep flights of stairs to Burroughs’s loft. The sixty-one- year-old writer, dressed in a coat and tie set off by an embroidered Moroccan vest, extended his hand and offered his guest a cup of tea, which Page happily accepted. Also on hand was a photographer to document the interview, and Crawdaddy’s publisher, Josh Feigenbaum, whose idea this meeting had been. Before getting down to business, Burroughs proudly showed Page his orgone accumulator, which looked like a big plywood crate. Sitting in this box, Burroughs explained, concentrated certain energies in a productive and healthful manner according to theories developed by the psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich. Jimmy Page declined Burroughs’s offer to give the orgone box a try.
Burroughs thought he and Jimmy might know people in common since Burroughs had lived in London for most of the past ten years. It turned out to be an interesting list, including film director Donald Camell, who worked on the great Performance; John Michell, an expert on occult matters, especially Stonehenge and UFOs; Mick Jagger and other British rock stars; and Kenneth Anger, auteur of Lucifer Rising. Burroughs told Page about the feelings of energy and exhilaration he experienced sitting in the thirteenth row of a Led Zeppelin concert. These feelings, he told Page, were similar to those he had known while listening to music in Morocco, especially the loud pipes and drums of the Master Musicians of Jajouka. Page somewhat sheepishly admitted that he had yet to visit Morocco but had been to India and Thailand and heard a lot of music there.
Burroughs was interested in getting Page to speak about crowd control, a longtime fascination. “It seems to be that rock stars are juggling fissionable material of the mass unconscious that could blow up at any time,” he pondered.
“You know, Jimmy,” he continued. “The crowd surges forward . . . a heavy piece of equipment falls on the crowd . . . security goes mad, and then . . . a sound like goddamned falling mountains or something.”
Page didn’t bat an eye. “Yes, I’ve thought about that. We all have. The important thing is to maintain a balance. The kids come to get as far out with the music as possible. It’s our job to see that they have a good time and no trouble.”
Burroughs launched into a series of morbid anecdotes he’d collected about fatal crowd stampedes, like the 360 soccer fans crushed to death during a riot in Lima, Peru. Then there was the rock band Storm playing a dance hall in Switzerland. Their pyro effects exploded, but the fire exits had been chained shut. “Thirty-seven people dead, including all the performers,” Burroughs recalled.
He poured two fingers of whiskey for himself and for Page. Burroughs had been informed that these were the first Zeppelin shows to deploy any special effects. “Sure,” Page said. “That’s true. Lights, lasers, dry ice are fine. But I think, again, that you have to have some balance. The show must carry itself and not rely too heavily on special effects, however spectacular. What I really want is laser . . . notes. That’s more what I’m after. Just . . . cut right through!”
Burroughs then wondered if the power of mass concentration experienced by Zeppelin’s audience could be transposed into a kind of magic energy that could materialize an actual stairway to heaven. He added that the moment when the stair- way becomes something physically possible for the audience could be the moment of greatest danger. Page again answered that a performer’s skill involved avoiding these dangers. “You have to be careful [with large audiences],” he said. “It’s rather like driving a load of nitroglycerine.” Page described the fan abuse they had seen in Philadelphia a few days earlier as an ex- ample of a situation that could really crack, but somehow didn’t.
Over margaritas at the nearby Mexican Gardens restaurant, Burroughs asked about Page’s house on the shores of Loch Ness in Scotland, which had once belonged to Aleister Crowley. Was it really haunted? Page said he was sure it was. Does the Loch Ness monster exist? Page said he thought it did. Skeptical, Burroughs wondered how the monster could get enough to eat. The conversation continued over enchiladas. Burroughs talked about infrasound, pitched below the level of human hearing, which had supposedly been developed as a weapon by the French military. Then on to interspecies communication, talking to dolphins via sonar waves. Burroughs said he thought a remarkable synthesis could be achieved if rock music returned to its ancient roots in ceremony and folklore, and brought in some of the trance music one heard in Morocco.
Jimmy Page was receptive. “Well, music which involves [repeating] riffs, anyway, will have a trancelike effect, and it’s really like a mantra. And, you know, we’ve been attacked for that.”
They parted company on the icy sidewalk outside the restaurant, with many thanks and good-byes. Jimmy Page’s limo, which had been waiting for him, whisked him back to the Plaza Hotel. William Burroughs, James Grauerholz, and Josh Feigenbaum walked back to Burroughs’s loft to listen to the tape that Josh had recorded of the conversation.
Speaking of Jimmy Page and magick, here’s the maestro’s seldom-heard abandoned score for Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising: Part II is here.
I had already seen the famous footage of a drunk, clumsy and obnoxious Norman Mailer feuding with Gore Vidal on The Dick Cavett Show (see below), registering it as a glimpse of a great character at their worst, but have just been enjoying Mailer’s own account, both of the occurrence itself, and the preceding controversy, in the essay “Of a Small and Modest Malignancy” (which can be found in his Pieces and Pontifications).
Shortly before their appearance on the show, Vidal had written a piece attacking Mailer for misogyny and equating him with Henry Miller and Charles Manson (the three male attendees of my ideal dinner party scenario, as it happens), referring throughout to these three personalities with the moniker “M3.” Mailer had already retaliated with the following tacitly spiteful letter:
It has come to my attention that Gore Vidal has been speaking in your pages of my hatred if women. Let me present the following items.
Number of times married: Mailer 5 Vidal 0
Number of children: Mailer 7 Vidal 0
Number of daughters: Mailer 5 Vidal 0
Of course, Mailer arguably omits the most significant scoreline: “Women stabbed: Mailer 1 Vidal 0.”
Regardless, after including this letter in his essay, Mailer goes on to detail the following tête à tête with Vidal in the Dick Cavett dressing room shortly before filming began.
At this moment, alone in the Green Room, he [Mailer himself, who tended to write such accounts in the third person] felt a tender and caressing hand on the back of his neck. It was Vidal. Vidal had never touched him before, but now had the tender smile of a man who would claim, “It doesn’t matter, old sport, what we say about each other – it’s just pleasant to see an old friend.” Mailer answered with an open-handed tap across the cheek. It was not a slap, neither was it a punch, just a stiff tap. To his amazement, Vidal slapped him back. Norman smiled. He leaned forward and looked pleasantly at Gore. He put his hand to the back of Gore’s neck. Then he butted him hard on the head.
Stormin’ Norman goes on to watch Vidal manage his solo interview with Cavett with begrudging admiration – the only sign Vidal betrays of having been very recently head-butted being his hand occasionally drifting up to the point of contact. As such, Mailer (who had been drinking cocktails earlier that evening, somewhat unsurprisingly), enters the fray feeling he still had a point to prove. Which hardly ends up working in his favor.
Vidal’s pained and slightly nervous expression, meanwhile, makes especial sense when you keep in mind the swift and unexpected head-butt he’d only quite recently received…
New Directions recently re-issued Patti Smith’s book of poems Woolgathering, which has been out-of-print for almost 20 years. The new edition contains a previously unpublished autobiographical short story called “Two Worlds.”
Woolgathering is an evocation of Smith’s childhood and early days in New York City delivered in sensuous prose that flutters at the edge of consciousness like the iridescent wings of a Luna moth. The writing is vivid, intoxicating and haunted.
“I had a ruby. Imperfect, beautiful like faceted blood. It came from India where they wash up on the shore. Thousands of them—the beads of sorrow. Little droplets that somehow became gems gathered by beggars who trade them for rice. Whenever I stared into its depths I felt overcome, for caught within my little gem was more misery and hope than one could fathom.”
In the video below, Patti reads from Woolgathering and shares memories of growing up in Jersey and New York. She is, as usual, totally charming.
This was shot at my favorite bookstore on the planet, the Strand. For 25 years I lived just a few blocks from the Strand and would spend at least 10 hours a week there hunting and gathering. I have the books to prove it. Thousands of them.
Documentarian Richard B. Weide likes to focus on the lives of comedians in his films and in Lenny Bruce he has powerful material to work with. Combining rare archival footage and interviews with Lenny’s mother Sally Marr, ex-wife Honey, daughter Kitty, Paul Krassner, Nat Hentoff and Steve Allen, Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth manages to be both richly informative and emotionally engaging. It’s a terrific movie.
With lean narration by Robert De Niro, Weide digs deep into the life of a comedian prophet driven to an early death by drugs and a government hellbent on shutting his mouth. Bruce was a punk Jesus who railed against hypocrisy and injustice with the low key deadliness of a man armed with the truth and a razor blade tongue.
Terms like “interactive theater” may give you visions of cheesy plays, bad magic acts and pretentious performance art. However, if you root around to the modern day origins, with such art constructs as the Theatre of Cruelty, there are rewards to be found. Namely, Brian DePalma’s Dionysus in ‘69. “Dionysus” is part filmed documentation of a live theater event and part experimental cinema, complete with being shown mostly in split-screen. (Predating 1973’s dual-vision feature Wicked Wicked, starring Tiffany Bolling and Ed “Kookie” Byrnes, by at least three years.)
The final result feels like Antonin Artaud meets Charlie Manson, with a growing sense of witchiness that lays dormant until a little past the half-hour mark. It snakes out and slowly wraps around you until the shocking and darkly funny ending. Adding to the Helter Skelter vibes, intentionally or not, all of the Dionysus devotees could be siblings of Atkins, Fromme, Watson, Beausoleil, Krenwinkle, Van Houten, et al. The only thing missing is a reference to the Beatles’ White Album. (Though if my had my druthers, I would use a Mort Garson album for the score. Though the live soundtrack, ranging from loose music to chants, is quite fine too.)
The first half hour, while good, comes across as what you would expect from a bunch of college students and actors putting on an alternative version of the famous Greek play, “The Bacchae.” It’s all half nudity, smiles, chanting, with the proceedings taking place in a large garage rather than a traditional stage set-up. It’s not until our lead Dionysus (the late, great William Finley) breaks the fourth wall and speaks to the audience, introducing himself as the former William Finley and is now the “reborn” Dionysus. We then get to witness the surrealistic ceremony of squirming bodies and our lead deity born.
The seemingly sweet hedonism quickly has a menacing flower-child in the form of a slight but strong in presence Pentheus (William Shepherd, whom DePalma fans might recognize as the freak-out concert goer in the finale of “Phantom of the Paradise”). Initially lurking around the pseudo-orgiastic goings-on like a bad penny until he makes himself known, revealing his intentions to murder Dionysus. But, it is only a matter of time before Pentheus is seduced by the lanky, golden-curled god. As the seduction happens, the sexuality and vibe in general goes from hippie-free-love to something in the milk ain’t right. At one point, audience members get involved in the breathing-tomb of flesh, while cult-like humming and chanting can be heard in unison for minutes on end in the background. It’s hypnotic and pregnant with ill-will until the inevitable death of Pentheus, as he is ripped apart by Dionysus’s followers.
But that’s not the real end and thanks to the glory of YouTube, you too are privy to the brilliant and dark as dirt finale. Despite the ancient roots of the play, Dionysus in ‘69 is more en point with the cultural and social atmosphere of the late 1960’s. Which is terribly fitting since no one quite did witchy and disturbing like the ancient Greeks. This is a tradition beautifully and faithfully upheld in DePalma’s infant work here. Now, if only more theater pieces were this good, then or now.
My co-conspirator here at DM Paul Gallagher covered this last year, but I found a nice new high quality upload of the video in full and thought I should update the article and share it with you all once again. I’m sure our new readers will appreciate it.
Here is David Bowie in the BBC production of Brecht’s play Baal, from 1982. It was directed by Alan Clarke, the talent behind such controversial TV dramas as Scum with a young Ray Winstone, Made in Britain, with Tim Roth, and Elephant.
Baal was Brecht’s first full-length play, written in 1918, and it tells the story of a traveling musician / poet, who seduces and destroys with callous indifference.
There are eighty thousand topics under the sun that can inspire great filmmaking. Out of that ocean of inspiration, the world of literary hoaxes, is not the first thing that comes to mind. But a handful films have come out of this weird wellspring, including Radley Metzger’s Naked Came the Stranger. (Directed under the cinematic equivalent to a purple-prose pseudonym, Henry Paris.) Originally crafted as a sarcastic response to the lurid and highly popular works of bestselling writers like Harold Robbins and Jacqueline Susann, the book, “Naked Came the Stranger,” featured twenty four writers coming together to create one tawdry tale of marital infidelity in late 60’s America.
Now, leave it to a maestro like Radley Metzger to take this lovely bit of salacious NY Times chart topping pulp and turn it into a funny, sexy and whimsical film. A din of television noise begins the proceedings, all set in a bedroom riot of early 70s florals and crayola colors. A well executed shot reveals a slow sweep of the room, as an announcer intones “Immortal film classics to fall asleep by!” Speaking of which, an old fashioned alarm clock, with its face displaying a photo of legendary cinematic goddess, Marlene Dietrich, goes off, waking up Gilly (pronounced J-i-l-l-y and played by the woefully unsung Darby Lloyd Rains). Slipping off her sleep mask, she tries to rouse her hubby, Billy (Levi Richards) up with some well intentioned hanky panky before being stopped in her tracks as he calls out the name “Phyllis” in his sleep. Yes, something is afoul in marital Denmark, which is all too apparent to Gilly, from her husband’s bad bluffing about his dream to the comically flirty looks Phyllis (Mary Stuart) keeps shooting his way while the couple prepare for another installment of their radio morning show.
Phyllis and Billy, our two illicit lovebirds, carry on their affair with all the subtlety of a meat hammer, with Gilly finding solid evidence after she follows him down to his mistress’s (nice) NYC apartment. Hanging out on the stairwell, she listens in on their dirty talk, which is undoubtedly the worst kind of its stripe. I’m not talking Barry White, Big Daddy Kane or even Black Oak Arkansas, here, I’m talking the dreaded cutesy baby talk. They literally refer to each other as “love bunny,” much to Gilly’s horror, though it doesn’t stop her from having some manual fun.
This incident ends up being a catalyst for Gilly, feeling that to better understand her husband, she must depart on a series of her own little affairs. No love bunny nonsense here, just a grown woman exploring herself through the willing partners in her life, ranging from a high-strung “ineffectual creep” who is momentarily transformed by Gilly’s transgressive gift to a beautifully shot “silent film” encounter with one suave friend. (How suave? The man invites her to “capture a moment of lost elegance.” Bryan Ferry just swooned.) But the real question remains-will our heroine be able to better understand her husband or realize the grass is greener and move on? (Seriously, “love bunny”??? Grounds for divorce RIGHT THERE.)
Naked Came the Stranger is a perfectly polished and funny film. It’s definitely one of the more whimsical efforts of Radley Metzger, with the tone being very light and cheeky. Taking a book that was critically maligned and making a legitimately good movie out of it is a borderline alchemical move, but one that, in the hands of a master like Metzger, feels like a piece of cake.
The cast is terrific, with Rains taking the lead as the plucky and adventurous Gilly. She brings a likability and a strong sense of confident femininity to her role. This is a great contrast to the girlishness of Stuart’s Phyllis. Rains is alternately very funny, beautiful and sexy. The image of her in top hat and tails, Ala Marlene, is a striking one. Darby Lloyd Rains has the kind of powerful gravitas to pull it off without seeming like she is aping Dietrich. Stuart is also good as the cute but love happy annoyance mistress, making this a 180 from her role in Gerard Damiano’s masterful Memories Within Miss Aggie. All of the male actors are good too, but this is really the ladies’ show. (Though, Marc Stevens’ cameo during the costume party sequence is a huge highlight.)
With being a Metzger film, everything looks good. Paul Glickman, who was also responsible for the cinematography for Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann, did an equally wonderful job here, with even the urban jungle of NYC looking a bit dewy and pretty. There is also an assortment of fun touches throughout, including a reference to Metzger’s serious Camille 2000, with the film playing on the television, prompting Billy to remark, “Why don’t they show the Garbo version?” There is also a brief mirror shot, as you see the reflection of Gilly gently remove a wig off of Phyllis. Mirrors and reflection itself tend to be a trait of Metzger’s work, whether it is his softcore work with Camille 2000 and The Lickerish Quartet or his latter works, like Pamela Mann. This all gives further proof that you can have depth with beauty.
Distribpix has once again done right by both Radley Metzger’s work and the viewer by presenting this film in a gorgeous restoration of the original 35mm print. Artists like Metzger deserve to have their work preserved with the level of detail and love that companies like Distribpix provide. In addition to the restoration, there is also a bounty of extras, including a Director’s commentary from Metzger himself, a split-screen featurette comparing the “hot” and “cool” versions of the film, a “film facts” subtitle track, deleted scenes, trailers, ephemera gallery and much, much more. There’s also a photo card and a 40 page booklet, detailing the origins of the book, the movie and even the soundtrack. It does not get much spiffier than this.
Naked Came the Stranger is a fun and sweet-natured film featuring good visuals and a pitch-perfect performance from Darby Lloyd Rains. It would make a fun, couples-stepping-out double bill with the previous year’s Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann.
These photographs of the legendary Chelsea Hotel, an epicenter of New York City’s cultural life for decades, as it undergoes a potentially soul-destroying transformation, look like stills from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining as re-imagined by Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre). Spooky, creepy and very sad.
The landmarked hotel has been undergoing changes that no one seems to support (no one that doesn’t currently have stake in it)—residents have been practically forced out, rooms have been gutted, and a rooftop bar may soon be coming to the gorgeous oasis above 23rd Street, which is still home to a handful of people. (Yes, people live on the roof.)
Click through for what our photographer Sam Horine saw while inside—he tells us, “the vibe was depressing—very dark and dusty in the hallways… all the doors had plastic over them to keep out the dust. You could tell that the management had just quit doing anything for the long term residents a long time ago in an effort to encourage them to leave.” A security guard came along soon after and told him he could only go to the one room that he signed in to visit, and escorted him back there.”