Photo by Gianfranco Mantegna
The fine folks at Arthur, who have valiantly kept alive such ultra rare counterculture gems as Ira Cohen’s amazing short, The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda, and visual documentation of the Living Theatre’s infamous “Paradise Now” happening, has this brief excerpt from Keith Richards’ new autobiography, Life, where the human riff mentions The Living Theatre. Page 221:
“Anita [Pallenberg] and I went to Rome that spring and summer , between the bust and the trials, where Anita played in Barbarella, with Jane Fonda, directed by Jane’s husband Roger Vadim. Anita’s Roman world centered around The Living Theatre, the famous anarchist-pacifist troupe run by Judith Malina and Julian Beck, which had been around for years but was coming into its own in this period of activism and street demos. The Living Theatre was particularly insane, hard-core, its players often getting arrested on indecency charges—they had a play [“Paradise Now”] in which they recited lists of social taboos at the audience, for which they usually got a night in the slammer. Their main actor, a handsome black man named Rufus Collins, was a friend of Robert Fraser, and they were a part of the Andy Warhol and Gerard Malanga connection. And so it all went round in a little avant-garde elite, as often as not drawn together by a taste for drugs, of which the LT was a center. And drugs were not copious in those days. The Living Theatre was intense, but it had glamour. There were all those beautiful people attached, like Donyale Luna, who was the first famous black model in America, and Nico and all those girls who were hovering around. Donyale Luna was with one of the guys from the theater. Talk about a tiger, a leopard, one of the most sinuous chicks I’ve ever seen. Not that I tried or anything. She obviously had her own agenda. And all backlit by the beauty of Rome, which gave it an added intensity…”
Buy the Paradise Now: The Living Theatre in Amerika DVD at the Arthur store.