Jean Cocteau’s poem for Orson Welles
08:16 am



Orson Welles by Jean Cocteau (from the frontispiece of André Bazin’s book on Welles)
Orson Welles and Jean Cocteau first met at a performance of “Voodoo Macbeth,” the all-black Shakespeare production Welles staged in New York in 1936 with funding from a New Deal program. They remained friends and encouraged one another’s rascality, according to Simon Callow’s account of the 1948 Venice Film Festival in One-Man Band, the third volume of his Welles biography:

He and the perenially provocative Jean Cocteau formed a sort of anti-festival clique, clubbing together to commit what Cocteau rather wonderfully called lèse-festival. [...] Together in Venice, the two men behaved like two very naughty boys. Welles shocked his hosts by ostentatiously walking out of the showing of Visconti’s uncompromisingly severe masterpiece, La Terra Trema.


Cocteau and Welles in Venice, 1948
Welles was a member of the Comité d’Honneur at Cocteau’s 1949 Festival du Film Maudit, at which both The Magnificent Ambersons and The Lady from Shanghai were screened. (Kenneth Anger’s Fireworks made its European debut there, too, and Artaud’s “Sorcery and Cinema” was first published in the festival catalog.) Cocteau contributed this sketch of his friend to the program for Welles’ The Blessed and the Damned, an evening of two one-act plays that opened in Paris in 1950:

Orson Welles is a giant with the face of a child, a tree filled with birds and shadows, a dog who has broken loose and gone to sleep in the flower bed. An active loafer, a wise madman, a solitary surrounded by humanity, a student who sleeps during the lesson. A strategy: pretending to be drunk to be simply left alone. Seemingly better than anyone else, he can use a nonchalant attitude of real strength, apparently drifting but guided by a half-opened eye. This attitude of an abandoned hulk, and that of a sleepy bear, protects him from the cold fever of the motion picture world. An attitude which made him move on, made him leave Hollywood, and carried him to other lands and other horizons.

Quoting some of the increasingly hysterical praise for Welles printed elsewhere in the program and then in the show’s reviews, Callow wonders: “At least Cocteau had the excuse of being an opium addict; what were these chaps on?”

Keep reading, after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Iggy Bop? New music from the godfather of punk on his 70th birthday—with a jazz trio!
07:39 am



James “Iggy Pop” Osterberg is one of a handful of figures who need zero introduction to Dangerous Minds’ readers. Not just a godfather of punk rock in his capacity as vocalist for the Stooges, but a far greater champion and exponent of its aesthetic and ethos than fellow proto-punk figures like Reed, Tyner, and Bowie. His influence was and remains incalculable—TRY to imagine David Johansen, Nick Cave, Johnny Rotten, or Stiv Bators without elements of Iggy’s bratty, combative, and entirely unhinged stage persona to draw from. He’s settled into a marvelous and once-improbable-seeming afterlife as one of music’s great coolest-guy-ever figures, holding a similar status in rock ’n’ roll as Bill Murray does in the film world. But sorry not sorry, Iggy’s cooler.

The date of this posting is Pop’s 70th birthday (happy birthday, sir, and thanks for all the awesome shit), and even at this age, he continues to explore new territory. Today, it’s Dangerous Minds’ pleasure to premiere a new track featuring Pop singing with Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow, and Bobby Previte, the jazz trio behind 2014’s acclaimed album The New Standard, a title they used as a band name for a spell, but it didn’t stick. A traditional piano/bass/drums trio, Saft, Swallow and Previte have earned justified praise for straddling trad and transformative, jumping genres and modalities effortlessly while preserving the ineffably cool feeling of mid-century instrumental jazz, never becoming precious or NPRishly slick—Swallow’s bass playing is brawny and fiercely eclectic, and pianist Saft and drummer Previte are both former Zorn collaborators, so preciousness is likely not part of their vocabularies. Their forthcoming album Loneliness Road features Iggy Pop’s vocal contributions on three tracks, the title track, “Don’t Lose Yourself,” and “Everyday.” It’s the title track we’re sharing today.

Listen after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Steven Spielberg predicts the psycho-delic future of today in 1971’s ‘Los Angeles: A.D. 2017’!
12:08 pm



I had heard about this impossible-to-see episode of The Name of the Game—a cutting edge television show that ran for seventy-six 90-minute episodes from 1968 to 1971 on NBC—but until recently, I’d never seen it. The Name of the Game had the biggest budget of any show of its time and a very interesting concept. First of all each episode was, in effect, it’s own semi-standalone 90-minute movie. The series was one of the first of what was then known as a “wheel series.” A wheel series was mostly known as a time slot on TV that two or three different shows shared, alternating each week. With The Name of the Game‘s high concept though, this wheel was alternating between three different stars who were featured in their own episodes/movies. And what a high concept it was!

From Wikipedia:

The series was based on the 1966 television movie Fame Is the Name of the Game, which was directed by Stuart Rosenberg and stars Tony Franciosa. The Name of the Game rotated among three characters working at Howard Publications, a large magazine publishing company. Jeffrey “Jeff” Dillon (Franciosa), a crusading reporter with People magazine (before there was a real-life People magazine); Glenn Howard (Gene Barry, taking over for George Macready, who had originated the role in the earlier film), the sophisticated, well-connected publisher; and Daniel “Dan” Farrell (Robert Stack), the editor of Crime magazine. Serving as a common connection was then-newcomer Susan Saint James as Peggy Maxwell, the editorial assistant for each.

Which brings us to one of the last episodes of the series, LA 2017 aka Los Angeles: AD 2017. This episode was the first long form directing assignment for 24-year-old Steven Spielberg. Written by well-known offbeat author Phillip Wylie (who wrote Gene Barry’s wild episode Love-In At Ground Zero in the first season). Wylie’s work is known to have inspired the characters of Superman, Doc Savage and even Flash Gordon (from his story that was later made into the film When Worlds Collide). In this episode, Glenn Howard is hunted down in a lethally polluted, frightening and sometimes hilarious Los Angeles of the future, where the fascist government is ruled by psychiatrists and the populace has been driven to live in underground bunkers to survive the pollution. Sounds about right, right? This was the sixteenth episode of the third season, and the cast included Barry Sullivan, Edmond O’Brien, and (in a brief cameo) Spielberg’s friend Joan Crawford.
It starts out with a car crash while character Howard (Gene Barry) is seen driving through the mountains recording a memo to the President to do with an important pollution scandal story that will appear in his magazine, and ends up being a dream, which allowed the science-fiction plot to fit into the modern-day setting of the show, though in the final moments he is still contemplating what happened while driving back in his car (cue close-up shot of his tail pipes chugging out 1971 style car exhaust fumes). In the end, we see a stiff bird hanging in a tree… a close encounter of the (dead) bird kind indeed!
Watching this 1971 pop culture prophecy in the actual Los Angeles of 2017 is a total mindblower. Some of it is insanely far-fetched and yet there are a few humdingers that really freak you out and make you think, the most well known being my favorite scene where we are taken into a truly “underground” club with a demented octogenarian acid rock band totally freaking out (or at least trying to):

More after the jump…

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
For when you have more dollars than sense: $2,145 designer purse resembles the blue IKEA bag
12:01 pm



This is perhaps one of the dumbest ideas I’ve seen in a long time: A $2,145 Balenciaga handbag allegedly inspired by the blue IKEA bag. Is this for rich people to haul their dirty clothes to the laundromat in? ‘Cause that’s what I use my IKEA bags for. But then again, the wealthy probably don’t use laundromats. What was I thinking?

Anyway, the bag is on Barneys website with this description:

Balenciaga’s Arena extra-large shopper tote bag is constructed of blue wrinkled, glazed leather.

The real question is though: does it make that annoying crunchy sound? That’s how you get the full effect of an IKEA bag.

Here’s what IKEA has to say about the $2,145 designer bag:

We are deeply flattered that the Balenciaga tote bag resembles the ILEA iconic sustainable blue bag for 99 cents. Nothing beats the versatility of a great big blue bag!


via Today and Geekologie

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment