WEIRDLAND: June 2017

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Summer of Love, LSD, Jim Morrison and police brutality in New Haven (1967)


Young people using LSD during the Summer of Love experienced "cosmic oneness" with those around them. Fifty years later, the hippies’ rebellion against the national security state is more important than ever. Summer of Love airs on July 25 at 8/7c on PBS.


Stephen Malkmus: "Cinnamon And Lesbians (from Wig Out at Jagbags) was seemingly inspired by this West Coast, '60s jam band-style thing, but it’s lyrically this psychedelic idea of the Pacific Northwest, the kind of funny absurdities of liberal thought. Real Emotional Trash was like making an album in the 60s. You might be The Doors, or some other band that didn't make it. The Doors had the magic that day. So we were trying to be professional, in a weird way. I loved The Doors' first album. I still think it was amazing. And even other albums like L.A. Woman. I thought The Doors were the greatest band for a while. Certain pure archetypes, like Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, Jim Morrison... It would be nice to wear leather pants. But it's too tiring to be wasted. I know it's not what you want to hear from a rock band, but you need to keep it together. When you're younger you experiment but getting wasted all the time is sort of desperate." On September 18, 2006, Lou Reed told journalist Anthony DeCurtis that Pavement had been his favorite group in the 1990s. 

“Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.” ―Terence McKenna

Researchers from the University of Zurich have uncovered more about how the psychedelic drug LSD produces a dreamlike state of consciousness in healthy humans when awake. LSD produces vivid hallucinatory imagery along with alterations in thought processes related to space, time, causality, and selfhood. The new study suggests that LSD induces these dreamlike states of consciousness by stimulating the serotonin 2A receptor, one of the 14 serotonin receptors in the brain. “Given that psychedelics have a unique mode of action and given that they may have antidepressant and anxiolytic properties, it is important to better understand their therapeutic effects,” Kraehenmann told PsyPost. “One crucial element of their therapeutic potential may be the alteration in state of consciousness and subjective experience. However, the subjective experience during psychedelic action is highly variable and difficult to understand. An intriguing similarity between night dreaming and psychedelic imagery led to my interest to investigate psychedelic imagery and its therapeutic implications.” Source: psypost.org


The origins of hippies are traced back to a 19th-century German sect of wandering naturalists called Lebensreform who brought their freethinking ideas about nature to California after the Second World War. There they merged with a growing interest in Eastern mystical concepts of human nature imported to America by maverick British thinkers like Aleister Crowley and Aldous Huxley. Add to this mix a wonder drug first developed by the CIA called LSD and a wave of student activists and anti-war protestors agitating for revolution and you have the astonishing story how these forces came together to give birth to the Summer of Love in San Francisco, 1967. Source: www.bbc.co.uk

On December 9, 1967, Jim Morrison was arrested in New Haven, Connecticut, earning him the dubious distinction of being the first rock star ever arrested onstage during a performance. Vince Treanor, road manager, remembers the incident: "It seems that some girl got to Jim's dressing room. A young black cop ordered Jim and the girl to get out. Jim protested telling this aggressive cop that he was the lead singer for the group and this was his dressing room. The cop decided to exercise the power of his badge and responded, “I don’t care who you are, get out of here.” The cop pulled his mace can from his utility belt, extended his arm and sprayed Jim in the face. Jim cried out in immediate pain and shock.  No one could say that Jim was physically aggressive. The cop had no excuse to say that Jim had attacked him. Surprisingly, the show went fairly well considering that the skin on Jim’s face was still red and quite painful. There is no doubt that he was suffering: “Hey, you want to hear a story? It’s a true story. It happened right here…” With this statement, the police standing near us immediately became agitated. The crowd was stunned into silence for a moment. Then, all hell broke loose. As we watched, an older sergeant came rushing up the stairs and came up to Jim. He put his hand over the mike, “Mr. Morrison, you are under arrest. The show is over.”  As he said this, the two cops grabbed Jim, one by each arm, and took him across the stage and down the stairs. We got to the rear of the stage. The two cops that had taken Jim from the stage were holding him between them. Standing in front of him, one big cop was punching him in the face. Another, standing behind him, was pounding his back with the full force of his fist and forearm. Jim, held by the other two goons, was bobbing back and forth as the blows fell on him. They took him outside, across the crowded parking lot to a police car. There, in the struggle to get him inside, Jim fell on the ground and at least two of the cops kicked him more than once. That left us all standing in disbelief at what we had just seen. Everyone heard rumors of “police brutality,” but police beating people was just a rumor spread by Communists or other people trying to undermine the American Way Of Life. I do not believe that at that moment any of us realized the importance and the effect of what we had seen. All we knew was, we had seen it."             

I noticed subtle changes in Jim’s personality as he became more famous. I am not so sure he was ready for the pressure of stardom. Jim, Babe Hill and I took some acid that January Jansen had supplied. It was like Jim was testing Babe and I to see how much we could handle. Sometimes he could act like a little kid. Once in a moment of downtime, the three of us were at the Woodrow Wilson house. We took some acid and proceeded to cook some steaks while we were waiting to trip. Babe and I both took our steaks off the grill. After a while we realized Jim wasn’t with us. We walked outside and Jim was stoned, staring at the burnt steak on the barbecue. He was a million miles away. What was wrong with Jim? Once, Jim and Babe and a couple of girls crashed into the Beverly Hills Police Station. They had spun out of control, jumped the curb and slid up onto the lawn next to the main entrance. Between Jim and Babe-who could party with the best of them-and now Tom Baker... I kind of got left behind. Jim was spontaneous and generous. I saw him give people clothes off his back, money to strangers. Acting was easy for him, he was a natural. It is only the self-consciousness that was a problem. Jim was burnt out. He had never been in the scene for the money and fame. He didn’t feel healthy. Pam had encouraged Jim to join her in Paris. He missed his wife and little mama. ―"Flash of Eden" (2007) by Paul Ferrara

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Art Life: David Lynch, Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison just leans against the wall, well posed. Same interested eyes for the blonde girl that I got. Morrison's into some heavy nonverbal projection with the girl. Courtship without words. This cat is knocking me off without saying anything. Morrison's got the wine for the rest of the night, practically a full bottle. Jim stares at me. Just a little bit hostile. Watchful. I get a rush. So intense from LSD that I stumble, feeling the floor sinking out from under my legs. Vertigo. Morrison's hand hits my chest, steadies me, then pushes me to the wall so I don't dive forward on my face. "Peaking on acid?" "Mount McKinley," I admit, too suddenly disoriented. Got the feeling he's peaking two times higher than I am and I am already knocking on the gates of heaven. Morrison keeps his head turned a little, so that the sounds of the sea are always clear in his ears, as though he expects some other sound than the splashing of the waves.

It's Morrison's world, some unseen place across the dark sea. I see two chicks thumbing it in front of some kind of army/navy store, something appropriate like that. "They got the secret of fire," says Morrison with a grin. We finally pull up to the two chicks who are thumbing. Morrison opens the door for them and they crawl into the back seat. One of the girls, Sandy, is a real looker. Blond the way girls can get only in the California sun. Tall with wicked long legs you could sense through her tight blue jeans. "Far out," says Sandy, blinking her cat-cold green eyes. "We'll go anywhere you want," says Morrison as I start the car moving. I look back at Morrison. He's grinning like a Cheshire cat discovering downers, happy as a cocained cobra. Heading down Laurel Canyon, a mean twisting snake of downhill road. I quietly go mad. I'm hornier than a hot rabbit with socks on. I shouldn't team up with this kind of guy. I quietly tear my fingernails out. If I get any hornier, I could defy gravity. I can feel Morrison and Sandy's pleasure pumps all up and down my spine. That same hard kick you get from rock and roll. Silence from the back seat and exhausted breathing.

Morrison looks around. "Where the hell are we?" He's so high he's almost glowing in the dark. Morrison is delivering a speech he's given before: "Art is the greatest enslavement of all. Art obscures and blinds the imprisoned, they never see the walls of their frigging cages because art keeps them silent, awed, distracted, and finally, indifferent. Art is the exercise wheel in the cage that keeps the rat from going crazy and dying too soon." We argue. I´m for Malibu. Morrison wants to go to Venice Beach. Something about Jean-Luc Godard and a weekend. "I'm bored," says Deirdre. Morrison is bored of her being bored: "Deirdre, you're the girl with the graveyard heart." "I'm the girl who's sick of this writing bulishit. Poetry is for faggots." "Faggots are for faggots," says Morrison, not looking at her. She laughs at me and at Morrison. "I made you feel like you loved me," she says, absolutely merciless, "and I didn't mean one frigging bit of it." She smiles and it's cold and evil and I know she's the only one who ever had control. I watch her walking away down the beach like she owns it. The sea breeze blows her hair out behind her like a flag covered with honey. She's so beautitul it makes you ache, the most beautiful girl I've ever seen. Morrison's standing beside me suddenly. He puts his hand on my shoulder, watching me watch her walk away. "A cold girl'll kill you in a darkened room," he says. I nod, remembering what I always thought I knew.

Me, I was Philip Marlowe, doing a Dick Powell scene from Raymond Chandler's Murder, My Sweet. You know the one I mean. Somebody saps him with a blackjack and Marlowe/Powell says, "A black pool opened at my feet and I dove in." "I have seen the future and I won't go," says Morrison. He stares at the sky as if he sees the words up there somewhere: "We all look for our assassins and we say one thing but mean, probably at the back of it all: We want to be loved. So bury us in empty swimming pools! Bury us in empty swimming pools because we want to make love to the world and die in a place that has our name on it where no one can touch us or take our name away." Morrison is putting it all down on paper. Future scribbled hastily in the heat of our John F. Kennedy youth. "The future is a world that tries to live without the engine of the heart," writes Morrison.

Morrison looks depressed. "I been chasing her all night and I can't get to her." "You can't get her?" Now I'm really surprised. "What's wrong with her?" "Nothing," says Morrison, reaching out to take a joint from a roadie. Lots of band people here tonight. "She drives me crazy," says Morrison. I hear what he says and it registers. I knew this about him all along. He's a human being in secret. "You know who she is?" asks Morrison, staring at Pam: "She's the girl of summer. The Girl! If you get to her, in love, winter will never come." It's obvious to me this girl has him running in circles. Morrison disappears into the cold, uncaring heart of the party. And I forget him too. I don't even see the party anymore. —"Burn Down the Night" (1982) by Craig Kee Strete


HWY (1969), Jim Morrison’s hitchhiker-turned-killer tale seems to have been inspired by haunting images that had stayed with him since childhood, and by a 1953 film noir B-movie directed by Ida Lupino, called "The Hitch-Hiker". Morrison told writer Howard Smith (in November 1969, when he’d finished working on HWY) that he thought it was a “very beautiful film” about a person who “comes down out of the mountains and hitchhikes his way through the desert into a modern city, which happened to be L.A., and that’s where it ends.” Frank Lisciandro worked on editing the film, with Morrison’s input, in an office upstairs from Themis, Morrison’s girlfriend Pamela Courson’s clothing boutique, in the Clear Thoughts Building. The final edit was shown to friends, associates, and movie critics at a few private screenings during the winter of ’69, spring of ’70, including one screening held at the Granada Theatre inside the 9000 Bldg., on Sunset Blvd., where the final scene in the film takes place.


HWY had its official world premiere at the Orpheum Theatre during the aptly-named “Jim Morrison Film Festival” in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on March 27, 1970. Morrison, however, due to legal problems he was facing at the time, was unable to attend the midnight screening of the film. HWY was also submitted to the San Francisco International Film Festival but it was rejected for unknown reasons. It was never publicly shown again during Morrison’s lifetime.


In David Lynch: The Art Life, Lynch recounts his idyllic upbringing in a small suburb of Virginia: “In those days, my whole world was no bigger than a couple of blocks… but whole worlds are in those two blocks.” Although the idea of the afterlife is present throughout his work (most notably Twin Peaks, both the television show and its feature film prequel, Fire Walk with Me), he does not dabble in the type of surrealism we tend to associate with spirituality, which more often than not tends to have a psychedelic bent to it (think of William Blake’s “doors of perception” which acid-heads like Jim Morrison and Dennis Hopper tried to kick their way through via sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll). Lynch is a famous teetotaler, after all, his narcotics of choice being restricted to nicotine and caffeine. Source: crookedscoreboard.com

In Twin Peaks: The Return Part 7 we learn from Doc Hayward (Warren Frost) that before he skipped town 25 years ago, Evil Cooper may have snuck in to visit a comatose, teenaged Audrey Horne in the ICU. The implications here are even more distressing. Did Coop’s doppelgänger assault an unconscious Audrey? Would Lynch really taint something so lovely as the Cooper/Audrey relationship from the original series? If Evil Cooper did assault Audrey while she was sleeping in the ICU all those years ago, it would come as no surprise she might not have the best relationship with her son, Richard. And Lynch may be twisting the knife even deeper for long-time Twin Peaks fans given the scene in the original series when a passed out/drugged up Audrey is gallantly rescued/woken up by the real Dale acting as her white knight and savior. But as Diane is adamant in pointing out to Gordon, the real Cooper isn’t here anymore. That white knight of the original series is stuck on Lancelot Court living out his days as Dougie Jones. If Coop ever gets back to his real life, he may find his evil self has ruined any loving relationship with the women who matter to him most. And as for Audrey and Diane, hopefully Lynch will build them a path towards healing closure. Source: www.vanityfair.com

John Densmore (The Doors' drummer): Jim had changed. You look at him when I met him, and he looked like Michelangelo's statue of David or Antinous. When he left, he was overweight with a beard. That was a conscious reaction against the Mick Jagger sex-symbol image.

“Did you ever go after some girl that you really had the hots for?” asked Morrison. I said I had been rejected. “I want to make it as an artist, and, well, women want you to make money.” “Come on, man, you’re just chicken.” I knew there was some truth to what Jim had spoken. I was chicken. “You fucker,” I said as I knocked my father’s hat off of Jim’s head. He did the same to me. We were two characters out of Truffaut’s 400 Blows. We weren’t stealing typewriters, we were claiming our territories like two dogs free to baptize the poles that had held each of us under control, called to order, held us in line. We were whistling Dixie now. Halfway back to my apartment we began to punch each other in a friendly way. Jim disappeared up Thornton Avenue and I climbed the stairs to my pad. —"Tripping with Jim Morrison & other friends" (2016) by Michael Lawrence

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bob Dylan's Vernacular, Jim Morrison's Vision


Andrea Pitzer, addressing possibly copied verbiage in Dylan’s recent Nobel Lecture in Literature, writes at Slate, “Theft in the name of art is an ancient tradition, and Dylan has been a magpie since the 1960s.” Pitzer and a few other observers have combed through that knotty Nobel lecture Dylan delivered last week and found a number of phrases resembling ones found on SparkNotes, the literary summary site that helps students write essays. The whale Moby Dick is “the embodiment of evil” in Dylan’s speech and on SparkNotes, but not in Herman Melville’s prose. Dylan says Captain Boomer “can’t accept Ahab’s lust for vengeance,” SparkNotes says he “cannot understand Ahab’s lust for vengeance,” and Melville says neither. The writer Ben Greenman points out that Dylan attributed a direct quote to Moby Dick that is not actually in the book—but might have been derived from the online synopsis. In total, the Associated Press has verified 21 instances of possible SparkNotes influences, “no verbatim sentences, only identical phrases and similar phrasing.” Dylan has not commented yet.


Dylan has also made various dubious biographical claims—of being a heroin addict, a prostitute, etc. The Joni Mitchells of the world see this collage aesthetic as evidence of him being a contemptible fraud. Dylan fans reply he is instead the consummate folk entertainer: recombining the past in inspired ways and crafting a persona to delight and mystify. In a weird way, though, the SparkNotes episode might also fit with Dylan’s deeper message about literature—a statement about the way art defies description and summary, its essence slippery and irreducible. Dylan says Moby Dick has had a deep influence on his own work, and yet he can’t answer the question of “what it all means”—and he suspects Melville couldn’t, either. The lecture itself is similarly difficult to pin down, a sum greater than it parts. The provenance of any individual phrase arguably doesn’t have much bearing on the fact that his speech stands as something new, between lecture and song, that can’t be fully appreciated without hearing the jazzy piano behind his words and the musicality in his recitation. Dylan’s lecture talks about how the singer mastered the “vernacular” of American song traditions, and his diction throughout is notably simple, conversational. Source: www.theatlantic.com

During the press tour for his 1998 memoir “Light My Fire,” Ray Manzarek continued to criticize Oliver Stone for his highly inaccurate biopic on The Doors. Stone’s film uses creative license to depict an iconic rock group, as well as that of the whole late 1960s counterculture nostalgia of the time. Shouldn’t Stone have just done a fully fictional movie inspired by The Doors, like Todd Haynes would later do with David Bowie for Velvet Goldmine? Unfortunately, most of Haynes’s genius approaches to biopics, which would include the multi-portrayal of Bob Dylan in I’m Not There, didn’t exist yet. Funnily enough, in a BBC interview, Haynes actually admitted to being a fan of Stone's films, picking Nixon as his favourite one. 

The Doors (1991) is more of a folk tale of a poetic legend, a rock god, and it’s also about an era. It’s pretty much a fabrication, a music video jukebox musical mistaken for a conventional biopic. That doesn’t make it not a biopic. And in its defense, it doesn’t play too loose with hard facts that truly matter. But it is confused for more of a biographical work than it is. The young Morrison is glimpsed as a beatific Peter Pan smiling at his lady love from a tree, exemplifying the romantic hippie spirit, just as much as he later becomes the calm philosopher/poet he may have always wanted to be. People even think Kilmer looks just like Morrison, which is absurd if you view them side by side. Morrison had a more slender face with more pronounced jaw bones. Source: filmschoolrejects.com

Oliver Stone appears to see Jim Morrison as a classic American antihero. He uses the singer's troubled and troubling career as the vehicle for an ambitious journey through the "youth culture" of the '60s, painting a reasonably complex portrait of a turbulent and complicated time while at the same time revealing how tragically Morrison's life was veering out of control. As a film stylist, Stone shares Morrison's interest in breaking away from convention, and at times he frees his movie from the usual Hollywood formulas, gliding through time and space with exhilarating, psychedelic ease. Stone is less inventive at scene-by-scene storytelling, though. Pamela Courson is depicted as saying hostile things to Patricia Kennealy, when by all reports their interactions were polite. John Densmore is also portrayed as hating Morrison as The Lizard King's problems begin to dominate his behavior. In truth, Densmore never directly confronted Morrison about his behavior. Densmore said of the movie: "A third of it's fiction. I told Oliver Stone I wish there had been all those naked girls jumping up on to the stage when we played, but I certainly never saw one." Source: www.csmonitor.com

Stone stages Jim Morrison with Andy Warhol’s Factory crowd as a descent into the underworld, where West Coast hallucinogenic inspiration sours under the influence of New York decadence and hard drugs. Morrison nervously pleads with his bandmates not to be left alone to face Warhol, as if he senses an oncoming ordeal he can’t face, but swiftly gives into temptations, as Nico (Kristina Fulton) goes down on him in an elevator before Pamela’s stoned disbelief. Photographer Gloria Stavers (Mimi Rogers) takes iconic snaps of Morrison and repeats the siren call of stand-alone stardom. A press conference alternates between Morrison’s fantasy image of himself reproducing Bob Dylan’s shaded, combative cool and his slightly bleating, defensive actuality, hooking up with an inquisitive journalist, Patricia Kennealy (Kathleen Quinlan). Morrison’s relationship with Pamela spins into increasingly fraught and mutually wounding territory, counterpointing level-headed Manzarek’s union with his wife Dorothy. 

Pamela (Meg Ryan) has her own sense of humour, introducing herself to a customs man as “Pamela Morrison, ornament,” but shares her husband’s appetites far too much to counterbalance his collective of enablers, including Warhol actor Tom Baker (Michael Madsen) and other omnivorous ratbags. What Stone found particularly compelling about Morrison emerges through such a motif as he studies his hero as doomed not just by internal failings, but also by the specific flaws of his society and as a classic overreacher. Just as much as Nixon represented to Stone both the beauty of America in his capacity to rise from straitened youth to national captaincy—and its dark flipside in his resentment and paranoia—Morrison likewise represents a spiritual America doomed to be tortured by a materialistic age where hedonism is offered as substitute for liberty. Source: www.ferdyonfilms.com

Nowhere did the best and worst of the 60's collide as messily as they did in Jim Morrison, the Doors' resident sex symbol and bete noire. In the film's opening episodes, Jim is seen courting Pam under a glorious night sky with poetry and existential small talk ("I feel most alive experiencing death, confronting pain"). Meg Ryan plays Pamela in a cute, dizzy fashion that will not further Mr. Stone's reputation as a director who understands women. John Densmore, in his memoir about the band, writes of beginning to feel that Morrison was "headed straight for a sad death in a gutter." What ruined Jim Morrison? The film, at times, dares to make the outrageous suggestion that he died for his audience's sins, but it is possible to be haunted by "The Doors" without subscribing to that idea. One of Mr. Stone's most effective tricks is to fade out the sound entirely at one crucial moment, as Morrison becomes fatally out of touch with his audience. The final stage of Morrison's life was never easy. Source: www.nytimes.com


Deleted Scenes on The Doors DVD — These extended scenes are introduced by Oliver Stone who regrets removing some of them from the final cut: Pamela and Jim are on a plane to New York talking about how they would like to die. Another scene showing Ray and Dorothy Manzarek's wedding, followed by Pamela and Jim shopping for their dinner. Also, Morrison in a motel room crying in company of a groupie.

Drug laws were used to persecute Timothy Leary and other counterculture leaders. An example of this type of harassment came to light in federal court when Jack Martin, a musician who'd been busted on a dope rap, testified that he was asked to turn informant and assist the Federal Narcotics Bureau in framing Allen Ginsberg on a marijuana charge. The FBI and the CIA kept tabs on Ginsberg's activities in the late 1960s and early 1970s. A number of big-name rock musicians were also targeted for surveillance by the FBI. Hoover's men shadowed John Lennon (Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" became the anthem of the antiwar movement). In addition the FBI kept tabs on Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and other rock stars who were prosecuted on drug charges. The harassment of rock musicians was part of a crusade against the emerging counterculture and alternative lifestyles. Some rock groups took explicitly political stands, and their music received wide airplay despite halfhearted attempts at government censorship. While rock music certainly did not politicize its entire audience, it reinforced a pervasive anti-authoritarianism and provided an audacious soundtrack to the hopes of the younger generation. "Acid Dreams The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, The Sixties, and Beyond" (1985) by Martin A. Lee & Bruce Shlain

Maggie Phillips had heard in the hallways of George Washington High that Jim Morrison was going to be reciting poetry at Coffee ‘n’ Confusion and she remembered making the journey to the basement club on K Street with a close friend to see Jim in action. After Jim Morrison’s epic poetry recital at Coffee ‘n’ Confusion (one of his favoite haunts), he went on to graduate from George Washington High School in June 1961 and then left Alexandria at the end of that summer to attend St. Petersburg Junior College in Florida (he would later attend Florida State University and eventually earned a bachelor of arts in theater arts from UCLA in June 1965). Morrison never actually sang with a rock and roll band during his teen years in Alexandria. 

Michael McClure: Jim and I met because of his interest in my play The Beard, a confrontation between Billy the Kid and Jean Harlow in a blue velvet eternity. We disliked each other at first sight and began sullenly drinking Johnny Walker, which quickly turned to talk about poetry and Elizabethan theater. When Jim and I were in London, in the late 1960s, working together on a screenplay from my novel The Adept, he showed me the manuscript of his first poems, The New Creatures. The manuscript was perfectly edited by his wife, Pam.  It is hard to believe that there was a better poet than Jim, at his age. I urged Jim to publish it and when he demurred because of his concern that it would be read as rock-star poetry, I persuaded him to do a private publication, and helped him distribute it. Jim and I were close friends. Often he visited San Francisco and stayed with my family, sometimes I stayed with Jim and Pam when I was in LA. Strange as it sounds, Jim had a fear of reading his poetry to an audience without a band backing him. The true visionary is not harmed by commodization. The poem “Hail Thee Who Play!” (1968) is dedicated to James Douglas Morrison. Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

On stage Jim Morrison was like Dean Moriarty, Mr. Mojo Risin, Jimbo. He was hip and wild. At home with Pam he wanted to be Sal Paradise a.k.a. James Douglas Morrison, poet–and get it down on paper. Hell, he wanted to write the next great American novel. The novel about the sixties; the novel which would define a generation–his. There was, however, the personality split–The outsider, estranged from himself and society, couldn't experience himself/other people as ‘real’. The disintegration of his real self keeps pace with the growing unreality of his false self until, in the extremes of schizophrenic breakdown, the whole personality disintegrates. Maybe Morrison was an outsider who concocted a story in which to live his reality; spinning unreality like a classic storyteller, he lived a schizophrenic existence. Jim had Pamela call his parents in Washington to let them know that Jim was “in fine shape and he was taking care of himself” in Paris. Pamela let them know that she and Jim were looking forward to seeing them as soon as they got back to the States. Using Pamela as an intermediary, Jim was taking the first difficult steps in order to move on to the future. For the first time, he began talking about having children.

Everyone knew the magic Morrison, the face at the edge of the cliff, grinning before he jumped. But he would also be wallowing in his own self-doubt and self-pity. Pam knew his demons. The things that came for him in the dark. The fear of rejection, the pain of his family background and his own doubts about his poetry. Pamela Courson was much more than a moll or a groupie, she was like Alice in Wonderland. Morrison had feared he could never control Pam, and now he was beginning to ruin his looks to push other women away. When Pam had denounced Jim's infidelities, his usual excuse was those girls coming on to him so hard. Jim and Pam loved each other, but there was this weird competition they had, a test to see who loved the other one the most. Jim couldn't use his mind tricks with Pam, she was immune because she had also freed her mind. Jim loved Pam for her love of freedom. But he played with the rest of people's minds, reflecting back at them precisely what they wanted to see. Like Mary Shelley, Jim Morrison created his own monster, alone in the dark. Morrison had cut up the pieces of other people, philosophers, poets, subculture idealists, novelists, artists and dramatists, then stitched them together to create a new god. Suddenly he’s alone in the dark with all those demons. —"Mr. Mojo Risin' Ain't Dead" (2011) by Ron Clooney.

She looked like Edie Sedgwick, that femme-fatale, might’ve-just-overdosed-on-heroin-and-been-brought-back-to-life-by-adrenaline look. By the time I’d reached the end of the hallway, some of the acid had washed away. She’d hurt me? While I sat there, that root canal pain sparking through my body, phrases like 'I wish I’d never met her' and 'I wish she’d never kissed me' started to cascade through my thoughts. I might’ve—had it been a viable option at that moment—gone all Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on her. Bleached her out of my memory. Ripped her from where she’d stitched herself into the lining of my soul. But I thought that something must first be shattered for it to be put back together in a way that made it more beautiful than before. I thought of how I liked broken things, things that were blemished or dented or cracked, and why that was probably why I fell for her in the first place. She was a broken thing in human form, and now—because of her—I was too. She might always be broken, but I hoped that all my shattered pieces could be glued back together and mended with gold seams. That the tears in my heart would heal into scars that would glisten. The sunlight caught her irises and made them almost crystal clear and my heart trembled at how achingly beautiful she was and how much I hated her for not being mine, the ethereal creature that now existed only in photographs and half-remembered fantasies. Love is scientific, just a chemical reaction in the brain. Sometimes that reaction lasts a lifetime, repeating itself over and over again. Sometimes it goes supernova and then starts to fade. We’re all just chemical hearts. I remembered anxiety, stress, pain, sadness, the acid from my stomach eating away at my lungs. I remembered loving her, desperately. There was the night we walked home together from the movies, hand in hand, when I’d been sure I was going to marry her. "Our Chemical Hearts" (2016) by Krystal Sutherland 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

R.I.P. Anita Pallenberg (Her life with Keith Richards and The Rolling Stones)

R.I.P. Anita Pallenberg (6 April 1944 – 13 June 2017): the model and actress best known for her relationships with members of the Rolling Stones, has died at the age of 73. Her death was made public by Stella Schnabel, daughter of painter and film director Julian, who said she had "never met a woman quite like" her. Keith Richards just shared in Twitter: "RIP Anita. Always in my heart." Pallenberg was the girlfriend of Brian Jones but left him for fellow Rolling Stone Keith Richards. 

She was also alleged to have had an affair with Sir Mick Jagger while they were making 1970 film Performance, though she always denied it. Born in Rome in 1944 to German and Italian parents, Pallenberg began her career as a model and spent time in the 1960s at Andy Warhol's famous Factory. She met Jones in 1965 but left him two years later for Richards. Jones went on to leave the band and died shortly afterwards. In his autobiography, Life, Richards described Pallenberg as a "very strong" woman who was "extremely bright" and "a great beauty". The couple had three children together, one of whom died as an infant, before they finally separated in 1980. Pallenberg sang backing vocals on classic Stones track Sympathy for the Devil and was said to have had a "profound" influence on the band. 

She had roles in films including 1969's Barbarella and 2007's Mister Lonely, and made a cameo appearance in BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous in 2001. Known for her colourful lifestyle and fascination with black magic, Pallenberg sought help for her addictions in 1987 and went on to study fashion at Central St Martins in London. Source: www.bbc.com

Chapter Five ("Life" by Keith Richards, 2010): The Stones’ first tour of the USA. Meeting Bobby Keys at the San Antonio State Fair. Chess Records, Chicago. I hook up with the future Ronnie Spector and go to the Apollo in Harlem. Fleet Street (and Andrew Oldham) provide our new popular image: long-haired, obnoxious and dirty. We go to LA and record with Jack Nitzsche at RCA. I write “Satisfaction” in my sleep, and we have our first number one. Allen Klein becomes our manager. Linda Keith breaks my heart. Brian begins to melt down—and meets Anita Pallenberg. Acid came into his picture around the same time.

Chapter Six ("Life" by Keith Richards): Mick and I had gotten incredibly nasty to Brian Jones when he became a joke, when he effectively gave up his position in the band. There had been tension way before Brian started becoming an asshole. But I was trying to mend fences at the end of 1966. I was footloose and fancy-free, having ended my affair with Linda Keith. Brian always had to have an imaginary enemy, and around this time he’d decided it was Mick Jagger who had grossly mistreated and offended him. In those days on Courtfield Road (Gloucester) I had nothing to do with Anita, strictly speaking. I was fascinated by her from what I thought was a safe distance. I thought certainly that Brian had got very lucky. I could never figure out how he got his hands on her. 

My first impression was of a woman who was very strong. Also an extremely bright woman, that’s one of the reasons she sparked me. Let alone that she was so entertaining and such a great beauty to look at. One of the prime women in the world. I loved her spirit, even though she would instigate and turn the screw and manipulate. She wouldn’t let you off the hook for a minute. If I said, “That’s nice… ,” she would say, “Nice? I hate that word. Oh, stop being so fucking bourgeois.” We’re going to fight about the word “nice”? How would you know? Her English was still a bit patchy, so she would break out in German occasionally when she really meant something. “Excuse me. I’ll have that translated.” Anita and I would look at each other. The idea of stealing a band member’s woman was not on my agenda. The truth was I’m looking at Anita and I’m thinking, there’s nothing I can do about this. I’m going to have to be with her. I’m going to have her or she’s going to have me. One way or another. 

I have never put the make on a girl in my life. I just don’t know how to do it. My instincts are always to leave it to the woman. Which is kind of weird, but I can’t pull the come-on bit: “Hey, baby, how you doing? Come on, let’s get it on” and all of that. I’m tongue-tied. I suppose every woman I’ve been with, they’ve had to put the make on me. Meanwhile I’m putting the make on in another way—by creating an aura of insufferable tension. So Anita made the first move. I just could not put the make on my friend’s girl. It’s the Sir Galahad in me. And we got closer and closer and then suddenly, without her old man, she had the balls to break the ice and say fuck it. In the back of the Bentley, somewhere in Spain between Barcelona and Valencia, Anita and I looked at each other. The tension broke then. And suddenly we’re together. When you get laid with Anita Pallenberg for the first time, you remember things. We stopped in Valencia overnight and checked in as Count and Countess Zigenpuss, and that was the first time I made love to Anita. And from Algeciras, where we checked in as Count and Countess Castiglione, we took the ferry and the car over to Tangier to the El Minzah Hotel. There, in Tangier, were Robert Fraser; Bill Burroughs; Brion Gysin, Burroughs’s friend and fellow cutup artist—another of the hip public schoolboys—and Bill Willis, decorator of exiles’ palaces. We were greeted by a bundle of telegrams from Brian ordering Anita to come back and collect him. It was obvious that Brian and Anita had come to the end of their tether. They’d beaten the shit out of each other. There was no point in it. 

Anita and I got back to my little pad in St. John’s Wood, which I’d hardly used since I’d moved into it with Linda Keith. It was quite a difference for Anita after Courtfield Gardens. We were hiding out from Brian there, and that took a while. Brian and I still had to work together, and Brian made desperate attempts to get Anita back. There was no chance of that happening. Once Anita makes up her mind, she makes up her mind. It’s said that I stole her. But my take on it is that I rescued her. Brian went to Paris and fell onto Anita’s agent—howling that everyone had left him, fucked off and left him. He never forgave me. I don’t blame him. On acid, at night in the full moon at the Villa Medici, it was just utterly beautiful. I remember Anita’s smile. I mean, her wonderful smile in those days, which promised everything. When she was having a good time, she was so full of promise. She gave this incredible smile, which was quite frightening too, all those teeth. Like a wolf, like a cat that got the cream. She was gorgeous because she was so beautifully dressed, always in the perfect costume. Anita had a huge influence on the style of the times. She could put anything together and look good. She certainly made a man out of me. 

Chapter Seven ("Life" by Keith Richards): You’ve got an old lady like Anita Pallenberg and expect other guys not to hit on her? I heard rumors, and I thought, if she’s going to be making a move with Mick, good luck to him; he can only take that one once. Anyway, she had no fun with the tiny todger. It didn’t surprise me. In a way I kind of expected it. Anita’s a piece of work. She probably nearly broke his back! It probably put a bigger gap between me and Mick than anything else. And probably forever. I gave no reaction at all to Mick about Anita. And decided to see how things would pan out from there. It wasn’t the first time we’d been in competition for a woman. It was like two alphas fighting. But it’s hardly the basis for a good relationship, right? I could have given Anita shit for it, but what was the point? We were together. I was on the road. At the same time, Anita and I had drifted into heroin. We just snorted it for a year or two, along with pure cocaine. Speedballs. And they’re giving us these pure ups. Every junkie’s rent was made out of selling off their coke. Very few were interested at all in cocaine, and if they were, they kept a bit back to give them a boost. That was the golden era. at least until ’73, ’74. After that, they knocked it on the head and it was methadone, which is worse, or certainly no better. Synthetic. One day the junkies woke up and they only got half their script in pure heroin and half in methadone. And then that turned it into a bit more of a market, the era of the all-night drugstore in Piccadilly. 

I have no clear recollection of the first time I had heroin. It was probably slipped in with a line of coke, in a speedball —a mixture of coke and smack. They don’t call it “heroin” for nothing. It’s a seductress. It was never in the front of my mind until I was truly hooked. It’s a subtle thing. It grabs you slowly. But I’ve never mainlined. No, the whole delicacy of mainlining was never for me. I was never looking for that flash; If you do it in the vein, you get an incredible flash, but then you want more in about two hours. And also you have tracks, which I couldn’t afford to show off. Furthermore, I could never find a vein. My veins are tight; even doctors can’t find them. So I used to shoot it up in the muscles. I could slap a needle in and not feel a thing. That was a very productive and creative period, Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed—some good songs were written, but I never thought drugs per se had very much to do. Mick chose flattery, which is very like junk—a departure from reality. I chose junk. And also I was with my old lady Anita, who was as avid as I was. I think we just wanted to explore that avenue. And when we did, we only meant to explore the first few blocks, but we explored it to the end. 

Chapters Nine and Ten ("Life" by Keith Richards): Anita had cleaned up when she was pregnant, but the minute she had the baby, she was straight back on it. Anita was beginning to act in unpredictable ways; she began to suffer from paranoia, and during my absence on tour began to collect a lot of people who took her hospitality for granted—a bad combination. I still loved her and she was the mother of my kids. I don’t let go; I have to be kicked out. But Anita and I were starting to be no good together. She had become delusional, very paranoid. It was one of her darkest periods and it developed with the dope. I remember once I took her in the car and told her to concentrate on the number plates, something mundane to try and calm her, connect her to reality. We made a pact, at her request, that I would never take her to the nuthouse. Anita was a Valkyrie who decided who dies in battle, she went right off the rails and became lethal. Anita had rage whether there was dope or not, but if there was no dope she’d go crazy. Marlon and I used to live in fear of her sometimes, of what she would do to herself, let alone to us. You’d come back to the house, and the walls were covered in blood or wine. We would be there just hoping that she’d stay asleep and not wake up in one of her screaming fits, raging at the top of the stairs like Bette Davis, throwing glass objects at you. 

She was a tough bitch. No, there wasn’t a lot of fun for a while with Anita in the middle ’70s. I loved her dearly. I don’t get that involved with women if I don’t love them dearly. I always feel it’s my failure if it doesn’t work, if I can’t pull it together and make it all right. But with Anita I couldn’t make it right. She was unstoppable. She was like Hitler; she wanted to take everything down with her. I tried to clean up loads of times, but not Anita. She would go the other way. Any suggestion of it and she would go into rebellion mode and if anything take more. Domestic duties, at this point, were not something she took on gladly. I said, what the fuck am I doing? OK, she’s the mother of my children. I loved the woman; I’d do anything. She’s got a problem? I’ll take over. I’ll help out. “Unscrupulous” is not a bad word for her. I don’t mind flinging it in her face right now, and she knows it. It’s up to her to live with. I just did what I had to do. Anita will still have to wonder how the hell she screwed up. I’d still be with her right now! I’m never one to change, especially with the kids. Anita and I can now sit around at Christmastime with our grandchildren and give each other a bemused smile; hey, how you doing? She’s become a benign spirit. She’s a marvelous granny. She’s survived. But things could have been better, baby. —"Life" (2010) by Keith Richards 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Lana Turner: Bed of Roses and Thorns

Happy Anniversary, Tay Garnett! On the set of The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) directed by Tay Garnett, based on the novel by James M. Cain, starring Lana Turner and John Garfield.

From this modest beginning, Lana Turner became America’s “Sweater Girl,” a pinup of World War II, and ultimately, the movie star goddess of the Silver Screen, a femme fatale linked to scandal and sex. No role she ever played, from The Postman Always Rings Twice to The Bad and the Beautiful and Peyton Place, ever matched the soap opera of her real life. In satins and white fox furs, she carved a trail through the boudoirs of Hollywood, collecting diamond rings from seven husbands. She seduced two future U.S. Presidents (Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy), and a host of Hollywood hunks, often her leading men: Clark Gable, Robert Taylor, Gary Cooper, James Stewart, Spencer Tracy, John Garfield, Richard Burton, and Frank Sinatra. Her great love was Tyrone Power, “Hollywood’s handsomest matinee idol.”

Robert Taylor said, “Lana Turner virtually invented the Hollywood blonde bombshell, and was the inspiration for Marilyn Monroe.” She expressed her sentiment about Tinseltown as she was dying in the 1990s: “Once upon a time, there really was a Hollywood. It was called the Dream Factory. It’s gone today, but let it be known that for one moment long ago, I was its dream girl.” Christmas of 1937 was approaching, and Lana was busy. She wasn’t emoting before the camera, but selling lingerie at a fast pace in the shop where she worked on Hollywood Boulevard. Except for a day’s work on A Star is Born (1937), no other job had surfaced. Although a photographer had approached her about posing for some nudes. She turned him down, although the blonde who would later “replace” her, Marilyn Monroe, would eventually say “yes” to an equivalent request.

Lana may not have heard of Mervyn LeRoy, but ninety percent of Hollywood had. LeRoy was known at Warner Brothers for making mostly taut, punchy, and socially critical films such as Little Caesar (1930), starring Edward G. Robinson and I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) starring Paul Muni. LeRoy had helped launch the careers of a young Ginger Rogers and Loretta Young. He also produced The Wizard of Oz (1939), starring Judy Garland. LeRoy would direct Lana Turner in They Won’t Forget (1937) and in the sophisticated film noir Johnny Eager (1941) alongside Robert Taylor.

Lana looked like the girl next door—that is, if you lived next door to the winner of the Miss California beauty pageant. During her nightly prowls, whenever she made an entrance into a chic club, she was always a show-stopper. She could party all night and still emerge from makeup the next morning at 5AM looking fresh, young, and glamorous. After They Won’t Forget (1937) until as late as 1941, she had no more particularly memorable movie roles. But she was learning her trade, building up a name in Hollywood. Frances Wyndham, in The London Times, summed up her status at this time: “Wearing sweater and skirt, insolently hunched over an ice cream soda, Lana Turner exuded a homespun glamour in the late 1930s that was particularly American. Both frail and tough, she appealed to the masculine protective instinct at the same time she promised danger.”

For some bizarre reason known only to himself, her agent, Henry Willson, hooked Lana up with George Raft for a date. Raft had been born in 1895 in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. Lana had seen only two of his films, Night After Night (1932) with Mae West, and Scarface (1932) with Paul Muni. Lana didn’t know what to expect when Raft showed up on her doorstep. He was the best dressed man she’d ever seen, with a tight-fitting tailored black suit, black shirt, and white tie. He’d slicked back his hair with Vaseline, and he wore a pearl gray Fedora pulled down over one eye. He arrived in a black Packard with a driver to take her to the Cocoanut Grove. Although Raft tried to seduce her, Lana ended their romance one night at the Trocadero. Months after Raft stopped dating Lana, she agreed to star with him in the radio dramatization of his 1941 film, They Drive by Night. The film had starred truck-driving brothers, Raft and Humphrey Bogart, with Ida Lupino and Ann Sheridan. Since both actresses were not available for the radio broadcast, Lana and Lucille Ball assumed their roles.

Lana Turner’s days at Warner Brothers were numbered, as were Mervyn LeRoy’s. Under personal contract to the director, Lana was said to view him as a father/mentor figure: “I turned to him for guidance in my career. He taught me how to act, even how to dress.” During her brief stint at Warners, Lana met the studio mogul, Jack Warner. He was used to working with such icons as Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, and George Raft. Warner was not impressed with Lana, and predicted no future for her in movies.

It would be at MGM that Lana Turner set out on the road to worldwide fame and glory. It would be from a base within MGM that she’d become a benchmark for Hollywood glamor during the war years when American GIs made her one of their most desired pin-up girls. During her first week as an MGM starlet, she met the studio’s greatest star, Greta Garbo, at an afternoon tea hosted at the home of Mervyn LeRoy. In 1938 Lana dated Mickey Rooney (her co-star in Love Finds Andy Hardy) who would remember her fondly: "When I first saw her at the malt shop on Highland Avenue—I thought, Here is a woman. My fantasies about her soon came true. When I asked her to go out with me, she said yes. And I soon found out that she was as oversexed as I was, warm, passionate, soft. You may wonder what she saw in me. I don’t know. You’d have to ask her. I do know that on a dance floor I could make her breathless."

Following her divorce from Shaw, Lana would continue the pattern she’d previously established of late-night club-going. Her daughter, Cheryl Crane, called the post-Artie Shaw period as “Lana’s Boys in the Band” era. “Mother was a bit infatuated with all of the incredible musicians whose talent thrilled her,” Cheryl said. “She loved being in on their late-night jam sessions, and they loved having her present. There were a number of big band names whom she dated… all young and talented.” Lana met Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa, and would date Tommy Dorsey, one of the most famous band-leaders of the Big Band era. Other famous singers who also dated Lana were Tony Martin and Frank Sinatra. In October 1946, Sinatra took Lana to a duplex apartment in Hollywood that he’d just had furnished with $30,000 worth of antiques and furniture simply for the purpose of entertaining her there. However, Lana wasn’t impressed. In fact, when she walked into Sinatra’s new love nest, she took one look around and said, “Who needs this dump!” “You’re right, it is a dump,” said Frank, anxious to placate her. He took her to the upscale Beverly Hills Hotel. On the morning of October 6, Frank told George Evans he intended to marry Lana “as soon as Nancy gives me a divorce.”

The Saturday Evening Post asked Lana who her favorite character had been in all the films she’d ever shot. She chose Cora in The Postman Always Rings Twice. “Playing a wicked woman makes the audience more aware of you as an actress. The role gave me something to work with. Cora was not the usual heroine. I thought I understood the odd, twisted reasoning that made her yearn for a small piece of property out in the hills—for what she considered respectability and security—and yet, at the same time, led her to do things which ruined her chance of getting what she wanted.”

Lana Turner reflected on her life and career: with these words: "I wouldn't have survived without my sense of humor, and thank God I have always been able to laugh at myself. The thing about happiness is that it doesn't help you to grow; only unhappiness does that. So I'm grateful that my bed of roses was made up equally of blossoms and thorns." Superficially and in hindsight, the life of Lana Turner resonates with a faint air of the perverse and utterly tragic – that is, until one stops to reconsider that Lana Turner never regarded herself as such. In fact, she lived her own life on her own selfish terms.  She enjoyed herself immensely while riding the tidal wave of stardom to its inevitable end. “MGM prepared us for stardom,” Lana once said: “They didn’t prepare us for life.” Lana Turner was left behind. She was and remains one of cinema’s most elusive, surreal and enduring screen goddesses. -"The Stormy Life of Lana Turner" (2008) by  Nick Zegarac

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Wild at Heart, Jim Morrison's snakeskin jacket


David Lynch's best movies: #1 Eraserhead and #2 Wild at Heart #3 Blue Velvet #4 Mulholland Drive #5 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. In Wild At Heart (1990) a pair of violent, disturbed twenty-something lovers, played fearlessly by Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern, hit the road into the wild blue yonder, emphasis on the “wild” bit. On their tale are assassins hired by Dern’s Lula’s mother (Diane Ladd), who wants Cage’s Sailor dead for refusing to fuck her in a bathroom stall. It’s also one of Lynch’s most straightforward films, though there’s never once a feeling of compromised vision. The focus again is on the corrosive power of repression, but Lynch’s pacing picks up here and the ecstatic expressiveness of his performers brings an electrifying element of physical presence and energy to some of Lynch’s most memorable sequences. Wild at Heart's disarming directness reveals an often eclipsed side of Lynch as an unhinged romantic. Most of Lynch’s movies are dreams, by his own admission and virtue of their rabbit-hole logic. Wild At Heart is his nightmare pastiche of road movies, outlaw crime pictures, lovers-on-the-lam thrillers, small-town noirs, and old Elvis vehicles: Lynch’s own skip down the yellow brick road of movie history. Source: collider.com

When we see Sailor and Lula have sex for the first time includes a close-up of a flame lighting a cigarette. This image, repeated later in the film, points toward the extreme enjoyment that they seem to experience. At other times, fire illustrates the enjoyment that characters experience during acts of violence. Marietta organizes the fiery deaths of both Uncle Pooch (Marvin Kaplan) and her husband Clyde, and how she receives enjoyment from their violent deaths. Lynch explicitly links Marietta's excessive enjoyment to the excesses that are ravaging the planet. Lula tells Sailor, "That ozone layer is disappearing. One of these mornings the sun is going to come up and burn a hole clear through the planet like an electrical x-ray." Michel Chion called Wild at Heart "the most beautiful love ballad which the cinema has ever whispered into the night" and contrasts this relationship with the threatening external world.

The relationship between Sailor and Lula provides respite from the unpleasant life existing outside of it. It is harmonious, pure, and innocent, while the surrounding world is degraded, violent, and perverse. Wild at Heart breaks down the distinction between the merely private fantasy and the external world, allowing us to see how private fantasies work to shape me external world. Wild at Heart depicts a threat to this romance in the form of Bobby Ray Lemon and Marietta (who hired him to kill Sailor). Lynch concludes one of Wild at Heart’s sexual montages with a lyrical flourish that evokes the 1950s culture he adores: "It was a fantastic decade in a lot of ways... there was something in the air that is not there any more at all. It was such a great feeling, and not just because I was a kid. It was a really hopeful time, and things were going up instead of going down. You got the feeling you could do anything. The future was bright. Little did we know we were headed for a disastrous future."


David Lynch and Mark Frost’s first screenplay was based on 1950s icon Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn and Elvis were the Queen and King of Lynch’s fantasyland, and he would honor their spirits in his film version of Barry Gifford’s novel Wild at Heart. Lynch is said to own the rippling piece of red velvet on which Monroe posed for her career-launching nude calendar photo, the cloth emanating the ruddy glow that suffused millions of lustful dreams. The connection in the director’s mind between eroticism and velvet may have triggered the archetype of the crimson curtains draped throughout his work. Lynch and Frost wrote a script called Venus Descending (adapted from Anthony Summers’s biography Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe) which detailed the last months of Monroe’s life. Lynch and Frost consciously honored the spirit of this abandoned project in Twin Peaks, for in both works an outsider-investigator enters a community to delve into the mysterious final days of a beautiful dead blonde female icon (the sleuths of both scripts use miniature tape recorders in their quests). And Marilyn’s poignantly sad descent haunted Lynch for years: In 1990 he characterized her as “this movie actress who was falling,” words that were like a blueprint for his protagonist Diane Selwyn in 2001’s Mulholland Drive.


Lynch reacted strongly against Gifford's ending, given the heat of Sailor and Lula’s feelings for each other. The director felt Gifford’s ending “didn’t seem one bit real,” and he told Sam Goldwyn, whose company would distribute the film, “I’m going to change it, doggone it!” For Lynch, there must be life after death; and for Gifford too: He resurrected Sailor and Lula’s relationship in future stories. Sailor needs to get wise to the universal supremacy of love and resynchronize with Lula’s and his Wizard of Oz dream, and Lynch uses both masculine violence and feminine wisdom to effect his hero’s transformation. Sailor has a vision of The Wizard of Oz’s Good Witch. She floats inside her pink bubble, with her ballooning pink dress and magic wand, against an urban backdrop of run-down buildings, concrete bridges, and telephone wires, in a resonant Lynchian image that conflates the miraculous and the mundane.

She is one of Lynch’s delivering angels who float in the air, and she’s played by Sheryl Lee, who the world knows as Twin Peaks’ iconic Laura Palmer. Six years after Wild at Heart, Lynch spoke of low points in his own life in terms that Sailor would recognize: “When you’re down, when you’ve been kicked down the street, and then kicked a few more times till you’re really bleeding and some teeth are out, then you really have only up to go.” The director’s abiding optimism suffuses the final moments of his film, as the Good Witch brushes aside Sailor’s wrong-headed notion that he’s unworthy of enjoying happiness with Lula because he’s a “robber and a manslaughter” and is “wild at heart.” Both Gifford and Lynch have Lula use the words “wild at heart” to sum up and characterize all the pain, fear, madness, and danger that plague the world. Lynch, not Gifford, is the one who has Sailor call himself 'wild at heart', and there could be no stronger form of self-condemnation than using his Lula’s world-damning words against himself. When Sailor despairingly calls himself “a robber and a manslaughter” who’s “wild at heart” he’s letting Marietta’s Wicked Witch point-of-view define him. But now, with the Good Witch’s pronouncements, the essence of his being has been blessed by the high deity of Lula and his Wizard of Oz religion, and Lynch has again confirmed his radiant belief in the spirituality of the imaginations’ dreams and visions. 

But still, no matter how wild the world is, and all that will be known and not known, Sailor surmounts the chaos of cars and pulls Lula up to join him on the hood of her Pontiac: the earthly position that’s as close as they can get to heaven. Their bodies standing against the same blue sky in which Sailor saw the Good Witch floating, thus reaffirming their mutual dream of Oz. Then he does what he earlier told her that he will only do for the woman who will be his wife, he sings “Love Me Tender” to her in his sweetly ardent Elvis voice. The embracing Sailor and Lula have prevailed over all the external and internal forces that might tear them apart. Though the concept might have confounded Einstein, Lynch believes, and Sailor sings, that he and Lula have the strength and faith to make love last “till the end of time.” Free from the restraints of Twin Peaks’ TV censors, Lynch wandered more of his country than he’d ever put on film before, compiling a Walt Whitmanesque inventory of everything he feared and loved about America. The French critics felt that Lynch was making a serious political statement against American violence, whereas the director said he was offering “some kind of strange cinema,” a subjective, genre-melding portrait of his homeland that was part romance, road movie, musical, and comedy. Watching Wild at Heart, we’re charmed by Sailor’s exuberance when he clothes himself with a snakeskin jacket. The snake is an ancient symbol of the primal cosmic force. His snakeskin jacket represents a symbol of Sailor's individuality, and belief in personal freedom." —"David Lynch: Beautiful Dark" (2008) by Greg Olson

Jim Morrison typically wore leather suits and snakeskin jackets as part of his Lizard King's image. This custom-made brown jacket was bought by Jim Morrison in 1966 (probably the first snakeskin jacket he bought). Morrison later gave it to his girlfriend Pamela Courson. Pamela wore the jacket throughout the late 1960’s then she gave it to her friend Diane Gardiner after Jim’s death. This jacket was on exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame from 2004 to 2012, where the jacket was featured in the “Jim Morrison 40 Years Later” exhibit.

I've known a lot of people in rock, and of them all, Jim was the only person I knew who would sit at the table with you, and break out into a song, like maybe a Frank Sinatra tune or an Elvis song. Jim was always making up songs in the studio. I had read a magazine piece about Jim that interested me. He was discussing the concept of evil in a way that made me feel we shared some insights. Mitchell Hamilburg, the literary agent, got us together while my play The Beard was playing in New York. Jim and I talked poetry while The Beard was running in L.A. He was interested in writing a play himself, and he liked mine. I found Jim's poetry manuscript. I sat down and read it and thought, holy smoke, this is fantastic. Later, when the book had been published and the first copies arrived by mail in L.A., I found Jim in his room, crying, holding the book, and he said, "This is the first time I haven't been fucked." He said that a couple of times, and I guess he felt that that was the first time he'd come through as himself... Jim started off like a heavyweight. My wife liked him, and we both liked Pam. We all grew very close. I liked Jim's complexity, his brilliance. I think he was one of the finest, clearest spirits of our times. I learned of Jim's death from Pam. Jim never said they weren't married. The fact is, she and Jim were living together before Jim started working at the Whisky. I remember Pam recalling the first time the Doors got a job. Jim came home with a check - I think it was for $17 - and they thought they'd hit the big time. Michael McClure Recalls an Old Friend (August 5, 1971)

Sometimes Jim Morrison called Pamela his 'little woman' sarcastically after her epic shopping binges on Rodeo Drive, spending like a drunken sailor, buying fancy clothes at YSL boutiques. “You know,” Jim said, “you really do understand me better than anyone. You are the only person with whom I can be myself.” “That’s why you love me,” Pamela laughed. “One of many reasons,” said Jim. Pamela could almost feel her heart melt at those words. She knew Jim loved her of course, but it was always nice to hear him say it. She sat up slowly, and leaned in to kiss him. He responded immediately, and his kiss was soft and slow, and so incredibly passionate that she had to grab onto him to keep from collapsing onto the bed. Pam was unable to shake the feeling that she was floating on air. "I'm m not cheating on you. Not really," said Jim: "I just want to see what other women are like." "Either way," he added: "you are my girl. I want you with me." All the poems have wolves in them. All but one. The most beautiful one of all. She dances in a ring of fire. And throws off the challenge with a shrug. —She Dances in a Ring of Fire (Realms of Bliss on Wattpad.com)