WEIRDLAND: jim morrison
Showing posts with label jim morrison. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jim morrison. Show all posts

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 

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)

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Opioids Crisis in USA, Jim Morrison's possible OD

Overdoses are now the leading cause of death of Americans under the age of 50. According to preliminary data compiled by The New York Times, deaths last year likely topped 59,000 (19% more than the year before). More than 30% of Americans have some form of acute or chronic pain. Among older adults, the prevalence of chronic pain is over 40%. In 2014 alone, U.S. retail pharmacies dispensed 245 million prescriptions for opioid pain relievers. Of these prescriptions, 65% were for short-term therapy. More than a third (37%) of the 44,000 drug-overdose deaths that were reported in 2013 were attributable to pharmaceutical opioids; heroin accounted for an additional 19%. At the same time, there has been a parallel increase in the rate of opioid addiction, affecting approximately 2.5 million adults in 2014.

Opioid medications exert their analgesic effects predominantly by binding to mu-opioid receptors. Mu-opioid receptors are densely concentrated in brain regions that regulate pain perception (periaqueductal gray, thalamus, cingulate cortex, and insula), including pain-induced emotional responses (amygdala), and in brain reward regions (ventral tegmental area and nucleus accumbens) that underlie the perception of pleasure and well-being. This explains why opioid medications can produce both analgesia and euphoria. Mu-opioid receptors in other brain regions and in peripheral organs account for other common opioid effects. In particular, mu-opioid receptors in the brain stem are mainly responsible for the respiratory depression associated with opioid-overdose incidents and deaths. Opioids not only directly activate these brain analgesia and reward regions but also concurrently mediate a learned association between receipt of the drug and the physiological and perceptual effects of the drug — a type of Pavlovian conditioning.

Opioid medications vary with respect to their affinity and selectivity for the mu-opioid receptor, since some also bind to kappa- or delta-opioid receptors or to other neurotransmitter receptors and transporters. There is also considerable variation among the drugs with respect to their pharmacokinetics and bioavailability. When combined, these pharmacologic properties affect the rapidity of onset, potency, and duration of both the analgesic and pleasurable effects of opioids. The effects of opioids—particularly their rewarding effects—are accentuated most when the drugs are delivered rapidly into the brain. The rate of death from opioid overdose has quadrupled during the past 15 years in the United States. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have estimated that 28,647 drug overdose deaths (61%) in 2014 in the United States involved some type of opioid, including heroin. Source: www.nejm.org

On August 3, 1966, the comedian Lenny Bruce overdosed on heroin in his Sunset Plaza Drive apartment. Bruce had been the cutting edge of American comedy in the posthipster, prehippie early sixties. He was an acerbic, shpritzing social critic who had been persecuted for the alleged profanity in his act. Bruce had been convicted of public obscenity in New York two years previously. Since then, Bruce had obsessively recounted his legal problems in his act and in print, becoming a gadfly critic of outmoded bourgeois morality. The cops hated him, and gleefully gave their grisly photographs of the death scene—Bruce had collapsed on the toilet, with his arm tied off—to the press. Lenny Bruce’s death bothered Jim Morrison.


Nico's 1967 album Chelsea Girl includes a track entitled "Eulogy to Lenny Bruce", composed by folk songwriter Tim Hardin. In it Nico describes her sorrow and anger at Bruce's death. Tim Hardin would die of a heroin overdose in 1980. Hardin had occasionally shooted heroin at Jim Morrison's bathroom in Alta Cienega Motel (Room 32).

Nico seemed to be forever "closing in on death," to borrow Lou Reed's phrase from "Heroin," the best song on The Velvet Underground album. She died of head injuries on the island of Ibiza in 1988, after falling off her bicycle en route to buy some hashish. Lou Reed was a ground-breaking artist; he liked to play off his sexuality as being “bisexual” or “homosexual”, but the truth of the matter is that Lou Reed was straight as a ruler. He used “alternative sexuality” as a marketing scheme, just a sign of the times when sexual identity was often manipulated for art and profit (David Bowie, New York Dolls, etc). With poetic brilliance, Reed just learned that you can 'tap the vein' without the drug. Nico was famous as a tragic beauty, the junkie Dietrich. She grew up as a rootless cosmopolitan - her passport read "ohne festen Wohnsitz", meaning no fixed address. Creem's Richard Cromelin memorably wrote: "If Morrison sang The End as a lizard, Nico is a sightless bird, lost but ever so calm, somehow knowing the right direction. She is the pure, dead marble of a ruined Acropolis, a crumbling column on the subterranean bank of Morrison's River Styx." 

At the end of an interview for Los Angeles Free Press, Jim Morrison gave his then definitive attitude towards narcotics. “There seem to be a lot of people shooting smack and speed now. Alcohol and heroin and downers – these are painkillers. Alcohol for me, cause it’s traditional. Also, I hate scoring. I hate the kind of sleazy sexual connotations of scoring from people, so I never do that. I like alcohol; you can go down to any corner store or bar and it’s right across the table.” In L.A. Woman Morrison had written for Pamela: “Hills are filled with fire. If they say I never loved you, you know they are a liar.” Shortly before her death Pamela Courson was awarded Jim Morrison’s share of The Doors’ publishing rights. In November 1971, Pamela had declared: “I declare that from the 30th September 1967 onwards I have always considered myself as being married to James Douglas Morrison, to all effects I was his wife and Jim used either the name Pam Morrison or 'my wife' when he introduced me to his various friends and acquaintances. All my bills for medical care, clothes or entertainment were made out to Mrs Morrison or Pamela Morrison. Both Jim and I made known to our relatives that we had contracted marriage in Colorado, explaining the nature of the Common Law Marriage that is law in that State. He always treated me as his wife; he has always taken care of me and I of him, just like a married couple. I swear this to be the truth.” Source: www.doorscollectors.com

Babe Hill, Jim’s closest friend and confidante between 1969-1971 said to Frank Lisciandro in Jim Morrison - Friends Gathered Together: "Pam could be a bitch to everybody, a little harridan. Was she trying to protect Jim or was she jealous? On the face of it she was an opportunist. She used Jim and his resources for her own ends, for whatever she wanted. But let’s face it, none us knew what went on behind that closed door between them two. It was a stormy love relationship, full of everything: acrimony, making up, the whole deal. When you come right down to it: they loved each other. And he definitely didn’t love another woman anywhere near as much. There was no one but Pam, and history bears it out: he was with her from the beginning to the end." Jim Morrison had briefly dated Nico but in a telephone conversation with his former UCLA colleague Dennis C. Jakob, Morrison confessed that Nico—despite her great beauty—wasn't really his type and he had found her very pretentious. Jakob remarked in his memoir Summer with Morrison: "I got the sense that what Jim found in Pam was a woman even more dependent than he himself had ever been. He had always had this strange dependency on women. Now he had found a woman who depended on him." 

One night Jim had a heated argument with Pamela at the Bag O'Nails nightclub after having known of Pam's affair with actor Christopher Jones. Pam said she wasn’t coming back with Jim unless he quit the Doors. He got drunk, insulted her, and apologetically started crying. She threw her drink in his face—a few people applauded—and stormed out. When some mutual friends reproached she had left him alone crying, Pamela replied nonchalantly: “Let him cry. He likes it.” According to Danny Sugerman, Pamela Courson told him that Morrison had died of an accidental heroin overdose, snorting it thinking it was cocaine. “Occasionally Pam used heroin but she wasn’t a regular consumer”, said Sugerman: “she used it when she was depressed, but she wasn’t a heroin maniac–she preferred barbiturates and tranquillisers.” After Morrison's death, however, “she lived in an imaginary fantasy world,” Sugerman adds: “she continuously flirted with death, carried on living her life in a risky manner.” James Douglas Morrison’s final notebook in Paris contained the harrowing message: ‘Last words. Out’. Also a chilling self-assessment: ‘Regret for wasted nights & wasted years–I pissed all it away–American Music’. Source: teamrock.com

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Bonnie & Clyde (50th Anniversary), 1967-Summer of Love (Jim Morrison)

The New York Times panned it, and studio chief Jack Warner thought the movie was a bomb, but “Bonnie and Clyde” was a game-changer during the summer of 1967. The Hollywood revolution the Warren Beatty/Faye Dunaway vehicle began would be bolstered by another sleeper hit released at the end of 1967 — “The Graduate.” Within two years, the major studios would start rolling out a new breed of frankly adult films that would include “Midnight Cowboy,” “Easy Rider” and “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” “Bonnie and Clyde” had a rocky reception at first. The Warner Brothers studio leadership viewed the 1930s-era bank robbers tale as a B-picture that might be best suited to drive-in theaters in the South. 

It was only due to the intense lobbying of Warren Beatty — who was making his debut as a producer, as well as starring in the movie — that the film was opened in New York City and Los Angeles to see if it might stir up enough interest to warrant a national release. The film’s treatment of sudden violence shocked many of those early moviegoers, with the quick changes from comedy to horror upsetting audiences whose idea of a fun night out was the new Doris Day picture, “The Ballad of Josie.” The New York Times critic Bosley Crowther was so upset by “Bonnie and Clyde” that he attacked it before and after it opened in Manhattan on Aug. 13, calling the film “a cheap piece of bald-faced slapstick that treats the hideous depredations of that sleazy, moronic pair as though they were as full of fun and frolic as the jazz-age cut-ups in ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie.’”

Time magazine’s Alan Rich called the film “a strange and purposeless mingling of fact and claptrap.” (After the movie took off at the box office, the same magazine ran a cover story on the impact “Bonnie and Clyde” was having on Hollywood, with the tagline “The New Cinema: Violence ... Sex ... Art.) The treatment of violence and the presentation of bank-robbing killers as characters worthy of sympathy disconcerted even sophisticated reviewers like Joseph Morgenstern of Newsweek (now a critic at the Wall Street Journal), who first panned “Bonnie and Clyde” and then retracted that review a week later after giving the movie a second look. Source: www.ctpost.com

In 1987 Julie Christie would say her decision not to marry Warren Beatty “is certainly not a regret. It’s all been a choice I’ve made for myself.” A close friend of Beatty, production designer Richard Sylbert, remarked: “Warren told me he was dumped in all of his relationships,” partings that were extremely difficult for Beatty, who had always had a tender heart and who confessed his dependency on love: “It was always accompanied by a tremendous amount of separation anxiety and sadness,” Beatty said in his fifties. “Well, I hope it wasn’t as bad on the other side, but it was always bad with me.” Beatty had rejected a screenplay for PT 109, a Warner Brothers film based on President John F. Kennedy’s youthful wartime experiences. 

Kennedy had seen Beatty in Splendor in the Grass, “and he wanted me to play him.” “I remember,” confirmed Senator Edward M. Kennedy, “my brother thought he would be terrific in the part.” Beatty’s rejection of a personal request from the president of the United States caused a minor scandal. According to Beatty and to Kennedy’s press secretary, Pierre Salinger, Beatty told Salinger that the script was badly written, a concern reinforced by a negative meeting he had with Jack Warner and the producer, Bryan Foy. “Jack Warner kicked me off the lot,” recalled Beatty, “because I told Kennedy I didn’t think he should allow the movie to be made. I said I didn’t think it was very good.” Before Warner threw Beatty out, he asked him to fly to Washington to meet the president and reconsider. “I couldn’t say no to the part after I’d already met the President and discussed it with him,” reasoned Beatty, “so I said I wouldn’t fly to Washington. Someone in the office said, ‘Why not fly the President to Hollywood?’”

Without a doubt it was Arthur Penn, and not Warren Beatty, who expressed interest in casting Faye Dunaway for Bonnie. After a meeting at the Plaza, the director asked her to fly to Los Angeles, so she could pass the scrutiny of Beatty and meet the writers. Faye Dunaway would say later that she and Beatty had a “tacit understanding” during filming to remain platonic friends, because “both of us felt that any kind of romance would be distracting.” Although the writers wanted to hint at Clyde's bisexual inclinations, Beatty refused to accept any 'fag' reference, so he would play some impotence scenes instead.


The climactic scene was the “ballet of violence” in which the Barrow gang is ambushed in a slow motion storm of gunshots. According to editor Dede Allen, the scene was intended to evoke the Zapruder footage of President John F. Kennedy’s murder in Dallas, Beatty’s and Penn’s social comment on the increasing violence of the sixties. “Arthur shot the ending like Kennedy’s assassination.” If, as Beatty later was to say, his personal life could be defined as “Before Annette [Bening]” and “With Annette [Bening],” his career would be considered pre–Bonnie and Clyde and post–Bonnie and Clyde, as the historic events of 1967 would demonstrate.  —"Warren Beatty: A Private Man" (2005) by Suzanne Finstad

Warren Beatty met casually Jim Morrison at a party in Santa Monica Canyon held at screenwriter Gavin Lambert's home. Other attendants were Andy Warhol, Tuesday Weld (whom Warhol was dying to meet), Julie Christie, Janis Joplin, Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate. Beatty was a big fan of The Doors, especially of their frontman.

Linda Ashcroft offers an intimate memoir of Jim Morrison at the height of his career. This vivid portrait is based on her diaries from the four-year period when she knew Morrison. Wild Child (1999) is a passionate account of what life was like with the legendary Doors singer. Before flying to Paris, Morrison told Linda: "It may have been in bits and pieces, but I gave you the best of me." Linda Ashcroft was 15 and a runaway in San Francisco during the Summer of Love when she encountered Morrison alone in a coffee bar. Over the next four years, until his death in 1971, their relationship deepened and developed. Wild Child is surely too detailed to be a work of the imagination, from her hand-written diaries annotated by Morrison to a tearful meeting with the promoter Bill Graham, who visited her after the singer's death. Not a single photograph of the two of them together can be traced. One is said to have been taken by the actor Dennis Hopper, who spent some time together with the couple in 1969. It was buried somewhere in boxes of Hopper's personal archives. Ashcroft says she is prepared for people to be sceptical. "Jim compartmentalised his life," she offers by way of explanation. Her account does not fall into the category of a star-struck groupie, although it had a sexual dimension. After their first meeting she went home to her parents in the small town of Stockton, about two hours east of San Francisco. Source: www.telegraph.co.uk

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"Summer with Jim Morrison", "Last Summer"

Jim Morrison, the starving boy from Venice Beach, the rock god, became something else, a male Norma-Jean. He belonged to the Romantics: Coleridge, Wordsworth, Goethe, Chopin, Liszt... Jim Morrison was one of those. He struck me as being, unlike his fellow students at the Film School, a basically serious character. Morrison, lacking much money, was an accomplished book thief. In my first conversation with him, the talk turned to Metempsychosis and its central axiom: that all thought is remembrance–Jim used the word anamnesis–a recollection of what was in the mind. “Translation is something women are real good at. Everything will come out in English sometime. One day the truth will come out and it will all be in English. And it will all be translated by women,” said Morrison. The next time I saw him he wasn't lugging library books into the stacks. He was sitting quietly with his girlfriend Mary Werbelow in one of the Film School screening rooms: Bungalow 3-K7. This class was conducted by a character named Brocow, who achieved eternal fame by inventing a little metal rod for an editing machine called the Moviola. 

There was also the tall, gaunt figure of a man named Arthur Dewitt Ripley: This was the man whom Andrew Sarris once called “One of the most bizarre and mysterious silhouettes in the American cinema.” Ripley had directed the cult film noir The Chase (1946) and died before Jim had a chance to meet him. So Jim asked me about him. Ripley was a man of great emotion and great personal beliefs. And while he had witnessed great disappointment and tragedy in his own life, he never betrayed the slightest cynicism or despair toward any of his students. He believed that the Motion Picture was an Art that could be ranked with the highest examples of any other form. “Ripley once discoursed on the idea of actually achieving a double retrospect. You can see it used in John Brahm's The Locket (a 1946 film noir). Ripley himself used the retrospect device in A Voice In The Wind.” “What was A Voice In The Wind all about?” Jim inquired. "Maybe one of the greatest dark films ever made," I answered. Jim said: “I would like to have talked to this man.” Jim gave me an old copy of Film Culture, the issue that contained Andrew Sarris' first notes on the Auteur theory. I found that Sarris said it was impossible to overlook Ripley. Which he promptly did in his book The American Cinema, 1928-1968. I never forgave him.


I had seen Anatahan (1953), and this film gave me the first clue to what others later divined about Jim. What some said was his incredible dependence on women. Anatahan was Josef Von Sternberg's last film, with a rewarding sequence: men making advances on the one sole woman left on their island, and the look of ecstasy on her face—that single sequence that had so impressed Jim. I had, at that point, a small room in Venice, California, right above the Kickapoo Logan Company. It was half a block from the beach. The rent was thirty-five dollars a month, a sum impossible to imagine in today's inflationary times. “Hell, you can sleep on the roof," I said to Jim. His girlfriend Mary had abandoned him for professional dancing, and he moved in with me without a single coin to his name. 

Venice Beach was not like it is today. Back then, it was a place, caught in a time warp. In those days, the air was warm and delicious, with a cool sea breeze that came directly from the beach into the room. It was a slow time, unhurried, leisurely. In those days we had time for anything. Not like today, when life is full-speed ahead, hurtling all of us and everything else towards whatever the hell? The food cost just $20 each month for both! According to Census.gov, in 1960 70% of families were single income households and the minimum wage was $1/ $8.35 today. Median family income was $5,620/ $46,927 today and the average income was $6,691, or $55,839.93 today. The federal minimum wage is today $7.25, whereas the median family income is $29,930.13 and the average family income is $46,119.78

Sitting in my room Jim Morrison pondered his career options: “Either I write lyrics for Rock and Roll songs,” he said, “or I write cheap paperback novels, like westerns about Billy the Kid.” I said I had written a four hundred page novel about an archaeologist dying slowly by the ruins of the largest colonial mansion in America. It got me Third Place in the Samuel Goldwyn contest. I had worked as a film assistant for Roger Corman too. Jim had been without a method, just drifting. Now he had a method: the concept of a trajectory toward a certain way of life that almost corresponded to Jim's notion of male sexuality: a long, slow, rhythmic development, then a sharp peak upward. Finally, a sudden and abrupt descent. One day he just packed himself up with the clothes on his back and a new notebook in which he had been writing the poetry that later would become the incendiary lyrics of The Doors' songs. He bumped into Ray and Dorothy Manzarek on the Venice West boardwalk. I saw Jim change. I thought he was much more interesting before he was a Rock Starthe exact moment when he signed his contract with Elektra Records became the beginning of his downgoing. When Jim introduced me to Pamela, they were both living up in Laurel Canyon, near the Market. It was a wooden house stuck up against the mountain side. I remember, when Pam answered the door, seeing Jim propped in an easy chair focusing on a book, they struck me as suited to one another. It was quiet, up there in the canyon. You could hear the hum of insects. It was like something out of a Raymond Chandler novel. Chandler had written in The Long Goodbye (1953): "There is no trap so deadly as the one you set for yourself." I thought if Jim could actually escape that trap. I remembered one time when the three of us, Jim, Pam and myself, were in a car and she put her head on my shoulder. Was this just an unconscious gesture of friendship or was it to inspire a jealous Morrison response? Jim remained inscrutable—but he probably was jealous as hell. Jim, having grown up in the Fifties, was an adept of mystery novels and pulp magazines.      
   

Herbert Gans, who wrote the masterful sociological study The Levittowners (1965), lived in Levittown, N.J. to conduct his research. His account of early suburbanites as generally content with their lot, differs starkly from the critiques of popular writers. Not only did Gans reject those critiques, he came to the opposite conclusion: "that suburban life has produced more family cohesion and a significant boost in morale through the reduction of boredom and loneliness." Gans was quite cutting about intellectuals who condemned suburbia’s "little boxes" and mocked their inhabitants as feeble. Even Betty Friedan in The Feminine Mystique (1963) she described housewives feeling cooped up in city apartments and suburban ranches alike, and saw the birth of the suburbs as, in fact, "a limitless challenge to the energy of educated American women," with abundant opportunities for civic innovation and leadership—which women too often rejected to focus on the family. Despite the urban hype, the share of Americans living in urban neighborhoods actually dropped from 2000 to 2014. 

Jim Morrison, believer in the consolidation of the matriarchy system in America, distanced himself from the archetypal male-centric writer that Jack Kerouac had represented. Kerouac had written his opus On the Road in April 1951, and when he was done his second wife Joan Haverty tossed him out of their New York City apartment for being a bum and a bore. Kerouac's relationships with women were mercurial; as Dennis McNally put it: "One of the central myths of Jack's life was of Dostoevsky's wife and her unflagging support of her husband, of the duty of the untalented to support the creative artist." Kerouac saw no reason to question his chauvinist attitudes towards his women. They were there to fuck him, feed him, fawn over him, and then hopefully fade into the background. Unfortunately, few modern girls could put up with this for more than a few months, which shows just how far the women of the Fifties were from Madame Dostoevsky; the juices of feminism were starting to simmer.


“Nietzsche is one man who has never disappointed me,” Jim said. “Women aren't fools, though. Nietzsche said once they are the loveliest swans in the world.” Jim understood clearly that the Apollonian principle was Aristocratic, a dream realm. And the Dionysian was the Democratic principle, the state of intoxication. He just laughed at Philosophy Professors who wrote about Nietzsche. Like Walter Kaufman's chapter of his Nietzsche, Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist, about “Nietzsche's admiration for Socrates.” “It's nothing but a lie,” Jim said. “It's not true.” I waited. “That lousy Sophist,” Jim declared. “What an old ugly pederast. Socrates lurking in Greek law courts so he could pick up enough gift of gab to con innocent young men into the sack! They should have killed that fucker decades before the hemlock.” Jim wasn't fooled by Kaufman. “He taught Plato a skeptical philosophy and utterly ruined him. Why? Because Socrates wanted to kill off the Greek religion – another Sophistry – a lawyer's rhetoric. And what happened? That poor bastard Plato takes a trip to Egypt. Ever read The Egyptian Book Of The Dead? It's nothing but a primitive form of the ‘allegory of the cave’, i.e. the love of the dead. Pure nihilism! These philosophy teachers – they can get rid of ‘God’, but they can’t get rid of Socrates? Why, it’s ridiculous.” Jim often favored the German culture over England's. “I never knew an Englishman I didn't despise," he said, "or an Englishwoman I didn't love.” He thought the class structure and behaviourism had ruined England: “It's a shopkeeper’s mentality. Survival at any price.” Jim exempted the Irish, the Scotch, and the Welsh.


“Numbers are a hallucination,” Jim sniffed. “Some dude used algebra to prove that nobody could fly. The truth will come out some day about these fucking Pythagoreans.” “Then, what is the truth?” I asked. He was silent a long moment. “Man, it's Pound’s economics that’s going to insure his place in American history.” He could be pretty funny at times. “How do you figure that one, Jim?” He smirked. “Well, in fifty-sixty years this whole set-up is going to collapse.” “You really think so?” “Everybody's gonna lose their money to a bunch of crooked politicians and white-collar criminals. You'll see. And then these guys, let’s call them economists, they're all gonna say finally, ‘Well, Pound was right!’ And Social Credit will come in." “Well Jim, ya’know Pound was in the nuthouse at Saint Elizabeth's hospital for twelve years.” “So what?” “Well, there’s this charge of Treason.” He cocked his head and gave me a sharp glance. “No.” Pound's transcripts had been censored. “Well, they're all in the Library of Congress. The OSS made wire recordings and the transcriptions are in the Library of Congress. I went up there from Arlington, one time, and read them.” “You did?” “Sure. And what the fools don't realize is that Pound is a hero and should’ve been given the Congressional Medal of Honor!” "How do you figure that?" “It's all in code! The broadcasts! It's in cypher! You just gotta know how to figure it out. He was broadcasting troop movements and such over the radio. Pound was a spy for the government and he oughta be decorated." He concluded, “Everybody else thinks you’re a communist or whatever. Actually, you're a patriot.” “Well, who contacted Pound?” “Roosevelt.” Silence. “Just read Ezra’s Selected Poems”. “So Pound was doomed – unless he played ball with the Government. Of course, he could have stayed right here in America, but that's what makes him such a hero. He had guts, alright. He took the packet and went over there and made the broadcasts according to code.” “Well, why didn't all this come out at the trial?” “Because, by 1946, when the troops arrested Pound, Roosevelt was dead, and Truman didn't know anything about it." And there he had me. “Well, why didn't Pound say anything after they put him in the nut house, Jim?” “Because the U.S. Military put him in that cage in Pisa and he got sunstroke and went bonkers. Maybe later on he realized this was a case of state security. It's as plain as day.” Those broadcasts did get published and I have a copy and from time to time I try to find the cypher.


“Orson Welles... could he have directed a film about Billy the Kid?” I asked Jim. “Welles directed a film called Touch Of Evil. And that’s one of the best American films ever made,” Jim said: “The amazing part about being an American are the endless possibilities. The idea of the frontier, though closed, has entered the national consciousness and cannot easily be erased.” “Ralph Waldo Emerson is our greatest thinker,” Jim said another day. “Read that essay called The Over-Soul. That’s a good one.” "How does it go, Jim?" And again, I was treated to a bit of his phenomenal memory: “Man is a stream whose source is hidden. Our being is descending into us from we know not whence. The most exact calculator has no prescience that somewhat incalculable may not balk the very next moment. As with events, so is it with thoughts. When I watch that flowing river, which, out of regions I see not, pours for a season its streams into me, I see that I am but a surprised spectator of this ethereal water; that I desire and look up and put myself in the attitude of reception, but from some alien energy the visions come.” He was the young Nietzsche’s favorite American philosopher. It's not really surprising that Jim knew Emerson by heart.

Jim Morrison could be oddly patriotic. “Dostoyevsky said, the Russian hates freedom. Those fuckers wouldn't know what to make of it. Like a primitive man under an open sky gone crazy from the light. The Politician, one of the two examples of the ‘secular Priest’, becomes the consummate actor of our day,” Jim said. “What's the other example?” “The Psychiatrist. According to Freud, the future of illusion needed secularization.” I said: “Your Mr. Pound said that Rome was destroyed by its Rhetoriticians.” “The Rhetoriticians took over when the Romans lost their Poets. Rhetoric is just another word for politics,” said Jim: “Politicians are too shrewd to be neurotic, by and large. Greed so wonderfully concentrates a man’s mind.” All this while the Vietnam War was raging. —"Summer with Morrison: The Early Life and Times of James Douglas Morrison, A Memoir" (2011) by Dennis C. Jakob


Last Summer (1969) directed by Frank Perry was one of a handful of counter-culture movies that were released in 1969 along with Easy Rider, Midnight Cowboy, Haskell Wexler's docudrama Medium Cool and experimental film HWY: An American Pastoral (by Jim Morrison, Frank Lisciandro & Paul Ferrara). Last Summer is adolescence viewed through a doggedly nihilistic prism, being at its heart an existential parable on authenticity, dread, and the concept of morality as a choice, conveying the darker aspects of American disillusionment in the late '60s. The story's dominant figure is Sandy (Barbara Hershey), a pretty girl who claims to possess a high IQ. Two boys wander into her life: Peter and Dan, when Sandy has rescued a wounded bird that will die if they don't remove the fishhook stuck in its throat. Last Summer's screenplay by Eleanor Perry is based on an eponymous novel by Evan Hunter, whose writing credits appeared in the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's classic The Birds (1963). Time magazine reviewed the film as an "enormous debt to J.D. Salinger," adding that Burns's performance as a quintessential outsider was "exactly the kind of kid Holden Caulfield wanted to catch in the rye." New York Times critic Vincent Canby called the screenplay "tough and laconic." Source: www.tcm.com

There was a continual stream of enigmatic secrecy which both Jim and Pam fostered. The same applied to their domestic lives together. True, we as the public would hear about the rows, the fights, the outrageous behaviour, but was this part of ‘the act’ part of the Jim and Pam show? Jim needed trusted friends and Babe Hill, who had been a construction worker, was one of his closest ones. Jim Morrison hated Pam taking heroin, verified by Tony Funches, his bodyguard. As Pam often said, alcohol was Jim's favourite drug. He didn’t mind cocaine or an assortment of pills, but heroin was a no go for him. Paris was awash with it in the summer of 1971. The city had become the central trading point for the white stuff and the cut percentage on the street was unusually pure– somewhere in the region of 86% pure. Pam liked to be on the edge as much as Morrison did. She was no shrinking violet. The demure Pamela Courson was in reality a human firecracker. Even Morrison said she was the cat to his mouse. Perhaps the fact that she simply did not do what Jim wanted was the kind of response he needed. For years men had wanted to be Morrison and girls wanted him between their legs. Pamela’s great power was that she could stand up to him. Whatever her hold was, it was extremely strong, that old chestnut of a reason: love. Morrison may well have slept with other women and betrayed Pam’s trust, but he also loved her. Together they had starved in Los Angeles, often walking back at night from The Doors gigs because Jim had spent his share on booze. When the first real pay cheque had come in, it was Pam with whom he had shared the Chinese feast. Every other girl lusted after Morrison the idol, the sex god, the pathfinder. Pam, however, got to see all the weaknesses, all the insecurity. Pam stated that they did not have sex on his final night. Actually she said they didn’t have sexual intercourse – they could have indulged in some sexual activity and then Morrison, having taken heroin as opposed to cocaine, became too lethargic to continue. —"Mr. Mojo Risin' ain't dead" (2011) by Ron Clooney