WEIRDLAND: Hollywood's Eve, A Rock-and-Roll Memoir

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Hollywood's Eve, A Rock-and-Roll Memoir

Hollywood, California, in the 60s and 70s was the cultural capital of America and the world—a movie factory, a music factory, a dream factory. Eve Babitz, the subject of Lili Anolik’s remarkable new book, is Hollywood’s native daughter. "What truly sets Babitz apart from L.A. writers like Joan Didion or Nathanael West is that no matter what cruel realities she might face, a part of her still buys the Hollywood fantasy, feels its magnetic pull as much as that Midwestern hopeful who heads to the coast in pursuit of 'movie dreams.'" Babitz turned herself into the West Coast’s answer to Edie Sedgwick: a groupie with an artistic streak. She designed album covers for Buffalo Springfield and Linda Ronstadt, and seduced Jim Morrison. Throughout Babitz’s stories, there’s an awareness of the dichotomy between the often vapid realities of Los Angeles and the ideals of an authentic Bohemia. Anolik’s dazzling Hollywood’s Eve is many things: a philosophical investigation, a critical appreciation, a sociological study, a cultural commentary, and a noir-style mystery. Hollywood's Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A. will be released on January 8, 2019.

Eve Babitz in L.A. Woman (2015): "Greatness is a disease. That must have been what was wrong with Jim Morrison. His silences were deadly and the fury within him to capture the world's imagination was so dignified and ironical that, like pain, you only remembered what it was like when it was too late." Eve may be LA Woman, inspiration for The Doors song. “Never saw a woman/ So alone”– that’s her. Source: www.amazon.com

“Grace Slick always thought she was ugly,” said Eve Babitz. “But she was certainly gorgeous.” Grace Slick, the Acid Queen of Haight Ashbury, had just as much fun as the guys on the road. “I pretty much nailed anybody that was handy,” she claims. “My only regret is that I didn’t get Jimi Hendrix or Peter O’Toole.” During the legendary Doors/Airplane European tour of 1968, she ended up in Jim Morrison’s bedroom at the Belgravia Hotel, where they romped around and covered each other with strawberries. “Jim Morrison inhabited two places at once, and although there was some pattern of events going on in his head that connected what I’d just said, it never made sense. I’m sure that the people who knew him well must have heard normal dialogue out of him like, “What time does the plane arrive?” But I never heard anything intelligible I could respond to until I was able to see what he was like alone, away from the frantic energy of the music halls. I also wish I could tell you that he came to my room to hustle me. But I was the perpetrator. “Okay if I put this plate on the radiator?” I asked. This was Europe, 1968. No central heating. After I set the plate of  frozen strawberries on the cold radiator, he crawled over the top of the bed. I can play this, I thought, and I relaxed. It wasn’t 9 ½ Weeks with Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke using food as erotic lubricant; it was more like kindergarten play. I was afraid I’d be stepping on that Fantasia tape that seemed to be running in his cranium. This was like making love to a floating art form. I’d never had anyone “study” me like that. He seemed to be appraising the distance between us as if it was an invisible garment that needed to be continually breached with each motion. With our hips joined together and his body moving up and down, if felt like he was taking a moment each time to circle the area between our bodies and consider the space that separated us. At the same time, he was surprisingly gentle. Somehow, I’d expected a sort of frantic horizontal ritual. It’s interesting; the most maniacal guys on stage can be such sublime lovers. He was a well built boy, his cock was slightly larger than average. Jim mystified me with that otherworldly expression, and at the same time, his hips never lost the insistent rolling motion that was driving the dance. 

When Jim did look directly in my face, he seemed to be constantly searching for the expression that might break the lock, as if I might be wearing a disguise. I’m not sure what I mean by that, but I can say that it was both intriguing and disconcerting, waiting for him to ask me if I was someone else – an impostor or a product of his imagination. I dressed as fast as I could, without looking like it was a race. Jim didn’t seem to notice; he appeared to be totally unconscious, just lying there motionless on the bed. But naked, with eyes closed and without moving a muscle from his completely immobile posture, he said, “Why wouldn’t you come back?” Since I hadn’t said anything about coming or going, I didn’t know what he expected to hear, so I went into proper Finch College mode and said, “Only if I’m asked.” He smiled, but never asked. Danny Sugerman said, “You know, Grace, I’m glad you're telling everybody you screwed Jim. You can’t believe the amount of ugly women who’ve claimed to have fucked him.” —Somebody to Love?: A Rock-and-Roll Memoir (1999) by Grace Slick

Judy Huddleston on Jim Morrison: "Like everyone, he had moments of happiness or joy, but clearly he was not happy. On balance, he was more tortured than most--genetics, karma, childhood, alcoholism--whatever the reason. Was he bipolar, borderline psychotic? It was like a switch got flipped, far beyond a regular mood swing." A new peer-reviewed paper (published in the January 2018 issue of ScienceDirect) has shown that possessing a high intellect could be directly linked to several psychological disorders including Depression, Anxiety, ADHD and Autism. The highly intelligent individual has a remarkable capacity for seeing and internalizing vast uncertainties, possibilities, and problems. This gift can either be a catalyst for empowerment and self-actualization or it can be a predictor of dysregulation and debilitation. The study also found that high intelligence could also potentially be linked to almost double the risk associated with autoimmune disease. The study also suggests that an above average IQ could also have a large impact on physical health. *Mood Disorders - National average 9.5% High Intelligence 26.8% *Anxiety Disorders - National average 10.9% High Intelligence 20% *Depressive disorders - National average 6.7% High Intelligence 25.8% Source: www.sciencedirect.com

During 1999–2016, suicide rates increased in nearly every state in America, including >30% increases in 25 states. In 2016, a Harvard University study revealed that 51% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 “don’t support” capitalism—and only 42% support it. So if not capitalism, then what? The study found young people favor socialism, but that’s not the only alternative. There has been an uptick of interest in a 170-year old political system — that dirtiest of C-words. Communism. It’s no secret that the United States doesn’t have the best relationship with communism. Much of this is rooted in the The Red Scare of the 1940s and ’50s, which fueled the Cold War and the wars in Korea and Vietnam, and which had a lasting effect on how people in the U.S. view the political system. Since then, the U.S. government has interfered in multiple countries  in order to weed out communism anywhere it popped up. In any case, in recent months, communist ideology has seemed to catch on with more Americans. The Communist Party USA — a national organization founded in 1919, with 7,000 registered members — has reported a significant spike in interest and membership with 5,000 new members. CPUSA’s international secretary said, “There is growing interest in communist ideas.” The Seattle Communists, a chapter of the Pacific Northwest-based Communist Labor Party, has seen its numbers swell. Further, communists believe that fascism happens when capitalism is under threat. As the economic system becomes unstable, white working class people are directed to blame immigrants and people of color and are steered toward white nationalism. In this sense, simultaneous rises in both far right and far left ideas are inevitable under capitalism.  Source: theestablishment.co

Jim Morrison could be pretty funny at times. He smirked: “Well, in fifty-sixty years this whole set-up is going to collapse. 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, Ezra 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. “Sure. His transcripts were censored. And what the fools don't realize is that Pound is a hero and should’ve been given the Congressional Medal of Honor! It's all in code, the broadcasts! It's in cypher! You just gotta know how to figure it out. 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. 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.” “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 the code." 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 went bonkers. This was a case of state security. It's as plain as day.” 

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.”—"Summer with Morrison: The Early Life and Times of James Douglas Morrison, A Memoir" (2011) by Dennis C. Jakob

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