WEIRDLAND: Marilyn Monroe, Edie Sedgwick, Jim Morrison

Friday, March 13, 2020

Marilyn Monroe, Edie Sedgwick, Jim Morrison

Marilyn Monroe has been chosen as one of TIME‘s 100 Women of the Year, in a project marking the magazine’s centenary. She has been selected to represent 1954, the year in which she married Joe DiMaggio; entertained US troops in Korea; filmed There’s No Business Like Show Business and The Seven Year Itch; topped the hit parade with ‘I’m Gonna File My Claim’; and then she left it all behind to study acting, and form a production company in New York. The photo shown was taken in 1952 by Frank Powolny, but remains one of the most iconic images of Marilyn. Other featured actresses include Anna May Wong, Lucille Ball and Rita Moreno. Gloria Steinem, the feminist campaigner who wrote a book about Marilyn, is also listed. “In 1954, Marilyn Monroe—already a sex symbol and a movie star—posed on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 52nd Street in New York City, for a scene intended to appear in her 1955 film The Seven Year Itch. The breeze blowing up through a subway grate sent her white dress billowing around her, an image that lingers today like a joyful, animated ghost. Monroe was a stunner, but she was also a brilliant actor and comedian who strove to be taken seriously in a world of men who wanted to see her only as an object of desire. Today, especially in a world after Harvey Weinstein’s downfall, she stands as a woman who fought a system that was rigged against her from the start, even as our hearts broke for her.” Source: blog.everlasting-star.net

Victor Bockris: Edie Sedgwick left the Factory because she was tired of the NY scene. Andy Warhol wasn't so stingy with money, he was realistic with money. For example, if he knew someone was a drug addict, he wouldn’t hand them 25 dollars, he would tell them they could go to this restaurant and eat for free, just sign the check and he would pay for it, and he indeed, did that, which was the sensible thing to do. But when I worked with him in the seventies, he always paid people more than they asked for. Edie Sedgwick became the first really famous female Warhol Superstar. Edie was something else and the whole thing to another level because of her connection to a family which went back to the Mayflower, and a fantastic androgynous, childlike girl/woman image, with a touch of Marilyn Monroe. She was one of those persons who just burned through the screen.

So Warhol had a real goldmine in Edie and he brought her to the center of attention. He made 11 films of Edie between April/May’65 and December ’65. Andy’s favorite “Girl of the Year”? In ‘The Philosophy of Andy Warhol’ in that chapter called Taxi, Warhol says it was Edie. I think one of the things that Andy shows us, in a sense, is that certain men are often jealous of women because they want to be them. And if Andy could have been any of his Superstars, he would have been Edie. She emanated the glamour of playtime 60s art, celebrity, 'the chick better than anyone' and Andy certainly had an interest in trading places with her. So that’s a relationship that could be emotional/ sexual. At the moment Edie does her last film with Warhol, Gerard Malanga brings the Velvet Underground to The Factory. Malanga came from a very poor background. He never had an apartment the whole time he worked for Andy. The thing is that Gerard was totally heterosexual. He was the Silver Factory’s stud. He did have sex with all those girls who came to the Factory. He often brought them in. He picked them up at parties and spent the night with them. That was all very useful to Andy. At the same time, when you are in a group of mostly gay people, and you’re not gay... the “opposition” is vulnerable. So it weakened Gerard’s position ultimately.

Allegedly, Edie Sedgwick and Jim Morrison canoodled with each other at the Castle in July 1967. Robert Rauschenberg: "She was the total essence of the fragmentation, the explosion, the uncertainty, the madness that we all lived through in the Sixties. Her physicality was so refreshing that she exposed all the dishonesty in the room." Edie had found the instrument of her revenge against her family in a figure whose near non-existence, as a moral force, replied to the all-too-palpable hypocrisy of the Sedgwick clan. "There seemed to be this almost supernatural glow to her that's hard to describe," wrote playwright Robert Heide. "Literally there was an aura emanating from her, a white or blue aura. It's as if Edie was illuminated from within. Her skin was translucent — Marilyn Monroe had that quality." "Edie's presence was magnetic", remembers John Cale of The Velvet Underground who had a six-week affair with her. "Although on her last legs with Andy, she still possessed all the elemental magic, frayed beauty and presence of Marilyn Monroe." When Edie got out of the psychiatric hospital, she hung around with a group of bikers called the Vikings. One of the bikers, Preacher Ewing, remembered her as "a larger than life in her capacity to hit the depths. I used to call her Princess, because that's what she thought she was. She'd say condescending that her parents were so fantastically upper-class." 

Terrence McKenna wrote about his LSD experiences in "The Invisible Landscape" (1975) a book that mixes psychedelics, shamanism, molecular biology, and the implications of the neuro-consciousness frontier (how the composition of psychedelic compounds like mescaline, psilocybin, and ibogaine share a relation with the neuro-receptors in our brains). Between May 1, 1966, and April 30, 1967, the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control had seized approximately 1.6 million LSD acid doses and banned the use of LSD. Thorazine was the traditional antidote for a bad LSD trip. The psychiatric medician Oscar Janiger was other important pioneer of the collective difusion of LSD, although Leary was the most famous acid guru. Janiger had administered over three thousand LSD doses between 1954-1962 to volunteers and Hollywood personalities as Cary Grant, Jack Nicholson, Rita Moreno, André Previn, etc. In 1962, Janiger was investigated by the FBI and forced to abandon his suministre. Aldous Huxley, Janiger's friend, was initiated with peyote in 1930 by Alesteir Crowley. Psychiatrist Humphrey Osmond had given Huxley mescalina. Huxley's psychedelic incursions were reflected upon his philosophical essays as "The Doors of Perception" and "Heaven and Hell". In 1963, sick with throat cancer in his deathbed, Huxley begged to be inyected LSD for pain relief. Allen Ginsberg, Ken Kesey and Jim Morrison had been some of the noted volunteers to try LSD since 1959 at the college campus. Scientists studied their reactions and the military applied these knowledge for secret mentral control operations as described in the film "The Manchurian Candidate" (1962), starred by Frank Sinatra. 

Acid can cause long-lasting or even permanent changes in a user’s psychology, and personality. Jim Morrison was one of the people that took a lot of doses. He would take four or five hits at a time. His personality indeed changed. When attending to the FSU, Jim Morrison's buddy Andy Anderson had founded a rock band named The Prowlers. Anderson recalled: "Jim was just a nice guy, shy, and not made for playing in a rock band." Jim Morrison now had a huge stash of Owsley Stanley’s “White Lightning” acid that looked like aspirin tablets, the cleanest LSD in 1966-67. In those early days of LSD and other mind-altering drugs, there was a series of tests on experimental drugs being conducted by the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Center. Of course the tests were strictly monitored, and students were allowed to sign up for only one of them because of the potential dangers of abuse. Morrison was among the first to sign up, and even using a series of aliases he signed up for every test. 

Eve Babitz: Being in bed with Jim was like being in bed with Michelangelo’s David, only with blue eyes. He knew in his worst blackouts to put my diaphragm in and take my contact lenses out. His skin was so white, his muscles were so pure, he was so innocent. He used to suggest, “Let’s go to Ships and eat blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup.“ My friend Judy Raphael, who went to film school, remembers Jim as this pudgy guy with a marine haircut who worked in the library at UCLA. Jim had lost thirty pounds in the summer of ’65, from taking drugs and hanging out on the Venice boardwalk, creating his life anew. But I thought The Doors were embarrassing, like their name. It was so corny naming yourself after something Aldous Huxley wrote. Even Jim’s voice was embarrassing, sounding so sudden and personal... It was Morrison’s girlfriend, Pamela Courson who was rock ’n’ roll. Pamela collected Luger guns, took heroin, and was fearless in every situation. She was emotionally shockproof. Pamela looked sunny and sweet so it was hard to believe her purse was stuffed with Thorazine. Pamela had control over Jim in real life. And Jim made his audiences suffer for that.

Raeanne Bartlett: Eve and Mirandi Babitz don't seem to be fans of Pamela. Frankly, Eve Babitz, in general, seems like a deeply self-absorbed, callous person. Very intelligent, glib, great with words, but a devourer of souls and excess. I think Eve is not an especially nice person, and enjoys dishing out insults when she can. She doesn't sound like she respects many people at all, and her younger sister is an extension. Pamela was truly one-of-a-kind, and she deserves to be memorialized in a thorough, open-minded, and fair way. Salli Stevenson: It was Mirandi Babitz who said Pamela dyed her hair a dark red from her original strawberry blonde, not me. I just repeated what Mirandi said. Patricia Kennealy was the one who called Pamela a "total junkie." Pamela did heroin according to Mirandi Babitz by snorting it or smoking it. I only met Pamela once in 1967. Jim and I were close friends. Have I exaggerated my personal friendship with Jim? No. Anyway, this girl sent me a photo of a message scrawled on the walls from Jim & Pam's Laurel Canyon's home. Apparently, parts of the home are intact, including the secret shower where this message is. She went to check out the house as a potential buy and she says that there are letters from Jim and Pam to one another hid throughout the home. 

"Ready to go?" Jim asked, his expression unreadable. Pamela looked up at him, and her heart skipped a beat. His expression was blank, but there was something in his eyes that reminded her of a brewing storm. "Uh, yeah." She shook her head. "Just a minute." She turned to look at The Factory's silver walls as she stood up, and noticed that Gerard Malanga was looking at Jim with a smug expression. Jim grabbed her wrist and began to drag her to the elevator. Pamela didn't know whether or not she was imagining the tightness in his grip, or the tension in the air. The drug haze hadn't completely worn off yet, and everything still felt a bit hazy. It wasn't until they stepped outside and the cool air hit her face that she snapped out of it and pulled her arm back. "Jim, you're hurting me!" she cried. "What the fuck, Pam?" Jim spat, turning to face her. "What the fuck was that?" "What, you mean making out with Gerard? So what? You were doing the same thing with Nico!" "It's not the same," he mumbled, his gaze suddenly downcast. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?," protested Pam. Jim sighed, "None of them matter. Not Nico, not any girl I fool around with. I don't care about them, Pamela. The only woman I will ever care about is you." Love Cannot Save You (2019) by Queen of the Highway

-Frank Lisciandro: Jim liked the feeling of losing control, so he liked losing the ethical Jim Morrison?

-Eva Gardonyi: I don’t think he ever lost the ethical Jim Morrison. He lost the well-mannered Jim Morrison, but the ethical, no, he didn’t become an unethical asshole when he was drunk. He might have been an asshole sometimes, but he did it out of some kind of social outrage. When somebody bucked him with their hypocrisy long enough to make him react, because he clearly would see hypocrisy and he was like Don Quixote fighting against hypocrisy. I never yelled with Jim, not for a second. Even when we lived together I never saw him out of line. A couple of times when he was drinking heavily he had a hard time making love, but overall I had a very satisfactory love life with him.

-Frank: Did you find Jim and Pam a strange couple to be together?

-Eva: No, no, she always gave him quite a lot of attention and admiration and he also showed a great deal of kindness and loving behavior toward her really, very sweet. Sometimes she had been a bit vengeful, she went to spend his money as fast as she could. But he was grateful for having her because it was a reminder of something that was very precious for him. Jim wanted Pamela and me to be friends because he felt that I had a levelheadedness and Pamela sort of reacted well with me. And just so I looked after her, I tried. I liked Pamela, she was a really golden child for me. When Pamela called herself “Pamela Morrison” he did not object. I asked Jim if they were actually married and he said, “Why? What difference does it make?” So I don’t think he would have given his name to anybody else but Pamela. —"Jim Morrison: Friends Gathered Together" (2014) by Frank Lisciandro

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