WEIRDLAND: April 2020

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Kubrick by Kubrick documentary, Jim Morrison (Clearwater and other stories)


“He was not any of the things the newspapers said about him,” Christiane Kubrick says of her husband in an archival interview featured early into Kubrick by Kubrick, a new documentary that seeks to look behind the monolith and demystify its legendary’s subject’s artistic process. Directed by Grégory Monro, it’s based on a series of interviews by critic Michel Ciment. Handsomely presented with captivating quotes—not only from Kubrick himself but many of his closest collaborators—the brief film, clocking in at just over 70 minutes, effectively shows a side of Kubrick often not the focus of critical conversation: a man who lived a relatively humble way, with a mind that was more endlessly curious than all-knowing. Some of these recordings were featured in a French radio program, as well as a book, but they are here given the cinematic spotlight and Monro’s intention becomes clear from the get-go. “I don’t know what led me to make any of the films,” says Kubrick. This evasion to getting personal is perhaps another slice of his genius—we’re left solely with his enigmatic body of work rather than a tell-all book. “Stanley never knows where to put the camera,” says Malcolm McDowell when it came to A Clockwork Orange. “He’s an artist. Any director who knows what he’s going to do is a very poor director.” Kubrick by Kubrick acts as an antithesis to a film such as Room 237, which exhaustively went down the rabbit hole of the purported hidden messages of The Shining, straining to impart the mysterious genius embedded in every frame of Kubrick’s film. While Rodney Ascher’s feature entertained as it traversed deeper into the maze of the Overlook Hotel, it also built up the mythic quality of a director described quite differently by Ciment. Kubrick was a man who lived in the countryside with his family, playing chess and reading between work on his films. In this sense, the documentary’s greatest achievement is humanizing the man. Kubrick talks about the difficult work that goes into each production: “Making a good film is a miracle and it’s hard to make miracles.” In the twenty years since his death, no one has been able to fill his shoes, but we imagine he’d be pleased with the directors who have helped carry this forward-thinking torch, and Monro’s project serves as further inspiration for artists and audiences alike. Monro: It’s completely an archival film. I only used archives. I haven’t done new interviews. I wanted to find something logical with Kubrick’s thinking. He had a real viewpoint of humanity, on the duality of man. Most of his films follow that. I think that the most important thing is to look what man can do–he basically destroys everything he does. Source: thefilmstage.com

Alex does achieve narrative authority in the opening scene, but only against a series of visual contradictions. Several aspects of this shot complicate Alex’s prototypically masculine authority. In spite of his direct gaze and voiceover, he is also the object of the camera’s gaze. The mannequin “women” of the Korova Milkbar ostensibly contrast Alex’s masculine vitality and narrative authority. Alex’s feminized eye, however, metonymically links him to the female furniture. Furthermore, the white shirts and pants both he and his droogs wear as part of their costume parallel and blend in with the porcelain white female furniture-figures around the bar. I examine the opening tracking shot and how homosocial violence is represented within or against heterosexual violence in three of the gang’s attacks. A Clockwork Orange ultimately deconstructs the link between vision and narrative mastery by repeatedly positioning Alex among other men as the feminized spectacle. While many critics have celebrated Alex’s subjectivity, few have highlighted that his position is tenuous from beginning to end. Alex's gang sit in the bar, but their drug-induced stillness make the furniture-women look more alive than their “real” human counterparts. Alex’s voiceover, however, separates him from the others and situates him as the primary, active subject of the narrative: “thinking is for the gloopy [stupid] ones, and the omni [smart] ones use inspiration and what Bog [God] sends.”

Furthermore, the opening close-up of Alex shows one eye adorned with false eyelashes and the other without. Through this mark of the feminine on the male body – men generally do not wear false eyelashes unless they are drag queens – the film signals an ironic link between masquerade and masculinity. Although the voice-over suggests narrative authority, Alex remains the object of the camera’s gaze throughout the shot, physically diminishing in size through the backward tracking motion until the camera literally disembodies him. Thus, these tensions represents Alex’s implicit polymorphous perversity. This tension in the first shot between Alex as masterful masculine subject and feminized object of the gaze parallels the tension between the film’s highly erotic homosocial realm and its distanced, quasi-comical, representation of heterosexuality. The Ludovico treatment sequences, however, do more than link spectatorship, passivity, and a desire to be victimized through one’s identifications with on-screen subjects: they also deconstruct the safe distinctions between audience and image. Alex sits in the front of the theater, the ostensible audience for the film, but he is also the object of the doctors’ gaze. Furthermore, the physical effects of the films on Alex mirror the objectification of Alex-as-spectacle. This shot-reverse-shot pattern, in combination with the double assault on Alex from the doctors and the film’s “gaze,” place the extradiegetic spectator in a painfully split position of identification. Although the staged encounter with the seminaked woman in the theater is not a rape scene per se, the horror of the image lies precisely in the feminization of Alex or, conversely, the triumph of the naked (and presumably powerless) woman over the impotent, passive, clothed Alex. I see Alex and his antagonist the progressive writer Mr. Alexander – as spectator and performer, father and son – engaging an elaborate series of dualisms beautifully enacted through the reference to “Singin’ in the Rain.” 

Although Gene Kelly was “ready for love,” “love,” in Kubrick’s cinematic landscape, has become not simply heterosexual rape, but, more radically, a sadomasochistic struggle between men. Mr. Alexander refers to both his raped young wife and Alex as “victims of the modern age.” Alex’s final words are: “I was cured, all right.” After he has been sent the other way through the Ludovico technique, so that he is now his old self – this time in service to the government. He says his final words over a bizarre image, a low-angle shot of himself making love to a woman in the snow, while people in top hats look on and applaud (some odd allusion to the Ascot sequence of My Fair Lady, perhaps). “I was cured, all right.” He almost laughs and growls out the words, as if telling us he is back on the loose again. But not quite. Alex may still be a beast, but he's now an owned beast, still a victim of the modern age, working for the state. —Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (2003) by Stuart Y. McDougal

Christianity, with its sufferings of the world, its sin and misery and death, and its “you will be hated by all,” is realistic pessimism—albeit, as with Schopenhauer, with an escape route, namely, denial of the will and the consequent asceticism. It permitted Schopenhauer to draw out some fascinating implications but it also blinded him to a likely deeper truth about Christianity. Shopenhauer: "While all other religions endeavor to explain to the people by symbols and parables the metaphysical significance of life, the religion of the Jews is entirely immanent, and furnishes nothing but a mere war-cry in the struggle with other nations." Volume 2 elaborates on these ideas, especially in the chapter titled “On Religion,” which brings this observation: "Also we should not forget God’s chosen people who, after they had stolen, by Jehovah’s express command, the gold and silver vessels lent to them by their old and trusty friends in Egypt, now made their murderous and predatory attack on the ‘Promised Land,’ with the murderer Moses at their head, in order to tear away from the rightful owners, by the same Jehovah’s express and constantly repeated command, showing no mercy, and ruthlessly murdering and exterminating all the inhabitants." In such a world, says Schopenhauer, our motto should be (quoting Virgil): “Do not give way to evil, but face it more boldly”—Aeneid. We must harden ourselves, and stiffen our resolve; he cites Horace: “Even if the world collapses over a man, the ruins still leave him undismayed—Odes. But perhaps we leave the last word to Schopenhauer himself. His pessimistic realism held true to the end. In volume two of the Parerga, he sums up all the strivings of our lives: "A happy life is impossible; the best that man can attain is a heroic life, such as is lived by one who struggles against overwhelming odds in some way and in some affair that will benefit the whole of mankind, and who, in the end, triumphs—although he obtains a poor reward, or none at all." Schopenhauer told Richard Wagner's friend Malwida von Meysenbug, "I have not yet spoken my last word about women. I believe that if a woman succeeds in withdrawing from the mass, or rather raising herself above the mass, she grows ceaselessly and more than a man." Source: www.theoccidentalobserver.net

Whether through the Church itself, his parent's interpretation of their religious beliefs, or his own experiences, Jim Morrison felt that Catholicism was more condemning than forgiving, portraying a God who was more hellfire and less love, a religion that looked for faults to criticize and gave the impression that one slip was all it took to fall over the edge to eternal damnation. Christ had preached love and forgiveness, but Morrison saw the Church as preaching only judgment and condemnation. He turned from what he felt was the hypocrisy of his parents' Catholic Church, but he occasionally wore a cross around his neck, at times onstage. When asked about it he answered, "It's just a cross. I was raised in a Christian culture and the cross is one of its symbols, that's all." Yet he loved to discuss God and religion for endless hours with friendly listeners who would listen to his countless theories on man's relationship to God. 

While living in Clearwater, FL, Jim Morrison lived just blocks away from the Francis Wilson Playhouse in downtown Clearwater. He was known to sit in the back of the theatre and watch the actors on stage during practice, and listen to the poetry readings they hosted. He also discovered the Beaux Arts Coffee House in Pinellas Park and frequented the establishment. It is known that Jim would come, and recite his poetry at the open mics, while strumming randomly on the ukulele. After two semesters at Saint Petersburg Junior College, Jim transferred to Florida State University in Tallahassee. While at FSU, Jim became interested in the film department. He took some art classes and participated in the school’s small film department where he participated in the school’s play of The Dumb Waiter. -Jim Morrison's Clearwater Then and Now: A pictorial history and collection of tales from the life of Clearwater's Rock Legend (2018) by Bird Stevens.

RiderontheStorm1969: I heard John Densmore made up with Ray Manzarek before his passing. I don't think Robby Krieger holds no ill will anymore. Rumor was that John lost his royalties to The Doors music in a divorce so his ex Leslie Neale now gets 25% of Doors royalties. I've never been a fan of Densmore after he bashed Jim so much in the past. John "Wanna listen to me bitch about Jim Morrison? He's the reason I'm not stocking shelves at Walmart" Densmore. His relations with Ray and Robby were non-existent after Densmore's confusing lawsuit against them. Densmore called Manzarek when Ray was facing the end and Ray opted to pick up the phone and talk with Densmore one last time. Robby Krieger has described his once close relationship with Densmore as "we are friends but we're not friendly". Densmore obviously ripped Morrison to pieces and blamed him for everything under the sun where the band was concerned. The careers of the other three Doors collapsed after Morrison died. Densmore's jealousy of Morrison is obvious and Densmore is just a nasty, deeply angry little man with a very strong sense of entitlement and who draws attention to himself by publicly throwing Jim Morrison under the bus. 

Jim Morrison has been eating acid like popcorn, but this tonight his intake has led him to curl up in a vegetative state on the floor. His dark mane falls down in tangles over his chalk-colored face. His blue eyes are glazed balls of dilated shock. Not for the first time, not even the first time this week, he's deep in the throes of lysergic phychosis. And it's showtime. The crowd has reacted with bored hostility to the instrumental set, they came to see Morrison. In frustration, Densmore kicks over a wastebasket full of empty beer cans, and he pivots towards the exit. "I'm calling it off", he shouts. Densmore reaches for the door, until he's interrupted by the owner of the Whiskey, Mr. Maglieri, who enters their dressing room uninvited. Densmore steps aside, while Manzarek explains to Maglieri they need a little more time to revive Jim. Maglieri's tailored pinstripe suit is pressed to perfection, Sinatra style, it belongs to another era. An unmistakable twinkle in his eyes belies his displeasure over the present situation. Krieger casts his eyes down and turns his attention back to tuning his six-string. Maglieri looms over the crouching Manzarek, who keeps chanting mantras in Morrison's direction. "What a fucking night," Maglieri sighs, shaking his head. "John Lennon's sitting out there with a fucking tampon on his head. Limey prick won't take the thing off." All of a sudden, Morrison open his eyes and lurches to his feet. Maglieri's voice seems to have set off a tripwire in the recessess of his brain. Finally Morrison manages to win the battle with gravity. Morrison and Maglieri are left alone in the dressing room. Morrison stumbles for words, "There's something I want to tell you, it's been on my mind a long time, Maurio," Morrison mispronounces Maglieri's name again. "This better be good," Maglieri grumbles. Morrison says in a shaky half-whisper: "You are more of a father to me than my old man ever was." Maglieri is touched by this acid-addled declaration and he pats Morrison's shoulder in an affectionate manner. "That's nice to hear, kid", Maglieri winks at the singer. "Now jump onstage, this is an important night." Relighting his cigar, Maglieri watches as Morrison staggers out of the dressing room and into rock and roll history. —Straight Whisky (2004) by Erik Quisling and Austin Williams

Nicollette Michelle Dahl: Pamela called herself Mrs Morrison because Jim gave her a wedding band in 1967. He enjoyed taking care of her and indulged her fashion boutique. Pamela was very good friends with Diane Gardiner and another girl named Bebe, a photographer who went to Otis Art Institute of Los Angeles. I heard about Bebe in 2005 from a librarian assistant. I learned Bebe was her Aunt. I was at the library doing some research and couldn’t locate a book and had to go to the reference desk. The librarian said — “Nicole you need to hear about this” he explained to the assistant that I was a Jim Morrison fan and I’d want to know this story. The librarian assistant proceeds to tell me the story about her Aunt Bebe and how she was good friends with Pamela and Jim. She lived in Los Angeles attending art college studying photography. She said something like “You might not believe me, but since you’re such a big fan, I can bring some photos to show you. I work on Saturday, come back in the afternoon and I will show the photos. I of course came back that Saturday. She showed me a small stack of photos. Bebe and Pamela at Bebe’s apartment, the two ladies standing back to back, another photo of Pamela and Bebe at her dining room table, she said that Bebe’s boyfriend took those photos. There were 2 photos of Bebe and her boyfriend, with Jim and Pamela out to dinner, the waiter took the photos. I saw a photo of just Jim and Pamela, with her head turned into Jim’s arm, slightly hiding behind her hair, and one where both Jim and Pamela are looking straight and the camera and Pamela was smiling. A few more photos of Pamela outside in Bebe’s back yard, a photo of Pamela in Bebe’s Karmann-Ghia car. Then a few photos of just Jim at Bebe’s apartment, a photo of Jim laying down on a wood floor - the photo is taken from above and you see Bebe’s bare legs on either side of Jim. A photo of Jim with Bebe’s sister (that’s the assistant mom) at Bebe’s family home. A photo of Jim and Bebe on the couch at Bebe’s parents home. And yet a different day of them in the pool of all 3 in the pool. There’s about 20 photos in all. She goes on to tell me Bebe and Jim had an affair, and she’s not sure how long it lasted... Jim had gone to Bebe’s parents home for family dinner more than once. Bebe, Pamela and Jim all stayed close friends. Bebe and Pamela were a a few months apart in age, with Bebe being born in 1947 in March the following year from Pamela. At this point I say I’d love to meet your aunt. And she tells me that her Aunt passed away in 1970 in an auto accident. I say how tragic, I’m sorry. She said that she never got to meet her aunt. I tell her thank you for sharing these stories. Bebe knew Pamela and Jim from late summer 1967 till Bebe passed in 1970. I think her niece sold the photos to the Coursons family and the photos are kept in a private collection. Randy Ralston also had some home movies he shot of Pamela. He sold those to a collector, who died shortly after, then she left that footage to her son.

Raeanne Bartlett: Jim obviously loved Pamela immensely and intended to take care of her. I just loathe what some writers and even some of their friends say about her. It is clear they really loved each other. He took care of her and provided for her willingly. He named her next of kin in his will. They probably considered themselves married. Pam liked to paint flower pots and she was a big reader, she shared with Jim what she read. Pamela was not a rough-it kind of girl, she really loved comfort and extravagance. Pam liked traveling first class, shopping and talking with people she enjoyed. Jim bought her a Jaguar XKE, a Mercedes, a few VW bugs. Pamela both went through cars like crazy.

Pamela Courson's world was seriously shaken when she met Jim Morrison in 1965. Three years after, in the summer of 1968, Jim Morrison had become the acclaimed 'bad-boy' of The Doors, who after playing the Hollywood Bowl, went with The Doors on the road: Houston, Dallas, Honololu, New York. Pam was incensed about his new public desirability and feeling ignored while Jim was on the road, she had a fling with actor John Phillip Law of Barbarella fame. She made sure Morrison heard about it and they had many a long-distance arguments over it. “You’d better get your ass out to New York, I miss you,” he'd growled into the phone, according to Diane Gardiner. Pam was being deliberately stubborn, he reasoned. Her idea was to force him to come home and he finally said she better come to New York where he was playing. Pam drove to the airport, parked the car in the regular parking lot, and took a flight to New York. She came back two weeks later and the police had towed it and discovered the kilo of marijuana she'd left in the trunk. They busted her, but Diane Gardiner [The Doors' publicist] had someone get her out on a first defense. "A kilo was a lot in those days, but I think they realized she wasn't selling, she was just spaced out." —"Break On Through: The Life and Death of Jim Morrison" (2014) by James Riordan

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Strange Days with Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison


Like a Rolling Stone may have been more revolutionary, but Visions of Johanna has a strong claim to be Dylan’s greatest song, a parade of luminous symbolism that manages to be both mystifying and incredibly potent (“The ghost of electricity howls through the bones of her face”). His Nashville backing band, meanwhile, sounds perfect: subtle but insistent, the small-hours setting of the lyrics seeping into the sound. In the mid-60s Dylan complained that he had never written anything as “far out” as the strangest folk ballads, but on Desolation Row, he succeeded in taking the ballad form to a completely new place. It’s a cliche to compare it to TS Eliot’s The Waste Land, but it fits: 11 stark minutes of oppressive, absurd imagery that never slackens its grip on the listener despite its length.


As I’ve listened to the song during these last traumatic weeks, I’ve come to see “Murder Most Foul” as Dylan’s gift to the world at another terrible moment in our history, when our leaders have failed us and we are living through a calamity that seems to have no end. Like Kennedy’s murder in 1963, the federal government’s utter failure to protect the people in 2020 is a collapse of biblical proportions. Life expectancy, a basic indicator of a society’s health, was simultaneously improving around the world, except in the United States. What we hear in “Murder Most Foul” is the weary voice of a Nobel laureate who’s closing in on his 80s, walking us through our trials and tribulations as only a great poet can do. Clocking in at over 17 minutes, “Murder Most Foul” is the longest song Dylan has ever recorded, just surpassing “Highlands,” released in 1997. President Kennedy “being led to the slaughter like a sacrificial lamb” by unseen men seeking to collect “unpaid debts” who killed “with hatred and without any respect.” Backed by the melancholy chords of his piano, Dylan takes us through the terrible images of the Zapruder film of the assassination that he’s seen “thirty three times, maybe more” (“It’s vile and deceitful—it’s cruel and it’s mean / Ugliest thing that you ever have seen”). At its most essential level, “Murder Most Foul” marks the collapse of the American dream, dating from that terrible day in Dallas, when a certain evil in our midst was revealed in ways not seen for a hundred years—a day that, for Dylan, myself, and others of our generation is forever seared into our collective memory. The murder and the hidden machinations behind it, he tells us, robbed us of Kennedy’s brain, a symbol for the positive, forward-looking American spirit that he represented, and “for the last fifty years they’ve been searching for that.” The contrast between the culture of Dylan’s musical past and the Trump-stricken country of today is summarized in his take on Kennedy’s plea to the nation, turned upside down: That’s the place where Faith, Hope, and Charity died. As Dylan points out midway through the song, they mutilated Kennedy’s body for science, but nobody ever found his soul.  Source: www.thenation.com

Jim Morrison is the ultimate Rorschach Test, in that people only see what they want to see and it is often through a personal myopic view. To some he is forever the leather-clad rebel rock star challenging society and the powers-that-be. To others he is the quiet, introspective poet, and to many raised on the cinematic cartoon from Oliver Stone, he is a drug-addled narcissist with almost no redeeming qualities. There is seemingly no end to the Morrison maze. As Jim’s close friend Frank Lisciandro says: “The fact is that 90 percent of what I hear about Jim Morrison strikes me as being totally wrong; absolutely and totally wrong. The stories that have been made up about Jim Morrison outweigh the facts by so much that I don’t even know where to begin to remend the fabric of truth because its been so torn apart.” Robby Krieger: “Why did Jim go to Paris? It was partly that we couldn’t play anywhere and partly that he needed to broaden his horizons, get rid of all the hangers-on, and just be with his lady. It was unexpected. But there was nothing we could say. Jim obviously needed some kind of vacation, and eventually we all agreed it was a good idea.” Morrison was allegedly seeking a “artist expatriate” lifestyle comparable to many of the writers who found a sanctuary in the City of Light, like John Singer Sargent, Lawrence Durrell, Edith Wharton, etc

However, while the other Doors maintained that Jim did not quit the band, their manager at the time Bill Siddons insisted in no uncertain terms that Morrison was done with the band. “Jim did quit the band. That’s not a rumor, that’s a fact. Jim said that he was leaving the band and was going to pursue other avenues for the foreseeable future. In my mind, Jim had left, but because he hadn’t defined his new future as a screenwriter or whatever he wanted to do, he may come back. While Jim was in Paris, the other three Doors auditioned other singers because they knew that Jim might never come back. A friend of mine at A&M Records had recommended this guy that he had heard and I even ended up managing this guy who was going to replace Jim as the lead singer of The Doors. His name was Mike Stull.” Danny Sugerman controversially wrote in Wonderland Avenue that Pamela Courson had confessed to him that Jim snorted some of her heroin, thinking it was cocaine and overdosed. Of course Pamela died 15 years before Sugerman published this particular story; a story, incidentally, which he never bothered to mention in his 1980 Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive (cowritten with Jerry Hopkins), even though he knew this story by that time since Pamela died in 1974. The number of people who could be called Jim’s closest friends and confidantes can be counted on one hand. Pamela Courson, Babe Hill and Frank Lisciandro are the best known; yet only Lisciandro is available to talk. 

Frank Lisciandro: Anyone who engages in substance abuse spends a lot of time reconstructing reality for themselves, so how can you really know who a person really is when they’re always reconstructing their own reality. The sober Jim Morrison was such an appealing dude, and such a gentle and considerate person. However you also have to understand that this “drunk Jim” wasn’t always hostile. Sometimes he was hilariously funny when he drank, sometimes he was charming and witty, and he loved to play the fool for laughs at times. There were times when I saw him get drunk and obnoxious, but a vast, vast majority of the time he was more playful and just social when he was drunk. I just never felt that he was playing games with my head at all, never. I never once felt that way, but I did see him manipulate or try to use a situation to screw with people. But then again, from my experience, these were usually people who had it coming [laughs]. 

I think Jim assumed a stage character. His stage persona was the character he played. And when it worked he could not only entertain the audience, but also scare them and getting them on a whole other consciousness trip. I can say that Jim's motions were different onstage, his demeanor was different and his voice was different. He was acting a part. There was something about being onstage that forced him to assume a persona that wasn’t his own. Maybe there was a fear or insecurity that forced him to become someone else. Maybe it was simple stage fright, maybe it was his role in the script he had written. Maybe it was in the tradition of shamanism. Who really knows why?

-Steve Wheeler: Did Jim ever talk to you about being disgruntled or tired of performing with the Doors?

-Frank Lisciandro: We know that Jim didn’t like playing in the larger arenas. He told me that countless times and he’s also on the record saying that he wasn’t interested in being a jukebox and pushing out the same twelve songs every show. He was a creative person, so, of course, he wanted to do different things. So who was the guy onstage? It depended on the stage and the night. There was a different Jim Morrison on the stage in Miami in 1969 than on the stage at the Hollywood Bowl in 1968. We have the film and can see what kind of performer he was at the Hollywood Bowl, and he was a pretty damn good performer that night. And while the Hollywood Bowl is a fairly big place—when compared to a club like the Whisky—he was still able to create his magic; like he did with his performance of “The End” that night. I can tell you without hesitation that Jim really didn’t have a lust for material possessions, because it was not his goal to make money with his art. The money he did make with the Doors, he would spend on a shop for Pamela or making a movie like he did with HWY. Pamela was friendly enough with me, and I had some short conversations with her over the years. I even stayed at their house one time and she was perfectly friendly to me when we were together, but I can’t say that I really knew her. I can say that when Jim talked about her, it was always in praise of her or about what a great job she was doing with the shop. Jim was very supportive of her. I think she was about three years younger than Jim, so there could have been a bit of shyness. Sure, I’ve heard stories about Pam from other people, but I dismiss them. I try to talk about only what I personally experienced, and not repeat gossip. No other woman had anything close to the relationship with Jim that Pam had. The main reason he gave for going to Paris was that Pam wanted to go there and live. He had completed his contract with Elektra, and he wanted to do some writing over there and he also was taking HWY with him to show to some French film people that he had met previously—Agnes Varda and Jacques Demy—to get their feedback and opinions as a way to maybe find some funding to make films. There were multiple reasons and objectives for his going. Pam was there and he wanted to be there with her. 

I did get the feeling that he felt a sense of disappointment that the “movement” that he had become part of after his rooftop experience in Venice—that is the movement of music and art and the re-establishment of an American Renaissance in the arts—had been co-opted by the media and by commerce. I believe that it all went sour for him. I don’t recall any specific words that he said to bolster that belief, but I had the strong feeling that he felt a sense of loss for that initial Summer Of Love movement when it wasn’t about business, but when it was about artistic freedom and community and peace and saving the planet. Jim said it out loud more than once to unreceptive ears that he was tired of continuing his music career the way it had become. He said this in interviews in various ways, and he said it to me on more than one occasion specifically, that performing in big arenas—the size that the Doors had begun playing in—was something that wasn’t enjoyable to him. In fact, he was talking to Michael McClure and other Hollywood agents about writing a screenplay for one of Michael’s books at the same time that we were working on the editing for HWY. He was really, really interested in film at that time more so than he was in his music career. In my presence, he did talk about the fact that he just didn’t enjoy performing anymore. He did suggest that he would enjoy performing if they could do it in small clubs again, where he first felt the magic, but he didn’t want to do the large venues anymore.

There’s definitely a disconnect from the real Jim Morrison and it’s because people have been making up stories about Jim Morrison for more than 30 years. All of us, who were his close friends, all have the same remembrances of Jim being very discreet. He was just rather smart in not saying private things to people who didn’t need to know about them. There are so many stories about Jim you hear from people who have suspect motives and even less credibility. Did they actually know Jim Morrison? I’m reminded of the communication experiment in Psychology 101 where one person tells another person a story and then he repeats it to someone else and so on down the line. By the time the story gets to the fifth person it’s a complete jumble that has nothing to do with the original story. And, in the case of Jim, you can see what has happened. There are folks telling Jim Morrison stories who met him once or twice and maybe had a drink with him. My advice to those interested in Jim is to believe very little of what you hear or read.

-Steve Wheeler: There are quite a few theories about Jim’s death, did you ever get involved in that parlor game mentality or try to find out anything?

-Frank Lisciandro: Well, I’ve read stories and I’ve heard stories over the years. I read the so-called first-hand account written by Alain Ronay which was published in an Italian magazine. He contends that he was there and that he knew what happened. Then again, I spoke with Mrs. Courson—Pamela’s mother—who told me what Pamela told her over the last few years, which contradicts what Alain Ronay wrote. This was a private conversation, so I don’t feel comfortable repeating it and I never have written about it or told anyone in the press. What I will say is that if what Pamela told her mother was true, and if I understood what her mother told me, then it would contradict the major points of Alain Ronay’s version of events. Then there’s the fire department’s report, the medical examiner’s report, what Bill Siddons has to say, and before you get done you’re more confused than when you went into it. There’s been a lot of talk that Pamela was some sort of heroin junkie. I don’t know that for a fact; I only know that from hearsay. I never saw any marks on her arms, and I never heard her or Jim ever talk about heroin at any time; so I don’t have any first-hand experience to conclude that Jim died a heroin death. I do know that a lot of stories that I’ve heard about me are totally made-up and completely untrue. So why should I take any stories about Jim or Pam as gospel? Likewise, Babe Hill admits to taking nearly every drug known to man with Jim, but he categorically denies that Jim ever used heroin. With the exception of Pamela, there is no one who spent more personal time with Jim than Babe. And anyone who says they were around Jim as much as Babe, is just not being truthful. I think Babe would have seen heroin use by Jim. Heroin was definitely around so Jim could have definitely gotten some, but I just don’t think he would have hid that from Babe or me. And to complicate the matter, there are people out there who make comments about Jim and tell stories about him who didn’t know him at all. These are people who met him in a bar for an afternoon, people who casually ran across him for five minutes, people who really didn’t know him, but these are the same folks who endlessly speculate as to who Jim was or make up stories about him because they want to pretend that they really knew Jim Morrison. The fact is that 90% of what I hear about Jim Morrison strikes me as being totally wrong; absolutely and totally wrong. Source: rokritr.com

Patricia Kennealy rewrites her own love life in "Blackmantle," a messy and rather dizzying fantasy novel, which is too vengeful and wild to be enjoyable. Imagine her autobiography "Strange Days," but with a lot more murder. Her alter ego Athyn was born on a battlefield to a dying mystery woman, and was brought back home as a foundling by one of the surviving warriors. Years later, she is cast out of her family's home, and goes on to become a legendary brehon. Then she discovers she is actually the hereditary queen of Keltia. During this time, she also falls in love with famed bard Morric Douglass (Jim Morrison's alter ego). Eventually the two are married, as Athyn drives out the Firvolgi invaders. But the beautiful junkie Amzalsunëa (Pam Courson's alter ego) is still obsessed with Morric, and poisons him when he comes to comfort her. Now Athyn goes on a rampage against anyone who wronged Morric -- and then she goes into the underworld itself, to challenge the god of death. At first glance, "Blackmantle" sounds like a sci-fi version of the Orpheus legend. But it becomes clear this is a therapy session put to paper, where Kennealy can get revenge on all the people in her life who have ticked her off, then live happily ever after with an idealized, faithful Morrison. It gets a little stomach-turning, in more than one way. It certainly doesn't help that Athyn is such a nasty person. Reality and fantasy collide with a nasty splat in "Blackmantle." In the end, it seems merely like a way for Kennealy to get back at Pam Courson and the Doors in fiction, as she could not do in life. Source: www.amazon.com

Patricia Kennealy: I didn’t really hang out with musicians, it wasn’t my job. Like they say in Almost Famous, “it’s not your job to be friends with them, it’s your job to criticize them.” When you see them over and over again you do develop a personal fun relationship with them. Janis Joplin was a pet of the magazine. We loved her so much and we were devastated when she died. Janis was so amazing. Jimi Hendrix, I was not a fan. All the musicians I met told me what a great musician he was and how incredible he was and frankly, I just didn’t hear it. I was an Airplane girl, I was a Doors girl, a Grateful Dead fan to some extent, but Jimi Hendrix, I just didn’t get it. Lillian Roxon was the first who commented in print my association with Jim. I was indirectly mentioned as “a chick who Jim promptly balled on the living room floor”, and “the next morning Jim’s old lady (Pamela) showed up to complain 'Jim, you always ruin my Christmas'”—a clear reference to the incident at Diane Gardiner’s house in December 1970. Before, Richard Goldstein wrote a 1968 piece about Jim and Pam for New York magazine, in which he remarks Jim “picks up his girlfriend” and they all head out for the beach. I think Jim wanted to protect her privacy so Pam wouldn't be bothered by the fans. The hardcore bandfollowers and people in rock circles knew about Pam. Another writer, misled perhaps by flawed chivalry, even claimed Pam was “Jim’s intellectual equal”.

I wasn’t around Pamela Courson all that much, I only met her a couple of times. For whatever reason Jim needed her in his life. I do believe she killed him, absolutely. Most people think that’s a really terrible thing to say but I really do believe it happened. I mean maybe it wasn’t deliberate or intentional, more like, “here, Jim, just take this, it’s cocaine” and it wasn’t, it was her smack. There are many many theories about how it actually happened, many contradictory stories about he was in a nightclub to score heroin and he came home and overdosed. But he didn’t do smack, you know, when he talked about it he said that heroin was horrible and he didn’t understand why Pamela did it. Maybe Pam just stood by and let Jim take the heroin in hopes of getting him hooked along with her, as junkies are so fond of doing to their nearest and dearest, to cut their own guilt and shame. Also, as an emotional batterer, Pam Courson was right up there with the gold medalists. Jim died because Pam fucked up as much as he fucked up. Source: rocknwomen.avidnoise.com

“Pamela showed me a marriage certificate when I was in Paris with her. Clearly no one else in Jim’s life was as close to him as Pamela was. Of course she was his wife, Pamela was Jim Morrison’s soul wife if nothing else.“ –The Doors’ manager Bill Siddons.

In Patricia Kennealy's Strange Days we don’t see any instances of Pamela being a big bitch to Jim Morrison. In fact, she comes across as rather sweet and nice, which only seems to make Kennealy angrier. Patricia Kennealy: 'Pamela Courson had great charm, when she wasn’t strung out on smack or screaming at Jim like a fishwife, by all accounts both regular occurrences.' Most of Patricia's knowledge of Pamela in the book was secondhand information from other people, and she seems to have only focused on the negative. And again, this is a third-hand account we’re supposed to believe. Note how she says “by all accounts.” So, she didn’t actually see this, she just heard it through the grapevine from who-knows-who, and took it as gospel. She doesn’t even say it was according to people who knew Jim well, or people she trusted. Most of the actions Kennealy attributes to Courson are hearsay or theory. Her 'highly respected' musical Jazz & Pop magazine has pretty much been forgotten except for the pieces they produced on old-time rockers like the Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa, and some jazz guy called Jim Pepper. In Strange Days, it's funny when Jim suggests that Patricia Kennealy was a secret lesbian and she loses her marbles. Later, Patricia goes apeshit when she discovers Janet Erwin having sex with Jim. And the handfasting ritual she describes honestly doesn’t sound like Morrison’s taste. Patricia met Pamela for maybe a couple of hours. James Riordan credited Pamela as Jim's longtime companion and their relationship as the predominant relationship of his life, saying 'their romance was a tumultuous blend of tenderness and uncontrolled passion right from the beginning and this fire and ice quality lasted right to the end'. Riordan also refers to Pam Courson as Morrison's sexual and intellectual equal. Source: authorial-madness.com

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Analysis of Twin Peaks The Return, Rock Muses

When the homecoming queen, Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), is murdered in Twin Peaks, Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), a boyishly chirpy, yet noble FBI agent, who possesses a child-like wonder for the world around him, is sent to investigate the case. Mystically-inclined, Agent Cooper is open to any leads, no matter how metaphysical their origin. In one of the most iconic episodes we enter Dale's dream where Laura Palmer whispers the name of her killer in our hero's ear. This takes place in the Red Room, a Bardo-like realm where our characters meet otherworldly entities and tussle with the dark side of their souls (embodied in a shadow self) before passing through to the next plane of existence. Here they meet their evil doppelgänger, whom they have to face with "perfect courage" or "it will annihilate your soul". Or as Lynch puts it, "the unified field", where he believes all great ideas come from. Frost sensed the fans growing restless, thinking Lynch too absolutist in not solving the mystery. In a 2000 interview with Entertainment Weekly, he reflects on Lynch not wanting to reveal the killer: "I know David was always enamoured of that notion, but I felt we had an obligation to the audience to give them some resolution." It has been suggested that the BOB entity is thought up by Laura as a coping mechanism, and though the Twin Peaks storyline doesn't exactly confirm or deny this idea, BOB is a very much an evil entity that has purchase over the minds of other people too, particularly if they are those supersensitive enough to other realms. Acerbic Agent Albert Rosenfield, played by Miguel Ferrer, postulates that BOB "is just the evil that men do".

Lynch had been right about the primacy of the central mystery. The network was going to cancel Twin Peaks but, with some arm-twisting from Lynch, ABC allowed Frost and Lynch to see the thing through to the end of the second season. And then the unexpected happened: the final episode of season two, "Beyond Life and Death", airing on 10 June 1991, became one of the best episodes of the series. Lynch revived the show with the defibrillator that is his boundless imagination. Having nothing left to lose made him more ingenious than ever.

The season two finalé sees Dale Cooper enter the red room, now known as The Black Lodge, the realm from where BOB descended, to rescue his girlfriend Annie (Heather Graham), only for Cooper's evil doppelgänger to escape, with good Cooper left trapped in the Lodge. And to make matters ten times worse, Bad Cooper ("Mr C") is also possessed by the BOB entity. This is deeply wounding. Laura is able to resist BOB, but she's also in touch with her shadow side. Did this happen to Cooper because he hasn't acknowledged his capacity for darkness? Lynch was still haunted by his creation, in particular the character Laura Palmer. He wanted to make a prequel film, Fire Walk with Me, detailing the last seven days of Laura's life. 

Fire Walk with Me is an extraordinary piece of work. However, it is ruthlessly uncompromising. We see the last seven days of Laura's life, and there is a great empathy to the story. Here Laura is revealed to be a powerful messianic figure, whose light balances the darkness of BOB, who wants to possess her -- Laura's messianic status is confirmed in episode eight of season 3 when we see the Giant (Carel Struycken) making her and sending her to Earth as a reaction to the birth of BOB. At first glance, Laura doesn't appear to be much of a messiah. A contradictory figure, she helps the elderly by day and prostitutes herself by night in a coke-addled frenzy. There are times when her behavior is downright demonic. There's plenty of darkness in her, but (and here is the crucial difference) it's on a conscious level. She is actively engaging with her dark side, a necessary exigency for her to eventually counteract the darkness in the world.

This is the difference between Dale and Laura: Laura knows you have to concede that evil stirs within her/our own soul in order to conquer it, whereas Dale just wants to conquer it. Rather than be ensnared by evil she puts on a ring that weds her to the Red Room and then she dies. Understanding evil, in her mind, is the best defence against it. How often do you hear that a man who has killed his family was the friendliest neighbour on the street? Obliviousness to darkness means it can possess you more easily. Fire Walk With Me was not fully embraced by fans. Very little light was shed on Dale Cooper's fate, and the film was a commercial bellyflop and received no fanfare, probably due to how unflinching it is, the quirky tone of the show no longer present. In an article for Premiere magazine, David Foster Wallace wrote that he thought it was due to Laura's twofold nature, claiming multiplex audiences want escape, and not this kind of moral ambiguity, as they feel implicated by it. 

In Twin Peaks, good and evil aren't black and white. To Foster Wallace, Fire Walk With Me is a movie that requires that these troubling "features of ourselves and the world not be dreamed away or judged away or massaged away, but acknowledged." In 2014, the most wonderful thing for Twin Peaks fans occurred: Lynch announced on Twitter that the show was coming back with a third season. Having matured and cast aside their grudges, Frost and Lynch got back to work, with Frost admitting that it was Twin Peaks' fervent fandom that kept the show alive in his mind. The Return: The new season's pacing was glacial but in a hypnotic way, unfurling like smoke before our eyes. This slowness is entrancing. Our culture has sped up to a distressing degree, so to enter into a world with such a creeping pace at first feels peculiar, and then radical. Pretty soon, it becomes clear that Lynch is rewriting the rules of television all over again, giving us not what we want but what we need. For consciousness to be expanded, one has to ditch one's formulas. Something deeper is happening here.

Italian psychologist, Roberto Assagioli believed that within us there are "subpersonalities", multiple modes in our psyches that are triggered without us giving the green-light. These "subpersonalities" are autonomous and need to be integrated or else they have the capacity to subsume our whole identity, particularly if they are disowned or unacknowledged. They are our way of dealing with challenges throughout the course of our lives, and at one point they did prove useful -- that's why they've remained -- but they can thwart situations in which they are no longer appropriate. Assagioli was heavily influenced by Carl Jung, who coined the term Individuation, which is the process whereby someone integrates all their unconscious parts (or "subpersonalties"), bringing them to the level of consciousness. He also came up with the idea of The Shadow, all those elements of our psyche that we reject, which can be negative characteristics. 

Twin Peaks: The Return refuses to be itself, and thus becomes even more itself, growing into something better and stranger. Even though the show knows how to age, that doesn't mean its protagonist does. A lot of growing up is accepting the unattainability of heroism to the level of purity that Cooper aspires. To be a real hero in the real the world requires one to embrace darkness, which is impossible without embracing your own (à la Laura). So, in Twin Peaks: The Return, Cooper's identity is atomised into three separate individuals. We long to see the Cooper we know and love, but for him to achieve the wholeness the maturation process dictates, he has to move on from being that former Cooper and become something different. Even while practically lobotomised, there's a kindness, a purity to Dougie, that is redolent of Agent Cooper's essence. In episode 16, Cooper finally wakes up. And it's him, it's really him, the coffee loving Agent with a heart of gold. And when Cooper returns to Twin Peaks, he defeats evil with a little help from his lovable old pals.

"We live inside a dream," it appears part of Cooper's identity is still in the Black Lodge, having gone so far beyond the human realm that time's linearity has been revealed as an illusion. Or, this timeline could be collapsing on account of Cooper meddling with the past. Or it could be a meta-commentary on the artifice of the show, and Cooper is now aware he's a character on a television show. Either way, in Twin Peaks dreams have just as much heft as reality, with which they are inextricably woven, and the same goes for our own lives. Dreams can point us where to go, or reveal to us something we've been overlooking. The invalidating of dreams is an unfortunate side effect of our more atheistic age. If you fall in love in a dream, you are really falling in love. This is why compensatory "subpersonalities" often show up in dreams. So it is in the last episode of season 3, with evil vanquished, that Cooper, now equipped with supernatural, lodge-like capabilities, can't resist going further, and sets out to reverse the past, specifically the death of Laura Palmer. He is incorrigibly upstanding in his purpose, his valiance giving him no sense of self-preservation.

Cooper is heroic, accepting harsh realities for himself, but not for others. While more admirable than being in denial about himself, it still counts as not accepting reality. He's so virtuous that he goes to monumentally self-sacrificing lengths to save Laura from her fate. It takes considerable hubris to bend the laws of nature, and this is exactly what Cooper does by going back to the night of Laura's murder and altering events. Another act of hubris so great that it tries to bend the very nature of reality occurs in episode eight - possibly the most groundbreaking hour of television that's ever aired. We go back in time to 16 July 1945. We see a long sequence in which the first ever atomic bomb is detonated in New Mexico. The Trinity Test as part of the Manhattan Project in New Mexico was the single most destructive technology ever commissioned, therefore it is the most evil act of technological advancement ever committed. Splitting the atom is an act of scientific hubris on par -- in storytelling terms -- with going back in time and changing the course of history. To assume the power of a god seems to be where the human race is inexorably heading, the unremitting progress leaving no space for self-reflection.

In Fire Walk With Me, Cooper entered Laura's dream and tries to dissuade her from taking a ring that would wed her to The Lodge. He can't surmise why her taking the ring is so necessary, as he's too hell-bent on saving the damsel from her fate. White Knights always think they know what's best for their seemingly helpless damsels. In one of the most moving scenes Lynch has ever directed, set in The Roadhouse, further examples of his intuitive ingenuity are demonstrated. Unaccountably, those congregated in the Roadhouse seem to just pick up on the sadness of this event in the air, and start crying. Foster Wallace marveled: "David Lynch seems to truly possess the capacity for detachment from response that most artists only pay lip-service to." Lynch's receptiveness to ideas, no matter their source, means he's open to some very troubling ones. People often puzzle over how dark Lynch's work is. They can't reconcile how terrifying his vision can be with his guileless, boy-scout demeanor. That said, when Lynch directs beauty he eclipses everyone else, too. The more you open yourself to darkness, the more you open yourself to the light. This is the healing effect of accepting one's own darkness. 

Twin Peaks The Return - The Ending:  Eventually, Laura remembers some of what happened to her in the other timeline. Some trauma persists through time and space and there's nothing anyone can do about it, no matter how heroic their efforts, except provide the victim a safe space. This is something Laura had already excelled at -- intentionally sealing her own fate, and Christ-like, accepting it. In the last moments, Laura remembers her life in the previous timeline. She lets out her blood-curdling scream. The lights in the Palmer residence go out, and the screen goes black. So what the hell was that ending all about? Some fans were ruffled by this inscrutable conclusion. Here are some possible explanations we can posit:

1. Cooper managed to lure Judy into the Carrie Page timeline, because Judy feeds on pain and suffering, so Laura's scream summoned Judy, and thereupon the timeline was collapsed essentially trapping the Judy entity, but also killing Cooper and Laura along with it.

2. Now that Cooper seems to have Bad Cooper in him, it could be that Bad Cooper took the reigns and brought Laura back to Twin Peaks to offer her up to Judy.

3. The Carrie Page timeline is a dream, and when Carrie realises she is dreaming she wakes up back in the Palmer residence as Laura Palmer.

However, unless Lynch decides to make a fourth season, we'll probably never know what the ending truly mean. The ending might be insoluble by design. This means Lynch has the last laugh, for there is only one thing he hates more than meddling executives: narrative closure. By being unresolved the mystery of Twin Peaks prevails once more. So, just like in life, we have to surrender to the mystery of it all. Is this an ending where good or evil prevailed? Source: www.popmatters.com

This destination of the "bright midnight" involves "bliss" and "light," unmistakable symbols of joy and euphoria. "Sweet delight" is involved, set against the contrasting "endless night." The darkness has come to an end. One of the themes of The End is internal travel. Morrison sings “there’s danger on the edge of town.” Danger here refers to one of the core elements of the hero’s journey: overcoming the obstacles. Morrison tells the listener to "ride the king's highway" and to "ride the highway West." In between is the line "Weird scenes inside the gold mine." The placement suggests that "the gold mine" is somehow associated with going West. This passage is an invitation to encounter what Morrison called the “dark forces,” symbolic of obstacles that must be defeated on the journey to liberation. We next encounter the image of "the blue bus," which is said to be "calling us." When he says “the West is the best,” he’s not talking about California, he’s talking about the mythological West, a landmark within that whole hero’s journey, to reach his Shangrila. Bernard Wolfe wrote, "What an ingenious formula: Morrison did resurrect something in the paved-over human potential, something at least assumed to be there, fantasy freedom, fantasy sex, fantasy departure, through the trick of escaping from the human realm or going through the motions of escape.” Despite the occasional darkness, from the haunting eeriness of End of the Night to the chilling visions in The End, Morrison’s overriding images are beautiful and positive. He ultimately emphasized light over darkness, but light cannot be achieved without first conquering dark and dangerous obstacles. Morrison was ultimately a “light-bringer and emissary of the light.” And Morrison, when you look at a song like When the Music’s Over, right after he screams out, “We want the world and we want it now,” he says, “See the light. Save us, Jesus, Save us.” And the light, meaning love, the sun and the dawn, are the prevailing themes in The Doors, not the dark, the night, the chaos and the abyss. —Jim Morrison and the Secret Gold Mine (2017) by David Shiang

Jim Morrison: “People have the feeling that what’s going on outside isn’t real, just a bunch of staged events, all I did was to record this feeling. Out in the social world people mostly live as if they are perpetually acting in conformity with what others believe about them. That's a way of living a lie. It’s a lie even if everyone else is right and you’re wrong.”

Pamela Courson was the muse who inspired many of Jim Morrison's songs and poems like "Love Street," "Queen of the Highway," or "Twentieth Century Fox." Pam was briefly enrolled studying art at L.A. City College and she liked to explore in particular the Sunset Strip zone. Jim first met Pamela Courson shortly after his break-up with Mary Werbelow in the summer of 1965. Although some versions of their first encounter date the spring of 1966, they had previously met in 1965 at a college campus party and they were living together in the Venice area, probably rent-free at a communal house with other friends. Pam had already run out of her parents' funds and danced occasionally in the Sunset Strip. Jim still received an intermitent allowance from his grandparents. Possibly he supplemented the couple's meagre incomes by dealing acid to students. January Jensen confirmed they'd met in 1965 at an UCLA campus party, prior to The Doors formation.

Pam was a rebellious spirit who looked after new adventures far away from her suffocating middle class family (although Pam felt close to her maternal grandmother, from who she had received her middle name Susan). “What are you wasting your time with this guy for? Get yourself someone with money!” Pamela’s older sister Judy advised Pamela in the fall of 1965, noting Jim didn't have any prospects by then. January Jensen recalls Jim's fixation with Pam: “Jim always carried a notebook with him. And every time we’d come to a restaurant, a general store, or a gas station, he’d have to stop and call Pam.” In November 1971, four months after Jim died, Pam filed a ‘declaration in support of widow’s allowance,’ claiming: ‘Since September 30, 1967, I have considered that I was married to James Douglas Morrison, and that I was in fact his wife at the time of his death and am now his widow’. In her court statement, Pam said, ‘Jim reported to me that he learned from Max Fink that to create a marriage in the state of Colorado it was sufficient if two people stayed together, had relations and agreed to conduct themselves as husband and wife. We spent the night at a hotel, had sexual relations and agreed that we would forever be husband and wife. We honeymooned in Colorado and then continued our the Doors tour.’ Pam’s statement went on to say that during their relationship, all her living expenses were paid from Jim’s earnings, and she and Jim were given $2,500 in cash each month. 

-Phil O'Leno (Jim Morrison's fellow film student at UCLA): Sandor Ferenczi. Hungarian, was Jim’s favorite psychoanalyst; Jung was too abstract for him, although he borrowed a lot of my Jung books, especially the alchemical ones. Ferenczi was very radical and wrote a paper that was called the “Dream Screen.” Jim loved it so much he tore it out of a book. Jim worked in the film library at UCLA. Patty Monk, a girl with an English accent who worked with him in the library, was his first sexual partner. But he was very naive when she sort of took him under her wing. And they were something of a couple for a short while.

Rich Linnell was an early member of The Doors entourage initially through his friendship with Robby Krieger’s brother Ronnie. Early on Rich was helping lug around the band’s equipment at concerts and he ultimately brought his good friend, Bill Siddons, into the fold. Siddons would soon become the manager of The Doors, and Linnell would carve out his own successful career as a concert promoter. -Rich Linnell: I knew nothing about the band at the time, I’d heard a song on the radio, but I didn’t know much about them or their reputation. The Doors were playing at Ciro’s that night [April, 1967], which is now The Comedy Store [8433 Sunset Blvd.], and we went up to Jim and Pam’s place in Laurel Canyon. We walk in and introductions were made, “Hi, this is Rich, this is Jim, this is Pam.” “Hello, how do you do?” And those were the only words spoken for about twenty minutes, while Pam and Jim got ready to go on down to the show, which we were taking them to. And they got in the car, we drove on down the hill, and again nothing was being said. So we dropped them off at Ciro’s, they went in the back door, and we sat on the floor in the front part of the stage and about twenty minutes later the band comes out. And here’s Jim who was previously just quiet—and that’s an understatement—who suddenly just lurches into incredible histrionics onstage, and screaming and rolling around, and I was just going, “What the…?” It was very hard for me to believe at that point that the same guy that I had spent the twenty or thirty minutes in his apartment was the same guy onstage. 

-Frank Lisciandro: So what was Jim really like?

-Rich Linnell: What was he really like? Well he was like a lot of things. Well, I think the initial description that I gave, the silence. Which, at the time, and even in retrospect, he was having moment of quiet contemplation. It was perhaps the way Jim centered himself before he went onstage. He was witty, he was charming. He was a challenging conversationalist. And we could talk about anything, and he was well versed with any number of subjects. I’m sure he drank a lot more than I did, but I never witnessed him throwing drinks or glasses around or becoming an obnoxious drunk.

-Frank Lisciandro: What about Pamela and their relationship?

-Rich Linnell: I never knew Pam very well. She was more of a mystery to me; probably because I didn’t know her very well, but she was around a lot on the road. From time to time I’d ask somebody, “What’s it like today? Are they together or not?” And usually the answer was, “I don’t know”, “Pam threw him out” or “Jim left.” It seemed to me to be stormy, although there always seemed to be a lot of caring and a lot of love there, too. Volatile; very volatile. So I didn’t have any strong feelings about Pam one way or another. She seemed a little standoffish, a little arrogant sometimes. At times when she was around giving him trouble, Jim was more of a drag. 

Salli Stevenson, journalist for Circus Magazine: "The only woman that Jim ever took seriously was Pamela Courson. They experienced every facet of a relationship that could be experienced together: friends, lovers, partners. She was his old lady. She is the only woman he ever allowed to say she was his wife. Jim for many reasons completely bonded to Pamela. I knew that nothing could come between them. I felt that they both deserved Purple Hearts for weathering the challenges of their journey together. I met and interviewed Jim on October 13, 1970. Jim and I were in contact after that until he and Babe Hill left for Miami on October 29th. When Jim returned, he called me. We got together for a movie with Frank and Kathy Lisciandro. We were in touch on and off until January 17, 1971. We finally spoke to each other twice in March, before he left for Paris."

Raeanne Bartlett: I don't particularly trust Eve Babitz or her sister Mirandi. They are resentful, bitter storytellers, and unpleasant about absolutely everyone. I know the prostitution rumors, said by several people who hated Pamela (especially Mirandi Babitz and Max Fink). In a research of over 14 years, I've never found any evidence of it. Patricia Butler never found any evidence, nor in the early 60s phase, nor in Pamela's later days. Patricia Kennealy was upset when her cover-up was exposed by Jerry Hopkins, who wrote the foreword of Patricia Butler's book. According to Jerry Hopkins (who was not either the fairest judge towards Pam, whom he called 'manipulative'): "Except for Pamela, there was no one girl that Jim saw often for periods of more than a few days, in the months since they'd met. Jim and Patricia had been in the same room only a few times. Nor had there been many phone calls. Nothing that signaled a passionate courtship."  Kennealy, however, tried very hard in Strange Days to model the character of herself after Pamela Courson. Patricia describes herself as a stylish redhead who kept Jim in check and didn’t take any guff from him, making herself out to be the muse who inspires his work. Others, like German actress Nico, couldn't understand why were left behind for Pamela and dyed her hair red to no avail. Ray Manzarek talks about how Nico went gaga over Jim and tried her best feminine tactics to win him over, chasing him desperately for a while, but Jim only felt a romantic protective connection to Pamela that was irreplaceable. 

Henry Diltz (film editor and photographer): When it came time to record the pivotal track When The Music’s Over, Morrison insisted the whole track be played live in the studio. The band acquiesced, then sat there for more than 12 hours waiting for him to show up. He never did. Instead, he phoned the studio at 3am and spoke to Robby Krieger. “We’re in trouble here,” Jim told Robby. Morrison and his girlfriend Pam Courson were tripping on strong acid and wanted Krieger to drive them to nearby Griffith Park where they could “cool out”. Later we decided we needed a beer so we drove around Skid row and came upon the Hard Rock Cafe. The original one, way before the chain. We had a wild few hours buying drinks, hearing stories and laughing. Years later Peter Morton and Ian Schrager decided to start their chain Hard Rock Cafe, inspired by the Morrison Hotel cover. As a result of doing this cover I made a friend and drinking buddy in Jim Morrison and spent many afternoons discussing things that matter in the bar of Xavier Cugat's restaurant. We both loved film and he was editing his film in the same building I was making the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young documentary. Coincidently, it's also the building where Jim Morrison's girlfriend Pam Courson had her clothing store, Themis. I remember nights after hours on the floor of the mirrored and feather walls with Pam and Jim. Talking and laughing. How sweet it was. The coincidence is that, unknown to me or Jim, Pam and my wife at the time had been the two rebel girls in junior and senior high in the heart of uberconservative Orange County. Wow! Coincidence? I think not!" 


Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love (2020), a documentary directed by Nick Broomfiled, is an in-depth look at the relationship between the late musician Leonard Cohen and his Norwegian muse Marianne Ihlen. Cohen ballads from this time reflected what was happening: "So Long Marianne" and "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye." In his dying moments Leonard recognised the value of his connection with Marianne.  "Dearest Marianne, I'm just a little behind you, close enough to take your hand. This old body has given up, just as yours has too, and the eviction notice is on its way any day now. I've never forgotten your love and your beauty. But you know that. I don't have to say any more. Safe travels old friend. See you down the road. Love and gratitude, Leonard" Source: www.spiritualityandpractice.com