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

Friday, June 23, 2017

Romantic Reactions, Jim Morrison's girlfriends

On TCM June, 23, 2017 at 02:45 AM"ROMAN HOLIDAY": A bored and sheltered princess escapes her guardians and falls in love with an American newsman in Rome. The story was credited to Ian McLellan Hunter but was really written by the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo. TCM celebrates the Star of the Month (June): Audrey Hepburn. William Wyler's 1953 reverse-Cinderella story Roman Holiday spends as much time exploring a European wonderland as it spends advancing its plot. Audrey Hepburn plays a teenage princess who shirks her ambassadorial duty during a Rome stopover and takes to the streets. There, she encounters hard-luck American reporter Gregory Peck, who smells a story and offers to escort Hepburn as she fulfills her "what do the simple folk do?" dreams. Wyler, lets much of the film pass without dialogue, allowing Hepburn's immediate reactions (as enchantingly passionate now as they were 50 years ago, in what was her Hollywood debut) and her increasing physical closeness to Peck say what the characters can't. Hepburn won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance; the screenplay and costume design also won. The leisurely pace of Roman Holiday also allows for plenty of touristy gawking at the sights of Rome, and for viewers to project themselves into the sidewalk cafĂ©s, gelato stands, and crumbling ruins. Source:

In his 1890 opus, The Principles of Psychology, William James invoked Romeo and Juliet to illustrate what makes conscious beings so different from the particles that make them up. “Romeo wants Juliet as the filings want the magnet; and if no obstacles intervene he moves towards her by as straight a line as they,” James wrote. “But Romeo and Juliet, if a wall be built between them, do not remain idiotically pressing their faces against its opposite sides like the magnet and the filings. Romeo soon finds a circuitous way, by scaling the wall or otherwise, of touching Juliet’s lips directly.” Romeo’s desires and psychological states approximate the unknowably complicated causes and effects between the atoms in his brain and surroundings. Source:

Friends from Clearwater say that for three years in the early 1960s, Jim Morrison and Mary Werbelow were inseparable. He mourns their breakup in the Doors' ballad The End. "They take a part of him and sensationalize that. People don't really know Jim. They don't really have a clue," says Mary Werbelow. In the summer of 1962, Mary met Jim Morrison near Pier 60, Clearwater. Jim had just finished the year at St. Petersburg Junior College. Mary had Jim chauffeur her to St. Pete, to see the movie West Side Story. Jim talked like no one she had met. "We're just going to talk in rhymes now," he would say. He recited long poems from memory. This was not puppy love. This was different. "We connected on a level where speaking was almost unnecessary. We'd look at each other and know what we were thinking. He was a genius." When it came to sex: "It was not happening. And it didn't for a long time. I'm surprised he held out that long." Mary says he rarely drank in her presence. "It was out of respect for me. We were in love, and he didn't want to do things that I didn't like." 

"She was the love of his life in those days. They were virtually soul mates for three or four years," Bryan Gates says. In the fall, Jim transferred to Florida State. Most weekends, rain or shine, he hitchhiked back to Clearwater, 230 miles down U.S. 19. Most days in between, letters postmarked Tallahassee arrived at the Werbelow mailbox. They would talk for hours. She always assumed he had her wait at different phones for her protection; now she's thinking it was his way of making sure she wrote him at least once a week. Mary says Jim asked her to wear "something floaty" when she arrived in Los Angeles. "He wanted me to look like an angel coming off the plane." Mary got her first real job, in the office of a hospital X-ray department. Later, she donned a fringe skirt and boots as a go-go dancer at Gazzari's on the Sunset Strip. Jim studied film. Mary says he started doubting her commitment. "You're going to leave me," he would tell her. "No, I'm not. How can you say that? I'm in love with you." After one fight, Jim went out with another woman. "That was the beginning of the end." He was drinking hard and taking psychedelic drugs. The day Jim helped her move to a new apartment, she told him she needed a break. "He clammed up after that. I really hurt him. It hurts me to say that. I really hurt him." They split up in the summer of 1965. 

Within two years of their breakup, Jim Morrison was the "King of Orgasmic Rock." She and Jim kept up with each other. She says she was his anchor before things got crazy. "I'd see him when he really needed to talk to someone." Jim had a knack for finding her. He would eventually ask if she had changed her mind: "Why can't we be together now?" "Not yet, someday," she would answer. More than once, Mary says, he asked her to marry him. "It was heartbreaking. I knew I wanted to be with him, but I couldn't." She thought they were too young. She needed more time to explore her own identity. In late 1968, Mary moved to India to study meditation. She never saw Jim again. Lines in Break on Through especially pain her, lines she interprets as Jim saying she betrayed him by not getting back together: Arms that chain/Eyes that lie. "I promised it wouldn't be forever, that I'd get back together with him sometime. I never did. It's very painful to think of that. For a long time, any time I would think about him, or anyone would talk about him, I'd cry. It used to make me so sad. I never gave him that second chance. That destroyed me for so long. I let him go and never gave him that second chance. I felt so guilty about that." Source:

"When I was seventeen, I fell in love with Jim Morrison. At the end of a dilapidated green pier in Venice, in a club renovated with fake cheetah skins, the spotlight shone through dark blue silence and caught him at the microphone. He paused inside the softly lit circle; pale light played over his face and held it. He had pale skin—a fine, white translucency. He had delicate molding—the precision of his hip bones. He had dark hair—near black, lustrous. His beauty was injured, unyielding. Jim took in the audience and closed his eyes; his delicate, destructible features drew an involuntary sigh from the crow." Remembering her first night together at a motel, Judy Huddleston writes: "I found Jim washing his hair and whistling, in a great mood. He smiled tentatively as I got in, picked up the soap and covered my body with white lather. Then he stood back so the hot water ran down my body, proving himself kind and considerate. As the soap slid smoothly between us, he kissed me sweetly. Then he lathered me up again, smiling childishly. “I’m going to dry off. But stay inside if you want.” Jim casually turned off the hot water as he got out. “Have you ever had a boyfriend?” he asked. “One and a half,” I replied sarcastically. “I think what you need is a boyfriend,” said Jim. ”You can’t look for it; then it’ll never happen. I think it’s always an accident, you know. People just meet, and they fall in love, all by accident!” When Huddleston confessed she'd only had sex with four guys, Morrison seemed startled: ”You’re practically a virgin,” he burst out, flushed. “I feel really privileged.” He looked embarrassed and thrilled, like he’d just made it with the Virgin Mary.  ―"Love Him Madly" (2013) by Judy Huddleston

For never was a tale of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo reads the introduction of Patricia Butler's "Angels Dance, Angels Die: The Tragic Romance of Pamela and Jim Morrison." Pam and Jim's relationship was relatively private for a rock couple. Maybe readers will have a tough time piecing events together chronologically, as this narrative only sketchily covers the background events that defined Jim and Pam's world. Reports of Morrison's rampant womanizing are legendary, yet his connection to Pam could not ever be broken―we learn how he would go to great lengths (emotionally and financially) to keep Pam happy up until the day he died. They even took out at least three marriage licenses during their relationship. Butler dwells on Pam's relationship with Randy Ralston after Jim's death, showing Pam was not ready to commit seriously to another man. One day Pam showed Randy a list of bank accounts. “I think at the time the FDIC max was $20,000,” Ralston recalls, “and she showed me a list of accounts in banks all over town, each with $20,000. At the top of the list I saw, “The Probate of James Douglas Morrison.” “So many guys would bow and scrape at her feet,” Ralston says. “I think that quickly bored her. But she said she and Jim fought! She would throw his fucking clothes and books out the window.” At one point, Randy and Pamela took a trip to Las Vegas and even talked briefly about getting married. “We always were really very enamored of each other,” Randy says. “But I don’t think anybody could fill the boots of Jim Morrison. I don’t think there was any guy who could do that in her life.”

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Art Life: David Lynch, Jim Morrison

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bob Dylan's Vernacular, Jim Morrison's Vision

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Wild at Heart, Jim Morrison's snakeskin jacket

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Opioids Crisis in USA, Jim Morrison's possible OD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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