WEIRDLAND

Monday, July 03, 2017

Happy 4th of July! Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

"Every movie star is disliked by some people," said John Cromwell, another director with whom she worked, "but everyone liked Jean Arthur." She worked assiduously at placing herself beyond Hollywood's usual grasp. She recoiled from interviews, shunned photographers and declined to participate in the standard publicity gimmicks. She avoided parties and nightclubs and the glamour set that inhabited the likes of Club Mocambo and the Troc. Instead, she chose to live as a virtual recluse. As her one-time husband, movie producer Frank Ross, once affirmed, "She really wants to be left alone." 

Peter Pan provided Arthur with a fictional affirmation of her values, "If you can hang on to your individuality, hold tight to your freedom, and not get squigged-out as you grow older, then and only then are you mature," she said during the play's run, later adding that "people who aren't free like Peter, or at least hunger to be free, aren't aware of the adventure of living. They're walking around dead." "She was a nonconformist too," said Jean of Joan of Arc, "a believer in her own intuition. Intuition, that's what Joan's voices were. She just wanted everybody to go home and mind their own business," which is all that Arthur wanted, as well.

Jean Arthur's aversion to publicity would eventually cause the mainstream Hollywood press to turn on her, but for the time being journalists were more intrigued than anything else. Many saw her as a sort of American Garbo, only even harder to reach. "It is Miss Arthur, even more than the divine Garbo, who wants to be alone," declared Movie Classic in January 1937.

James Stewart was impressed with his leading lady, later calling her "the finest actress I ever worked with. No one had her humor, her timing." You Can't Take It With You was far from either's best opportunity to display their respective abilities, but it helped establish them as the quintessential Capra couple. Arthur and Frank Ross had recently moved from Beverly Hills into a unique, modernistic three-story house high in the hills of Brentwood, complete with pool, terrace and garden. Still, Arthur remained curiously frustrated from a professional standpoint. Her husband further explained that "Jean is not essentially a happy person, you know. She is not in any way a Polyanna. She is never satisfied with herself."

Few Hollywood films have stamped themselves as deeply upon the American consciousness as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). The real message of this film is that the forces of evil in America's political institutions are as powerful and entrenched as the forces of good, and that only through the latter's eternal vigilance can occasional, marginal progress be made. The film's own conflicting impulses were a product of the melding of the fundamentally conservative philosophy of its director, Frank Capra, and the left-wing leanings of screenwriter Sidney Buchman, a Communist Party member who brilliantly adapted Lewis Foster's original story. In the Capra/Buchman treatment, good is represented in the figure of Stewart's Jefferson Smith, a "Boy Ranger" leader who is unaware that his appointment to fill out the term of a deceased senator is the work of a political machine that expects him to serve as a rubber stamp for its graft. Smith's opposite number, with a heart as evil as Smith's is pure, is machine boss Jim Taylor, played by portly Edward Arnold, who practically came to define the role of the snarling, capitalist pig. 

Between the polar opposites of Stewart and Arnold in Mr. Smith were two other principal characters whose attitudes toward the democratic system were decidedly more ambivalent. Senator Joseph Paine, Smith's idol, was once an idealist whose presidential ambitions led him to sell out his principles to the powerful Taylor machine. Veteran character actor Claude Rains, with whom Arthur had once appeared on Broadway in The Man Who Reclaimed His Head, was cast in this role as the distinguished-looking orator whose eloquence masks a guilty conscience and weak stomach for the fraud he must perpetrate in order to continue Taylor's patronage.

Though she constantly talks of quitting and going back home to Baltimore, Arthur's Saunders stays on because she needs the job "and a new suit of clothes." Paine has given her the assignment of watching over his junior colleague and keeping him away from anything that smacks of real politics. Arthur's screen time in Mr. Smith is modest in comparison with that of her leading man, but again her role is the pivotal one in the film. She is both the agent of the unsuspecting hero's ultimate triumph and the buffer Capra has set up between the almost unbearably naive protagonist and the presumably more skeptical audience. For if the world-weary Saunders can be converted to Smith's cause, then we will be convinced as well. In the beginning, we see Smith as Saunders does, as a hayseed whose wide eyes have failed to notice that he is nothing but an "honorary stooge," as the press has scornfully labeled him.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is best remembered for Stewart's famous filibuster at the end of the film. But the most moving scene in the movie is the immediately preceding one, where Saunders talks Smith out of quitting the Senate and urges him into battle. Smith sits sobbing at the Lincoln Memorial, where he has gone, baggage in hand, for one last look before leaving town that night. "You can't quit now, not you," she admonishes him. "You didn't just have faith in Paine or any other living man. You had faith in something bigger than that. You had plain decent everyday common rightness. And this country could use some of that-yeah, so could the whole cockeyed world-a lot of it." On October 17, 1939, Jean Arthur's thirty-ninth birthday Mr. Smith Goes to Washington had a celebrity preview at Washington's Constitution Hall, home of the conservative Daughters of the American Revolution. In attendance were 4,000 special guests, including members of Congress, the national press corps and several Supreme Court justices. Embarrassed and humiliated by the unflattering portrayal they had received, official Washington lashed back, calling the film an indictment, rather than a celebration, of American democracy. Fortunately the critics and public strongly supported Mr. Smith, and it was nominated for eleven Academy Awards. And in 1942, defiant Parisians proved the opposite of Joe Kennedy's theorem: they chose Mr. Smith as the last English-language film to show before the Nazi ban on American and British films took effect.

Hollywood passed from the golden era of the thirties to a new decade, and Jean Arthur became more insecure with each new success. To the extent Arthur had political thoughts, they tilted heavily leftward (George Bernard Shaw and Erich Fromm, her two greatest intellectual heroes, were both committed socialists). Louella Parsons thought Arthur's aversion to conformity was the real explanation for her idiosyncrasies. "I never believed that Jean Arthur suffered from any kind of a complex," Parsons said. As Arthur explained in one of the last interviews she ever gave, "You have one life, you do what you want to do. Some people like to do what everybody else does-go to parties and talk about nothing. The only real reason for living is doing what you want to do, or trying to, anyway." For the remaining years of her life, Arthur would keep on doing just what she wanted-or trying to. She didn't let many people see what she was really like. Helen Harvey, Arthur's one-time agent, added: "She wasn't very real. Her deepest passion in life was reserved for her ideals, rather than for people." —"Jean Arthur: The Actress Nobody Knew" (2004) by John Oller

Friday, June 30, 2017

Lou Reed & Jim Morrison: Moralists between Irony and Sentimentality


A student group in Canada apologized for playing Lou Reed’s 1972 hit “Walk on the Wild Side,” claiming the song is transphobic. The Guelph Central Student Association, a group at Ontario’s University of Guelph, said it regretted including the song on a playlist at a campus event. “We now know the lyrics to this song are hurtful to our friends in the trans community,” the group wrote in a (deleted) Facebook post, “and we’d like to unreservedly apologize for this error in judgement.”

The lyrics in question concern late trans performer Holly Woodlawn, whom Reed knew from Andy Warhol’s Factory: Holly came from Miami, FLA. Hitchhiked her way across the USA. Plucked her eyebrows on the way/Shaved her legs and then he was a she/Hey, babe, take a walk on the wild side. The student association said it would be “more mindful” in choosing music in the future and offered to speak with anyone who heard the song and “was hurt by its inclusion.” They added that the lyrics appeared to be “problematic” because they “dehumanise and fetish” transgender people by suggesting they are “wild.” Those who knew Reed say the concern is misplaced: “Lou was open about his complete acceptance of all creatures of the night,” said Jenni Muldaur, a friend of Reed’s and former backup singer: “That’s what that song’s about. Everyone doing their thing, taking a walk on the wild side. I can’t imagine how anyone could conceive of that. The album was called Transformer. What do they think it’s about?”

“I don’t know if Lou would be cracking up about this or crying because it’s just too stupid,” producer Hal Willner said. “The song was a love song to all the people he knew and to New York City by a man who supported the community and the city his whole life.” Hal Willner, who recently completed a reissue of Lou Reed’s later solo work, said: “This song was how the world first heard about these people. It’s a song about love. The students should be focusing their anger on other stuff and this isn’t it.” Source: www.independent.co.uk

In heterosexual men, pictures of rotting flesh, maggots and spoiled food induce the same physiological stress response as pictures of two men kissing each other. That is the surprising finding that was recently published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Psychology & Sexuality. Measuring levels of salivary alpha-amylase, a digestive enzyme that is associated with stress and is especially responsive to disgust, allowed the researchers to examine the men’s physiological reaction to the photos. “In comparing the salivary alpha-amylase responses of participants to the various slideshows, we found that participants had higher salivary alpha-amylase responses to the images of two men kissing and the disgusting images, even those with very low levels of prejudice.” The study is the first of its kind, and the researchers hope that future research will strengthen their findings. Source: psypost.org

Shelley Albin: "Lou Reed is a very fifties type guy. He's ultimately straight. He wants his wife, Sylvia, who is a very fifties type girl, to take care of him." As much as Reed's sexuality was pondered, he had a long time girlfriend in Shelley Albin, and married three times. Reed even admitted his heterosexuality when initiated his relationship with Sylvia Morales. Reed's Ecstasy album addressed the failed marriage to Sylvia Morales (in the songs Baton Rouge and Tatters - she wanted kids, Reed obviously did not) and then he came with Set The Twilight Reeling, which dealt with his need to become "the newfound man, and set the twilight reeling" with Laurie Anderson.

Ellen Willis, the first rock critic for The New Yorker wrote “The Velvet Underground” essay, included in fellow critic Greil Marcus’ book “Stranded” (1979). “The songs on ‘The Velvet Underground’ are all about sin and salvation,” Willis begins. The crux of Willis’ essay is that Lou Reed managed to exist in that rare space between irony and sentimentality, to avoid slipping into either the snarl or the smile. His music was an exercise in rejection, but not the knee-jerk anti-establishment hostility. It’s a rejection of rejection, a fight against both the nihilism of punk and the boppy, commercial vibes of pop music. “For the Velvets, the aesthete-punk stance was a way of surviving in a world that was out to kill you,” Willis writes. “The Velvets were not nihilists but moralists.” Willis explains, “Their songs are about unspeakable feelings of despair, disgust, isolation, confusion, guilt, longing, relief, peace, clarity, freedom, love—and about the ways we habitually bury them from a safe, sophisticated distance in order to get along in a hostile, corrupt world. Rock & Roll makes explicit the use of a mass art form was a metaphor for transcendence, for connection, for resistance to solipsism and despair.” Source: www.nydailynews.com

Lou Reed: "For every one of my songs, I know which line is my favorite. All of those lines jump out at you in some way. They’re upside-down, or they’re darker, or they come out at you. Because that line also gives you the rhythm and allows you to touch other people’s hearts. Probably most people have five, ten songs that are really milestones in their lives and upon hearing them, just change their mood. Everybody remembers the song from their first date or the wedding song. We really do attach songs to moments. Probably one of the reasons I’m still around is because I can’t fulfill some people's expectations. They don’t like what I do, and I don’t like them either actually. I walk away because I can only take so much of music industry nonsense, before it starts to get debilitating or depressing, how low the bar gets to be. I’m exposed to the horrors of these people. But at a certain point, I think people learn not to come to you. You’re just the wrong person. They know that it’s hopeless." —Interview by Stefan Sagmeister (2008)

At George Washington High in Alexandria, Virginia, Jim made the honor roll with little effort. He had an I.Q. of 149. Jim was a precocious performer, too. When running into a pretty girl, Jim played the southern gentleman: he would bow and recite a Shakespearean sonnet. His first steady girlfriend at George Washington High was Tandy Martin. The pretty and straight-laced brunette at first found him smart, funny and cool. Then he started getting weird on her. One time, he dropped to the floor of a crowded commuter train and yanked off one of her saddle shoes. Tandy’s mother had warned her about Jimmy from the start. “He seems unclean, like a leper,” she’d told her daughter. The couple broke up senior year after Tandy accused Jim of “wearing a mask” all the time. Jim broke down in tears, saying he truly loved her. He supposedly lost his virginity to Mary Werbelow, a Sun’n’Fun beauty queen, whom he met in Clearwater, Florida. Meanwhile, he excelled academically, writing scholarly papers on everything from “The Sexual Neuroses of Crowds” to the surrealist paintings of Hieronymus Bosch.

Jim also took to the stage for the first time in a student production of Harold Pinter’s, The Dumbwaiter. After his junior year, Jim saw his father for the last time. His mother insisted he wear new clothes and get a haircut, so as not to look like a “beatnik” on arrival in San Diego. Jim begrudgingly consented. But no sooner did he board the USS Bonnie Dick, than Admiral Morrison sent him to the ship barber for a regulation Navy haircut. Thinking he had fulfilled his duty, Jim asked the commander permission to transfer from FSU to the UCLA Film School, among the most radical liberal arts programs anywhere. Permission was denied. Jim, now 21, cashed in a trust fund and enrolled anyway. His parents disinherited him. Or, as he Jim preferred it, he disinherited his parents. From now on, he would refer to himself as an “orphan.” —"Jim Morrison: Orphan" (2014) by David Comfort

A Cosmic Mating: He looked out across the room. He saw her from the stage... As his cue came up Jim Morrison caught her eye. She smiled. As Jim walked off the stage at the end of the set, she was waiting for him with a beer at the bottom of the stairs. "I think I love you," Morrison said. She asked "what happened here?" touching the side of his face where he still had some cuts from the debacle of the biker bar. "Critics," he joked: "what's your name?" "Pam," she replied. She was aching for a way out and shared with Jim a baggie of mushrooms. Out back was a rusting swing set. They pumped their legs urging the swings higher. They let go and were rolling around in the cold dewy grass. "Just love me," Jim said. They spent the next couple of hours making love (Jim would rhapsodize how wonderful he felt sexually with Pam). They woke up the next morning feeling raw and vulnerable. "Do you think I like being promiscuous? I love you!" Pam blurted out. Jim didn't want to lose her. "We can rent a house on Norton Avenue. Or up in the hills, anything you want. Look, I have money." As all the true love stories, Jim Morrison's unique relationship with Pam Courson was utterly misunderstood. Some insiders thought Morrison was lost, at the mercy of the mentally depressed Pam, but they were dead wrong. Jim chose love and married Pam. Jim Morrison said that love was the answer. —"The Last Stage" (2008) by Jim Cherry

Thursday, June 29, 2017

46th Anniversary of Jim Morrison's death

To Oliver Stone, discovering The Doors as a grunt in Vietnam, the music is secondary to Jim Morrison as a figure of liberation and his Dionysian stature is increased by his decline into a life of waste and excess. He serves exactly the kind of purpose that Elvis did for the blue-collar youth born before World War II. Like most Stone heroes, Morrison is forced to choose between his parents’ world and the world of his obsession; he appears to make this choice early, when he views the Indian car wreck in the desert and his mother tells him it is all a dream. Later, Morrison will have another Stone choice presented to him, between his pure-in-spirit blonde muse, Pam, and the dark-haired devil woman, Patricia. The Doors, like many of Stone’s films, can be read as a horror picture as Jim Morrison becomes possessed by Patricia, the reincarnation of Martine Beswick’s Queen of Evil, and by the Warhol Factory crowd, who are referred to as “vampires.” Pam’s own drug use is shown as a way of getting back at Jim (being administered to her by another man to incite Jim's jealousy). When Morrison chooses Pam, he dies in Paris after excising his demons. —"Oliver Stone's Essential Movies" (2002) by Michael Carlson

Mario Maglieri, who presided over a rock ’n’ roll mini-empire on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood at the Whisky a Go Go and the Rainbow Bar & Grill, where he nurtured generations of musicians with encouragement, food and tough love, died on May 4, 2017 in Los Angeles. The Whisky was opened in 1964 by a former policeman named Elmer Valentine, who soon asked Mr. Maglieri, a friend from Chicago, to help run the club. It became a critical part of the Los Angeles rock scene. For a time, the Doors were the house band. Mr. Maglieri understood that some needed a free meal at the nearby Rainbow Bar and others a kind word. He told The Los Angeles Times in 1993 that he had warned Jim Morrison, the lead singer of the Doors, and Joplin to straighten out, without success. Jim Morrison, Mr. Maglieri said, “was a good boy” who “would look at me all goofed up. The reprimanding I gave him didn’t do any good. Too bad he’s not alive. I’d give him a spanking.” Source: www.nytimes.com


BEFORE THE END: SEARCHING FOR JIM MORRISON documentary hopes to debunk the myths surrounding the late Doors frontman and portray him in a more realistic and down-to-earth light. An independent full-length documentary film, Before the End: Searching for Jim Morrison will finally reveal the real James Douglas Morrison. FEATURING: Jim Morrison [archival footage], Andy Morrison, Jac Holzman, Jeff Morehouse, Ralph Turner, Bryan Gates, Philip O'Leno, Rosanna Norton, Gayle Enochs, Salli Stevenson, Anne Moore, Judy Huddleston, Ellen Sander, Mirandi Babitz, Candy Evans, and more. The Finns also conducted off-the-record interviews with Jim's sister, Anne Morrison-Chewning; early girlfriends Tandy Martin and Mary Werbelow; and friend Alain Ronay, who visited the singer in Paris shortly before his untimely passing at age 27. Directed by Jeff Finn. Co-produced by Jeff & Jess Finn/Z-Machine Source: q957.com

I believe Jim was descending deep into depression and alcoholic schizophrenia. Frustrated by their mediocrity, Jim “Lizard-less” Morrison distanced himself from his fans. In his last interview before he left for Paris, Jim told a reporter, “One morning, I woke up and was surrounded by all of these spirits.” Pamela Courson was so very close to Jim from the beginning because of her love for his poetry. She urged him to write and told him he was a real poet before anyone else did. In return for her love and nurture, Morrison let her deep inside of his heart. He needed this kind of love badly. Jim Morrison was pure wolf. He hung with his own. That is to say, he hung alone. Jim Morrison was a lone wolf for sure, but he also hung out with coyotes like Babe Hill. Being pure wolf that he was, he needed a she-wolf to stay with for life, Pamela Susan Courson. Jim Morrison would have rather swilled down Drano than send a message asking for help from his parents, not even sister, Anne, whom he dearly loved, or brother Andy. Jim was too proud and too stubborn. So, shortly before Jim died, Pamela called the Morrison’s home at two o’clock a.m., loaded on downers. 

On the morning of July 7, 1971, Jim Morrison was buried in the 6th Division, 2nd Row, Grave No. 5 at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. None of his family members were present. There was a small, inconspicuous funeral procession with just a few people attending (Pamela Courson, Bill Siddons, Agnes Varda, Alain Ronay, and Robin Wertle). There was no clergy. Some flowers were thrown and that was the end. Lasting only a few minutes, James Douglas Morrison’s interment was hardly a memorial service. Père Lachaise Cemetery, located on Boulevard de Ultramontane, was established by Napoleon in 1804. The cemetery is also known as, “The Poets’ Corner”, due to the luminaries who are interned there. Jim Morrison  is surrounded by the likes of Arthur Rimbaud, Oscar Wilde, Simone Signore, Edith Piaf, Marcel Marceau, Isadora Duncan, Frédéric Chopin, Georges Bizet, Sarah Bernhardt, Honoré de Balzac. —"I remember Jim Morrison" (2009) by Alan R. Graham

The press reported that Jim Morrison had died in his Paris apartment in the early hours of the morning of July 3, 1971, from a heart-attack suffered while taking a bath. Jim Morrison, the voice of anti-authority, was dead. Had he crumbled under the pressure of stardom? Had he decided on that ultimate intellectual experiment to determine the truth about the enduring nature of fame? "I contend an abiding sense of irony over all I do," Morrison had revealed. The stress of the Miami trials, even the possibility of a prison sentence, could have triggered an ulcer. On the morning of his death, did he take a line or two of cocaine which, because of his poor health and a haemorrhaging stomach ulcer, caused his body to go into shock? Professor Austin Gresham used the term ‘catecholamine release’. If a person lives a life of physical neglect, as Jim Morrison most certainly did, the catecholamines will be useless and without prompt medical assistance the individual will die. In the days preceding Jim’s death, he had complained of difficulty in breathing. It is very likely that he was suffering from anaemia, the condition where there is a lack of red blood cells in the bloodstream and occurs where there has been loss of blood or an inadequate intake of iron from poor diet. Bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract such as a duodenal or gastric ulcer, if allowed to bleed over a long period of time, will lead to anaemia. According to John Densmore’s book, when Bill Siddons arrived at the apartment he opened a carved wooden box which he found on a coffee table and discovered it contained heroin. He came to the conclusion that Jim must have taken some of this heroin, believing it to have been cocaine, and overdosed as a result. In which case Pam would have been riddled with guilt because Jim had found her stash and snorted it under the assumption that it was cocaine. In many ways, her subsequent life as a grieving widow is the greatest proof we have that Jim is actually dead. —"The End: The Death of Jim Morrison" (2012) by Bob Seymore

"The Doors: The Singles" Collection of 20 singles and their corresponding B-sides will be released on August 25, 2017.

Val Kilmer is a great actor, but beyond the recreated Doors concert sequences, which I found fantastic, he seemed to have largely posed and preened his way through the epic drunken deluge and, in the process, he made Jim come off as a pouting full-blown narcissist prone to childish tantrums and self-pity, like the Jackson Pollock of Rock. Before the End: Searching for Jim Morrison, in a sense, is a response to Stone's film. The Doors was a multi-million dollar Hollywood biopic shot forth with vast amounts of artistic license. But of course, even documentaries aren't exempt from a director's subjective slant. When I met with Alain Ronay, whom Stone had hired as a consultant for his Doors film, he told me he read the script, marched up to Stone, and asked him why he wasn't telling the truth about Jim. According to Ronay, Stone smiled and said, "Because the truth doesn't sell." Like Stone's biopic, When You Are Strange (2009) has served as an inspiration for my forthcoming independent documentary, an indirect response to what I consider the incessant mythologizing of Jim Morrison via mainstream Hollywood branding. Stone's film was endorsed by John Densmore, Robby Krieger, etc. and When You Are Strange was co-produced by The Doors manager, Jeff Jampol. 

I was surprised to conclude that director Tom DiCillo pulled something of an Oliver Stone. DiCillo simply couldn't resist fanning the dramatic flames of La La Land legend by way of the regurgitation of age-old, overblown The Doors/Morrison factoids. By offering a few glimpses of Jim Morrison's stealth sense of humor, DiCillo distinguishes his documentary from standard-issue Morrison-as-madman fare. DiCillo's probes at Morrison's funny bone still are not enough to help heal the singer's long-held wish to be appreciated as a complete human being, as opposed to a terminally-loaded, sullen, rock god/spectacle/invalid cliché. I found it interesting to fathom the foggy notion of Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground [The Doors' East Coast counterpart] having Depp function as narrator of a V.U. documentary. It would never happen. Depp comes off as hippy-dippy, and that trait doesn't jibe with Reed's or Morrison's ultraviolet brilliance. When You're Strange doesn't offer any substantial insight into who he really was. 

Subtlety, in the form of fine-detail gray-scale shading, is in order if we are to absorb Jimbo's would-be Blakean palace-of-wisdom excess and fully empathize with his wounded core. When You're Strange briefly broaches the reality of its title: feeling like a stranger, or an outcast. It's been noted elsewhere that Jim Morrison knew that pain, which hit at a young age, so it begs the question: why didn't DiCillo wade further into that particular mire, in order to extract the actual motivations that drove a volatile 27-year-old man to raging alcoholism, unadulterated rebellion, and early burnout, all in a pre-rehab world? It's convenient to now view Jim Morrison merely as a popular icon/cultural oddity and forget that, in the end, the psychic pain that came with feeling like an outsider was what ultimately secured his psychedelic place in the rock pantheon. —Jeff Finn (2016)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Oliver Stone's Putin Interviews, St. Petersburg's private tour guides

Oliver Stone (who directed the 2016 biopic Snowden) asks Vladimir Putin whether, as a former KGB agent, he was incensed with Snowden's decision to leak classified information. Putin says the U.S.' National Security Agency overstepped its bounds with its cybersecurity measures, but he doesn't believe that whistleblower Edward Snowden is a traitor for leaking classified documents. “Snowden is not a traitor. He didn’t betray the interests of his country, nor did he transfer any information to any other country,” Putin says in a clip from The Putin Interviews, which premiered June 12 on Showtime. Just because Snowden is not a traitor in Putin's eyes doesn't mean the Russian leader agrees with his actions. When Stone asks Putin if the NSA "went too far," Putin responds, "Yes, certainly. In that matter, Snowden was right." However, Putin explains, “If [Snowden] didn’t like anything at his work, he should have simply resigned. But he went further.”


Russian President Vladimir Putin gives Oliver Stone a tour of his offices. Parts 1-4 of The Putin Interviews available now, only on SHOWTIME. Three-time Academy Award winner Oliver Stone—the Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient who made some of Hollywood’s greatest antiwar movies—was interviewed on the anniversary of D-Day at his Santa Monica office. The hallmark of Stone’s cinematic oeuvre has been artistically creating counternarratives, which has pitted him against not only government forces but also the mainstream media. Perhaps most memorable is Stone’s demolishing of the Warren Commission Report in 1991’s JFK, implicating US intelligence agents in the Kennedy assassination.


Stone is back with The Putin Interviews. As the intelligence community, Congress and press investigate alleged Russian tampering with the US presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, Stone dares show Vladimir Putin’s side of the story.

Oliver Stone: The Putin Interviews began in June 2015. We had just finished filming Snowden. We went to Moscow to shoot the last scene with Ed Snowden in it. We stayed for a few more days and went into the Kremlin to see Mr. Putin for our first interview. Then we did two more days on that trip, so we had several interviews. The US has always dominated the media and told its side of the story. The Russian point of view has been sarcastically presented, making fun of—it’s not a good way to do business. So what we try to do very clearly is go back in time and work forward to now. Since Putin came in, income levels have gone up. There’s still poverty problems and gaps—these were set in the ’90s. Privatization was turned around—modified. Putin believes in a capitalist, market economy—more on the European side of things than the American side. He has enacted financial reform. Memories of the Cold War have not gone away. All the older generation, the neoconservatives, always remember that and Russia as an archenemy. It’s in their blood, it’s DNA to hate them… I don’t feel it’s necessary, I believe there’s a tremendous amount of distrust, especially on the Republican side. They made this an election issue with Truman running scared [in 1948], instituting the Loyalty Act and CIA. USA is very much in the grip of a dictator: The dictator is money, the military-industrial-complex… It’s beyond absurd to have this kind of expenditure every year on military… Source: www.thenation.com


St. Petersburg is the former Russian capital whose mysterious White Nights and winding canals inspired such literary giants as Fyodor Dostoevsky and Nikolai Gogol. Constructed from scratch out of marshland in 1703 by Peter the Great, as Russia’s “Window to Europe”, St Petersburg has seen more revolution, war and political intrigue in its 350 years or so than other cities witness in a millennium. This history is apparent at every turn, from the Aurora warship that signalled the start of the Bolshevik Revolution to the many reminders of the 900-day Nazi siege of the city that left around two million dead. Another must-see is the legendary Hermitage art gallery. You can organize St. Petersburg private tours to enjoy The Mariinsky Opera & Ballet Theatre or take in the view from St. Isaac's Cathedral.


It's highly recommended to visit some of the lovely parks in St Petersburg. A favorite park is Yelagin Island, not far from the metro stops of Krestovskiy Ostrov or Staraya Derevnya on the purple line. If you are a bit more adventurous and want to head further outside of the city center, Park Sosnovka is an interesting area. At both parks, you should be able to rent bicycles or roller blades. And on Yelagin Island, you can also rent a small boat for rowing. In St. Petersburg, Russia, private tour guides can help you to maximize your vacations in the Venice of the North. Many of the 150,000 British visitors each year to Russia spend part or all of their stay in St Petersburg. The Metro in St Petersburg is second only to Moscow among Russian underground railways in its scale and grandeur. It includes the deepest underground station in the world, Admiralteiskaya, which is 282 feet below the surface. Whether you’re cruising the elegant canals, crossing one of the 342 bridges in the city, or just watching them being raised over the mighty Neva River at night to allow ships to pass through, you’re never far from water in St Petersburg, which has earned the city unsurprising comparisons to Venice. Any wander in the historic centre will reveal canals lined by Italianate mansions and broken up by striking plazas adorned with baroque and neoclassical palaces.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Susan Hayward's Centennial (Film Legend)

In the century since her birth (June 30, 1917) Susan Hayward has started to fade from the public consciousness – but not everywhere. Fans still make the pilgrimage to her gravesite at Our Lady of Perpetual Help outside Carrollton, to see the unlikely place where a Tinsel Town goddess made her onetime home and her final resting place. At the edge of her 100th birthday, she now endures as a legend. The real person who inhabited that legend, it turns out, is hard to find.

In 1947, she received the first of what would eventually be five Academy Award nominations for the film “Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman.” In 1949, she was nominated for the Best Actress award for “My Foolish Heart.” There are many people still living in west Georgia who tell fond stories of Susan Hayward living like “an ordinary person” in Carrollton. Many in Carrollton considered her a friend, and she threw herself into many local affairs. She seemed to enjoy the contrast between her life in west Georgia and Hollywood, and when a Hollywood reporter asked her in 1958 about why she preferred Carrollton over Los Angeles, she said: “It’s a great place. No telephones ringing all day long, no big deals being made, no smog! People down there really know how to live – and relax.”

Hollywood did not entirely disappear from Susan Hayward’s life. She had commitments for at least six more films, and in 1957 she returned to Los Angeles to begin filming “I Want to Live,” a movie based on the life of convicted murderer Barbara Graham. On screen, Hayward put on a powerful performance, including a painfully realistic scene recreating Graham’s 1955 execution in the gas chamber. Released in 1958, the film did well at the box office, and she captured her fifth nomination for Best Actress. She captured the Oscar™ the next April, signaling her arrival at the height of the acting profession. Her biographers, Robert LaGuardia and Gene Acerci, wrote in 1986 that one scene – that execution scene in “I Want to Live” – describes that talent at the peak of development. Hayward, they wrote, “was able to rid herself of mannerisms, deleting all those extraneous body movements that had become her trademarks.” Instead, she pared down her movements: a defiant glance, a slow building of emotions, minimal movements during the most terrifying scenes. 

In other words, Hayward had so enveloped the role of her character, that the person playing that role was completely masked. It was, in essence, what Susan became herself – a person who remained private, unknowable, even to people who thought they knew her; even to those who should have known her best. Who Susan Hayward really was remains elusive, despite all the biographies about her. Her acting skills cannot be cataloged from the films she made; her soul cannot be reconstructed from all the fond stories told today by Carrollton friends. This is not a surprise, since legends are made by other people; not by the legends themselves. Source: www.times-georgian.com

Walter Wanger, who had controlled Susan Hayward's professional destiny up to 1950, sold her contract to 20th Century Fox for $200,000. Wanger felt a mixture of relief and regret. Although his contract with her had more than 2 ½ years to go he felt it was time for Susan to move away; but it was believed he simply needed the money. Susan signed a 7 year no-option contract at a sliding annual increase salary beginning at $150,000. From now on, Susan really got the star treatment. “I couldn’t care less —and I never did care— about the A treatment, the star’s dressing room, the limousine. That’s all junk,” she declared. “Oh, it’s nice if you can have it, but it was never important to me. I never cared if I had to dress in a broom closet or a tent as long as I had privacy to change my costumes. Some performers wouldn’t work if their dressing room wasn’t posh and that’s junk. Just externals; it means nothing. The only thing that’s important is what you put on film and what it does to your audience.” Susan was very upset over the imprisonment of her champion Walter Wanger, who was now serving a 90 days jail sentence for the shooting of Jennings Lang over Lang’s attentions to Joan Bennett. Susan realized that Walter had sold her contract to Fox to pay off creditors after having lost a fortune with his independently produced film Joan of Arc (1948).

I'll cry Tomorrow's screenplay was adapted by Helen Deutsch and Jay Richard Kennedy from the 1954 autobiography by Lillian Roth. Susan Hayward as Lillian Roth changed a lot during the shooting, often went into long trances and became at times quite unreachable. She brooded and had frequent fits of severe nervousness and bouts of delirium tremens, similar to those that Lillian Roth must have experienced. The pain of her early years, which she was summoning for the role, sent her, in the early part of the filming especially, into desperate depressions. She could portray the lonely, frustrated singer so well because she had experienced similar emotions; despite the fact that many of her troubles were self made.

Susan Hayward received some of the best reviews of her career for I'll cry Tomorrow (1955). Lillian Roth was deeply moved by Hayward's acting. Look Magazine called it "a shattering, intense performance that may win her the Academy Award" "Gut-wrenching," said Time. The performance earned Hayward her fourth Oscar nomination. But the Oscar that year went to Anna Magnani, for The Rose Tattoo (1955). Hayward would finally win it for I Want to Live! (1958). Enacting Roth's agony seems to have been cathartic. One night, Hayward took an overdose of sleeping pills. Before she blacked out, Hayward called her mother, who called police. Hayward barely survived. She never spoke publicly about why she tried to kill herself, but she filmed a few weeks later the harrowing scene in which Roth attempts suicide. “The impact on me was terrifying,” Daniel Mann said.

Barbara Graham's "compared to what?" answer to the dime-store philosophy "life is funny" indicates that she improvises her way through life paralleling the film's jazz soundtrack. She takes what comes, a trait that puts her in a position both active and passive. Barbara is visited by her friend Peg soon after the murder indictment. Barbara laments her own failure saying: "I could never read the handwriting on the wall." This is apparent self-knowledge, but it plays more like the habit of a compulsive liar who tells her listeners what they probably want to hear. The film softens Graham to ease sympathy for her, eliminating her alleged drug abuse, while emphasizing the addiction of her last husband, Henry Graham. For the most part, however, the film confronts her amorality, especially in the opening sequences that show her as a scheming liar. Moreover, the film is breathtaking in its lack of concern for the murder victim, who seems a structuring absence throughout. Hollywood writer Robert Osborne, who later became the host of Turner Classic Movies, interviewed Susan Hayward and asked whether or not she believed Barbara Graham had been innocent. Hayward seemed hesitant to answer at first, but ultimately admitted that her research on the evidence and letters in the case led her to believe that the woman she had played was guilty.

Barbara Graham kept getting a stamp of approval on her “bouncing gal act,” complete with crocodile tears. “She'd pull out the good girl role from her repertoire,” the probation officer said, “the one yearning for respectability.” Detectives E.J. Vandergrift and Harry Strickland examined the scene of the crime of Mabel Monahan. Detective Strickland says, “Nobody's ever going to know for sure what happened. You're dealing with people who lie through their teeth. Their lives are made out of lies like you make a house out of cards. They'll lie about a stick of chewing gum.” In their desperation to find a safe that had never existed, Perkins, Santo and Graham had failed to search in Mabel Monahan's closet. They ran out empty-handed. Another detective, Roger Bailey, says, “The press dismissed the robbery motive immediately when we found the cash and jewelry, though we didn't dismiss it since the killer had no doubt simply missed what we turned up.” Behind bars, Barbara hooked up with a young girl named Donna Prowe, who was serving a term for manslaughter, arrested on a drunk driving charge. Barbara whispered to the girl, “I'm sweet on you, candy pants.” She asked “candy pants” if she knew anyone who might be willing to supply an alibi. Barbara said, “I'm willing to pay for it. If you talk to someone who might do it, all they have to do is say they spent the night with me in a motel. I'll give you a secret password so there won't be any mistake in who I'm talking to.” Barbara signed the note, “I love you, baby… Who do you know who'll sell me an alibi?” “Candy pants” wasn't as dumb as Barbara thought she was. Though flattered and impressed with the older, experienced Graham's attentions, Donna decided to play the plea for what it was worth. She made contact with Covney at the Burbank police. Covney secretly met with Donna in the attorney conference room of county jail, and Donna gave Covney the letter from Graham. “If I help you, can you get me out of here?”

After Barbara Graham, Jack Santo, and Emmett Perkins had been sentenced to death in the gas chamber, Graham met the press “with all the aplomb of a movie queen starring in a colossal production” (Los Angeles Times, 1953). Appeals dragged on for 18 months, continuing all the way to the execution day, June 3, 1955. "Count to 10 after you hear the cyanide tablets drop, and then take a deep breath," one officer whispered to Barbara. "It's easier that way." His advice provoked a sneering, "How the hell would you know?" Barbara Graham's last words were, "Good people are always so sure they're right."

Susan Hayward may have developed cancer from radioactive fallout from atmospheric atomic bomb tests while making The Conqueror, directed by Dick Powell in 1956, with John Wayne in St. George, Utah. Greta Garbo, the enigmatic Swedish legend, dressed in a long black cape, flew in from Florida to share some personal health secrets she hoped might pull Susan Hayward through her final battle against cancer. Hayward was Greta Garbo's favorite actress. The nurse answered the front door bell did not recognize at first the mystery woman as Greta Garbo, and replied, “Miss Hayward can’t see anyone.” Garbo left very saddened after having seen Susan in such dire conditions. Edythe Marrenner Barker Chalkley, known to the world as Susan Hayward, rested peacefully at last on March, 14, 1975.

Susan Hayward: "The only way that I could get away from the awfulness of life was at the movies. I never thought of myself as a movie star. I'm just a working girl who worked her way to the top and never fell off." Susan Hayward lived like a star (The American Beauticians Congress voted her “the most beautiful  redhead in the world” in 1952), worked like a trouper, and died a heroine. She was buried next to her beloved husband on the grounds where they had built a Catholic church, in the red clay of Georgia. —"Brooklyn’s Scarlett: Susan Hayward" (2010) by Gene Arceri.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Deleting painful memories, David Lynch's Circle of Dreams, John Morton remembers Jim Morrison

A new study suggests that it may be possible to develop drugs to delete memories that trigger anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) without affecting other important memories of past events. During emotional or traumatic events, multiple memories can become encoded, including memories of any incidental information that is present when the event occurs. In the case of a traumatic experience, the incidental, or neutral, information can trigger anxiety attacks long after the event has occurred, says Samuel Schacher, PhD, a professor of neuroscience in the Department of Psychiatry at CUMC. Brains create long-term memories, in part, by increasing the strength of connections between neurons and maintaining those connections over time. Previous research suggested that increases in synaptic strength in creating associative and non-associative memories share common properties. This suggests that selectively eliminating non-associative synaptic memories would be impossible, because for any one neuron, a single mechanism would be responsible for maintaining all forms of synaptic memories. In addition, they found that specific synaptic memories may also be erased by blocking the function of distinct variants of other molecules that protect them from breaking down.

"Memory erasure has the potential to alleviate PTSD and anxiety disorders by removing the non-associative memory that causes the maladaptive physiological response," says Jiangyuan Hu, PhD, an associate research scientist in the Department of Psychiatry at CUMC and co-author of the paper. "By isolating the exact molecules that maintain non-associative memory, we may be able to develop drugs that can treat anxiety without affecting the patient's normal memory of past events. Our study is a 'proof of principle' that presents an opportunity for developing strategies and perhaps therapies to address anxiety." Dr. Schacher adds: "For example, because memories are still likely to change immediately after recollection, a therapist may help to 'rewrite' a non-associative memory by administering a drug that inhibits the maintenance of non-associative memory." Source: www.sciencedaily.com


David Lynch "Circle of dreams" litographies exhibition (2013). Soundtrack: Strange Days by The Doors.


“Strictly From  Hunger!: A Rock and Roll Memoir” (2017) follows John Morton and his band Hunger! as they reach for fame in fortune on the Sunset Strip in 1968. Excerpt: "We couldn’t get a gig anywhere on our own so we decided to learn some new material and go from there. After one practice I was sitting on the front porch having a smoke when I saw a familiar face coming up the walkway. “I live just up the street from you guys and heard you playing,” he said, then I recognized him from the Battle of the Bands at the Teenage Fair. It was Jim Morrison: “What you got going here? Beautiful women coming and going, fucking far out live music and having a good time. Looks like paradise to me.” “Yeah, but we can’t get any gigs,” I said. “I’ll see what I can do, but you’re not going anywhere without original music in this town,” he said, “it’s about projecting an image that is universal to everyone.” I thought to myself, Jim Morrison, with such great insight and illumination in real life, was such a totally different person onstage. It was just a ruse to give people the spectacle they wanted to see. 

The guy I met had no ego. Jim was playful and poetic with a dash of sarcasm. People are so drawn to the mystique that was Jim Morrison. As I discovered as I got to know him, he was just a regular human being trapped in a phenomena that wasn’t real to him unless he was high. There was a realness to him that I soaked in like a sponge to water. After Jim left I went back inside and told the other guys that we needed original material. I thought their reaction would again be disbelief, but they just asked, “who’s going to write the songs?” I said I’d try it. I thought we had a chance at stardom. We had all met The Doors backstage at The Teenage Fair, but never really thought they would become superstars. They were just another California band with a new sound. I felt there was greatness in them that was ready to explode on the scene. Talking with Jim gave me the feeling that success was there for the taking. I retreated to the back patio and started writing songs that would eventually become part of the Hunger! sound. 

The Doors were doing gigs late into the morning and I would drop in when Jim came back from a gig. We’d sit on the steps to his place, getting high. I remember him joking about making it home without being followed. Other times we’d sit in his living room, everything was orderly and immaculate. Dark leather couches with ultra modern furniture, very relaxing. The marijuana and wrapping papers were on a glass table in an ornate wooden box. He kept a unique etched lighter and cigarettes in a jeweled container. I remember a pool in back that never seemed to be used but had a nice sunning area with outdoor furniture. For me it was a pleasure and honor just to be there. Getting high with Jim Morrison was like a ritual, he was like a magician quoting Huxley or Yates, waving his hands around like he was doing a coin trick. There was a method to his madness and being around him I could feel it was easy to be pulled to the dark side. He’d bring out his notebook and write passages of revelations when I was most lucid and he seemed so focused and clear. That was a mindblower. It never crossed my mind that the wine was laced with LSD.

We were mesmerized by The Doors. They led an incognito lifestyle outside of gigging almost invisible and they liked that. I never saw a limousine parked in the driveway next door and I believe few people knew where they were staying. We wanted a taste of that lifestyle. We felt somehow that we could get it by being in the right place at the right time. The Doors had worked their way up the ladder and I wanted to know all I could learn from Morrison’s experience and we grew a bond for a short period of time. He was willing to share and that’s how I came to trust in my own talent as a songwriter and musician. He made me understand that it was an uphill road to so called overnight success. He pretty much provided a roadmap to psychedelic rock stardom.

Jim Morrison was an alcoholic and did everything in excess. Drugs, booze, women and emotions. People took advantage of him. Ray Manzarek said that Jim was always thinking of his life as an unfinished film and someday he’d return to it and produce his masterpiece. I think Ray agreed with him because it gave Ray hope. Robby Krieger seemed like the quiet one, consumed in thought, almost shy. Later in the same week after I first met Jim Morrison we got a call from someone at The Magic Mushroom telling us that there was a last minute cancellation and they said they’d heard some good things about us, that Jim Morrison had put in a good word for us so he was giving us a spot sight unseen. That was unheard of, we knew that bookings in there were well in advance and it would be crowded, we jumped at it. The Magic Mushroom gig would turn out to be very instrumental in our quick rise in Hollywood. Source: doorsexaminer.com

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 cafés, gelato stands, and crumbling ruins. Source: www.tcm.com

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: www.quantamagazine.org

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: www.sptimes.com

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.”