Friday, May 08, 2020

The Wonderful World of Walt Disney, The Beatles

The Beatles' 12th and final album -- the making of which is the subject of Peter Jackson's forthcoming documentary, titled Get Back -- is as suited for the unsettling moment we found ourselves in now as it was for the transition from 1969 to a new decade. Iger raved that the Get Back film (distributed by Disney) would revisit the creation of Let It Be by giving audiences a "front-row seat to the inner workings of these genius creators at a seminal moment in music history, with spectacularly restored footage that looks like it was shot yesterday." When you ask Beatles fans today to name a favorite song from the group, chances are you're going to hear at least one title from Let It Be. The reason why is the same reason that, when McCartney resumes his touring schedule post-coronavirus, his concert setlist will almost certainly include the same four songs from the Let It Be album that have been staples of his live show for years now. Because Let It Be, for whatever its flaws, tidily wraps up the Beatles' legacy in one 12-song capsule. The Walt Disney Studios will release Peter Jackson's documentary "Get Back" in theaters nationwide on September 4, 2020. Source:

ABC is bringing back “The Wonderful World of Disney” so you can watch some of your favorite Disney movies at home this summer. The network announced Thursday it will air “Moana,” “Thor: The Dark World,” “Up” and “Big Hero 6” over four consecutive Wednesdays starting May 20. These titles are currently available to stream on Disney+. Here are the summer movie lineups for ABC and CBS; all show times are Pacific. Kicking off “The Wonderful World of Disney” on Wednesday, May 20 will be Moana, the animated adventure about a spirited teen who sets sail on a daring mission to fulfill her ancestors’ unfinished quest. On June 3, things are looking Up with the Academy Award-winning animated feature about a retired balloon salesman. Then on June 10, Big Hero 6 tells the animated tale of Baymax, a lovable personal companion robot who forms a special bond with robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada. Source:

Snow White had had a salutary effect on Walt’s immediate family too. His years of obsession with the film, the days and nights and weekends spent at the studio, had taken their toll on his relationship with Lillian, who had never been especially interested in Walt’s work to begin with and who once called herself her husband’s “severest critic” and “I can’t stand the sight of dwarfs.” Lillian certainly seemed to resent her husband’s preoccupation with work and the avalanche of attention he received, but she was no silent, long-suffering helpmate. Lillian would erupt. Diane remembered coming down for breakfast one morning and seeing a large brown stain on the wall. She later learned that her mother had hurled a cup of coffee at Walt. “Mother was a well contained, poised person who never lost her temper with us children,” Diane would say, “but also she would not let herself be put upon.” Things seemed to improve with Lillian after she suffered her third miscarriage and the couple, at Walt’s instigation, decided to adopt. On December 31, 1936, just as Snow White was reaching its most manic stage, Walt and Lillian received their new six-week-old daughter, Sharon Mae, though a bout of pneumonia sent her back to the hospital for a month’s recuperation. Both parents were devoted to her. They made no distinction between her and Diane, and Walt would always bristle at any mention of her being adopted.

Lillian had never been one to accept Walt’s decisions meekly or his status unquestioningly, and she admitted that he was always telling people “how henpecked he is.” “Heavens, Mother had quarrels with him!” Diane recalled. “Good healthy ones. Nothing was ever under the surface in our family. If there were any irritations felt, there was an explosion.” And Lillian was usually the one to explode. She was unimpressed by him. Speaking of a negative magazine profile of himself, Walt told Hedda Hopper that Lillian didn’t care what reporters said about him. “In fact, she usually agrees with anybody who writes things like that,” he continued. “I keep reporters away from her. She’d give them the lowdown.” When Harry Tytle’s wife mentioned to Lillian that Walt was a genius, she cracked, “But how would you like being married to one?” “She was sort of unconscious, oblivious,” Diane said. “She moved in her own circle of beauty parlor appointments, reducing exercises, dressmaker appointments, and occasional shopping sprees…. Always had to redecorate the corner of some room. That was her life.” Walt called her “Madam Queen.” -Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination (2006) by Neal Gabler

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Labile emotions, Jim Morrison

Psychiatrist Oleguer Plana-Ripoll knew that many individuals have multiple conditions — anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He wanted to know how common it was to have more than one diagnosis, so he got his hands on a database containing the medical details of around 5.9 million Danish citizens. He was taken aback by what he found. Every single mental disorder predisposed the patient to every other mental disorder — no matter how distinct the symptoms. “We knew that comorbidity was important, but we didn’t expect to find associations for all pairs,” says Plana-Ripoll, who is based at Aarhus University in Denmark. The study tackles a fundamental question that has bothered researchers for more than a century. What are the roots of mental illness?Scientists have found evidence that many of the same genes underlie seemingly distinct disorders, such as schizophrenia and autism, and that changes in the brain’s decision-making systems could be involved in many conditions. Researchers are also drastically rethinking theories of how our brains go wrong. Perhaps there are several dimensions of mental illness — so, depending on how a person scores on each dimension, they might be more prone to some disorders than to others. The most immediate challenge is working out how to diagnose people. Since the 1950s, psychiatrists have used an exhaustive volume called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, currently in its fifth edition. It lists all the recognized disorders, from autism and obsessive–compulsive disorder to depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. Each is defined by symptoms. The inherent assumption is that each disorder is distinct, and arises for different reasons. However, even before the DSM-5 was published in 2013, many researchers argued that this approach was flawed. 

Few patients fit into each neat set of criteria. Instead, people often have a mix of symptoms from different disorders. Even if someone has a fairly clear diagnosis of depression, they often have symptoms of another disorder such as anxiety. “If you have one disorder, you’re much more likely to have another,” says Ted Satterthwaite, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Psychiatrists have tried to solve this by splitting disorders into ever-finer subtypes. “If you look at the way the DSM has evolved over time, the book gets thicker and thicker,” says Satterthwaite. But the problem persists — the subtypes are still a poor reflection of the clusters of symptoms that many patients have. As a result, the world’s largest funder of mental-health science, the US National Institute of Mental Health, changed the way it funded research. Beginning in 2011, it began demanding more studies of the biological basis of disorders, instead of their symptoms, under a programme called the Research Domain Criteria. In 2019, the World Health Assembly endorsed the latest International Classification of Diseases (called ICD-11), in which some psychopathologies were newly broken down using dimensional symptoms rather than categories. The challenge for the dimensionality hypothesis is obvious: how many dimensions are there, and what are they? Satterthwaite calls this “a very large problem”. Ultimately, a future version of the DSM could have chapters devoted to each dimension. A 2009 study found that thousands of gene variants were risk factors for schizophrenia. Many were also associated with bipolar disorder, suggesting that some genes contribute to both disorders.

One study of six psychopathologies found that the brain’s grey matter shrank in three regions involved in processing emotions: the dorsal anterior cingulate, right insula and left insula. But subsequent studies by Adrienne Romer, a clinical psychologist now at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, identified a totally different trio of regions with roles that include the pons, cerebellum and part of the cortex. One key to making sense of this might be to focus on the brain’s executive function: the ability to regulate behaviour by planning, paying attention and resisting temptation, which relies on many brain regions. Romer and Satterthwaite have independently found disruptions in executive function in a range of psychopathologies — the suspicion being that these disruptions could underlie the p factor. Suicide is one of the most observed symptoms in DID and suicide rates reported as 70 - 72% in DID and presence of a dissociative disorder was the strongest predictor of a suicidal behavior. DID is highly associated with consequent risk of recurrent suicidal behavior. Self harm, labile emotion, and impulsivity suggest the diagnosis of comorbid borderline personality disorder. Evidences show that Borderline personality disorder (BPD) and DD have often been reported to occur comorbidly. BPD diagnosed in 30% to 70% of DID patients. “I think it’s a time for much more empirical research rather than grand theorization,” says Neale. At the genetic level at least, he says, there are many disorders, such as PTSD and generalized anxiety disorder, that remain poorly understood. Source:

Alan R. Graham: I believe Jim Morrison was descending deep into depression and alcoholic schizophrenia. Frustrated by the mediocrity of his fans, Morrison distanced himself from thems. In his last interview before he left for Paris, Jim had told a reporter, “One morning, I woke up and was surrounded by all of these spirits.” 

Jeff Finn: Subtlety, in the form of fine-detail gray-scale shading, is in order if we are to fully empathize with Jim Morrison's 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 artist to raging alcoholism, depression, 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. When I met with Alain Ronay, whom Oliver Stone had hired as a consultant for his Doors film, he told me he 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."

Patricia Butler: I had no opinions formed about Jim and Pamela when I started out my research. I didn't have many opinions formed. That's why it was easier for me to dismiss the oft-repeated theories when actual facts proved those theories to be wrong. I talked to Dr. Arnold Derwin, The Doors' occasional physician. At the time Jim left for Paris, Derwin hadn't seen him professionally for over a year. In truth, Jim was in bad health when he left the States. Ray Manzarek remarked on his horrible cough. Jim filled a prescription for asthma medication just before he left the States. There is difference between what people believe and what they say in public. I know from personal experience that Ray Manzarek, for instance, said many things in public which, in private conversation, he'd laugh about. Manzarek actually confirmed that Jim's asthma was giving him real problems before he left the States. Danny Sugerman, too, would write things for public consumption because it was good for the Doors's mystique, not because he believed those things to be true.  Despite later revisionist claims, Sugerman was not even friendly with Jim at the time. So asking what certain people believe is not the same as asking what what they'll say "on the record." When I spoke to Alain Ronay regarding that interview he did for that Italian magazine, his exact words to me -- and I remember them very well, because he actually cried -- "How could you believe I would say such terrible things about Jim and Pam? I loved them both so much." He swore to me that he had been grossly misquoted and his statements completely misrepresented. Now I don't know whether that was true or not. I can easily see Alain saying sensational things in order to sell a big story to a magazine, and then crying over it when he got called on the carpet for it. I also talked with the Morrisons, who confirmed Jim suffered from asthma since he was a child. Until the 1990s, Jim's parents never visited his tomb in Paris and later Pamela's sanctuary. I was really angry with Stephen Davis when he called me. When he did tell me what he was planning for his book, I found it completely disgusting, not to mention entirely irresponsible. But Davis didn't care. What do you think sells more books -- the truth or the scandal? I recommend Frank Lisciandro's book as one of the few reliable books. Frank told me Paul Ferrara had refused to be interviewed for Friends Gathered Together because Ferrara 'didn't have a good recall of Morrison.' More than that, I think, Morrison had not a good recall of Ferrara, given his flirtation with Pamela.

Virginia Flagg: I did not deal with Jim in public but there are witnesses of our friendship, albeit a bit perplexed that I visited his house. He goofed on never explaining my privileges or purpose in his life. Other than that, our relationship was very reclusive. I spent a lot of time at his house in Laurel Canyon, and Pam knew it. Pam came to trust me, and I had lovely times with her as well. Pam was bright, beautiful, charming, and funny. I never went to a Doors concert but sometimes I hung out with Jim in the afternoon during setup, or after a concert. Once I gave him acid tied to a flower before the Hollywood Bowl concert, as I lived up the hill, and he asked me to come by--but there was a form of wisdom that I gained early on, by not getting in the line that would assign me to groupiedom and would have made lose my objectivity. I only slept with Jim once. Believe me, if you had ever slept with him, you would not forget it--it was an infectious state you found yourself. Pamela was Jim's true love, she was his little girl, and the woman he chose. In that era the artistic scene in Los Angeles was a relatively small community, compared with what it birthed later. About the influence of Warhol/Nico on Jim, I don't think the Factory's scene mixed that well, being Jim straight. My grandfather was James Montgomery Flagg who collaborated in the creation of the "I Want You" poster when FDR asked for a more sobering image for Uncle Sam. John Barrymore and my grandfather were bohemian friends. In the 60s I worked serving drinks in the booths of "The Brave New World" (the coolest underground club, even moreso than Bido Lito's). One night, amidst Arthur Lee and Frank Zappa and the Mothers--suddenly sauntered a rebel dressed in nondescript jeans and a tattered shirt, and I was struck by the sheer weight of his authority onstage. My heart was swollen, it was truly stupefying. Jim was way ahead of the times in his consciousness of what was coming. I was an acquaintance of Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison though Jim referred to me as a friend. We exchanged poetry and he liked my poems. I never idolized Jim Morrison. He was a man of considerable inner strength and personal integrity but his faults were many, with a tendency to self-pity and evasiveness, and I dealt with those faults as well as I could. Source:

"If you watch the footage of Jim speaking with Pastor Fred Stegmeyer you see more of the real Jim. He was very cordial and, at heart, a true southern gentleman." -Robby Krieger. It’s refreshing to see him sober and enjoying a conversation in this segment of The Doors: Feast of Friends (1970) documentary directed by Frank Lisciandro. The mystique of Jim Morrison kind of fogs the true side of what he was like. It was really nice to see this side of Jim. He listened, he was respectful and gave intelligent answers to the pastor.

Friday, May 01, 2020

The Cold Last Swim, James Dean, Jim Morrison

Poet and writer Frank O'Hara was deeply affected by the death of young James Dean in a crash on his way to race his Porsche Spyder in Salinas, California. Just days after the 1955 accident, O'Hara crafted a series of elegies, in one of which a phrase appears that serves as the title of Junior Burke's new novel The Cold Last Swim (2020)The tragedy elevated Dean to icon status for a generation of youth across the country, girls swooning in romantic grief over what-might-have-been (for him and, in their minds, for them), boys imitating the swagger and looks in hope of engendering somewhat more local swooning. This truncated arc, a star just beginning to ascend over 1950s America reverberates to this day. It's reasonable to assume that a work addressing the James Dean phenomenon will also be serious, accretive to the mythology of that moment. 

In the case of The Cold Last Swim, to make that assumption would be a mistake, because here Junior Burke takes an entirely different tack. He imagines an alternate history, one in which James Dean is not killed in that crash because that crash never occurs. We should accept that invitation in the spirit in which Burke offers it. He wants us to enjoy imagining a life not cut short but a life prolonged, breezing past a close-call on a remote stretch of California highway. Burke embeds his story in the Hollywood of the '50s and early '60s, in renown diners, coffee shops, restaurants, and watering holes of that place and time, in period television shows and in California car culture. His cast of characters- mobbed-up record producers, sitcom stars, teenagers who become obsessed with James Dean and leave home, hustlers and head-cases, writers and photographers for movie and music mags, politicians and payola investigators who are not quite FBI agents.

Right off the bat we find James Dean, between filming East of Eden and Rebel without a Cause, being cast in an episode of General Electric Theater (the actual episode aired 12 December 1954) in which, after an altercation during rehearsal, Ronald Reagan is, in an off-script moment in Burke's tale, shot in the chest by James Dean on live TV. What follows is mayhem and coincidence, some characters assuming multiple false names and at times assuming others' identities altogether. The allure of this novel is not so much in the writing, as in the plot, and so it is difficult to address the tale without giving too much away to those who wish to go along for James Dean's ride. Let's just say that in the novel as well as the film Rebel Without a Cause, there's a pivotal scene called the "chickie run" -- Dean and another actor are seen racing stolen cars toward an ocean cliff. Both cars take the plunge, one actor (Burke's Dean rejects stuntmen) failing to bail out in time when his clothing is caught in the car's door handle (as shown in the actual movie). The world comes to believe that the driver killed in the fiery crash on the beach is James Dean. 

Burke's tale is cast in the style of noir, albeit sunny California noir. The writing fits that bill; it's straightforward and plain, almost as bare-bones as if the novel were a screenplay. There are many quick cuts and the myriad characters are moved around like chess pieces. Their trajectories are complex and intersect repeatedly and at times coincidentally, and their scenes don't always engender much in the way of consequence except to move the reader toward scenes that otherwise might not seem reasonable. There's much fun and flashy busyness. Burke's narrative is a whirlwind escape into the speculative Land of What-If. In this regard, the timing of the release of The Last Cold Swim might well be perfect. We can be entertained in Burke's alternate land of the stars and the star-struck just at a time when the real world brakes to a dead stop. Source:

Jim Morrison: 'An Alternate History' by Jim Cherry: In Beat poet Michael McClure Jim Morrison found a kindred poetic spirit and a productive relationship, but not at first. McClure and Morrison first met in New York while McClure was rehearsing his play “The Beard.” Both men were drinking and had an immediate dislike for each other. That hurdle seems to have been overcome by the time The Doors went to play their European tour. Morrison ran into McClure and invited him over to read some of his poetry. McClure was soon encouraging Morrison to get his poetry self-published it. By 1969 Morrison was impressed by McClure’s novel “The Adept” which had themes and settings in common with Morrison’s. They rented an office in a Hollywood building and worked on a screenplay of “The Adept” but because of its lack of cohesion was rejected by an agent, and the two went on to other projects. 

One of the most frequently asked questions among Doors fans, is what would Jim Morrison be doing if he hadn't died? July 3, 1971, 4am, Paris, France. Jim Morrison wakes up after falling asleep in the bathtub after a night of drinking. Morrison wraps himself in a warm robe and goes back to bed. As he gets into bed he’s careful not to wake Pam. August 1971. He comes to the conclusion that although he’s feeling better he can’t recreate the creative burst he felt on Venice Beach six years earlier. Morrison adopts the same discipline he had when working with Michael McClure. Morrison, gaining creative confidence and control, decides to accede to Pam Courson’s wishes that she and Jim have a normal life. He buys an old church in the French countryside that will be renovated into their home. In the meantime Morrison wanting to finish ‘old business’ works on his manuscript of Observations While on Trial in Miami. The book is observational as well as philosophical with a surrealist edge to it and provides a look into the American judicial system of the time. It becomes an underground hit and is considered by many to be one of the last great writings of the 1960’s counterculture movement, leading him to become renowned as author and poet. Source:

Janet Erwin: for those of you unfamiliar with Linda Ashcroft's story "Wild Child", she copied Patricia Kennealy's formula from "Strange Days", and of course she picked up PK's loathesome accusation that Pam let Jim die and ran with it, claiming (in the original, UK version of the book) that Pam told her she let Jim die because the last thing he gasped as he collapsed was Linda's name! She also claims to be the "L.A." of L.A. Woman. I heard Judy Huddleston penned her unreliable book from a mental institution. Judy may have been in a mental institution but Patricia Kennealy certainly belongs in one. Patricia Kennealy is a vicious, truly evil woman, full of rage and hatred towards virtually everyone, even--especially--towards Jim Morrison, the man she claims to love. In fact Patricia Kennealy is incapable of love. She is a sociopath who views other people simply as pawns to be used by her and then discarded when they've served their purpose. She has been exploiting her very brief fling with Jim for years for her own self-glorification, for money, and most of all, I think, for revenge. She has aimed her venomous lies against anyone who made Jim happier and about whom he cared more in his life. Of course Patricia knows Jim didn't want her--that's the real reason she's so angry. If you have read my memoir Ballroom Days then you have seen how she used me and how she used--and continues to use--Jim Morrison. You have also seen that--unlike Patricia--I make no claims whatsoever as to my own importance in Jim's life. You might even have noticed that I don't patronize Jim Morrison, nor is there any rage towards him that is often to be found in Kennealy's "memoir." Jim Morrison was the most considerate and skilled lover I've ever had the very great pleasure to enjoy. He was also the funniest man I've ever known. But then I genuinely loved him, and I still do, and I'm not going to sit by and let Patricia Kennealy slime his memory--and Pamela's--with her venom and her truly colossal ugliness of spirit. 

John Densmore made the comment about Pam using the gravestone money for heroin... and it definitely was a low blow. It seems sadly characteristic of him, however, and if Ray was right about John meeting and falling for Pamela first, it would seem to indicate some very sour grapes on John's part. Densmore and Kennealy should have a lot to talk about. Patricia didn't use my real name because she was afraid I'd sue her for libel if she did. Jim and I had a casual conversation about drugs in February 1971. He mentioned heroin as a drug he'd tried. It was a passing mention of what I assumed was casual use. Patricia Kennealy's letters from Jim were written in July of 1970, when he was apprehensive about the upcoming Miami trial, and before Patricia had harassed him and he'd broken it off with her (which he did when she invited herself down to Miami during the trial). Her claims that he wrote to her in 1971 from Paris--or that there was any communication of any kind between the two of them after February 1971--are lies. Patricia Kennealy left Jazz & Pop in January of 1971, therefore her job with Jazz & Pop would not have prevented her from accompanying Jim to Paris. She simply wasn't asked to go to Paris, nor was she invited to Los Angeles either in December 1970 or in February 1971. She was invited--politely and considerately, for the man was a gentleman--to get out of his life and stay out. She was *invited* to get out of his life several times, and was given every opportunity to do so with her pride intact. Unfortunately, she chose otherwise. Awfully lucky for her the man died when he did; if he'd lived no one would ever have heard of Ms. Patricia Kennealy, except as one of Jim Morrison's many fan stalkers. There are those of us who take exception to her self-serving and ugly lies, as well as the lies and distortions of Jerry Hopkins, Danny Sugerman, Stephen Davis, Mick Wall, Oliver Stone and their ilk. Among the many 'people who were there' and who can still verify that I had a relationship with Jim in late 1970 are the following: Frank Lisciandro, Kathy Lisciandro, Jack Ttanna, Jo Ttanna, Babe Hill (who spent many evenings with Jim and Salli Stevenson) and Sandy Gibson, who was a rock publicist in 1970, and who later produced the 6-hour official Doors radio show in association with Jac Holzman [founder of Elektra Records] called "The Doors from the Inside;" and then, in association with Westwood One, produced the 10-hour radio documentary "The Doors: Setting the Record Straight."

There are also members of the rock press in Los Angeles at the time and who can verify the Morrison-Stevenson friendship. But the only woman who consistently held the royal flush in Jim Morrison's game was Pamela Courson. Pam's police statement, naturally, made no mention of heroin. According to Alain Ronay, Pam said they snorted it the previous night (July 2) and Morrison suffered an overdose. According to Sugerman, Jim discovered Pam snorting heroin and she told him, "It's coke." It depends on who you believe. I choose to defend Pamela Courson from Sugerman's accusations because I don't think he was close to Jim nor Pam. Jim told me he thought Danny was a creepy stalker. I think what happened in Paris was just a tragic accident and Pam was very confused when she recalled her blurry memories from that night. I used to work in the world of N.Y. publishing and it seems Pat Kennealy has been dropped by her publisher due to her bad image and the lack of quality of her last two novels.

Patricia Butler: Pamela Courson had to petition for her widow's stipend to be disbursed to her for a living allowance until the will went through probate, which it finally did in 1974. Pam would say she was Jim's wife while he was still here in the flesh, Jim never denied it- did he? Pamela started using the name Morrison--with Jim's blessing--shortly after they became a couple. This was the name she was known by to everybody in Jim's circle. In fact, Pamela Des Barres also referred to her by the name Pamela Morrison in her book "I'm With the Band." I spoke to Pamela Des Barres about that and she confirmed that that was, in fact, the name everyone used for her. People don't seem to get that, for the most part, people who are misrepresented in sensationalist books don't have any platform to rebut the lies. Take Bryan Gates in No One Here Gets Out Alive. His story about his trip across country with Jim Morrison was completely screwed up in NOHGOA and, because people (very much like Stephen Davis) tend not to take the time to check out this stuff, the misinformation is repeated all over the place for years. When I contacted Bryan Gates for my book, he was still seething mad over NOHGOA and was very anxious to get the correct story out. But if I hadn't contacted him, what recourse did he have?  He can hardly call up everyone who reads NOHGOA and set them straight.  He cannot gather a press conference either. It was the same situation with the guy "in the Florida coffee shop," Tom Reese.  When I talked to him he was still pissed that he'd been misrepresented in NOHGOA. He said Jerry never came any further than his front porch and never seemed very interested in getting the whole story, which is why he changed Reese's name in NOHGOA. Most of the time, the only way these folks have to rebut something that one author got wrong is to try to set the record straight with another author. Jerry Hopkins was a good friend but his book gave birth to more bullshit stories about Jim than any other, because it was the first, and subsequent authors borrowed freely without checking their facts. Manzarek even admitted Sugerman had concocted many tales because the original Hopkins' draft needed more salable points to be published. That's why Stephen Davis's book is so dangerous. When writers simply borrow from suspicious sources without checking out the information themselves, misinformation spreads and takes root. I think it's truly the root of all journalistic evil around Jim Morrison's figure. I knew from my conversation with Davis that his entire goal was to play up the old rumors--the worse the better--with very little interest in doing any new research or checking facts. The whole thing is disgusting. I honestly think Davis should be ashamed of himself. Then again, if he was the kind of person who would be ashamed of himself over this kind of shoddy work, he would be the kind of person not to do that kind of work in the first place. This is why books like Davis's are so very dangerous: many people want to believe the worst, and they'll latch onto anything they can that seems to legitimize their feelings. 

-RiderontheStorm1969: Pam wanted Jim to leave The Doors because she could see what Manzarek and the others couldn't see, or didn't care to see as Jim was their money maker, what being a rock star was doing to him. Pam always urged Jim to walk away from the music industry and focus on the things he truly wanted to do; journalism, film, poetry. Pam got Jim to see a psychiatrist on two occasions and she tended a line of communication between Jim and his family. When "friends" began to disappear after the Miami debacle Pam was one of the few relationships left standing. Paris was a desperate last attempt to possibly stabilize Jim and have him take a break from the band, Jim's drinking buddies, fame and the general insanity that was Jim Morrison's life. Pam may not always come across as a nice person (she had her own issues) but she clearly cared for Jim's welfare. According to friends of Jim and Pam, Jim Morrison's former girlfriends, the other Doors, people who worked for The Doors, former friends of Kennealy and - not that she meant to keep tripping over own lies - according to Kennealy herself: she and Morrison only had a brief fling. Patricia Kennealy is the original stalker. She had been laying siege to Jim Morrison for some time before their "destined" press meeting. After Kennealy stopped hearing from Morrison she went to Los Angeles and tried to stalk, abuse and intimidate him into continuing with her even though he made it clear he was not interested. From what I gather about Kennealy, she probably saw Morrison's fragile state at the Miami trial as some kind of sick advantage while she came up with the twisted mind games she tried to play with him. Kennealy was merely one of many flings for Jim Morrison. Indeed, Morrison's most unfortunate fling, as it turned out. Those who actually knew and cared about Jim Morrison who could offer genuine insights are reluctant to be interviewed by aspiring Morrison "biographers". Kennealy, on the other hand, will take any opportunity in her quest for validation. And that is the the only reason you read so much about her in books. She will blather to anyone who is willing to listen. Most stories about Jim Morrison have been proven to be either false or to be greatly exaggerated. Source:

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Strange Days with Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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