WEIRDLAND

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. He 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 cafĂ©s, 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.”

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Art Life: David Lynch, Jim Morrison

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bob Dylan's Vernacular, Jim Morrison's Vision


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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