Sunday, February 21, 2010

VERS LIBRES by Raymond Radiguet

Erotica by Jean Cocteau's good young friend and genius writer Raymond Radiguet? Wonderful cover.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

TV Theme Danger Man (Full Version)

This is the melody I hum every morning while walking or even in the shower. The great Patrick McGoohan's first TV series "Danger Man" that somehow became "Secret Agent Man" in the United States. Eventually the same character, in theory mind you, turned into No. 6 in "The Prisoner." Nevertheless my interest is in the music theme, which I think is a masterpiece of sorts.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"You Can't Always Get What You Want" by Sam Cutler

You Can't Always Get What You Want You Can't Always Get What You Want by Sam Cutler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What I find fascinating with respect to books about the Rolling Stones, is that the subject matter (The Stones) are not that interesting as a subject matter. But all the side characters in their long narrative is on another plane itself - and they are fascinating. The drug dealers, the managers, the audience, groupies, the money people - all of them are interesting, but the Stones themselves never come off as interesting figures in their own story. Keith of course is the closest of being an interesting guy and the same goes for Brian Jones (of course).

Sam Culter was the Road Manager for the 1969 Stones tour and then after that went off into the weird world of the Grateful Dead. And his book on both band's life is great. Another classic rock n' roll memoir of life beyond the stage - and the Stones on stage is the one moment where the band comes to life - but alas, the real story is what happened before and after their shows.

And it is not just the rock n' roll sex thing, that becomes common place and kind of boring. Its the American gangster element that came to force during the 1969 tour, and how it sort of was left to attach to themselves to the Stones' inner world. Basically Mick Jagger looked the other way, while Cutler had to deal with shady (are they or aren't they) mafia figures as well as the Hells Angels culture.

The Stones' free concert is a mixture of horror, dread, and watching a slow fatal car wreck as it happens in front of your eyes. Cutler saw it going that way, but couldn't stop the machine or the engine heading towards disaster. And that is the highlight of the book, like the great film "Gimmie Shelter" you just want to cover your eyes to all the ugliness - and Cutler writes about the experience in a straight forward manner that is classic journalism.

Cutler then jumps into the Dead world, and that also captures a time and place like no other. Cutler was in love with the LSD vibe that was going around the band and its followers. Naive is not the exact world, more like a horror show being placed as a foundation to allow a mixture of thugs and hippie dreamers. A weird combination that is through out the book.

Mick Jagger comes off as passive/aggressive and Jerry Garcia is .....very simple. Just wants to focus on the music and nothing else but the music. Which means looking away from the culture that has produced various bad traits as well as some good highlights - the good trip here and there.

But also the practice of the Grateful Dead world (if not the band themselves) spiking various drinks with LSD in their party and beyond is kind of weird and scary. Sam Cutler's memoir of those years leaves a bad taste, but you can also see the need to go through all of that with the hope of tasting something great. But the 'great' has a limited time period before disaster strikes. Essential rock n' roll book.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Where is my father on the cover?

A nice YouTube collage and I imagine rare images of the making of the Sgt. Pepper album cover. Most of you know that my father Wallace Berman is one of the faces in the background. Which one?

Friday, February 12, 2010

John Waters' new collection of Essays

Role Models Role Models by John Waters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There is something so comfortable about John Waters' essays. He is an extremely reasonable man in an unreasonable world. The beauty of this book is Waters' riffing on old friends, various famous people who inspired him, and the best part is a tour of his town's (Baltimore) most sleezy bars, which he's an natural consumer of.

Also his appreciation for various Gay Porn directors is both hysterical and moving at the same time. John Waters is one of those once-in-a-lifetime type of character who can both do art (film, visuals, writing, performer) and be sort of the great Uncle in your life. His genius like appreciation for the arts and literature is fantastic as well. Waters is a hardcore aesthetic and is extremely dandy-like with his appreciation for the world and how he transforms that 'place' into his own liking. Amazing!

What I have is a galley, and the book is coming out in June. For sure purchase it!

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Situationist and the City: A Reader

The Situationists and the City: A Reader (40 Black & White) The Situationists and the City: A Reader by Tom McDonough

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Very impressive anthology of Situationist writings on the subject matter of Architecture and the Urban Landscape. Some you may have read before, but this is a beautiful edited volume and all the material is here in these pages.

Guy Debord and Company touched on a lot of stuff with respect to culture and politics - and Debord's historical pointed remarks - and this maybe the best introduction to the Situationist and their subject matter.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Barry Miles' "London Calling"

I am very excited about the upcoming release of this new non-fiction book by Barry Miles, regarding the social history of London from the 1940's. Miles is a good writer and he knows his subject matter very well.

Monday, February 1, 2010

"V comme Vian" (V For Vian) a TV French Film

This gentleman Laurent Lucas will play Boris Vian in a new French TV movie called "V comme Vian." The film is directed by Philippe Le Guay. I suspect the film is going to go into the whole "I Spit on Your Graves" scandal with a lot of scenery from the Saint Germain des Prés scene circ. late 1940's. Looking forward to seeing the film. We can cross our fingers that it will serve the great man's art...