Posts Tagged ‘Rolling Stones’
Thanks to obsessive online forums that pore over a production’s every anachronism , [the entertainment industry] requires increasingly discerning and dedicated prop hunters. Nowhere is this more apparent on set than with the technology that surrounds actors. Mad Men inspired its dedicated watchers to complain that the Sterling Cooper office’s IBM Selectric typewriters were a year ahead of their time, and the numerous period-specific shows that followed have only had to be more diligent.
Now, as television is trending toward ’80s-era creations like Stranger Things, The Americans, Halt and Catch Fire, and The Goldbergs, decorators are finding it increasingly difficult to fill their sets with gadgets that won’t cause persnickety fans to froth at the mouth. It’s a very first-world Hollywood problem, but a fascinating one. The breakneck pace of consumer technology development — the same thing that has brought us generational inside jokes and those viral “Kids React to Old Computers” videos — is trailed by landfills full of mass-produced gadgets. They are not made of metal or wood, but a beige and flimsy plastic that tends to yellow over time. As the production designer for the first two seasons of The Americans, John Mott, put it, the ’80s “were also a time where design had kind of lost its way.” As a result, gadgets from that era don’t tend to be on most collectors’ radars, even if they’re in high demand in the entertainment industry…
It can’t just be a computer from the ’80s — it has to be THE computer from the ’80s: “How Hollywood Gets Its Old-School Tech.”
And for more on the viewer-side energy driving this, see “The Internet Is Spoiling TV.”
* Sha Li
As we aspire to accuracy, we might recall that it was on this date in 1970 that Gimme Shelter was released. A Maysles Brothers documentary edited by Charlotte Zwerin and produced by Porter Bibb (with incidental assistance from your correspondent), it chronicled the last weeks of The Rolling Stones’ 1969 US tour, which culminated in the disastrous Altamont Free Concert.
One of the most immediate and compelling documentaries ever committed to celluloid, it was released twelve months to the day after the era-defining tragedy that it depicted. Before directing Gimme Shelter, Albert and David Maysles had made vérité documentaries focusing on celebrities such as Marlon Brando, Orson Welles, Truman Capote and the Beatles and it was the latter experience that convinced Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones to invite the brothers and their creative collaborator Charlotte Zwerin to film the free concert they were headlining at the Altamont Speedway. The concert was attended by an enormous 300,000 people but the free love party was so large that the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang were recruited in the last minute to act as security for the event. Rather than being a West Coast version of Woodstock (which had been held earlier that summer) Altamont instead became infamous for the death of Meredith Hunter, an 18-year-old African-American man, stabbed to death by the Hell’s Angels after drawing a long-barreled revolver. Amazingly, the Maysles caught the incident on film, turning Gimme Shelter into, as Amy Taubin succinctly put it, rock ‘n’ roll’s answer to the Zapruder footage of JFK’s assassination. Not only does the movie feature the fatal incident but, even more compellingly, in one scene we see a clearly affected Jagger watching the incident again as the Maysles edit the footage. A great concert film as well as a hugely important cinematic document hugely altered the trajectory of the Maysles’ career and remains, along with Don’t Look Back, one of the most important music docs ever made.
Accurately imagining what the world will be like one hundred years in the future is always going to be fraught with difficulties (see this attempt, and also this). The writer of this piece “London a Hundred Years Hence”, which appeared in an 1857 edition of The Leisure Hour, certainly swayed a little off the mark when it comes to an imagining of 1957 London – sadly in being a little too utopian. In addition to the eradication of all poverty and crime, the author talks of a smoke-free city, and the “crystal waters” of the Thames, with fishes seen darting over the “the clear sand and white pebbles lying at the bottom”. However, the vision is surprisingly accurate in other quarters. In addition to predicting the vast geographical expansion of the city in which “Kew and Hammersmith were London; Lewisham and Blackheath were London; Woolwich and Blackwall were London”, it also gets it right with specifics, such as the building of Embankment (which would actually begin only five years after the piece was published): “instead of shelving shores of mud, I saw solid walls of granite, … part paved for wheel-carriages, and part a gravelled promenade for the citizens”. There is also a foreseeing of the shopping mall:
I beheld vast associative stores, the depositories of the skilled worker in every craft, where all that talent could invent or industry produce was displayed in magnificent abundance beneath one ample roof. One shop of this kind for each single branch of commerce sufficed for a large district, and the decreased expenditure in rent, fittings, and service, reduced the cost of management, and consequently the price of products … The purchaser walked through long galleries, where, ranged in orderly array, glittered and gleamed the gold, the gems, the jewels of every clime.
The piece is really notable, however, for its anticipation (albeit a little too early for 1957) of internet shopping:
I observed that from each of these district shops innumerable electric wires branched off in all directions, communicating with several houses in the district to which it belonged. Thus, no sooner did a house-keeper stand in need of any article than she could despatch the order instantaneously along the wire, and receive the goods by the very first railway carriage that happened to pass the store. Thus, she saved her time, and she lost no money, because all chaffering and cheapening, and that fencing between buyer and seller, which was once deemed a pleasure, had been long voted a disgraceful, demoralizing nuisance, and was done away with.
And then also the connectivity across distances which the telephone, and then internet, would bring:
The electric wires ran along the fronts of the houses near the upper stories, crossing the streets at an elevation at which they were scarcely visible from below; and I noticed that the dwellings of friends, kindred, and intimates were thus banded together, not only throughout the whole vast city, but even far out into the provinces, and, in cases where the parties were wealthy, to the uttermost limits of the realm.
More at “London a Hundred Years Hence (1857),” where one will find the full text and links to scans of the original.
* Samuel Johnson, as quoted in Boswell’s
As we look right, we might recall that it was on this date in 1967 that Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Marianne faithful, and friends were busted:
Just after eight o’clock, on the evening of February 12 1967, the West Sussex police arrived at Keith Richards’ home, Redlands. Inside, Keith and his guests – including Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, the gallery owner Robert Fraser, and “Acid King” David Schneiderman – shared in the quiet warmth of a day taking LSD. Relaxed, they listened to music, oblivious to the police gathering outside. The first intimation something was about to happen came when a face appeared, pressed against the window.
It must be a fan. Who else could it be? But Keith noticed it was a “little old lady.” Strange kind of fan. If we ignore her. She’ll go away.
Then it came, a loud, urgent banging on the front door. Robert Fraser quipped, “Don’t answer. It must be tradesmen. Gentlemen ring up first.” Marianne Faithfull whispered, “If we don’t make any noise, if we’re all really quiet, they’ll go away.” But they didn’t.
When Richards opened the door, he was confronted by 18 police officers led by Police Chief Inspector Gordon Dinely, who presented Richards with a warrant to “search the premises and the persons in them, under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1965.”
This then was the start to the infamous trial of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Robert Fraser…
[More at “The Great Rolling Stones Drug Bust“]
Montauk Life recalls the 1972 emergence of America’s best-known artist on the then-quiet Long Island scene…
As his career progressed, the shy, retiring Andy forged an identity that would reshape the way America looked at artists. In a time when revolutionary changes tore down the walls between art, fashion and every day life, Andy held the first sledge hammer. He bought a large loft on West 47th Street and opened the Factory, an industrial approach to art. Not content to re-shape the face of modern art, he took on film, music, writing and journalism. Surrounded by an entourage of up and coming hipsters, drag queens, budding journalists, aspiring actors, drug addicts, and society cast-offs, Andy became king of New York’s avant garde scene…
He wanted… to be famous, to rub shoulders with the brightest and best. To do that he engineered an image, as bizarre and unusual as any. Pasty faced Andy, with his white fright wig, haunted expression and monosyllabic style became as well known as any Hollywood star or Washington politician. By skillfully manipulating the publicity game, this painfully shy artist made himself into a glittering star of the social night, seen everywhere from art openings to the nightly melodrama of Studio 54…
[But] if there was one thing Andy loved more than fame, it was money. That’s what first brought the intensely urban Warhol to wide open Montauk. A long time visitor to the Hamptons proper, he and Paul Morrissey, director of many of Andy’s early avant garde films, decided a home here would be a great investment…
They settled on the Church estate, a collection of 5 classic, clapboard houses built in the 1920’s. Set on 20 acres high above the Atlantic, the buildings had been designed by noted architect Stanford White. The main house, with 7 bedrooms, 5 baths, 4 stone fireplaces and large living areas would be perfect for entertaining. The 4 smaller cottages would be guest accommodations. Andy and Paul split the $225,000 cost– as it turned out, the best buy of Andy’s life. Currently on the market for a cool $50,000,000, it’s the most expensive home for sale on the East End, and one of the most expensive in all of America.
Andy and Paul were pleased at the prospect of occasional entertaining, but needed to make the property pay; Lee Radziwill led the parade of celebrity tenants (bringing with her– literally, in their visits– the cachet of the Kennedys). But the renters who re-framed the reputation of the Hamptons were The Rolling Stones.
Warhol’s next door neighbor in Montauk, photographer, writer, painter, playboy, you-name-it-he-was-it Peter Beard had befriended Mick Jagger while serving as the photographer companion to Truman Capote (as reporter for Rolling Stone) on the Stone’s infamous Exile on Main Street Tour in 1972– at the completion of which Mick visited Beard on the Island.
In planning the preparatory rehearsals for their 1975 tour, Jagger decided that Long Island would be a perfect spot– and rented Warhol’s estate.
One of the indelible remains of the Stones stay in Montauk, is the song “The Memory Motel”. Named for the [nearby] bar and motel of same name, this lament for a lost girl has become one of the Stones signature tunes.
Hannah honey was a peachy kind of girl
Her eyes were hazel
And her nose were slightly curved
We spent a lonely night at the Memory Motel
It’s on the ocean, I guess you know it well
It took a starry to steal my breath away
Down on the water front
Her hair all drenched in spray
(Jagger/Richards – C- Rolling Stones/Virgin Records 1975 )
The other legacy of the Stone’s stay? As Warhol recalls in his Diary, “Mick Jagger really put Montauk on the map.”
[TotH to The Selvedge Yard, from whence the photos above– by Ken Regan, except as otherwise noted]
As we remind ourselves that It’s Only Rock and Roll, we might recall that it was on this date that same fateful year, 1975, that “Tania”– Patty Hearst– was captured in San Francisco and arrested for armed robbery. Ms. Hearst had been kidnapped in February, 1974 by a group known as the Symbionese Liberation Army and held as a “prisoner of war.” The SLA demanded that her father, publisher Randolph Hearst, pay millions of dollars in food relief to secure her release. Hearst made the donations; the SLA raised its demands. But in April, 1974, the situation changed: Ms. Hearst declared, in a tape sent to the authorities, that she was joining the SLA of her own free will, and would thenceforth be known as “Tania.” Later that month, a surveillance camera took a photo of her participating in an armed robbery of a San Francisco bank, and she was subsequently spotted during the robbery of a Los Angeles store.
In May, 1974, the FBI raided the SLA’s Los Angeles headquarters, and killed the group’s leader (Donald DeFreeze, aka General Field Marshal Cinque), but most of the group was absent. A cross-country manhunt ensued, and for more than a year Ms. Hearst and her conspirators-or-captors eluded the Feds.
Ms. Heart’s defense was that she had been brainwashed by her captors; but her argument wasn’t convincing to a jury. She was convicted in 1976 and sentenced to seven years in prison. (She never did that time: President Carter commuted that sentence; President Clinton later conferred a full pardon.)
Revenge may be a dish best eaten cold; but its best-known agents, The Avengers, are hot: Joss Whedon’s superhero mash-up is breaking box-office records at home and abroad.
Vancouver-based artist Jer Thorp has immersed himself in the foundation of the film, the Marvel series that has been published pretty much continuously since 1963…
The blockbuster that opened in the U.S. this past weekend features six Avengers– Captain America, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, and Black Widow. But lest we worry about available grist for sequels, Thorp reminds us that there are 127 more Avengers… The featured sextet appeared early and often; but as this plot suggests, there are plenty more heros where they cam from:
Much more (sequence of appearance, gender balance, etc.) here. And that’s not all: in the best Hollywood tradition, Thorp teases his own sequel…
…the clever ones among you might be wondering if these patterns are tied to historical periods, or if they are linked to the preferences of specific writers, editors, or artists. Is that crowded patch of Gods in 1985 due to a cultural fascination with myth? Or do Mark Gruenwald & Jim shooter just really, really like Thor? Great questions, and ones that I’ll take a look at Part 2 of this post.
Like S.H.I.E.L.D., Thorp is just getting started…
[TotH to Flowing Data]
Fans of the other, wonderful-in-a-completely-different-way Avengers might go here.
As practice our Tony Stark impressions, we might recall that it was on this date in 1965, in the wee hours, in a motel room in Clearwater, Florida, that Keith Richards awoke, grabbed his guitar, turned on a small portable tape recorded, laid down the signature riff of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”… then dropped back into the arms of Morpheus.
“When I woke up in the morning, the tape had run out,” Richards recalled many years later. “I put it back on, and there’s this, maybe, 30 seconds of ‘Satisfaction,’ in a very drowsy sort of rendition. And then suddenly—the guitar goes ‘CLANG,” and then there’s like 45 minutes of snoring.”
Via Buzzfeed, a peek at how Dr. Seuss’ covers would have appeared if they’d been… well, candid… e.g.,
More at “What Dr. Seuss Books Were Really About.”
As we struggle to hear a Who, we might recall that it was on this date in 1965 (at the time that they had their first big hit with “Satisfaction”) that three members of the Rolling Stones (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Bill Wyman) were fined five pounds each for urinating on the wall of a London gas station. They had asked to use the restroom but it was out of order.
The Stones in 1965 (source)
Special bonus: the first known footage of Jimi Hendrix
As we tap our toes, we might recall that today is the birthday of the intellectual Father of Rock and Roll– the Father of the Age of Reason and author (in Candide) of the immortal– and sardonic– advice that each of us should “tend his own garden,” Francois-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire; he was born in Paris on this date in 1694.