Hello and Happy Valentine’s Week — or as I like to call it, Valloween! If that doesn’t scare you, this weeks’ Video Clip just might! “Haunted” by LA Garage Rock legends The Sloths does double duty as a music video and a movie trailer, as the song also appears on the soundtrack to the independent horror film The Amityville Murders, which just hit theaters and VOD this past Friday! Coincidentally, Sloths’ frontman Tom McLoughlin is also a filmmaker, having directed more than 40 feature film and television projects, including Friday the 13th Pt. VI: Jason Lives (1986). Exciting!
This photograph of artist David Wojnarowicz (1954 – 1992) was taken in late May of 1991 at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico while Wojnarowicz and his friend Marion Scemama took a road trip around the American Southwest. Cynthia Carr, the artist’s biographer, describes how the photograph came to be:
David had been there before and he knew exactly where he wanted stage this. “We’re going to dig a hole,” he told her, “and I’m going to lie down.” They began digging without saying word, a hole for his upper body and a bit for his legs. They used their hands. The dirt was loose and dry. He lay down and closed his eyes. Marion put dirt around his face until it was halfway up his cheeks and then stood over him, photographing his half-buried face first with his camera and then with hers.
This image was also licensed for use as the cover art for the soundtrack recording of the 1995 film, Postcards From America.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit History Keeps Me Awake at Night, on View Through September 30th, 2018 at the Whitney Museum in NYC.
The Coming-of-Age Story can fall into one of two categories: Sublime when done well, but Worse than Anything when done poorly. 20th Century Women, a new film directed by Mike Mills (Beginners) flips this genre sideways by looking at a pivotal year in the life of a fifteen year old boy through his relationships with three strong and finely nuanced women. Set in Santa Barbara, California in 1979, 20th Century Women follows Dorothea Fields (Annette Bening), a dedicated single mom in her mid-50s, who is raising her teenage son, Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) during a time filled with cultural change and rebellion. Without a father figure in Jamie’s life, Dorothea enlists the help of two younger women to help her bring-up Jamie to be a good man. Abbie (Greta Gerwig) is a free-spirited, 20-something punk artist and cancer survivor who is a boarder in their home, while 17-year-old Julie (Elle Fanning) is a troubled, promiscuous neighbor, who is also Jamie’s best friend. Billy Crudup also stars as William, a charming but aimless Handyman who also rents a room with the Fields home.
For anyone who lived through an important time of his or her life during 1979 (it was the year I graduated from high school, lost my virginity, and started college) 20th Century Women will feels like a unique, cliché-free set of life experiences that creates a pitch-perfect time capsule, dictated by a very specific time in pop culture history. Here are my Top Ten reasons why I love this film so much.
1. Even when she is horrible-piece-of-shit films like Greenburg, Greta Gerwig is the best thing in any movie she makes. I love everything about her character, Abbie, who reminded me of my former Punk Rock self, only way cooler.
2. The cinematography and art direction make each frame of the film look like a William Eggleston photograph.
3. Its depiction of the California Punk Rock scene in 1979 (which I was deeply immersed in) also manages to includes songs from the NYC’s No Wave scene and of course British First Wave Punk. The soundtrack reflects the film’s time period with music from artists who helped define the era: Devo, Suicide, The Germs, The Raincoats, Siouxsie and the Banshees, David Bowie, Buzzcocks and Black Flag. Holy Cow! I felt like someone stole my vinyl collection from this era and put it in the film.
4. The soundtrack also features and original score by Roger Neill, which is utterly transportive.
5. I wouldn’t really call myself a fan of the Talking Heads’ music, but three of their songs – “Don’t Worry about the Government,” “Artists Only” and “The Big Country” — are far superior to any their popular hits, and arguably better than most other songs on the planet. Two of these three songs are included on the soundtrack. You will have to see the movie to find out which ones. BTW I predict that this film will provoke a surge in downloads of the Talking Heads’ catalog.
6. There’s a 3D acid flashback visual effect that the filmmakers use to elucidate the feeling of traveling in a fast car as being comparable to moving across time. I’ve never seen anything like that before and it is so trippy and profoundly emotionally effective.
7. 20th Century Women reminded me so much of three of my favorite films, ever: Dazed and Confused, Almost Famous, and American Beauty. If you dig those films, then you will just love this one.
8. An old high school friend of mine makes a cameo appearance in the film, sort of by accident. Tony Reflex from the seminal Orange County punk band, Adolescents, can be seen in a photograph used in a montage that depicts the rise of the punk rock movement in the late 1970s. That was fun.
9. No meaningless violence or senseless tragedy. I hope that isn’t a spoiler for anyone.
10. It is just the best movie, and you should go see it!
20th Century Women — which was just nominated for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for this year’s Golden Globes, opens in New York and Los Angeles on Christmas Day, and Nationwide on January 20th, 2017. Music From The Motion Picture: 20th Century Women will be released digitally on December 16th, while a CD version will be released on January 13th 2017, followed by an LP version on February 10th, 2017.
40 years after movie audiences began singing along to such hits as “The Time Warp,” “Sweet Transvestite” and “Dammit Janet,” The Rocky Horror Picture Show fans can own a piece of history with the newly re-mastered Absolute Treasures soundtrack. Due out July 31st on Ode Sounds & Visuals and distributed by The Orchard, the soundtrack will be available as a limited-edition Red Vinyl two-disc set, and CD and as a digital release, which includes a bonus track will be available on August 21st.
The red vinyl was created to honor the film’s legacy and the devotion from fans to create something unique to celebrate this historic occasion. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show has always had a mind of its own fueled by the insight and direction of its fans,” says producer, Lou Adler.
The influence of the cult classic, which has been entertaining movie audiences since its debut, now spans four generations. “I recently heard a story about a man who went to see Rocky in the early 70’s,” says Adler. “He later had a daughter who went to see Rocky in the 90’s, and she now has a son, who just turned 15, and is seeing Rocky in the 2000’s. Proves that what I always said: ‘Rocky Horror is a family film.’ Because The Rocky Horror Picture Show is generally screened at midnight, age is a factor. But as tweens become teens, they come to be the next generation of fans. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is in a way a right of passage.”
The digital release of Absolute Treasures will include the movie’s vocal version of “The Sword of Damocles.” According to soundtrack producer Richard Hartley, “There were two artists who recorded ‘The Sword of Damocles.’ Director, Jim Sharman and I were looking/listening for the ‘Glam’ rock sound of a Bowie and or a T. Rex. We wanted a falsetto voice for Rocky, because after all he was just born. The vocal performance in the film is that of an Australian singer. It was recorded live on the set–I think on the 19th of December 1974. And that’s the version that’s in the film. The one that has been included on soundtrack albums is the alternate take by one of the backing singers, which was used as something for the actor playing Rocky to mime to.”
The Rocky Horror Picture Show — the longest distributed theatrical release in motion picture history — debuted as a London theatre production in June 1973. The show came to America in 1974 with nine months of performances at Adler’s Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles. On September 26, 1975, The Rocky Horror Picture Show held its U.S. premiere at the UA Westwood Theatre in Los Angeles.
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW ABSOLUTE TREASURES track listing is as follows:
Science Fiction/Double Feature
Over At The Frankenstein Place
The Time Warp
The Sword of Damocles
I Can Make You A Man
Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul
I Can Make You A Man (Reprise)
Touch-A,Touch-A, Touch Me
Once In Awhile
Planet Schmanet Janet
Planet Hot Dog
Rose Tint My World
A. Floor Show
B. Fanfare/Don’t Dream It
C. Wild And Untamed Thing
I’m Going Home
Science Fiction/Double Feature (Reprise)