WEIRDLAND

Thursday, April 20, 2017

LSD Trip: Higher State of Consciousness, Love Trip with Jim Morrison (Love Him Madly)

D-Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) is the most potent hallucinogic substance known to man. Compared to other hallucinogic substances, LSD is 100 times more potent than psilocybin and psilocin and 4,000 times more potent than mescaline. LSD was discovered accidentally in 1943 by Swish chemist Albert Hofmann, having sinthetized it in the Sandoz laboratories in Basel. He swallowed 250 micrograms of LSD. In America Timothy Leary and Richard Alper wrote together the book "The Psychedelic Experience" (1964), Leary founded the IFIF (International Federation for International Freedom), but LSD would be illegal in California in 1966 and possession of LSD would be banned federally in the U.S. after the passage of the Staggers-Dodd Bill (Public Law 90-639). The psychiatric medician Oscar Janiger was other important pioneer of the collective difusion of LSD, although Leary was the most famous acid guru. Janiger had administered over three thousand LSD doses between 1954-1962 to volunteers and Hollywood personalities as Cary Grant, Jack Nicholson, Rita Moreno, André Previn, etc. In 1962, Janiger was investigated by the FBI and forced to abandon his supply. Aldous Huxley, Janiger's friend, was initiated with peyote in 1930 by Alesteir Crowley. Psychiatrist Humphry Osmond had introduced Huxley to mescalina in 1953. 

Huxley's psychedelic incursions were reflected upon his philosophical essays as "The Doors of Perception" and "Heaven and Hell." In 1963, sick with throat cancer in his deathbed, Huxley begged to be inyected LSD for pain relief. The CIA had created a hidden proyect called MKULTRA, financed through the Menlo Park militar hospital. Standford University's students and random bohemian beatniks offered themselves as guinea pigs for hundred dollars (the volunteers received LSD 25, psilocibine, mescaline, and DMT). Scientists studied their reactions and the military applied these knowledge for secret mentral control operations as described in the film "The Manchurian Candidate" (1962), starred by Frank Sinatra. ―"LSD-Origins" article from Route 66 magazine, #132 (October 1997)

Scientific evidence of a ‘higher’ state of consciousness has been found in a study led by the University of Sussex. Neuroscientists observed a sustained increase in neural signal diversity – a measure of the complexity of brain activity – of people under the influence of psychedelic drugs, compared with when they were in a normal waking state. The diversity of brain signals provides a mathematical index of the level of consciousness. What is the level of consciousness of the psychedelic state? Empirically, measures of neural signal diversity such as entropy and Lempel-Ziv (LZ) complexity score higher for wakeful rest than for states with lower conscious level like propofol-induced anesthesia. Here we compute these measures for spontaneous magnetoencephalographic (MEG) signals from humans during altered states of consciousness induced by three psychedelic substances: psilocybin, ketamine and LSD. For all three, we find reliably higher spontaneous signal diversity, even when controlling for spectral changes. This increase is most pronounced for the single-channel LZ complexity measure, and hence for temporal, as opposed to spatial, signal diversity. These findings suggest that the sustained occurrence of psychedelic phenomenology constitutes an elevated level of consciousness – as measured by neural signal diversity. ―“What a Trip: First Evidence for Higher State of Consciousness Found.” NeuroscienceNews, 19 April 2017: Increased spontaneous MEG signal diversity for psychoactive doses of ketamine, LSD and psilocybin. Source: neurosciencenews.com

I was really tired of trying to make Jim fall in love with me by pretending not to care, as if it were only by coincidence that my acid-induced ramblings had taken me backstage the past eleven months. My slickly incoherent version of a dumb blonde was wearing thin. “You have to be careful with acid,” Jim said: “It shouldn’t be misused. You should just take it at the right times, when you really mean it.” He sounded so reverent about the whole thing that I wondered if he was making fun of me. But he stayed all holy looking, so I started feeling guilty about all the wrong times I’d taken acid. My mind ranted in noisy desperation until I thought: He’s the man; he should do something. Jim drank his beer and contemplated the dusty curtains. He put down his beer, walked over to me, and lightly placed his hands on my shoulders. Looking into my face, his eyes invited me to stand; his hands, moving to my waist, commanded it. His arms tightening around me, Jim pulled me closer, lifting me in a kind of unrushed passion. Standing above me, his eyes holding mine intently, he slid the infamous black leather pants slowly down his pale, smooth skin. He moved softly down beside me. I lay there, mute and amazed. Playful, he indulged in a tug-of-war game with my clothes. His mood changed fluidly until he was moving slowly inside me, a sensual scientist searching and finding the right slants and curves. Keeping a quality of unhurried passion, he was lovely, mastering each sensation. Touching him was like meeting who he really was, and I liked him more. He was a good kisser, slow and dreamy and fierce all at once.  

When he took his defenses away like that, it blew me away. All I wanted to do was reassure him, love him; he was a stray child with no mother, lost in the world. We felt raw and tender in the moment and held each other with all the love we’d never found. It seemed the warmth and strength of those who will forever be friends. ”If it wasn’t for this, life wouldn’t be worthwhile,” Jim said, his voice near tears. The desolation in his words scared me, but then he transformed like a desert storm. He wanted to make love and threw off his clothes as his desperation mounted. “You know, you’ve always been good to me, in bed,” Jim said. “I want to keep seeing you. But it can’t be all the time, you know. I can’t go with you or anything. I’m not dependable; It would just be a few nights together every few weeks or so. Could you do that? I mean, could you handle it that way? I don’t want you to get hurt.” “Are they really that different? All the women?” I asked: “It seems like it’d get boring.” “Yeah. They’re all pretty much the same. I don’t know why I do it,” he sighed, his voice full of heavy dejection. Bill Siddons (The Doors manager) had warned me: “I just don’t think Jim can really relate to women. Except Pam, I guess. I don’t really know what their gig is. I don’t understand what he sees in her. She’s always crying. But she helped him a lot in the old days when he was getting started.”

“You know, I think we’re all slaves to our bodies!” Jim pronounced, glancing around tensely. As we drove through Beverly Hills, Jim threw his head out the window and waved to a small blonde child. “Hello, little girl!” he yelled exuberantly. She stared back, refusing to acknowledge his greeting. “Snotty kid,” he muttered. I pulled my floppy felt Greta Garbo hat off and on. “I wonder where we’ll be ten years from now?” he asked. “I don’t really want to know,” I said, throwing my hat in the backseat. “Oh, you’ll probably be married and painting on the side.” He spoke as if I had an easy, reassuring fate. I glared: “You’ll probably be married, too.” “Yeah, I probably will be,” Jim sighed in resignation.  I wondered whom he thought he’d marry. “You know,” Jim continued, “what I need is a woman who would just laugh at me. One who wouldn’t take me seriously… I mean, the things I do—the stupid things—she would just laugh.” I blurted out my LSD arrest story, emphasizing how I’d felt the blue veins on my wrist were life itself. Getting more physical, he went down on me. “I love your pussy,” he said: “You’re so beautiful!” I was really tired of that one; beauty was a shell. Turning from the window, he looked into my eyes: “Would you marry me?” “Yes,” I said. Knowing he was a person someone would marry seemed to cheer him up. Jim pulled me down next to him, rocking me back and forth in a slow, reassuring motion. “I love you,” he said, burying his head between my breasts. 

Another summer passed. In early October 1970, Jim’s voice on the end of the line sounded broken and thick. “I just got back from Miami,” he said. “Won’t you come and see me?” I didn’t know many details about his trial in Miami. “Where are you?” I asked, unable to think clearly. “Uh, it’s the Gene Autry Hotel. You know, the big one near the corner of Sunset…” I knew he wanted dreams, gentle lies; he wanted to forget. He brought over the bag of coke, and we snorted some. The wonders of cocaine soothed us both. We walked outside on the balcony, wordless and serene. Leaning out over the railing, we were naked, feeling pure and innocent. Ashes fell from the sky, enveloping all the people in smoke and smog. Crying silently, I turned to Jim. He held me back, a glass figurine, a fragile figment of imagination. “You’re beautiful,” he whispered. But he didn’t believe I loved him. I had to get the hell away, leave behind the years I’d lost dreaming about him. Decisively, I reached for my purse, smoothed down my clothes and hair. The part of him that wounded others was the weakness that destroyed him even more. His own pain made him blind to how he affected others. Self-obsession drove him—he couldn’t drive himself. It was as if he held a sharp blade turned inward as he pushed out against the world. That only pushed the knife farther in, embedding in his heart as he struck out, each time drawing more blood. –"Love Him Madly: An Intimate Memoir of Jim Morrison" (2013) by Judy Huddleston

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Epiphany Learning, Warren Beatty's Rules Don’t Apply & Shampoo, Jim Morrison's poetry

Howard Hughes is portrayed as a dark and tormented figure: a Citizen Kane-like mogul who turns into a paranoid recluse. Warren Beatty doesn’t skimp on the character’s eccentricities or his self-obsession but the tone of the film is more comic than tragic. Beatty opens the film with a quote from Hughes, “never check an interesting fact,” and then uses it to justify the license he takes with events in his subject’s life. His screenplay isn’t above some smutty humour, throwing in jokes about Jane Russell’s breasts and about Hughes’ relentless womanising.  His paranoia is all consuming. So is his appetite for banana nut ice cream. He is both calculating in the extreme and very impulsive. Rules Don’t Apply is a Howard Hughes movie done shaggy dog story style. The point here is to tantalise us with the prospect of a punch line that we can half guess right at the outset will never be delivered. There’s no Rosebud moment (or epiphany) which suddenly explains the enigma of Hughes or what has been driving him all these years. Source: www.independent.co.uk

A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences outlines how researchers at Ohio State University are attempting to learn more about “epiphany learning.” Everybody loves those rare “aha moments” where you suddenly and unexpectedly solve a difficult problem or understand something that had previously perplexed you. In new research, scientists at The Ohio State University used eye-tracking and pupil dilation technology to see what happens as people figured out how to win a strategy game. These participants gave clues that they were about to have that aha moment, even if they didn't realize it. The eye-tracker showed they looked at zero and other low numbers more often than others did in the trials just before their epiphany. "We don't see the epiphany in their choice of numbers, but we see it in their eyes," James Wei Chen said. “We could predict they were about to have an epiphany before they even knew it was coming. One thing we can take away from this research is that it is better to think about a problem than to simply follow others,” Ian Krajbich said: "Those who paid more attention to their opponents tended to learn the wrong lesson." This research was supported by a National Science Foundation Career Grant to Krajbich. Source: www.sciencedaily.com


On L.A. Woman's legacy — Michael McClure (poet, friend of Jim Morrison): LA Woman was like someone picked up a Polaroid to shoot a space between the 1960s and the birth of the 1970s. It was pretty sharp with its vision of the collapse of the idealism of the '50s and '60s through the war and race riots -- particularly, the wars in Asia. I had been in L.A. at the Scam Building at 9000 Sunset Blvd. Morrison and I rented an office there and we wrote a screenplay based on my novel, The Adept. He was still in pretty good shape, despite the over the top intoxication. LA Woman handled that moment that was the turn of 1970 the same way a movie like Shampoo with Warren Beatty did. Source: www.laweekly.com

Playing a libidinous hairdresser in the classic 1975 film Shampoo, Warren Beatty mocked his own Hollywood Lothario reputation and unleashed fashion trends still hot today.  The ladies of the come-hither canyons—Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn, Lee Grant, Carrie Fisher—all wore big hair A-frame bobs or layered shags, and what Hollywood stylist Ilaria Urbinati calls thick “Brigitte Bardot bangs.” Beatty’s sheer unbridled animal sex appeal actually surpassed that of the women who played his lovers onscreen (and off). 

Jim Morrison —the Lord Byron/poet/dandy rock star was probably a stylistic template for George Roundy (Warren Beatty's character in Shampoo). Today, we call it The F Factor. Being a straight hairdresser will probably turn you into the loveable tragic fop that Beatty is. Shampoo seems to be a bit of gender-reversed Looking for Mr. Goodbar where the male slut gets it, but less fatally. Instead of being stabbed to death, he’s denied marriage, love, and the chance to reproduce. Which must have been very reassuring for the men in the audience who weren’t getting as much. Which will have been about 99 percent. Source: www.thedailybeast.com

Frank Lisciandro (filmmaker, friend of Jim Morrison): Jim had in his background a lot of the manners and style of a Southern gentleman. He would rise up from his seat when a woman entered the room. He would invariably hold a door for a woman. He would always let a woman walk before him. And then he was very discreet about the women he dated. He never told macho stories, like 'boy you should see what I did with her' or anything like that. He never even mentioned names. Virtually any woman who was anywhere near him adored him because he was so kind and considerate. Of course, he looked great too, so women fell head over heels in love with him immediately. I find it tragic Pamela died of a heroin overdose. I think she was so grief-stricken, that she turned to hard drugs as a way to relive some of the grief. I think she got into a very bad crowd in Hollywood and there was nobody there to protect her after Jim died. I'm not trying to condone drug use. In her case, she could've made a new life for herself, but in fact, I don't think she was strong enough. Source: www.famousinterview.ca

Jim Morrison's drinking was now so pronounced that his sex life was seriously impeded. One morning he was unable to make love, his girlfriend Pam took her lipstick and wrote "Some sex symbol can't even get it up!" on the bathroom mirror. But Pam and Jim were used to difficulties; the aftermath of Miami was not about to split them apart―their relationship wasn't just based on sex, it was meaningful precisely for their shared romantic vision of life. Jim sometimes felt Pam (his 'golden girl') was just a fragile doll he had to protect. Towards the end of his life, Jim Morrison was asked if he would've lived out the same style of life again, if he had the opportunity. He said no, he'd prefer a 'quieter, much simpler lifestyle.'  Morrison also said what seems to confirm his attempt to kill the sex symbol image: "[Miami] was the culmination, of our mass performing career. Subconsciously, I think I was trying to get across in that concert. I was trying to reduce it to absurdity, and it worked too well." Morrison's comment on being tried in Florida was simple and to the point: "They're gonna crucify me." In the end, he was stunned and disillusioned. Despite his rebellion against his background, he still believed in the American Dream. And it hurt him when the dream let him down.

All of the former ambitions he had held for music were now once and for all switched to poetry and film. Morrison's stage performance was now under close examination by the very people he most resented. The results of his strange rebellion against his image had led to the thing he always feared the most: His art was now in a sense being controlled by the Establishment, people not unlike his parents were evaluating his performances and in a very real sense deciding how his life was lived. "Jim was escaping from an inner anguish," Mirandi Babitz maintains: "The guy was in a lot of pain over something. It was dark around him. It didn't feel cheerful." Morrison had mood swings: Some say the internal battle was between the poet and the rock star, but you could also argue that Morrison was part sage and part maniac, a kind and gentle spirit and an utter madman. Psychologists call it schizophrenia, spiritualists call it possession. Most people that knew Morrison just called it weird. ―"Break on Through: The Life and Death of Jim Morrison" (2014) by James Riordan and Jerry Prochnicky

Jim Morrison, Tony Magistrale writes in “Wild Child: Jim Morrison’s Poetic Journeys” (1992) “is as much a product of the Romantic poetic vein as William Blake, Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson and the French Symbolists were a century before him.” Magistrale's study (published in the Journal of Popular Culture) was the first academic work to address the notion that Morrison’s writing should be taken seriously as poetry. 'Moonlight Drive' is a wonderful lyrical ballad that “really dispels the notion of Jim Morrison as a misogynist,” says Magistrale. “I would not hesitate for a minute to call lyrics like ‘Five to One’ real poetry,” he adds: “‘Trading your hours for a handful of dimes’? That could come from ‘Prufrock’ or ‘The Waste Land’ by T.S. Eliot. Or ‘I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer / The future’s uncertain, the end is always near.’ This could be right out of Camus or Sartre.’” Source: www.poetryfoundation.org

Jim Morrison had been fascinated with a film called, Wild in the Streets (1968). Christopher Jones played a 20th century rock 'n' roll rebel leader who was challenging society and wanted the vote for 14 year olds. The movie was an AIP production. A year earlier Morrison had met with a producer who wanted to get him into motion pictures. "That guy could be the next James Dean," the producer said. But Jim was unimpressed. He didn't want to be a HW sex symbol. Jim sang around the piano until about junior college, singing "Heart of My Heart," "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," as well as the Sunday school hymn "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam." Jim loved classical music, with the exception of Handel's "Water Music." Stravinsky was his favorite classical composer. “I’m hung up on the art game, you know?” Morrison said in an interview with CBC Radio: “My great joy is to give form to reality. That’s my ambition—to write something worthwhile.”

Ray Manzarek (The Doors): Jim Morrison had, in one way or another, seen, heard, and experienced the same artistic things that I had. All these little epiphanies are part of the soul of the Doors. These little moments of light and clarity and inspiration are what brought us together and what we tried to infuse into our music. Jim, too, was a devotee of Tennessee Williams. He loved his body of work. Even fancied himself as a bit of a Chance Wayne (Paul Newman's character in Sweet Bird of Youth). At his college in Florida they had staged Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Jim was the set designer. —"Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors" (1999) by Ray Manzarek 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Mental Illness on the rise, Suicidal ideation, Jim Morrison: The White Blind Light

An estimated 8.3 million American adults — about 3.4 percent of the U.S. population — suffer from serious psychological distress, an evaluation of federal health data concluded. “Mental illness is on the rise. Suicide is on the rise. And access to care for the mentally ill is getting worse,” said lead researcher Judith Weissman. She’s a research manager in the department of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. “Earning and sustaining a living is getting harder for people, especially for men,” Weissman said. “The loss of jobs could mean there’s a loss of community and a loss of role as wage earners and providers.” “In the past, you may go out and meet with your friends and talk about something, but when you got home you’d go to sleep,” Dr. Trivedi said. “The difficulty now is you can’t really turn things off. We don’t necessarily have downtimes to recharge and get our bearings straight again.” The study was published April 17 in the journal Psychiatric Services. Source: www.cbsnews.com

Therapists have long been aware of the connection between media depiction of suicide and a spike in suicide rates. An Australian survey of over 20 relevant studies from 2010 concludes: “There is good reason to expect that entertainment media depictions of suicide could lead to imitation acts: Such portrayals are widespread, often send a message reinforcing suicide as a course of action, often include graphic footage of the method of suicide, and often appeal to young audiences.” “I can almost guarantee that within the next year there will be a student we hear about on the news that actually does this exact process with the tapes,” said Katie Rutherford, a family therapist in Manhattan. She works with at-risk youth in the child welfare system, who have high rates of suicidal ideation.  90% of people who commit suicide suffer from mental illness. While external circumstances such as bullying can contribute to suicide, the show misses the opportunity to discuss the underlying cause. Source: www.indiewire.com


Patti Smith performed her debut album, Horses, and received a standing ovation on the first night of the  Byron Bay Bluesfest festival, on Thursday, 13 April. Released December 1975, Horses fused rock and roll structures and Smith's free-form, and was hailed by music critics as one of the greatest and most influential albums in the history of the American punk rock movement. Smith performed Gloria, Redondo Beach, Birdland, Free Money. Break It Up, Land, and Elegie. Before singing Break It Up, Smith explained to the audience that she wrote this song about The Doors frontman Jim Morrison, and based on her recollection of her visit of Morrison's grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery, in Paris, as well as a dream in which she witnessed Morrison stuck to a marble slab shaped as an angel, trying and eventually succeeding in breaking free from the stone with Morrison donning 'big white wings.' Source: www.northernstar.com.au


Around the time Waiting For The Sun was released, Morrison became discouraged and then drank some more. Sometimes he'd have a fight with Pamela and say, "Well, you don't love me anymore, so I'm gonna jump." Then he'd crawl out the window and hang from the ledge. He'd just hang there and after a while he'd say something like, "You better be nice to me or I'm gonna let go." Jim wasn’t concerned about Pam’s expenditures, even though he would complain about it in a good-natured way to his friends. “He’d complain about, ‘God, all the money she’s spending on that place!’” says Babe Hill: “But he said it in such a way that you could tell he was really proud of her. Like a man talking about his frivolous wife. He loved her very much.” Morrison had Max Fink draw up a will in which he made Pamela his sole beneficiary. Jim signed it and had Paul Ferrara witness the will on February 12, 1969. “Pam was the all-inclusive person he would leave anything he had to,” says Ferrara: “His will was intended to prove to Pam that he did love her.” Seventeen days after signing this legal love letter, Jim Morrison committed professional suicide. He had screamed Wake Up! a thousand times and only a few eyes had even flickered. Maybe what destroyed him was their refusal to let him set them free. ―"Break on Through: The Life and Death of Jim Morrison" (2014) by James Riordan and Jerry Prochnicky


"I've become obsessed with Morrison. In his own way, he was very much on the front line. He was a warrior," Oliver Stone said of Jim Morrison. "He was an outlaw rebel pushing at boundaries. A searcher who wrote about sex and death, two things any guy who'd been in Vietnam could relate to." Morrison had come to personify what French philosopher Camus once said: "Nihilism results when clinical despair is permeated by a sense of life's absurdity." Ray Manzarek believed Stone's film The Doors portrayed Morrison as "a violent, drunken fool. That wasn't Jim. All you see is Jim as a drunken hedonist. The tragedy is that fame consumed him. But that wasn't Jim's message. He was intelligent. He was loving. He was a good man who believed in freedom and in questioning authority." Manzarek felt the lavish, re-created Doors concert footage was "brilliantly filmed, although over-amped and sensationalistic." Source: articles.latimes.com


Your home is still here. Violet, uncertain. Thank you, oh lord, for the white blind light. Jumped humped, born to suffer... Made to undress in the wilderness. All of us have found a safe niche where we can store up our riches and talk to our fellows... in the same premises of disaster. Thank you, oh lord, for the white blind light. Let me tell you about heartache in the loss of god... wandering, wandering in hopeless nights. Moonshine night, mountain village insane in the wood and the deep trees. ...and the deep trees... and the deep trees... Your home is still here. Violet, uncertain. Oh, I want to be there, I want us to be there, oh, I want to be there...beside the lake, beneath the moon.... Woolen, swollen... drinking its hot liquor... I want to be there. Thank you, oh lord, for the white blind light. A city rises from the sea. Let me tell you about heartache in the loss of god. Wandering, wandering in hopeless nights. Let me show you the maiden with rot iron soul. Out here in perimeter there are no stars. Out there we are stoned... Immaculate...

Thursday, April 13, 2017

"The Mist" TV trailer, "Strange Days" (Jim Morrison & The Witch)


Stephen King’s 1980 novella The Mist, about a small town lucky enough to be engulfed in a mysterious fog filled with monsters, is getting the TV series treatment at Spike, and as a trailer shows, series creator Christian Torpe has expanded the Mist-o-verse. While the novella (and Frank Darabont’s 2007 feature film) was set almost entirely in a single supermarket, the TV show, with hours to fill, will add everyone’s favorite thing about television: subplots! Now we’ll get to see how other, nonsupermarket-shopping inhabitants deal with the onslaught, whether they are trapped in a church, a mall, or even a car. What’s more, the mist itself now appears to have psychological effects on those caught in it, rather than simply being a convenient harbinger for a deadly attack by prehistoric monsters. The Mist will premiere on Spike on June 22, which should allow plenty of time for binge-watching before the actual mist arrives in late August.

Despite these changes, however, it seems like Torpe has stayed true to the positive and uplifting theme that has made the novella such a favorite all these years: Give people an excuse, no matter how slim, and they’ll bring back human sacrifice faster than you can say “Stephen King’s The Mist.” The cast list doesn’t include the characters from the story, so there’s no Mrs. Carmody, the religious nut who first suggests appeasing the monsters Old Testament–style in earlier versions of The Mist. Smart money’s on Frances Conroy’s character taking her place—she looks like she’s got some of that old-time religion in the trailer, plus she’s named “Natalie Raven.” In the novel, Mrs. Carmody is an elderly townswoman with a borderline reputation as a witch and an extreme belief in a bloodthirsty God. She actively thrives in the situation, eventually convincing a large fraction of the survivors that a human sacrifice must be made to clear away the mist. Source: www.slate.com

"Strange Days" is a narcissistic memoir of, mostly, a love affair with Jim Morrison. When Kennealy met the rock star in the third-to-last year of his life, they shook hands and there was a ``visible shower of bright blue sparks.'' ``What are you?'' Morrison asked. Kennealy replied that she was a witch--a Celtic high priestess. Then, she says, Morrison married her by her Celtic coven (a ceremony that -Kennealy admitted in Victoria Balfour's Rock Wives book- Morrison took “probably not too seriously”) and, in a ``blaze of love and passion ignited,'' they consummated their union six times in two hours. Morrison (who never lived with Kennealy) is a nebulous presence here, impossible to visualize by manner or by the romance-novel speeches supplied for him, and appears mostly as a foil to the Kennealy ego--which is queen-sized. Much ado about the high priestess, not enough about the Lizard King. Source: www.kirkusreviews.com


Jim Morrison Progression video, featuring photos of Jim Morrison with his family, his girlfriend Pamela Courson, his musical partners The Doors, etc. Soundtrack: "Moonlight Drive", "Strange Days", "Love Me Two Times", "The Crystal Ship", and "Light My Fire" (stereo).

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

"Saving Capitalism", Memories Storage, Cheap Living in the Sixties, The Doors from the outside

Robert B. Reich begins by recalling fondly how his father’s small business was able to provide for their entire family to live comfortably in the sixties. Since the 1970’s, however, the market has been restructured, leaving wages for most Americans stagnant and upward mobility more unsure. The rate of new business formation has fallen by half, from 1978 to 2011, partly because longer patent protection, mergers creating larger firms with greater scale/scope economies, and the increased political power available to larger firms. Between 2000 and 2014, quarterly corporate after-tax profits rose from $529 billion to $1.6 trillion. By 2013, the median household inflation-adjusted earnings were less than in 1989; job security also declined. During the 1970s, only 13 hostile takeovers involved companies valued at $1 billion or more; during the 1980s, the number reached 150. In 1980, over 80% of firms gave workers defined-benefit pensions. Now the figure is less than 1/3. Fifty years ago, G.M. was the largest U.S. employer, and its workers earned $35/hour in today's dollars. The percentage of total income going to the top 1% in the U.S. rose from 10% in the 1960s to over 20% by 2013; in Germany, it remained constant at about 11%. Leading political economist and author Robert B. Reich presents a paradigm-shifting, clear-eyed examination of a status quo that no longer serves the people. Visionary and acute, Saving Capitalism illuminates the path toward restoring America’s fundamental promise of opportunity and advancement. Source: www.amazon.com

Beginning in the 1950s, studies of the famous amnesiac patient Henry Molaison, then known only as Patient H.M., revealed that the hippocampus is essential for forming new long-term memories. Molaison, whose hippocampus was damaged during an operation meant to help control his epileptic seizures, was no longer able to store new memories after the operation. However, he could still access some memories that had been formed before the surgery. This suggested that long-term episodic memories (memories of specific events) are stored outside the hippocampus. Scientists believe these memories are stored in the neocortex. A more recent model, the multiple trace model, suggests that traces of episodic memories remain in the hippocampus. These traces may store details of the memory, while the more general outlines are stored in the neocortex. Further studies are needed to determine whether memories fade completely from hippocampal cells or if some traces remain. The research was funded by the RIKEN Brain Science Institute, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the JPB Foundation. Source: news.mit.edu


In the late sixties/early seventies when Jim Morrison and Pamela Courson were struggling with their own demons, people did not go on national television and air their dirty laundry; personal problems, real or perceived, were kept within the home or within the individual. Women who worked outside the home were still an exception rather than a rule. So if Jim kept certain traumas from his past a secret; if Jim’s bandmates turned a blind eye as his alcoholism escalated or if Pamela was supported by Jim—none of these things seem unusual in the context of the era. “He always came on weekends, a very attractive lad,” recalls Tom Reese, who continually tried to convince Jim to model nude for the club’s Life Studies class, offers Jim continually declined. Reese, asked if he had been Jim’s lover during this time (as it had been speculated) he chuckles: “Well, let’s put it this way: everybody wanted to.” But when pressed to disclose further details, Reese hedges around the subject, indicating nobody should  speculate. As had been the case with Tandy Martin, one of the first official girlfriends of Jim, he would invest all his pent-up emotion in his feelings for Mary Werbelow, an intensity she found both compelling and frightening. “At that particular time he was really, totally enamored with her,” says Bryan Gates (Jim's classmate at St. Petersburg College): “And unlike virtually everybody else he was around, he was polite to her, considerate, never provoked her like he did the other people, and sort of wanted to be not only her friend in the boyfriend/girlfriend sense, but somewhat of her mentor and intellectual coach. It was a nice relationship.” With subsequent girlfriends and lovers, Jim seemed more interested in playing with their emotions or push their buttons; for instance The Doors' secretary Ginny Ganahl confirmed Morrison just had a liaison with Jazz & Pop magazine journalist Patricia Kennealy because her review of an interview with Morrison in January 1969 had been scathing.

Early photos of Jim and Pam taken from Pamela’s scrapbook show the two gleefully clowning around in a photo booth, Jim wearing a leather jacket, Pamela looking well scrubbed and glowing. But in spite of their seemingly idyllic happiness, at least one person had some instant reservations about the couple’s relationship. “What are you wasting your time with this guy for?” Pamela’s older sister, Judy, reportedly asked Pamela in 1965. “Get yourself someone with money!” Jim and Pam's love for each other was a constant thread that appeared throughout Morrison’s writing, and even some of their fights were immortalized in the pages of Jim’s notebooks. January Jensen says: “We were going down Highway One headed to L.A., Jim always carried a notebook with him. And every time we’d come to a restaurant, a general store, or a gas station, he’d have to stop and call Pam.” Jensen, Babe Hill, and Paul Ferrara would tease Jim about his obsession with Pam. Mirandi Babitz remembers, “The first time Jim actually got some money for singing, he and Pam went wild! They bought Chinese food and had a feast. Anyone would have thought that Jim had brought home a million dollars, but I think his cut had been about twenty bucks!” “That was the great thing about Los Angeles at that time,” says Mirandi Babitz, “you could live so cheap. People had these little scrappy apartments so nobody was ever really on the street because you could get by: You could make it on unemployment, you could make it on a waitress’s salary.” —"Angels Dance and Angels Die: The Tragic Romance of Pamela and Jim Morrison" (2010) by Patricia Butler

Monday, April 10, 2017

Miles Teller & Shailene Woodley in "Adrift", Lizard King & Snow Queen (Jim Morrison & Pamela)

On Friday, The Hollywood Reporter announced that a new movie starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller may be happening, which would make it the fifth movie that the talented twosome have starred in together. The movie is a survival thriller called Adrift, and is based on the true story of a woman who sets off on a sailing trip to Tahiti with her fiancé, only to find themselves stuck in a perilous storm with their boat in ruins. Teller is reportedly currently in negotiations to star in Adrift, but if he is confirmed for the movie, then it would certainly mark Teller and Woodley as Hollywood's newest power acting duo.

In fact, considering that they starred together in three movies from the Divergent series, as well as The Spectacular Now, they're definitely well on their way to becoming acting partnership royalty. I'm talking, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, or Julia Roberts and George Clooney. They've totally got that vibe happening, people. And, funnily enough, it's something that Woodley has even acknowledged as a goal in the past. Clearly, the two actors have a lot of respect for each other professionally, but Teller and Woodley's friendship has also been evident for a long time, making such an acting partnership between the two feel powerful. These two are bound to be unstoppable. Source: www.bustle.com

The unseen future is coming. Sutter Keely should be graduating, if he can get his act together. He's a hit with the ladies, has tons of friends and even more funny quips for every occasion. He's adored but he's saddled with a not-so-secret problem: Nearly every moment Sutter is holding a flask, or some other booze receptacle. After a crazy-long bender the night before, he wakes up on the front lawn of Aimee Finicky's home. Sparks fly between a way-cool dude and the bookish (hippie) gal. She's definitely into him. As Sutter flirts, he entangles himself in her life, but the post-high school world is quickly approaching. He only lives for moment, the spectacular now… Miles Teller as the nerdiest bad boy ever — As Sutter, Teller's endless amount of swagger is intoxicating. The way he imbues this teen with insecurity though is new territory. Sutter is ultimately his own bully. As Aimee, Woodley's the ultimate dream girl mainly because she doesn't realize how awesome she is: Adorable! Source: www.eonline.com

Pamela Courson's world was seriously shaken when she met Jim Morrison in 1965. Three years after, in the summer of 1968, Jim Morrison had become the acclaimed 'bad-boy' of The Doors, who after playing the Hollywood Bowl, went on the road again: Dallas, Honololu, New York. Arriving to the Big Apple, Morrison snapped at hearing his redhead sweetheart had been seen with another guy — word got around to Jim that she was incensed about his new public desirability. “You’d better get your ass out to New York, I miss you,” he'd growled into the phone. She was being deliberately stubborn, he reasoned.

Morrison had felt somehow forced to sleep with photo-journalist Gloria Stavers, to have furtive sex with star-struck groupies. While in Los Angeles Pam ruminated to her best friend Diane Gardiner: "He's the one all the girls want, and yet he says he doesn't love any of the girls, but me. All his friends wanted me, but I only wanted him." Diane would comment about Pamela: “Pam was one of the funniest people I ever met. She was beautiful, she looked like the Snow Queen and yet she did things like collect Lugers. She had a vicious sense of humor. She loved travel because she said you never had to think about it. She was the most dangerous girl I ever met. After Jim died, we were both just out of our heads, we would go to Tijuana and get crazy. We’d go down to Rosarita Beach and drink everything in sight.” Men fell in love with Pam because she seemed to need to be protected. And Jim Morrison tried to protect her, despite of his own self-destructive ways.

"I hate to tell you this but I see no lasting energy in the truth," Jim Morrison would state in 1969: "I think most rock musicians and singers really do enjoy what they're doing. I think what screws it up is the surrounding bullshit that's laid on them by the press, the gossip columnists and fan magazines... all of a sudden everyone's laying all this extraneous bullshit on his trip. So he starts to doubt his motivation. There's always a group that for whatever reasons they just jangle the sensibilities. So you feel a little sense of shame and frustration about what you are doing. It's really too bad."

Saturday, April 08, 2017

The Sunshine Makers, LSD, Jim Morrison


“The Sunshine Makers” (2017) is a true San Francisco story. Set in the Haight-Ashbury in the ’60s — times that were a more interesting stretch of the city’s history than current times — Cosmo Feilding-Mellen’s documentary about the kingpins of the top-line LSD called Orange Sunshine nevertheless has one eye on current drug laws. Shot mostly in the Bay Area, the stars of the movie are Tim Scully, an East Bay native and Berkeley-trained scientist, and Brooklyn-born hippie Nick Sand. Operating out of a farmhouse in Sonoma County, they made 3.6 million tablets of LSD before federal authorities got them. Included are Timothy Leary patron Billy Hitchcock, who funded the scheme; Mike Randall, founder of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, which distributed LSD; and Owsley Stanley, a sound engineer and LSD maker who later created the Grateful Dead’s “wall of sound.” Feilding-Mellen clearly sees them as counterculture heroes. As our national attitude toward drug laws evolves, “The Sunshine Makers” makes that case fairly well. Source: www.sfgate.com

In 1953, Oswald Huxley and his friend Humphry Osmond, a British research psychiatrist, began taking mescaline. They were following in the footsteps of the psychologist Havelock Ellis, who in 1898 described the ritual use of mescal, by the Indians of the American South-west. Mescal, a mild hallucinogen taken from certain cactus plants, led to mescaline, a synthetic version of the chemical agent present in peyote, which led Osmond to coin the word 'psychedelic' to describe the effect of hallucinogens on the brain. Huxley and Osmond experienced supercharged visual phenomena, peculiar time expansions, and heightened streams of consciousness. In 1960 Timothy Leary, a psychologist working at Harvard University, returned from a vacation in Mexico with “magic mushrooms” containing the psychotropic agent psilocybin, which he gave to Ginsberg, Kerouac, and Neal Cassady, who had been the model for Dean Moriarty in On the Road.

In 1964, the year that Jim Morrison arrived in Los Angeles, Timothy Leary published his first book, The Psychedelic Experience, that pointed to the quasi-religious cast that psychedelic drugs were already acquiring, especially in San Francisco where LSD-25 was sold on the street. Leary assumed the mantle of LSD’s prophet, followed by the hypnotic mantra: “Turn on. Tune in. Drop out.” Turn on meant activating your neural and genetic equipment. Tune in meant interacting harmoniously with the world around you. Drop out meant a voluntary detachment from involuntary commitments like the military, and corporate employment. Jim Morrison began tripping during weekend excursions to the haunted deserts southeast of Los Angeles. He would drive out to Joshua Tree in the high desert, or to Santa Ana Canyon, where the Indians thought the devil had lived. On one trip to the hidden canyons around Palm Springs, Jim had a shamanlike experience that flashed him back to the Indian car wreck he had witnessed as a child. He began taking daily doses of LSD, using the still-legal hallucinogen to raise his consciousness and blot out the psychic trauma of his past. He was using his languid Venice days to change himself from a college student to a neo-Beat poet.

The town of Venice had been laid out as a fashionable resort by developer Abbot Kinney in the southern Santa Monica wetlands just before World War I. Eventually Kinney overextended himself and went broke trying to re-create an Adriatic port in southern California. By the 1940s Venice was full of bingo parlors, beauty pageants, elderly pensioners, and clip joints catering to the World War II sailors who flocked to the boardwalk’s carny attractions. Jim Morrison seemed to take dream-come-true pride in living the poverty-stricken Beat life in Venice. Walking the beach, he experienced strange auditory visions, like a psychoprophetic radio show, featuring him singing in front of a rock band. He carried around Edith Hamilton’s best-selling Mythology everywhere. For Morrison, the Rimbaud protocol, the systematic deregulation of the senses, involved tripping every day, sometimes ending up in an almost comatose LSD induced psychosis. With his brain pulsing in lysergic waves, Morrison continued to transform himself from a pudgy college kid to a hipster godling. As his face lost its school cafeteria fleshiness, Jim’s Celtic cheekbones took pride of place in his visage between intense blue eyes and sensual Byronic lips.

On August 2, 1968, The Doors played the Singer Bowl in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens, New York. Pete Townshend wrote the song “Sally Simpson” (She knew from the start/Deep down in her heart/Sally decided to ignore her dad/And sneak out anyway/She spent all afternoon getting ready/And decided she'd try to touch him/Maybe he'd see that she was freefrom The Who's album Tommy (1969) in a backhand tribute to Jim Morrison. Backstage, as the film crew’s camera rolled, Morrison comforted a teenage girl who’d been hit in the head by a flying chair. She was bleeding from a scalp wound and trying to stop crying as Jim put his arm around her. “It’s a democracy,” Jim said soothingly: “Somebody hit her with a chair. There’s no way to tell who did it.” Tenderly, Jim wiped blood from her face. “It’s already coagulating,” he cooed: “She was just an innocent bystander.” When a groupie-looking chick sashayed by in a red dress, Jim grabbed her and stuck his hand up her dress, smiling broadly.

Scientists at the University of Basel have shown that LSD reduces activity in the region of the brain related to the handling of negative emotions like fear. The results, published in the scientific journal Translational Psychiatry, could affect the treatment of mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. Hallucinogens alter perception, thought, and temporal and emotional experience. After the Basel-based chemist Albert Hofmann discovered lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in the 1940s, there was a huge amount of interest in the substance, particularly in psychiatry. In the late 1960s, LSD was declared illegal worldwide, and medical research on it came to a standstill. In the last few years, however, interest in researching hallucinogens for medical purposes has been revived. It is now known that hallucinogens bind to a receptor of the neurotransmitter serotonin; LSD is associated with the amygdala. This appears to be the case: the lower the LSD-induced amygdala activity of a subject, the higher the subjective effect of the drug. “This ‘de-frightening’ effect could be an important factor for positive therapeutic effects,” explains Doctor Felix Müller, lead author of the study. Source: neurosciencenews.com

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

45th Anniversary of Lou Reed's debut album, Jim Morrison's affinity for rock poetry


Lou Reed‘s self-titled 1972 album found one of rock’s most innovative, uncompromising auteurs striking out on his own for the first time. But even though it kicked off a long, celebrated solo career, it’s always been largely and unjustly ignored. When Reed left the Velvet Underground in August 1970, his prospects were far from promising. Though they earned plenty of critical plaudits, the band he spearheaded for the last five years had never come anywhere near commercial success. 


The relatively radio-friendly feel of Loaded, their last Reed-led album, was the result of pressure to produce some hits. Fed up with it all, Reed split in between the album’s completion and its release. With a legacy of four commercial failures to his name, Reed didn’t exactly emerge as a hot property. Wearied from his Velvets experience and unsure about his next move, Reed ended up moving back to his parents’ house on Long Island and started a relationship with theatre student Bettye Kronstad. Contrary to what might be expected, they became serious right when Reed had vague aspirations of becoming a writer/poet. Bettye found him a kind, gentle, sensitive guy who telephoned her ceaselessly and called her 'Princess.' In fact, the first year she spent with him was living at his parents’ Long Island home. 


The opening track of Reed's debut album, “I Can’t Stand It,” is downright dirty-sounding, arguably harder-hitting and more visceral—if less primal—than the Loaded outtake version that was unearthed years later on the VU collection. Similarly, “Walk and Talk It” is undeniably edgier and more biting than on the Velvets’ 1970 demo. “Lisa Says,” a near-ballad in its Velvets version, gets a bump up in tempo, and Wakeman’s piano and the backing vocals of Helene Francois and Kay Garner actual inject a dash of soul flavor. And instead of amplifying the artiness of the Velvets arrangement for “I Love You,” with its merry-go-round running-down feel, the Reed version adopts a more straightforward (and slightly speedier) feel. 


“Wild Child,” with its lyrical mix of the prosaic and the poetic, has a constantly shifting cast of street characters. It’s not a huge journey from this track to the carefully cultivated noir seediness of “Walk on the Wild Side,” which would see the light of day less than a year later. “Berlin” would appear on a later Reed album too, providing the title track to his 1973 cult-classic song suite. But for whatever reason, the record failed to connect. It staggered its way to the 189 spot on the Billboard album chart, and neither of its singles (“I Can’t Stand It,” “Walk and Talk It”) earned a foothold on either side of the Atlantic. The vagaries of the music business are eternally inscrutable, but more puzzlingly, the album has never really been reassessed by critics either. Fortunately, what Reed achieved on his first solo flight is still there to hear for anyone with ears. Source: diffuser.fm


Although the Velvet Underground are sometimes portrayed as existing in near-total-obscurity totally out of the mainstream of 1960s rock culture, in fact they intersected with—and sometimes even influenced—many major shakers and movers between 1965 and 1970: The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Mick Jagger confessed to Nick Kent of NME in June 1977, "Even we've been influenced by the Velvet Underground. I'll tell you exactly what we pinched from Lou Reed. Y'know 'Stray Cat Blues' from the Rolling Stones' 1968 album Beggars Banquet? The whole sound and the way it's paced, we pinched from the first Velvet Underground album." Also when an interviewer asked Keith Richards who he thought among his generation of rockers was still producing solid stuff and had maintained his integrity, Richards said, “Lou Reed,” naming no one else.

Some have speculated that the dress and image of one of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable's dancers, Gerard Malanga, might have influenced Jim Morrison's own appearance. Morrison had seen the Velvet Underground at their first California shows at the Trip in Los Angeles in May 1966. Morrison also attended a couple of the Velvet Undergrond's shows at the Whisky-A-Go-Go in Los Angeles in late October 1968. Morrison and The Velvet's singer Nico had a passionate affair around the summer of 1967. Eye magazine, revealed Danny Fields in 1970, took his suggestion to set up a photo shoot with Nico and Jim Morrison for "a series on beautiful couples... But Morrison refused to do it." Morrison might be wary of angering his volatile core girlfriend, Pamela Courson, with such a public posed picture with another beautiful woman. 

"The VU influenced the Doors?" said Ray Manzarek when interviewed for White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground Day By Day. "How? Musically? No chance. We were working John Coltrane modal territory. Miles Davis was our influence. Lou Reed influenced Jim? Lyrically? Jim was coming from a point of cosmic consciousness: Carl Jung. Friedrich Nietzsche. Lou was New York street hustler punk. No way. They did have a nice junkie rush, however. I liked that. A punk band before its time. Jim liked Lou Reed's lyrics a lot. Almost like John Rechy in City of Night"—the 1963 novel whose title the Doors would use as a key lyric of their classic "L.A. Woman."

Lou Reed and Jim Morrison had in common an affinity for literary lyrics. Reed, however, didn't seem to appreciate The King Lizard's poetic visions. Maybe there was a personal/professional jealousy, because perhaps at one point Reed may have resented The Doors' commercial success, hit singles and gold albums whereas he had to return home to Long Island to live in his parents' house. Lou Reed on Melody Maker, 1975: "I didn't even feel sorry for him when he died. There was a group of us in New York, and the phone rang and somebody told us that Jim Morrison had just died in a bathtub in Paris. And the immediate response was: 'How fabulous. In a bathtub in Paris. Fantastic.' That lack of compassion doesn't disturb me. He asked for it. I had no compassion for that silly Los Angeles person.'' Lou Reed confirmed his animosity towards Jim Morrison in 2008 saying: "I worked with my father [an accountant] and he was not very generous. During a moment of weakness I nurtured the idea of becoming a professional journalist. I remember that I was commissioned to write a praise of Jim Morrison. So far!, I thought. Morrison believed he was a sex god, but he would not have survived a night at the Factory."

Jim Morrison looked like more of a prototypical rock star whereas Lou Reed seemed more unassuming, atypical in a way. Although both rock legends wouldn't never be officially introduced, they shared key personalities in their respective careers, as the publicist Danny Fields — Elektra Records' Vice President Steve Harris invited Morrison and Fields to a party at Fifth Avenue with 54th St. but Morrison didn't want Fields in the scene and asked Harris to eject him because The Doors' lead singer thought Fields was using him and riding on his coattails; or the glacial Nico — both Reed and Morrison had a tempestuous relationship with her. Nico would say of Reed 'he was very soft and lovely, not aggressive at all. You could just cuddle him like a sweet person. I used to make pancakes for him.' Morrison was 'the best sex inside her ever,' though, she'd confess to her biographer Richard Witts.

Jim Morrison was a sex idol, and all over the country women vied for his attention. But only Pamela Courson possessed the intelligence, beauty, and allure to keep Jim coming back. Mary Werbelow had been Jim’s longest romantic relationship prior to Pamela. On December 9, 1967, Jim was arrested onstage during a performance in New Haven Connecticut: it was not the first, nor the last, in a series of bizarre encounters with the law. His friend Babe Hill said: "Maybe Jim had a Jesus Christ complex. He definitely didn’t love another woman anywhere near as much as Pam. He had a lot of other girlfriends and he treated them so gentlemanly that some of them invented or assumed things, but, no, there was no one but Pam, and history bears it out: he was with her from the beginning to the end." Sexuality-wise, Jim Morrison had a reputation for wild trysts whereas Lou Reed was much more subdued. Actually, both were more shy and lonely than their appearances would at first sight convey. 

Although Howard Sounes pushes the standard Lou Reed narrative of the substance-addled artist who slapped women and pulled knives on bandmates, a spirited Reed defense among fans and intimates opposed to this “Mommie Dearest” invective. Mental illness, Mr. Sounes says, was always a factor in Reed’s erratic behavior. His longtime wife and manager, Sylvia Reed (now Ramos), broke her media silence to dispute Mr. Sounes’s portrait. Coverage like that, Ms. Ramos said, describes a very different man from the one she was with for 18 years. “I was with him all those years,” she said. “I saw him through not only the intense cycle of drinking and drugs, but through nine lawsuits, which were extremely stressful, and his financial condition when I met him was terrible. No matter how hard it got, I never had that behavior from him,” Ms. Ramos said: “That’s not a person I recognize.” Many damning anecdotes, she added, seem to come from people Reed knew in the hazy drug-fueled 1970s “that I know for a fact were not capable of remembering anything they did in any given six-month period during that time, much less come back all these years later.’ She added that “he was never physically aggressive with me.” Ms. Ramos also disputed the idea that Reed was mentally ill. “He saw things differently,” she said. “He was a creative genius.” While Reed and she had discussed his undergoing shock therapy as a youth because of depression, Ms. Ramos added: “In the years that I lived and worked with him, he had no diagnosis of severe mental illness, no hospitalizations, he was always working." “Lou was a prince and a fighter,” Laurie Anderson (Lou Reed's widow) wrote. Source: www.nytimes.com

Monday, April 03, 2017

Sexual Stimuli: Neuroimaging, Jim Morrison

New neuroimaging research has found that gay, bisexual, and straight men have different brain responses to sexual stimuli. In particular, the researchers uncovered that heterosexual and homosexual men showed different neural responses to erotic stimuli in the ventral striatum, an area of the brain associated with erotic desire. As expected, heterosexual men showed greater ventral striatum responses to erotic stimuli of women and homosexual men showed greater ventral striatum responses to erotic stimuli of men. Bisexual men did not show strongly different responses to erotic images of women and men, proving that bisexual men are indeed different from gay and straight men in their capacity to respond to both sexes. Most individuals identify as heterosexual, 2% of the US population reported identifying as homosexual, 2-4% of the US population reported identifying as bisexual. The study was published February 1, 2017, in Scientific Reports. Source: www.nature.com

Jim Morrison was the first rock and roll method actor who would wrap myths around him like a long leather coat, protecting and disguising himself in the process. In September 1965 Morrison met an eighteen-year-old redhead called Pamela Courson. Morrison's family were conventional, middle-class Republicans, with traditional patriarchal values. Pamela was ‘looking for something meaningful to do’. In Jim Morrison she found it. The couple fell in love, soon becoming inseparable, and their relationship continued right up until his death. It was a perversely normal relationship – sexual but platonic too. "Sex is full of lies," Morrison once said: "Sex can be a liberation. But it can also be an entrapment. Our society places a supreme value on control. We fear violence less than our own feelings. Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone else can inflict."

Jim Morrison would usually wait for women to approach him. He wasn’t particularly choosy, and would often slip away from a party with women who wouldn’t normally be considered to be in his league. He tried to placate his 'cosmic mate' Pamela with endless expensive presents, by letting her go shopping in his chauffeured limousine, and even bought her a clothes boutique. She tried to cope  by initiating her own affairs (one of these revenge flings was with Morrison's friend Paul Ferrara). Andy Warhol, in his memoir POPism, remembered: ‘Jim would stand at the bar drinking screwdrivers all night long, and he’d get really far gone.’ Warhol also pinpointed part of Morrison’s appeal: ‘The girls were only interested in the guys that didn’t go after them. I saw a lot of girls pass on Warren Beatty, who was so good looking, just because they knew he wanted to fuck them, and they’d go looking for somebody who looked like he didn’t want to, who had problems.’ Warhol had wanted to film "I, A Man" with Jim Morrison and Nico both naked, but Morrison sent Tom Baker on his behalf. Morrison didn't attend any photoshoot with Nico not to incur Pamela's wrath. Tom Baker had dated Pamela before she met Morrison. Baker and Morrison would came to blows after their arrest in Phoenix.

Janet Erwin, a friend of journalist and former Morrison's lover Patricia Kennealy, remembers an occasion when Morrison was cluelessly hit on by a 'poor schlub' who didn't realize Morrison was "one of the most robustly and notoriously heterosexual men on the planet, the goddam Warren Beatty of rock." Mick Farren wrote about Morrison's myth in The Black Leather Jacket (2007) as: ‘the kind of ancient fertility religions ensured their followers’ survival and prosperity by choosing a monarch (young, cute and virile), who would be sacrificed by cute young females after seven years or some other mystic period. Morrison proposed himself as his generation’s sacrificial lamb: ‘We are obsessed with heroes who live for us and whom we punish.’ As Farren pointed out, this wasn’t merely a bleak observation: it was Morrison’s career goal.  Dressed in his martyr’s garb, he was ready to be lauded, victimised, and immortalised. 

Jim Morrison would grow to hate this self-conscious image – it was only studied perversity, after all. ‘The Jim Morrison thing started out as an act, but so many people believed it, that he became that,’ said Danny Fields: ‘They returned to him what they saw, and he started acting out their fantasy. It was all a pose, and he became his own invention. He knew he had a kind of dangerous, menacing sexuality that women went berserk over – and he used that to cover up.’ But Morrison knew he was only a puppet of the crowd; the audiences weren’t interested in his literary allegories, they wanted him to make a spectacle of himself. The drink, the drugs and the endless supply of women were the consolation prize for knowing he could never really win. Being a star meant he had two career options open to him: he could burn out, or he could die. Steve Harris (Vice President of Elektra Records) said, ‘It was assumed Jim would go his own way. The Doors' members left him alone because they knew he was their meal ticket. He wrote 80 per cent of the material, he was the lead singer, the focal point.’

"Jim was referred to as the 'King of Orgasmic Rock' back then but I saw him differently. I was a 21 year old soon-to-be graduate student at the University of Miami (I was just finishing my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology). I met Jim at the courthouse in Miami, he was there for his pre-trial hearing and was sitting on a bench with Babe Hill. We talked for a few moments, and he suddenly asked me: “has anyone ever told you that you have beautiful eyes?” What an ice-breaker! I gave him my phone number. He called; I was living in an apartment building in Coral Gables and invited him and Babe to dinner: my specialty was duckling l’orange with wild rice! I knew this little place in Coconut Grove that was a bar/pool hall – we went with Babe and one of my female friends from the apartment complex. Jim did drink there - not excessively - and I remember him being very, very mellow. We shot pool and Jim actually sat at the piano improvising. After that we went back to the Carillon on Miami Beach and spent the rest of the evening. I was lucky to know James Douglas Morrison The Poet – Here was a man with a ’bad boy’ reputation ready to go on trial for indecency, and we were reading poetry to each other. He gave me his book “An American Prayer.” He wanted to know how I felt about it.  I do remember telling him that I was good friends with Carl and Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys when I was in high school. Jim said that he really loved the Beach Boys’ music! I will always remember Jim as a kind, sweet, considerate, sensitive, confident, very talented and fascinating person. Deanna Michaelson in "Jim Morrison: An Hour for Magic" (1996) by Frank Lisciandro

Oscillating compulsively between 'the brute' and 'the baby' positions, Jim Morrison sometimes debased himself in company of groupies and lovers as Judy Huddleston or Sherry (a Pasadena girl who aspired to become a writer and allegedly had a tangled relationship with Jimbo). According to Judy, Morrison was bipolar and suffered partial meltdowns during their sexcapades; Sherry's personal retrospective in 1972 for Esquire: “He wanted dirty talk from me, it excited him. He wanted me to cry. He wanted mostly to be the passive one. He was mostly impotent. Most of the time with me he never had an orgasm, he gave up. A few times he acted as though he did but I sensed it was an act. I never had a full response and it would drive him wild, he thought I was holding out on purpose… His oscillation between the brute and the baby. A lot of roughing up, then the sudden collapse, whimpering: ‘I need somebody to love me, please take care of me, please don’t leave me.’ Eva Gardonyi was a Hungarian artist who remembers her affair with Jim Morrison (from late 1970 to March 1971) in the chapter 'This Affair of Ours' from "Jim Morrison: Friends Gathered Together": "A couple of times when he was drinking heavily he had a hard time getting it up, but I had a very satisfactory love life with him. Black underwear and garter belts did the trick. Pamela had a couple of real bad acid trips that left her kind of unbalanced early on and Jim was always aware of that tender line of Pamela’s mind. Somehow he just needed to take care of her. Actually it was quite touching."


"She was a princess, Queen of the Highway. No one could save her, save the blind tiger. He was a monster, black dressed in leather. She was a princess. Queen of the Highway. Now they are wedded, she is a good girl. Naked as children out in a meadow. Naked as children, wild as can be. Soon to have offspring, start it all over. American boy. American girl. Most beautiful people in the world! Dancing through the midnight whirl-pool, formless. Hope it can continue a little while longer." "Queen Of The Highway" ("Morrison Hotel" album by The Doors, 1970)

Saturday, April 01, 2017

50th Anniversary: The Velvet Underground and The Doors albums (Lou Reed & Jim Morrison)


50th Anniversary of "The Velvet Underground & Nico" album (1967): If The Velvet Underground & Nico taught us anything, it’s that perfection in rock and roll is actually the inverse of perfection. There are no golden ratios to be found in Sterling Morrison’s spiraling guitar work on “Heroin”, no sublime sense of symmetry to glean from John Cale’s noisy electric viola on “Venus in Furs”. To a classically trained ear, a song like “Run Run Run” is a disaster masquerading as pop music. Lou Reed’s lead guitar lurches left and right with drunken imprecision, Moe Tucker’s drums play hide-and-seek, and producer Andy Warhol refuses to step in and color the scene with even the slightest hint of professionalism. It’s chaotic and also, 50 years after its initial release, widely considered to be one of the greatest rock and roll albums of all time. Lou Reed reminded me of Dylan with his rhythmic style, but he had this solemn, effortless swagger that was really cool. "My God is rock'n'roll," said Reed: "The most important part of my religion is to play guitar."  Source: consequenceofsound.net


Lou Reed began suffering panic attacks and after a mental breakdown following his first semester at NYU, his parents submitted him for electroshock therapy. “Panic attacks and social phobias beset him,” wrote Lou Reed’s sister in 2015: “He possessed a fragile temperament. His hyper-focus on the things he liked led him to music and it was there that he found himself.” Reed’s love of music became his guide, and rock ‘n’ roll became his voice. He landed work as a pop songwriter, churning out middling hits for Pickwick Records while composing songs for himself on the side. “I studied classical piano, and the minute I could play something I started writing new things,” Reed said in 2004. “And I switched to guitar and did the same thing. And the nice thing about rock is, besides the fact that I was in love with it, anyone can play that. And to this day anyone can play a Lou Reed song. Anybody. It’s the same essential chords, just various ways of looking at them.” “Sunday Morning” is a beautiful ode to paranoia (“Watch out—the world’s behind you”), and an early indicator that Reed was capable of remarkably simple melodicism that rivaled the more mainstream songwriters of the era while not directly emulating any of them. With the benefit of hindsight, the most mythologized album of 1967, the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper, looks more like a relic of the Summer of Love and an exercise in pretentious pomposity. Conversely, The Velvet Underground and Nico looks more like the future of rock music. Glam, punk, noise rock, art rock, college rock—it all seemed to draw from The Velvet Underground and Nico. There has never been a rock album more ahead of its time. In many ways, the world is still catching up to it. Source: www.thedailybeast.com


50th Anniversary of "The Doors" (1967) album: In a contemporary review for Crawdaddy! magazine, Paul Williams hailed The Doors debut album as "an album of magnitude" while likening the band to Brian Wilson and the Rolling Stones as creators of "modern music", with which "contemporary 'jazz' and 'classical' composers must try to measure up". Williams added: "The awesome fact about the Doors is that they will improve." Robert Christgau was less enthusiastic in his column for Esquire and later he would say: "Jimbo reminds us that some assholes actually do live with demons. His three sidemen rocked almost as good as the Stones. Without him they were nothing." The Doors has since been frequently ranked by critics as one of the greatest albums of all time. In 2003, Parke Puterbaugh of Rolling Stone called the record "the L.A. foursome's most successful marriage of rock poetics with classically tempered hard rock — a stoned, immaculate classic." Sean Egan of BBC Music opined, "The eponymous debut of The Doors took popular music into areas previously thought impossible: the incitement to expand one's consciousness of opener 'Break on Through' was just the beginning of its incendiary agenda." The Doors is ranked number 42 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It is ranked number 75 on Q magazine's "100 Greatest Albums Ever" and ranked number 226 in NME magazine's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time." In 2007, Rolling Stone ranked it number 1 on their list of the 40 essential albums of 1967. 


Lester Bangs suggested in "The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll" (1976)  that “Light My Fire” paved the way for “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones (an argument Greil Marcus picked up in his book "The Doors: A Lifetime of Listening to Five Mean Years" in 2013). Jim Morrison was ranked #1 of the Greatest Rock & Roll Rebels list in Rolling Stone, 2013. "Jim Morrison probably got the closest to being an artist within rock and roll. He was also desperate," said Patti Smith in 1977: "His death made me sadder than anyone's." The Doors released two more albums after Morrison's death before disbanding. Jim Morrison became a cult figure, celebrated for his excesses as much as his work, to Robby Krieger’s dismay. Krieger takes exception to Morrison’s depiction in Oliver Stone’s film “The Doors,” saying: “It just made him out to be a total ass.” 

"Let's just say I was testing the bounds of reality. That's all. I was curious. I kind of always preferred to be hated. I go out on stage and howl for people. In me, they see exactly what they want to see. Some say Lizard King, whatever that means. Or some black-clad leather demon, whatever that means." —Jim Morrison in "The Doors" (1991) directed by Oliver Stone