05 July 2012

Three Rock Films and Two Thirties Classics and the Author Riffin'

I want to write like Kerouac and Ginsberg in my Berkeley brain and put it on paper and read it aloud in 1956 to cool people in a cool club where they  dig it and say so just before I get invited to a party by Neal Cassady and Gerry Mulligan wails on his sax. Or I turn up at a Hendrix concert and watch and listen and then go dancing with Grace Slick and more and more and fun galore. Run my mind high on Howl on Sal Paradise and Sylvia Plath poems and Joplin tearing up a song while The Who blow up the stage and we all fly to places of lovely beyond where we groove. Groovy. Movie.

What I've scene (no sic).

The Complete Monterey Pop Festival 1967 (1968). Oh man. The aforementioned Hendrix and Joplin and Who and Grace Slick with the Jefferson Airplane not to mention the unaforementioned Mamas and Papas and Simon and Garfunkel and Hugh Masekela and Otis Redding and Eric Burdon and The Animals and The Association and Ravi Shankar and Laura Nyro and the never to be aforementioned more. Wow. And wow again. Great acts at a fascinating time in American culture and history and of course just music. Just on the cusp of the Summer of Love with hippies in full hipness and such a good vibe no hint of any future bad acid trip you know. The footage of just the people there at that amazing three day concert is righteously cool and this is one of the better documentaries and music DVDs ever.

Gimme Shelter (1970). Bummer. As cinema this is a totally bodacious documentary, as a concert given by the Stones for free at the Altamont speedway here in the sticks of the outer Bay Area this was supreme downer. Crowds out of control especially with Hell's Angels providing "security" or whatever the f--- they were doing and killing a guy -- caught on tape. Three hundred thousand people at one poorly planned venue with a lot of bad acid and other drugs both good bad and c'mon is the devil's own recipe. Get the full story here. Great if disturbing stuff. (Historical and personal side note: on that day I was at a 49ers game with my dad, beat Chicago 42-21. Hah!)

Jimi Plays Berkeley (1971). This was filmed where and around where I was going to high school at the time. At the time. In addition to Hendrix performing there are scenes of the protests I attended and  watching them brought back memories of tear gas and rock chucking and police in riot gear and Vietnam and People's Park and the fear and excitement mixed together creating adrenalin doubled, tripled. Will reserve judgement on this film because a brand spanking new and improved version is coming out like next week and I've got to see that re-mastered version with all its more stuff in it.

Les Miserables (1934) Kind of deviating from a theme here but have to give this amazing discovery a shout out. Read that this is widely considered the definitive cinematic version of the Victor Hugo masterpiece. Can't say, as I've not seen them all but can say that this three-part nearly five hour film from France is truly magnificent. Raymond Bernard directed and Harry Baur stars as Jean Valjean. If you get Hulu Plus you can watch it there or just rent it from Netflix. You'll be seeing a sumptuous work with beautiful detailed sets, great cinematography, bravura action scenes and an amazing cast. I love, love, loved it.

The 39 Steps (1935). I've watched this Hitchcock thriller nearly a dozen times and like it more with each viewing. Any true Hitch fun will love it and see how it influenced so many of his later films especially North by Northwest. Criterion has a new edition out that makes it even better to look at. Also some nice no bonus features.

Have seen other stuff as well. Much of it swell. And been reading some really good poetry which is better than watching your television (hey, what isn't?). And of course reading Kerouac to no end my mind to bend and thinking about you. You who come here and read and how so many times there is nothing new because....Oh I work a lot now you know and I write "other stuff" that is like very important to me and maybe -- hopefully -- you'll see it some day. Some. Day.

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