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Warren Beatty Biography









Film Actor, Director (1937–)

Quick Facts

Name Warren Beatty Occupation Film Actor, Director Birth Date March 30, 1937 (age 77) Education Northwestern University Place of Birth Richmond, Virginia Originally Henry Warren Beaty Zodiac Sign Aries
Early Life
Career Beginnings
Later Career
Personal Life

Warren Beatty is an Oscar-winning director and actor known for such films as Bonnie and Clyde, Reds and Heaven Can Wait.

Warren Beatty made his debut as a tortured teenager in Splendor in the Grass (1961). His next big role was in Bonnie and Clyde (1967), which he also produced. The film became a colossal hit and a milestone in cinema history. Beatty was nominated for four Oscars for Heaven Can Wait and won one for directing Reds, in which he also starred. He has written, directed and starred in many films since.

Beatty’s Babes: When Warren Beatty played iconic comic-strip detective Dick Tracy in the movie of the same name, he took on another difficult role: being the boyfriend of co-star Madonna.  Moviegoers got to see a glimpse of this odd coupling in the 1991 documentary Madonna: Truth or Dare.
20 of 22-Beatty’s Babes: When Warren Beatty played iconic comic-strip detective Dick Tracy in the movie of the same name, he took on another difficult role: being the boyfriend of co-star Madonna. Moviegoers got to see a glimpse of this odd coupling in the 1991 documentary Madonna: Truth or Dare.


Beatty’s Babes: Barbara Streisand and Beatty may have crossed paths long before this photo taken in 2005. In 1972, Beatty talked Streisand (who often avoided the live stage due to stage fright) into performing at Senator George McGovern’s political fundraiser for president. Streisand called Beatty ‘persuasive’ and ‘impressive.’
21 of 22-Beatty’s Babes: Barbara Streisand and Beatty may have crossed paths long before this photo taken in 2005. In 1972, Beatty talked Streisand (who often avoided the live stage due to stage fright) into performing at Senator George McGovern’s political fundraiser for president. Streisand called Beatty ‘persuasive’ and ‘impressive.’

Beatty’s Babes: In the 1991 movie Bugsy, Beatty was a gangster and Annette Bening was his moll. Although the film wasn’t a box office smash, he met the leading lady of his life. They married in 1992, had four children together and co-starred again in the 1994 movie Love Affair, a remake of An Affair to Remember.
22 of 22-Beatty’s Babes: In the 1991 movie Bugsy, Beatty was a gangster and Annette Bening was his moll. Although the film wasn’t a box office smash, he met the leading lady of his life. They married in 1992, had four children together and co-starred again in the 1994 movie Love Affair, a remake of An Affair to Remember.

Beatty’s Babes: Although Warren Beatty didn’t make the cut as one of Joan Collins’ four husbands, they were briefly engaged. the sassy Collins has said this about her former beau: ‘He was the only man to get to the mirror faster than me.’
1 of 22-Beatty’s Babes: Although Warren Beatty didn’t make the cut as one of Joan Collins’ four husbands, they were briefly engaged. Seen here in this 1960 photo, the sassy Collins has said this about her former beau: ‘He was the only man to get to the mirror faster than me.’

Beatty’s Babes: Natalie Wood enjoyed a forbidden romance onscreen with Beatty in the 1961 classic Splendor in the Grass. They also carried on off-screen after Wood’s first marriage to Robert Wagner ended. The actress later denied that the romance was the cause of her marital problems. Clearly their onscreen chemistry worked, since Wood took home an Oscar for her performance.
2 of 22-Beatty’s Babes: Natalie Wood enjoyed a forbidden romance onscreen with Beatty in the 1961 classic Splendor in the Grass. They also carried on off-screen after Wood’s first marriage to Robert Wagner ended. The actress later denied that the romance was the cause of her marital problems. Clearly their onscreen chemistry worked, since Wood took home an Oscar for her performance.

Beatty’s Babes: How many women did Warren Beatty sleep with? The book–Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America–guesses 12,275 – give or take. Although Beatty challenges the accuracy of the unauthorized biography written by Peter Biskind, it’s clear from this 1961 photo that the charismatic actor had a way with women.
3 of 22-Beatty’s Babes: How many women did Warren Beatty sleep with? The book–Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America–guesses 12,275 – give or take. Although Beatty challenges the accuracy of the unauthorized biography written by Peter Biskind, it’s clear from this 1961 photo that the charismatic actor had a way with women.

Early Life

One of Hollywood’s legendary talents, Warren Beatty has received great acclaim for many of his works, from the 1961 social drama Splendor in the Grass to the 1998 political satire Bulworth. He has also created a lasting legacy for his many dalliances with his leading ladies and others before settling down with actress Annette Bening.

The son of a drama teacher, Beatty seemed to always possess a certain charm and charisma. At Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia, he was a top football player and president of his class. He went on to Northwestern University in 1955, but he dropped out after a year to move to New York City. Focused on becoming an actor, Beatty studied with famed teacher Stella Adler. His older sister, Shirley MacLaine, had already enjoyed some success as a performer.

Career Beginnings

In the 1950s, Beatty landed some television roles, including a recurring part on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. He made his Broadway debut in the William Inge drama A Loss of Roses in 1959. Receiving underwhelming reviews, the production folded quickly folded. Beatty, however, managed to give an impressive performance, raising his professional profile. He also won over the playwright who helped the young actor get his first feature film, 1961’s Splendor in the Grass. Starring opposite Natalie Wood, Beatty played a wealthy teen who struggles with his love and desire for Wood’s character. The film’s depiction of teenage sexuality was quite daring for the times.

Beatty’s career reached a new level of fame in 1967 with his crime drama Bonnie and Clyde, based on the real-life thieving couple of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. Behind the scenes, Beatty took the reins as the film’s producer. He worked closely with director Arthur Penn to create this now classic film. A commercial and critical hit, Bonnie and Clyde earned 10 Academy Award nominations, including several acting nods for Beatty, his co-star Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman and other supporting cast members.

In the 1970s, Beatty seemed to be quite selective in his projects. He won praise for his work in Robert Altman’s 1971 western McCabe & Mrs. Miller with Julie Christie. For 1975’s Shampoo, he worked hard both in front of and behind the cameras. Beatty wrote, produced and starred in this story about a straight, promiscuous hairstylist and his romantic misadventures. Some believed the film to be autobiographical to some extent, given Beatty’s reputation as a ladies’ man.

Teaming up with Elaine May, Beatty co-wrote 1978’s Heaven Can Wait, which also marked his directorial debut. The remake of 1941’s Here Comes Mr. Jordan proved to be a hit both with critics and the public. Beatty picked up Academy Award nominations as an actor, director, producer and writer for the project. At the time, he was the second person to receive nominations in these four categories for one film, following in the footsteps of Orson Welles and his work on Citizen Kane (1941).

Later Career

A perfectionist about his work, Beatty has been known to shoot numerous takes of the same scene. He has a reputation for having a keen eye for details as well. His personality as a filmmaker is perhaps no more apparent than in one of his most ambitious works, the 1981 political epic Reds. In this lengthy, true-to-life film, Beatty starred as American journalist John Reed, who witnesses the rise of Communism in Russia in 1917 during the October Revolution and finds himself inspired by this new political movement. Along with Reed’s love interest, political radical and journalist Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton), Reed tries to spread these ideals. It also featured vignettes from actual participants in the historic events detailed in the film.

Reds brought Beatty his one and only Academy Award win. In 1982, he took home the honor for Best Director. The remainder of the decade proved to be a disappointment for Beatty, however. He teamed up with Dustin Hoffman for the 1987 comedy Ishtar, which became one of the costly duds of its time. Modeled on the Bing Crosby-Bob Hope musical hits of the past, the film failed to find an audience.

Beatty turned to the funny papers for 1990’s film adaptation of the popular comic strip Dick Tracy with Madonna and Al Pacino. The movie seemed to garner more attention for its soundtrack than its plot. Switching to the wrong side of the law, he earned much stronger reviews for his starring turn as gangster Bugsy Siegel in 1991’s Bugsy. His future wife Annette Bening played his girlfriend Virginia Hill.

In 1998, Beatty returned to top form as a screenwriter and director with the political satire Bulworth. The film may not have been a box office hit, but it brought Beatty enormous critical acclaim. He played a senator who decides to actually tell the truth as he runs for reelection in the movie, which also features Halle Berry.

After his most recent film, 2001’s Town & Country, came and went without much notice, Beatty stayed away from filmmaking for years. In 2011, reports circulated that he signed with Paramount Pictures for a new project. The Hollywood legend is set to write, direct, produce and star in this untitled effort. It’s anyone’s guess what kind of film it will be and what type of character he will portray. After more than 50 years in the business, Beatty has shown that he can tackle any genre and any role.

Personal Life

Since the beginning of his acting career, Beatty has been linked to numerous co-stars and other celebrities. Natalie Wood reportedly left her husband Robert Wagner for him. Beatty himself was engaged to actress Joan Collins around this time. He later had long-term relationships with actresses Julie Christie and Diane Keaton. Top stars, such as singer Carly Simon, Barbra Streisand and Madonna, also succumbed to his boyish charms.

Though he once called marriage a “dead institution,” Beatty changed his mind in 1992 when he married Annette Bening. The couple has four children together, Stephen (born Kathlyn), Benjamin, Isabel and Ella.

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22 of the greatest movie opening lines of all times


Click link below for list



25 Great Psychological Thrillers That Are Worth Your Time

23 April 2014 | Features, Film Lists | by Andrew Lowry

6. The Night of the Hunter


Based on the novel of the same title, Night of the Hunter casts Robert Mitchum in the lead role as Harry Powell, an unethical preacher cum murderer. Alongside Shelley Winters, the film is loosely based on a true story, as he attempts to romance the unsuspecting widow and steal the hidden money. It was to be the last film directed by Charles Laughton.

Set in 1930’s West Virginia, Harry Powell is a self-labelled preacher who has been travelling the country attracting widows, then killing and robbing them, all the while convinced that this is what God wants him to do. Arrested for driving a stolen car and temporarily jailed, he meets prisoner Ben Harper, a convicted killer and bank robber facing execution. Despite not being able to convince Ben to disclose where the loot is hidden, Powell hatches a plan to target his next widow, Willa Harper (Shelley Winters). However, with the two Harper children being the only ones who know where the spoils are, Powell certainly won’t have things his own way.

With Mitchum giving such a skin crawling and menacing performance, Night of the Hunter is now known to be one of the most frightening movies around, for its time. Containing possibly the most notoriously twisted, on-screen villain in cinematic history, this is a film you will either LOVE or HATE.

5. The Innocents

The Innocents

Directed by Jack Clayton and starring Deborah Kerr, The Innocents is a gothic horror released in 1961. Without showing any gory or graphic images, this film relies simply on the setting, direction and the viewer’s own perception. Based on the novel, The Turn of the Screw, The Innocents is open ended, leaving several interpretations of which all are unsettling and thought provoking.

Miss Giddens (Kerr) agrees to become the new governess to two orphaned children, named Flora and Miles who are currently in the care of their wealthy but disinterested uncle. After arriving at their beautiful country estate, Miss Giddens immediately connects with Mrs Grose, the likeable housekeeper, and meets Flora, a bubbly, cheerful young girl with a pet tortoise. With Miss Giddens still settling in to her new headquarters, a letter is received from Miles’ boarding school, advising that he has been sent home early and subsequently expelled. Upon meeting Miles for the first time, the governess finds him extremely charming, almost flirtatious. However, coinciding with the boy’s arrival, sinister and peculiar events begin to arise. With Miss Gidens demanding to know more about the past residency, sickening secrets are revealed, secrets that lead to a horrifying and ghastly culmination of events.

Whatever rationale you may come up with, the result is a breathtakingly disturbing translation of a classic ghost story, written by Henry James.

4. Don’t Look Now

dont look now drowning

Based on Daphne Du Maurier’s short story, Don’t Look Now, is a frightening film that shows the psychological weight, the death of a loved one can bring. In this case Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie play husband and wife, John and Laura, who experience the heart-breaking tragedy of losing their young daughter, after she drowned in their pond. The film presents the different styles of grief we can suffer.

Fast forward to the future and John and Laura are currently in Venice after John decided to restore an old church. After meeting a blind psychic woman in a restaurant, Laura’s mood changes when told that their daughter is happy. However, John, being the absolute non-believer in clairvoyance, is not nearly as excited. But when they both start to witness strange sightings, particularly the same red-coated figure, (similar to how their daughter last appeared) desperation overcome grief, to haunting consequences

Director Nicolas Roeg creates an extremely chilling atmosphere with the tension building up to a ghastly, grotesque climax.

3. Rosemary’s Baby


The most acclaimed in ‘the apartment trilogy’, Rosemary’s Baby stars Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes as husband and wife who have just moved into an old fashioned New York City apartment.

Thrilled with their new surroundings, Rosemary (Farrow) and Guy (Cassavetes) decide that having a baby is the next step in their relationship. With her interfering, yet supportive neighbours (Minnie and Roman), she embarks on her journey through pregnancy and is somewhat shoved in the direction of Dr Sapirstein, who insists that Rosemary drink a concoction that her helpful neighbour will bring her daily.

However, after burrowing deeper into the bizarre behaviour of those all around her, including her husband Guy; she speculates that they all have very sinister intentions for the unborn child. Can Rosemary unravel the plot in time to save her baby AND her sanity? Or has this all been a cruel illusion of mind tricks?

Mia Farrow produces the performance of a lifetime in Polanski’s brilliant psychological horror. Released in 1968, this truly terrifying film effortlessly stands the test of time.

2. Les Diaboliques


Directed by Henri-George Clouzot, this 1955 black and white French-masterpiece, features on many top horror film lists.

The film revolves around a boarding school, owned by the vulnerable Christina, (Vera Clouzot) but controlled by her repressive husband Michel (Paul Meurisse) with his mistress, teacher Nicole (Simone Signoret) in tow.With both women possessing a closeness and confidentiality in each other, due to the abusive Michel, they formulate a plan to take care of this tyrant. However, between an intrusive private investigator, incorruptible schoolboys and a missing corpse, things take a mysterious turn for the worse.

Legend has it that Alfred Hitchcock was first approached to direct Les Diaboliques, however, when the deal came to nothing, Henri-Georges Clouzot was the inheritor.

1. Vertigo


Widely regarded as director Alfred Hitchcock’s best, Vertigo is a complex, psychological thriller starring James Stewart and Kim Novak. Proudly sitting atop of the much celebrated Sight and Sound Poll (in 2012), this masterpiece is a movie filled with suspense that unfolds in an extraordinarily haunting climax.

John ‘Scottie’ Ferguson (Stewart) is a retired San Francisco police detective. After being involved in a rooftop chase, resulting in the death of a policeman, Scottie has been battling vertigo. When approached by an old college friend to secretly pursue the man’s wife Madeline (Novak), he begrudgingly accepts. As Madeline proves exceedingly difficult to follow, he eventually tracks her down and rescues her as she attempts to leap into San Fran Bay. With both Madeline and Scottie spending more and more time together they ultimately confess their love for each other, whilst in the surroundings of an old Mission. Out of nowhere, Madeline runs into the church and climbs the bell tower. With Scottie powerless to run after her, we are left with a breathtakingly daring act of cinematic genius that only the master of suspense could compose.

With a fantastic backdrop of San Francisco, this fable of romance and obsession is a stunning piece of work that should be ranked as highly in another 50 years’ time, as it is today.

Author Bio: Andrew Lowry lives in Bangor, Northern Ireland. He is a government worker by day, and cinephile by night.

Read more at http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2014/25-great-psychological-thrillers-that-are-worth-your-time/4/#Cps8Has64pHiIi6p.99

The 22 Greatest Movie Opening Lines Of All Time

02 January 2014 | Features, Other Lists | by David Zou

movie opening lines

The first line can make or break a movie.

And some of the best films also boast superb opening gambits that suck you in, make you think, have you laughing or just tease you. Some have over 100 words, some have only a few words, but they have the same effect.

We’ve rounded up some of our favorites – let us know yours in the comments…

22. Mallrats (1995)


The Line: “One time my cousin Walter got this cat stuck up his ass. True story. He bought it at our local mall, so the whole fiasco wound up on the news.

“It was embarrassing for my relatives and all, but next week, he did it again. Different cat, same results, complete with another trip to the emergency room.

“So, I run into him a week later in the mall and he’s buying another cat. And I says to him, ‘Jesus, Walt! What are you doing? You know you’re just gonna get this cat stuck up your ass too. Why don’t you knock it off?’

“And he said to me, ‘Brodie, how the hell else am I supposed to get the gerbil out?’ My cousin was a weird guy.

21. Fight Club (1999)


The Line: “People are always asking me if I know Tyler Durden…”

20. Four Weddings And A Funeral (1994)

Four Weddings And A Funeral

The Line: “Oh, f**k! F**k!”

19. The Big Lebowski (1998)


The Line: ”Way out west there was this fella I wanna tell ya about. Goes by the name of Jeff Lebowski. At least that was the handle his loving parents gave him, but he never had much use for it himself. See, this Lebowski, he called himself ‘The Dude’”

18. The Jerk (1979)

The Jerk

The Line: “I am not a bum. I’m a jerk. I once had wealth, power, and the love of a beautiful woman. Now I only have two things: my friends and… uh… my thermos.

“Huh? My story? Okay. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin’ on the porch with my family, singin’ and dancin’ down in Mississippi.”

17. Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (1998)


The Line: “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”

16. LA Confidential (1997)


The Line: “’Come to Los Angeles! The sun shines bright, the beaches are wide and inviting, and the orange groves stretch as far as the eye can see. There are jobs aplenty, and land is cheap.

“Every working man can have his own house, and inside every house, a happy, all-American family. You can have all this, and who knows… you could even be discovered, become a movie star… or at least see one.

“Life is good in Los Angeles… it’s paradise on Earth.’ Ha ha ha ha. That’s what they tell you, anyway.”

15. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Read more at http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2014/the-22-greatest-movie-opening-lines-of-all-time/#6dGQvwLK0xI6Fusb.99

What Hollywood Gets Wrong About Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation and a trailer from the movie “On The Road”


images (15)

untitled (42)What Hollywood Gets Wrong About Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation

A new crop of films portrays their lifestyle as rebellious, adolescent fun. But what made the Beats so influential in the first place was that they were radical, free-thinking adults.
Jordan Larson
Oct 16 2013, 1:54 PM ET
Sony Pictures

John Clellon Holmes, author of the seminal Beat Generation novel Go, wrote in 1952 that for the free-spirited rising stars of American literature known as the Beats, “how to live seems to them much more crucial than why.” In those years, young people in the U.S. were in the process of inheriting both economic prosperity and stifling societal mores from their parents. So for many, the Beat Generation of writers—with their stupendous refusal of social and cultural norms and their way of life governed by the pursuit of pleasure, belief, and truth—was a godsend.

Today’s young people experience problems of a bit of a different ilk. Feeling free and adventurous won’t avail you of your student loan debt, poems penned in the days between drug-fueled nights probably won’t make it into your favorite lit mag—and, if they did, you’d probably be asked to write for free anyway, you know, “for the exposure.” But this hasn’t stopped a veritable resurgence over the last few years of Beat obsession, beginning with the film Howl (2010), and continuing with On the Road (2012) and two new films, Kill Your Darlings, in theaters today, and Big Sur, opening November 1. Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg—the authors of On the Road and Howl, respectively—have been the focus of two films each.

Given what the Beats meant to young people of the 1950s, perhaps it isn’t so surprising that their culture has been revived for millennial consumption. What teenager or 20-something doesn’t long to drop everything and take a road trip to wherever, with friends and booze and drugs and sex? And in an age when many young people are discovering that young adulthood isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, we could use some fun, right? But the current Beat revival arguably goes too far with its re-imagination of the Beat writers’ livelihoods as simple adolescent goofing around—its most prominent writers were, after all, well into their grown-up years when they wrote many of their most notable writings. This crop of films diminishes what was so radical about the Beat Generation in the first place: their iconoclastic approach to life, which extended far beyond their 20s and into adulthood proper.

Conspicuously absent from the latest revival is the third heavyweight of the movement, William S. Burroughs, whose Naked Lunch was adapted into a disturbing and gritty film by David Cronenberg in 1991. The omission perhaps isn’t so surprising: Burroughs credited his awakening as a writer to a 1951 incident in Mexico when he accidentally killed his wife while playing “William Tell,” a bar trick Burroughs invented that involves shooting a glass off someone’s head, so his legacy would likely be a bit harder to spin as one of harmless and youthful adventure.

In casting the authors as eternally and fundamentally adolescent, the recent revival tones down their behavior—both revolutionary and repulsive—as a sort of passing teenage phase.

The exclusion of Burroughs from the Beat revival isn’t the only way the movement has been crafted for optimal consumption, though: Howl and Kill Your Darlings focus on Allen Ginsberg at his most youthful and promising. Kill Your Darlings, in which a baby-faced Daniel Radcliffe plays Ginsberg, tells a little-known tale of murder in the Beats’ group of friends at Columbia University, which ends up bringing the group together. The appeal of the story seems to be that it’s about a set of famous people who may have been involved in a possible murder during their youths, the occurrence of which may or may not explain their genius, or art, or something. In Howl, however, Ginsberg’s collection of poems are the subject of an obscenity trial, and though you’d never guess from James Franco’s youthful appearance as Ginsberg in the film, the author was actually 30 years old when Howl was published.

On the Road, published when Kerouac was 35, seems most susceptible to being reimagined as a series of youthful whims. A recollection of Kerouac’s mid-20s, which he spent traveling with Neal Cassady (known as Dean Moriarty in the book); Neal’s wife, Luanne Henderson; and other Beat figures, On the Road is a paean to recklessness and discovery. Significantly, the film replaces the famous opening line of the book, “I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up,” with “I first met Dean not long after my father died,” likely because it interferes with the viewer’s image of carefree and unbridled youth. Scrubbed from the film is any mention of Sal’s age at the time (25) or his stint in the military before attending Columbia. However, the film doesn’t balk at Luanne’s age: characters make numerous references to “Dean’s 16-year-old bride,” known in the book as Marylou.

Sal Paradise, Kerouac’s character in the book, describes Marylou as being “awfully dumb and capable of doing horrible things.” In the morning after Sal’s first all-night meeting with the couple, Dean “decided the thing to do was to have Marylou make breakfast and sweep the floor.” Shortly after, Dean and Marylou have a fight, and Marylou kicks Dean out of their shared apartment. According to Sal, “Dean said she’d apparently whored a few dollars together and gone back to Denver—‘the whore!’” This is all within the first three pages. While Marylou’s character in last year’s film adaptation of On the Road, played by Kristen Stewart, is spared some of the nastier epithets, the story’s misogyny largely lives on unchallenged and uncut. Marylou plays a tiny role in the story, mostly as a “dumb little box” whom Dean and Sal trade around until she gets pregnant and they tire of her.

In casting the authors as eternally and fundamentally adolescent, the recent revival tones down their behavior—both revolutionary and repulsive—as a sort of passing teenage phase, something that young people just sort of do. And in that way, the latest cultural reincarnation both nullifies and excuses the behavior of its leaders. In the end, I’m not sure what’s more offensive—the film’s rampant and unapologetic misogyny or Stewart’s interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, in which she claimed that On the Road told her “that you have to use every second in life. You can’t get complacent and let life pass you by,” as if fathering children and abandoning them is just an essential part of what it means to be free, man.

Pretending Kerouac’s life was some sort of consequence-free dream not only does a disservice to viewers, but to the Beats, as well.

Big Sur, it’s worth noting, is remarkably different from the other films. The film, to its great credit, largely avoids the pitfalls of the others by tackling subject matter that’s less inherently glamorous. An adaptation of Kerouac’s 1962 novel, his first after the publication of On the Road, Big Sur shows Kerouac suffering from the burden of fame and lamenting the fact that he’s no longer young. The film opens with a lightly adapted quote from the novel: “All over America high school and college kids thinking ‘Jack Kerouac is 26 years old and on the road all the time hitchhiking’ while there I am almost 40 years old, bored and jaded.” (Jack Kerouac is known as Jack Duluoz in the book.) The film follows Kerouac as he wanders from Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s cabin in Big Sur to San Francisco and back again, usually in the company of several Beats and lady friends. The film crescendos with Kerouac’s alcohol-induced nervous breakdown, accompanied by a sudden epiphany and strangely chipper ending. Though Kerouac behaves much the same way as he did in On the Road, he doesn’t feel the same way: He becomes obsessed with death and drinking, and the narrative seems to comment on the binary of blessed youth and damned old age.

The misogyny of On the Road also figures into Big Sur, and it gets a little harder to stomach as it becomes clear that it’s not just a phase of adolescence, but rather, it’s seemingly central to the life of a Beat writer. A significant portion of the plot revolves around Neal Cassady’s mistress, whom he introduces to Kerouac. Kerouac, in turn, becomes her lover, promises to marry her, and introduces her to Cassady’s wife. He later calls off the marriage, or any form of commitment, leaving his lover to wonder how she’ll take care of herself and her four-year-old son. Unlike in On the Road, these actions finally begin to reflect upon Cassady and Kerouac in negative ways. Their casual womanizing no longer seems like something fun and rebellious to partake in, but like a deep-seated and decidedly unfortunate character flaw.

Overall, while these films are supposed to offer some vintage escapism, their takes ring hollow. Kerouac may have been a tremendous writer, but the enormity of his art is largely left out of the film adaptations. Even for all the dramatic voiceovers of Kerouac’s prose, On the Road and Big Sur are mostly left to work with muddled and problematic plot points. Still, what’s most problematic about these films isn’t their artistry but their authenticity.

Yes, to some extent, the real Kerouac and Cassady will always be remembered as somewhat youthful. Seven years after the publication of Big Sur, Kerouac died of cirrhosis of the liver, nearly 30 years before both Burroughs and Ginsberg died; Cassady died the previous year at the age of 41. But despite the fact that they “died young,” both of them were said to look far older than their years. One could argue that these films are only trying to honor the spirit of the Beat Generation, but can you separate the “essence” of a story or a movement from what its progenitors really said and did, and at what point in their lives? Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac were grown men who were also alcoholics, misogynists, and womanizers who killed themselves with substance abuse. Pretending Kerouac’s life was some sort of consequence-free dream not only does a disservice to viewers, but to the Beats, as well.

Even at its best, the idea of a revelatory and sensual Beat adventure is rather clichéd, but especially so when divorced from the movement’s great and lasting achievements: Their rebelliousness paved the way for the counterculture of the sixties, and artists from Patti Smith to Thomas Pynchon have hailed the Beats’ style of jazz-like improvisation as an influence. The Beats deserve to be celebrated for the way they lived and what they created, not just for how fun and sexy their escapades may have looked.



Johnny Depp coolness and the interview with Allen GInsberg


tpinterviewJohn Christopher Depp II was born on June 9, 1963, in Owensboro, KY. The son of a waitress and a civil engineer and the youngest of four kids, Depp was a fourth generation Kentuckian with Cherokee roots. The family moved constantly while Depp was growing up, first from Kentucky to Florida when Depp was six years old and from house to motel to apartment endlessly thereafter, racking up over 20 addresses by the actor’s estimation. His father left the family when Depp was 15 years old, at which point Depp had already been in trouble with school and the law from the use of drugs and alcohol. He had also been playing guitar for several years, and having experienced some initial success playing club gigs (and sneaking into bars as an underage performer) Depp dropped out of Miramar High School in the 11th grade to become a guitar player. In a bout of remorse, he tried to return two weeks later, but his principal suggested he might make a better rock star than student. Depp pumped gas and worked construction jobs while his band The Kids paid their dues, recorded a demo, and eventually began to land prestigious opening slots for bands like The Talking Heads, Iggy Pop, and The Ramones. When Florida became too small for an ambitious rock band, the aging “Kids” renamed themselves Six Gun Method and headed to Los Angeles in search of a record deal.

Six Gun Method were struggling little fish in a big pond in the L.A. music scene of 1983, so poverty plus Depp’s youthful marriage to fellow musician Lori Anne Allison that same year only increased tension within the band. They managed to land a few gigs and during the day, they all worked at the same telemarketing company, selling pens for $100 dollars a week. Depp’s wife introduced him to a former boyfriend, Nicolas Cage, and Cage urged Depp to pursue acting. In need of a better job, Depp followed the leads to a casting audition for Wes Craven and came away with a role as the heroine’s doomed boyfriend in “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984) – in a quick blur, Depp being sucked into a demon bed became his auspicious cinematic start. Following his blood-soaked debut, he co-starred in the teen romp “Private Resort” (1985) and landed a small role in Oliver Stone’s Oscar-winning “Platoon” (1986). In the meantime, the band fell apart, his marriage ended, and Johnny Depp the accidental actor was about to become a teen idol.

With his mop of classic movie star hair, his deep serious eyes, and his beyond chiseled cheekbones, Depp as a teen idol was a no-brainer, and was just what Fox needed to complete the cast of its first original TV series, “21 Jump Street.” As Officer Tom Hanson, Depp played one of a unit of cops working undercover in high schools – ironic considering he had spent the better part of his youth on the other side of the law. The show was a hit with young audiences and Depp became an overnight sensation, his character’s leather jacket and rebellious attitude earning the actor a bad boy reputation that would follow him for years. It was an invaluable introduction to show business for the newcomer, but Depp was uncomfortable with his star status – to the point that one night, he was even caught defacing his own image on a billboard. After fulfilling his contract for three seasons, Depp was ready to move on and eager to distance himself from the career-limiting curse of teen idolhood.

Depp immediately seized the opportunity to satirize his image in John Waters’ musical “Cry-Baby” (1990). As a sneering, crooning, 1950’s juvenile delinquent, Depp established his offbeat sensibility and displayed a smoldering sexiness that could easily have paid his bills for the next two decades, but which he promptly left behind to play “Edward Scissorhands” (1990). A challenge for any actor, Depp was captivating in his nearly wordless portrayal of a mad inventor’s creation – a boy with scissors for hands who finds himself adopted by a well-meaning suburban family. Tim Burton’s gothic fable resonated strongly with audiences, Depp’s physical grace and expressive features reminiscent of the sympathetic silent characters like Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp, and worthy of a Golden Globe nomination. The film not only put him on the big screen map officially – it also introduced him to two very important people in his life. First, director Burton, with whom Depp would collaborations with on project after project, so fond of and in tune with each other were they. On a different note, “Scissorhands” also introduced Depp to co-star, Winona Ryder. The two quickly became an inseparable couple, and as a unit, developed into hip icons of the early 90s with their disheveled thrift store clothes, rock star friends and devil-may-care chain smoking. Depp even stamped his love for the actress permanently on his skin, resulting in the famous “Winona Forever” tattoo.

Onscreen, Depp continued his quest to explore distinctive material, starring in “Arizona Dream” (1992) as a young man unwillingly called upon by his uncle (Jerry Lewis) to take over the family car dealership. “Benny & Joon” (1993) presented Depp as a modern-day circus performer who, in the course of romancing a mentally disturbed woman (Mary Stuart Masterson), performs set pieces – again reminiscent of the great silent film stars, though this time more Keaton than Chaplin. That same year, in the title role of Lasse Hallstrom’s “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” Depp played it straight as a Midwesterner trapped in a small town by familial obligations. The film hearkened back to Depp’s own past, and the actor brought a gentleness and melancholy to his moving portrait of family dysfunction and unfulfilled ambitions. Most particularly touching were his scenes with mentally disabled younger brother Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio) and obese “Momma” (Darlene Cates).

At the same time, in 1993 Depp launched the Viper Room, a low-key Sunset Strip rock club popular with famous and non-famous music lovers who came for lounge music-themed martini nights and live bands. Depp donned his guitar and made occasional appearances with P, an informal group including Depp, Gibby Haynes (Butthole Surfers), actor Sal Jenco, and a roster of local guests including Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Steve Jones (Sex Pistols). The world at large learned of The Viper Room on Halloween 1993, when actor River Phoenix died from an overdose of heroin and cocaine – a “speedball” – outside the club. The press made the event into a sensationalized story of the excesses of young Hollywood, and Depp reacted with a statement condemning the media for turning Phoenix’s death into a circus. Meanwhile, his over three year relationship with Ryder was coming to an end and the actor sought solace in a period of drugs and heavy drinking. He recorded and played live dates with ex-Pogue Shane McGowan in early 1994, which was not likely to cure him of his bender but most likely lessened the pain of all the loss he had recently experienced.

In 1994, Depp reteamed with Burton and won considerable critical acclaim for “Ed Wood” (1994), which chronicled the career of the angora sweater-wearing “Plan 9 from Outer Space” (1959) cross-dressing filmmaker and his friendship with fading horror icon, Bela Lugosi (Martin Landau). Depp brought a bouncy, post-war optimism and unflagging confidence to the portrayal, and his handling of the absurd comedy was pure genius as he chomped cigars in high heels and skirts – apparently fearless when diving into a characterization. He followed up “Ed” with a rare role that actually embraced his good looks, donning a mask and Castilian accent for “Don Juan DeMarco” (1995). The film afforded him the opportunity to act opposite the legendary Marlon Brando, who played the therapist to Depp’s Don Juan, a modern day patient with delusions of being the world-renowned 14th century Spanish libertine, with the outfit to match. Though the film did little to further his career, he looked good and worked with Brando. That was apparently enough for Depp, as it would be for any actor worth his salt.

The actor who, despite a wild image, often appeared to be a serial monogamist, announced his engagement to English model Kate Moss the same year. The two made headlines in 1994 during a stay at The Mark hotel in New York, when what was described by the actor as simply a “bad night” resulted in destruction of furniture in the couple’s suite and Depp’s arrest for felony criminal mischief. The charges were dropped, but the press had a field day, painting Depp and Moss as a tempestuous couple on a rampage. In a brief foray back into music, Depp’s band P released an album, and though the members kept the side project fairly low profile, the single “Michael Stipe” did enjoy a bit of airplay.

In John Badham’s “Nick of Time” (1995), Depp was a surprising sight as a father racing the clock to rescue his kidnapped daughter, but the stylized thriller ultimately failed to deliver the unique results audiences came to expect from Depp. He rebounded with Jim Jarmusch’s artfully filmed “Dead Man” (1996), playing a mild-mannered accountant mixed up in a whorehouse shooting and forced to go on the lam across 1840’s western frontier with a bullet in his chest. Jarmusch’s and Depp’s subtle sense of absurd humor proved to be highly compatible. Adding to his cast of oddball outsiders, Depp essayed the title role in Mike Newell’s “Donnie Brasco” (1997), an FBI undercover agent who infiltrates a crime family, befriends its volatile leader, and begins to morph a little too well into his surroundings. Depp won praise for his layered portrayal of the real-life Joe Pistone – and especially for his interplay with co-star Al Pacino, who served as Depp’s mentor onscreen and off.

The year 1997 marked Depp’s feature directorial debut with “The Brave,” a film he co-wrote with older brother D. P. Depp and in which he starred as a father who agrees to play the victim in a snuff film to earn money for his family. The film also featured Brando and Clarence Williams III, but earned mostly negative reviews following its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Depp returned to the recording studio to lend guitar work to Oasis’ Be Here Now album before tackling the mighty portrayal of Raoul Duke, the drug-crazed alter ego of Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson in Terry Gilliam’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” (1998). Depp gave a hilarious and eye-popping performance that seamlessly blended with the film’s lush, undulating, fantastical feel, and the film earned Gilliam a Golden Palm nomination at Cannes. That year, Depp and Moss finally called it quits, after a break-up and reconciliation the previous tempestuous year and press speculation of drug use.

Depp may have chosen “The Astronaut’s Wife” – the first of his three 1999 thrillers – for the opportunity to play good boy-gone-wrong under alien influence, but the result was sadly a rare one-note performance. From one movie resembling Roman Polanski’s “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968), he moved to “The Ninth Gate” (1999), which was actually directed by Polanski. As a rumpled, bespectacled book dealer in search of a 17th-century volume allegedly co-authored by Satan, Depp was the soft, unassertive core of a film thought by most – but not all – to be a journey to nowhere. The film was forgettable, but shooting in France was not, for it was there that he met French singer- songwriter Vanessa Paradis and essentially never went back stateside again, except for work. The lovers had a daughter named Lily Rose Melody on May 27, 1999, providing the renegade drifter of sorts with an instant attitude adjustment in Depp, who now waxed poetic that the love of his daughter had caused him to finally understand the world. Several months prior to the birth, however, he had landed in a London jail after threatening a paparazzi whom he felt was being disrespectful of Paradis’ pregnancy.

With “Sleepy Hollow” (1999), based on the Washington Irving legend, Depp again paired perfectly with the imaginative gothic vision of Tim Burton. The studio nixed his notion of playing Ichabod Crane with a long pointy nose, though he did insist on going against the heroic archetype with his prissy, neurotic characterization. It became Depp’s biggest box office hit to date, but he followed up with a pair of films that barely saw the light of box office day – Julian Schnabel’s “Before Night Falls” (2000), the story of Cuban poet-novelist Reinaldo Arenas – in which Depp again cross-dressed – and the period drama “The Man Who Cried” (2001) where he starred as Christina Ricci’s gypsy love interest in post World War II France. Between films, Depp returned to the recording studio, co-writing two tracks with Paradis and playing guitar on one track of her 2000 release Bliss. He also directed music videos for the singles “Que Fait la Vie?” and “Pourtant.”

Depp returned to the screen to take on another interpretation of a real-life figure in Ted Demme’s “Blow” (2001), where he chronicled the rise and fall of George Jung, a major cocaine trafficker for Colombian kingpin Pablo Escobar during the 1970s. In the moody thriller “From Hell” (2001), Depp took on the role of Inspector Frederick Abberline, a London detective and opium addict embroiled in the Jack the Ripper murders of the 1880s. Depp and girlfriend Paradis welcomed their second child, John III (Jack), into the family on April 9, 2002, and by all accounts, restless Depp seemed to be settling into a satisfying real life role as a family man abroad with a steady stream of moderately successful, artfully-oriented films.


In 2003, Disney executives got their first peek at the dailies for “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” and began rounds of panicked phone calls. They initially had not had high hopes for the film, as earlier attempts to build a narrative around the popular Disney World ride had failed. Convinced by director Gore Verbinski that Depp could be trusted, they fretted over the film’s release and were stunned when the finished product was a runaway blockbuster. Capping his teeth with gold and basing his performance on the swaggering, dissipated rock star Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Depp was a lively tour de force, finding himself in the unique position of not only being nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for a comedic performance, but for appearing in a commercial blockbuster at long last. The film was the fourth highest grossing of the year and Hollywood wrongly assumed that the now mainstream viable star would be accepting scripts for blockbusters. Predictable only for being unpredictable, Depp’s next appearance was in indie icon Robert Rodriguez’s “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” (2003), the third of the filmmaker’s trilogy and one that positioned Depp as a corrupt CIA agent who lures El Mariachi out of seclusion for a dangerous mission.

Depp drew little attention for his uninspired turn in the Stephen King adaptation “Secret Window” (2004), playing an author caught up in accusations of plagiarism and stalked by his accuser. However, with his follow-up, the actor mesmerized critics as Peter Pan scribe J.M. Barrie in the highly-praised “Finding Neverland” (2004). Depp delivered a subtle but deeply emotional performance as the playwright who, despite his age and wisdom, wished to never grow up. Depp earned his second Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his performance. He also unloaded The Viper Room and launched his production company, Infinitum Nihil, in June of 2004, taking on the role of CEO and cutting a first look deal with Initial Entertainment.

Considering his infamous history of pulling off outrageous characterizations, Depp was an ideal choice to play magical candy maker Willie Wonka in Burton’s adaptation of Ronald Dahl’s “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory” (2005), a remake of 1971’s “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.” Burton’s darker interpretation hewed closer to the book, while Depp’s Wonka was both inspired and a bit more unsettling. The film received favorable reviews and Depp, the new superstar of family entertainment, raked in box office receipts of $475 million dollars. That same year he provided the voice of Victor Van Dort, a Victorian lad whisked away to the underworld to wed a mysterious undead woman in Burton’s stop-motion animated feature “Corpse Bride” (2005).

Depp was pleased to revive Captain Jack Sparrow for the inevitable sequel, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” (2006), a harrowing, energetic and worthy addition to the swashbuckling franchise. Depp outweighed co-star Orlando Bloom and displayed fine chemistry with a game Keira Knightley in a story that pitted the three against undead pirate Davy Jones – and sometimes themselves – in a quest to find a valued treasure that would enable control over supernatural forces. “Dead Man’s Chest” broke several box-office records, including biggest single-day gross and biggest opening weekend ever, paving the way for the third installment, “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (2007). “At World’s End” focused on the desperate quest undertaken by heroes Will Turner (Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Knightley), both allied with Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush reprising his role from the first “Pirates”), to rescue Sparrow from the trap of Davy Jones’ Locker. Detractors criticized the film as convoluted and the weakest of the franchise, but Depp’s built-in fanbase brought in over $300 million.

Hollywood’s number one expatriate returned to the box office for the Christmas release of “Sweeney Todd” (2007), the highly anticipated film adaptation of Steven Sondheim’s macabre musical. Bringing the bloody British saga of a wronged man’s revenge to the big screen was the brain child of Burton, and promised to deliver he and Depp’s signature hybrid of gloom and wit, though the R rating would mean that the Sparrow fans would be left at home with a babysitter. Having conquered every other medium, accent and quirk, Depp, in singing debut, did not disappoint, earning him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.

Depp returned to the screen two years later to portray famed Chicago bank robber John Dillinger in Michael Mann’s period docudrama, “Public Enemies” (2009). Depp’s long overdue return to a dapper, non-freakish character was a breath of fresh air, though Mann’s emphasis on visuals and pyrotechnics left Depp’s potential to explore the notorious outlaw character unrealized. Regardless, the fedora-heavy crime film brought in over $100 million in receipts. Later that year, Depp was one of three actors tapped by filmmaker Terry Gilliam to substitute in the starring role left behind by the tragic death of actor Heath Ledger in “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus” (2009). Depp shared duties with Jude Law and Colin Farrell in the role of a tarnished “white knight” who comes to the aide of the immortal doctor in an attempt to keep his daughter out of the clutches of the devilish Mr. Nick (Tom Waits). The actor began the next year with another of his by now signature extreme character roles as the Mad Hatter in “Alice in Wonderland” (2010). Reteaming with director Burton for the seventh time, Depp’s highly affected Hatter played more childish than insane, ultimately being eclipsed by the scene-stealing performance of Burton’s wife, Helena Bonham Carter, as the stark raving mad Queen of Hearts. Burton’s take on Lewis Caroll’s fantasy tale may have leaned more towards action-adventure, but audiences flocked to the 3-D feature in droves, and the turn provided Depp with a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy.

Near the end of that year, Depp paired with fellow film superstar Angelina Jolie for the action-thriller “The Tourist” (2010). Turning the dial way back, Depp’s low-key portrayal of a frumpy Midwesterner caught up in a deadly game of mistaken identity with femme fatale Jolie failed to ignite much chemistry with his co-star, or impress the majority of critics. However, despite some reviewers’ charges of sleepwalking through his performance, the role nonetheless garnered Depp yet another Golden Globe nomination for the year – oddly, in the same Musical/Comedy category as his Mad Hatter turn. Even as Depp basked – however reluctantly – in the glow of his awards nominations, audiences awaited his next effort, this time as the voice of a chameleon suffering from an acute case of identity crisis in “Rango” (2011). Directed by “Pirates” helmer Gore Verbinski, the animated family adventure boasted an all-star cast, including Ray Winstone, Alfred Molina and Ned Beatty. Depp also found time to swagger on deck once more in his fourth outing as lovable, laughable rogue Captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” (2011), this time directed by musical veteran Rob Marshall, and adding Depp’s “Blow” co-star Penelope Cruz to the cast’s motley crew.

Returning to the world of Hunter S. Thompson for the underwhelming, if mildly entertaining, book adaptation “The Rum Diary” (2011), Depp next camped it up as out-of-touch vampire Barnabas Collins in Burton’s cheeky and somewhat misguided “Dark Shadows” (2012), a riff on the vintage TV show of the same name. Sticking to reworkings of classic characters, he next surfaced as Tonto, the Native American ally to Armie Hammer’s masked cowboy crusader in Verbinski’s “The Lone Ranger” (2013), a would-be blockbuster that flopped mightily and left Depp overdue for a clear-cut well-received movie.


Beat poet Allen Ginsberg and actor-on-the-beat Johnny Depp in a conversation that spans the nation and the generations… il v24 Interview June ’94 p16 (2)

ALLEN GINSBERG: Hi, Johnny. So you left New York a couple of days ago.
JD: Yeah, yesterday morning actually.
AG: I taught that class I was telling you about.
JD: I wanted to come but I ran into weirdness.
AG: Well, maybe it’s just as well. You probably would have gotten tangled up with all the students passing in and out who recognized you. Do you have much trouble in moving around freely?
JD: Not so much. People are pretty O.K. about stuff like that. I think they’re generally just kind of curious.
AG: Yeah. I have a reasonably good situation. I’m semifamous, but not really famous, and the people who recognize me tend to be quite literate. So it’s usually a pleasure to meet them on the street. Sometimes you might even find someone to make love with! Years ago that used to happen to me occasionally.
JD: You’d just meet someone and begin talking and then…?
AG: I remember a kid come by St. Mark’s [Place in New York City] and asked if he could help me get my harmonium box home. One thing led to another, and… we lived together and took a long cross-country trip together. This was in 1965. Now he’s a businessman and married. But we’re still in touch. I have a nice paternal role.
JD: The other day, when I came to the studio to do that bit, I was hoping that you were going to be there.
AG: Well, I knew that you were going to be there. So I went and saw your movie, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
JD: I haven’t seen it yet.
AG: I haven’t read my biographies yet, either. So why haven’t you seen the movie?
JD: With an actor, after your job is done and the director and the editor step in, it’s none of your business.
AG: That’s what I felt about my biographies.
JD: It must be an incredibly odd thing, though, having a biography written about you. On a much smaller scale, I have had articles written about me–most of which were completely false. I guess the difference is, the biographies of you are literate; I get the tabloid skewer.
AG: So the question is what to do with fame. Weren’t we talking about that the other day in my kitchen?
JD: Yeah, we were bouncing it around.
AG: Maybe I’m just reacting to a limited amount of fame, so that it doesn’t get to be a burden–like with Dylan, who is cursed with it. But if you have a Buddhist view, that life is somewhat like a dream as well as being real, then by turning the wheel of dharma fame can be helpful in enlightening people.
JD: It’s just an odd thing because I still feel like I’m this seventeen-year-old gas station attendant in south Florida, and that it’s other people who place this strange stigma on you. When you are in some ways a commodity, a product, people create an image that could have absolutely nothing to do with you, and they have the power to sell it and shove it down the throats of people and…
AG: Well, I always say, “Don’t get distracted in trying to fight the ocean.” Don’t give energy to that. Just go ahead and do what you want to do artistically, or spiritually, because the one thing you can control is your own actions and your own mind.
JD: I guess the thing is to just keep walking forward.
AG: Yeah. So what are you interested in walking forward into? What’s your spiritual ambition?
JD: I couldn’t begin to tell you. I can only say that in a weird way, walking forward seems to be it.
AG: Do you believe in God?
JD: I believe in something. If it’s called God, I don’t know.
AG: Have you ever had any sort of visionary or religious experience?
JD: I’ve had moments when I felt very calm about everything around me, about everything inside.
AG: When was the last time you had that period of calm?
JD: I would say it was about two months ago.
AG: Do you remember where you were?
JD: Yeah. I was in the south of France at a friend’s house. I was sitting on a couch out in this field with my girlfriend, surrounded by trees.
AG: Do you remember what you heard in the moment when you were relaxed?
JD: There was this beautiful silence, and something very comfortable in that there was no need for us to say anything.
AG: Any other sounds?
JD: Yeah, the leaves. Feeling her hand. Holding her hand.
AG: Any recollection of smell?
JD: There’re a lot of flowers out there.
AG: I don’t suppose there was anything tasty?
JD: Oh, the taste I remember is kissing. It tasted warm.
AG: Well, when I write poetry, what I do is take a spot of time like that and try to recollect all the elements–the sight, the smell, the touch, the taste–and reassemble them, to see if they make a picture that can transmit the sensation in a work of art to others.
JD: It’s very, very, similar to sense-memory exercises in acting. For instance, a song can sometimes take me back to when I was four years old, sitting in the back seat of the car driving down the street with my parents.
AG: Yeah, I have a number of songs that recall my childhood. You know, I’m sixty-seven, and singing the songs that I heard when I was eighteen or twenty now awakens a whole lifetime tremor of memories.
[laughs] It’s a very beautiful feeling, actually. But it’s also very strange, because when you get older, you realize, well, you’re coming to the end of your term, the end of your life, and now everything is speaking to you.
JD: Do you know the piece [William] Saroyan wrote at the beginning of The Time of Your Life? Hang on one second. I think I actually have it here. I carry this thing around with me. [reads] “In the time of your life, live–so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness, or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding place and let it be free and unashamed.”
AG: When did you first read that?
JD: Probably when I was about twenty. About ten years ago, I guess.
AG: So you’ve had that for a decade now, more or less, in your formulation of how you’d like to be?
JD: Yeah, in a way.
AG: You know the basic Buddhist view is very similar to that, in the sense of alchemizing any situation and turning bricks into treasure, or shit to roses. How to use the energy of anger, fear, apprehension, as an aspect of wisdom. Like I was with a student who came from a disturbed family, and it had made him very tolerant and understanding of other people’s troubles or phobias. A little bit like yourself. His father, I think he said, was an alcoholic and had some kind of chemical problem. Which was my experience with my mother. I found that it ultimately made me much more tolerant of wild behavior and more calm in emergencies, since I had to take care of my mother with the ambulance coming to take her away. You had some similar experiences with your own family, didn’t you?
JD: Yeah, growing up, definitely.
AG: So in that sense, you draw the wisdom out of the ugly situation.
JD: When you were telling me before about the ’40’s and the ’50’s and how different things were then, it just seems like such a difficult time now to see goodness in things.
AG: Well, it’s not so hard to see goodness in yourself. And the realization of pain and deprivation, and the realization of violence in the world, is another kind of goodness, because of your understanding that you’re actually open to messages from the outside world rather than evading it and saying: “I want more and more. I want to own it all. I want to destroy it all. I want to eat it all. I want to master it all.” But I wonder what’s happening to the whole world now. Recently a friend of mine in India sent me a very mean letter saying: “How dare you cut down acres of trees just to satisfy your ambition to be a poet and have your work printed. When the earth is in such a fantastic crisis why must you be adding to it?” And I flashed on something Gregory [Corso] had said, that “no good news can be printed on bad news.” He was talking about the New York Times, but also about us using paper. So the question is, what would be an interesting, skillful means to deal with this problem, rather than ignore it or reject it? I’m still puzzling over it. If you get any ideas, let me know!
JD: I remember we talked about using hemp.
AG: Yeah, that was the best idea. Was that yours?
JD: Yeah, because they used to make everything, rope and paper, out of hemp.
AG: That would certainly change the war on drugs a bit. [laughs] Well, shall we continue this talk another time?
JD: Yeah I would love to. Anytime, I’m, around.
AG: O.K. I love you.
JD: Hey, thank you, man. I love you, too.
AG: Bye.



imagesThe GQ Cover Story: Jeff Bridges

At age 63, Bridges has discovered the secret to living in the moment and aging dudefully

By Devin Friedman

Photograph by Sebastian Kim

October 2013

Certain Buddhists believe that there are nine levels of consciousness. One explanation for the apparent contradiction of Jeff Bridges—who now, at age 63, is both among the most accomplished, consistently sought-after actors in Hollywood and, by reputation and vibe, also one of the nicest and most contented—is that Jeff Bridges lives up there in the ninth level. The ninth level—it’s called, as I’m sure you know, the amala consciousness—is kind of the penthouse of the mind, and up there you’re freed from not only all that heavy karma you’ve accumulated in your lifetimes, but the entire thinking mind! You’re even blissfully unaffected by the overwhelming and cosmically unimportant stream of information the pedestrian world ceaselessly sends your way. Now, while Bridges has gone Zen in his late middle age, reads some Thich Nhat Hanh and knows Ram Dass and tries to meditate every day, he does not lay claim to living in one consciousness or another. But being both part of this earth and not would help us understand this:

For breakfast on this late-July morning, Bridges has selected a little café called Swami’s, right on the 101 in Encinitas, California. He arrives wearing comfortable jeans, canvas slip-on shoes, a kind of soft, towelly green shirt that buttons up the front. He’s got his famously beautiful hair slicked back and wears black sunglasses. His body is big, lived in; it betrays almost no kinetic energy but instead a kind of stillness, like a giant boulder you might find while hiking in Canyonlands National Park that would cause you to contemplate the unfathomable enormity of time. Anyway, we order some breakfast and sit down. Bridges, who, just to remind you, has been playing music for fifty years and has put out two albums and wasn’t lip-synching in Crazy Heart, is in Encinitas to play a show in the middle of an eight-date tour with his band, the Abiders. And GQ, seeing in him not only an accomplished gentleman of a certain age but also someone who, as we mention above, has attained a certain level of serious life contentment, has sought him out here to gather some wisdom. So our conversation begins, like awkward conversations at weddings have begun since time immemorial: Where ya coming in from?


Jeff Bridges in the New Topcoat for Fall 2013

Life Advice with Jeff Bridges

Icon: Jeff Bridges

“Um…ha! Uhhhhh. We came in from, uh…” He laughs at this. Because it’s funny! Isn’t life funny when you’re not always hung up on the cosmically unimportant stream of information the pedestrian world ceaselessly sends your way? “Oh God, it all kind of blends! It’s very tough for me to remember what we did. I want to get this right for you! So let me think. We played Laughlin, Nevada. We slept in. And then drove the four hours here. No, no, this isn’t right. Ha!” He stands up and darts off. “Let me go find Chris”—his music director—”so I can answer your first question!”

(He came in from Anaheim on Sunday night and had the day off yesterday.)

Now, for some people this might be embarrassing. Or could cause a little anxiety: What the fuck, am I losing my mind? But not to Jeff Bridges. Hey, man, let go, the invisible currents of life force will carry you! Ha ha ha! What a ride. Bridges just isn’t an anxious dude. Sitting close enough to him that you can hear him lazily ruminate his huevos rancheros confirms what you probably suspect from watching him in the movies: He might be the least anxious person in America (who has also won an Academy Award for best actor). As the film critic Pauline Kael famously wrote: Bridges “may be the most natural and least self-conscious screen actor that has ever lived.”

When he comes back to our outdoor table at Swami’s, named for the famous surf break just the other side of the 101, a comment is made about his lack of anxiety. Can you just teach us all how to be a little more like that? But he says I have it wrong. Even playing his music tonight here in Encinitas will involve a struggle that goes something like this: “I go through the gamut of emotions. It’s kind of like emotional weather. Feeling anxious. You know, a lot of anxiety. And that’ll pass. Nothing will particularly change, except something inside. And then all of a sudden I’m saying, Hey, this is fun, being alive! Look at that! Look at this!”

Listen, if you’re going to be spending time with Bridges, you need to get comfortable analyzing your feelings.

This is the point when we get up and go inside to get something from the juice bar.

“You ever had wheatgrass before?” Bridges says, contemplating the menu.

“No,” I say. Why do I lie about having had wheatgrass before? I don’t know. You just don’t want to deny Jeff Bridges the pleasure of introducing you to a wonderful health beverage.

At the counter there’s a tiny middle-aged man with a kelp bed of sun-bleached hair, sunburned eye sockets, a small puffy-lipped mouth. He’s a fixture at Swami’s, likes to call himself a co-owner. When he hears the conversation, he adds: “You know, it’s the microorganisms on the wheatgrass that are so amazing—the wheatgrass itself doesn’t do anything.”

“Far out, man!” Bridges says.

Then it dawns on the “co-owner” who he’s talking to. “Hey, man!” he says. “Will you write on our wall, man?”

“I’ll tell you what, man. Why don’t I come back later and draw you a picture!” Bridges says.

When we’re back at the table, I bring up the topic of marriage. This is another thing he seems to have figured out. If you know anything about Bridges, one of the things you know is that he’s been married for almost forty years, that he has spent the better part of his life (a) being one of the best-looking, most famous men in the world and (b) waking up next to the same woman he met in his twenties. But I’m particularly interested in something wise he said in an interview not long ago: In a marriage, every fight is the same fight, over and over again, in different forms. (Note to unwed readers: In a marriage, every fight is the same fight, over and over again, in different forms.) I ask him what his version of the fight is.

TagsJeff Bridges, Hollywood, Movies + TV, Topcoats, Entertainment, October 2013

Read More http://www.gq.com/entertainment/celebrities/201310/jeff-bridges-cover-interview-october-2013#ixzz2n6NKhG4m



Image: Sherman Hemsley

Did Sherman Hemsley have an LSD lab in his house. Jeff Simmermon says, “Apparently [recently-departed] Sherman Hemsley was a serious acid/psych-rock fiend and had an LSD lab in his basement.” From an interview with Daevid Allen of Soft Machine and Gong, which appeared in Magnet magazine:

“It was 1978 or 1979, and Sherman Hemsley kept ringing me up. I didn’t know him from a bar of soap because we didn’t have television in Spain (where I was living). He called me from Hollywood saying, ‘I’m one of your biggest fans and I’m going to fly you here and put flying teapots all up and down the Sunset Strip.’ I thought, ‘This guy is a lunatic.’ He kept it up so I said, ‘Listen, can you get us tickets to L.A. via Jamaica? I want to go there to make a reggae track and have a honeymoon with my new girlfriend.’ He said, ‘Sure! I’ll get you two tickets.’

I thought, ‘Well, even if he’s a nut case at least he’s coming up with the goodies.’ The tickets arrived and we had this great honeymoon in Jamaica. Then we caught the plane across to L.A. We had heard Sherman was a big star, but we didn’t know the details. Coming down the corridor from the plane, I see this black guy with a whole bunch of people running after him trying to get autographs. Anyway, we get into this stretch limousine with Sherman and immediately there’s a big joint being passed around. I say, ‘Sorry man, I don’t smoke.’ Sherman says, ‘You don’t smoke and you’re from Gong?’

Inside the front door of Sherman’s house was a sign saying, ‘Don’t answer the door because it might be the man.’ There were two Puerto Ricans that had a LSD laboratory in his basement, so they were really paranoid. They also had little crack/freebase depots on every floor. Then Sherman says, ‘Come on upstairs and I’ll show you the Flying Teapot room.’ Sherman was very sweet but was surrounded by these really crazy people.

Magnet: George Jefferson: World’s Biggest Gong Fan? (Via Bad Ass Digest)
See also:

Sherman Hemsley, RIP