Tag Archives: Los Angeles

HIWAY AMERICA – LIFE ON THE STREETS OF L.A.

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16 IMAGES OF LIFE ON THE STREETS IN LA

Street Outreach programs have afforded me a rare glimpse into the lives of those who sleep on the streets. Rife with addiction and mental illness, this community is hard to penetrate and even harder to document. Approaching subjects on the streets of LA has become a delicate art. I had to be well versed on all topics of incarceration, addiction, and health. I had to navigate the streets with care, having a few close encounters with gangs and people out of control on cocktails of hard drugs. An acute street knowledge helped me get on the level of the people I was photographing, and dismantled any apprehensions they had about me taking photos. In an attempt to get more candid and intimate photos, I never shoot a person before having a friendly chat and getting to know them a little better.

I hope these photos afford some insight into the reality of being homeless.

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A homeless teen panhandles on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This photo was taken on assignment with the PATH Street Outreach team, just after sunrise on a cold spring morning in Hollywood.

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Street Outreach plays a huge role in getting people into housing. The man and woman in this photo have been married for seven years, and homeless for six. When I approached them with a Street Outreach team, they were cuddling each other on the sidewalk in the front of a dilapidated theater in Hollywood.

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This shot was taken on the Hollywood Walk of Fame out front of the Chinese Theatre. This 20-year-old homeless girl dresses, talks, and walks like a boy to deter unwanted attention on the streets.

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A dog is a man’s best friend. This homeless teen has been moving his way down the West Coast of America with his skateboard and his dog Charlie.

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This photo was taken right after sunrise in the ghetto of East Hollywood. These teens have a small window of time right before rush hour to pack up their encampment, or run the risk of an arrest or fine from the LAPD.

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Heroin is the drug of choice in Hollywood. This drug den is set up under the 101 freeway next to the Hollywood Bowl. The ground was strewn with used needles, and the stench of human decay permeated the air for 100ft in either direction.

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Susan had been homeless for two weeks when this photo was taken while a Street Outreach team from PATH give her a hygiene kit and packed lunch. She is a long-term heroin addict, having lost her apartment whilst spiraling into addiction. She is now living on the footpath with her three chihuahuas and all her possessions stuffed into shopping carts.

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Courtney and Reggie head out every morning to cultivate relationships with the ‘help resistant’ homeless population. It can sometimes take years of work to establish a strong enough relationship with people to pull them off the streets and into temporary housing.

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Taken before sunset, this image shows a homeless man who has locked himself into a ‘utility cupboard’ to keep himself safe from attacks overnight.

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Children’s toys are hung in a depraved artistic expression in a Hollywood heroin den under the 101 freeway.

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“When the rich wage war, it’s the poor that die.” 75% of the homeless population in Hollywood are under the age of 25.

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Margret has been living out front of this condemned building in Hollywood for more then a decade. She supposedly has quite substantial wealth, but chooses to live alone on the streets with her mental illness.

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PATH Street Outreach director Courtney attempts to calm a homeless women who is high on crack. Paranoia and erratic behavior compound the symptoms of mental illness associated with hard-drug addiction.

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Rife with gangs, loan sharks, and thieves, Skid Row is a dangerous place to live. Homeless veteran Slayer shows me his only form of protection.

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This woman posed for a portrait in my local bus shelter in Mid-City LA. Bus shelters provide shade and protection from the elements, but it is illegal to occupy them for long periods of time.

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Panhandling in LA is illegal, but the sheer numbers of homeless people that rely on the generosity of passersby make it hard for the LAPD to control or regulate.

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COOL PEOPLE -DIANE KEATON

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Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton Biography

Film Actor/Film Actress (1946–)

Quick Facts
Name Diane Keaton Occupation Film Actor/Film Actress Birth Date January 5, 1946 (age 68) Education Neighborhood Playhouse, Santa Ana College, University of Southern California Place of Birth Los Angeles, California Originally Diane Hall Zodiac Sign Capricorn
Synopsis
Early Years
Actor &

DIANE KEATON IN BEST SCENES FROM “ANNIE HALL”

DIANE KEATON INTERVIEW WITH MATT LAUER ON THE TODAY SHOW

DIANE KEATON IN “THE GODFATHER PART 2”

Diane Keaton is an Oscar-winning actress who earned early acclaim for her work in several Woody Allen films and her dramatic work in The Godfather series.

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“I think that people who are famous tend to be underdeveloped in their humanity skills.”

—Diane Keaton
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Synopsis

Diane Keaton was born January 5, 1946, in Los Angeles, California. A versatile film actress, Keaton shot to fame in the 1970s for her work in several Woody Allen films, including Annie Hall (1977), which earned her an Oscar for Best Actress. In addition to her comedic work, Keaton’s career has included memorable dramatic roles in films such as the Godfather series (1972, 1974, and 1990), Reds (1981), and Marvin’s Room (1996).

Early Years

Born Diane Hall on January 5, 1946, in Los Angeles, California. The oldest of four children, Keaton was raised in Santa Ana, where she graduated from the local high school in 1964. From there, Keaton, who’d shown an early fondness for acting, relocated to New York City to study at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, a full-time acting conservatory.

While not an overnight success, Keaton’s talent earned notice. She eventually landed a spot on the original Broadway run of Hair (1968), in which she famously refused to take off her clothes, and then opposite Woody Allen in his Broadway production of Play It Again Sam, which earned Keaton a Tony Award nomination.

The Keaton-Allen relationship would prove to be a fruitful one. As Allen made his mark as a director, Keaton was right there alongside for him for several of his best-known films: Sleeper (1973), Manhattan (1979), and most famously, Annie Hall (1977), a love story that appeared to be an autobiographical look at Keaton and Allen’s own off-screen romance. For the role, Keaton earned an Academy Award for Best Actress.

But it wasn’t just comedic roles that captured Keaton’s interest. Working closely with director Francis Ford Coppola, Keaton played Kay Adams, the girlfriend and eventual wife of Michael Corleone in the Godfather series (1973, 1974, and 1990). In 1981, she teamed up with Warren Beatty, with whom she was dating off-screen, in Reds (1981). The film earned Keaton another Best Actress nomination.

Actor & Director

After a short string of early disappointing films in the early 1980s, Keaton bounced back in a big way with Baby Boom (1987), a hit comedy that portrayed the struggles of a working, single mom.

Around this time, Keaton also began devoting part of her energy toward directing. Her work included several television projects, including a stint directing an episode of the David Lynch hit program, Twin Peaks. In 1995, she made her directorial debut in film with Unsung Heroes.

During the first decade of the 21st century, Keaton continued to show her range as an actress. A good portion of her work came from comedies, including Town & Country (2001), and Something’s Gotta Give (2003), an over-50 romantic comedy that saw Keaton team up with Jack Nicholson. The hit film earned Keaton another Best Actress nomination.

As she’s grown older, Keaton, who is the mother of two adopted children, hasn’t tried, on-screen or off, to distance herself from her age.

“My feeling was that nothing was expected of me,” Keaton said of her career in a 2003 interview. “I was a very normal, average, ordinary person, and no one expected or looked at me and went, ‘Oh, she’s got a future.’ So, I think that everything has just been a slow, steady persistence on my part and because I got opportunities, I used them as best as I could with the tools that I have such as they are.”

Outside of acting, Keaton has demonstrated a passion for architecture and building preservation. She’s a member of America’s National Trust for Historic Preservation and has rehabbed several buildings in her home city of Los Angeles.

Diane Keaton. (2014). The Biography.com website. Retrieved 03:32, Jun 07, 2014, from http://www.biography.com/people/diane-keaton-9361481.

Johnny Depp coolness and the interview with Allen GInsberg

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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.

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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.

JOHNNY DEPP AND ALLEN GINSBERG TALK

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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)

JOHNNY DEPP: Hi, Allen.
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.

EVERYTHING ABOUT WOODIE GUTHRIE

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WOODIE GUTHRIE SONGS

BIOGRAPHY



CHILDHOOD (1912-1931)
Okemah, Oklahoma
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From left: Woody, Nora, Charley, & George Guthrie at their home in Okemah, Oklahoma, 1924.

WOODY SEZ…

“Okemah was one of the singingest, square dancingest, drinkingest, yellingest, preachingest, walkingest, talkingest, laughingest, cryingest, shootingest, fist fightingest, bleedingest, gamblingest, gun, club and razor carryingest of our ranch towns and farm towns, because it blossomed out into one of our first Oil Boom Towns.”

Woodrow Wilson Guthrie was born on July 14, 1912, in Okemah, Oklahoma. He was the second-born son of Charles and Nora Belle Guthrie. His father – a cowboy, land speculator, and local politician – taught Woody Western songs, Indian songs, and Scottish folk tunes. His Kansas-born mother, also musically inclined, had an equally profound effect on Woody.

Slightly built, with an extremely full and curly head of hair, Woody was a precocious and unconventional boy from the start. Always a keen observer of the world around him, the people, music and landscape he was exposed to made lasting impressions on him.

During his early years in Oklahoma, Woody experienced the first of a series of immensely tragic personal losses. With the accidental death of his older sister Clara, the family’s financial ruin, and the institutionalization and eventual loss of his mother, Woody’s family and home life was forever devastated.

In 1920, oil was discovered nearby and overnight Okemah was transformed into an “oil boom” town, bringing thousands of workers, gamblers and hustlers to the once sleepy farm town. Within a few years, the oil flow suddenly stopped and Okemah suffered a severe economic turnaround, leaving the town and its inhabitants “busted, disgusted, and not to be trusted.”

From his experiences in Okemah, Woody’s uniquely wry outlook on life, as well as his abiding interest in rambling around the country, was formed. And so, he took to the open road.

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THE GREAT DUST BOWL (1931-1937)
Pampa, Texas
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Woody in Pampa, Texas, 1931.

WOODY SEZ…

“If there was anybody around there that did not play some instrument I did not see them… We played for rodeos, centennials, carnivals, parades, fairs, just bustdown parties, and played several nights and days a week just to hear our own boards rattle and our strings roar around in the wind. It was along in these days I commenced singing, I guess it was singing.”

In 1931, when Okemah’s boomtown period went bust, Woody left for Texas. In the panhandle town of Pampa, he fell in love with Mary Jennings, the younger sister of a friend and musician named Matt Jennings. Woody and Mary were married in 1933, and together had three children, Gwen, Sue and Bill.

It was with Matt Jennings and Cluster Baker that Woody made his first attempt at a musical career, forming The Corn Cob Trio and later the Pampa Junior Chamber of Commerce Band. It was also in Pampa that Woody first discovered a love and talent for drawing and painting, an interest he would pursue throughout his life.

If the Great Depression made it hard for Woody to support his family, the onslaught of the Great Dust Storm period, which hit the Great Plains in 1935, made it impossible. Drought and dust forced thousands of desperate farmers and unemployed workers from Oklahoma, Kansas, Tennessee, and Georgia to head west in search of work. Woody, like hundreds of “dustbowl refugees,” hit Route 66, also looking for a way to support his family, who remained back in Pampa.

Moneyless and hungry, Woody hitchhiked, rode freight trains, and even walked his way to California, taking whatever small jobs he could. In exchange for bed and board, Woody painted signs and played guitar and sang in saloons along the way, developing a love for traveling the open road-a lifelong habit he would often repeat.

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KFVD RADIO YEARS (1937-1940)
Los Angeles, California
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Woody and Maxine “Lefty Lou” Dempsey in Los Angeles, CA.

WOODY SEZ…

“I hate a song that makes you think that you’re not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are either too old or too young or too fat or too slim or too ugly or too this or too that….songs that run you down or songs that poke fun of you on account of your bad luck or your hard traveling. I am out to fight those kinds of songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood.”

By the time he arrived in California in 1937, Woody had experienced intense scorn, hatred, and even physical antagonism from resident Californians, who opposed the massive migration of the so-called “Okie” outsiders.

In Los Angeles Woody landed a job on KFVD radio, singing “old-time” traditional songs as well as some original songs. Together with his singing partner Maxine Crissman, aka “Lefty Lou,” Woody began to attract widespread public attention, particularly from the thousands of relocated Okies gathered in migrant camps. Living in makeshift cardboard and tin shelters, Woody’s program provided entertainment and a nostalgic sense of the “home” life they’d left behind; despite their desperate circumstances, it was a respite from the harsh realities of migrant life.

The local radio airwaves also provided Woody a forum from which he developed his talent for controversial social commentary and criticism. On topics ranging from corrupt politicians, lawyers, and businessmen to praising the compassionate and humanist principles of Jesus Christ, the outlaw hero Pretty Boy Floyd, and the union organizers that were fighting for the rights of migrant workers in California’s agricultural communities, Woody proved himself a hard-hitting advocate for truth, fairness, and justice.

Woody strongly identified with his audience and adapted to an “outsider” status, along with them. This role would become an essential element of his political and social positioning, gradually working its way into his songwriting; “I Ain’t Got No Home”, “Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad”, “Talking Dust Bowl Blues”, “Tom Joad” and “Hard Travelin'”; all reflect his desire to give voice to those who had been disenfranchised.

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NEW YORK TOWN (1940-1941)
New York City, New York
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From left: Woody, Millard Lampell, Bess Lomax, Pete Seeger, Arthur Stern, and Sis Cunningham. The Almanac Singers in 1941.

WOODY SEZ…

“There’s several ways of saying what’s on your mind. And in states and counties where it ain’t any too healthy to talk too loud, speak your mind, or even to vote like you want to, folks have found other ways of getting the word around. 

One of the mainest ways is by singing. Drop the word ‘folk’ and just call it real old honest to god American singing. No matter who makes it up, no matter who sings it and who don’t, if it talks the lingo of the people, it’s a cinch to catch on, and will be sung here and yonder for a long time after you’ve cashed in your chips.

If the fight gets hot, the songs get hotter. If the going gets tough, the songs get tougher.”

Never comfortable with success, or being in one place for too long, Woody headed east for New York City, arriving in 1940. He was quickly embraced for his Steinbeckian homespun wisdom and musical “authenticity” by leftist organizations, artists, writers, musicians, and progressive intellectuals. That same year, folklorist Alan Lomax recorded Woody in a series of conversations and songs for the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Woody also recorded “Dust Bowl Ballads” for RCA Victor, his first album of original songs, and throughout the 1940s he continued to record hundreds of discs for Moses Asch, founder of Folkways Records. The recordings from this early period continue to be touchstones for folk music singer-songwriters everywhere.

In New York City, Lead Belly, Cisco Houston, Burl Ives, Pete Seeger, Will Geer, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Josh White, Millard Lampell, Bess Hawes, Sis Cunningham, among others, all became Woody’s close friends and musical collaborators. Forming a loosely knit folk group called The Almanac Singers, they took up social causes such as union organizing, anti-Fascism, strengthening the Communist Party, peace, and generally fighting for the things they believed in the best way they could: through songs of political protest and activism. Woody became one of the prominent songwriters for the Almanac Singers.

The Almanacs helped to establish folk music as a viable commercial genre within the popular music industry. A decade later, original members of the Almanacs would re-form as the Weavers, the most commercially successful and influential folk music group of the early 1950s. It was through their tremendous popularity that Woody’s songs would become known to the larger public.

With increasing popularity, prosperity and critical success from public performances, recordings, and even his own radio show, Woody could afford to bring his struggling family to New York to enjoy his new found success.

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COLUMBIA RIVER (1941)
Portland, Oregon
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Woody in the Pacific Northwest.

WOODY SEZ…

“The Pacific Northwest is one of my favorite spots in this world, and I’m one walker that’s stood way up and looked way down acrost aplenty of pretty sights in all their veiled and nakedest seasons.

The Pacific Northwest has got mineral mountains. It’s got chemical deserts. It’s got rough run canyons. It’s got sawblade snowcaps. It’s got ridges of nine kinds of brown, hills out of six colors of green, ridges five shades of shadows, and stickers the eight tones of hell.

I pulled my shoes on and walked out of every one of these Pacific Northwest Mountain towns drawing pictures in my mind and listening to poems and songs and words faster to come and dance in my ears than I could ever get them wrote down…”

Despite his success, Woody became increasingly restless and disillusioned with New York’s radio and entertainment industry. Feeling the heat of censorship he wrote: “I got disgusted with the whole sissified and nervous rules of censorship on all my songs and ballads, and drove off down the road across the southern states again.”

Leaving New York, with his wife and three young children in tow, Woody headed out to Portland, Oregon where a documentary film project about the building of the Grand Coulee Dam sought to use his songwriting talent. The Bonneville Power Administration placed Woody on the Federal payroll for a month and there he composed the Columbia River Songs, another remarkable collection of songs that include “Roll on Columbia,” “Grand Coulee Dam,” and “The Biggest Thing That Man Has Done.” When his contract expired, Woody moved his family back to Pampa, Texas.

Hoping to get back to New York City, and on the radio, he hitchhiked his way across the country. Woody’s constant traveling, performing, and lack of regular work throughout the early 1940s took a hard toll on his family. Together with his increasing interest and involvement with progressive “radical” politics helped bring about the end of his first marriage.

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WORLD WAR II (1942-1945)
New York City, New York
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Woody with his iconic guitar. Photo by Al Aumuller.

WOODY SEZ…

“This machine kills fascists.”

Back in New York, Woody met and courted a young dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company named Marjorie (Greenblatt) Mazia. Sharing humanist ideals and activist politics, Woody and Marjorie were married in 1945 and over the years had four children: Cathy, (who died at age four in a tragic home fire), Arlo, Joady, and Nora.

This relationship provided Woody a level of domestic stability and encouragement which he had previously not known, enabling him to turn out a staggering number of original songs, writings, drawings, paintings, poems and prose pieces. His first novel, Bound for Glory , a semi-autobiographical account of his Dust Bowl years was published in 1943 to critical acclaim.

During World War II, moved by his passion against Fascism, Woody served in both the Merchant Marine and the Army. Shipping out to sea on several occasions with his buddies Cisco Houston and Jimmy Longhi, Woody’s tendency to write songs, tell stories and make drawings continued unabated. He composed hundreds of anti-Hitler, pro-war, and historic ballads to rally the troops, such as “All You Fascists Bound To Lose”, “Talking Merchant Marine,” and “The Sinking of the Reuben James.” He began to work on a second novel, Sea Porpoise, and was enlisted by the army to write songs about the dangers of venereal diseases, which were published in brochures distributed to sailors. His capacity for creative self-expression seemed inexhaustible, whether on land or sea.

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CONEY ISLAND (1946-1954)
New York City, New York
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Woody performing for children on New York City Street, 1943. Photo by Eric Schaal/TIMEPIX

WOODY SEZ…

“Watch the kids. Do like they do. Act like they act. Yell like they yell. Dance the ways you see them dance. Sing like they sing. Work and rest the way the kids do.

You’ll be healthier. You’ll feel wealthier. You’ll talk wiser. You’ll go higher, do better, and live longer here amongst us if you’ll just only jump in here and swim around in these songs and do like the kids do.

I don’t want the kids to be grownup. I want to see the grown folks be kids.”

Following the war, in 1946, Woody Guthrie returned to settle in Coney Island, New York, with his wife Marjorie and their children. The peace he had fought so hard for seemed finally within his reach. It was during this time that Woody composed and recorded Songs to Grow On For Mother and Child and Work Songs To Grow On , considered children’s classics which won him success and recognition as an innovative writer of children’s songs.

Woody’s unique approach was to write songs that dealt with topics important to children written in language used by children such as; friendship (“Don’t You Push Me Down”), family (“Ship In The Sky”), community (“Howdi Doo”), chores (“Pick It Up”), personal responsibility (“Cleano”) and just plain fun (“Riding In My Car”).

During these years, Woody was exposed to Coney Island’s Jewish community through his mother-in-law, Aliza Greenblatt, a Yiddish poet. Inspired by this new relationship, he wrote a remarkable series of songs reflecting Jewish culture, such as “Hanuka Dance,” “The Many and The Few” and “Mermaid’s Avenue.”

Toward the late 1940s, Woody’s behavior started to become increasingly erratic, moody and violent, creating tensions in his personal and professional life. He was beginning to show symptoms of a rare, neurological disease, Huntington’s Chorea, a hereditary, degenerative disease that gradually and eventually robbed him of his health, talents and abilities. At the time, little was known about Huntington’s Chorea. It was later discovered to be the same disease which thirty years earlier had caused his mother’s institutionalization and eventual death.

Shaken by inexplicable volatile physical and emotional symptoms, Woody left his family once again, taking off for California with his young protégé, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott.

Arriving at his friend Will Geer’s property, Woody met Anneke Van Kirk, a young woman who became his third wife and with whom they had a daughter, Lorina.

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HOSPITAL YEARS (1954-1967)
Huntington’s Disease
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Woody at Greystone Hospital, New Jersey, 1958.
Photo by Lou Gordon.

WOODY SEZ…

“The note of hope is the only note that can help us or save us from falling to the bottom of the heap of evolution, because, largely, about all a human being is, anyway, is just a hoping machine.”

The late 1940’s and early 1950’s saw a rise in anti-Communist sentiments. Leftist and progressive-minded Americans were subjected to Red-scare tactics such as “blacklisting”. Many people, particularly in the arts and entertainment fields, either lost their jobs or were prevented from working in their chosen careers. The Weavers, along with Woody, Pete Seeger and others from their circle, were targeted for their activist stances on such issues as the right to unionize, equal rights, and free speech.

Woody headed south to Florida, where friend and fellow activist Stetson Kennedy offered blacklisted artists living space on his property. While in the South at Kennedy’s “Beluthahatchee”, Woody worked on a third novel, Seeds of Man , and composed songs inspired by a heightened awareness of racial and environmental issues.

Becoming more and more unpredictable during a final series of road trips, Woody eventually returned to New York with Anneke, where he was hospitalized several times. Mistakenly diagnosed and treated for everything from alcoholism to schizophrenia, his symptoms kept worsening and his physical condition deteriorated. Picked up for “vagrancy” in New Jersey in 1954, he was admitted into the nearby Greystone Psychiatric Hospital, where he was finally diagnosed with Huntington’s Chorea, the incurable degenerative nerve disorder now known as Huntington’s Disease or HD.

During these years, Marjorie Guthrie, family and friends continued to visit and care for him. A new generation of musicians took an interest in folk music bringing it into the mainstream as yet another folk music revival. Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, The Greenbriar Boys, Phil Ochs, and many other young folksingers visited Woody in the hospital, bringing along their guitars and their songs to play for him, perhaps even to thank him.

Woody Guthrie died on October 3, 1967 while at Creedmoor State Hospital in Queens, New York. His ashes were sprinkled into the waters off of Coney Island’s shore.

A month later, on Thanksgiving 1967, Woody’s son Arlo Guthrie released his first commercial recording of “Alice’s Restaurant”, which was to become the iconic anti-war anthem for the next generation.

In his lifetime, Woody Guthrie wrote nearly 3,000 song lyrics, published two novels, created artworks, authored numerous published and unpublished manuscripts, poems, prose, and plays and hundreds of letters and news article which are housed in the Woody Guthrie Archives in New York.

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LEGACY
“I Ain’t Dead Yet”
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Woody with his iconic guitar
Photograph by Robin Carson

WOODY SEZ…

“There’s a feeling in music and it carries you back down the road you have traveled and makes you travel it again. Sometimes when I hear music I think back over my days – and a feeling that is fifty-fifty joy and pain swells like clouds taking all kinds of shapes in my mind. 

Music is in all the sounds of nature and there never was a sound that was not music – the splash of an alligator, the rain dripping on dry leaves, the whistle of a train, a long and lonesome train whistling down, a truck horn blowing at a street corner speaker – kids squawling along the streets – the silent wail of wind and sky caressing the breasts of the desert.

Life is this sound, and since creation has been a song. And there is no real trick of creating words to set to music, once you realize that the word is the music and the people are the song.”

Having lived through some of the most significant historic movements and events of the Twentieth-Century –the Great Depression, the Great Dust Storm, World War II, the social and the political upheavals resulting from Unionism, the Communist Party and the Cold War– Woody absorbed it all to become a prolific writer whose songs, ballads, prose and poetry captured the plight of everyman. While traveling throughout the American landscape during the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, Woody’s observations of what he saw and experienced has left for us a lasting and sometimes haunting legacy of images, sounds, and voices of the marginalized, disenfranchised, and oppressed people with whom he struggled to survive despite all odds. Although the corpus of original Woody Guthrie songs, or as Woody preferred “people’s songs” are, perhaps, his most recognized contribution to American culture, the stinging honesty, humor, and wit found even in his most vernacular prose writings exhibit Woody’s fervent belief in social, political, and spiritual justice.

In 1996, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Case Western Reserve University presented a ten day celebration honoring Woody Guthrie, entitled Hard Travelin’. It was the first major conference on the legacy of Woody Guthrie complete with a photo exhibition, lectures, films, and two benefit concerts, which were held in support of the Woody Guthrie Archives.

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HONORS & AWARDS

Woody Guthrie has been recognized for his monumental contributions and achievements in American culture. He has been the recipient of prestigious awards both from governmental departments and private arts organizations.

  • Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Pioneer Award 2012
  • U.S. Department of the Interior, Conservation Service Award 1966
  • The National Songwriters’ Hall of Fame inductee 1970
  • The Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame inductee 1977
  • The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum inductee 1988
  • The North American Folk Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award 1996
  • National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Lifetime Achievement Award 1999
  • The Oklahoma Hall of Fame inductee 2006

-written by Jorge Arevalo / Woody Guthrie Archives

THIS IS THE BEAT GENERATION BY JOHN CLELLON HOLMES 1952

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johnby John Clellon Holmes
The New York Times Magazine, November 16, 1952

Several months ago, a national magazine ran a story under the heading “Youth” and the subhead “Mother Is Bugged At Me.”  It concerned an eighteen-year-old California girl who had been picked up for smoking marijuana and wanted to talk about it. While a reporter took down her ideas in the uptempo language of “tea,” someone snapped a picture. In view of her contention that she was part of a whole new culture where one out of every five people you meet is a user, it was an arresting photograph. In the pale, attentive face, with its soft eyes and intelligent mouth, there was no hint of corruption. It was a face which could only be deemed criminal through an enormous effort of righteousness. Its only complaint seemed to be: “Why don’t people leave us alone?” It was the face of a beat generation.

That clean young face has been making the newspapers steadily since the war. Standing before a judge in a Bronx courthouse, being arraigned for stealing a car, it looked up into the camera with curious laughter and no guilt. The same face, with a more serious bent, stared from the pages of Life magazine, representing a graduating class of ex-GI’s, and said that as it believed small business to be dead, it intended to become a comfortable cog in the largest corporation it could find. A little younger, a little more bewildered, it was this same face that the photographers caught in Illinois when the first non-virgin club was uncovered. The young copywriter, leaning down the bar on Third Avenue, quietly drinking himself into relaxation, and the energetic hotrod driver of Los Angeles, who plays Russian Roulette with a jalopy, are separated only by a continent and a few years. They are the extremes. In between them fall the secretaries wondering whether to sleep with their boyfriends now or wait; the mechanic beering up with the guys and driving off toDetroit on a whim; the models studiously name-dropping at a cocktail party. But the face is the same. Bright, level, realistic, challenging.

Any attempt to label an entire generation is unrewarding, and yet the generation which went through the last war, or at least could get a drink easily once it was over, seems to possess a uniform, general quality which demands an adjective … The origins of the word “beat” are obscure, but the meaning is only too clear to most Americans. More than mere weariness, it implies the feeling of having been used, of being raw. It involves a sort of nakedness of mind, and, ultimately, of soul; a feeling of being reduced to the bedrock of consciousness. In short, it means being undramatically pushed up against the wall of oneself. A man is beat whenever he goes for broke and wagers the sum of his resources on a single number; and the young generation has done that continually from early youth.

Its members have an instinctive individuality, needing no bohemianism or imposed eccentricity to express it. Brought up during the collective bad circumstances of a dreary depression, weaned during the collective uprooting of a global war, they distrust collectivity. But they have never been able to keep the world out of their dreams. The fancies of their childhood inhabited the half-light of Munich, the Nazi-Soviet pact, and the eventual blackout. Their adolescence was spent in a topsy-turvy world of war bonds, swing shifts, and troop movements. They grew to independent mind on beachheads, in gin mills and U.S.O.’s, in past-midnight arrivals and pre-dawn departures. Their brothers, husbands, fathers or boy friends turned up dead one day at the other end of a telegram. At the four trembling corners of the world, or in the home town invaded by factories or lonely servicemen, they had intimate experience with the nadir and the zenith of human conduct, and little time for much that came between. The peace they inherited was only as secure as the next headline. It was a cold peace. Their own lust for freedom, and the ability to live at a pace that kills (to which the war had adjusted them), led to black markets, bebop, narcotics, sexual promiscuity, hucksterism, and Jean-Paul Sartre. The beatness set in later.

It is a postwar generation, and, in a world which seems to mark its cycles by its wars, it is already being compared to that other postwar generation, which dubbed itself “lost”. The Roaring Twenties, and the generation that made them roar, are going through a sentimental revival, and the comparison is valuable. The Lost Generation was discovered in a roadster, laughing hysterically because nothing meant anything anymore. It migrated to Europe, unsure whether it was looking for the “orgiastic future” or escaping from the “puritanical past.” Its symbols were the flapper, the flask of bootleg whiskey, and an attitude of desperate frivolity best expressed by the line: “Tennis, anyone?” It was caught up in the romance of disillusionment, until even that became an illusion. Every act in its drama of lostness was a tragic or ironic third act, and T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land was more than the dead-end statement of a perceptive poet. The pervading atmosphere of that poem was an almost objectless sense of loss, through which the reader felt immediately that the cohesion of things had disappeared. It was, for an entire generation, an image which expressed, with dreadful accuracy, its own spiritual condition.

But the wild boys of today are not lost. Their flushed, often scoffing, always intent faces elude the word, and it would sound phony to them. For this generation lacks that eloquent air of bereavement which made so many of the exploits of the Lost Generation symbolic actions. Furthermore, the repeated inventory of shattered ideals, and the laments about the mud in moral currents, which so obsessed the Lost Generation, do not concern young people today. They take these things frighteningly for granted. They were brought up in these ruins and no longer notice them. They drink to “come down” or to “get high,” not to illustrate anything. Their excursions into drugs or promiscuity come out of curiosity, not disillusionment.

Only the most bitter among them would call their reality a nightmare and protest that they have indeed lost something, the future. For ever since they were old enough to imagineone, that has been in jeopardy anyway. The absence of personal and social values is to them, not a revelation shaking the ground beneath them, but a problem demanding a day-to-day solution. How to live seems to them much more crucial than why. And it is precisely at this point that the copywriter and the hotrod driver meet and their identical beatnessbecomes significant, for, unlike the Lost Generation, which was occupied with the loss of faith, the Beat Generation is becoming more and more occupied with the need for it. As such, it is a disturbing illustration of Voltaire’s reliable old joke: “If there were no God, it would be necessary to invent him.” Not content to bemoan his absence, they are busily and haphazardly inventing totems for him on all sides.

For the giggling nihilist, eating up the highway at ninety miles an hour and steering with his feet, is no Harry Crosby, the poet of the Lost Generation who planned to fly his plane into the sun one day because he could no longer accept the modern world. On the contrary, the hotrod driver invites death only to outwit it. He is affirming the life within him in the only way he knows how, at the extreme. The eager-faced girl, picked up on a dope charge, is not one of those “women and girls carried screaming with drink or drugs from public places,” of whom Fitzgerald wrote. Instead, with persuasive seriousness, she describes the sense of community she has found in marijuana, which society never gave her. The copywriter, just as drunk by midnight as his Lost Generation counterpart, probably reads God and Man at Yale during his Sunday afternoon hangover. The difference is this almost exaggerated will to believe in something, if only in themselves. It is a will to believe, even in the face of an inability to do so in conventional terms. And that is bound to lead to excesses in one direction or another.

The shock that older people feel at the sight of this Beat Generation is, at its deepest level, not so much repugnance at the facts, as it is distress at the attitudes which move it. Though worried by this distress, they most often argue or legislate in terms of the facts rather than the attitudes. The newspaper reader, studying the eyes of young dope addicts, can only find an outlet for his horror and bewilderment in demands that passers be given the electric chair. Sociologists, with a more academic concern, are just as troubled by the legions of young men whose topmost ambition seems to be to find a secure birth in a monolithic corporation. Contemporary historians express mild surprise at the lack of organized movements, political, religious, or otherwise, among the young. The articles they write remind us that being one’s own boss and being a natural joiner are two of our most cherished national traits. Everywhere people with tidy moralities shake their heads and wonder what is happening to the younger generation.

Perhaps they have not noticed that, behind the excess on the one hand, and the conformity on the other, lies that wait-and-see detachment that results from having to fall back for support more on one’s capacity for human endurance than on one’s philosophy of life. Not that the Beat Generation is immune to ideas; they fascinate it. Its wars, both past and future, were and will be wars of ideas. It knows, however, that in the final, private moment of conflict a man is really fighting another man, and not an idea. And that the same goes for love. So it is a generation with a greater facility for entertaining ideas than for believing in them. But it is also the first generation in several centuries for which the act of faith has been an obsessive problem, quite aside from the reasons for having a particular faith or not having it. It exhibits on every side, and in a bewildering number of facets, a perfect craving to believe.

Though it is certainly a generation of extremes, including both the hipster and the radical young Republican in its ranks, it renders unto Caesar (i.e, society) what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s. For the wildest hipster, making a mystique of bop, drugs and the night life, there is no desire to shatter the “square” society in which he lives, only to elude it. To get on a soapbox or write a manifesto would seem to him absurd. Looking at the normal world, where most everything is a “drag” for him, he nevertheless says: “Well, that’s the Forest of Arden after all. And even it jumps if you look at it right.” Equally, the young Republican, though often seeming to hold up Babbitt as his culture hero, is neither vulgar nor materialistic, as Babbitt was. He conforms because he believes it is socially practical, not necessarily virtuous. Both positions, however, are the result of more or less the same conviction — namely that the valueless abyss of modern life is unbearable.

A generation can sometimes be better understood by the books it reads, than by those it writes.  The literary hero of the Lost Generation should have been Bazarov, the nihilist inTurgenev’s “Fathers and Sons.”  Bazarov sat around, usually in the homes of the people he professed to loathe, smashing every icon within his reach.  He was a man stunned into irony and rage by the collapse of the moral and intellectual structure of his world.

But he did nothing.  The literary hero of the Beat Generation, on the other hand, might be Stavrogin, that most enigmatic character in “The Possessed” by Dostoevski.  He is also a nihilist, or at least intimately associated with them.

But there is a difference, for Stavrogin, behind a façade very much like Bazarov’s, is possessed by a passion for faith, almost any faith.  His very atheism, at its extreme, is metaphysical.  But he knows that disbelief is fatal, and when he has failed in every way to overcome it, he commits suicide because he does not have what he calls “greatness of soul.”  The ground yawned beneath Bazarov, revealing a pit into which he fell; while Stavrogin struggled at the bottom of that pit, trying feverishly to get out.  In so far as it resembles Stavrogin, there have been few generations with as natural and profound a craving for convictions as this one, nor have there been as many generations as ill-equipped to find them.

For beneath the excess and the conformity, there is something other than detachment. There are the stirrings of a quest. What the hipster is looking for in his “coolness” (withdrawal) or “flipness” (ecstasy) is, after all, a feeling on somewhereness, not just another diversion. The young Republican feels that there is a point beyond which change becomes chaos, and what he wants is not simply privilege or wealth, but a stable position from which to operate. Both have had enough of homelessness, valuelessness, faithlessness.

The variety and the extremity of their solutions are only a final indication that for today’s young people there is not as yet a single external pivot around which they can, as a generation, group their observations and their aspirations. There is no single philosophy, no single party, no single attitude. The failure of most orthodox moral and social concepts to reflect fully the life they have known is probably the reason for this, but because of it each person becomes a walking, self-contained unit, compelled to meet, or at least endure, the problem of being young in a seemingly helpless world in his own way.

More than anything else, this is what is responsible for this generation’s reluctance to name itself, its reluctance to discuss itself as a group, sometimes its reluctance to be itself. For invented gods invariably disappoint those who worship them. Only the need for them goes on, and it is this need, exhausting one object after another, which projects the Beat Generation forward into the future and will one day deprive it of its beatness.

Dostoevski wrote in the early 1880’s that “Young Russia is talking of nothing but the eternal questions now.” With appropriate changes, something very like this is beginning to happen in America, in an American way; a re-evaluation of which the exploits and attitudes of this generation are only symptoms. No single comparison of one generation against another can accurately measure effects, but it seems obvious that a lost generation, occupied with disillusionment and trying to keep busy among the broken stones, is poetically moving, but not very dangerous. But a beat generation, driven by a desperate craving for belief and as yet unable to accept the moderations which are offered it, is quite another matter. Thirty years later, after all, the generation of which Dostoevski wrote was meeting in cellars and making bombs.

This generation may make no bombs; it will probably be asked to drop some, and have some dropped on it, however, and this fact is never far from its mind. It is one of the pressures which created it and will play a large part in what will happen to it. There are those who believe that in generations such as this there is always the constant possibility of a great new moral idea, conceived in desperation, coming to life. Others note the self-indulgence, the waste, the apparent social irresponsibility, and disagree.

But its ability to keep its eyes open, and yet avoid cynicism; its ever-increasing conviction that the problem of modern life is essentially a spiritual problem; and that capacity for sudden wisdom which people who live hard and go far possess, are assets and bear watching. And, anyway, the clear, challenging faces are worth it

 

CHRISTOPHER WALKEN

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Christopher Walken: What I’ve Learned

The actor on golf as torture, the connection between funny and scary, and why he’s sick of playing messed-up characters

christopher walken with microscope in office

Peter Yang

Morning is the best time to see movies.

I remember once, years ago, I was walking out a door — I’d been having a conversation and I was walking out the door, and this guy said to me, “Chris,” and I stopped and I turned, and he said, “Be careful.” And I never forgot that. And it comes back to me often: Be careful. That was good advice.

That’s supposed to be a fact, that the question mark is originally from an Egyptian hieroglyph that signified a cat walking away. You know, it’s the tail. And that symbol meant — well, whatever it is when they’re ignoring you.

When I was a kid, there was someone in my family, an adult, and whenever I saw them, they would say, “You got a lotta nerve.” From the time I was a little kid, it was always like, “Heh, heh, heh — you got a lotta nerve.” I always thought, What does that mean? But then when I got older, I thought that it was an instruction. If you tell a kid something, it sticks. I think I do have a lot of nerve. But, I mean, I think I maybe got it from that person who said it to me.

My father was a lesson. He had his own bakery, and it was closed one day a week, but he would go anyway. He did it because he really loved his bakery. It wasn’t a job.

I used to love Danish. My father used to make a Boston cream pie. You never see that anymore. Very good.

Most of the jobs I get are basically very unwholesome people. There’s always something wrong with the guy, and sometimes something deeply wrong. I’m tired of that. I tell my agent I want a Fred MacMurray part. I want a part where I have a wife and kids and a dog and a house, and my kids say to me, “What do you think I should do, Dad?” and I say, “Be careful.”

I always figured that if I’m gonna be playing these people, that there should be this relationship to the audience that is very clear. “That’s Chris, and look at Chris having a good time, wanting to take over the world and sink California and shoot everybody in the room” — just so long as they understand that that’s Chris on the set having fun. And that Chris wouldn’t really do anything like that.

Golf. My God, that’s a mysterious occupation. I know people who are — good friends — who are absolutely smitten, practicing their swing and talking about it. I can understand some sort of sport where your body got a benefit, like marathon running or bicycle racing. That’s not golf. And not only that, but the whole business of standing in the sun — my God. That’s like torture.

I love spaghetti. And I like to cook spaghetti. And I used to eat it every day. I weighed thirty pounds more than I do now. You can’t — you can’t do that. Ice cream — I love to watch television and eat ice cream. But that’s like a ten-year-old. I can’t do that anymore. Beer. Beer, spaghetti, ice cream.

Professional dancers don’t go dancing.

When you’re onstage and you know you’re bombing, that’s very, very scary. Because you know you gotta keep going — you’re bombing, but you can’t stop. And you know that half an hour from now, you’re still gonna be bombing. It takes a thick skin.

I had an agent when I first got into the movies who said to me, “You’re gonna be in Los Angeles now once in a while. If somebody invites you to a party, don’t go. Stay in your room, go to the movies.” And I have a feeling I know sort of what he meant: Don’t show your face around too much. Let ’em be a little glad to see you.

It all happened when I did The Deer Hunter. Suddenly — I’d already been in show business for thirty years, and nothing much had happened. I mean, I really was laboring in obscurity, and then suddenly this movie. It was kind of infectious, and I really did become rather social. Gregarious. And that lasted, I don’t know, ten years.

Movie scripts are usually pretty loose — things usually change a lot. But not with Quentin. His scripts are absolutely huge. All dialogue. It’s all written down. You just learn the lines. It’s more like a play.

Sometimes I look at this watch and I think, There’s some guy that puts these little screws in there? There is something about it. I’m not into cars, either, but there is something about a really magnificent car.

Me and Dennis [Hopper], when we were doing that scene in True Romance, it was hilarious. It really was — including shooting him. All that laughing was real. He was killing me. And all the guys around us — that was a very cracking-up day.

I like to listen to radio interviews. I got a list of things that if I wasn’t so lazy, I would do something about, but the idea of having a radio show — two people talking on the radio is fascinating. I’ll bet you there’s some college around here — they all have radio stations. I get now that I don’t like to go anywhere, so if there was some place down the road — twenty minutes’ drive.

I don’t like zoos. Awful.

They say that the human smile is in fact one of those primordial things — that in fact it’s a showing of teeth, that it’s a warning. That when we smile, in a primeval way it has to do with fear.

There’s something dangerous about what’s funny. Jarring and disconcerting. There is a connection between funny and scary.

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EDEN AHBEZ-THE FIRST HIPPIE

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By Hillel Aron

Nat King Cole and eden ahbez

He had a beard and long hair. He wore sandals and white robes. He was a vegetarian, slept mostly outside– often under the first ‘L’ in the Hollywood sign, and told people he lived on three dollars a day. His name was eden ahbez, and he insisted that his name be spelled without capital letters, claiming that only the words ‘God’ and ‘Infinity’ (and possibly ‘Love’ as well– accounts differ) were worthy of capitalization.

Born George Alexander Aberle, in 1908, one of 13 children in a dirt poor Brooklyn family. Most of the Aberle children were given up for adoption or sent to live elsewhere. ahbez was taken in by a Kansas City family.

“So eden read books on Far Eastern cultures and philosophies and adopted the concept of a Universal God,” wrote Pearl Rowe (ahbez’s sister-in-law) in a 1977 LA Times article. He moved to Los Angeles in 1941, at the age of 33 or so, and got a job playing piano at the Eutropheon, a health food store / raw food restaurant on Laurel Canyon.

The Eutropheon was owned by John and Vera Richter, a couple from Fago, North Dakota, who followed the lebensreform (life reform) movement, that encouraged (according to Unle John’s Bathroom Reader) health food, nudity, sexual liberation alternative medicine, Eastern religion and living close to nature.

ahbez fell in with a group of these followers known as the “Nature Boys.” They wore long hair and beards and at only raw fruits and vegetables (another semi-famous Nature Boy was Gypsy Boots, who helped popularize health food and yoga). Around this time, he took the name eden ahbez, married a woman named Anna Jacobsen and had a son. They mostly slept outdoors.

Still a working musician, ahbez was by then also a budding songwriter. He’d written a song with a haunting melody that was, perhaps, an idealized portrayal of his own life, or perhaps that of his cohorts. Nature Boy was about a “very strange enchanted boy” who wanders around “over land and sea,” and finally meets the narrator and tells him: ”The greatest thing you’ll ever learn / Is just to love and be loved in return.”

A disc jockey named “Cowboy” Jack Patton (or else it was Johnny Mercer- again, sources differ) heard ahbez perform the song, loved it, and thought it would be perfect for Nat King Cole. Patton (or Mercer) convinced ahbez to go backstage during one of Cole’s LA concerts and hand Cole’s manager, Mort Ruby, a copy of the song (presumably written on a sheet of paper, not recorded).

Cole loved the song and started playing it at concerts. Audiences ate it up. But when it came time to record  and release the song in 1947, a problem arose. As Uncle John’s Bathroom reader puts it:

Neither Cole nor Ruby had any idea how to get in touch with ahbez to get his permission to release it. In fact, nobody in the music business seemed to know who the guy was, and he wasn’t listed in the phone book. Eventually, they tracked ahbez down under the Hollywood sign, and he granted permission. But Cole had started second-guessing the song. It wasn’t like anything else on the radio at the time, and he was thinking that recording such an unusual tune might not be wise.

Capitol Records sat on the recording for about a year, then finally put out the track as a B-side in 1948. The song still became a #1 hit single for eight weeks. Ahbez was given his 15 minutes of fame before that was even a cliche. Life, Time, and Newsweekall ran profiles on him in quick succession. Uncle John writes:

Luckily, ahbez didn’t need much money to be happy, because “not much” is reportedly about what he made from the song. Some of it was his own fault: he’d signed overlapping agreements with several music publishers, and each claimed their share. Worse, the melody that he said came to him in the “mist of the California mountains” turned out to be very similar to a Yiddish song called “Schwieg Mein Hertz,” and ahbez had to pay a substantial settlement to its publisher. None of this made much difference in ahbez’s lifestyle, though. He and his family continued camping outside and lecturing on street corners about the benefits of vegetarianism and Eastern philosophy.

If this story took place today, ahbez would have no doubt had a sudden and public flameout. But celebrity culture being in its infancy, ahbez simply kept on keeping on. There is no indication that he even wanted to be famous or successful. He recorded his only solo LP in 1960, Eden’s Island, which had a lot of poetry weird beatnik stuff.

Even as popular culture began imitating his aesthetic almost to a T, the tides of history passed him by seemingly without regard. He released nothing more than a few singles in the 1960s. Every once in a while he would run elbows with some famous hippie. He was photographed with Brian Wilson in 1967 during the recording of Smile. Later that year, so Wikipedia tells us, “British singer Donovan found him at Joshua Tree in California, down for a reportedly “near-telepathic” conversation.”

His wife Anna died in 1963, while his son drowned eight years later at the age of 17 (or maybe 22– lots of this stuff is unclear). ahbez himself lived a long life far from the eye of the media. He died in 1995, from injuries sustained in a car accident, at the age of 86*.

*Note: A previous version of this post stated that the Richters were from Germany, and that ahbez died after getting hit by a car. Thanks to commenter Brian Chidester for pointing out the errors.

A SHORT TALK WITH AHBE

NATURE BOY BY AHBE

HIWAY AMERICA -THE UNDERGROUND CITY OF THE LIZARD PEOPLE- LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA

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The Underground City Of The Lizard People

Deep beneath the heart of Los Angeles’ financial district, hundreds of feet below the huge downtown edifices that house banks, corporate offices, and government agencies, lies another city remembered only in obscure Indian legends, an underground world built by a strange race that vanished five thousand years ago.

At least that’s what mining engineer W. Warren Shufelt claimed in the January 29, 1934 edition of the Los Angeles Times. According to reporter Jean Bosquet, Shufelt was ready to dig up downtown L.A. in search of this ancient subterranean civilization.

Shufelt had first heard of the city in a Hopi Indian legend about the “Lizard People.” They were a fabled lost race who had who had nearly been wiped out after a meteor shower rained down on the

Southwest back around 3,000 BC. (Arizona’s famous Winslow Crater was said to be Ground Zero of this fiery deluge.)

The Lizard People constructed thirteen subterranean settlements along the Pacific Coast, to shelter the tribe against future disasters. These underground cities housed a thousand families each, along with stockpiles of food. As the story had it, the tribe used a “chemical solution” that melted solid bedrock to bore out the tunnels and rooms of their subsurface shelters.

Along with housing their people in the event of a disaster, the tunnels were also constructed to hold a trove of golden tablets that chronicled the tribe’s history, the origin of humankind, and the story of the world back to creation. Shufelt was particularly interested in these tablets for both pecuniary and archeological reasons.

A Hopi chief named Little Green Leaf told Shufelt that the vanished race’s capital city was located under present-day downtown Los Angeles. In 1933, after surveying the area, Shufelt occupied the Banning property at 518 North Hill Street and sank a 350-shaft straight down, digging for what he said was a “treasure room” directly underneath. Shufelt said that he had located gold in the catacombs below with the aid of his “radio X-ray.”

This peculiar instrument, which was sort of a tricked-up dowsing rod, had also helped Shufelt map the location and extent of the underground tunnels. He said that the subterranean city was shaped like a giant lizard, with the head in the vicinity of Chavez Ravine (the present location of Dodger Stadium), and the tail tapering out beneath the Central Library. The “key room,” the chamber that contained the map of the city and the directory to the gold tablets, lay several hundred feet under the present site of Times-Mirror Square. Shufelt also claimed that he’d traced passages stretching to the area around the Southwest Museum, and said that ventilation tunnels extended westward, opening at the Pacific Ocean.

Despite all his extensive mapping and plotting of the treasure-filled underground city, Shufelt never actually found it. Shortly after the Times story appeared, the project, which had been authorized by the City Council over a year earlier, suddenly ceased, and Shufelt and his cohorts disappeared. The whole mysterious, improbable business was written off by a hoax, and quickly forgotten. Since then, inexplicable tunnels have been unearthed in downtown Los Angeles, but they’ve usually been explained away as the work of smugglers hiding illegal Chinese laborers in the 19th century.

But Shufelt wasn’t the only modern Californian who believed that an ancient underground city lay beneath Los Angeles. As a postscript to this strange little tale, let’s look at the vision of Miss Edith Elden Robinson of Pico Rivera, which appeared in the highly respected American Society for Psychic Research’s journal.

On the evening of December 22, 1933, five weeks before Shufelt’s excavations hit the pages of the Times, the clairvoyant Miss Robinson envisioned that under Los Angeles lay “a vast city…in mammoth tunnels extending to the sea-shore.” She said that the tunnels had been constructed by a vanished race to protect themselves from danger, and to provide access to the sea.

Who knows? Maybe this fabulous subterranean city really existed. Perhaps it’s even populated with latter-day Lizard People who live hidden and unsuspected hundreds of feet below modern-day Los Angeles, emerging only furtively to watch the 21st-century barbarians slowly strangle their own surface-level civilization with smog, traffic and urban sprawl.  –MM

Weird California

THE COUNTERCULTURE

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image

The Counterculture

photo Janis Joplin and Big Brother and The Holding Company, Lagunitas, California, 1967. Joplin’s gritty, full-throttle blues-rock style offered a new, liberating image for women in the world of rock music.

Unconventional appearance, music, drugs, communitarian experiments, and sexual liberation were hallmarks of the sixties counterculture, most of whose members were white, middle-class young Americans. To some Americans, these attributes reflected American ideals of free speech, equality, and pursuit of happiness. Other people saw the counterculture as self-indulgent, pointlessly rebellious, unpatriotic, and destructive of America’s moral order.

Authorities banned the psychedelic drug LSD, restricted political gatherings, and tried to enforce bans on what they considered obscenity in books, music, theater, and other media. Parents argued with their children and worried about their safety. Some adults accepted elements of the counterculture, while others became estranged from sons and daughters.

In 1967 Lisa and Tom Law moved to San Francisco, joining thousands of young people flocking to the Haight-Ashbury district. The counterculture lifestyle integrated many of the ideals and indulgences of the time: peace, love, harmony, music, mysticism, and religions outside the Judeo-Christian tradition. Meditation, yoga, and psychedelic drugs were embraced as routes to expanding one’s consciousness.


photo The “Freak-Out” show, Los Angeles, 1965. Rock music, colorful light shows, performance artists, and mind-altering drugs characterized the psychedelic dance parties of the sixties held in large halls in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
photo A concert in the Panhandle, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 1967
photo The Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco, 1967. Students, hippies, musicians, and artists gravitated toward the community’s inexpensive housing and festive atmosphere.
photo Hell’s Angels motorcycle club members, the Panhandle in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 1967. While some people admired the Hell’s Angels’ audacious style, its members had an uneven and sometimes violent relationship with people in the counterculture.
photo Musician in the Panhandle, San Francisco, 1967
photo “Summer of Love,” the Panhandle, San Francisco, 1967
photo San Francisco, 1967
photo Easter Sunday Love-In, Malibu Canyon, California, 1968. This was a celebration of the counterculture movement.
photo Suzuki-Roshi, a Buddhist teacher, at the Human Be-In, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, January 14, 1967. Also known as “A Gathering of the Tribes,” the Human Be-In was an effort to promote positive interactions among different groups in society.
photo Poet Allen Ginsberg, Human Be-In festival, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 1967. Ginsberg, known for his poem Howl, lived and symbolized the bohemian ideals of the Beat Generation of the 1950s and embraced the counterculture of the sixties.
It [the counterculture] was an attempt to rebel against the values our parents had pushed on us. We were trying to get back to touching and relating and living.

-Lisa Law, 1985

photo Monterey International Pop Festival, Monterey, California, 1967. Monterey Pop was one of the first large outdoor rock festivals in the 1960s. Lisa and Tom Law sheltered people who were having difficult psychedelic drug experiences in their “Trip Tent.”
photo Timothy Leary, the Harvard-trained psychologist who coined the phrase “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out,” at the Human Be-In, San Francisco, 1967

 
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                                                            HIWAY AMERICA- VENICE BEACH CALIFORNIA 

  You haven’t seen it all until you’ve seen Venice! There is a sandy three-mile beach here, but that is not what attracts visitors. You go to Venice to shop and gawk. During the summer season and on weekends, there is street entertainment at every intersection along Ocean Front Walk. Street performers include instrumental musicians, singers, jugglers, acrobats, mimes, comics, magicians, prophets, fortune tellers, and other assorted entertainers. You will see people with tricolor hairdos, painted faces, weird tattoos, and outlandish clothing–or lack of it.
The Boardwalk is a virtual sidewalk circus, a walk ‘n’ rolling skin show. There are lots of funky shops, too, if you want to eat out of the ordinary or buy an unusual souvenir or T-shirt. There are courts for basketball, handball, shuffleboard and paddle tennis. Muscle Beach is a special area where fanatic bodybuilders pump iron in a public show of strength. The Venice Chamber of Commerce maintains an Event calendar while other sites contain historical information.JIM MORRISON MURALImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageFor additional information about Venice Beach, click here
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The works and artistic visions of Ken Knieling.

Canadian Art Junkie

Visual Arts from Canada & Around the World

andrei plimbarici

Calatorind Descoperi

Edward R. Myers Photography

Captured moments of life as I see it

Kathy Waller

~ Telling the Truth, Mainly

TrappersWildWest

Historian. Artist. Gunmaker.

On The Road Again 2018

Touring the USA on a Moto Guzzi Breva 750.

Cavalcade of Awesome

All Pax. All Nude. All the Time.

phototexas

Welcome to My World......

johncoyote

Poetry, story and real life. Once soldier, busnessman, grandfather and Poet.

Gypsy Road Trip

Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

All Thoughts Work™ Outdoors

Hiking with snark in the beautiful Pacific Northwest 2011 - 2013

膜龍工坊

光華商場筆電,手機,翻譯機,遊戲機...等3C產品包膜專門店

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