{en vedette} Anca Balaj ~ Humanity …

New York City, April 1967—Ondine Discotheque on 59th Street. Standing at the bar throwing back double shots of vodka and orange is Jim Morrison, 23-year-old singer of rising stars The Doors, who are halfway into their third residency at the club. In his new black leather suit, his tea-coloured hair falling in angelic ringlets about his face, Morrison looks exactly as he’s remembered now, 45 years later: the iconic rock god in mock crucifixion pose, nailed to the cross of his own imperturbable beauty.

Looking on is pop artist and underground film-maker, Andy Warhol, who has been obsessively in thrall to Morrison since he first clapped eyes on him some months before. Warhol wants Morrison to appear in one of his films, naked and surrounded by Warhol’s Factory ‘girls’, some of whom are not girls at all, nor even good facsimiles; some of whom, like Nico, are so ball-achingly beautiful Morrison will soon begin a brief, hopelessly doomed affair with her.

Warhol, never normally shy about introducing himself to the beautiful and the damned, can’t bring himself to approach Morrison. He’s too scared of what might happen if he interrupts the rock star from the attentions he’s receiving from two equally enthralled female fans, one of whom has the singer’s penis in her mouth while the other unbuttons her cheesecloth blouse so Morrison can drunkenly fondle her breasts.

“Oh gee,” sighs Warhol, his stock response to any situation in which he finds himself reeling. “I guess I’ll talk to Jim later…”

When he’s not drinking he’s tripping, and when he’s tripping he’s still drinking. Torn apart by the wayward behaviour of his long-term girlfriend, Pamela Courson, who has begun sleeping with one of his drinking buddies back in LA, Morrison is roaming wild but not free. Each night he stays on at the club after The Doors have finished their set, drinking until he blacks out, at which point he is carried to a cab and driven back to the apartment on 45th Street. Most mornings he awakes to find at least one, sometimes two or three groupies sharing his bed: girls whose names he doesn’t know or will ever bother to learn. One night at around 4am, while drunk and tripping, Morrison decides to pay a visit to Jac Holzman, the head of Elektra, pounding on the door to be let in while Jac and his family hide inside, fearing for their lives.

These are bad scenes, even for the anything-goes rock milieu of the late 1960s. Morrison doesn’t care, though. The only thing he gives a fuck about, he says, are his music and his poetry. Meanwhile, the rest of The Doors – keyboardist Ray Manzarekguitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore – can only look on and wonder ‘what if?’.

“You know, self-destruction and creativity don’t have to come in the same package,” Densmore ruefully remarks now. “Picasso lived to be 90. But in Jim they came together so I had to accept it. We all had to. That was the card we were dealt as a band.”

William Mortensen ~ The Photographer Ansel Adams Called The Anti-Christ

William-Mortensens-Off-fo-014

Originally published December 16, 2014.

What can I say? I’m on a William Mortensen kick. More of a Pictorialist kick, perhaps.

Someone forwarded me a link to an article about William Mortensen, a twentieth-century photographer of the Pictorialist school, to which the practitioners of the iphonic arts, particularly here a Pixels, are the heirs apparent. (See the article in the Atlantic Monthly from a couple years ago saying this very thing!) In fact, as I looked at his work, I got so inspired I booked a shoot with a model for next weekend.

Below is an excerpt from the article, which you can read here. Also a video of his works I found on YouTube. Inspirational!

In 1937, the photographer Edward Weston wrote Ansel Adams a letter noting that he had recently “got a beautiful negative of a fresh corpse.” Adams wrote back expressing his enthusiasm, saying, “It was swell to hear from you—and I look forward to the picture of the corpse. My only regret is that the identity of said corpse is not our Laguna Beach colleague.” The “colleague” Adams referred to was William Mortensen, one of the most popular and otherwise respected photographers of the 1930s, whose artistic techniques and grotesque, erotic subject matter saw him banished from “official” histories of the art form. For Adams, Mortensen was enemy number one; he was known to describe him as “the anti-Christ.

Mortensen has been described as one of the last great practitioners of pictorialism, a late 19th/early 20th century movement developed by Alfred Stieglitz and others that championed photography as a fine art. Pictorialists were inspired by other art forms, including paintings and Japanese woodcuts, and emphasized an appeal to emotions and imagination rather than strictly accurate representation of reality. They embraced labor-intensive techniques: coating the surfaces of images with pigments and emulsions, scraping it with razors or rubbing it with pumice stones, and other manipulations that created a diffuse glow and impressionist softness.

{en vedette} Veronica Hassell ~ Morning Light

Morning Dew performed by Bonnie Dobson, who wrote it. This was recorded live when she was 21 in 2962.

Take me for a walk in the morning dew, my honey
Take me for a walk me in the morning dew, my love
You can’t go walking in the morning dew today
You can’t go walking in the morning dew today

But listen! I hear a man moaning, “Lord”
I know I hear a man moaning, “Lord”
You didn’t hear a man moan at all
You didn’t hear a man moan at all

But I know I hear my baby crying, “Mama!”
Yes, I know I hear my baby crying, Mama!”
You’ll never hear your baby cry again
You’ll never hear your baby cry again

Oh, where have all the people gone?
Won’t you tell me where have all the people gone?
Don’t you worry about the people anymore
Don’t you worry about the people anymore

Take me for a walk in the morning dew, my honey
Take me for a walk me in the morning dew, my love
You can’t go walking in the morning dew today
You can’t go walking in the morning dew today
You can’t go walking in the morning dew today

I happen to love this version by Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart. “Morning Dew” was covered by many acts.
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