Thursday, May 28, 2015

1164 Morning Glory Circle: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

I'm wild again
Beguiled again
A simpering, whimpering child again
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I...

 Lorenz Hart

1164 Morning Glory Circle
Bewitched. 1164 Morning Glory Circle... It was Darrin and Samantha Stevens' pad. Their crib. Love den. The central set and you never saw the ceiling because there were no clouds so they didn't need a sky.

A shelter/suburb against the storm though Darrin, stressed to the point of perforated ulcers, rarely smiled. He was the 'square', neutered, non-threatening, shivering with tension. Samantha, protected from mortality, had an existential marriage at best.

"Hi'ya neighbor"
Set in 1960s Westport, Connecticut but looking a whole lot like Beach Boys southern California. You have a successful – if not harried – ad executive and his blonde, button-nose wife. Lots of space. Variety of high-performance North American cars in the driveway. Beautiful lawn. Everything clean, protected, bright and very White. No

They were Peter Lawford-esque Swingers. Some booze, some magic, some love. Sports jackets and slacks. No drugs or disease. No funerals. Possibly no gravity. No sex. There was never a reference to the outside.

Bewitched. 1964-72. Eight seasons. A childlike world full of grown-ups behaving like neurotic children. Every night TV news told us about Vietnam — so who the hell needed grown-ups?

Sam getting mail at 1164
It’s still there. 1164 Morning Glory Circle. Half façade. Empty. Samantha and Darrin? Long gone baby gone. 
Darrin, always a Mad Mad Man

And even when 1164 Morning Glory Circle itself heaves to the ground, choking under Warner's back-lot sand and pounded to dust by a million lost acolytes, it will still be around, kind of.

Because Samantha knew all about nose candy. The magic was bleached in her eyes, her smiles, and in her hair.

1164—deceptive and alluring with no need of time or place, but like Tinkerbell, shows up when called, sprinkling pixie dust in your eyes.

"Hey, we know the score at 1164"

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hey Hey The Monkees and the Unbearable Lightness of Being

“The Monkees really becoming a band was like the equivalent of Leonard Nimoy really becoming a Vulcan.” – Mickey Dolenz

Mike Nesmith. Mickey Dolenz. Davy Jones. Peter Tork. 

The Monkees took a lot of heat.

Just crazy kids
The hippies’ blissed-out quest for authenticity was itself muddled with conflicting definitions of ‘authenticity’. The Monkees bugged them because the group was assembled by TV producers, not tie-dyed, flower-slinging record producers or concert/nightclub promoters or other really authentic types. 

(Elvis was promoted by a former carnival barker and the Beatles achieved planetary grooviness through the tireless dedication of a troubled furniturestore salesman. But man, keep it on the low).

They were entertainers, not rock guys. They mostly  sang songs written by professional songwriters, not by singer-songwriters (Which makes James Taylor a lot more authentic than Frank Sinatra). But other musicians didn’t seem to mind. Ask Stephen Stills, Peter Tork’s buddy. Or ask Jimi Hendrix, Mickey Dolenz’ pal. Go ahead. Ask.

The 1960s had a tough time dealing with big bad commercialism. The Establishment was commercial. Those who worked the land or sold sea-shell trinkets were uncommercial. The intent was well intended though the logic was weak.

They called them ‘The Pre-Fab Four’. Their music was ‘bubblegum’. They were an insubstantial
The Monkees find a litterbox
vapor given form by klieg lights and back-lot set designers. Ah, the unbearable lightness of being.

So now, 50 years later, with the hippies long buried under Altamont Speedway, the Monkees continue to sing unauthentic music for monopoly money to phony people who deliver insincere applause and fake smiles. Crazy world, eh?

What? No concert t-shirts? Sell outs!
The charm of entertainment is that it is as unauthentic and manipulative as the Beatles’ matching Pierre Cardin suits. But don’t be too harsh on the hippies. They sometimes died in taking action against what they saw to be corrupt and toxic. We don’t do that much anymore. There’s no money in it. Gotta stay authentic baby.