Wednesday, April 10, 2024

CATCHING FIRE: the story of ANITA PALLENBERG, a take by a lesser mortal, moi



Friends and friends of friends knew Anita Pallenberg, although I never was in her company. In those crowds, I would have been ignored anyway as "non-model material," as a pal euphemistically put it.

She nonetheless fascinated me because she was a complete checklist of everything that I wasn't, with exaggerated versions thereof: blazingly confident, unquestionably beautiful, tall, well-connected, multilingual, thin, manipulative, financially secure, instant object of desire to all, physically strong, reckless, intimidating, hollow leg for substances, etc.etc.etc.  We did, it turns out, share a trait somewhat invisibly: a large mix and match wardrobe of highly interesting clothing of generally unique textiles so that we rarely resembled anybody else in the room, fashion-wise. Hey, I'll grasp at any straw I can get!
Therefore one expectedly and happily anticipated liking the new documentary by Magnolia Pictures "Catching Fire: the Story of Anita Pallenberg," produced by her son Marlon Richards. And one does, despite the puzzling choice of actress narrating Pallenberg's own words, my fellow American Scarlett Johansson. Pallenberg's own voice was a mashup of Marlene Dietrich's smoky German sophistication and Joan Greenwood's* seductive purr, were it a bit more Eurocentric. The narration is jarring, but doesn't inhibit enjoyment of the film. The home movies footage throughout is nothing short of incredible.
The screen captures herein of real life and real role-playing are unannotated and presented for your viewing pleasure to whet the appetite: watch this documentary, directed by Alexis Bloom and Svetlana Zill in the comfort of your own home when it's released May 3, 2024.  In selfsame screen captures (emblazoned with my email for "security," so don't reproduce) we see her evince a complexity far beyond her libertine persona familiar to music fans from her years with Keith Richards (and Brian Jones.) 
Make no mistake, Pallenberg's absence in the band history would have begat a far different Rolling Stones. No matter how superior the music is in and of itself, do not underestimate the importance of strong visuals in modern popular music. We have five senses, and they all work together. And she plugged her volcanic life force directly into the Rolling Stones at just the right minute of the 1960s, which indeed helped codify The World's Greatest Rock And Roll Band.

*Other agree: Joan Greenwood was in fact the dubbed voice of Pallenberg's Black Queen/Great Tyrant in "Barbarella!" Same tone and timbre, just done by the then entertainment world's sexiest plummy voice.

Monday, April 8, 2024










Book cover photo above left © Seth Tiven; photo on right of the very last moment of the very last gig ever by Iggy and The Stooges, © Heather Harris. 

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist and composer/performer of Iggy and The Stooges' iconographic 1972 sea change/game changer "Raw Power" (which begat all hard rock/punk/metal related genres) James Williamson just released a biography by his son James Y. Williamson. It is available on Amazon, and is lavishly illustrated with photos from his entire life, many of his most important Stooge and solo occasions documented by me. 

Besides detailing all the astonishing events and correcting misconceptions, son James Y. presents his unique perspective of having had a superhero for a father complete with a secret identity, as Dad was first the Stooges' legend, then a Silicon Valley technology executive who worked his way up to Vice President of Technology Standards for the entire Sony Electronics company, then post-retirement back to being a Stooge and playing his unique music, both old and new, all over again. 


Monday, February 19, 2024


For distraction, I deliberately went movie-going on Valentine's Day to avoid the reality of the recent loss of my soulmate of fifty years. Happily enough, it was the first day release of biofilm "Bob Marley:One Love." A recommend!!  Bigtime!  Firstly, hearing superb reggae played in a good theatre sound system will lift anyone's spirits, it's built into the very construct of reggae. Like African-American gospel, it lifts you up musically before any singer even opens his or her mouth.

I was a trifle hesitant about the lead Kingsley Ben-Adir beforehand since he has absolutely zero resemblance to Marley, but his natural sense of command, musical performing style and ease in conveying creativity won me over. His acting for the writing of the song "Exodus" is a marvel. It's hard to convey "creativity" in films because the act of thinking usually is not very cinematic. Jeffrey Wright's depiction in "Basquiat" worked, and Bob Dylan in Scorsese's "No Direction Home" doc where he stops in front of some random poster and starts lyrically riffing on its contents is fun insight into how artists create. Few other scenes in all of moviedom come to mind.

More pluses-- "One Love's" Rita Marley actress Lashana Lynch is nothing short of phenomenal, completely inhabiting the character. Without any stylization of same, she is the Greek chorus reminding the protagonist of hidden adversities, as well as his living inspiration in addition to his spiritual ones (or as Harvey quipped, "Keith to his Mick.") Also, the montages of the eventual success of The Wailers has a few LOLs for observant, longtime reggae followers: note a photo op with a Mick Jagger lookalike!

Old home week subjectivity: I recognized a lot of names in the credits of people I worked with in 1976 writing my book "Rastaman Vibration: Bob Marley & The Wailers," like Island's music true believer and promotional whiz Jeff Walker. His wife Kim Gottlieb provided the book's wonderful photos she had taken in Jamaica of Bob, his family and the band. Island admitted they were puzzled about new audiences' initial hesitance for reggae in the U.S.A. African American music fans of the '70s seemed to prefer their music heroes to be glitzily successful like Lionel Richie and Diana Ross, not hardscrabble Trenchtown. So Island suggested to try appealing to college audiences, whose very job it used to be to embrace the new. And I did: I was the first to find and write of the tie in to Rastafarianism in the works of Kurt Vonnegut, who was the national darling of college readers everywhere at that time. Even if it was Vonnegut's signature morbid satire, hey, any bridge in a storm!

I quite like that the film is doing so well in its initial release, particularly for a music biopic. Most reviews have been snobby, such as "People" magazine's accusation that it plays it too safe. "One Love" is important as well as entertaining: it is this current generation's mainstream introduction to the legend behind the cool music they've heard all their lives. As such, it's a very good narrative depiction. Marley really did come from nowhere, really was that prolific (than goodness, given his short life) and really did beat the odds in inventing a sea change in popular music, fashioning a regional variation on Motown R&B into the gold standard of World Music, beloved to everybody all over the globe. Because to hear reggae music for the first time is to love and embrace it. Thank Bob!


Sunday, January 14, 2024


Gregg Sutton, prolific songwriter to Tom Jones, Dolly Parton, Joe Cocker, Al Green, Joe Bonamassa, Percy Sledge, Billy Ray Cyrus, Nelson and many others as well, plus solo singer/songwriter and musician in Lone Justice, Bob Dylan's band, KGB and many others as well, plus musical director for his childhood friend Andy Kauffman, passed away suddenly at the age of 74 in the dreadful carnage of 2023, this last October. 

His most recent project had been the very popular online Sunday Salvation Band which performed his compositions and anything else that anybody in the band liked as well, from reggae to Western yodels to classic Soul. At left, a Sunday Salvation Band bandmember strutting her stuff covering Tina Turner's "Nutbush City Limits" live onstage at a Pamela Des Barres' house party.

Last night (1.13.24) author, well liked music biz notable and onetime high fashion model Catherine James hosted a gracious occasion of remembrance for her friend Gregg. Below, L-R at same occasion were yours truly, rock and roll couturier Evita Corby and music scene historian/retired schoolteacher Terry Moreland Henderson. We all managed smiles at his memory, despite tearing up as Catherine's talented guests finished jamming Gregg's presciently sad ballad "Closer To Heaven," ironically a new composition in his long spanning canon. The photo below that pic of Catherine was taken a few years ago at a book reading where she read from her autobiography "Dandelion: Memoir of a Free Spirit," since I enjoy plugging her well written, poignantly entertaining book.

Furthermore, here's a clip that shows off Gregg's vocal gymnastics of this genial, nice guy singer/songwriter, playing with Bob Dylan no less. Click LINK You'll find many other clips of him singing his originals once you're on Youtube. 
Lastly, a stray photo from happier times, Catherine James, Evita Corby and Mr. Twister

Tuesday, June 6, 2023


The world's greatest (most creative, most adept, most influential) hardest rock guitar player Jeff Beck passed away from bacterial meningitis on Jan 11, 2023. This is the first of a series of obituaries of select persons who meant something in my life, all delayed due to care needed for my better half's extremely serious illness treatments (not Covid.)

Always in the zone as here, giving it his all while thinking up entirely new guitar adventures no one before could have even imagined. In 1968 I wore out three vinyl LP records listening to his first solo venture "Truth" which debuted his ridiculously influential band The Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, Nicky Hopkins and Micky Waller. Fortunate indeed to see this force of nature in action, I nonetheless don't have photos of that 1968 show, so offered are my pics of Stewart and Wood in Faces, Hollywood Palladium, 1972. And another of mine from the 1990 "dual headliner" (they alternated) show with Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Below, fair use photo not credited to anyone but The Nicky Hopkins Archives, which, despite lack of visages, shows exuberant hardest rock chaos of the original Jeff Beck Group in 1968. (those are Benday printer dots, not pixels, so pic works best small.


Since both Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jeff Beck are no longer with us, that leaves the indomitable James Williamson as the world's greatest (most creative, most adept, most influential) living hardest rock guitar player now. He is far more influential than other remaining greats: just ask anyone who has played any genre of hardest rock since 1973's Raw Power, Williamson's masterwork with Iggy Pop and the rest of the Stooges. THAT release is the touchstone of them all.

Friday, May 19, 2023



Front page of today's Wall Street Journal (5.19.23): photographer extraordinaire Lynn Goldsmith just won her 7 year battle against copyright infringement by the Andy Warhol estate by appealing all the way to the Supreme Court of these United States. 

All working artists know you can't dragoon someone else's work into your new money-making venture. That's theft. License it already! "Fair use" was designed to protect press, reviews, and determine orphan works. And yet all who don't "get" art pulled out the stops to fight her. A Supreme Court Justice even got distracted thinking this was about the art history legacy of Warhol, not image expropriation. It's hard enough to make a living in the visual arts at any level, just license us in all ventures that include our art! Well done Lynn Goldsmith.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023



Don't Worry Darling and Last Night in Soho have been the most intriguing and indisputably visually arresting psychological thrillers of the last several years. Oddly, they're about the same thing, just in different eras. The former concerns the ring-a-ding Rat Pack glamour of the 1950s, the latter Swinging 1960s London (I lived through both-- they get the details right.) Both explore consequences of the deliberate diminishment of women in these otherwise dazzling eras, with extreme, gory vengeance resultant in their respective plot twists. '50s and '60s cognescienti are going to love the music: great, non-formulae choices in both. Having just the right music was as important to director Edgar Wright as it is to, say, director Martin Scorcese. And both Soho and Darling sidestep any obvious choices. 
For those who've followed pop culture fashions/music/sociology of the last half of the prior century, you'll enjoy the correct details and continuity choices as well. Soho's director Edgar Wright specializes in making sure all music placed in his films is important and contributing to the overall zeitgeist without ever being pretentious about it or calling attention to itself (Example: he directed Baby Driver with the best music accompanied car chases ever.) And director Olivia Wilde let her imagination roam quite free once she got a hold of this script that is a VERY unusual take on a previously well known horror theme. 

Screen captures from Don't Worry Darling's cool retro auto scenes, with a Corvette in the 2nd pic carrying the protagonist Florence Pugh, and the top pic crowd scene containing a Nash Metropolitan, '54 Ford, '57 Chevy Nomad among others. Their stunt doubles come a sorry end in the big chase scene (last 2 pix.) My better half adored all the cars! Younger viewers will adore co-star Harry Styles for his deft handling of a real love/hate acting role.
Best of all, the three young female leads, AnyaTaylor-Joy and Thomasin McKenzie in Soho, Florence Pugh in Darling, are astonishing strong. They seem like A list from the get go. Their assured performances caught me by surprise. Pugh has been garnering "next big thing" plaudits lately, but don't be put off by this spin: she nailed this one. You never don't care about her character for even one second. And both films are, hahaha, feminist despite all that violence.

Screen captures from Last Night in Soho, Anya Taylor-Joy in first encounter with Matt Smith, all joyful dancing and running through the night streets of mid-1960s Soho; Thomasin McKenzie and (from the actual '60s) Terence Stamp in present day Soho; Eloise channels Audrey Hepburn; the two time travelers merge.
Trivia: this was the very first production to feature the interiors as well as the exterior of the famous Richard Neutra Palm Springs Kaufmann mansion (the same client who commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater!!) and for long, extended scenes in and out, not just establishing shots. I presume the huge collection of wonderful mid-century architecture in Darling is a millennial's wet dream. And don't worry: Soho features boomers' wet dreams of 1960s London, ground zero of coolness in all things pop cultural and otherwise, particularly in its amazingly filmed initial introduction to time travel.
Above, fair use photo from the sales site from 3 years ago for Neutra's classic Palm Springs residence. To see all pix, click LINK (or

Don't Worry Darling and Last Night in Soho should eventually be deemed classics. Both came out in our oddball, constricted covid era, yet still are sensational. There just hasn't been a lot of the promotional hoo-ha that usually accompanies such great films. If you enjoy one you should enjoy the other: I sure did! 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023


Mr. Twister posing rakishly and yours truly at the Queen's English British Motorcar and Motorbike show in Woodley Park, San Fernando Valley, L.A., Calif on a commendably beautiful day, 4.23.23 with his own entry in the show, his 2009 convertible Bentley Azure. This is where the copy from the previous post was intended to appear. If you can't quite make it out on his poster that I fashioned for him for the show, it reads: 

"Last fall I got some great news about my Stage 4 cancer - and this is an early bucket list result!

Nice enough to look good, but enough nicks and scratches that I don't worry (too much) about driving it. Only 450bhp, but 645 ft. lb. torque. Redline is a blistering 4500 rpm." 

(Ed. if only this great news had held up. It was not to be. At least we had this lovely weather, perfect day occasion of his Bentley starring in our local British car show described above.)

Thursday, April 20, 2023


(The whole family minus my horse Janeway depicted herein: my better half Mr. Twister, Gia the Scottish Deerhound, Livia the Borzoi, Bella the Golden Retriever, and yours truly, in our back yard of our 1912 farmhouse in a deceptively slummy part of the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles.) Here is what Mr. Twister wrote about his recent purchase of a stunningly elegant 2009 convertible Bentley motorcar:

        "Last fall I got some great news about my Stage 4 cancer - and this is an early bucket list result! 

Nice enough to look good, but enough nicks and scratches that I don't worry "(too much) about driving it. Only 450bhp, but 645 ft. torque. Redline is a blistering 4500 rpm."

-Kurt Ingham, April, 2023


Thursday, January 19, 2023

Rest in peace DAVID CROSBY

I took this at the Greek Theatre, Hollywood, in 1969, their second ever gig (after Woodstock.) Neil Young was just sitting in, they were still CSN. My six degrees of separation were that someone I knew was friends with Crosby and his soon to be tragically killed girlfriend, Christine Hinton, and we once went to visit them in their Beverly Glen canyon home. Crosby was out, and I thought Christine one of the worldliest young women I ever had met, what with her sultry voice and longer than waist length hair. Crosby loved her so much that her death seemed to have messed up the entire rest of his life. Somehow, despite much physical wreckage, he managed to keep his wonderful singing voice right up to the end. Rest in peace, David Crosby.

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