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. 


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