(It’s all about the ocean, mannnnnnn…… — Dom)
It’s been a while since I contacted everyone about a blog or somethin’ cool, but this time, it’s for real….
Dig, The American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theater is letting us do our “Beatnik Beach Film Night” this Friday night. We did one last summer at Sponto Gallery in Venice, then in December we brought it to the Roxie Theater in San Francisco. Now, everybody’s been asking us for months to “do this in town” (Venice is a long haul for most of you), so we’re doin’ it up right then, and including a truly great piece of Beat cinema from 1961, “Night Tide” (starring Dennis Hopper and Linda Lawson), plus our slide show of Greater L.A. area Beat coffeehouses and jazz joints of the late ’50s and early ’60s, along with two primordial shorts from the Venice West Cafe back in the day.
If you’ve never been to the Egyptian Theater, it was the immediate predecessor to Grauman’s Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. When Sid Grauman opened it in 1922, it had the same elaborate Hollywood flair (it’s gone through a nice rennovation in its current incarnation as the American Cinematheque). This is gonna be a fun night, in the right place, with all the right people, yeh… We are working on some special guests; all three filmakers may very well be there for Q&A, at least. The American Cinematheque’s description below says it better than I can (o.k., I helped write some of it). Thanks for plannin’, and makin’ an evening of it this Friday. We’re gonna have a ball… — Domenic Priore
Friday, March 30, 2007: Egyptian Theatre
The Friday, March 30th program is a 7:30 PM screening of NIGHT TIDE, (1961, 84 min.). Director Curtis Harrington’s debut indie feature is a masterpiece, a haunted, poetic hymn to the dark world of the fly-by-night carnival, lonely midways at dawn and the siren call of eon’s-old passion spawned by the devils of the deep blue sea. In a fond nod to Val Lewton and Jacques Tourneur’s CAT PEOPLE, at-loose-ends sailor Johnny Drake (Dennis Hopper) falls in love with sideshow mermaid, Mora (Linda Lawson) who may just somehow be related to the real thing. Shot in and around Santa Monica and Venice Beach in the beat culture’s heyday, the film continues to exert a strong spell, and is brimming with the heady atmosphere of bygone coffee houses, poet hipsters, languid jazz and bongos on the shore. With Luana Anders, Gavin Muir. “…captures an intangible quality of what Santa Monica was like in the early 60s. Quite apart from Los Angeles, it was a quiet residential community. The funfair pier has just the right air of seedy despair about it. Everyone seems to be living ‘just off’ the mainstream.” – Glenn Erickson, DVD Savant Preceded by the shorts: “Venice In The Sixties” (15 min.) directed by Leland Auslender. Originally shot for a television show and never used, this is essentially a full-color look inside the atmosphere of the Venice West coffeehouse, its various sections, activities and people; “The Beat From Within: Reflections of a Beatnik” (10 min.) Produced by Ralph Morin and directed by Tom Koester, this short covers a day in the life of a Venice beatnik in glorious black ‘n’ white.
Plus, following the screening, Authors Domenic Priore and Brian Chidester (Beatsville, Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Last Stand in Hollywood, Dumb Angel #4: All Summer Long) will present a unique one-hour slide show documenting the Beat Generation’s long stretch over the Greater Los Angeles area between 1956 and 1966, via visuals of coffeehouses and jazz joints from the Sunset Strip to Malibu, Venice and Newport Beach. Legendary locations only heard about in books or in liner notes, from the Gas House and nearby Venice West Cafe, to the Unicorn and Shelly’s Manne-Hole in Hollywood, the Lighthouse and Insomniac in Hermosa Beach, then all the way down to Cafe Frankenstein (owned, operated and painted by Burt Shonberg). Arists from John Altoon to Eric “Big Daddy” Nord gave these places a colourful splash, as did the wide variety of Folk singers and poets who performed on their stages.
P.S. Also, a new Dumb Angel blog is at: http://dumbangelmag.blogspot.com/