Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Drama Book Shop

The Drama Book Shop
Antonio G. Pereira © 2016 Antonio G. Pereira

        The Drama Book Shop {a wonderful Book Store here in the city} graciously posted my review of Victor Spinetti's autobiography {which I purchased there many years ago} on their website. This is a Book Store from the old school, where you can spend all day and come back for more the next day!

And as this is John Lennon's birthday, a perfect day to post this!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Sharing A Joke With Frank

Sharing A Joke With Frank
Antonio G. Pereira © 2016 Antonio G. Pereira

                                                     Nov. 2nd, 2001

Sharing a joke with Frank
at some little table
in a cafe (Is this France?)

Laughing uproariously
Gail is sitting next to him
Some joke or little phrase
one of us gave the Punch Line to
And every couple of seconds
after we thought about it again
helpless laughter

The liquid refreshment flows
and we're still laughing
at that stupid Punch Line!
My God
I'll never forget this evening (you folks are so much fun) and you.

Monday, July 11, 2016

George Martin, In Celebration

George Martin, In Celebration
Antonio G. Pereira © 2016 Antonio G. Pereira

For a life well lived. Just to review:

        To access a very rare discussion that was conducted during The Beatles Anthology Sessions, Go to The Internet Archive Type into the Wayback Machine. Then choose 2008.
        After reading the interview/discussion, you can access the Gobnotch Homepage on the bottom left hand side of the page, where you can access the Complete History of The Beatles Anthology Sessions; from it's beginnings to conclusion.
        Besides his wonderful work with The Beatles, an exceptionally beautiful album George Martin produced and performed on, with Cleo Laine and Johnny Dankworth was, 'Born On A Friday' which includes deeply moving versions of Ralph McTell's, 'Streets Of London' and Randy Newman's, 'I Think It's Gonna Rain Today'.

George Martin's work has aged well, like a fine wine. His final gift to us all. You can savor it for a lifetime....

Friday, May 20, 2016

Photograph by Ringo Starr

Photograph by Ringo Starr
Antonio G. Pereira © 2016 Antonio G. Pereira

        Photograph by Ringo Starr.

        What immediately grabs your attention about 'Photograph', is it's exquisitely beautiful design. Ringo has put this book together as a photographic diary of his life. His prose throughout the pages, is very informative, poignant and funny.

        Three things that are very obvious from the childhood pictures of Richard Starkey ('Richie', as his relations affectionately called him), that make up the beginning of the book; (1) he was really loved by his family, (2) there was something special about him, and (3) when you see Richie with his friends, you can feel the warmth.

        The photographs of Rory Storm and The Hurricanes (the very popular Liverpool group Ringo was in before The Beatles) are quite extraordinary. They were an exciting band to see in concert! And we see every stage of The Beatles' career up until Rishikesh and the beginning of the white album (during the recording of which) Ringo felt he was unwanted in the band anymore (which of course was not true) and he came back to a warm welcome from John, Paul and George. This was also when he began to branch off into films, on his own; starting with 'Candy'. He talks about all of these things, and it makes fascinating reading.

        Ringo Starr is quite a remarkable and exceptional photographer. (I first noticed Ringo's talent as a photographer, when I saw his photographic portraitures of John, George and himself with their wives and children, and Paul with Jane Asher, in Hunter Davies' 1968 biography, 'The Beatles'. There is also Ringo's post-Beatles furniture design business, 'Ringo Or Robin Limited', which also showcased another facet of his talent, crafting and building beautifully original housewares and furnishings; which was mentioned (along with pictures of some examples of the furniture) in the book, 'The Beatles Forever' by Nicholas Schaffner.) Most of the photo prints in 'Photograph' are really beautiful, as we see his eye for catching moments that make you smile. Besides The Beatles and their families, there are also pictures of Brian Epstein, George Martin, Murray The K, Alfred G. Aronowitz, Phil Spector, Richard Lester, Wilfred Brambell, Norman Rossington, John Junkin, Mal Evans, Neil Aspinall, Peter Sellers (and just people that Ringo came in contact with, whom he wanted to remember); as well as Marc Bolan, Keith Moon, Harry Nilsson, Billy Preston, Carl Perkins, Eric Clapton and many more.

        This is a wonderful book, that you'll really enjoy reading, and treasure for a long, long time. Good Work Ringo! Most Highly Recommended.

        Now, if I heard Ringo correctly in his enjoyable two part interview on Tavis Smiley, he's talking to the other Beatles' families about putting a book together containing photographs that were taken by each member of the group during their heyday (John, Paul, George and Ringo were all camera buffs, as you can see from some of the photographs in the book!); and I'm looking forward to THAT ONE!


Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Criterion Collection: The Complete Monterey Pop Festival

The Criterion Collection: The Complete Monterey Pop Festival
Antonio G. Pereira © 2016 Antonio G. Pereira

        Well Folks, Folkies, Folkish and Folklike, the 3 DVD set, The Complete Monterey Pop Festival, is the closest we'll ever get to the definitive version of what happened at Monterey almost 50 years ago.
        The Filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker (already well known for his previous two documentaries on Bob Dylan's 1965 and 1966 concert tours of the UK, known respectively as 'Don't Look Back' and 'Eat The Document' {O.K. D.A., where's the Box Set with Extra Features for 'Eat The Document'?}), has done a good job with this 1967 collection. Disc 1 is the original film 'Monterey Pop', beautifully reproduced, with Extra Features including new interviews with Festival co-producer Lou Adler by D.A. Pennebaker. Historically recorded archival interviews with Festival co-producer John Phillips, Festival Publicist Derek Taylor (occasionally lapsing into his tired and uninformed colonialistic views- i.e. Chuck Berry), Mama Cass Elliot (Cass has her dates mixed up! The Experience played the Hollywood Bowl for the first time as The Mamas and The Papas opening act AFTER Monterey, on August 18th, 1967. See Mitch Mitchell's book, 'Inside The Experience' Published by Harmony Books, New York. For a further fascinating anecdote about the party after the Hollywood Bowl show, at John and Michelle Phillips' house in the Hollywood Hills, where Hendrix meets, makes friends and Jams with Fred Neil (extraordinary musician and composer of the massive hit song 'Everybody's Talkin' - theme song from the film 'Midnight Cowboy'), check the 'Mojo '60s' Issue No. 4 article, 'Fred Neil: The Man Who Wasn't There' pages 110-119. Also mentioned in this article is Fred Neil's final Public Performance in Tokyo, Japan in 1977 with the Rolling Coconut Revue, a relation to The Dolphin Project. {I remember seeing a news story about this Benefit on the NHK Network in 1977, that featured footage of Richie Havens, John Sebastian and Jackson Browne; during my final years of college.}), and David Crosby (then a member of The Byrds). A photographic portfolio collection of the Festival by Photographer Elaine Mays, Theatrical and Radio Promos, Engineer Eddie Kramer detailing how the restoration process of the entire Collection was done, A detailed explanation of The Monterey International Pop Festival Foundation, and a Monterey Pop Scrapbook containing a complete page by page reproduction of the original Festival Program Book; all reproduced on the DVD with crystal clarity. Disc 2 contains the two films, 'Jimi Plays Monterey' with an interview with Pete Townshend of The Who in Special Features, and 'Shake! Otis At Monterey:' with an interview with Phil Walden (Otis Redding's Manager) in Special Features. Both of these films make it abundantly clear why Jimi Hendrix' and Otis Redding's performances at the Festival became legendary, and they in turn were forever loved. Disc 3 contains The Outtake Performances, along with some additional footage shot by D.A. Pennebaker in the Backstage Artists Bar (known as The Hunt Club) of Tiny Tim performing Pop Songs from the 1920s and 1930s. Tiny Tim, very witty, singing and performing on his ukulele. This is priceless stuff and funny as hell. And makes it blatantly obvious why he was such a curiosity back then.
        The Outtake Performances on Disc 3 are very good. Most of these are standouts, including Laura Nyro (who contrary to some other opinions, was very good and professional). Missing unfortunately, from the Outtake Performances is The Electric Flag performing a superb version of 'Gettin' Hard' from their soundtrack to 'The Trip', that was in the cut of Monterey Pop I saw in the movies a couple of decades ago; though their version of 'Drinkin' Wine' (included in this collection) is very good. 'Flute Thing' by The Blues Project is a beautifully inventive performance. Then we have Big Brother doing an explosive version of 'Combination Of The Two', Buffalo Springfield (with David Crosby sitting in on guitar as Neil Young had left the band, and what looks like Bruce Palmer on bass), doing a great version of their top ten hit 'For What It's Worth', The Paul Butterfield Blues Band doing a smokin' version of 'Driftin' Blues', Jefferson Airplane with an excellent version of 'Somebody To Love', Country Joe and The Fish doing what they do best, a wonderful piece of satire with 'Not-So-Sweet Martha Lorraine', Quicksilver Messenger Service with a punchy Rock-Blues 'All I Ever Wanted To Do (Was Love You)', Simon and Garfunkel with a beautiful 'Homeward Bound' and a powerful and deeply moving (this is the original acoustic version) 'Sounds of Silence', and The Who kickin' butt with 'Substitute', 'Summertime Blues' and their mini Rock Opera (Pre-Tommy) 'A Quick One, While He's Away'. This version, almost as explosive as the one they performed the following year on The Rolling Stones Rock 'n Roll Circus. Additionally, David Crosby's very well timed speech between songs, when The Byrds perform beautiful versions of 'Chimes of Freedom' and 'He Was A Friend Of Mine', is incredibly powerful and moving. That was one hell of a Festival!
        During the final segment of Outtakes, Mama Cass (almost with child at the time, by the way) always a marvelous raconteur, echoes the fundamental message of Love delivered in previous days of the Festival by Janis Joplin, Otis Redding and Jimi Hendrix. Her re-telling of her meeting and conversation with John Lennon about The Mamas and The Papas recording of his composition 'I Call Your Name' is hysterical. (We also can't forget the wonderful MC jobs done by people like Tommy Smothers, Brian Jones and Eric Burdon.) The Mamas and The Papas then do a comical version of 'I Call Your Name', as well as a wonderful version of 'Monday Monday'; before Scott McKenzie comes out and sings 'San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)'- {McKenzie by the way, when questioned in Melody Maker a few months later about 'Flower Power', and the obvious 'at the time' explosive racial situation and resultant riots in Detroit, gave a highly open to question answer (see The History of Rock/1967-Uncut Magazine Issue No. 3, Page 94); that left one wondering whether his personal philosophy perhaps was more selective than he was singing about. (For an even clearer, in depth clarification, see The John Lennon Letters review  )}, and The Mamas and The Papas end the Festival with a joyful version of 'Dancing In The Street'.
        When we get to the accompanying Booklet to the DVDs however, we have a mixed bag. Of the four essays therein, Michael Lydon's, which takes up half the Booklet, is a real waste of time. Jann Wenner's (which is about the aftermath of the Festival, when the Producers wanted to do it again the following year, which ultimately was blocked from ever happening again by the Conservative element in the Monterey area), is quite informative and makes engrossing good reading. British johnny-come-lately 'Mojo' Magazine Journalist Barney Hoskyns, is another waste of time and space. And finally, Armond White (who used to write for local New York newspaper The City Sun) makes some very good and thoughtful observations about the Festival and the film. With the mixed bag exception of the Booklet, this 3 DVD Collection is well worth checking out.It will bring back many treasured memories, and since you can access individual songs and performances anywhere in this Collection, you can make wonderful combinations. Highly Recommended.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Arthur Lee, An Appreciation

Arthur Lee, An Appreciation
Antonio G. Pereira © 2016 Antonio G. Pereira

        Today is Arthur Lee's birthday, and I'm posting a direct link to John Densmore's wonderful Special to The LA Times, from 2006. Enjoy.

        And I'm also adding this eye opening two-part interview with lead guitarist and co-founder of Love, Johnny Echols; that was conducted last year by Doors Examiner. Go to the Internet Archive:  Type into the Wayback Machine. Then choose 2015.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

One Righteous Man: Samuel Battle and The Shattering of The Color Line in New York

One Righteous Man: Samuel Battle and The Shattering of The Color Line in New York
Antonio G. Pereira © 2016 Antonio G. Pereira

        In these times in which we live (the year is 2015, and on this morning's news the Confederate Flag is finally coming down in Columbia, South Carolina, as racists claim it as their 'heritage'), it is very fitting that the biography, 'One Righteous Man: Samuel Battle and The Shattering of The Color Line in New York' by Pulitzer Prize winning author Arthur Browne, is being published.
       Samuel Battle, who hailed from New Bern, North Carolina, came to New York in the late 1890s and made New York his home. This book, of which much of the information is taken from Battle's unpublished autobiography that was done in collaboration with the legendary Harlem Renaissance writer, Langston Hughes, covers his early youth in the brutally racist Jim Crow South; through his move to New York, and subsequently becoming the very first Black Policeman in New York City. We get a very clear and detailed picture of what America was like during that era. Not only in the South, but in the North as well. We get a crystal clear picture of how the foundation was laid for the garbage element that still populates Law Enforcement in this City of New York. The Garbage Element, being those characters who were able to slip  through the screening process (for some strange reason), get on the Police Force, and end up with a badge and the authority to carry a gun; who put citizen's lives at risk by their behavior and actions. These are the characters whose extent of authority normally, based on their mentality, would go no further than mopping floors someplace. This is the garbage element on the Police Force that not only puts the lives of the populace at risk, but through creating an atmosphere of animosity, makes the job of the Police Officers who have always been dedicated to serving the Public and doing their best to build bridges and help people, that much harder. The good thing about this book is you see a clear detailed history of how the garbage element was able to take hold in Law Enforcement in turn of the century New York, and why this situation continues in perpetuity; even after Frank Serpico and the Knapp Commission Trials during the 1970s.
       Historically, this book is a goldmine. It carries us through World War I, The Harlem Renaissance, The Depression, World War II, and the effects on people's lives during those eras. We see how different people like heroic Black World War I Veterans, ended up in despicable circumstances, as well as Casper Holstein, the Black man who invented the numbers game (the precursor to what we now know as the lottery), and used his wealth to help as many Blacks as he could, but ended up penniless, and Samuel Battle, himself a trailblazer, all ended up forgotten; until this book was published. The lesson being, if you don't keep your own history continually alive, who will?
       Historically, this book makes mention of British Shipping Heiress Nancy Cunard's wonderful anthology, 'Negro'. A 'must have' book. {Ms. Cunard was quite a fearless bolt of lightning, and way, way ahead of her time. Her life story would make one powerful movie.} And memories were brought back to me by the mention of Rev. Herbert C. Bank's church, St Cyprian's; which had once stood in the spot where the entrance to Lincoln Center now stands. And Rev. John H. Johnson's church, St. Martin's, that sponsored the one unit St. Martin's Tower in Upper Manhattan, which opened in 1971. Rev. Johnson also authored and self-published a book, 'A Place Of Adventure'. {The second chapter in his book, 'Dutch Bells over Harlem', which is about the origin of St. Martin's 42 Bell Carillion, is deeply moving and breathtakingly beautiful.}
       'One Righteous Man' is an incredible monumental work, and the author Arthur Browne has done an admirable job. I only have one minor criticism. Near the end of the book the author forgot to complete the sentence, 'In 1957, nine African American students walked into all-white Little Rock Central High School under the protection of the 101st Airborne, dispatched by President Dwight Eisenhower', with the complete truth, which was, 'after a very angry and blatantly outraged Louis Armstrong, preparing to go on a State Department Goodwill Concert Tour overseas, EMBARRASSED EISENHOWER INTO DOING IT.'