Monday, August 25, 2014

Grammy Museum Goes Back in Time With Laurel Canyon Exhibit - Now through November 30th

Joni Mitchell


Posted: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 5:00 am | Updated: 1:34 pm, Wed May 21, 2014.
Grammy Museum Goes back in Time With Laurel Canyon Exhibit

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - In the mid to late 1960s and ’70s, residents of Laurel Canyon needed only to open a window to be serenaded by the harmonies wafting from some of the most compelling musicians of the era. Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa and Jim Morrison lived there. So did members of The Mamas & The Papas, The Byrds and Crosby, Stills and Nash.
That neighborhood above the Sunset Strip, and that scene, complete with its hippie fashion, a penchant for earthy consciousness and, for many, a fondness for mind-altering drugs, is chronicled in California Dreamin’: The Sounds of Laurel Canyon 1965-1977. The exhibit, built around dozens of intimate portraits and candid shots from photographer Henry Diltz, opened at the Grammy Museum this month. It runs though Nov. 30.

Brimming with four dozen artifacts and two walls of Diltz’s photos, California Dreamin’ begins with a wooden, hand-painted rocking chair encased in glass. It is the chair that “Mama Cass” Elliot rocked in on her front porch, which served as the gateway to the Laurel Canyon music scene, said Grammy Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli.

Cass, said Santelli, was the “Earth Mother” of Laurel Canyon, and whenever someone new arrived, she always opened her home and introduced the person around. Next to her chair is a jewelry box filled with the chunky bracelets and oversized rings Cass wore in any number of Diltz’s photographs.

Interestingly, it’s not the only chair in the exhibit. Also on display is the late Jim Morrison’s writing seat. Upholstered in purple velvet, the high-backed wooden armchair followed The Doors’ frontman to Paris. After his death in 1971, Morrison’s publicist brought it back to the United States and put it in storage. As Santelli began assembling pieces for California Dreamin’, a museum staffer mentioned that her husband is related to Morrison’s publicist and suggested showing the chair, which is in near perfect condition.
“It was meant to be,” Santelli said.

As visitors meander through the exhibit, named for The Mamas & The Papas song, they hear era favorites including “For What Its Worth” by Buffalo Springfield and The Byrds’ “Turn, Turn, Turn” and “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Listening stations offer up other songs, among them The Doors’ “Love Street.” There are also several short video clips, including one in which Gail Zappa, Frank’s widow, explains how they met (at LAX), what he first said to her (“You’re cute”) and how he smelled (like peanut butter).

Another video shows Diltz explaining one of his most recognized photographs: The Doors behind the front window of the Morrison Hotel, which was located at 1246 S. Hope St. in Downtown Los Angeles. Keyboard player Ray Manzarek discovered the building one day with his wife and thought it’d make a great shot. The man behind the hotel desk wouldn’t let them shoot inside, but as soon as he stepped into the elevator, Diltz recalls, the band members ran in and he snapped the image. It became the cover of The Doors’ fifth album.

It was one of many high-profile shots for the man who, among other things, was the official Woodstock photographer. Still, Diltz snapped his way into posterity almost by accident: In an interview, he said was shooting a mural when a group of guys walked out of the building. Diltz asked them to pose, for perspective. It turned out to be the members of Buffalo Springfield.

“I just wanted to take pictures of my friends so we could have slideshows to watch,” he said, noting that two of those friends were Stephen Stills and David Crosby. “Those were magic times.”

Looking back on those years, Diltz is filled with nostalgia for a time when peoples’ consciousness was raised. The ideals for many during that era, he said, were focused on appreciating each other and the planet. In hindsight, he said, Laurel Canyon was almost a mythical place.

“There was a bit of a feeling of how wonderful life was, and a focus on peace and love. It all happened as Laurel Canyon blossomed,” he said.

Removed Yet Central
In the mid-1960s, Santelli said, the musicians were drawn to Laurel Canyon’s cheap rent and bucolic, mountainous atmosphere. While it seemed removed from the bustle of Los Angeles, it was also close to the Sunset Strip and the famed clubs the Whisky a Go-Go, The Roxy and The Troubadour.

“You could be in a rural area right in the middle of a big city. No other place offered that,” Santelli said. “If you were in Greenwich Village in New York you had to drive [many] miles to get away. Here you went over the hill.”

Most of the musicians were transplants from other cities, Santelli noted. The arrivals to Laurel Canyon included Carole King, who relocated from New York, and Linda Ronstadt, who left Tucson. Future Eagles Don Henley and Glenn Frey arrived on the scene from Texas and Michigan, respectively. Gram Nash came from England.

Santelli assembled the exhibit, one of five musical scene showcases the Grammy Museum will feature over the next few years, from pieces loaned either by the artists or their family members and friends. Gail Zappa provided handwritten, unfinished lyrics to an unpublished song by her late husband. Gram Parsons’ lyrics-filled notebook, complete with swirling penmanship and blotted with several scratch outs, is on display. So is a banjo that belonged to The Monkees’ Peter Tork, a cape from Crosby and even the original music contract between all the members of The Byrds and their management company. There’s also a wooden stash box with a cocaine bindle and marijuana “roach holder” on loan from “Anonymous.”

There’s an interactive element as well. Visitors can record a message about where they were or which Laurel Canyon bands they saw back in the day. Santelli smiles widely at one of his memories from 1969: He’d just graduated from high school in New Jersey, he played guitar, and had tried to attend the Woodstock Music Festival in New York, but he couldn’t get through the traffic-choked highway. So he and his buddies headed back home to the Jersey Shore and went surfing.

The museum will keep the visitors’ recordings as part of its archives.

To Attend:
California Dreamin’: The Sounds of Laurel Canyon 1965-1977 runs through Nov. 30 at the Grammy Museum, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., (213) 765-6800 or
© Los Angeles Downtown News 2014

Alex, Dennis... and Charlie

A few weeks back, I picked-up a Biography of one of my favorite musicians, Alex Chilton.

Now many of you won't recognize the name, but you've all heard his music somewhere along the way.

At the Age of 16, he became the lead singer of a band called The Box Tops and had a number one hit, with a song called "The Letter" (Gimme a Ticket for an Airplane, Ain't got Time to take a fast Train).

They had a bunch of other Top Ten Hits, and in the early 70s he moved-on to form the seminal power pop band Big Star.

When he was in the Box Tops, he did a few tours with the Beach Boys and became friendly with Dennis Wilson... staying at Wilson's house, at the same time as the Manson Family.

"During his stay at Dennis's house in Pacific Palisades, Alex met someone much stranger than Brian Wilson." 

"After I was there a couple of days, the whole Manson family moved in," Alex said. Wilson had picked-up a hitchhiking Manson follower, Patricia Krenwinkle... and soon, Manson and the others appeared at Dennis's Hillside Home.

"They completely took over the household, like, sixteen girls and this Charlie Guy hanging around, whom I barely noticed", Alex remembered. "With all these girls running around with short dresses and no underpants, why am I gonna notice this Guy?"

Soon Alex had to take notice of Manson, whose control over his young hippie harem became obvious. Dennis' house overlooked the ocean, high above the Pacific Coast Highway.  Alex still didn't have his drivers license, so he decided to walk down the steep hill to the grocery store one day.  A Manson girl "got wind of that", Alex Recalled:

"She brought me a big, long shopping list of things that they wanted me to get - and no money to get it". So I said "well its alright".  It being the Sixties and California, I thought I could spring for some Groceries.

I had to carry all these groceries back up the hill. When I got back, they looked at the grocery bag and they said "You forgot the Milk!"  I said "Aw gee, I'm really sorry I forgot the milk - too bad".  By the time I got to the front door, they were standing in the doorway-blocking the door, and they said "Charlie says go get the Milk."  The vibes were kind of weird.

Alex decided it was time to leave when he woke-up one morning after a late-night party, and discovered asleep next to him on a large sectional couch, none other than Manson.

Years later, Alex told the story to a friend, who suggested he write a memoir and call it "I slept with Charlie Manson".

Evidently, there's another TLB Website on the Horizon

A few weeks back, I received an email invitation to check-out this website.  I know nothing about this website. As such, I make no recommendations or endorsements.  Take a look (if you're curious), and form your own judgement. 

It seems the woman running the place is named "Christine"... and the blogger we know as "La-de-la" is an administrator.  "La-de-la" has always been pretty cool, so I figured I'd give her a plug.  She goes by the name "Maude's Harold" over there.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Environment Excuse

“I am always in awe of people who devote their lives to a good cause and are brave enough to take a stance, though it may be controversial in their time.”
                                                                -Rebecca Pidgeon

"False friends are like our shadow... keeping close to us while we walk in the sunshine, 
but leaving us the instant we cross into the shade.”
                                                     -Christian Nestell Bovee

Hello old friends. I'm back with another question for the day! 

Imagine there was a cause you felt very strongly about, and you decided that you wanted to make a difference. What do you suppose would be the best way, to go about doing so?

Well-- one way might be to find a group of like-minded responsible people, who also share a passion for the cause. Then you could work together to develop an action plan to raise awareness and/or funds, which might initiate real change that could potentially further the cause you all hold dear.  (By the way, this is not that hard or expensive-- check out the ice bucket dumping going on all over the media…)


Another way to go about it, would be to rally around one of the most notorious and feared criminals of the last half-century. You could run a website, and put his face out there front and center. You could showcase his beliefs and quote his ramblings... which most average people couldn’t understand with the help of a dictionary and hippy interpreter.
You know, I hate to use this cliché - but apparently, there really is more than one way to skin a cat. There are some people who are trying to make an argument, that the latter is the best way to go... and I have given them, in my own humble opinion, a fair shot to make their case…
However, after reading and listening to this argument for the last few years-- I'm calling B.S.!!

Charlie’s supporters must know, that as soon as 90% of the population sees his face or hears his name, they are no longer listening to the message, or taking it seriously. For that very reason, Charlie's participation actually hurts more than it helps. I think they know that. I think they care not.

Of course, it would be easy for my ATWA(R) brothers to prove me wrong. Just give me the list-- the list of specific, tangible things which any of them have done to help the environment. The parks or roads they have helped to clean. The list of walks or rallies they have held. The list of promotional packages they have emailed out. The number of programs they have tried to develop or sponsor, with the funds they raise by doing???

Have they planted a single tree?

It's interesting to note (on the ATWA site), that a link for planting trees, is listed after detailed directions for donating money and writing letters to help Charlie. So at the very least, one might assume, that the Trees they hold so dear, are ranked third to Charlie’s legal fund and parole chances. I mean after all... these trees are supposed to be the foremost reason they're involved with Manson in the first place... right????
Sorry Charlie- I'm just not buying it.

I don’t see an organized group or movement. I see a few disturbed people making excuses to get closer to a very bad guy. And I hope with all of my soul, that I am wrong. Somebody please tell me, I am wrong. Please tell me, that these people are not simply using this very worthwhile cause as a “front”, to get closer to (and be part of) the Evil aura associated with Manson... and the horrible things he is associated with.

Because if I am right…… then that is scarier than Manson himself. An 80 year old man locked-up for the rest of his life, is one thing.  Now, a group of young Charlie “wannabees” walking among us?  Well, just think about that.

Remember: Charlie didn't like to get his own hands dirty. He had others plant the trees...
You’re Favorite Saint!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bad Decisions versus Bad People

“Even as kids reach adolescence, they need more than ever for us to watch over them. Adolescence is not about letting go. It's about hanging on during a very bumpy ride.”
                                                                   -Ron Taffel

Excerpted from "The Enquirer":

The killer’s future mother-in-law, Melissa Burton, 47, admits she doesn’t know why her daughter, Afton, 26, hasn’t tied the knot with the infamous killer yet, but the Illinois mother of four told The ENQUIRER in an exclusive interview: “I prefer that they not get married. “This is not the life that we chose for our daughter, by no means, you know,” said the devastated mom. “I had other hopes and dreams for my first child, but you can’t dictate the course that they take. They choose their own lives.” 

Manson spent the 45th anniversary of the brutal 1969 murders – which left seven dead including director Roman Polanski’s pregnant wife Sharon Tate – at Corcoran State Prison in California. Afton moved to the area seven years ago to be closer to the coldblooded killer. Her obsession with the 79-year old maniac blossomed in high school when she learned of Manson’s environmental beliefs. She then began exchanging letters with him, her mom told The ENQUIRER. Afton was only 19 when she bolted from her home to be near Manson, who gave her the nickname “Star.” “People can think I’m crazy, but they don’t know,” the defiant Manson worshipper told an interviewer. “This is right for me. This is what I was born for!”

You can read full article here if Trash Mags are your thing:
Saint Circumstance weighs-in:

So…. I am flying home from a weekend of hanging with my home-boys on the Jersey Shore. I had already finished my Sports Illustrated and the Graham Nash book- “Wild Tales”. I see a copy of the “National Enquirer” on the empty seat next to me, and I still have about 40 minutes before we touch down in Fort Lauderdale... so I sigh deeply, and then pick it up. What do you know, it turns out they have an article on Star. It seems the “Wedding” to Charlie is off. Well that got me to thinking, and the nice lady with the trash bag happened to be coming through the aisle, so I deposited the "Enquirer" where it belonged, and then pushed my seat back, closed my eyes, and thought long and hard about Star….

I think it was right here on the LSB3 blog, the first time I debated with my old friend AC about Star and our polar opposite feelings about her. I am quite sure there were several people who told me at the time, that Star was a normal and bright young woman who had the support of her family, and was not a Charlie “worshiper”... just a like-minded person with interest in the environment.

I guess we can close the book on that debate. When it came to my attention over the last year, that Charlie and Star had become engaged, I did not feel surprised in the least... but I still found myself just as disgusted as I felt the first time I became aware of Star, and her situation. How can something like this happen after all these years, and with all the hindsight? It is one thing for the girls in 1969 with no information, to make that mistake. But for a young woman today to become aware of a man who is known to her only as “The Most Evil Man Alive”, and to be turned on by that... to the point where she develops her entire life and existence around him???

I used to ask – where are the Parents? Parents who allow this to happen, can make the argument that she is an adult who cannot be stopped from making her own choices. I can make the argument that at 19, she made a choice born from the previous 18 years of nurturing and guidance. But after much more thought, and with the benefit of time- I can also wonder what is in the heart of this young woman as well…

There were some girls in the family like Ruth, Diane, and Sherry who went along for the ride because they had no options, or were in it for the fun... but got out or fled when it got ugly. There were also some girls like Patricia, and Sandy, and LULU who seemed more interested in the ugly and darker parts of the family experience. Maybe some just have something inside of them, or are seeking something darker in life, that others do not?

I guess my question for today old friends would be this:

Is Star the victim of a bad upbringing and lack of positive role models and influences in her life?


Is this just a bad egg who would have found some other dark outlet to spend her life on, if she hadn’t come across Charlie?  I mean at the end of the day- as she grows older and more mature- how long do we make excuses for this woman, and start to hold her accountable for her own choices?

Makes you wonder huh???

You’re Favorite Saint

Monday, August 11, 2014

More Weirdos and Whackos

From TMZ-

There was a spooky seance early Saturday morning -- the 45th anniversary of the Sharon Tate murders -- that would probably please Charles Manson to no end.

The seance was held 200 feet from the site where Manson Family members slaughtered 7 people, including Tate.

Just after midnight ... as the seance was in full swing, a fire alarm went off for no apparent reason. There was no evidence of fire or smoke, although 2 candles on the table lit up the scene.

The Tate house is no longer there, but there have been supernatural tales spun for decades.

Read more:

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Bugliosi Interviewed on WRKF | 89.3 Baton Rouge, LA

Jim Engster interviews Bugliosi - Friday, August 8th

"Vincent Bugliosi the prosecutor of Charles Manson talks with Jim to close out the last two segments of today's show. Vincent and Jim discuss the murders of Sharon Tate and others which led to Charles Manson's prosecution and subsequent sentence of life imprisonment, as well as other details from the case." 

"Click" HERE to Listen (Bugliosi starts at 15:10)

Submitted by Kimchi!  Thanks Kimchi!!

Brian Davis is quoted by CNN

Submitted by Venus and Mary.  Thanks Ladies!!