Monday, April 21, 2014

My encounter with the Manson girls...

Reading Starship's post, it reminded me of my encounter with "Charlie's girls."  This occurred in 1970-71.  

My sister (who is much older than I) worked for an attorney from 1967-1972.  In 1968, she was assigned to the West Hollywood office.  Their office was upstairs in this building (now a restaurant), and the office across the hall was none other than "Bob Marcucci Productions"...yes, "The Idol Maker"... and she was good friends with him.

It was at the corner of Sunset and Sunset Plaza in West Hollywood, within walking distance of Ben Franks, a well-known coffee shop hang-out for "anyone who was anyone" (at that time).  See below...


One day out of the blue, my sister decided to take me to work with her for the day, mainly because I think she was bored at work and wanted someone to talk to...lol.

On the way there, we came in from the East and I was quite curious of Hollywood so she drove the full length of Sunset to show me around "the scene".  I remember the Hari Krishnas, the sidewalk guitar players, the "love children"....

Then while stopped at a traffic signal, I noticed these "weirdos" on the corner - their heads were shaved.  I asked my sister "what's wrong with them?"  She screamed so loud I was startled:  "Roll up the windows and lock the doors, hurry!  And for Christ's sake, DON'T STARE AT THEM!!!"   I said "why, who are they?"  She said "They're Charlie's girls, don't look at them."  I said "Who's Charlie?"  She said "Charlie Manson!"  I was only slightly familiar with the case, as my parents wouldn't allow me to watch any news related to violence or war.....and being a preteen at that time, I could care less about that stuff.  I was only interested in seeing David Cassidy or Davy Jones...but that didn't happen!

At the time however, the incident did scare the crap out of me, but I think my sister embellished that!  And no, I have no idea which ones they were, but they did have an "x" carved in their forehead... my sister pointed that out, before she told me not to stare at them...lol

Submitted by Kimchi!  Thanks Kimchi!!

One Year Later...

ARMED WITH STENCILS AND SPRAY CANS, AND ASSISTED BY HIS TWO DAUGHTERS AND FRIENDS, ASHLAND RESIDENT JACK LEDUC HAS PAINTED THE BOSTON MARATHON STARTING LINE FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS. HE’S ALSO RUN THE RACE 15 TIMES. / PHOTOGRAPH BY SCOTT M. LACEY

A record crowd of one million people, twice the usual number, lined the streets of Boston under brilliant skies today, to witness the 118th running of the Boston Marathon. 

Thousands of runners from around the world, signed-up to compete in the marathon as an expression of support and defiance. Organizers said the race featured nearly 36,000 racers, 9,000 more than usual. 

As the first racers crossed the finish line shortly after 10:30 a.m., crowds of spectators roared their approval. 

The race is steeped in tradition. It is the world’s oldest annually contested marathon.  The race is held the third Monday in April to coincide with Patriots’ Day, which commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, the first military engagements of the American Revolution.  It is a school holiday and features a morning Red Sox game, a mix that typically creates a boisterous, party-like atmosphere around the region.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins

Some of you may remember a movie from 1975 starring Alan Arkin and Sally Kellerman and MacKenzie Phillips entitled Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins.  It's page on IMDB can be found here.
And here it is again on wikipedia.  And finally, here is the trailer on youtube.

If you do remember it, too bad.  It's really terrible and I don't recommend that anyone ever give up 91 minutes of their lives in order to watch it.  But I did, and here is why:

John Kaye is the author of the novels Stars Screaming and The Dead Circus, which I enjoyed immensely and heartily do recommend to all, as I often have in the past.  The latter book is supposed to be made into a film, entitled I Fought the Law, which I have posted about before here, I haven't heard anything about this of late, and even the teaser trailer on vimeo no longer works.

Mr. Kaye is also a screenwriter and one time film director. He wrote and directed Forever Lulu with Patrick Swayze and Melanie Griffith and also wrote Where the Buffalo Roam, which is, of course, a classic.

Mr. Kaye is also a contributor to the LA Review of Books and it is this contribution entitled 1972:  Five Days in September which inspires this post.  That article is really long, and so without any permission at all from anyone (that's how I roll) I shall copy and paste the relevant paragraphs:

"Driving home from the Goldenberg School, where once again Jesse rushed inside late, I pulled up to a red light on the corner of the Sunset and Crescent Heights. Distracted by the radio and my inner musings, I didn't notice the hippie girl with the expressionless eyes and unbrushed hair who had stepped off the curb and was now knocking on my passenger side window. She was wearing a white peasant dress and wire-rimmed glasses, and when she finally got my attention (by leaning over a little, so I could examine her cleavage) I asked her where she was going.

"Downtown."

"I'm not going that far." I replied

"Then take us as far as you're going," she said.

Us? That's when the light turned green and I saw her motion to another, older girl with a sunburned face who was sitting on the bus bench, cradling an infant. Hearing her name called, she stubbed out the cigarette she was smoking, and, before I could decide what to do — by now the cars behind me were honking loudly — my door swung open and they both hopped into the front seat. Pulling away, I felt angry and impinged upon, my day thrown into uncertainty. Breakfast, preschool, home to write, or at least try to write: That was a schedule I adhered to as a debt of honor, one I would never allow to be compromised, especially by a couple of casually selfish teenyboppers.

Without asking my permission, the girl sitting beside me in the peasant dress reached for the radio, changed the dial from AM to FM, and fumbled around until she found a rock station in the high numbers at the end of the dial. The girl next to her — the mother holding the baby — giggled, and for some reason that mindless giggle, more than having my car invaded and my radio hijacked, detonated my indignation and anger.

I said, "What's so fucking funny?"

The girl with the baby muttered something I didn't understand, and when I said "What?" the girl next to me, the more aggressive of the pair, said, "She doesn't want you to swear around her baby." That's when I turned my head and saw what I had earlier overlooked: Each of them had the letter X carved into the center of their foreheads.

Although the Manson trial had ended and Charlie was now safely incarcerated in Folsom prison, one of the earliest and most loyal members of his family, Bruce Davis, had been recently convicted of two additional murders — musician Gary Hinman and Spahn Ranch caretaker Donald "Shorty" Shea — that Charlie had ordered. Davis had been housed in the Los Angeles County Jail waiting to be sentenced, which, serendipitously, came on the day I picked up these two unsavory and unpredictable hitchhikers.

"We're going down to the courthouse to say goodbye," said the girl next to me, while her girlfriend added, beaming brightly, "I want Bruce to see my baby. Her name's Rainbow."

"Isn't that a pretty name?" the girl next to me said, shifting her leg so her knee was touching mine. "Charlie gave it to her."

"Is it Charlie's baby?"

"It's everyone's baby," Rainbow's mother said. "Charlie said we're all Goddesses of Childbirth, and our babies are made to be shared."

The Charles Manson guide to childrearing: What utter bullshit! Naturally, I wanted to dump this loathsome duo as soon as I could, but, looking back, I realize what bothered me most was not their gullibility or stupidity. In 1972, the streets of Los Angeles were overflowing with grinning, clueless hippies spouting all sorts of ludicrous nonsense. No, it was the diabolical joy these two creatures seemed to derive from knowing that, just by showing the X on their faces, they could instill the cold finger of fear into anyone they encountered, including me.

A few moments later, when I reached the intersection of La Brea and Sunset, I told them the ride was over. "You have to get out. I need to run an errand."

They were quiet for a moment, mulling their options, but they didn't argue or seem at all surprised. They knew I was lying, of course, and in both their outwardly serene faces I detected a kind of concealed rage, a sleeping malice that made me flinch. Back on the sidewalk they flashed me the peace sign, told me to "have a nice day," and I drove off feeling as though I had avoided something dangerous."

Interesting for sure, at least for me, but Mr. Kaye's screenplay for the movie left out the Manson connection with the girls.  I wonder who the two girls may have been?  Also, the infant?  In September of 1972, which of Charlie's girls would have had an infant?  While this encounter is certainly much less than earth-shattering, it makes me wonder if meetings with various X engraved Family members was just part of the daily routine back in LA during that time?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sharon Tate Eye Makeup

As a little kid up in the late 60's, I can remember my mom getting ready to go out.  I used to love watching her apply her makeup.  In the 70's, when I first started using makeup, I can remember asking her how to do my eyes like Sharon Tate's.  Mom would respond, "we all did that look, it was common."  Frankly, she's right.  It was very common.

For the most part, Sharon's entire look was pretty timeless.  Yes, she did wear things that were in style at the time (mini skirts, for example) but many of her clothes could still be worn today.

I've always loved her eye makeup.  The look first became popular in the early 960's when Elizabeth Taylor portrayed "Cleopatra." The look really caught on and became all the rage.  
One person who really was known for wearing this look was Priscilla Presley.  She said Elvis loved this look.  Priscilla was younger than Sharon but looked older due to the extreme black hair and black tones in her makeup. 
While Sharon did wear the eye shadow, liner, mascara and false eyelashes, she used a beige and brown palette instead of the more common daker tones worn by others such as Priscilla.  By the early 1970's, Priscilla had toned down her look to let her natural beauty shine through.  No matter what kind of makeup Sharon wore, her natural beauty was always obvious.

Where'd this makeup style come from?  I've always wondered if her makeup was done by some makeup artist who might've done Greta Garbo's eye makeup.  Garbo's heyday was in the 1930's to early 1940's.  It makes sense that one of her makeup artists still might've been in Hollywood or in Europe.  Look at the photos and do a comparison. 
They both wore the line in the crease, thin brows (although Sharon changed her eyebrows occasionally) and the makeup really suited the shape of their eyes.

Her makeup changed a bit through the years but it was still a classic look.  I do a variation of it to this day.

Pictures of Sharon in Eye of the Devil:

                                                   Here's a sketch to show you how to do it.  


Okay this has nothing to do with Sharon's eye makeup, but since we're discussing it on the blog, I'm adding this video:


video



 Submitted by Venus!  Thanks Venus!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Debra Tate's Book

Considered by many to be the most beautiful woman of her generation, Sharon Tate remains a fascinating pop icon and a poster child for the 1960s. What struck most about Sharon was her gentle nature and the sheer perfection of her face, but she was far more than just a beauty. The few films she made during her brief career, including Valley of the DollsEye of the Devil, and The Fearless Vampire Killers, have secured her position as a Hollywood legend. Over forty years since her last film, Sharon's spirit and charisma live strong in the memories of those who knew her best, and her style continues to inspire the worlds of fashion, beauty, art, and film.

Sharon Tate: Recollection is a one-of-a-kind celebration of Sharon's life and career, her influence as a fashion icon throughout the world, and in effect presents a sociological portrait of the 1960s—its youth culture, the sexual revolution, the rise of independent cinema, and Hollywood's changing studio system. In this impressive photo book, Sharon Tate's story emerges through quotes and short essays—recollections—by her sister, Debra Tate, as well as by those who knew and have been influenced by her.


What emerges from these pages is a stunning tribute to an unforgettable life.
 Highlights include:
  • Previously unseen photos from the Tate family album
  • Original quotes and recollection essays written specially for this book by Jane Fonda, Joan Collins, Bert Stern, Kelly Osbourne, Michelle Phillips, Patty Duke, Lee Grant, Elke Sommer, Viva, Tony Scotti, Trina Turk, Dave Draper, Neal Barr, and Jean-Jacques Bugat
  • Retrospective quotes by Roman Polanski, Mia Farrow, Warren Beatty, Richard Avedon, Truman Capote, Dominick Dunne, Orson Welles, Barbara Parkins, George Harrison, David Niven, Deborah Kerr, Yul Brynner, Kirk Douglas, and many others
  • Rare and classic photographs by David Bailey, Milton Greene, Philippe Halsman, Shahrokh Hatami, Terry O'Neill, Peter Basch, John Engstead, Peter Br├╝chmann, Neal Barr, Pierluigi Praturlon, Curt Gunther, and Jean-Jacques Bugat
  • Never-before-seen or published images of Sharon in the classic film Valley of the Dolls, digitally reproduced from original negatives and transparencies specially for this book from the 20th Century Fox archives
AUTHOR'S STATEMENT

"For many years now I have wanted to write a book about my sister, Sharon Tate, as I felt it was my responsibility to help preserve her considerable photographic legacy. The idea for this book was not to present a traditional biography, but to carefully assemble photographs and pair them with recollections from myself, Sharon's friends, costars and work associates, and even Sharon herself. I hope by doing this, the book will provide her legions of current and future fans with a well-rounded sense of who Sharon really was—of the gentle and supremely unique spirit that existed beyond her screen persona."

Submitted by Venus.  Thanks Venus!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It's 70's week at LSB3

Linda Ronstadt meets Leslie Van Houten

I'm currently reading Linda Ronstadt's book Simple Dreams. In her book, Linda relates how she (and her friend Nicolette Larson) were really into roller skating. This was during the late 1970's, when skating was very popular. I can relate, because I loved going to roller discos!  While skating in Southern California one day, Linda and Nicolette met Leslie Van Houten.

On to the story (excerpted from Simple Dreams)

Nicky and I started skating on Venice Beach, which we loved because it was full of extreme Southern California characters. There were old Jewish lefties playing chess, whatever was left of the Beat Generation, Muscle Beach bodybuilders, and street performers. There were also slackers and stoners of every description lying around enjoying the warm sun and the great looking girls in skimpy clothing.

Skating liberated us from car culture. If we saw something we liked, we could stop and join in immediately without having to park. If we didn't like what we saw, we could roll on by. The two of us were both novice skaters and could stop only by grabbing on to a pole or a tree.

We had a pal named Dan Blackburn, who worked as a news correspondent for NBC. He was a good skater and offered to meet us at the beach and give us some tips. Dan said he would bring a friend he wanted us to meet. He arrived at the designated hour and introduced us to a slender brunette, quiet and pretty, with a refined, well-brought-up manner. Her name was Leslie. We skated for an hour or so, until we were accosted by a tangle of people who were lying on the ground, trying to grab our ankles and begging for water. Some of them were eating dirt. They were obviously wasted on something strong. Someone said it was "angel dust," which was the street name for PCP.  The analgesic effect of angel dust can prevent users form realizing they need water, and by the time the drug starts to wear off, they are desperate with thirst.

We managed to slide away and skated to a nearby restuarant for lunch. After we ordered, we began to talk about how we felt sorry and embarrassed for the people we had seen, that they had been shorn of any dignity they may have possessed, and that angel dust looked like a bad drug. Nicky and I had never tried it, and wondered what could be its appeal. Quiet Leslie became animated and said that yes, it was a very bad drug, and could cause one to do things one would never do when sober. She said she knew this, because she herself, had done some bad things under the influence of drugs and had gone to jail. Remembering my own jail experience, I naively asked her what she was arrested for. "Murder," she replied. "Well, who did you murder?" Nicky sputtered. Leslie replied that her full name was Leslie Van Houten and that she had been part of Charles Manson's "family." Nicollete and I were choking on our burgers. She seemed so nice and normal.

We wondered as politely as we could, how she had gotten out of jail and could be lunching and roller skating with us instead of sitting in a cell with the rest of her cohorts. She was out on an appeal because her attoney disappeared during the trial, and so she was found to have had ineffective assistance at trial.

As she saw it, the combination of Charles Manson's influence, plus the drugs he had encouraged her to take, would convince the court that she was not in her right mind, and therefore innocent. Dan and Leslie left us pondering how someone's life could change so irrevocably from normal to grotesquely tragic. As we skated back to where the car was parked, we wondered, could this happen to either of us? Or someone we loved?  It definitely reinforced the hearing loss argument against drugs. I remember feeling so disturbed and distracted that I lost track of what my feet were doing and fell hard on the concrete. This, added to my fall down the stairs at the Capitol theatre a few years earlier, caused yeares of back problems.

Leslie's appeal, no surprise, was ultimately unsuccessful, as she was retried and ultimatley found guilty. After close to a year of freedom, she was returned to prison, where she remains to this day.
The above photo (from this time period) was found on the "Truth on Tate-LaBianca" website.