RARWRITER PUBLISHING GROUP PRESENTS

CREATIVE CULTURE JOURNAL

at www.RARWRITER.com      

--------------------"The best source on the web for what's real in arts and entertainment" ---------------------------

Volume 2-2016

MUSIC    BOOKS    FINE ARTS   FILM   THE WORLD

ARTIST NEWS    THIS EDITION   ABOUT   MUSIC   MUSIC REVIEWS  BOOKS  CINEMA   FASHION   FINE ARTS  FEATURES   SERIES  MEDIA  ESSAY  RESOURCES  WRITTEN ARTS POETRY  CONTACT  ARCHIVES  MUSIC LINKS

                                 

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ABOUT RAR: For those of you new to this site, "RAR" is Rick Alan Rice, the publisher of the RARWRITER Publishing Group websites. Use this link to visit the RAR music page, which features original music compositions and other.

Use this link to visit Rick Alan Rice's publications page, which features excerpts from novels and other.

RARADIO

(Click here)

Currently on RARadio:

"On to the Next One" by Jacqueline Van Bierk

"I See You Tiger" by Via Tania

"Lost the Plot" by Amoureux"

Bright Eyes, Black Soul" by The Lovers Key

"Cool Thing" by Sassparilla

"These Halls I Dwell" by Michael Butler

"St. Francis"by Tom Russell & Gretchen Peters, performance by Gretchen Peters and Barry Walsh; 

"Who Do You Love?"by Elizabeth Kay; 

"Rebirth"by Caterpillars; 

"Monica's Frock" by Signel-Z; 

"Natural Disasters" by Corey Landis; 

"1,000 Leather Tassels" by The Blank Tapes; 

"We Are All Stone" and "Those Machines" by Outer Minds; 

"Another Dream" by MMOSS; "Susannah" by Woolen Kits; 

Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and other dead celebrities / news by A SECRET PARTY;

"I Miss the Day" by My Secret Island,  

"Carriers of Light" by Brendan James;

"The Last Time" by Model Stranger;

"Last Call" by Jay;

"Darkness" by Leonard Cohen; 

"Sweetbread" by Simian Mobile Disco and "Keep You" fromActress off the Chronicle movie soundtrack; 

"Goodbye to Love" from October Dawn; 

Trouble in Mind 2011 label sampler; 

Black Box Revelation Live on Minnesota Public Radio;

Apteka "Striking Violet"; 

Mikal Cronin's "Apathy" and "Get Along";

Dana deChaby's progressive rock

 

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Rick Alan Rice (RAR) Literature Page

ATWOOD - "A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliverance" -AVAILABLE NOW FOR KINDLE (INCLUDING KINDLE COMPUTER APPS) FROM AMAZON.COM. Use this link.

CCJ Publisher Rick Alan Rice dissects the building of America in a trilogy of novels collectively calledATWOOD. Book One explores the development of the American West through the lens of public policy, land planning, municipal development, and governance as it played out in one of the new counties of Kansas in the latter half of the 19th Century. The novel focuses on the religious and cultural traditions that imbued the American Midwest with a special character that continues to have a profound effect on American politics to this day. Book One creates an understanding about America's cultural foundations that is further explored in books two and three that further trace the historical-cultural-spiritual development of one isolated county on the Great Plains that stands as an icon in the development of a certain brand of American character. That's the serious stuff viewed from high altitude. The story itself gets down and dirty with the supernatural, which in ATWOOD - A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliveranceis the outfall of misfires in human interactions, from the monumental to the sublime. The book features the epic poem "The Toiler" as well as artwork by New Mexico artist Richard Padilla.

Elmore Leonard Meets Larry McMurtry

Western Crime Novel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am offering another novel through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing service. Cooksin is the story of a criminal syndicate that sets its sights on a ranching/farming community in Weld County, Colorado, 1950. The perpetrators of the criminal enterprise steal farm equipment, slaughter cattle, and rob the personal property of individuals whose assets have been inventoried in advance and distributed through a vast system of illegal commerce.

It is a ripping good yarn, filled with suspense and intrigue. This was designed intentionally to pay homage to the type of creative works being produced in 1950, when the story is set. Richard Padilla has done his usually brilliant work in capturing the look and feel of a certain type of crime fiction being produced in that era. The whole thing has the feel of those black & white films you see on Turner Movie Classics, and the writing will remind you a little of Elmore Leonard, whose earliest works were westerns. Use this link.

 

EXPLORE THE KINDLE BOOK LIBRARY

If you have not explored the books available from Amazon.com's Kindle Publishing division you would do yourself a favor to do so. You will find classic literature there, as well as tons of privately published books of every kind. A lot of it is awful, like a lot of traditionally published books are awful, but some are truly classics. You can get the entire collection of Shakespeare's works for two bucks.

You do not need to buy a Kindle to take advantage of this low-cost library. Use this link to go to an Amazon.com page from which you can download for free a Kindle App for your computer, tablet, or phone.

Amazon is the largest, but far from the only digital publisher. You can find similar treasure troves atNOOK Press (the Barnes & Noble site), Lulu, and others.


 

 

 

Cinemanema

 

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DOCUMENTARY FILMS

Director: Stephen Kessler (2011)
This documentary begins with the assumption that 1970s recording/acting sensation Paul Williams is dead. The director, Stephen Kessler, who grew up watching the diminutive (5'2") Williams on countless TV shows in that era, had a deep affection for Williams but hadn't seen or heard of him in years and so assumed he had "died too young". This extraordinary hole in Kessler's perception -- Paul Williams is very much alive and is the current President of the American Society of Composers and Performers (ASCAP) -- is really the linchpin of this entire, very funny, documentary. Kessler, who has produced and directed a couple feature films as well as numerous television commercials, is either afflicted with Aspergers syndrome, or he is a clever and sneaky comic genius, because much of what makes this train wreck of a documentary so fascinating is Kessler's inability (or unwillingness?) to recognize the highly professional Williams' lack of comfort with his documentarian's inability to create a strategy for telling Williams' story. Williams is a 20-plus years sober substance abuse patient, who lost his parents when he was very young, was brought from Nebraska to California to live with an aunt, and stood only 4'6" tall when he graduated from high school, which is all stuff Williams was willing to talk about, had Kessler picked up any of the signals, or have he had any handle on a narrative approach to the film. In the first part of documentary, Kessler is just sort of invading Williams' privacy by following him around with a camera. Kessler doesn't seem very interested in who Paul Williams is, or how he got to be who he is. In fact, Kessler's only real connection to Williams is that he idolized him as a kid and always imagined what it would be like to be his friend; or, more to the point, to have a "TV friend". An apparently lonely kid, Kessler grew up watching a lot of TV, and developed close attachments to those he saw on the screen. Watching Paul Williams negotiate Kessler's absurd amateurish behaviors would be uncomfortable viewing were Paul Williams not such an apparently nice person. In fact, he is kind, and the kindness he shows for Kessler tends to confirm everything that anybody who grew up watching him on television always sensed about him. Though Williams was a cocaine-sniffing party animal, who now cannot bare to watch himself in video of his 1970s television appearances, his fans heard his real self in those songs that he wrote and sang ("We've Only Just Begun", "Rainy Days and Mondays", "Rainbow Connection", and many others). Williams was not a good singer -- in fact, wrote corny songs that were anything but hip -- but his fans loved his courage, wit and bravado, particularly given his size. He was like all of us who loved him, the regular folks, the little people. Paul wasn't afraid of the world at all, at least not that we could see, so maybe being funny and upbeat would work for us, too! Those sentiments were what Queens-native Kessler apparently felt about Paul Williams, though Kessler's personal limitations are not his size, but his brain-dead personality.  Williams, haltingly at first, puts up with Kessler, perhaps thinking that a documentary of his life and career could be pretty nice if only the person who had elected himself to do the film wasn't such an idiot. But then something happens. The two bond over a shared love of squid, and Williams starts to come alive to Kessler, and Kessler begins to relax with Williams. After being invaded by this guy with a camera for weeks, and obviously questioning himself for ever getting involved in this documentary in the first place, Paul Williams starts to like Stephen Kessler. Somehow this feels great to watch, because there is something about Paul Williams that makes you wish he was your friend, too, and before our eyes this dream starts to unfold for the oddly unworthy Stephen Kessler. Then again, Kessler may have been putting us on all along, doing a Stephen Colbert, portraying a character to create a certain atmosphere for his film. Whatever, the magic all comes from Williams, who rewards us with the revelation that he is better now than ever, happier than he has ever been at any time in his life, and he has utterly shed those aspects of his younger self that associated him so closely with a wild Hollywood lifestyle. More beautiful yet, where some triumph over addiction to become preachers, propagandists, and pontificators -- superior Buddhas of self-love -- Williams has sort of moved on. He is active in recovery support groups and apparently someone others can reach out to, but that isn't the vibe one gets from him. He has the keen intelligence and tolerances of a mature guy who has seen it all and has achieved a balanced grace. Kessler, whose references are all to Williams in his commercial heyday, seems to want to explore how Williams feels about not being a big star anymore, but Paul Williams is way more than that. By the end of this film, you not only adore Williams, but you come to sort of adore Stephen Kessler, for his naive innocence -- he is way too old to be naive or innocent -- and that he starts to seem like Williams' human pet, as if he is a dumb, loyal dog, just happy to be in his master's presence.
Director: Mike Fleiss (2014)
As a person who always hated the Grateful Dead, I sat to watch this Bob Weir documentary thinking maybe it would tell me something about Weir and that band he fronted that would finally reveal to me that special something about them that had previously been revealed to so many of their fans. The Grateful Dead's main claim to fame was that they had the most dedicated fans in show business; an army of gypsies who would follow the Dead from show-to-show, until finally they got to be a security problem for the cities the Dead played. To many an urban mayor, the Deadheads came to town like an infestation, or a drug-laden plague, until finally it became less and less easy to get permits for their shows. So what did these people see in the Grateful Dead? That the documentary makes a big deal out of young Bob Weir's appeal to girls says everything anyone would need to know about the overall appeal of the guys in the band. There was nothing really very special about Weir, other than that he was surrounded by some real dogs, so in contrast looked all the better. In fact, one could argue that this same dynamic played out in the sound of the band. This is a band that used two drummers, for no apparent reason, to produce a sound that even Weir and Garcia concede was never "current". The two came from the affluent communities of Atherton and Palo Alto, California, beginning their musical association in a jug band when Weir was still in high school. They morphed into a rock band, The Warlocks, played strip clubs in San Francisco and free concerts in Golden Gate Park -- you'll remember that this was in the Hippie Era circa 1967 -- before then becoming the Grateful Dead. From the beginning, they were hardly more than the soundtrack for a be-in. The crowd was more interesting than they were, though to the budding musicians among the legion of Dead fans Jerry Garcia ranks among the gods of the guitar, with Eric Clapton and the other "giants". Music giants are always hoisted up  by listeners who don't really know anything about making music, and so it was for the Dead. This video features sections of Weir demonstrating chord changes on his guitar and any knowledgeable person will recognize immediately that Weir isn't much of a musician. Worse than that, he seems brain dead; a guy who couches all of his memories about his life as "an adventure", which is all he can seem to come up with. Some of those adventures included following under the spell of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters, and taking LSD every Saturday for a year. Weir seems to have a special admiration for the disastrous Neal Cassady, who is most well known for his association with Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and later with the LSD "movement". Cassady was insane, likely suffering from a severe bipolar disorder that had him stuck on high, was occasionally imprisoned on drug charges, and functioned as the resident nut case for the inspiration of his "writerly" friends. Weir thought he was a genius, but then Weir was very young and impressionable, and possibly not terribly bright. Now, as a guy in his late sixties, he seems to function a little bit behind the beat, as if maybe all those sessions with mind expansion left him with some unrecovered spaces in his neural connectors. He comes across as more of a victim than as a fit subject for a documentary. Many biographical documentaries build their narrative around interviews with friends and associates, but Weir is pretty much on his own in this one, talking about himself. Sammy Hagar shows up at one point to sympathize with Weir's plight as the best looking guy in the band. That is actually the main thing I came away with from watching this documentary. Sammy Hagar was the best looking guy in some band? Really? Otherwise, everything about the Grateful Dead makes me feel kind of like I've been hanging out with Pig Pen.
Director: Greg 'Freddy' Camalier (2013)
Muscle Shoals is a documentary that traces the development, in the early 1960s, of little Muscle Shoals, Alabama into a Mecca for music recording, particularly Rhythm & Blues. It was an extraordinary feat that was accomplished through the sheer willpower of a tough hombre named Rick Hall, a local guy who founded FAME studios. Hall grew up in impoverished conditions and with a nasty chip on his shoulder, and he became a club musician with a vision for a recording studio. He really blossomed as a producer because he had a natural sense for the feel and dynamic of each tune he recorded, and he was a tyrannical perfectionist, demanding take after take of tracks until he heard the sound that to him sounded like a hit. Hall did many extraordinary things, not the least of them being that he brought a group of white teenagers together as a tight studio band (The Swampers), whose swampy sound helped to break the previously listless career of young Aretha Franklin. Those kids can be heard on Franklin's seminal hits "Never Loved A Man" and "Respect". Hall, his studio and studio band, also breathed life into a young and cantankerous Wilson Pickett. Hall's early successes with FAME studios brought him into contact with famed Columbia Records Producer Jerry Wexler, who would come to be a bitter rival of Halls and impact the entire rest of his professional life.

Rick Hall was not an easy guy to work with, and the film traces The Swamper's departure from FAME studios to create a studio of their own, in Muscle Shoals, which would compete directly with Rick Hall's business. To Hall it was an act of war. He hired a whole new, largely black studio band, while The Swampers struggled to get traction with their new facility. Then the Rolling Stones came to town to work in the Swampers' studio, where they recorded "Wild Horses", "Brown Sugar" and two other tracks for their Sticky Fingers LP. An avalanche of big name recording stars recorded in the Muscle Shoals studios after that, and new ones were created, most notably The Allmann Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Muscle Shoals, figuratively speaking, was the place where Southern Rock - roughly meaning Duane Allmann slide guitar style rock - was born.

It is the strange, damaged personality of Rick Hall that makes this film intriguing, on some levels. It is a little sketchy trying to figure out what it was about Muscle Shoals that made it a place where music magic happened, except possibly that it must have been an inexpensive alternative to other big town studios. The style of recording that came from those studios was fat and greasy and carried its own raw signature; it had a certain brand of southern soul. It was a place known for its elimination of music charts, and in that was a place of a sort of illiterate expression, which most certainly captured a certain underclass sound of the deep south. What effect that might have had on the string of pop bands that passed through the area is pretty hard to tell, and the inability of the film's producers to create that link is certainly the weak part of this film. Was Muscle Shoals of those early years really just a state of mind? A southern fried musical legend? Or did the surrounding swamp somehow seep into those who recorded there to give birth to some kind of musical voodoo?

Director: John Scheinfeld (2010)
Harry Nilsson was arguably the "best" pop singer of the post-Beatles era, which may extend through to today. It is hard to think of what modern vocalist really ever had his crystalline range; who could go from a soft bottom to a lilting high with such purity. The world has been full of belters of high notes, but that's quite different from what Harry Nilsson had, which might be described as a piccolo to Freddie Mercury's trumpet. Listening to Harry Nilsson, one tends to hang on every note because they are all so delicate. Someone in the film calls it the musical equivalent of watching a tight rope walker, always uncertain whether or not Harry would fall, though he never did. His A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night  LP, with Gordon Jenkins directing the London Philharmonic Orchestra through early 20th Century standards, may be the greatest recorded vocal performance of the last hundred years.

Nilsson recorded that album over the protest of his producer Richard Perry, with whom he had achieved breakthrough success with Nilsson Schmilsson. Nilsson, who showed up in L.A. as a 15-year old homeless Brooklynite, a high school dropout, had been carving out a niche for himself in west coast music circles since 1962. He had done studio work with Little Richard, and then caught the attention of The Beatles when he released a 22-track LP titled Pandemonium Shadow Show, that included a cover of "You Can't Do That" along with a batch of Harry's own tunes. He wrote the Three Dog Night hit "One". He scored a hit with "Everybody's Talking", which became the theme song to the hit movie Midnight Cowboy. Nilsson, who never toured to perform live based on his feeling that no one would be interested in seeing him, did appear on a number of television shows in the 1960s, including the short-lived Playboy After Dark, where he did "living room" performances. Richard Perry had turned Nilsson into a commercial product, but Nilsson destroyed their relationship by putting out Son of Schmilsson which largely ignored Perry's direction. Nilsson was then determined to do his standards album, with an orchestra, while his vocal abilities were at their finest. Perry felt it wasn't the right time in Nilsson's career for him to be doing an album like that, and the disagreement ended their association.

Nilsson's story is often recounted as a tragedy: the upward and downward arc of an alcoholic, drug addict, rock animal. The documentary consists largely of music celebrities telling outrageous Harry Nilsson stories. Everyone seemed to know that he was a personal disaster and yet none seemed inclined to remove themselves from his influence. Nilsson's close relationship with John Lennon, who produced his Pussy Cats LP (Nilsson, Lennon and Ringo Starr lived together for a time during the making of this LP), eventually led to the destruction of Nilsson's golden voice, and after Lennon was killed Harry Nilsson dropped his music career altogether to become a gun control advocate.

The documentary is one of redemption, in some respects, as the abandoned child Harry Nilsson grows up over time and becomes a doting father. That is, of course, the least interesting aspect of his story.

Director: Tom Donahue (2012)
Documentaries have long focused on subjects who have done great things, but somehow not been properly recognized, and the maturation of cable television has created an outlet for these hagiographies. Their merit is now judged on how effectively they skirt around the essence of what they are, which is usually a tribute to someone who is well-known enough in the first place for someone to want to make them the subject of a film. In that, they are a little like halls of fame. Both make one wonder why these cinematic or brick-and-mortar recognitions are really needed.

What makes Casting By, the story of seminal movie casting professional Marion Dougherty, interesting in the least is the light it shines on how the movie stars we have known over the past 50 years became movie stars. An incredible number of them, in their New York youths, used to haunt the hallways of Dougherty's New York City brownstone, where she proposed them to fill various roles in big feature productions. These would include Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Christopher Walken, and many others.

Dougherty was around when the west coast movie studio system crumbled in the 1950s. The movie business had been developed as a sort of cottage industry, where studio moguls kept large rosters of actors under contract. In the studio system, actors were hired to represent iconic types, and so actors who were hired because they looked like doctors were cast in doctor roles in movie after movie, and so it was for each character type. People weren't cast in parts so much as they were selected from menus. And, of course, in those formative years the studios were cranking out low-budget features by the trunk load.

Everything changed in the 1950s, when big budget epic films started to become the rage, and when mature hype machines turned individual stars into products too big to be controlled by the old studio system. After the system crumbled, there developed a need for a new type of casting professional, who would work with film directors to design the character of a film through the careful selection of freelance actors who could breathe life into character parts. Dougherty had an uncanny sense for promoting actors who audiences would come to think of as indispensable to the roles they played. This documentary concentrates on getting Dougherty a special Academy Award for her work in casting, for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has never awarded a casting category. In fact, filmmakers like the obnoxious Taylor Hackford have fought against such an Oscar category on the insistence that casting is subordinate to the movie director role, a subset, not a separate function. So it is that Dougherty and others in her field have had to satisfy themselves with screen credits, which they have not always received. Does that in itself make this documentary interesting? Not really.

Director: Denny Tedesco (2008)
There was something sort of fundamentally dishonest about the music coming out of L.A. in that golden period of the late '50s and early '60s. It was a contrived, canned product, in many respects, and the output of a couple dozen highly-developed studio musicians who played the music tracks behind virtually every act that came out of L.A. in that period. Few of the new generation of song stylists were doing anything more than singing their own parts on their records, while the studio band called "the Wrecking Crew" recorded the tracks. The Beach Boys, The Byrds, The Monkees, and other major acts of the day, could tour and play live, when the quality of their performance was less critical, but for studio purposes the difficult work was handled by the professionals.

The general public was not told this. In fact, signed bands would show up for their first recording session to find that their instruments would not be needed. Roger McGuinn and his Rickenbacker 12-string, which gave The Byrds their signature sound, was allowed to work with the crew, but he was the exception.

The Wrecking Crew had recording down to a science. As guitarist Tommy Tedesco told someone who was astonished at the quickness with which they grasped and executed a piece of music, "We practice a lot during the day". In fact, the members of the Wrecking Crew played together every day for years, starting with morning sessions in one studio, moving to another for an early afternoon session, another for a late afternoon session, and then on to evening performances and sessions that would go on into the early morning hours. They worked virtually around the clock, and this group of musicians, which included Glenn Campbell on guitar, would become well-to-do men just collecting union rates because they worked so many hours. There was one woman among them, the bassist and guitarist Carol Kaye, who somehow fit seamlessly into this otherwise all male fraternity.

This film is really carried by Tommy Tedesco, to whom it is dedicated. Tedesco was a good-humored, blue-collar type of guy, who took up the guitar later than most but became a sight reader and a transformative figure in modern pop music. He was key to making the Wrecking Crew the epitome of music professionalism. He and his mates laid down perfect tracks for an astonishing range of artists. Of course, when The Beatles arrived things started to change. They were music pros who played their own tracks (though Ringo Starr was famously dropped on their first recording date in favor of a studio drummer), and with their success came a new generation of self-supporting songwriting acts. Time eventually passed the Wrecking Crew by, and so came the end of an era. For a time, pop music became more of a personal singer-songwriting type of an affair, though eventually there once again developed an era of canned acts (e.g., Boys to Men, The Spice Girls), that returned the focus to singers and dancers, and recreated a certain breed of largely anonymous studio musicians.

Director: Paul Justman (2002)
This is another of those documentaries that seeks to shine a light on the makers of a sound that was as much the product of a tremendous collection of music pros as it was the work of those who became stars and got all the credit. What makes Standing in the Shadows of Motown a little different is that the players who were brought together in Detroit by producer/songwriter Barry Gordy were guys right out of Detroit's Jazz clubs, which is to say guys from the neighborhood.

All of these musician-focused documentaries surface the same thing, which is that when the music is right the racial differences between the players is non-existent. This is one of the uplifting aspects of music, part of its magic. Music transcends everything.

The Motown studio band was known as the Funk Brothers, and like the Wrecking Crew on the west coast, the Funk Brothers were a biracial collective of guys who grooved on the same sounds. From a musician's perspective, the Funk Brothers' Motown style is most interesting to break apart and analyze. The band had discovered something elemental, a truth that has been passed from one musician to the next ever since, which is that it is more about how you play what you play than it is about what you play. And more than that, it is about not playing so as to give every instrument in the band its own space. There are no conflicting sounds in a Funk Brothers recording, no muddy parts caused by instruments competing with one another. The Motown records, which featured heavy bass and close-miked drums, breathed or pulsated like an organic expression. There was a naturalness to the Motown sound that was unparalleled. Where the west coast sound of the Wrecking Crew was all about rangy perfection, the Funk Brothers were all about feel. When one watches the band members perform, it is often striking how little they play. Their parts are simple, but perfectly calibrated to mesh with those of the other musicians. They spread the tones within each chord change over the full band. Musicianship, on that level, becomes all about listening to the folks around you, and capturing the feel and the beat.

Motown was chased out of Detroit by the riots of the 1960s, when Barry Gordy packed up Hitsville USA and moved the whole affair to the west coast. Motown was never the same after that. It became a more calculated, and in some ways more sophisticated thing. It became Marvin Gaye singing about social issues, where always before it had been about young people dealing with love and romance and dance. Some of the Funk Brothers tried to move to L.A. to continue their successful careers, but most didn't fit in on the west coast and returned to anonymity in the clubs of Detroit. As it had for the Wrecking Crew, the time of the Funk Brothers had passed as the pop music world moved on to a whole other set of motivations and circumstances.

Director: Regina Russell (2014)
For sheer absurdity, you could hardly beat this documentary, which traces the success of '80s metal band Quiet Riot, and founding member drummer Frankie Banali's obsessive quest for a singer to replace co-founder Kevin DuBrow following DuBrow's death in 2007.

This movie has much in common with a mockumentary, though not on purpose. Director Russell, who eventually married Frankie Banali, had access to Banali's conflicted interior, and her devotion to Banali's dream of holding this questionable musical act together into his later years reveals some really uncomfortable aspects of human behavior.

For one thing, Quiet Riot was a lousy band, and a band of execrable musical tastes. They surfaced as MTV surfaced and they scored a classic video with "Cum on Feel the Noize", which is a title that tells you all you really need to know about Quiet Riot. They were vulgar and stupid, all on the strength of Kevin DuBrow's outlandish metal vocals and his stage presence. He was a party animal and a narcissist who portrayed that on stage to maximum effect. He was, for all practical purposes, Quiet Riot. The band's history was one of constant changes in personnel, with DuBrow even being replaced at one point before reuniting with childhood friend Banali to keep Quiet Riot afloat in the music industry. When the cocaine and alcohol huffing DuBrow died in Las Vegas, at age 52, he made a remarkably pleasing corpse; in fact, looked better than he ever had in his prime, but a lifetime of drug abuse takes its toll and DuBrow apparently died one night in his sleep.

This movie becomes a perverse pleasure when Frankie Banali starts holding auditions to replace his deceased friend, in between sob fest visits to DuBrow's grave site. Quiet Riot is really all that Banali has in his life, other than a sweetly adorable young daughter. He is a widower as the film begins, a guy who has lost both parents and really has no choice but to somehow continue to make Quiet Riot viable as a source of continued income. At one point, he chooses a guy named Mark Huff, who had been vocalist with a Van Halen tribute band, to be their new lead singer. Banali chooses Huff because Huff could do that metal rock vocal screaming sound, but Banali seemed not to have considered what it would really take for someone to fill DuBrow's performance shoes. Huff has no stage presence at all, and sometimes forgets the words to songs. Banali berates him and basically tortures the guy into a puddle of goo until finally he starts to find his way. Banali eventually fires Huff and moves on to another guy, and another...

This movie is really kind of sad, not because anybody cares about Banali and DuBrow, or their brainless band, but because what surfaces is Banali's tortured psyche, which is not a pretty thing to behold. One imagines that his future wife, Regina Russell, saw it otherwise.

 Use this link to read the Inside Llewyn Davis article

 

 

 

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Copyright November, 2016 Rick Alan Rice (RARWRITER)