Tuesday, June 21, 2011
A Night on the Town w/ The Lizard King
A Night On The Town With The Lizard King –
Atlantic City’s Paparazzi Queen’s First Celebrity Affair
– By Bill Kelly (email@example.com)
Until she saw Oliver Stone movie “The Doors,” Miss L - the Paparazzi Queen believed Jim Morrison was still alive and living out his true ambition as an anonymous poet.
Now she thinks he’s dead.
As she left the theater after seeing the film she said, ‘The Jim Morrison I knew was quiet and reserved, only drank beer, smoked cigarettes and was a bad dancer.”
Although she only knew him for one day and night, she thought she had a unique insight into the man. Now she says, “I must have caught him on an off night.”
Miss L., who worked at an Atlantic City casino when I first met her, takes pictures of celebrities as a hobby. She prefers to remain anonymous herself because of the sensitivity of her job and a penchant for crashing casino VIP parties.
That’s where I met her, at an “invitation only” VIP party at the Trump Plaza casino shortly before the Tyson-Spinks fight. I had seen her before at other events, and thought she was either a gossip reporter or a hanger on. On this night she was standing by the flood light lit door next to Bill McCullough, the Dean of Atlantic City Paparazzi. I took a picture of them both, then introduced them, not really appreciating the significance of the moment at the time. http://www.flickr.com/photos/masterpieceadvertising/5283545299/in/photostream
All the locals in Atlantic City know Bill McCullough, son of Marie McCullough, whose modeling school has produced beauty queens and fashion models, and his photos of celebrities are well published in local and national newspapers and magazines.
But nobody knows the Paparazzi Queen, although she has photos of herself with Rod Stewart, Don Johnson, Mike Tyson and every other celebrity who has visited Atlantic City. They don’t know here, and her employers don’t know she does this, and she prefers it that way.
She doesn’t even have a professional camera, but a simple Instamatic, aim and shoot.
“I’m not a groupie,” she says emphatically, “or somebody who sleeps with rock stars. There’s nothing sexual about it.”
She’s just a paparazzi – someone who takes pictures of celebrities, but she does it for herself, not to make money as a professional.
“I just get close to them and snap their picture, or sometimes get someone to take a picture of me with someone famous.”
Jumping quickly to the chase, she says emphatically, ‘I didn’t have sex with Jim Morrison. ” Then after a pause and a smile, “but I wish I did.”
She denies an intimate relationship with the rock star, the self-proclaimed Lizard King, despite the fact that one of the two photos she has of them together shows them on a bed in her Miami, Florida hotel room.
She met Morrison during the summer before his death, and the photos she has of him were taken with an old, early model, black and white Polaroid Land camera, prints of which have held up remarkably well. More recently she used a 35 mm automatic camera to take pictures of Rod Stewart, Axl Rose and the Rolling Stones.
She once got a job as an extra on the set of a Miami Vice shoot just to get close to Don Johnson, and she moved to Atlantic City in order to rub elbows with the rich and famous, and take their pictures for her private collection.
Rummaging through her pocket book she comes out with a booklet of photos featuring starts she’s met in Atlantic City. There’s her and Mike, her and the Donald, her and Don Johnson. “I have a chest full of photos,” she says, flipping through the booklet, “but these are the best, my favorites.”
And Jim was the first. “I’ll never forget him. He changed my life.”
She said that they met late in the summer of 1970 at the bar of the Carillon Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, where Morrison was on trial for obscenity stemming from a concert that got out of hand a year before.
The general scene was portrayed vividly by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman in their biography of Morrison, “Nobody Gets Out Alive,” when they wrote, “The temperature and humidity were both close to the 100 mark, and without the rich winter tourists Miami rattled with emptiness and the big hotels on the beach looked like tombstones. Jim was standing in front of the Carillon Hotel, a medium-priced tombstone with a beige marble lobby, crystal chandeliers, and an activity board by the swimming pool. So far his stay in Florida had been uneventful. Sunday he had wanted to see a jai alai game, but was told the courts were closed for the summer, so he went to the dog races instead. The rest of the time he stayed close to the hotel, lying by the pool and drinking in the air-conditioned bar…” http://www.amazon.com/Doors-Here-Alive-Tribute-Morrison/dp/B00005V9HB
As Miss L, the Paparazzi Queen remembers, she went to the Carillon Hotel to apply for a job. She was staying in an apartment around the corner, but because it was off-season, there weren’t many people around, and jobs were scarce.
The hotel lobby was practically empty, except for some old people lounging around and one young guy who struck up a conversation with her, as there was no one else around.
“We started talking about the Doors because the trial was in the news and everybody was talking about it.” http://www.beachedmiami.com/2010/09/20/day-jim-morrison-convicted-indecent-exposure-sept-20-1970/
“And he tells me that Morrison is staying at the hotel. He said he was a friend of Morrison, and in fact, Jim was sitting at the hotel bar at the moment. Did I want to meet him?”
“I was 18 years old at the time, and he asked me if I wanted to meet Jim Morrison, the most famous rock star in the world. Of course I wanted to meet him, so I said yes, and we went into the bar where he was the only customer. The guy introduced us and we sat there at the bar and just talked for awhile.”
What are you doing here?
What do you want?
Is it music?
We can play music.
But you want more.
You want something & someone new.
Am I right?
Of course I am.
You want ecstasy
Desire & dreams.
Things not exactly what they seem.
I lead you this way, he pulls that way.
I'm not singing to an imaginary girl.
I'm talking to you, my self.
Let's recreate the world…
She said Morrison didn’t spruce up or trim up, or put on a special suit for the trial. He wore his hair long and had a scruffy beard – his ‘Jesus Christ’ look, perfect for the trial.
“He had on a white cotton shirt, open at the collar, black leather pants and vest, and boots,” the outfit he usually war, on and off stage. http://www.washingtonsquares.com/jim.html
“I told him I had seen him perform at the Spectum in Philly a few weeks before,” she continues, “but he wasn’t impressed. He said he’d never go to a rock concert if he didn’t have to. He wouldn’t like being around all those people, pushing and shoving. And then he looked at the other guy and asked him if he would ever go to a rock concert? The other guy nodded in agreement, and I still don’t know who the other guy was or his name, but he wasn’t a member of the band.”
See: Doors at the Spectrum , May 1970 http://www.doorshistory.com/doors1970.html
“It was in the afternoon, and we were just talking, and after awhile Jim says he wanted to take a walk. So the three of us went outside and went for a walk around the neighborhood, down Collins Avenue.”
“I was in ecstasy. Here I was walking down the street with Jim Morrison, the most famous rock star in the world, the guy on trial and on ever newspaper, radio and TV in America and probably the world, and I was walking down the street with him. I tried to be cool, and not treat him with awe, and it was hard, but no one on the street even recognized him.
The day I left the beach…
Now I can't walk thru a city
street w/out eying each
single pedestrian. I feel
their vibes thru my
skin, the hair on my neck
“Eventually we walked past my apartment, actually a dumpy rooming house, and I invited them up to my place, where we just sat around and talked. Jim smoked cigarettes, finished the pack and put it in an ashtray on my dresser. A neighbor came buy, a young guy who lived there, and I introduced them saying, “This is my new friend, Jim Morrison.”
“Jim Morrison, hea?,” he said, and the four of us just sat around and talked for awhile. I didn’t even ask him for an autograph or anything. But eventually I asked Jim if I could take his picture, and took out my camera. I took two pictures of Jim sitting on the bed, and then one of the other guys took one of me and Jim together. Jim then personally inscribed one.
Jim smoked the whole time, but he was actually very quiet and reserved, very polite and he didn’t put any moves on me. He was a gentleman the entire time I was with him.”
“Then before they left they asked me if I wanted to go out to dinner with them that night.”
“Once they were gone, I picked up the empty Marlboro pack off the dresser and kept it, you know, as a keepsake. I still have it. My family kids me about it, but to me, you know, it’s a rock and roll relic. It’s meaningful to me and a link to him somehow.”
Later on in the afternoon, after sprucing up, she went over to their hotel. “Then we walked to this fancy French restaurant, where we sat outdoors on a terrace overlooking the ocean.”
“After dinner we all piled into this rented car, six of us, four guys and two girls. It was pretty tight, but I felt comfortable with them sitting in the back seat with the other girl, a blonde.”
As she explained it, “Jim insisted on driving, even though the others protested slightly, saying something about his license, and I quickly understood why. He drove like a wild maniac down Collins Avenue and thru the streets of Miami Beach. We kept asking him to slow down, and I was scarred, even though I was in the back seat, but he made it an exciting day.”
“Eventually we ended up at this famous bar, not a disco, but a Go-Go bar called the Castaways, that isn’t there anymore. We parked and went to the door where they asked us for IDs and charged and admission. I showed them my ID and then the guy recognizes Jim and said something like, ‘You’re Jim Morrison of the Doors!, right?’”
“But once we got into the club, even though it was crowded, nobody recognized Jim or bothered us.”
“We got a table and Jim had a beer. That’s all he drank all night, although he drank quite a lot of it. But he didn’t have any hard liquor and he didn’t do any drugs, at least not in my presence.”
“Since there was just me and this other girl, the blonde, we took turns dancing with the guys. I danced with Jim, and he was just crazy and wild on the dance floor. He’d just flop around, didn’t have any rhythm, and wasn’t a very good dancer, but he seemed to have a good time. And I was thrilled! But he never did smile or laugh.”
Jim said: Moment of inner freedom
when the mind is opened and the
infinite universe revealed
& the soul is left to wander
dazed & confus'd searching
here & there for teachers & friends.
“He told me he wrote a book of poetry, and although I can’t remember exactly at what point during the evening he gave it to me – I think it was over dinner, I have a copy of his poems, “An American Prayer,” which is personally inscribed to me from him.”
According to the appendix of Morrison’s biography by Hopkins and Sugerman, Morrison had 500 copies of “An American Prayer” published by Western Lithographers of Los Angeles in the summer of 1970. http://www.huddersfield1.co.uk/poetry/morrisonpoetry.htm
Near the end of Oliver Stone’s movie, Morison is shown giving out copies of the book to other members of the band. Val Kilmer, who plays Morrision in the film, reportedly paid thousands of dollars for a copy of “An American Prayer,” which he claimed is only one of fifty still known to be in circulation.
Two other books of poetry, “The Lords and the New Creatures,” were privately published by Morrison in limited editions of 100, by Western Litholgraphers, and then republished in both hardcover and paperback by Simon & Schuster.
An American Prayer
Do you know the warm progress under the stars?
Do you know we exist?
Have you forgotten the keys to the Kingdom?
Have you been borne yet & are you alive?
Let's reinvent the gods, all the myths of the ages
Celebrate symbols from deep elder forests
[Have you forgotten the lessons of the ancient war]
We need great golden copulations
The fathers are cackling in trees of the forest
Our mother is dead in the sea
Do you know we are being led to slaughters by placid admirals
& that fat slow generals are getting obscene on young blood
Do you know we are ruled by T.V.
The moon is a dry blood beast
Guerilla bands are rolling numbers in the next block of green vine
amassing for warfare on innocent herdsmen who are just dying
O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art & perfect our lives
The moths & atheists are doubly divine & dying
We live, we die & death not ends it
Journey we more into the Nightmare
Cling to life our passion'd flower
Cling to cunts & cocks of despair
We got our final vision by clap
Columbus' groin got filled w/ green death
(I touched her thigh & death smiled)
We have assembled inside this ancient & insane theatre
To propagate our lust for life & flee the swarming wisdom of the streets
The barns are stormed
The windows kept & only one of all the rest
To dance & save us
W/ the divine mockery of words
Music inflames temperament
(When the true King's murderers are allowed to roam free a 1000 magicians arise in the land)
Where are the feasts
we were promised
Where is the wine
The New Wine
(dying on the vine)
So Miss L, the Paparazzi Queen, has more than just an old, rumpled empty pack of Marlboros as a memento of her night on the town with the Lizard King. She has a rare, signed, first edition book of his “American Prayer” poetry and three, never before published photos of Morrison in his “Jesus Christ” mode. http://www.bookride.com/2007/04/american-prayer-jim-morrison-1970.html
But she doesn’t care too much for the poetry, and prefers the Doors’ songs he didn’t write, like “Light My Fire,” which he sang with a passion. http://www.lyrics007.com/The Doors Lyrics/Light My Fire Lyrics.html / http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPPh6dci_vs
“Jim was a sensational singer, and he had charisma,” she says, “but I just didn’t like his poetry. Maybe I just don’t understand it. I like Rod McKuen.” http://www.oocities.org/soho/workshop/4296/mckuen.html
“I know he wanted to be remembered as a poet, and didn’t make it as one. So other people must think the same as I do. But I realize, as he said to one critic, maybe I just don’t understand it.”
“In the move it seemed that he wanted to die. But that wasn’t the guy I knew, even if it was for only one day. The Jim Morrison I met came across as a nice guy, not the wild animal he’s portrayed to be in the movie. I thought he was too young to die of a heart attack. Nobody saw the body, except Pam, his girl friend and common-law wife.”
“There was no funeral,” she continues with her Conspiracy Theory, “and Pam supposedly died a few years later. If anyone could have pulled off a stunt like that, wanting to start a new life as a writer and poet instead of a rock star, it was Jim.”
Death is a good disguise
for late at night
She was a first-hand witness to Morrison’s camelion capabilities and ability to go about in public without being recognized.
According to Hopkins and Sugerman, the idea for such a stunt had been in the works for awhile. “The seeds were planted even earlier in his life. When Jim was studying the life and poetry of Arthur Rimbaud, he was gripped by the fact that Rimbaud had written all of his poetry by the age of 19 and then disappeared into North Africa to become a gun runner and slave trader.”
Of course this is also the story of “Eddie and the Cruisers,” whose superstar singer and composer evokes Rimbaud and fakes his own death – driving a 57 Chevy off the Ocean City – Somers Point Causeway bridge. After working as building contractor in Canada for a few years, Eddie Wilson returns in the follow up movie, a story line that is apparently based on Morrison’s desire to forsake being a rock star.
“Morrison had previously commented that he would use the name Mr. Mojo Risin, an anagram remix of the letters of his own name, to contact the office after he split for Africa.”
The Paparazzi Queen often expected to see him again someday. “I thought he was alive for a long time,” she said. “But if he was really, really that wild, maybe he was just going straight for the trial. I just don’t know. Maybe I caught him at a slow period. I thought he was alive for a long time, but now I’m not so sure. Now I think he’s dead, like Elvis, Jimmy and Janis.”
“Nor do I believe all that Indian shaman stuff in the movie. That’s just Oliver Stone trying to give Jim more depth than was really there. If he is dead, he was just another drunk, dried up rock star. If not, he would have surfaced by now.”
But there’s no Mister Mo Joe Risin’
Well, I just got into town about an hour ago
Took a look around, see which way the wind blow
Where the little girls in their Hollywood bungalows
Are you a lucky little lady in the city of light
Or just another lost angel...city of night
City of night, city of night, city of night, woo, cmon…
Drive through your suburbs
Into your blues, into your blues, yeah…
Drivin’ down your freeways
Midnight alleys roam
Cops in cars, the topless bars
Never saw a woman...
So alone, so alone
Motel money murder madness
Lets change the mood from glad to sadness
Mr. mojo risin, mr. mojo risin
Got to keep on risin
Mr. mojo risin, mr. mojo risin
Mojo risin, gotta mojo risin
Mr. mojo risin, gotta keep on risin
Gone risin, risin
Im gone risin, risin
I gotta risin, risin….
NEWS REPORT – Dec. 2010
JIM MORRISON PARDONED
Tallahassee - Rock and roll icon Jim Morrison was pardoned on Thursday by the Florida clemency board for exposing himself at a raucous concert in 1969, an act the late singer and many concert-goers denied ever took place.