“Jaws” (1975, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment) The unlikely trio of police chief Roy Scheider, shaggy oceanographer Richard Dreyfuss and grizzled shark hunter Robert Shaw are tasked with dispatching the 25-foot Great White preying on summer crowds on an East Coast island. Adventure-thriller from Steven Spielberg changed the motion picture business by establishing the colossal moneymaking potential of summer releases and saturation booking (releasing a film to thousands of theaters at once, rather than a gradual release); unlike most films that fall under the blockbuster rubric, “Jaws” manages to be at once dramatic, inventive, funny, suspenseful, and compulsively and consistently watchable. UPHE’s 45th anniversary release bundles 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and digital versions of the film with two feature-length documentaries, including the excellent “The Shark is Still Working,” about the film’s production challenges, deleted scenes, production art and a 48-page booklet.
Memorial Paddle Out for George Floyd June 2020. All photos by Brian Michaels.
Last Friday, more than 200 surfers from the Los Angeles area joined others around the world as they took part in a hallowed surfing ritual with its roots in Hawaii. Participants circled their surfboards and held hands alongside the Santa Monica Pier at the memorial paddle out as they repeated George Floyd’s name nine times, once for every minute he was held down beneath the knee of a Minnesota police officer.
A friend of mine from Canada sent me a text, “Are you going to the PiL Official Johnny Lydon talk on Zoom?” So I signed up for Lydon’s “Quarantine Party Only For The Headstrong,” which was being held to celebrate the digital release of “The Public Image is Rotten,” a feature documentary from 2017. My party time was scheduled from 2am till 5 am. on Sunday morning, June 7th.
This wouldn’t be my first PiL event. I had virtually attended Martin Atkins’ celebration of PiL on American Bandstand, their show in San Francisco, and the one I attended at the Olympic Auditorium. I had met John Lydon (nee Rotten) and the boys at a press conference at La Dome three days before the Olympic Auditorium show.
That was 40 years ago. May 4, 1980, was a special night for LA punk, with PiL finally manifesting our first glance at His Rotteness. People spit all over him. He was the Gob King and were his army. He could have said anything to the audience; people would have been under his spell. The years passed and members changed. Then Pil became “John Lydon and various blokes” for decades, and then John became an author–writing about what he knew best–himself. The Public Image is Rotten is a look inside the world according to John. His life, his wife Nora, and his legacy, which like the man himself, is an enigma.
David Connelly AKA DOSSHAUS returns to the Corey Helford Gallery in downtown L.A. with a new exhibit entitled POP GOES . . ., available (online only) until July 3rd. If you’re not familiar with Connelly’s black & white painted and X-Acto knifed cardboard constructions, it’s time to check them out. Incredibly detailed and delightfully surreal, they have the look of vintage cartoons or ads that have sprung to life. After the success of his 2018 Paper Thin Hotel at the Corey Helford, Connelly turned to his idols such as Joe Strummer, Patti Smith and Jasper Johns for his inspiration for this new series.
As he states in the press release, the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide protests have given the works some added resonance. Certainly we can all relate to the piece called “Bad News,” with its boot kicking the TV screen. Some of the works come in corresponding pairs, so there is a “Good News” piece that’s a nice fantasy for us Clash fans: a TV set announcing that Joe Strummer lives! The letters pop out when the piece is seen from the side, which is hard to capture in a photo. Another Clash piece is “The Future Is Unwritten,” a 3D version of the art from the band’s single “Know Your Rights,” with its very timely lyrics.
The collection also includes three Pop portraits: two classic typewriters, one with a famous Patti Smith lyric and the other with one from Leonard Cohen, and “Work In Progress,” a self-portrait that features a cardboard X-Acto knife cutting out the word “Self.” One of the most complex pieces, especially for something made of cardboard, is “Simple Solution,” an ATM with a crowbar smashed into the screen and money spilling out. “Simple Solution 2” shows a can of black paint pouring into a can of white, referencing both Connelly’s preferred color scheme and the dream of racial harmony.
“Slay the Dragon” (2019, Magnolia Home Entertainment) The current national/global climate may have exhausted your personal bandwith for social and political anxiety, but if able, you should consider this documentary on the insidous practice and impact of gerrymandering, or reshaping voter districts to favor one party over another. The direction in which you lean on the political spectrum will undoubtedly color your opinion of Chris Durrance and Barak Goodman‘s film, which is decidedly blue-centric and details both Republican efforts to carve up various states in the favor and the rise of grass roots movements to thwart them. Regardless of your stance, “Dragon” succeeds in detailing both the fragility and the resilience of American democracy through attempts to upend and preserve it. On demand and digital platforms, and on DVD on July 7.