Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice Turn 50

Alice (Dyan Cannon) & Ted (Elliott Gould) & Bob
(Robert Culp) & Carol (Natalie Wood) have a pot party. 
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, the first modern movie that depicted women smoking pot.

The film was written and directed by Paul Mazursky (who also wrote 1968's I Love You Alice B. Toklas, in which pot brownies are imbibed). It begins with married couple Bob (Robert Stack) and Carol (Natalie Wood) participating in an encounter group, based on Mazursky's experiences at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA.

Having opened up to new experiences, Bob has a fling with a colleague on a business trip, and confesses his infidelity to Carol. She is surprisingly accepting of Bob's experimentation, and soon tries some of her own.

Child star/actress Natalie Wood (Miracle on 34th Street,
Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story
) puffs pot.
The couple's experiments include smoking pot with their friends, another married couple Ted (Elliot Gould) and Alice (Dyan Cannon). Wood as Carol daintily takes a few little hits, after filling the pipe and lighting it for her husband.

She then pronounces herself "totally and completely zonked out of my skull" but doesn't really act like it, except for amusing herself by talking about doing things "groovily and peacefully."

Cannon, despite her character's name being Alice (as in Wonderland or B. Toklas), insists that she "never gets high," while puffing and coughing away. Her revelation is that she's too fearful of "getting into a potful of trouble," especially because Bob & Ted are lawyers. Ted tells her he loves her anyway, calling her "my sweet unstoned mother of my only son."

Friday, May 24, 2019

When Margot Fonteyn Got Caught at a Pot Party in San Francisco

Fonteyn and Nureyev dance in 1967, the year they were arrested for pot.
British Ballerina Margot Fonteyn was 42 years old in 1961 when 23-year-old Rudolf Nureyev defected from Russia and became her dance partner.

By then Fonteyn had long been the top dancer in the world, as told in the documentary Margot, now on Amazon Prime. A vision of grace and beauty with a brilliant smile and perfect proportions, her flawless technique and "miraculous" balance allowed her to stay on pointe for a breathtaking length of time, all the while keeping her crowds enthralled with the emotion she emitted. 

Always well dressed in designer clothes, Fonteyn nonetheless had a fascination with hippies, as told in the biography Margot Fonteyn: A Life by Meredith Daneman, who writes that she "did raise her hem well above her fairly sturdy knees, and was photographed at a nightclub wearing an African-style dress of grass fringing and wooden beads....with a psychedelic dot on her tummy." When someone said he found the hippy culture "scruffy and irksome," Fonteyn replied, "Oh no! I think it's fascinating. I can't take my eyes off those people."  She was also described as a bit of a "party animal" who liked to keep up with Nureyev's curiosity about everything. 

On July 10, 1967, as Daneman tells it, a bearded hippy named Paul Wesley stood outside the stage door after Margot's performance in San Francisco, and invited her to a "freak-out." She took the address and, wearing a white fur coat, brought Nureyev along to what turned out to be a pot party at 42 Belvedere Street in the Haight district.

Monday, May 13, 2019

RIP To the Marvelous Doris Day

Day in Love Me or Leave Me (1955)
RIP to Doris Day, a wonderful singer, dancer and actress who was hipper than most knew. Oscar Levant, who cast her in her first movie, "Romance on the High Seas," once quipped, "I knew Doris Day before she became a virgin." Bob Hope's nickname for her was "jigglebutt." 

Day was too marvelous for words in films like Man with a Horn, The Pajama Game, and It Happened to Jane, where she fights for her rights in a small New England town. As part of her well marketed wholesome image, Day plays a character shocked by marijuana in Lover Come Back (1961), one of several films she made with Rock Hudson.

The rather convoluted plot goes something like this: 

Advertising executives Carol Templeton (Doris) and Jerry Webster (Rock) work for competing ad agencies. Angered by Jerry’s method of nabbing clients using alcohol and women, Carol brings his behavior up before the Advertising Council. But Jerry bribes Carol’s star witness by filming her in a TV commercial for an imaginary product named VIP. When the ads are accidentally broadcast, Jerry pays a scientist to invent something he can call VIP. Meanwhile, Carol goes after the VIP account and mistakes Jerry, whom she has never met, for the scientist. Rock goes along, pretending to be an inexperienced and marriageable academic instead of the rogue his character truly is, a ruse that was a good cover for Hudson’s homosexuality.

When Carol shows up at Webster’s apartment to confront him she is surprised when Jerry, who she thinks is the scientist, opens the door. Jerry feigns confusion, implying he was partying with the dastardly Webster the night before and his memory is fuzzy.

Rock: “I was dizzy after that cigarette he gave me.”

Doris: “Oh, that depraved monster! What kind of cigarette?”

Rock: “I don’t know. It didn’t have any printing on it.”

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Film Review: "Wine County" and RIP Peggy Lipton

Ana Gasteyer whips out the Molly in "Wine Country"

"Wine Country," now in theaters and on Netflix, is directed by Amy Poehler, who co-stars as the insecure control freak Abby on a weekend getaway with gal pals played by fellow SNLers Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer, Paula Pell and Emily Spivey.

Of course throughout the movie the characters compulsively slurp wine, our socially acceptable but not very interesting inebriant. The group talks about microdosing Molly, but doesn't do it, mainly because they don't know how it will react with all the prescription drugs they're taking, including Wellbutrin, Xanax, Zoloft, and "WhoYaGonnaCallTrex."  Zoloft, being a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) arguably already works as a microdose of psychedelics, since those substances flood the brain's serotonin receptors. Usually people taking SSRIs don’t feel the affect of psychedelics.

"Apparently we're just not that interested in doing drugs," Abby announces, to which Spivey's character astutely responds, "Except for the thousands of drugs we just listed." Instead, the 50-year-old birthday girl Rebecca (Dratch) lays on the floor all night in back pain to have her needed revelation (which sounds a lot less pleasant than taking a little MDMA).

"Toking" is also only mentioned, as a means of coping alongside soaking in a tub, by an amusingly butchy character played by Tina Fey. Then the script makes her a cokehead. Poehler recently pronounced herself unproductive on pot and had a bad time the day after she tried Molly (she wasn't asked about wine). Maybe someday like Chelsea Handler she'll figure out that cannabis can enhance creativity, and it's safer than alcohol. SNL was certainly funnier when its writers and actors smoked weed.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Tokin' Woman Does Chelsea (Lately)

Chelsea gives a thumbs up upon
receiving her copy of Tokin' Women
Chelsea Handler, whose new book Life Will Be the Death of Me debuted as the #1 New York Times bestseller last month, appeared yesterday at The Hall of Flowers, a "B2B Premium Cannabis Trade Show" in Santa Rosa, California.

Interviewed by "Dr. Dina" for a conversation titled "Changing Stigmas: Hollywood's Opportunity with Cannabis," Handler looked great in a "Feminized" T-shirt, pencil jeans and purple pumps, and exhibited wit, wisdom, and lots of humor.

To the first question, "What is your relationship with cannabis?" Handler replied unequivocally, "It's strong." Saying that she tried marijuana a few times in high school but got "too stoned" and paranoid, she thought, "Why don't I just stick with alcohol?"

But in her new book she relates how after the Trump election she found that her rage at the political situation was overly exacerbated by alcohol, and so she began learning more about marijuana as a substitute, starting as an aid to meditation. "It's changed my life," she announced. "It's cut my drinking in half, which is a sentence I never thought I'd say."