Thursday, September 10, 2015

I'm Too Busy Singing to Put Anybody Down. Well, Okay, I'm Not Crazy About Trump. But Other Than Him....

This ad appeared in show-biz bible VARIETY fifty years ago this week.

That show, of course, is now better known as The Flying Nun The Monkees.

And you know, history moves in mysterious ways. For instance -- just think: If I'd shown up for those auditions, I probably wouldn't be making lame jokes on the internet for a bunch of pathetic losers.


Brooklyn Girl in Queens said...

You in the costume for "The Flying Nun" --- now THAT would have been a sight to see.

steve simels said...

Hey -- I already look good in basic black.

Anna said...

"Spirited Ben Frank's types"...hah! When I first moved to LA in 1980, me and some friends went on a pilgrimage to Tower Records Sunset. (And I swear, I *could* hear a chorus of angels sing as I walked through those doors for the first time–the same angels that cried when it closed after Amoeba came to town and killed every other record store in its path. Can't wait for the Tower Records documentary that Tom Hanks' son is putting out.)

But I digress.

After the trip to Tower, we went east on Sunset and decided to stop at Ben Frank's for some nosh. We were seated a few tables away from Kim Fowley and Rodney Bingenheimer...I was now, officially, in HOLLYWOOD! Wanted to talk to Fowley, since I'd liked a lot of what he'd done ("Outrageous", in specific, but his production work, too). In light of Jackie Fox (Fuchs) recent story about her rape by Fowley, I'm glad I didn't.

Shame that Ben Frank's closed–I think it kept going, as a "retro" restaurant for a while, but I think they finally tore it down, in all of its Googie magnificence. LA isn't large on keeping historical buildings standing.

Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

Hey! We may be a losers but we're not pathetic. (are we?)


pete said...

No. You'd be appearing on the revival circuit for the rest of your life, telling lame jokes to aging teenyboppers trying desperately to find you still cute. I think I said a few weeks ago that when the Remaining Three appeared in Seattle earlier this year the poster promised "deep cuts."

Anonymous said...

The key component of the ad is "Must come down for interview."

I used to frequent Ben Frank's from 1967-1997. It was the perfect after-show destination. And the food was pretty good with a decent jukebox. Low-key place for rockers and kids to hang out.

Bathrooms were kind of inadequate but endearing. Unless the toilets overflowed, which was pretty often. They had a little hall in the back that you had to walk down to get to the bathroom. Sometimes the entire hall would be filled with sewage water and threaten to enter the restaurant. Guys from the rooter company would be sucking the water out of there as quickly as possible with some giant vacuum hose thingie. Happened twice when I was there. Not appetizing. But I wouldn't even let that get in the way of my love of the place.

At some point they put up large images which showed scenes from the making of American Graffiti for decor. I never got off on that too much, but it didn't stop me coming. A pity that forced city improvement costs made the owner shut down rather than pay exorbitant costs. It held a warm spot in the coming of age of a lot of kids.

When I was still in high school I went with Sandy to see Curved Air at the Whisky. I had the major hots for Sonja Kristina, just like I had for Annette Peacock about a year later. But Sandy ended up with the keyboard player after the show. So I went to Ben Frank's and sat on the counter alone. A couple of minutes later Delaney Bramlett sat down next to me and ordered a beer. He was pretty buzzed.

I was a big fan. Still don't think he ever got enough credit for all that cross-pollination that was happening 1969-1970. D&B & Friends were a kick ass band in all incarnations. I saw 'em play a bowling alley in Montclair in 1969 and was blown away. Me and Sandy both kicked Bobby Whitlock's ass in pool during their breaks. He was super nice.

Anyway, I had just gotten my paycheck from the Wildcat, so I offered to buy Delaney something to eat. He ordered a grilled ham and cheese sandwich (Swiss cheese). When he finished, the waiter asked him how it was. He said in his southern drawl, "That was gourmet! I'll have another." He gobbled up the second one like he hadn't eaten in years. Then he ordered a third one. I'm not kidding. He said he was just soaking up the booze.

I got a shitload of stories about Ben Frank's. Had sex in those booths more than a few times. I'm not proud about it either. It just happened.

Ben Frank's is a fuckin' Mel's Diner now. A pajama people tourist trap. Went there once and there was a round piece of something that looked like a tumor in my burger. It was the size of a big marble. Plus Sandy's meat loaf blew. I never went back. The ambiance was gone. No vibe. The jukebox got kinda hokey. Me and Sandy often joke about The Tumor Burger. We oughta go back and order one.

Also, if you ever wanna see Rodney, you gotta go to the IHOP by Hollywood High. Also Denny's. Or his house. He's just a really lonely guy.

Anna: Jackie Fox to some. Jackie Fuchs to others. Jackie Fucks to me. And I mean that affectionately. I was bummed when they played the Whisky with the Weirdos and both Jackie and Cherie were gone. I only found out that night. Man, those were the lewds and blow daze. I scored a jar that night from a a guy named Gregg. He had a speech impediment so we called him Gwegg. He had a Wed Twuck too. But I digress.

BTW, didn't the Flying Nun wear white?

Trestles rockin' again today and the water feels like it close to 80 degrees. Fuck yeah. All is one.

"Salvation's yours for just the time it takes to pay the dancer."


Anna said...

VR: that's what moving to Eagle Rock'll get you. I haven't had much reason to go to the Sunset Strip for years (most of the shows I go to tend to be at the Echo/Echoplex) and even then, I'd take the Fountain/Holloway shortcut. I knew Ben Frank's turned into Mel's Diner, but thought they'd torn it down. Instead, it just looks (from their webpage) like they dumped a bunch of shit on and around it. Good to know the building's still there, though–maybe someday, Mel will decamp and someone'll restore it to its former glory.

And yeah–though I was initially kind of excited to see Rodney, I wound up seeing him at Denny's a few times, when their food was still remotely edible, and just around town all the time. I *was* still remotely jazzed when he premiered my first band's (The Stool Pigeons, on SFTRI) first single on "Rodney On The ROQ". The picture sleeve featured our two girl singers sexily attired, though, so it had a better than even shot with an old perv like Rodney. (Both of them–Lisa Jenio and Sheryl Farber–used to be in NYC's Pussywillows, a great girl group, before that.)

Anonymous said...

They turned the rock 'n' roll Denny's into something else now. Rock'N' Roll Ralph's is still there, though.

I lived in the Inland Empire when I was younger, but I got around. Had friends that lived all over. Knew all the in's and outs of lots of areas from late 60's on. "From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California."

Shit sure was a lot different then. ID's were incredibly easy to fake. I got in all the clubs when I was very young. The T&A helped. That's tenacity and attitude:-)

Before I got my license, I either got rides with guys, older friends, or hitched. When hitching, I always carried a stiletto and my dad's Derringer in case some perv got weird on me or Sandy. Only had to use it twice to scare them off. For the most part, people were remarkably cool. But don't try it today. Twas a different time.

I had a friend who lived in Hollyglen, which is out by Hawthorne. Met her at a Cream concert at the Shrine Expo in early 1968. Became friends and would spend weekends at each other's homes. We'd turn each other on to our local guys. It was kinda exotic to fuck an out of town guy. Nice and anonymous too.

We used to party out on 26th Street in Manhattan Beach which was really happening back then. And we'd surf El Porto. She used to hang out in Hollywood with us too. Speaking of hitch-hiking, she said some long haired guy picked her up in his Porsche when she was walking to the store in the Canyon. He passed the street she wanted him to take her to and pulled off onto a lonely road. He tried to rape her. She fought him and he kept saying "Don't you know who I am?" He ripped her blouse off and she ran like hell down Laurel and made a few phone calls at the store. She told me it was Peter Tork.

Here's another Ben Frank's story and it's hardly the best:

This was in the mid 1980's. Sandy and me had just gone to see The Teabags at some club way down on the other end of Sunset. It was pretty close to the Burrito King. I was pregnant at the time so I was being very good about abstaining.

Anyway, after the show we went to Ben Frank's for some sustenance. Before our meal, Sandy got a glass of wine and I ordered a Perrier. The waitress brought me a small glass bottle of Perrier and a glass of ice. I asked her if they had a lime. She told me she'd look. She came back with a small mirror with a couple of rails on it. She thought I had asked for a line. It made us laugh. I let Sandy have them both since I was with child. We left a great tip even though Sandy could barely eat. And eventually I did get that lime.

With regard to Tower Records. I remember when they remodeled and opened that up in the early 1970's. They used to have everything. I loved their import section. When we were dealing drugs we'd go in there and drop two or three grand at a time. We'd totally stock up. But, unfortunately, they were just too expensive at the end.

Before it was Tower it was a Muntz Stereo store where they sold Four-Track Tapes and installed car stereos. By 1970 it's time had passed. Got some stories about that place too.

As far as Rodney goes, they are doing a show at a gallery on Sunset which sits where the old English Disco was. The exhibit tries to recreate the club the way it was back then.

I went to that place a few times. Never cared for it. The legend is based on a few choice incidents in the beginning of the club's run. It was dinky and the little children that hung around there had no class. Led Zeppelin, Elvis, Bowie and Iggy put it on the map. But to me it was kinda like going to a Freshman party at the cool dude in the class' house. I dunno, but I can't think that these stars paid many return visits. For a time, it had big lines outside. But, as I said, it was a really small place.

It was at a different location first. Me and this gay guy from my high school went to that original location after we saw Bowie at the Civic. Boy were those some great shows.


Anonymous said...

heh heh heh heh heh.....

Jonathan F. King said...

Two flashes for this elderly ex-Angeleno: The contemporary reference to Ben Franks on Zappa's "Freak Out!" (approximate wording: "I wish I had a job driving the bus that picks the freaks up in front of Ben Franks"), and also that I liked the patty melt there for awhile.

Anna said...

"heh heh heh heh heh....."

Rodney? Is that you?

Anonymous said...

When do we get to see the composite and the body of "VR"? I don't think SSimils will look good in pumps and a push up, ya know?