N.Y. Doll Revelations

Stuart, our man in Los Angeles, files this report from a KCRW-sponsored screening of N.Y. Doll last weekend where director Greg Whiteley and his producers Ed Cunningham and Seth Lewis Gordon, discussed making the film:

Greg had known Arthur had been in a band as another church member had told him, but the film really started when Arthur told Greg that he had an email that his band was reforming. The first piece filmed was the recovery of the bass guitar from the pawn shop as he had to practice.

The producer also talked interestingly about the way that Arthur's voice changes through the filming from rather stumbling speech patterns early to the rather stirring and dramatic prayer at the end.

The Morrissey part was filmed and edited in after the Sundance festival so it has a changed tone now. [And it's pretty clear that all the celebrity interviews were grabbed in one shot at the Meltdown Festival. In the production notes, Whiteley talks about never having permission to do anything, just going as far as their "Killer has a posse" stance would take them.]

It is also never quite clear, and Greg said this as well, whether
Arthur was expected to be part of the reunion, as he found out almost by mistake. Obviously his fan club had an email for him, and Greg said that Sylvain probably met Arthur about once a year on his annual tours, so he knew he was available/alive.

They do briefly mention [Kane & Johansen] last being together shouting at each other in a trailer park in Florida but nothing more than that. I get the feeling there is a great "New York Dolls" documentary waiting to be made. The Ramones doc was ultimately depressing after seeing these people just beaten down trying to get a big enough audience for their music. [Yeah, does anything good ever come from Florida trailer parks? And the Dolls seemed to drop with predictably Spinal-Tappian frequency, too; not so feel-good.]

I thought Johansen's entrance to the practice area with another video
behind him a day late in the middle of a song rather stagey but Kane seemed genuinely pleased to see him. Also what was the idea
behind only having less than 7 days rehearsal before flying and doing the gig? that almost seemed set up for failure.

Most of the stage footage is from a second show where he is
wearing the spotted shirt with the "diamante tie"; very few shots from
the first show, with the white shirt.

Johansen recorded 2 Mormon psalms, and Greg hoped they would both be on the dvd release.

The DVD is in my prayers. Bless you, Brother Stuart.

Previously: NY Doll - The greg.org review

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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first published: November 5, 2005.

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