The Glorious Corner

The Glorious Corner
PERSONALITY CRISIS: DAVID JO — (Via Deadline) Personality Crisis: One Night Only, directed by Martin Scosese and David Tedeschi, is a documentary that follows punk pioneer David Johansen, which premiered at NYFF60. The film follows Johansen, who, during his residency in New York City in 2020, gave a detailed account of his life, how he navigated the music scene from the 1970’s up to the present day, and why music is integral to his existence.

New York Dolls

The film starts with Johansen at the Upper West Side establishment Cafe Carlyle for his yearly performance residency. Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry and film director Ari Aster have front-row seats to the show. Johansen is most famous for being the frontman of the punk band New York Dolls and as the pompadour-wearing Buster Poindexter. He’s introduced on the stage, and wearing a dapper two-piece suit and dark sunglasses, is ready to sing in front of a jazz band. Johansen is the definition of cool.

The audience is treated to moments of the singer’s life during each set, beginning with a clip of Johansen on an episode of Conan O’Brien. The television host labeled him the harbinger of punk, which is partially true. The New York Dolls’ first show in England ended like punk rock shows usually do: with booze, drugs, and vomit. Johansen resembled Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones and had a similar swagger and his look drew in a lot of new fans

A young man named Steven Patrick Morrissey (yes, that Morrissey), was the New York Dolls fan club president in England. In the film, Morrissey talks about his love of the group and their signature look, which he compared to “looking like prostitutes.” The Dolls made a conscious choice to wear women’s clothing. The band didn’t care about gender norms, “I wanted to have a party,” Johansen says. The party is all that matters. No other band was doing that at the time, and its one of the things the group is known for and what made them stand out to Morrissey. However, the solo singer also states that their heavy alcohol and drug use doomed them to failure.  That may have been the end of the group, but David was a force to be reckoned with.

What makes a great rock star? I asked myself, why would Scorsese and Tedeschi choose Johansen as a subject? Its because he’s led a fascinating life filled with stories that cross decades of his career with The New York Dolls, Buster Poindexter, David Johansen, the Harry Smiths Band, and a solo career. Through all these experiences, the man remains authentically himself–eccentric, charming, talented, and hilarious. Born and raised in New York, Johansen believes being from Staten Island gave him an edge. While juggling the music space, he kept his ear to the streets and was sure to keep up with the latest cultural, political, and art trends.

Personality Crisis: One Night Only is a love letter to Johansen’s musical legacy, the people who influenced him and vice versa, his impact on punk, rock, and pop, and an intimate portrait of someone who refuses to accept convention. The musician traversed several music genres and is still standing after most people around him have died. As he recalls parts of his life, it’s almost as if he feels guilty for still being alive. His fan base is fiercely loyal, which, along with his wife and daughter, gives him the will to keep going.

Johansen has always proved an intriguing character. I didn’t really get into that first Dolls album -even though Todd Rundgren produced it- and was never really a Dolls-fan, although I now realize the impact they had. I knew one of their drummers for a bit and the stories he relayed to me were always riveting – especially those from Max’s Kansas City.

I have to give credit where credit is due and Johanasen has hung in there. When Eppy re-opened My Father’s Place at The Roslyn Hotel in 2017, Johansen was the first artist to appear. He did an amazingly short set and didn’t do “Hot Hot Hot” which was totally baffling.

The doc on The Velvet Underground -by Todd Haynes in 2021- didn’t do well and I wonder how this one will perform. As I said last column, too many rocks docs.

Loren Michaels

SHORT TAKES — Quick recommendation: Rao’s has apparently come out with a line of pasta. I got the spaghetti and it was out of his world. I honestly thought I was Italy. FYI … Roger Friedman posted a story last week-posing the question Is SNL having trouble Attracting hosts? With their first few shows this season astonishingly bland, I don’t doubt it. My beef with the 78-year old Lorne Michaels, is why doesn’t he have any of the so-called heritage music acts on like Foreigner or Sparks or even Kate Bush, who had a hit with a record that came out 34 years ago?

Micky Dolenz

I mean, Micky Dolenz could not only host, he could perform as well. Methinks Michaels is overthinking it a bit to have a new acts like Jack Harlow host and perform. Maybe Lorne is managing him? To have Dolenz on would not only generate some substantial ink, bit they’d love him. Hell, The Monkees TV-show was like an early version of SNL anyway. Rumors abound that Michaels will retire in a  year. Why not go out with a bang? … Broadway superstar Patti Lupone turned in her Equity card this week. What does that mean? Dunno, but she’s been one the most acclaimed actress on the Great White Way for decades. Stay tuned … I’ve heard that when BMG releases your record, nothing happens. They released a new Pretenders album (Hate For Sale) in 2020 and it came and went without so much as a nod. Julian Lennon’s new album (Jude) is a BMG release and I was told last week that it was in the mail. As of this writing, we still haven’t gotten it. Sad for sure …

Eve Hewson

We watched Bad Sisters on Apple+ and loved it. Based on a Belgian TV series, Clan, Bono’s daughter Eve Hewson (as Becka) was a blast. Comedic and dark for sure … RIP Andy McKaie.

Marcy and Mark Nov 2019

MISS MARCY — Of sad note, entertainment, publishing, and travel writer Marcy MacDonald passed away Sunday of heart and lung issues, at the age of 77.  She wrote for a series of magazines and newspapers including Modern Screen, Travel, and Score. She was a correspondent on Manhattan Cable TV’s Tomorrow’sTelevision Tonight.  When she was asked to write a story about an Elvis Presley diet, quick-witted Marcy instantly christened it, Return to Slender! 

She was a regular on the Manhattan party circuit, and was always a colorful character at whatever event she attended. Celebrity writer Mark Bego recalls, “Marcy was always one of my quirkiest and most entertaining friends.  She could walk over and start a conversation with anyone.  She once took me to a Fifth Avenue party, and pointed out glamorous Hollywood stars Cliff Robertson and Dina Merrill. When she asked if I had ever met them, I told her I had not.  ‘Well, you’re going to now,’ she said.  The next thing I knew, we were chatting with Cliff and Dina like they were old friends.  When I talked to Marcy afterwards I asked her where she had originally met them, she told me, ‘I just met them with you tonight.’  That was Marcy.”  Rest in Peace, Miss MacDonald.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Randy Alexander; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Lush Ice; Markos Papdatos; Ace Fehley;
Chuck Mirachi; Pete Sanders; Joel Diamond; Jeff Smith; Cody Gaier; Ted Schultz; Bob Schartoff; Flash; Victor Kastel; Ed Steinberg; Jeff Vogel; Dave Davidson; Deb Caponetta; Melissa Davis; and BELLA!


G. H. Harding is a four decades insider to the entertainment world. He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production companies and several cable outlets. His anonymity is essential in bringing an unbiased view to his writings on pop culture. He is based in NYC.

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