Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sir Mick Jagger: David Bowie is 'kind of weird' (how 'bout Bowie as a Weimar Gigolo?)

From the Irish Examiner:

Jagger surprised by Bowie comeback
Mick Jagger admits he was surprised by David Bowie's comeback.

The legendary Rolling Stones frontman was surprised by the 'Space Oddity' singer's comeback - releasing a new song 'Where Are We Now' on his birthday in January - and was freaked out by the video to the song.

"That's a funny one, Bowie's return," he said.

"The two faces video thing? Kind of weird, innit?...MORE 
It's been a year since the Wall Street Journal told us about a Wiemar Berlin revival:
Come to the Cabaret 
The wild, decadent ways of the Weimar era are alive again in Berlin...
and it's going on a month since we posted "How David Bowie Caused the Financial Crisis" in recognition of Bowie making it to age 66 so I thought this combination of the themes shouldn't drop down the memory hole.
From The Awl, January 25, 2013:

David Bowie's Forgotten, Campy Berlin Gigolo Movie

To attempt any ranking of David Bowie's work in movies on a scale of strangeness seems a fool's errand; there's no computer on earth that can tally up respective curiosity points for playing both Nikola Tesla and Pontius Pilate, Andy Warhol and The Snowman, The Man Who Fell To Earth, and The Man Who Would Be Goblin King. That said, it's difficult to find a Bowie performance more abjectly forgotten—and yet so wonderfully bizarre—than the Weimar-set 1978 black comedy Just a Gigolo. Perhaps, you ponder, it was just a cameo? Nope, he's the star and the rest of the cast is filled out by—get this—Kim Novak, David Hemmings, Curt Jurgens, and Marlene Dietrich (in her last film role). It's also alleged to have been the most expensive film made in Germany until that date. Still not ringing any bells? You're not alone.

There are reasons why this film is obscure. It is, in the most charitable possible evaluation, a mess: Bowie has described it as "my 32 Elvis films rolled into one." And yet life on that ever-dwindling island of not-on-region-one DVD films is a harsh fate for any film and particularly for this one, which is at least as interesting as its cast suggests and a good deal more. You don't need to dig out the VHS player to watch Mick Jagger run an agency of gigolos in The Man From Elysian Fields—you shouldn't have to do so to watch Bowie play one.

The late 70s and early 80s were a banner period for goofy-but-fascinating Weimar-era English-language international productions, movies like Bergman's The Serpent's Egg, Fassbinder's Despair and Lili Marleen. Given a context in which sending Dirk Bogarde or Keith Carradine to West Germany seemed like a not-uncommon foundation for a production it's little surprise that David Hemmings (who both acted and directed, now somewhat portlier than when he appeared in Blow-Up, and looking for all the world like a moonlighting Paul McCartney) was able to enlist considerable funding for this "highly-ironic, tongue-in-cheek" directorial project, including, it was rumored, $250,000 to induce the 77-year-old Marlene Dietrich out of retirement for two days' work. Bowie was evidently interested in meeting Dietrich; as it happened, she was filmed in Paris, while all of his scenes were filmed in Berlin; their scenes were then edited together. Few things are ever quite fair.

And Bowie? Well, the basic details of his Berlin sojourn are no doubt familiar; trying to kick a mounting cocaine addiction and drawn by the stranded glories of West Berlin and energy of German music he moved to that city in 1976 and spent three years there: life in cheap Schöneberg, check; Iggy Pop as roommate, check; Low, a hit; Heroes, recently finished, also a hit....MORE
As for me, the whole Isherwood, Caberet thing has about as much appeal as this pic of one of the demi-monde, "Koks Emil" der Kokain-Verkäufer (the cocaine seller), a nasty looking piece of work: