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Laramie Movie Scope:
Danny Says

Documentary of "handmaiden to the gods" of rock 'n' roll

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by Patrick Ivers, Film Critic
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(2016) Born (11-13-1939) Daniel Henry Feinberg in Brooklyn, Jewish and gay (never came out because he was never "in") without friends, an A student on amphetamines (dad's a doctor) who went to the University of Pennsylvania at 15 as Daniel Fields, then Harvard Law School to get laid. At the Factory in the Village in New York he became one of Andy Warhol's gang ("the right crowd") who showed him that members of the elite class "didn't get excited about anything," just shrug, having an assassination party for JFK's death.

Mystical Nico entered the room full of brilliant, sexy, beautiful people where actress Edie Sedgwick was the superstar and Paul Morrissey the filmmaker. With Nico, Lou Reed and John Cale were the Velvet Underground. Danny says he's "always looking for sexy" in writer/director Brendan Toller's biographical documentary of "the handmaiden to the gods" of rock 'n' roll: "but smart is sexy."

He got the job in 1966 as managing editor of Datebook Magazine in which The Beatles' blasphemies - Lennon's "more popular than Jesus" and "I don't know which will go first, rock 'n' roll or Christianity" and McCartney's "It's a lousy country where anyone black is a dirty nigger!" - drew condemnation by an Alabama dj and protest with death threats from the KKK in Memphis, effectively ending the band's live performances. He also became friends with the photographer Linda Eastman.

His suggestion to The Doors to shorten their seven-minute "Light My Fire" for airplay won him the position as director of publicity at Elektra Records. He relates the story of taking Jim Morrison to meet Nico, resulting in a drug-infused bizarre incident with Morrison naked and disliking Danny, accusing him of kidnaping.

With Leonard Cohen and Judy Collins - animation supplied - Danny was high on LSD. "Who bridges the gap between the record executive and the rock musician?" asks Danny before answering: "I do." In the wings but more effective: "undefinable" but a catalyst for artists.

At WFMU Danny became a dj, recording David Peel's band performing outdoors "Have a Marijuana." Out of Detroit, he signed MC5, "an explosion of noise," as well as its offshoot Iggy Pop and The Stooges. After introducing Iggy to cocaine, Danny witnessed his friend's descent into heroin; The Stooges self-destructed along with a U-Haul truck's smashing into an overpass with a clearance too low for the vehicle.

Releasing the song "Kick Out the Jams, Motherfucker" on the first album, MC5 had a defense minister associated with the band's White Panther Party. In a confrontation with art director/vp Bill Harvey - sometimes the sand in the oyster - Danny was fired from Elektra, his pearls appearing elsewhere.

Nonetheless, his opinion greatly influenced bands, "speeded up the evolution," especially punk rock. Needing only fifteen seconds to make up his mind about something being good or not, he became The Ramones's manager.

Danny preferred love and art to sex and money, turning down a lucrative opportunity with Aerosmith. Joining 16 Magazine as editor, he made Alice Cooper into a teen idol. His ambition was "wanting somebody to blossom for so many people."

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2017 Patrick Ivers. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Patrick Ivers can be reached via e-mail at nora's email address at juno. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)