Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Done: "Sway" by Zachary Lazar

Done: Sway by Zachary Lazar, 2007, 9780316113090.

I was looking something up about the Manson Family. One of the women, maybe. As I was reading I came across an article about Bobby Beausoleil. Beausoleil participated in the July, 1969 murder of Gary Hinman who was a friend of the group. I saw a reference to this novel about how Beausoleil was connected to the Rolling Stones. I figured, "Okay, maybe the Stones were pals with Dennis Wilson and somehow the Stones hung out with Beausoleil." Nope. The connection is more tenuous.

Anyhoo. Here is the plot. Told from the POV of Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Keith Richards, Beausoleil, Kenneth Anger, Anita Pallenberg, and maybe a couple others.

Beausoleil is drifting up and down the coast with his teenage girlfriend when they meet up with the Manson group. Before that Beausoleil was the kept teen lover of filmmaker Kenneth Anger at Anger's San Francisco apartment. Anger filmed Beausoleil with the intention of having Beausoleil as the lead in Anger's next short film.

Meanwhile, Brian Jones is leading the Stones. Jones was a bit of a jerk. Many people already know Jones could be difficult. But, the girlfriends he used to punch-up would certainly accuse me of being way too nice. (They are correct.) Jones's drug problems and personality issues drive Mick and Keith start writing songs and leading the band.

Kenneth Anger grows up in the Los Angeles area, loves Hollywood gossip, and hits the art world fame circuit as a 20-year-old with the short, heavily homorerotic film Fireworks.

Comment --- If you decide to read the novel you may be like me and want to leave the book to research the many people, places, events, and things involved. I tried watching some of Anger's flicks and my damn internet connection is all screwed up and the film keeps pausing. That really ticked me off ---- Comment

Anger doesn't make much money at film but moves alternately lives in NY, LA and SF. He falls hard into infatuation with Beausoleil and struggles to complete his film. Anger has a fascination with bikers, sailors, motorcycles and cars, and Satanism. Anger's friendship with a London art dealer introduces him to the Stones and he makes friends with Mick and the rest and tries selling Mick on helping with his latest work.

Anita Pallenberg is dating Brian Jones. Anita seems like a fairly nice lady with a not-so nice guy and a fondness for party drugs. Anita ends up leaving Brain and moving in with Keith Richards. Anita also makes friends with Anger.

More things happen and their is this 1960s mix of drugs, casual sex, making friends, black magic, and a fascination with Satanism and violence. That distant and theoretical fascination with violence comes to head with reality after Altamont and the Tate-LaBianca killings.

1. I thought the novel bogged down in spots with literary bother. Characters dreaming about the universe and love and whatnot. Bleah.
2. Except for Brian Jones all the characters were all still alive at time of print. Only Anita Pallenberg has since died, that this past June. Kenneth Anger is now 90 and still giving interviews. Anita and Keith had three children. I did not know one child died of SIDS as a 10 month old.
3. No mention of Hollywood Babylon.

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