In our efforts to bring Ned Doheny’s story to the forefront of popular interest, we’ve taken the (perhaps baffling) step of screening this completely unknown drugsploitation movie from 1971 called The Ski Bum. Ned was so deeply ingrained in Los Angeles culture (Doheny Boulevard, anyone?) that it was a natural he’d end up in a motion picture of some sort, and its certainly no additional surprise that he’d turn up shirtless and bearing a guitar in the movie poster (alongside Jackson Browne). What is strange is the resulting film, that seems to defy explanation. Well, the explanation is that it was made in 1970, when Easy Rider broke open the marketplace for druggy, fuzzy, discordant countercultural cinema. The marketing team behind The Ski Bum clearly didn’t “get it”, as the square tagline (He thinks the system stinks… the feeling is mutual) makes clear. The creatives got it right, however, and the soundtrack is actually quite impressive, with music by Joseph Boyd, whose United States of America were lesser known psychedelic innovators who managed to decidedly influence Stereolab decades later (plus he had the Field Hippies and solo LPs on John Fahey’s Takoma label.) It has all the elements of a latter-day cult hit… it just never had the rediscovery it deserves. It’s never been on DVD, it was barely available on VHS, and it has almost never been screened since the microsecond it ran originally in the theaters (back in 1971). We’re doing our part by co-presenting a screening with the great Cinefamily this Thursday! Ned Doheny will be present to answer questions about his career and life surrounding the making of his first record, his new collection will be on sale for the first time in LA, and we’re willing to bet he’ll sign a few copies if you ask! Numero honchos will be on hand to DJ the reception. Please RSVP soon!
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