January 11, 2013

See the losers in the best bars
Meet the winners in the dives



Lynn Hershman Leeson, Shutter, 1986

* From Soul Men: The Making of The Blues Brothers:

It begins, as these things do, in a dark bar. The time is November 1973. The bar, a speakeasy called the 505 Club, is in Toronto and owned by Aykroyd, a bizarro 20-year-old with webbed toes, mismatched eyes—one green, one brown—and a checkered past as a two-bit hoodlum and a seminary student.

The club opens at one A.M. because Aykroyd works nights. For the past three years, he has been performing with Second City, the famed comedy troupe based in Chicago but also flourishing in Toronto.
...
It is 1979. Rare is the actor who doesn’t snort, pop, or guzzle. Landis, a teetotaler, misses the bigger picture. “We had a budget in the movie for cocaine for night shoots,” Aykroyd says. “Everyone did it, including me. Never to excess, and not ever to where I wanted to buy it or have it. [But] John, he just loved what it did. It sort of brought him alive at night—that superpower feeling where you start to talk and converse and figure you can solve all the world’s problems.”

“There was some girl who would hang out at the Blues Bar,” Carrie Fisher says. “She cleaned the fishtank and provided mescaline. There were always these people that were enabling the party to continue.”
...
The Blues Brothers, having exceeded its $17.5 million budget by $10 million, is needlessly long and clearly flawed. In New York, Belushi drives from theater to theater, gauging audiences. Aykroyd watches the movie in a theater in Times Square.

He detects laughter.

The Blues Brothers makes $115 million, becoming one of Universal’s most enduring hits and by far its greatest farce.

* "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for - in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it." -- Ellen Goodman

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