Once upon a time on the Bowery
Talking Heads, 1977
This was their first weekend as a foursome at CBGB’s, after adding Jerry Harrison, before they started recording the LP “Talking Heads: 77.”
As anyone who’s ever expended even a single brain cell on the peculiar annual ritual known as the Academy Awards rapidly becomes aware, the Oscars have a pretty miserable record when it comes to picking great movies. Here’s a pop quiz: How many Oscars were won cumulatively by “The Big Sleep,” “City Lights,” “Metropolis,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Vertigo,” “The Searchers,” “The Wild Bunch,” “Blade Runner” and “Blue Velvet”? And here’s a hint: It’s a number you don’t need any fingers to count.
With this year’s Academy nominations due out on Tuesday morning, we asked ourselves to steer away from considering the piles of laurels about to be awarded “The Social Network” and “The King’s Speech” — both really enjoyable! Don’t get me wrong! — and ask who Oscar was jilting this year. I polled Salon’s cultural team and came up with an intriguing list of 10 fully Oscar-worthy movies and/or performances from 2010, all of them nearly certain to be passed over. (We’d love to be proven wrong.)
Of course you’ll want to quarrel about this, and of course we want to see your lists. But here are the ground rules: The movies have to be not just Oscar-eligible but at least faintly Oscar-plausible; we’re talking pop fare, more or less, not really tiny indies or obscure foreign films that hardly anyone heard about. So it’s no good arguing that “Dogtooth” or “44 Inch Chest” should be a best-picture nominee, no matter how strongly you feel about it. And as amazing as the legendary Korean actress Kim Hye-ja was in “Mother,” it’s difficult to imagine a world where that’d make her an Oscar contender. We did consider nominating Jesse Eisenberg for — no, not that movie — his role as a Hasidic drug smuggler in “Holy Rollers,” but that was basically a gag idea and we changed our minds.
Here’s our list. By the time your clock radio wakes you up on Tuesday, the fantasy’s over. Get to work.
No Wave Punks, Bowery Summer 1978
They were sitting just like this when I walked out of CBGB's. Me: “Don’t move” They didn’t. L to R: Harold Paris, Kristian Hoffman, Diego Cortez, Anya Phillips, Lydia Lunch, James Chance, Jim Sclavunos, Bradley Field, Liz Seidman.
Hilly Kristal, Bowery 1977
When I used to show people this picture of owner Hilly Kristal, they would ask me “Why did you photograph that guy? He’s not a punk!” Now they know why. None of these pictures would have existed without Hilly Kristal.
Dictators, Bowery 1976
Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators with his girlfriend Jody. I took this shot as a thank you for him returning the wallet I’d lost the night before at CBGB's. He doesn’t like that I tell people he returned it with everything in it.
Ramones, 1977 – never before printed
I loved shooting The Ramones. They would play two sets a night, four nights a week at CBGB's, and I’d be there for all of them. This shot is notable for Johnny playing a Strat, rather than his usual Mosrite. Maybe he’d just broken a string. Love that hair.
Patti Smith + Ronnie Spector, 1979
May 24th – Bob Dylan Birthday show – Patti “invited” everyone at that night’s Palladium show on 14th Street down to CBGB's to celebrate Bob Dylan’s birthday. Here, Patti and Ronnie are doing “Be My Baby.”