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Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011

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lefthanded guitar 04 Jan 11 - 02:09 PM
Rog Peek 04 Jan 11 - 03:51 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 04 Jan 11 - 06:17 PM
GUEST,Woodsie 04 Jan 11 - 06:47 PM
GUEST,billhudson 04 Jan 11 - 07:19 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 04 Jan 11 - 07:27 PM
Desert Dancer 04 Jan 11 - 08:44 PM
Mark Ross 04 Jan 11 - 09:40 PM
Desert Dancer 06 Jan 11 - 12:46 PM
Desert Dancer 06 Jan 11 - 12:59 PM
GUEST,Doug Saum 06 Jan 11 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,Mike B. 06 Jan 11 - 04:54 PM
GUEST,from tokyo 06 Jan 11 - 11:40 PM
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Mark Ross 10 Jan 11 - 12:55 PM
MAG 10 Jan 11 - 01:31 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 10 Jan 11 - 02:15 PM
Zhenya 10 Jan 11 - 11:46 PM
lefthanded guitar 11 Jan 11 - 06:57 PM
Desert Dancer 11 Jan 11 - 08:48 PM
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Subject: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: lefthanded guitar
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 02:09 PM

For those of us who still love the music of Phil Ochs, there will be a documentary movie called THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE scheduled to be released tomorrow, Jan 5, 2011. It is supposed to examine both the personal story of Phil, and the political world in which he wrote and was immersed.

Glad to know the relevance of the man and the music is still being explored.


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: Rog Peek
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 03:51 PM

There is more here 'lhg' There But For Fortune

Rog


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 06:17 PM

I saw a screener of the documentary and it is very powerful. There is some amazing footage of Phil that will surprise.   I was talking with Sonny Ochs and she was not even aware of that some of the footage existed.

I had THOUGHT that I knew a bit about Phil Ochs, but this film was an eye-opener. It is also a moving documentary about what we went through in the 1960's and offers a perspective that I think will be of interest to anyone who experienced those days, or for people who want to learn a bit about what was going on.

There is some footage toward then end of Phil in his "John Train" personna that I found very disturbing. The tragedy of his passing really hits home as the incidents are discussed.

The director and his crew did an incredible job on putting this together. I hope that it will appeal to more than just Phil Ochs fans. I hope it gets some wider distribution before being released on DVD.


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: GUEST,Woodsie
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 06:47 PM

I hope that we over here in England get a chanec to see this.


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: GUEST,billhudson
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 07:19 PM

At long last a film comes out. I know through the years projects have come and gone. I wonder if they have Sammy Walker in it?


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 07:27 PM

I don't recall Sammy Walker in the film


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 08:44 PM

New York Times review: Aspiring to Musical Power and Glory

By STEPHEN HOLDEN
Published: January 4, 2011

To say that the 1960s folk singer Phil Ochs dreamed big is to understate the huge scope of his ambition. As recalled in Kenneth Bowser's respectful, nonmaudlin documentary portrait, "Phil Ochs: There but for Fortune," Ochs moved to New York in the early '60s intending to be the best songwriter in the country. After meeting Bob Dylan, Ochs was forced to revise his opinion of his own potential to "second best."

Even before Ochs discovered folk music and left-wing politics through Jim Glover, his fellow student at Ohio State University, he was in the thrall of larger-than-life cultural symbols, from Elvis Presley to western movie stars like John Wayne and Gary Cooper, who embodied the concept of a world-saving hero. Not coincidentally, the folk music movement in its early days had the same messianic sense of its own importance.

The Dylan-Ochs connection, however friendly, had its tormenting underside. While Ochs worshipped Mr. Dylan (who is not interviewed in the film), his idol refused to pay him much respect. Ochs's typical songs were specific topical commentaries gleaned from poring over newspapers and magazines. Even when Mr. Dylan was addressing current events, he remained suspicious of politics as a songwriting platform and soon moved on to become the superstar that Ochs wanted desperately to be.

Ochs, who committed suicide in 1976 at 35, never understood that there was a limited audience for brainy musical editorials composed in a rigid singsong mode and sung in a droning, nasal voice with a modest range and faltering intonation. If his verses were finely wrought, his singing conveyed an emotional distance from the words.

Ochs's involvement with the civil rights and antiwar movements and his presence at the 1968 Democratic National Convention make "There but for Fortune" not only a biography but also a running history of the period's left-wing activism, replete with film clips of that decade's tragic events; the assassination of John F. Kennedy hit Ochs especially hard.

Besides family members — his younger brother and sometimes manager, Michael; his older sister, Sonny; his wife, Alice Skinner; and his daughter, Meegan, all appear in the film — the documentary's talking heads include Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Tom Hayden, Judy Henske, Billy Bragg, Ed Sanders, Christopher Hitchens and Sean Penn.

The earnestness of Ochs's broadsides was often leavened by a sarcastic humor that he sometimes directed at himself. His 1966 song "Love Me, I'm a Liberal" assailed the slightly left-of-center politics of those who wept over the Kennedy assassinations but believed that Malcolm X "got was what coming" when he was killed. Other Ochs songs that are now considered folk music classics include "There but for Fortune" (memorably recorded by Ms. Baez), the antiwar "I Ain't Marching Anymore," and the caustically witty "Draft Dodger Rag."

The story told by Mr. Bowser's film is complicated and tragic. Once the songs stopped coming, Ochs's bipolar illness, worsened by alcoholism, led to acute paranoia and eventually to suicide. A contributing factor to his decline was probably his realization after the violent police response to radical demonstrators at the Democratic National Convention that the powers that be, if sufficiently irate, would lash back viciously.

While his folk singing peers embraced folk-rock in the mid-'60s, Ochs took an artier musical direction and moved to the West Coast, where he recorded his disappointingly received 1967 album, "Pleasures of the Harbor," which featured ornate, semiclassical orchestrations. The album's producer, Larry Marks, recalls that Ochs was certain it would go to No. 1 and gain him recognition as America's greatest singer and songwriter. It peaked at No. 168 on Billboard's album chart.

Poking fun at his lust for fame, Ochs, who never had a Top 40 hit, made a "greatest hits" album of new songs in 1970, for which he posed, Elvis-like, in a gold-lamé suit and followed it with a Carnegie Hall concert at which he wore the same outfit. The flamboyant, self-mocking stunt received a mixed reception.

World travels followed, including trips to Chile, where he befriended the folk singer Victor Jara, who was later murdered in the military coup, and to Africa, where he was mugged and nearly killed while walking on a Tanzanian beach. But there was no escaping his demons.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: Mark Ross
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 09:40 PM

I was at the disastrous Carnegie Hall Concert. In fact I was standing 6 foot or so away from Phil when he put his fist through the glass door, cutting up his thumb so badly that he could hardly play the 2nd show.
I look forward to seeing this movie if it ever comes to Eugene, Oregon, but having been around as Phil slowly lost his way in life, I don't know if I could stand to watch that footage of "John Train". He is missed.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 12:46 PM

Phil Ochs: The Life and Legacy of a Legendary American Folk Singer, interview with director Kenneth Bowser and Michael Ochs on Democracy Now (video link on that page).

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 12:59 PM

(The Democracy Now item is a 59-minute feature.)


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: GUEST,Doug Saum
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 01:12 PM

Along with the Beatles and Dylan, Ochs was a seminal influence in my musical development. I'm happy to see that the documentary will bring this life and music before the public. Thanks for the links, Doug Saum


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: GUEST,Mike B.
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 04:54 PM

Hopefully some TV or cable network will eventually show the documentary, although I'm not even sure PBS would be interested inasmuch as Ochs is a largely forgotten figure outside folk music circles.


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: GUEST,from tokyo
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 11:40 PM

i saw democray now of phil ocks film at downtown tokyo,
near sumida-river.

thanks,
tokyo folklore center


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: Liane
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 12:18 PM

I saw this film here in New York over the weekend, and was very moved by it. And I'd forgotten how witty and clever his many satirical songs are! Strongly recommended to everyone here.


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: Taconicus
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 12:44 PM

The Highwayman is still one of my favorite folk songs. I'd play it more if my voice had a slightly higher range, or if I could play a Bm more easily (I can't, one of my guitar-playing deficiencies).

C, Em, Am
G, Am, D7, G/G7
C, Em, Am
F, C, G, Am
F, C/Am, Dm, G7


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: Mark Ross
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 12:55 PM

Phil's version of Poe's THE BELLS is a magnificent arrangement.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: MAG
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 01:31 PM

I agree with Mark about "The Bells." magnificent.

I seriously thought about making the 4 hour drive to Portland to see this yesterday, but couldn't.

hello hello hello

is anybody there


tragic story indeed.


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 02:15 PM

A friend posted some photos on her Facebook page showing long lines of people waiting to see this film. I am very glad there has been a lot of interest in the movie, it will probably make it easier for the producers to secure a broadcast deal.

It is well worth waiting in line to see!


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: Zhenya
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 11:46 PM

I saw the movie tonight and the theatre was very crowded. I think I'd forgotten how many fine songs Phil Ochs wrote. At some points in the movie I'd think, they must have played them all by now, but then another would be on the soundtrack. After the movie, I thought of a few that weren't played, and somehow I had forgotten about The Bells until someone mentioned it here. I had all of his albums years ago as LPs, but don't have much currently - will have to remedy that. I didn't know a lot of the details of his life story that were presented in the movie. I thought the whole movie was very well done.


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: lefthanded guitar
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 06:57 PM

I saw the movie with some friends this weekend and was very glad I did. Of course, I ran into familiar faces from three counties and two states on the ticket line. The film was very well done, and as Zhenya said, there were a lot of details of his life I didn 't know about. In fact the entire film was illuminating. It brought the audience to an intimacy with both Phil and the times he lived in and was both understated and powerful.

I forgot about the Bells too; and so many other great songs.I'm glad there was a film like this to do him justice.

And I will never hear "He Was A Friend of Mind" again; without thinking of Phil.


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 08:48 PM

A conversation with director Kenneth Bowser and fellow folk singer Kim Harris about the film on WNYC. (No transcript available.)

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 13 Jan 11 - 06:46 PM

A lengthy review/summary by Ross Atman at Folkworks.org.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: bobad
Date: 14 Jan 11 - 05:25 PM

Link to Phil's testimony at the Chicago 7 trial
http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/chicago7/ochs.html
Where it says THE WITNESS, that means Phil

THE WITNESS: The pig was arrested with seven people.

MR. KUNSTLER: When did that take place?

THE WITNESS: This took place on the morning of August 23, at the Civic Center underneath the Picasso sculpture.

MR. KUNSTLER: Who were those seven people?

THE WITNESS: Jerry Rubin. Stew Albert, Wolfe Lowenthal, myself is four; I am not sure of the names of the other three.

MR. KUNSTLER: What were you doing when you were arrested?

THE WITNESS: We were arrested announcing the pig's candidacy for President.

MR. KUNSTLER: Did Jerry Rubin speak?

THE WITNESS: Yes, Jerry Rubin was reading a prepared speech for the pig---the opening sentence was something like, "I, Pigasus, hereby announce my candidacy for the Presidency of the United States." He was interrupted in his talk by the police who arrested us.

MR. KUNSTLER: What was the pig doing during this announcement?

MR. FORAN: Objection.

MR. KUNSTLER: Do you remember what you were charged with?

THE WITNESS: I believe the original charge mentioned was something about an old Chicago law about bringing livestock into the city, or disturbing the peace, or disorderly conduct, and when it came time for the trial, I believe the charge was disorderly conduct.

MR. KUNSTLER: Were you informed by an officer that the pig had squealed on you?

MR. FORAN: Objection. I ask it be stricken.

THE WITNESS: Yes.

THE COURT: I sustain the objection. When an objection is made do not answer until the Court has ruled. . .


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: Rog Peek
Date: 14 Jan 11 - 06:38 PM

If like me it impossible for you to get the see the film in the near future, you may enjoy this link which shows Michael Ochs and Ken Bowser on 'Democracy Now'. As well as the interview with them, it shows lots of clips from the film. I've watched it a few times and for me, it certainly has wet the appetite.'Democracy Now'

Rog


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: bobad
Date: 14 Jan 11 - 07:19 PM

Thanks for that link Rog, it certainly does whet the appetite.


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 08:56 PM

For those in the L.A. area, Folkworks has scheduled a special screening on the Sunday of the weekend that the film opens at Laemmle's Monica 4-plex, 1332 2nd St., Santa Monica: March 6, 11 a.m. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Phil's brother Michael Ochs, Ross Altman (FolkWorks), Ed Pearl (Ashgrove), Ken Bowser (Film Director) and others. Tickets $10.

Join us afterwards for lunch (on your own) & more discussion at
    King's Head Pub
    116 Santa Monica Boulevard., Santa Monica, CA 90401-2202
    Private room reserved

More info at www.folkworks.org.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 08:15 PM

Wow. Back from the Folworks screening of the movie today.

Go see it if you can; or get the DVD when it comes out in a year or so.

~ Becky in Long Beach

Here's a staff review from the Loft Cinema in Tucson:

PHIL OCHS: THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE - Staff review by Dave Paiz

By now it's safe to say that there are probably tribes in the Amazon who know who Bob Dylan is, but you'd be hard-pressed to find many people here in the states who've even heard of Phil Ochs. I thought I'd seen just about everything there was to see about the music and sociopolitical upheavals of the '60's, but Kenneth Bowser's new documentary Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune revealed that I was woefully oblivious to a fairly substantial chunk of what went down at the time.

The world can often be a bitterly cruel and maddening place for idealists. And like many of his generation, Phil Ochs was an idealist who believed that music had the power to change the world. After emerging from the turbulence of the 1960's as one of America's most passionate voices for social change, Ochs spent his all-too-brief life writing and performing music that challenged the injustices and foundational myths of the day.

Maligned by Dylan as more of a reporter than a folk singer, Ochs wrote songs about segregation, racism and war in stark, unflinchingly confrontational terms that differed sharply from Dylan's metaphorical ramblings about watchtowers and answers blowing in the wind. From the anti-war anthem "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore" to his cynical ode to Left-wing hypocrisy "Love Me, I'm A Liberal" - Ochs was fearless in confronting absurdity, regardless of which end of the political spectrum it came from.

Through interviews with family, friends and contemporaries ranging from Tom Hayden, Joan Baez, Christopher Hitchens and Jello Biafra, as well as interview and performance footage from Ochs himself, the tragic arc of Och's life is traced against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, the Kennedy and King assassinations, and the Chicago riots of 1968. The picture that emerges is that of a man torn between his desire for fame, and his desire to bring about social change.

Eschewing commercialism in favor of charity and benefit work, Ochs was a tireless advocate for unions, the working class and others who were confronting social injustice, and organized countless charity concerts in support of various causes. Along the way he continued to expand his musical horizons and inadvertently planted the seeds for what would eventually become the world music genre. Through protests, demonstrations, absurdist political theater, and the formation of a new political party, Ochs repeatedly threw himself headlong into the teeth of the establishment and was gradually ground down in the process. Over time, the horrors of a seemingly endless war, and the violent deaths of his generation's most inspiring leaders sent him into an emotional tailspin that he never fully recovered from.

An identity primarily defined in opposition to something eventually devours itself when there is nothing left to oppose. Once the Vietnam War was over, Och's focus turned inward, and he soon buckled under the combined weight of his steadily worsening manic depression, and the guilt and regret he carried regarding his wife and child. By the time he took his own life at the age of 35, Och's passionate idealism had tragically given way to bitterness, alcoholism and madness. A deeply moving and lovingly rendered portrait of a true rebel voice whose influence still resonates today, Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune is both a cautionary tale and an inspiring call to arms for those who continue to confront injustice wherever it rears its ugly head.

Review by Dave Paiz, Loft Cinema Facilities Manager and host of "Bat Country Radio" Saturdays from 2-4 a.m. on 91.3 FM KXCI.


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Subject: RE: Review: Phil Ochs Documentary for 2011
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 02:56 AM

Any news or posibility of seeing this in the UK ?


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