Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Beauty in a Bhang-Leaf Bikini



Dutch model and TV personality Sylvie van der Vaart (aka Sylvie Meis) has been spotted in a pot-leaf bikini (left).

Sylvie may have a medical reason to celebrate marijuana. According to Wikipedia, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and underwent surgery and chemotherapy. She reports she is now cancer free.

The bikini's fabric, with blue pot leaves, looks rather like the pot-leaf tie worn by Robin Williams on a 2012 TV appearance. 

"The world is changing… nicely," remarks cannabis historian Michael Aldrich.

Hempy Summer, everyone.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Stealing Beauty: Liv Tyler, Rachel Weisz, Jeremy Irons and Marijuana



Continuing in my series of B-movies on Netflix that have pot smoking in them, I viewed 1996's "Stealing Beauty," directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and starring Liv Tyler (right) as a 19-year-old American virgin who travels to an artists' colony in Tuscany in search of her father and her future.

Instead she encounters the dying writer Alex Parrish (Jeremy Irons), who needs the healing energy she and the marijuana she has brought provides.

"Excuse me, but you wouldn't happen to have any more of that exotic brand of cigarette I've been smelling, would you?" is the way Alex introduces himself to Lucy. Broaching the subject of sex as they smoke, he muses, "Nothing is more transporting...except perhaps good grass."

Asking about her mother, Lucy says, "She helped you fix this place up?" "Well, with a lot of hash breaks," was the response. Also smoking in the movie is the terrific actress Rachel Weisz (left), as the sophisticate counterpoint to Liv's innocent character Lucy.

I'd rather expected the worst, a kind of "Last Tango in Paris" meets "Lolita." But perhaps because Tyler projects a kind of calm integrity in her roles, the film is elevated to a rare coming-of-age story for a woman with heart and soul. Lucy's final encounter with Alex (involving marijuana) is particularly touching. Irons, of course, is superb.






Monday, August 25, 2014

Emerald at the Emmys: Sarah Silverman Pulls Out Her Vape Pen and Takes Home a Statue for Writing





Five Tokin Women were up for Emmys, presented at an awards ceremony tonight. But it's Sarah Silverman who is now trending, after she won an Emmy for writing her Variety Special We Are Miracles - just after she showed off her vape pen on the red carpet, calling it "liquid marijuana." Silverman stood out in her long, green dress on a night when almost every actress wore red.

Silverman said afterwards she didn't "have a puff-a-roony" until after the event. But kicking off her shoes and speaking about molecules hurtling through space for her speech seemed the stoniest since Whoopi Goldberg accepter her Oscar. Fox News noticed what a stony night it was and Kate Rogers said Sarah seems to be aging in reverse (meaning looking younger all the time). "The magical properties of weed!" commented Gabrielle Karol. "Is high the new drunk?" asked host Diana Falzone. Now that 23 states have some kind of legalized pot, it seems so, replied Chris Kensler.


Former SNLer Amy Poehler was up for Outstanding Lead Actress in Parks and Recreation and told the best joke of the night: introducing Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey she said, "Please welcome two men who are menu items at marijuana dispensaries."

Jane Fonda, who recently won an AFI lifetime achievement award, was nominated as Outstanding Guest Actress for The Newsroom; Fonda's nomination reel contained a scene in which her character is stoned.

Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley also garnered two nominations, for Whoopi as Outstanding Narrator, and for Outstanding Documentary or Non-Fiction Special. Whoopi recently waxed rhapsodic about her cannabis vape pen in a Denver Post article. (She lost the narration prize to Jeremy Irons and the doc lost to PBS's JFK.)

COSMOS, co-produced by NORML board member Ann Druyan (pictured), was up for ten awards and won three. Druyan is the widow of Very Important Pothead Carl Sagan.

VIPs in the Male Category who were nominated include Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as actors in True Detective and Anthony Bordain for hosting The Taste. Bourdain's Parts Unknown won for Outstanding Informational Series and was up for five more awards. The Colbert Report received five nominations, including outstanding Variety Series, vying with Real Time with Bill Maher for that award (and winning). Seth MacFarlane was nominated for Outstanding Character Voiceover Performance for Family Guy; he was also a producer on COSMOS.

Also a winner is Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis and Barack Obama for Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program.

Who says stoners don't contribute to our culture?

Allison Janney beat out Jane Fonda as Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for "Masters of Sex" and also took home an Emmy as Best Supporting Actress for "Mom." A little while back, someone wrote in that her mom smoked pot with Allison back in college.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus beat out Amy Poehler for best actress in a comedy series. See her searching for a bag of weed on her old Christine series.

Kathy Bates played a marijuana smoker in the 2011-12 series "Harry's Law," but had to play a witch in "American Horror Story: Coven" to win an Emmy. Another "Coven" winner was Jessica Lange, whose character apparently snorts coke. Bates, who also played Alice B. Toklas's lover Gertrude Stein on film, wore an outfit (right) that almost looked like it was decorated with big silver pot leaves. 

While reigning as People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive, Adam Levine gave a fistpump in support of marijuana legalization on the program.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Our Brave Betty: Lauren Bacall Leaves Us at 89




Lauren Bacall, the actress who stood up to that American witchunt known as McCarthyism at a time when communism and pot-smoking were equated, has died at age 89.

I had occasion to post a picture of the 19-year-old actress, born Betty Bacall, on Hoagy Carmichael's page. She was equally amazing in this 2012 photo.

Among her roles, she played the working-class, cigarette-rolling girlfriend of Gary Cooper in 1950's "Bright Leaf," about the industrialization of tobacco farming in the south and worked with Marilyn Monroe in How to Marry a Millionaire. She appeared (as "Slim" again) in VIP Robert Altman's Pret-a-Porter (1994) won a Golden Globe for her powerful performance as Barbra Streisand's mother in The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996).

Of course, Bacall was famously married to Humphrey Bogart, he of "don't Bogart that joint" fame. I contend that reference is from The Big Sleep (pictured), in which Bogart is tied up and Bacall lights a cigarette for him that he dangles from his lips for what seems like forever, unable to use his hands to take it from his mouth.

Bacall told Terri Gross on Fresh Air in 1994 that director Howard Hawks was looking for an actress as insolent as Bogart for the 1944 film that became her debut, To Have and Have Not. Hawks found her in Bacall, but her career suffered when she agreed not to shoot on location after she married. After Bogart died when Bacall was 32, she went to Broadway and won Tony Awards for Applause (1970) and Woman of the Year (1981). In 2009, she was awarded an honorary Oscar.

According to her NYT obit, she and Bogart, "flew to Washington as part of a group known as the Committee  for the First Amendment, which also included Danny Kaye, John Garfield, Gene Kelly, John Huston, Ira Gershwin and Jane Wyatt. 'I am an outraged and angry citizen who feels that my basic civil liberties are being taken away from me,' Bogart said in a statement."

I just saw Bacall on CNN's The Sixties special, wondering how the country would find its soul after the RFK assassination. What a rare, wise woman. 

TCM will remember Bacall with a marathon on September 15 & 16.

Monday, August 11, 2014

RIP Robin Williams: The Craziest, Most Wonderful One




I must report here the extremely sad news that Robin Williams is dead, of an apparent suicide.

Williams told a joke about Nixon and pot in "Good Morning Vietnam," and I'd known about his famous bit comparing alcohol with marijuana. I always wanted to contact the Northern California resident and Comic Relief co-host about doing a benefit for marijuana reform; then I would realize that since he had problems with cocaine and alcohol, he had to be "sober" at all times.

"When you clean up your act, you either get married or go to court," he joked recently on VIP Craig Ferguson's show, where he was wearing a pot leaf motif tie (pictured) but said he couldn't smoke it because it made him laugh too much (which it seems like would have been a good thing for him).

In his latest riff on pot, Williams jokes about California wildfires being extra dangerous because, "Those parks are full of weed!" He says if they legalize it they're going to have to label it with a Surgeon General's warning saying, "This will make your music AWESOME!"



Williams smoked weed and ate pot brownies onscreen in 2009's "World's Greatest Dad" (to the tune of, "When I get high/This world's so nice"). The film, written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, has the strange plot of Williams's teenage son dying by autoerotic asphyxiation, and his father covering it up by writing his son's suicide note and making it look like a hanging.

Williams, who was set to reprise his role as Mrs. Doubtfire, starred in the "The Crazy Ones" on CBS, but the series was cancelled in May. Two of the more remarkable roles he left us with are in the Oscar-nominated movie "Awakenings," based on a book by VIP Oliver Sacks, and "Moscow on the Hudson," directed by VIP Paul Mazursky. Williams said his voicing of the Genie in Aladdin was influenced by VIP Lord Buckley. In his youth, he worked at a busboy at Sausalito's Trident restaurant, owned by VIP Frank Werber.

A wise woman recently opined to me that the youth aren't feeling the spiritual effect of marijuana because of their preference for the less mind-expanding strains like the OGs; the couch-lock varieties Williams called "California catatonic." I've encountered a lot of younger men who were fed Ritalin in their youth and seem to need something like that to take the edge off. And it's too bad the father in the "World's Greatest Dad" felt he had to hide his marijuana use from his troubled son.

If anyone could be said to be hyperactive, it was the brilliant comedian Robin Williams. I couldn't help thinking: if he'd been able to puff a little Blue Dream now and then, perhaps he wouldn't have been so depressed. Our great loss.

VIP Barack Obama issued a statement on Williams' passing.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ava Gardner and Ganga



A new book, Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations, reveals that the sultry star tried marijuana with co-star Robert Mitchum around 1951, when the two were filming My Forbidden Past.

"I adored him. He was outrageous," Gardner told Peter Evans about Mitchum. "On the set, in front of reporters, he'd call to his makeup man: 'Hey, bring me some of that good shit, man.' He didn't give a fuck.

"Out in the Valley working on location one day, he said, 'Sugar, have you ever tried this stuff?' He was smoking a joint. I said no, I never have. There was plenty around when I was with Artie [Shaw] but he wouldn't let me touch it. He said I got high enough on booze. Anyway, Bob said, 'I've got some really great shit, really great. I want you to try it.' So we went to this old van where they carried all the equipment. I smoked a couple of sticks. Bob taught me how. You take a little air with the hit, deep, deep down and you hold it and hold it and hold it....

"Anyhow, I didn't feel a goddamn thing, nothing whatsoever. Bob was flying. He was fine and dandy. On the way home we stopped at a bar—dry martinis were the thing in those days—and once I'd had a martini, I felt as if I was sitting two feet above the stool. Everything I reached for was a little off, a little to one side. It took the martini to bring on the feeling of the pot. Bob did his best to convert me to marijuana. I tried, but I never got into it." (Perhaps, like me, she thought she was supposed to feel tipsy after she first smoked, instead of being attuned to the subtle effect of an expanded consciousness.)

Gardner proposed marriage to Mitchum, who replied, "It's okay with me, baby. But you'll have to clear it up with [his wife] Dorothy first."

Lee Server's 2006 biography of Gardner says she did smoke back in the day when she was married to bandleader Artie Shaw, but it "didn't impress her." Mitchum, "thought perhaps she had gotten some inferior product and suggested she give it another try," Server wrote in his version of the story. "Mitchum had the pedigree of all his weed: This, he explained, was from a crop of a one-eyed Dutch farmer on one of the lesser Banda Islands in the South China Sea. Ava smoked away, and later that night, after a disconcerting period of what felt like uncontrollable levitation, she swore off grass for good."

Server, who also wrote a biography of Mitchum, says Gardner nearly broke up the Richard Burton-Elizabeth Taylor romance while filming Night of the Iguana in Puerto Vallarta, when, "She threw parties many nights, and the beach boys would fill the villa—drinking, smoking marijuana, and dancing the twist." 

Ava Gardner was the youngest of seven children born to poor North Carolina cotton and tobacco farmers. Her ancestry was said to include Native American from the Tuscarora tribe, the "People of the Hemp." Ava was known as hard-drinking, swearing-like-a-sailor gal, and she had good reason: during her marriage to Frank Sinatra she reportedly became pregnant twice, but had two abortions. "MGM had all sorts of penalty clauses about their stars having babies," she said. Like Marilyn Monroe, she never had children.

The role most identified with Gardner is The Barefoot Contessa; she was also memorable in Showboat. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Mogambo (1953), and her performance in The Night of the Iguana (1964) won her nominations for a BAFTA Award and a Golden Globe. As well as her three husbands (starting with Mickey Rooney at age 19), she was linked with Howard Hughes and Ernest Hemingway.

A lifelong cigarette smoker, Garner suffered from emphysema, and two strokes in 1986 left her partially paralyzed and bedridden. In the last years of her life, Gardner asked Evans to ghostwrite her autobiography. After his death in 2012, Evans's notes, which he based on their taped conversations, were published in The Secret Conversations.

It's too bad Gardner lived in a time when marijuana wasn't accepted like alcohol, and husbands could rule their wives. It seems Shaw didn't think his wife could handle what he called "reefers" in a 1938 interview. "I think," he said, "that the hysterical articles about marijuana do more harm than good. A mature, well-balanced individual is not apt to play around with reefers; it's the youngsters in search of a sensation, or the emotionally unstable type, the 'screwballs,' who are the most likely prospects. And those are the very ones who will not be scared away by horrible stories of marijuana's weird effects. They get a kick out of trying something dangerous, unpredictable. The more they read about wild orgies held while 'walking on air,' the smarter they think it is to play around with reefers."

Shaw told the LA Times about the time he confronted trombonist Chuck Peterson, who he thought was slowing down the band because of his pot smoking. Shaw, who said he used to smoke when he was 17 or 18, challenged Peterson to a smoke-off, saying he would smoke as Peterson did, and then they would decide if his performance suffered. After he smoked, Shaw said, "I was playing over my head. I was hearing s--- I'd never heard before in those same old arrangements." Announcing to Peterson that he'd won the bet, Peterson replied, "No, man, I lose." "I was hearing great things," Shaw said, "but the technical ability to do it—it's like driving drunk. You feel great, but you don't know what you're doing."

Also famously married to Lana Turner, Shaw hired Billie Holiday to sing with his band back when "she wasn't on anything, oh a little marijuana, now and then, you know, but everybody did that." VIP Louis Armstrong was a big influence on his music and VIP Benny Goodman was his contemporary.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Macy Gray Gets Stoned



Macy Gray has brought her distinctive voice and style to a new single, "Stoned," now available on iTunes, from her forthcoming album "The Way."

Born Natalie McIntyre in September 1970 in Canton, Ohio, the 6-foot-tall black girl didn't fit in with her mainly white classmates at her Ohio prep school. She moved to Los Angeles and was a mother of three with a rocky marriage when she catapulted to fame on the strength of songs like "I Try," for which she won the Best Female Pop Vocal Grammy in 2001.

The singer admittedly didn't handle her fame well, indulging in excesses but denying rumors she used hard drugs. She told one interviewer that drugs play an important part in her creativity. "I think everybody needs a little oblivion. It is important to get out of your mind sometimes so you meet a different side of yourself. I have had some really incredible revelations on drugs but at the same time they can do horrible things to you, like make you have to spend a lot of money on rehab."

The "Stoned" video shows Gray smoking and giggling while looking at online pictures of other famous stoners, including Tokin Women Miley CyrusMartha Stewart, Marilyn MonroeMaya AngelouOprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga and Rhianna. And it looks like she's seen VeryImportantPotheads.com because the video picks up the Bob Marley and Bill Gates photos from their pages there:


Gray has been diagnosed as bipolar, a condition for which many report relief from cannabis, although studies show mixed results. A 2012 study found marijuana can improve cognitive functioning in those with bipolar disorders.

Gray covered The Toyes song "Smoke Two Joints" in 2012. In 2013 she was named in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by a security guard from Universal, alleging rampant marijuana use at the company's headquarters.

Starring recently in The Paperboy (2012) with Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey and Nicole Kidman, Gray also has a successful acting career. In Little Lake for first-time filmmaker Jasmin Sharon, she plays a "hippie psychic" who assists a young girl's coming of age.

Gray is touring in California starting at the end of August, then nationwide. Read more.

CelebStoner names Gray's "Stoned" video in its Top 10 Stoner Songs of All Time.