The Cannes Film Festival Premiers “Chelsea on the Rocks”

The Cannes Film Festival Premiers “Chelsea on the Rocks”

Noted in The Huffington Post

Chelsea on the Rocks, the new documentary about New York City’s Chelsea Hotel, premiered last Friday at the Cannes Film Festival. Director Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant) threaded together archival footage and interviews with many of the artists, writers and actors who have lived there, in typical documentary fashion.

He also hired actors to play Janis Joplin and Sid Vicious, both of whom battled drugs and demons during their stays there. Leonard Cohen wrote a song about a sexual encounter with Joplin on an unmade bed there. And the Chelsea is where Vicious’ girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, died of a stab wound. The Chelsea has been a mecca for bohemia for decades, attracting brilliant, often desperate and doomed artists. Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, Andy Warhol, Arthur Miller and Arthur C. Clarke are just a few of the greats who spent time there.

Actor Dennis Hopper, who stayed there early in his career, told reporters at the Cannes festival, “We were all living on the edge, the edge of what, I’m not sure, but we were living on the edge of it. A number of us fell in the hole, and some of us stood on the rim, and some of us got out of there,” he said. “But it was a really special, exciting time, and I’ll always cherish it.”

Ferrara’s film includes interviews with actor Ethan Hawke, who sings a song he wrote during a stay at the hotel, Hopper, director Milos Forman and cartoonist R. Crumb. Another important figure is Stanley Bard, who ran the hotel for nearly five decades, helping many artists along the way. Bard was pushed aside last year in a management change that has left residents worried that the Chelsea Hotel is destined to quickly become just another standard Manhattan boutique hotel. Bard’s departure, and fears for the hotel’s soul, are the backdrop for the documentary.

Chelsea On The Rocks: A Documentary by Abel Ferrara

Rufus Wainright Sings Chelsea Hotel#2

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Photos of the Day: Pretty in Pastels

Photos of the Day: Pretty in Pastels

Photography by: Joseph Bleu

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