Sunday, March 4, 2012

MGM Scoring Stage, Sony Pictures Studios, 10202 West Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA




The Barbra Streisand Scoring Stage was originally an MGM shooting stage until the late twenties. 
The main scoring area of the stage has remained unchanged since the 1930s to preserve its unmatched acoustics and unique ambiance. The largest session consisted of a 110 piece orchestra with a 50 person choir for Amistad. Stage:
- 93’ wide x 67’ long x 34’ high
- 1 iso room 18’ wide x 13’ long
- 1 iso room 8’ wide x 13’ long
Control Room:
- 29’ wide x 41’ long x 15’ high
- 1 iso room 12’ wide x 9’ long
- Neve 88R, 96 channel console (192 mix inputs with
  motorized faders) w/ Neve custom designed Scoring
  Panel & 36 track stem mixer
- Large machine room area
- Large credenza area behind console
- Private office
- Private kitchen

One of the first scores was the Wizard of Oz (1939, Herbert Stothart), which was a huge success and from that point on the stage was primarily dedicated to the art of film score. Since then it has scored some of the most famous scores of all time including Gone with the Wind (1939, Max Steiner); Anchors Aweigh (1945, George Stoll); An American in Paris (1951, Johnny Green and Saul Chaplin); Ben Hur (1959, Miklos Rozsa); Lawrence of Arabia (1962, Maurice Jarre); and Doctor Zhivago (1965, Maurice Jarre). Today, the Sony Pictures Scoring Stage is one of the most sought-after scoring venues in the world. Recent film soundtracks scored on the stage include Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (Hans Zimmer). Other scores within the last two decades include ET (John Williams); Schindler’s List (John Williams); Toy Story (Randy Newman); Forrest Gump (Alan Silvestri); Spider-Man (Danny Elfman); and Black Hawk Down (Hans Zimmer). (2)





Garcia flew to MGM Studios in Los Angeles to provide music for a scene in Zabriskie Point. The movie also used an excerpt from the Live Dead version of "Dark Star," but Garcia alone played guitar for a sensuous love scene in the desert. 
"There I was on the old MGM scoring stage where they used to do Gene Kelly musicals and The Wizard of Oz — just me and my electric guitar and a little amplifier," Garcia remembered. "And Antonioni's back there [in the control room] with one engineer, and the scene is playing on a huge screen, and I'm picking along, trying to get my ideas."
"I sat down and just played, and [Antonioni] said, 'Oh, I like that very, very much. That's very, very good.' And I said, 'Hey, wait a minute. C'mon, give me a chance!' And he said, 'Oh no, no. That's exactly what I want!' I wanted so badly to do something good because, well, it was Antonioni for chrissakes! He was satisfied so quickly I didn't know what to think. I was unhappy about it. I was just getting warmed up and, boom, that was it."
Still, Garcia said he liked working with Antonioni, and the experience did nothing to diminish his admiration for the director: "I like his work so much. It's so modern — his sense of space and time and all that."

Antonioni
And Garcia's seven-minute "Love Scene" worked beautifully in the film and on the soundtrack album, which also featured previously unreleased material by England's leading psychedelic band in that era, Pink Floyd. "Love Scene" also stands as Garcia's only solo electric guitar outing in a recording studio.
According to Don Hall, music supervisor on the film, Garcia actually did have a bit of time to work on the piece, first trying it on acoustic guitar, then tracking four different performances, two of which were fused into the final music for the film. "I think Jerry was actually down for about three hours," Hall remembers. "And he was great to work with; everybody thought so. At the time we were working on the MGM lot people like us weren't exactly welcome—they did not like long-haired hippies. The people at MGM felt quite threatened by these 'hummers' coming in; that's a term composers used for people who don't read music. It was a strained relationship between Antonioni and MGM. There was a lot of bad feeling going around. Even at the recording studio it was a very strained situation. Jerry and I walk in. Jerry's got a flannel shirt on and he came in and through his professionalism and his natural vibe or aura or whatever you want to call it, those people loved him. By the end of the session they were calling him Jerry and jumping all over the place and doing whatever they could do for him. And these were people who heretofore did not like what was going on, didn't appreciate the music at all."

The soundtrack to Zabriskie Point included music from Pink Floyd, The Youngbloods, The Kaleidoscope, Jerry Garcia, Patti Page, the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones and John Fahey. Roy Orbison sang the theme song over the credits called, "So Young".


Zabriske Pointe co-star today
Daria Halprin, MA, REAT, RSMT
Over 30 years ago, Daria developed an interest in the relationship between the creative process, art expression and psychology, working in dance and theater labs with artists and psychologists from around the world. She was a member of the Dancers' Workshop Company, performing nationally and internationally for 15 years.

She is the co-founder of Tamalpa Institute, author of The Expressive Body in Life, Art and Therapy, and contributing author of Foundations of Expressive Arts Therapy. Her work has made a "significant contribution to the coming of age of expressive arts therapy in relation to our global society" (Jack S. Weller, California Institute of Integral Studies).

Daria teaches at universities, growth centers and presents at conferences throughout the world. She has designed art-based programs and consulted with community organizations. She maintains a private practice in Marin County, is a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist and Movement Therapist. Daria is the director of Tamalpa Institute.

Daria Halprin's website: www.dariahalprin.org

1970
Zabriskie Point was an overwhelming commercial failure and panned by most critics upon release. The film has been called "one of the most extraordinary disasters in modern cinematic history."

Dennis Hopper and Daria Halprin






Jerry performed here on

1/20/1970 (Zabriske Point)

The liner notes for the extended release of Zabriskie Point include comments by Don Hall, the musical coordinator for the film, on Garcia's inclusion;
Michelangelo liked The Grateful Dead, and I had a friend who lived across the street from Jerry at the time. He talked to him about the movie and we got together. It was almost done as an afterthought. Michelangelo wasn't even in town when we did the music; he was back in Rome. We went into the large studio at MGM, which they usually used for the symphony orchestras. And Jerry sat there by himself, on a stool, laying it down. They had the love scene on a loop, and he played live while the film was running. He didn't want to do it away from the film and then cut things in. He played right to every single shot in the scene. That's why there are certain notes over certain frames, over people moving in the desert. He played right while watching it. It was miraculous -- pure genius.
In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1969 Antonioni said;
I don't like music that makes a commentary on the film. Of course there will be rock music in [Zabriskie Point] as heard on the radio or record players. That's just natural. But I don't necessarily want a rock score. That would be too easy, too obvious.
The booklet with the new release also includes a section by Deborah Koons Garcia entitled Jerry Garcia: A Remembrance
Back in 1974 when Jerry and I were first getting to know each other, he was beginning to experience more intensely the ups and downs of success and fame. The best of the upside for Jerry was the increased opportunity to do interesting work, and working with Michelangelo Antonioni on the soundtrack for Zabriskie Point had been a definite highlight. He told me in 1970 (or '69) that Lenny Hart, who then managed The Grateful Dead, had mentioned to him that "some Italian guy has been calling, wanting you to work on a film soundtrack." When Jerry found out this Italian guy was Antonioni, he immediately said yes, of course, he would be thrilled to be involved in the project. So Jerry went to L.A. and set up in a huge soundstage with Antonioni and played. He was pleased with his work, proud to be part of the film, and honored to have worked with the director. I remember, prevideo, Jerry taking me to see old Antonioni films like Red Desert (Il Deserto Rosso) at repertory houses. Of course we saw The Passenger as soon as it came out and marveled at its great style. Jerry was a true film buff and appreciated both the artistic and technical aspects of this most difficult craft. Seeing and talking movies with him was always fun.
When I watch Zabriskie Point on video, I think back to the first time I saw it in 1970 when I was in college, when I was the same age and generation as the people in the film. I too sat through endless meetings, went on strike, challenged the system, and felt there were two worlds: the straight world and our world. I can hardly remember how it felt to be so open and free and trusting. How lucky we were to have been that age at that particular time. Of course, today it seems we were naive, lacking in wisdom, discrimination, and good sense. Still, watching Zabriskie Point now has made me fall in love with my generation all over again. We were all so young and beautiful, and time was on our side.(3)







1.)^ Mantle, Larry, a music lover's dream, 89.3KPCC, 2011-12-15
2.)^ Sony Pictures Post Production, (http://www.sonypicturespost.com/soundservices/scoringstage    /scoringstage.html)

3.)^http://www.deaddisc.com/disc/Zabriskie_Point.htm

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