"Sunset Strip" is a documentary film that premiered on Showtime premium cable on Aug. 16, 2013. The film originally premiered in 2012 at the South by Southwest Film Festival. "Sunset Strip" is by filmmaker Hans Fjellestad.
The feature-length documentary tells the story of the famed strip in West Hollywood using archival footage and through interviews with famed personalities who frequented the locale. "Sunset Strip" includes interviews with Lou Adler,Tom Arnold Alice Cooper, Clive Davis, Johnny Depp, Phyllis Diller, Mick Fleetwood, Peter Fonda, Hugh Hefner, Robby Krieger, Tommy Lee, Ozzy Osbourne, Sharon Osbourne, Kelly Osbourne, Jack Osbourne, Keanu Reeves, Mickey Rourke, Sharon Stone, Slash and many more. The movie also shows footage of live performances featuring America, Dita Von Teese, Jane's Addiction, The Head Cat, The Pussycat Dolls, RATT, Slash featuring Fergie, Smashing Pumpkins, Steel Panther and X.
"Sunset Strip" intersperses a loosely chronological account of the history of the long-time hangout of Hollywood stars and entertainers with interviews about their memories. The movie traces the 100-year history of the loudest street on the planet. The film explores this iconic West Hollywood location, starting as a trading route at the turn of the last century and taking center stage for music, fashion and all things rock and roll.
The stars of Hollywood started to congregate in the area in the early 20th century. Its reputation as a gathering spot for Hollywood actors and entertainers grew as the strip evolved over a period of generations, from the Jazz Age, burlesque era, Prohibition era, the glamour years of the 40s and 50s, the counterculture era of the 60s, the rock era, heavy metal era, grunge and so on.
A brief history is given of the "Garden of Allah," also known as paradise in Joni Mitchell's song Big Yellow Taxi, "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot." Paradise was a popular place for the stars to stay in Hollywood in the early years but was eventually knocked down and replaced with a parking lot.
The famed hotel Chateau Marmont makes a few appearances in the movie, first with a historical perspective and later as the hotel where comedian Jim Belushi overdosed and died. There are also star interviews conducted at the hotel, a Hollywood favorite.
There are mentions of well-known hangouts, such as Schwabs, Ciras, Whisky-a-Go-Go, The Roxy, The Rainbow Room, The Comedy Club and more. There are also scenes of celebrities of the Golden Era, such as Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable and Sammy Davis.
Famed groupie Pam Des Barres talks about the rock glory years and gushes about the days "Rock Gods" walked among them and performed at intimate venues. Footage of Jim Morrison and The Doors and Jimi Hendrix is shown.
The Comedy Club saw the heyday of stand-up comedy, launching careers of Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, Richard Lewis and Sam Kinison.
Johnny Depp talks about owning the Viper Room and the death of River Phoenix, who died of a drug overdose at the club.
The movie focuses on the cachet and glamour of the famous strip, but does not shy away from the gritty and sleazy side of the street. The strip always had a naughty reputation, but with the rock years came more crowds, drugs and free sex. Tommy Lee and Ozzy Osbourne talk about groupies and free wheeling sex, while Sharon Osbourne talks about the abuse that the rock stars inflicted on women. Kelly Osbourne talks about being a Sunset Strip kid and growing up in that wild atmosphere. Jack Osbourne on cast of DWTS
The snippets of interviews from the stars are woven together to tell a fascinating story about a place that many may wish they had visited, while others may be grateful to have missed the experience. The story is of the cutting edge of the entertainers of modern society and the changes in pop culture in the generations of the past century.
Since its initial premiere, "Sunset Strip" has appeared in over 20 film festivals worldwide, including a win for Best Doc Honors at the prestigious Capri Hollywood Film Festival in Italy and Best Doc Honors at the Catalina Film Festival.
"Sunset Strip" is currently on the Showtime Network cable schedule. Please see local listings for times.
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