May 30-31, 1969: Jim Morrison Appears at Cinematheque 16

Jim Morrison and Robby Krieger: Supporting Norman Mailer

In Doors history today is a lesser known but nonetheless interesting event. On May 30 and 31, 1969, Jim Morrison and Robby Krieger appeared at the Cinematheque 16 in Los Angeles to raise funds for writer Norman Mailer’s mayoral run in New York.

Promo Poster for Norman Mailer Benefit

Mailer, urged by friends to run as the Democratic candidate for Mayor of New York City, ran on a platform of New York City secession, a move that would see the city become a state of its own. Morrison and Krieger appeared at both nights of the event with a noticeably nervous Jim Morrison reading “An American Prayer.” Doors guitarist Robby Krieger accompanied him on guitar for a rendition of some Elvis Presley songs including “I’ll Never be Untrue” and “Heartbreak Hotel.” Morrison also read some poems such as “Paperback Queen” and “Build Me a Woman,” and the duo performed the blues classic “Woman is a Devil” and Chuck Berry’s “Carol.”

Mailer eventually lost his bid for mayor of New York, but Michael C. Ford, who was also a part of the program, said about Morrison’s participation, “… Jim loved that kind of buffoonery.” Other readers featured that evening were Michael McClure, Michael C. Ford, Tom Baker, and Seymour Cassell. Also featured as part of each evening’s events were The Doors’ film “Feast of Friends” and Andy Warhol’s “I, A Man” which featured Tom Baker.

The Cinematheque 16 was an experimental movie theater in Los Angeles that specialized in psychedelic and experimental film techniques such as using multiple projectors and looping. Many of Andy Warhol’s films were shown there including “My Hustler,” “Chelsea Girls,” and “Imitation of Christ.” Cinematheque 16 was at the site now occupied by Book Soup at 8818 Sunset Boulevard.

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Originally published May 31, 2014.

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