In the good ol' (boy) U. S. of A., David Bowie is soccer. He has long-standing, loyal pockets of devotion that ensure consistent support, but he's largely viewed as an international anomaly. Delicacy for some, acquired taste for others, foreign weirdo for most. Does that mean the crowd gathered outside the Inwood's Friday and Saturday midnight showings of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars will represent the local socio-musical glitterati scene? Well, in all likelihood, but don't be afraid. They won't bite; it might smear their lipstick.
The live concert footage that composes a majority of the feature--filmed by the renowned D.A. Pennebaker on July 3, 1973--is a glittery sound bite of the Flower Child's death knell (braids and beards falling to an androgynous "hazy cosmic" jive-talking Brit), a snapshot of an artist on the cusp of superstardom or, if you like, simply a kick-ass rock show.
Bowie's Spiders remain his most charged backers, with the late, great guitarist Mick Ronson stalking the stage in a fashion that surely gave Nigel Tufnel wet dreams, and ruling numbers like "Width of a Circle" and "Hang Onto Yourself." Backstage access is also granted, as we're privy to several of Bowie's elaborate costume changes, but the stage is the place with Ziggy's acoustic-only cover of Jacques Brel's "My Death" sparkling like a dark jewel within the set.
This is the stuff of legend now, of course, and Ziggy ultimately cast a shadow from which Bowie himself has yet to fully emerge. Always a temporary Lodger and an artful dodger, his "murder" of the character that July night only accelerated his creative impulses, but as far as launching pads go, the glam-rock Pied Poseur will forever be the apple of Bowie's geometrically opposed eyes. A luscious new print of the film is available, and it's the version you'll see this weekend...larger than life and priced at vintage concert rates.