4 October 2013

Bobby Beausoleil "Lucifer Rising"

I recently came across an article of Truman Capote interviewing Bobby Beausoleil. The interview took place in San Quentin State Prison, in California, in 1972. Previously, Capote had interviewed murderer Perry Smith in prison. Capote's 1966 non-fiction novel called "In Cold Blood" is about the massacre of a farming family by Richard Hickock and Smith. Capote portrayed Smith as a petty criminal, and his temperamental mental disorder was a trigger for the massacre. During the book research, Capote had expressed a kind of affection towards Perry Smith, and I believe he had a similar feeling toward Beausoleil when he went to see him in prison.

Beausoleil is mainly famous for the wrong reason. He was a member of the Charles Manson family and murdered Gary Hinman, under the orders of Manson, in 1969, and has been in prison since his arrest in 1970. Before this Beausoleil was a talented musician nicknamed "Cupid" because of his boyish looks.

In the mid 60's, San Francisco underground culture wasn't only full of love & peace. Lots of hippies got involved in drugs, and stealing, robbing, and raping all became a daily occurrence. Beausoleil was one of these hippies, his only difference being his musical talent and mysterious character, that caught the eye of cult film director Kenneth Anger, and he soon became his protege. Capote reveals in the interview that Anger wore a picture locket containing a picture of Beausoleil, and a frog on the other side with the inscription "Bobby Beausoleil changed into a frog by Kenneth Anger".

Before the Hinman killing, Beausoleil starred in Anger's film "Lucifer Rising" but in the middle of production Anger and Beausoleil fell out, and the film was suspended. Beausoleil was staying at Anger's house and exploiting Anger's wealth for his marijuana habit, as the result of that he was kicked out by Anger. When the film was finally completed in 1972, Anger asked the imprisoned Beausoleil for help to compose music for the soundtrack. Anyway "Lucifer Rising" tells it all.

The interview can be found in Capote's book "Music for Chameleons" and also online.

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