From The Desk Of The Black Watch’s Steven Schayer: “The World Of Henry Orient”

For almost 25 years, John Andrew Fredrick and a revolving cast of characters have been issuing records as the Black Watch. The California-based indie-rock institution is back with 11th album Led Zeppelin Five (Powertool), and it’s the first LP to feature the rock-solid lineup of Fredrick, guitarist Steven Schayer (ex-Chills), bassist Chris Rackford and drummer Rick Woodard. When Fredrick isn’t busy writing and recording songs, he’s teaching English at the University of California, so we thought he’d a be a natural choice to guest edit the MAGNET website. Fredrick, with some assistance from Schayer, will be doing exactly that all week. Read our brand new Q&A with Fredrick.

Schayer: I have an ongoing fascination with this 1964 movie about two slightly off-kilter teenage girls who stalk a sleazy classical pianist named Henry Orient (played by Peter Sellers) in and around New York City. Sellers is, of course, always groovy, but the show really belongs to Tippy Walker, who plays Valarie Boyd. She has a frenetic, amphetamine-laced quality without which this movie might have just been a wacky comedy with some melodramatic coming-of-age overtones. Because of her, it’s not. She’s sort of like a lip-biting, gum-chewing Peppermint Patty on Ritalin wearing a ratty fur coat and coolie hat. Or, possibly, a teenage, pre-Manson Family member. In the last scene of the movie, while trying on lipstick, she wide-eyed and innocently utters the excellent line, “You know what I like? A mouth like a crimson gash,” and you get the feeling she means it. Or is capable of it. It’s not difficult to see why Daniel Clowes referenced The World Of Henry Orient frequently in both his graphic novel and film Ghost World. Rent this movie and recognize the genius of Tippy Walker.

Video after the jump.