Collection / Works / California Sun by Thom Andersen


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The movie is a “music video” to accompany the Farmingdale Sound Machine version of “California Sun,” originally recorded by the Rivieras. The Farmingdale Sound Machine had created a video for the song using clips from my film Los Angeles Plays Itself. I have supplanted these with movie clips that more precisely illustrate the song, although the relation to the lyrics will sometimes be ironic, befitting an ironic mournful version of the song. For example, I will illustrate the line “I shimmy and they shimmy” with a shot of Anna Nicole Smith hanging from the 444 Plaza Building at 5th and Flower Streets and swaying in the wind from the film Skyscraper, an unauthorized remake of Die Hard. My little movie gives the lie to the legend that Annette Funicello never bared her navel in those beach party movies. And it raises a question: since the song celebrates a place “where the days are short and the nights are long,” why is it called “California Sun”?