Mayor of the Sunset Strip | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Mayor of the Sunset Strip

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Disc jockey Rodney Bingenheimer has been a fixture of Los Angeles rock radio since the mid-70s, and before that he was a ubiquitous scenester on the Sunset Strip, attaching himself to such chart toppers as the Monkees, the Beach Boys, and Sonny and Cher. This absorbing documentary by George Hickenlooper (Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse) spends too much time on the celebrities in Bingenheimer's life for its analysis of fame and fandom to rise above the banal. But Hickenlooper is a skilled storyteller, and his carefully layered portrait of the shy, gnomish DJ is genuinely tragic: abandoned by his mother as a teen (on Connie Stevens's doorstep no less), Bingenheimer has been championing great music for 30 years but has little to show for it other than some impressive souvenirs and a small circle of friends whose motives for hanging around may be more selfish than they first appear. 94 min. Music Box.

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