Through the glitter and the grunge, from The Monkees to Coldplay, Rodney Bingenheimer--a.k.a. "Rodney on the ROQ"--has reigned over the Los Angeles music scene for over two decades. A constantly evolving fixture as rock fan, journalist, promoter, club owner and radio DJ on KROQ, Bingenheimer has helped advance every adventurous rock mutation--California pop, glam, punk, goth, new wave, alternative--since he first hit the Sunset Strip during its psychedelic 1960s heyday.
This wistful soft-edged portrait of Rodney Bingenheimer, the elfin, vacant-eyed waif who presided for more two decades as a social impresario of the Los Angeles rock scene, keeps its claws carefully retracted but still leaves a bitter aftertaste. At the peak of his influence as a nightclub impresario and disc jockey, Mr. Bingenheimer, a quiet, wizened gnome of indeterminate age with a pageboy haircut, was a gatekeeper to the rock royalty. The movie is crammed with vintage photos and film clips of Mr. Bingenheimer escorting beautiful girls and celebrities into his so-called English disco, the tiny Los Angeles club he established during the heyday of British glam-rock. Hollywood is well stocked with oddballs like Mr. Bingenheimer who glean their self-worth from access to celebrity. But fame, observed up close, is a cold and voracious entity, and the "Mayor of the Sunset Strip," almost without trying, makes you feel its chilly pull. — Stephen Holden
2003-10-18 | Stephen Holden | Read the New York Times Review of Mayor of the Sunset Strip