Director Brendan Toller talks ‘Danny Says’ ahead of its FilmScene screening

Danny Says, Art House Theater Day

FilmScene — Saturday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m.

A young Danny Fields in a still from Brendan Toller's documentary 'Danny Says.'
A young Danny Fields in a still from Brendan Toller’s documentary ‘Danny Says.’

Danny Fields is a countercultural Zelig.

The new documentary Danny Says provides a glimpse into an unparalleled life that connects the dots between Andy Warhol and the Ramones, teen magazines and Iggy Pop. As part of FilmScene’s celebration of Art House Theater Day programming, our intrepid local cinema will offer a screening of Danny Says on Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. — followed by a livestream Q&A with director Brendan Toller, presented by the good folks at Record Collector.

“I’m certainly not the first one to want to make a documentary or a memoir about Danny’s life,” Toller tells me. “Andy Warhol writes about it in his diaries, that he wants to tape record Danny’s life story, but Warhol ended up passing away six weeks later. A lot of people have wanted to tell this story, because I don’t think there’s a better life you could have lived in the ’60s and ’70s — in terms of place, access and excitement.”

It’s safe to say that no other one person has served as an editor-in-chief of 16 Magazine, managed MC5 and the Ramones, hung with Warhol Factory superstar Edie Sedgwick, introduced Iggy Pop to David Bowie, signed Velvet Underground chanteuse Nico to Elektra Records, worked with the Doors and the Allman Brothers and was famously censored by public access television for pretending to stick a light bulb in a TV repairman’s butt. And that’s just scratching the surface!

“His heart was in pushing these wild fringe people and creating a new place for them in the mainstream, so that people of many different styles and approaches could be appreciated,” Toller says. “There’s a debate as to whether or not he’s an artist, and if he is an artist, I think his medium is definitely people.”