27 June 2017

one year ago today

I closed on the condo & put the key in the front door for the first time.


























in just a year I transformd the place into mine. it feels as much like home as any place I've lived.

23 June 2017

for almost 45 years

I've told the story of the nite I kissd Ava Gardner's hand. it's in The Year Book & Alex in Movieland. it's one of my favorite Hollywood tales.

today I encounterd for the first time a photograph taken that nite.



I was immediately overwhelmed & have been all day. on this sultry nite as I swam alone in the closest pool it was all Ava. that image. there she is again in the tux I've described again & again.

& it gave me hope. maybe after all somewhere out there is the photo Timothy Greenfield-Sanders took of me with Lois Wilson at the Beverly Hilton. & what if David Hockney never destroyd the drawing he did of me in Paris. & maybe those pictures Kevin McCollister took of me in the Dresden Room weren't deleted.

I'll always have memories. they are lovely. but they will die with me. I know now that there is evidence of Ava in her tux the nite I kissd her hand. & I still hope those other moments will be uncoverd & will linger.

16 June 2017

Monterey Pop

this seminal festival happend a half century ago this weekend.

my generation will never forget this performance:



in 1980 I wrote this poem based on that footage.

JANIS AT MONTEREY

                                    13 years later

we still echo
a dead mama’s wow

& heat our ink
on your fire

                        




11 June 2017

Judy

it's been too long ago to remember when I first saw or heard Judy Garland. I think "The Wizard of Oz" was the first film I saw. & I was totally caught up in "A Star is Born" before being a teenager. I was a diehard Judyist long before I knew I was gay. I saw her perform but once. 2 years before her death. at the Palace. a magic evening.

there was an article a while ago claiming Judy is not an icon to baby gays.  maybe they never heard this:



yesterday Facebook was full of notices of her 95th birthday. most were from gay friends & I suspect gentlemen of "a certain age." but if the young now exclude her from our history they not only are missing a rare talent they are not reading history correctly. her connection to Stonewall is part of the record.

but last nite there was something else. I was walking under a gorgeous moon from one part of town to another. I got to Arenas before my friends.  so I poppd into bars. I was delightd to see that Judy's birthday was being rememberd. bars on both sides of the street were showing clips from her films.

the street was blockd to traffic. not for a birthday celebration but for the somber business of remembering the Pulse massacre one year ago. Judy's birthday doesn't have the historic connection to what happend at Pulse to what did at Stonewall. but for someone who investigates the layers of history & makes connections I suddenly connectd her to Pulse.

it wd take a book to document Judy's role in the history of our community.  maybe someday one of the baby gays will write that book.


at Judy's new grave at Hollywood Forever

04 June 2017

Charles Nolte (1923-2010)

it happens often. I'm searching something online & find something else which sidetracks me. today it was the famous 1951 photograph Carl Van Vechten took of this actor in costume for his greatest role -- Billy Budd.



I was first aware of Nolte via Daniel Blum who lovingly included him in Great Stars of the American Stage. it was odd because I never saw Nolte on stage & have no memory of his few film & tv appearances. but his image in the Billy Budd photos is indelible.

many years ago I saw him sitting alone in a Broadway theater before curtain time. to this day I regret not having spoken to him. I don't recall why I didn't. it might have been that I hadn't actually seem him act & simply was in love with how he lookd.

he appears to have had a long & full life. his partner for more than half a century was former child star Terence Kilburn (who made his film debut in "No Greater Glory" which featured my friend Lois Wilson).

I'd like to find that handful of Nolte performances that survive. I especially wonder if there exists a copy of the 1952 tv adaptation of his famous Billy Budd.

30 May 2017

29 May 2017

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

the only time I saw him he rode thru Elyria in an open car. I was near the photographer who I believe took this picture for the student paper.



at a time when the presidency has been reduced to a joke it's heartbreaking to remember when intelligence & beauty were alive in the White House.