17 October 2005

the big one

at dinner at Ray's the other nite. somewhere between Gerty's chili & apple dumpling a la mode. Tom Beckett presentd me with a parcel of questions abt Alex in Movieland. I've been working on it for more than 9 years now. & I guess I talk more than a little abt it being my master work   a source of great joy   a reward for lasting so long.

Tom's questions promptd me to write abt it here. there have been a few examples out there over the years. but it's the longest thing I've ever written & largely unknown. since I'll be working on it till my last gasp the whole thing won't see print till I'm dead. but I'm ready for selections to make their way into publication.

Alex is Movieland began as a list of every movie I'd ever seen. as much as I love lists & movies even I quickly became bored with that. I no longer remember when the work told me that it shd be my autobiography. but I startd adding "stuff" to it. yes it's a long list. but it's also a movie of my life. early on I entertaind the notion that each line was a frame & that enough frames fast enough wd produce the motion of my life.

I suspect its thrust comes more from conceptual art than from literature. but then I haven't been in a classroom for a long time. & as I remember that's a conversation for that venue.

whatever it is I work on it daily. here's a month I pluckd from it for Tom 'cause he wdn't order dessert the other nite:

introduces Gerald Mast who discusses the Marx Brothers prior to a campus screening of "Horsefeathers"
sees "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore"
flies to New York City
greets underwear-clad Peter Burnell in his dressing room at Morosco Theatre following a performance in which he plays the son of Rex Harrison & Julie Harris
introduces Burnell to Antony Ponzini during dinner at Charlie’s
sees John Wood & Clive Revill on Broadway
observes Walter Matthau film a scene for "The Sunshine Boys"
sees Maggie Smith & John Standing in a Noel Coward play
hears Barbara Cook at Reno Sweeney
chats with Carolyn Jones during intermission of a Broadway play featuring Geraldine Page & Sandy Dennis
observes Peter Shaffer walking down West 44th Street engagd in deep conversation with Peter Firth
introduces Gerald Mast to James Kirkwood Jr. at the playwright’s opening nite before an audience that includes Frederic Combs & Constance Ford
joins Mary Ann Begland to hear Michael Moriarty at Michael's Pub
sees Rita Moreno & Stephen Collins under direction of Robert Drivas
is cruisd by Andrew Crispo while viewing the dealer’s Richard Anuszkiewicz show
drinks at Brothers & Sisters with Begland
sees Diana Rigg & Nicholas Clay in a Moliere play
sees Harry Chapin in his own musical opposite Mercedes Ellington & Lynne Thigpen
sits beside Charles Gordone at the bar at Charlie’s
returns to Kent
sees Boston Tea Party (formerly The Proposition) on campus with an audience that includes David Prittie
dines on chicken at Stag Bar with James Bridges
sees Chip Norwood & David Prittie in a Kent Acting & Touring Company musical
lunches at Peter’s Waikiki with Wendy Ma & Julia Waida
celebrates his 32nd birthday by attending Ken Nevadomi's Akron opening with Al Elkins   Linda Lyke & Michael McCafferty then attending Pete Omlar’s Cleveland opening with Robert Swick   Lilian & Brinsley Tyrrell
lunches at Peking with his parents & aunts Mary Gerhart & Ann Nolan
sees "Two Mules for Sister Sarah"
hears Barney Childs in Jacob Leed's poetry class
receives a call from Nancy Holt abt the condition of “Partially Buried Woodshed”
prepares beef stew for Marjorie & Don Harvey   Michael McCafferty   John Sokol & Robert Swick after which he reads at the Kove before an audience that includes Richard Grossinger & Linda Lyke
hears Mort Krahling read “Dear Alex”
sees "Shampoo"
listens to Michael McCafferty mention him after reading “To List” on Tom Maze’s radio program


richard lopez said...

this is marvelous. yr idea about the frame of film as the point in writing is exactly what i'm trying to achieve in my poetry. i'm working toward including a graininess, scratchiness, and faded light, that is part of old film, and that i love so much because a crackle in the frame is evidence of time, and how time can be captured.

bit tired now to be articulate, had another 10plus hr day at work. the portion of the poem you posted here simply scintillates.

love and peace,


Mrs. R said...

Thank you for mentioning Peter Burnell in "In Praise of Love." I lived around the corner from him and saw him in many plays, and I, too, met him in his dressing room, though he had on jeans. I saw him actually in a play that Gerry wrote that featured a friend of mine from across the street, Shelley Wyand. I was so sorry to learn of both his and Gerry's deaths, and I think of them often.