30 September 2005

29 September 2005

progress?

one of the many miseries of getting old is that each time I visit a favorite city some landmark is gone. sometimes I know in advance but other times I head to a favorite place & finding it vanishd is a sit-on-the-curb-&-weep shock. like the time I was walking down Hollywood Blvd with the intention of savoring a hot fudge sundae at C.C. Brown's & it was no longer there.

this is on my mind because of recent news of some changes on the horizon. in Chicago the flagship Marshall Field store that has been on State St for 130 years will become another Macy's. the only good news here is that the building already has landmark status. so one presumes the Tiffany mosaic ceiling is safe.

however in NYC there are plans underfoot for half a block of West 45th to be wreckd to make way for a Disney hotel. among the spots on this block which will disappear are a pair of Broadway hangouts full of personal memories.

the last time I was in Manhattan (2 years ago) I had lunches at both restaurants. I met David McDaniel at Sam's. I first knew the place back in my drinking days. it was calld Charlie's then. I met James Robert Parish at the bar there 29 years ago. I shared meals there with friends now dead including Peter Burnell & Dennis Hrlic.

next door is Barrymore's. on that last visit I had cheeseburgers there with Ira Joel Haber. one Thxgiving I had turkey dinner there. I shared meals there with friends now dead including Gerald Mast & Richard Martin.

other theater haunts of my past -- Backstage & Jimmy Ray's -- are long gone. when the Disney folk dismantle the restaurants of West 45th the only spot left in that district with history will be Joe Allen. I hope I'm dead when Joe Allen closes.

28 September 2005

"you're doing a great job Brownie"

my initial reaction to Michael Brown's arrogant self-defense was disgust. but the more I saw the clips of his tumescent ego the more I realizd he is the perfect spokesman for this greedy & morally-bankrupt administration. like the president   he came to office without qualifications & has performd ineptly. unfortunately under his watch people died who shd not have died. but he seems to share with his boss a pertinacious inability to view his performance with a critical eye.

Bush   Cheney   Rumsfeld   Rice   Chertoff   Brown: has there ever been such a concentration of arrogance in government? each is a servant of the people. but listen to the condescension with which they treat us in speech & press conference. & as they pillage our trust they spread their gloat across the globe. surely our nation has never been so friendless. I bet in secret that even Tony Blair rues his association with Shrub.

it's too late for the dead of New Orleans & Baghdad but some day history will wipe the sneer from this regime.

27 September 2005

watching the tube

when I was a kid there were 3 channels on tv. so watching was more a communal activity then than now. for instance   I rememeber EVERYBODY tallking abt "I Love Lucy" the next morning.

today we have the option of 300 or more channels. so the commununity of watchers is less. that happens only with certain shows like the Oscars or with news coverage of events such as 9/11 or Katrina.

perhaps it's only with folks in my age group but I'm feeling some of that community this morning following the first half of Martin Scorsese's Bob Dylan doc. in fact I startd getting e's from eastcoasters last nite.

for my generation Dylan was a major voice & Scorsese a leading director. bringing them together is historic in itself.

Dylan is 2 years older than I am so the archival footage was resonating all over the place. the parades in his hometown were like the parades in my hometown. & what memories of the Greenwich Village of my youth. I cd taste the rum & coke at the Dugout.

it'll be interesting to see where the doc goes tonite as it covers the period in which so many found disappointment in Dylan's seeming conversion to the kind of religion that embraces a narrow world view.

26 September 2005

aloud again

for most of my 30-plus years in Kent there was a lively poetry scene. which means poets of every shade came & went. today is the birthday of one of those poets -- Jacob Leed -- who went. it's also a day in which I read the blog of another of those poets -- Tom Beckett -- who continues to reside in Tree City.

one of the poets to pass thru was Ralph LaCharity. a swaggering presence   LaCharity is probably best rememberd in town for organizing the "Aloud Allowed" events. for a couple of springs in the late '80s he gatherd up local poets as well as compatriots from other states to read at venues around town for a weekend. headquarters was Captain Brady's   a venerable coffeeshop where writers & rockers gatherd over the decades. (it's now a Starbuck's.)

memories of those april events returnd as I found LaCharity's current rant online.Notes Toward a Poetics of the Local is vintage Ralph. if you've ever heard him   his voice is unmistakable in a line like "These sizzling oaken tambourine transmissions."

25 September 2005

Tobias Schneebaum (1921-2005)

"This was a wonderful period for meeting people who were invited to Norman [Mailer]’s parties. James Jones, or Jonesy, as his friends called him, was at one of those parties. He had been told by Adele that I was a good painter. "Can I see some of your work now?" he asked. I opened the window and we climbed out onto the fire escape, then into my apartment. He seemed to be enamored of a small painting of three figures in a landscape. "The price is too high," he said, "at $200." Then, he put his hand to his mouth, took out hs false teeth and placed them on the table. "There! Will you take that as a down payment?" "

24 September 2005

Baraka on the Ellipse

flashback to when we all had hair:

a poet reciting a lowku against the president.

seemings

so morning comes. & it seems I'm better. just as it seems that Rita was less destructive than the last bitch.

however I felt sad sipping java from my Cafe Du Monde mug & watching New Orleans flood again.

I hope major news coverage of the hurricane doesn't obliterate attention to the anti-war march. it's time for this country to wake up & piss on the entire administration that sells our blood to make profits for its cronies.

23 September 2005

a review

Larry Dolman of Chicago's Blastitude reviews some Slow Toe titles including February 03. click here.

"under the weather"

feeling -- as they say -- punk. partly allergies which make me congestd & therefore cranky. partly skin rippd off my heel which has producd a temporary limp. partly worry abt Rita. & then that continuing malaise that the world is being run by idiots. no need to say anything more abt the president. now I'm pissd at the rodent pope & his forthcoming ban on gay priests.

but one must persevere. eventually there'll be a frost which will stop the pollen-producers. the hole in my heel will heal. we'll rebuild after Rita. hopefully Shrub will be impeachd. & if papal inanities bring the church closer to ruin how appropriate.

21 September 2005

Berlin for Governor

exactly 30 years ago I observd Peter Berlin posing on Polk St. for those who either aren't gay or of a certain age   let me say that Peter Berlin had one of the iconic looks of the '70s. his signature haircut   a body resembling sculpture   an outrageous fashion flair which includ'd the tightest pants in history. once seen that image lingers.

last nite I saw the fascinating documentary "That Man: Peter Berlin." it's the work of writer Jim Tushinski whose first foray into filmmaking was the amusing short "Jan-Michael Vincent is My Muse." Tushinski interviews Armistead Maupin & John Waters -- among others -- abt one of San Francisco's most celebratd citizens. but the real surprise is to see the elusive Berlin as he looks in his 60s.

this morning the news programs were abuzz with the posssibility of Warren Beatty challenging Arnold for the governorship of California. Beatty may have been a beauty decades ago but he turnd into a mediocre director whose career no longer means much to me. I suppose he's as qualified as anyone to challenge the bodybuilder-turnd-pol. but why not Peter Berlin? like Arnold he's a self-made man   an immigrant   a man who used his body to become famous in the gay community. at least Berlin continues to speak truthfully abt his past & to offer his world views in a take-it-or-leave-it manner.

how hard is it to be governor of California? this is the state who gave the nation Nixon & Reagan. (thankfully the Constitution can't be "fixd" in time to allow the Terminator to run for president.)

so my friends to the west of me   don't look to Warren Beatty whose ideas are as tired as that face. vote for Peter Berlin & put politics back into the streets.

20 September 2005

slap that Holstein

I've never been in a Carl Jr. & presume I can safely journey thru the remainder of my life without entering one. however   I must applaud their parent organization for hiring a creative ad agency.

their commercial   "Cow Shake"   is hypnotic. it's the perfect blend of sound (Sean Paul singing "shake that thing") & image (a hot young man "dancing" with a cow). if the latter seems preverse that's no doubt part of the commercial's allure. the look on his face combines with the moves under his jeans for a bit of magic.

& if anyone can identify the actor   let me know. not since Ben Curtis did the Dell promos have I been so captivatd by someone in a commercial. this guy has an offbeat sexuality that's most appealing.

19 September 2005

"Humanity St. is under water"

my Katrina poem is up at Hellicane.

I give my name to crime fiction

while I was the special collections curator at Kent State University Libraries   we began receiving the true crime collection of Albert Borowitz.

Al is a collector & writer & former lawyer who lives in Shaker Heights. I was reading one of his crime novels & discoverd that there were characters with the surnames Keller & Tolliver -- the same names of 2 library officials of higher rank than mine. the next time I saw Al I feignd being miffd that I was too lowly a staff member not to have my name given to one of his characters. he lookd surprisd & claimd that the use of those names was completely coincidental & that he'd employ Gildzen in the novel at which he was working. some time later he told me that novel hadn't yet been publishd.

so it was quite a surprise to learn that my literary namesake is now available online. the Law in Popular Culture Collection at University of Texas in Austin is making available e-texts. & one of them is Borowitz's The Beautiful Red Danube (1990).

however   Al still has the last laugh. the character Roland Gildzen is "an enormously fat man with an uncanny resemblance to Sydney Greenstreet but at least two more chins."

I think I'll wear my Borowitz True Crime Collection t-shirt to the gym this morning.

18 September 2005

word verification

I get so few comments I really get pissd when they're spam. so I'm reluctantly adding word verification. it hasn't hurt Beckett or Young so I'm joining the crowd.

so...

if it's Garbo's 100th birthday today why aren't any of her movies on tv?

17 September 2005

silly musings (partly because serious ones are getting me down)

Bob   my Fort Worth pen pal   & I have an off & on discourse abt Martha Stewart. he's a devotee. I find her lacking as a human being.

however this morning I broke down & bought a product stampd with her name. I was in need of a new mattress pad for the bed in the guest room. & I found that she had an Egyptian cotton one on sale. so I brought it home.

it boasts a 200-thread-count. I realize I'm in peril of forfeiting my gay card but I have no knowledge of thread counts. so I don't know how good (or bad?) that mite be. & I wonder if the pad is under a sheet why its thread count matters.

15 September 2005

a little brings back so much

last nite on satellite I saw "The Fighting Temptations." not much of a movie. but what a thrill to see Melba Moore. of course I'd quibble with those who made the movie for relegating such a fierce talent to such a do-little role. however   there were a couple of quick moments when her voice soard. & that sent me back some 35 years when she was the toast of Broadway. her portrayal of Lutiebelle in the musical "Purlie" was the talk of the season. when she unleashd "I Got Love"   it was one of those electrifying moments in the theater that one carries to the grave.

we've heard that Moore has had as many ups & downs in her personal as in her professional life in the time between that triumph & now. but seeing those looks last nite producd nothing but reservoirs of joy. I wish some producer out there wd gift her with a role worthy of her talents.

14 September 2005

13 September 2005

Our Lady of the Dark

I'm at the Globe Theater
in West Hollywood
to see “Merry Wives of Windsor”
for one reason only:
Gloria Grahame
is playing Mistress Page

I’m early
in the small lobby
when suddenly
she appears
Gloria Grahame
wearing blue jean cutoffs
& high heels
as if she were still playing
John Heard’s mother

our eyes meet
quickly
I’m too in awe
to speak
she toddles
into the ladies room

our only moment
a glance
that takes less time
than scalding coffee
to cross a room

her eyes a portal
thru which I slip
into the black & white world
projectd onto
the screen at the Rivoli

a world
of cheap hotel rooms
with lampshades
coffee cup rings on mahogany
mirrors & window blinds
cum stains on carpet

in these shadows
Marie Windsor is bad
Ann Savage badder but
Gloria Grahame
best of all

she cd snuff
a cigaret in yr eyeball
or slide her novacaine lips
all the way down yr body

& if she took
a bullet to the breast
you’d imagine
her ascension
in a throne
of cigaret smoke
above garbage cans
in a rain-slick alley

Gloria Grahame
is heading to heaven
so the angels
better beware

yeah
I keep making crowns
for these movie dames
one glance & I’ve got
Gloria Grahame
a furlong ahead of the saints

after all in 1979
she’s merely
a rude mechanical
playing Shakespeare
to pay the rent

but I can’t imagine
Gloria Grahame
paying the rent
she’s better
than all the saints

she deserves
to have something
named for her
certainly not a church or school
shit no
maybe a bar
Gloria’s CafĂ© Noir
where the drinks
wd curl the hair
on Aldo Ray’s chest

it’s been a while
since I saw
Gloria Grahame
at the Globe
she died
2 years later
but as long
as I see
her movies
she’ll never die

& maybe
when the big heat
licks at my remains
my eyes
will still
be seeing hers

12 September 2005

"developing story"

as soon as I heard there were major power outages in LA I calld my friend Billy in Culver City. he sd his just came back on. after yesterday's threat from the Islamic loonies   Angelenos are on edge.

of course   it cd just be more crap from the president's business pals who were responsible for the last rolling brownouts on the west coast.

11 September 2005

an evening out

for the first time since Melina got sick   I went to town last nite. neighbor Phil & I took Rita to dinner for her birthday. afterward we walkd to our new gellato place. there I ran into Jesse Wood   one of my favorite young artists.

for several years now I've been enjoying this painting of his:


"Joyce's Chickens" (1998) Posted by Picasa

if you want to see more   walk over to Canyon Rd & pop into Munson Gallery. I'm sure you'll want to leave with at least one of his paintings.

10 September 2005

having fun with the Grand Old Party

what's wrong with Republicans? as if the president's failure isn't heartbreaking enough   every day a representative of the GOP misspeaks. Barbara "Read My Hips" Bush already has presentd the lead quote for her obit.

now criminal Tom DeLay joins the toxic stew. he was touring evacuees in his state & stopped to talk with three young boys on cots. he askd them "Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?"

09 September 2005

still depressd

my anger & frustration at the failure of this administration had to go somewhere. so I channeld it here. however my attempt at political commentary has been met with yawns. so to lighten up the mood here & to try to shove me in a direction other than dejection I tried returning to poetry & film all day.

it's nearly time for bed. my cat seems to be making better progress at returning to normalcy than I am. I still ache. the ubiquitous smirk of our president continues to make me seethe. Chertoff's arrogance today had me cursing at the tv. & Frist's smug face needs a proper slap.

I did hear something abt the newest polls. it seems I'm not the only one who can't shake depression because of the destruction of nature & government. like many others I'm trying to work my way out of this. I'll try to cease the harangues & think before I blog. that may be tough. what gives blogs their power is spontaniety. there are things I've postd that I later regret. but I leave them here. my only deletions have been spam left in the comments area (inc one left here immediately after I postd).

since I don't have the slightest idea of where this is going it seems best that I hit the pillows.
some see Jesus in their tortillas
I see Johnny Depp in my waffles

he’s naked & slippery
dodging blueberrries
as he swims in syrup

those who see Jesus in tortillas
make shrines in kitchens

while I eat my waffles

08 September 2005

back where she belongs

a thousand trampld to death on a bridge in Baghdad. who knows how many thousand killd by Katrina. in perspective it may seem self-indulgent to expend so much worry on one cat.

but Melina has been my loving companion for 15 years. that's longer than either of my partners. she's both beautiful & intelligent. we "converse" so often that we truly do communicate.

befitting a lady of quality -- as well of a certain age -- it's best I provide no details of her health crisis. however she is back home. she had her first tentative bite of food this ayem. now her fretful nurse simply waits for a full recovery.


thinner for the ordeal but nonetheless pretty Posted by Picasa

good tv?

I don't watch reality tv. but I'd love to see "Survivor: New Orleans." put the Bush family in a 9th ward house half underwater. no electricity. no working toilets. no running water. & of course no staff.

07 September 2005

corpses corpses everywhere

the same administration that prevents the news media from photographing flag-drapd coffins of our young men being blown up in Iraq now has a ban against showing corpses being collectd in New Orleans.

sounds like a dictatorship to me.

alone

last nite was the first time in my 11 years in this house without Melina. if her recovery goes well   she may be able to return later today.

06 September 2005

"the rich aren't like you & I"

we all know & dispise Daddy Bush & his inept son.

but all it takes is a national tragedy to bring out the true colors of Barbara Bush who commentd on the large number of mostly black refugees: "what I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is that they all want to stay in Texas."

the crap gets higher

while Melina undergoes surgery   I turnd on the news. o boy. the man they call our president is appointing his cohort Cheney to go south to "oversee" progress. I'm certain his first act will be to announce that the government is awarding Halliburton the contract for rebuilding New Orleans.

05 September 2005

I'm back

my rage at the president persists. he can come on tv immediately to announce his conservative choice for chief justice but he wasn't able to comfort the nation when we needed it.

however my cat is having a health crisis so I'm putting my energy there for the moment.

02 September 2005

give me a break

before the malversation of the regime despoiling the White House turns me into a bitter old fart   I'm taking a few days off from blogging.

while I'm breathing deeply   here's a list poem from 2000:

NEW ORLEANS

chicken & shrimp yaya       Old Coffee Pot
beignets & cafe au lait       Cafe du Monde
crab & orzo salad       Bacco
poachd eggs on crabcakes       Cafe Sbisa
salmon caesar salad       La Madeleine (Jackson Square)
crabmeat cheesecake & potato pie       Palace Cafe
glazd duck         Emeril’s
filet mignon & mango lime pie       NOLA
buffet       Court of Two Sisters
muffaletta       Napoleon House

01 September 2005

Congress stinks too

a friend just e'd me this:

How come Congress can convene from vacation on a Sunday night to figure out what to do about one person's feeding tube - but can't decide whether to come in on a Friday to discuss the death of thousands?

after we impeach Shrub   let's vote out every incumbent & start all over.

it's heartbreaking to see people still pleading for help. & apparently our government is so confusd we're not even accepting offers of foreign aid.

my heart is bleeding Fats

our true national disaster is Bush

I just read that his administration cut New Orleans flood control by 44% to help pay for the Iraq war.

his approval rating is now 40% which means more Americans are finally waking up to his incompetence.

his "compassion" on tv is so phony I can't believe even the blindest Republican believes him.