29 December 2011

it's an HVD morning

when a friend departs I always search files & scrapbooks for memories. here I am with Henry & poet Paul Zimmer on Morris Rd in 1983.

sometimes photos aren't particularly good but still hold so much information. I took this at what I calld my "family picnic" in 1984. what breaks my heart is that Henry is joind by 2 other dear dead friends Julia Waida & David Meredith.

an HVD memory

Henry     red pants     Trues     vodka-on-the rocks
and so much in love with his ladies

with Dietrich he sings in German

        "what would the word glamour mean
        without Dietrich?"

with Holiday he cries vodka tears

        "in 1959 she was dying at Lenox Hill Hospital
        and someone slipped in
        and gave her heroin"

with Mercer he finally laughs

        "she was an old fat lady when we met --
        55   70   60 . . . . she asked me to jitterbug.
        I said I couldn't dance then we jitterbugged"

dear drunk Henry     falling in love again
and asking for his ladies

(from Dec. '70: Ohio)

& he in turn wrote abt he & I & the last of those ladies -- Mabel Mercer -- in his contribution to A Keepsake for Alex Gildzen Upon His Retirement from Kent State University (1994).

28 December 2011

Henry Van Dyke (1928-2011)

portrait by Carl Van Vechten

in my backyard on Morris Rd

with the Century Dimes at Morgan Library (2008)
last time I saw HVD
(photo by Regina Yando)

salute to Steinbeck

Rt 66 Museum in Kingman

the day after Xmas

Gary pickd me up at Blue Moon & we drove to Boulder City for breakfast at his favorite diner. then over the new bridge to Kingman -- where Lombard & Gable were married -- & on to Oatman -- site of their honeymoon.

Kingman has a mixd reputation. the good part is as a venerable stop on old Rt 66. the bad part is as home to gun crazies & militia wingnuts. the town's favorite son is oldtime character actor Andy Devine. the main street in town is named after him.

when I was a kid I was jealous of the old fella because he was sidekick to gorgeous Guy Madison on the "Wild Bill Hickok" series. his on-set chair is on display with other Devine artifacts at a local museum.

27 December 2011


the strangest Xmas gift I've ever rec'd was one Gary gave me the other day -- a small piece of wreckage from the Carole Lombard plane crash.

Gary took me holding the piece in front of the hotel where Lombard & Gable had their honeymoon.


from Las Vegas an hour ago. here I am in front of the Venetian's Xmas tree.

this was the second Xmas in a row my buddy Gary & I ate our holiday dinner at that resort. this time it was at Pinot Brasserie & the 4-course meal was sublime.

24 December 2011

Xmas 1957

on Winckles St. here's Dad -- age 39.

& look at that television set!

19 December 2011

as grinchy as

I attempt to be at this time of year I must say there is one thing I like abt the holidaze. being in touch with old friends.

today I got cards from a pair of special women. one I met in 1956 &nsbp;   the other in 1961. & then an unexpectd package from an artist friend I've known since 1971.

any life has room for new friends but at this stage of my life it's amazing to know I still have some people who have been with me in the down times as well as the up ones.

18 December 2011

whacky weather

yesterday I wore my trench coat to town & froze my ass off. hardly a soul was on the plaza.

today I wore my heavy winter coat. so naturally it got into the mid 50s. the plaza was teeming with tee-shirtd tourists.

& tomorrow the forecast is a blizzard.

17 December 2011

new chapbook

the other day Bree sent out a call for poems for Green Panda broadsides & a possible anthology. I sent her 4 recent ones which she wrote back she liked.

to my complete shock she just postd this

so I unexpectdly have another little book to add to this wonderful publication year. as we reach its last days I want to thank Steve Tills & Mark Young & Diane Borsenik & Bree. you've all made me so happy by putting my writing out there. no matter how tough things get I kept writing & writing & writing. it means so much that somebody is reading.

16 December 2011

tonite I watchd

a little western calld "Untamed Frontier." it gave special billing "introducing" Suzan Ball. actually she'd already had bits in 2 other films.

seeing her for the first time in a while I recalld some years ago when Ira Joel Haber was visiting & I showd him the movie star scrapbooks I kept as a kid. under a picture of the Universal-International starlet I wrote "the late great Suzan Ball." Ira laughd at my youthful exuberance.

Ball -- a second cousin of the more famous Lucy -- isn't well rememberd today. she only made a handful of films before her death at age 21. I remember liking her a great deal. here's a photo she signd for me:

Ball had affairs with co-stars Scott Brady & Anthony Quinn before marrying Richard Long while fighting the cancer that killd her. none of her films were classics but she had a presence. seeing her again brought back many memories of my boyhood at the movies.


Facebook has given us a new feature which I'm loving. it isn't lost on me that this cd be a template for Alex in Movieland.

that work is a list -- but so much more than a list. I suspect many will use FB's Timeline similarly. for me it's a different project. but as I began playing with it yesterday I felt as if I were gathering illustrations for my masterwork.

15 December 2011

Stan Kenton (1911-1979)

I heard Kenton & his band but once: in 1957 at the Palace in Lorain.

for over 40 years I had a remarkable album -- Kenton & Tex Ritter. I gave that precious vinyl to Ned Sublette because his work reminded me of that classic.

13 December 2011

Kenneth Patchen (1911-1972)

"Suspicion made the first pairapants; but, Joey, it'll be love'll take off the last."

death makes us remember

my 1976 book Liszt & Other Lists opens with a piece calld "Eat." it's in 2 parts. the first is "lunch: Eddie's Stag Bar" & the 2nd is "dinner: Rusty Nail."

this morning I read the online obit of Don Bentley of Twin Lakes OH. in 1967 he bought Green Trees Inn from Therese Green & reopend it as the Rusty Nail. probably Portage County's premier steakhouse it occupied that wonderful old building until 1981 when Bentley sold it. he moved his establishment to an ugly modern structure behind the original & it remains in business. the old building housed one restaurant after another till it burnt down a few years ago.

my list of dinner partners at the original Rusty Nail includes
Jean-Claude van Itallie
Gregory Markopoulous
Gary Snyder
Richard Eberhart
Henry Van Dyke
Paul Metcalf
Gerald Mast
Kevin McCarthy
Jonathan Williams
Thomas Meyer

when I lived in Twin Lakes it was the closest good restaurant & a place where one always felt comfortable. & every nite Bentley was on premises being the perfect host.

reading his obit I discoverd an odd art historical connection. his sister married into the Helmling family. it was Richard Helmling who operatd the backhoe that buried the woodshed for Robert Smithson.

12 December 2011

speaking of . . .

in 1975 Mark Mothersbaugh (author of My Struggle) had a small shop in Akron's famous Quaker Square. the only time I went there I bought this rubberstamp print of his from him:

it's calld "Flying Fish Fight Bomber 3."

11 December 2011

sharing the bill with DEVO

found this picture of the 1977 poster on the internet. I have one somewhere in my "files."

09 December 2011

uber Hollywood

"Who is the Black Dahlia?" was a pedestrian telemovie from 1975 which begins & ends with inaccuracies abt the Elizabeth Short case. not much to reccommend it -- except for one quick scene.

Lucille Ball's daughter & Natalie Wood's sister under the direction of Mitzi Green's husband.

nothing spectacular abt the actual scene. but so many layers of Tinsletown lore.

08 December 2011

out of the past

this is the Cleveland of my high school years. not the best footage -- & silent -- but it includes the famous Sterling Lindner tree.

07 December 2011

never been

a fan of Mariah Carey & certainly can do without Xmas


I'm more than enjoying these videos:

06 December 2011


that was the temp when I woke abt 5:45. then on tv I saw Rob Marciano lead the national weather news with how cold New Mexico is. our high today will be 16.

this is much too Ohio for me. not liking it at all.

03 December 2011

I don't like hot dogs but

they've been on my mind a lot of late. it startd with the recent demolishing of the Thai Hot Dog Stand on the corner of Hollywood Blvd & Western. the place had closed by the time I startd staying down the street at the Coral Sands. I doubt I'd ever dine there but the giant hot dog on top of the building had become iconic.

then there's the current tv commercial for Pink's -- where I have eaten a couple of times. there is always a line & standing in that line is as much a part of the experience as its actual fare.

two other hotdoggeries are a part of LA history. Carney's is in a former railroad car. it's been on Sunset Blvd since 1975. I ate there once & that was enough.

then there's the legendary Tail o' the Pup. I first knew it on La Cienega & here I am with the famous structure in 1987 after it had moved to its final location on San Vicente.

apparently Tail o' the Pup is in storage waiting for another location while the hot dog from Hollywood & Western is on a building elsewhere.

02 December 2011

how embarrassing

to be a Republican.

not only do you have to keep a straight face during the clown show that is the fight for the party's presidential nod but now there's to be a debate featuring the birther with the bad hair as "moderator."