30 January 2013

the Andrews Sisters

most of their biggest hits happend before I was born but I grew up listening to & loving them.  when I was a boy I bought their Decca single "The Three Bells." in 2002 as part of my piece "45s from the 50s" I sent it to Gary Herb (who was part of the group Gotham which certainly was influenced by the sisters).

I never saw LaVerne who died in 1967 but did catch the surviving sisters on Broadway in the 1974 musical "Over Here" opposite a couple of young performers -- John Travolta & Treat Williams.  I saw Patty later at American Cinema Awards dinners & was able to see Maxene in a summer stock production of "Pippin" & in a nite club in Provincetown.

there are so many memorable Andrews Sisters hits & the wonderful thing is that they are a part of the fabric of our nation's history.  right now I'm listening to my well-worn album "Boogie Woogie Bugle Girls."  since I'm unable to lift a rum & Coca Cola in memory to Patty & it's too cold to sit under an apple tree I plan to boogie my butt off tonite in thx to these talentd women.

Patty Andrews (1918-2013)

29 January 2013

Victor Mature (1913-1999)

on his centennial I try to figure out what I think of Mature.  as a kid I knew him from his popular costumers "The Robe" & "The Egyptian."  later I discoverd his work in noir.  he famously claimd not to be an actor & at the end of his career was happy to spoof himself.

I suspect today he's best rememberd as a reliable leading man to some of the screen's great beauties. & strangely as Hollywood's King of Bondage. from Samson to Zarak his characters were bound & floggd.

& of course for me he's also memorable for having appeard opposite Percy & Bess.

28 January 2013

27 January 2013

on the bus

last nite I watchd a couple of episodes of the western series "Lawman." seeing young Peter Brown brought to mind a publicity gimmick Warner Brothers did in 1959.  the studio was premiering their film "The Young Philadelphians" in -- of course -- Philadelphia. but to drum up interest they sent a Greyhound bus across country. it was full of the studio's up & comers.

Brown was there with the first of his many wives -- Diane Jergens. also on the bus: Connie Stevens / Ty Hardin / Will Hutchins / Alan Hale Jr. / Arlene Howell / Troy Donahue / Jacqueline Beer / Roger Smith / Louis Quinn.

when the bus pulld up in front of a hotel in Cleveland I was there.  I had the actors sign my copy of Daniel Blum's A Pictorial History of the Talkies.

26 January 2013


this annual event -- once famously held in Elyria -- is currently happerning in Erie PA.  altho I'm not there in person I was there this afternoon when Dianne Borsenik read some of my work.

25 January 2013

Elyria on film

in the summer of 1958 my hometown celebratd its 125th anniversary with all manner of events from a pageant presentd on the high school football field to a big parade in which a dress of Mary Todd Lincoln's was worn. a short film was made of those events & it was shown in one of our trio of movie theaters.  decades later I spoke on the phone with the man who ownd one of the theaters & askd if he knew if the film still existd.  he had no idea.  how I'd love to see it.

when I was visiting my folks in the fall of 2007 I saw film crews setting up on Ely Park.  later I learnd that small film was calld "And the Winner is..." but I've never seen it.

however I just saw the 2011 feature "Take Shelter" which was filmd in & around Elyria.  I recognizd Jamie's Flea Market because Dad used to set up a table there on weekends & sell stuff.  he liked to pick up broken machines at garage sales & fix them & sell them at Jamie's.  & of course  I recognizd Elyria Public Library where I spent a good deal of time going thru microfilm of the local newspaper to support my memory while writing Alex in Movieland.

24 January 2013

from that brunch

guest of honor IJH in my office in the house on Morris Rd. he's with Gene Gant &  Linda Burton

there's Robert Franklin on one side & Leah Thornton on the other

David Atwood: what happend to him?

Frank Green's back. Pauline Thornton. P. Craig Russell.

brunch with Ira Joel Haber (1984)

this is the party at which I took the Frank Green photos
(page from the book of the house)

21 January 2013

4 years ago:


that's my copy of Leaves of Grass:

& this is Mom's flag (which I took to Clinton's first inaugural):

at Clinton's first

& I took this of the inaugural parade:

20 January 2013

remembering Saki

this afternoon I saw "Just a Gigolo" & it was a double treat.  I've just postd abt Maurice Roeves.  the play takes place at La Fonda de Taos where Angelo Ravagli brings the paintings of D. H. Lawrence to sell to Saki Karavas.  I knew Saki in his last years.

in late dec of 1990 I visitd Taos for the first time.  here's some of what I wrote in Wanderbuch:

...minor blizzard began. to get out of it we poppd into La Fonda to look at the paintings by Leon Gaspard & Henry Koerner.  Johnny    the old Tennessean at the desk   told us D. H. Lawrence's paintings were in his boss' office & we'd have to pay a buck apiece to view them. we pd & walkd in. some people were talking to the hotel's owner Saki Karavas but as soon as they left we introducd ourselves. D startd speaking Greek & the colorful Saki wdn't let him go. they chatterd for an hour in that crampd overheatd office until Prof. George Cooper & a visiting French scholar arrivd to take Saki to dinner. the storm had abatd so we went around the corner to El Patio for a lovely dinner.

here's a picture I took of Saki in the lobby:

2 days later I wrote:

from the St. Francis church in Ranchos we went to the lobby of La Fonda   the Chateau Marmont of New Mexico   to chat with Prof. Cooper while we waitd for Saki Karavas to return from the post office.  he took us to lunch at a nearby watering hole where he confessd he'd made love in every room in his hotel.  he & D chatterd in Greek abt politics while George & I talkd abt the royal family of Romania.  several times during the meal Saki jumpd up to greet this one & that one.  we returnd to the lobby of the hotel where we were joind by Nicole   the French professor just back from visiting the Lawrence shrine with a Sweiss woman who's written a feminist play abt Lawrence.  the conversation roamd from the idiocy of a people who wd elect Bush-Qualyle to the late plays of Tennessee Williams. it felt like the fabled salons of another day.

here I am in Saki's office with some of the paintings (which in the play are projectd on stage):

& here I am with the man himself:

after that first meeting I wrote this:


framd by leering oils
of D. H. Lawrence
Saki sat across from us
at his desk

when he saw us stare
at the row
of identical loafers
against one wall
he twinkld
"they're Lawrence's"

considering Maurice

in 1967 Joseph Strick made a version of "Ulysses."  my memory was that it was being presentd as a gimmick: a single showing after which the film wd disappear.  I talkd my reluctant partner at the time into driving from Kent to Cleveland to see this rarity. & I immediately became smitten by Maurice Roeves -- the actor who plays Stephen Dedalus. but I also remember what happend next. Cleveland is on a lake & this was winter.  altho the weather seemd fine on the ride up during the 2 hours of the film it had begun to snow.  & bigtime.  the ride home in a small MG was long & slow & treacherous.

in the more than 45 years since that showing I've often rememberd those closeups of Roeves with his stunning hair. he's had quite the career: from Shakespeare & Tennesee Williams on stage to guest roles on popular sci-fi t-v series. & of course in the 1992 film version of "Last of the Mohicans."

so you can imagine my astonishment when the local paper ran an article abt a one-man show this weekend only at Santa Fe Playhouse ... featuring Maurice Roeves.  the playhouse is an historic spot in town. altho some professional actors have performd on its small stage it is a community theater & quite an intimate space.  I'd heard that Roeves had friends in town & had actually been to some playhouse performances but I was surprisd that this man who has been on my mind for years wd be appearing here.

this afternoon I got to the playhouse early & soon found myself chatting with the actor's wife Vanessa Rawlings-Jackson.  imagine my surprise to discover that not only do the couple live part of the year in Santa Fe but that their condo is a short walk from my house.

the play I saw is "Just a Gigolo."  Roeves plays Angelo Ravagli -- the man who was the model for Mellors in "Lady Chatterly's Lover" & who later married Freida Lawrence. for an actor to appear on stage alone for an hour & 10 minutes he must have skill & charm. I kept having flashbacks of that young actor I'd first found enchanting so long ago.  & when his character mentions Ulysses I cd feel the grin on my face.

following the performance Vanessa kindly introduced me to her husband:

19 January 2013

the only inauguration

I've attended was exactly 20 years ago.

there were a series of events on the mall -- culminating in a huge concert at Lincoln Memorial for Bill Clinton.  Ray Charles & Aretha Franklin & Michael Stipe were among the performers but the only one I remember vividly was Diana Ross because she swoopd on to the stage in a glorious confection of red white & blue.

16 January 2013

here's footage of me on my first visit to the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese. at one point I sit on the ledge holding the statue of the lion guard.

& here's a photo I hadn't seen before of Elizabeth Short with the lion:

the last time I was there the lion remains but now has a protective rope guarding the guard.

15 January 2013

"...when Kennedy got together with Marilyn Monroe, it wasn’t the president who was the serious reader in the room. "  
Ron Silliman

14 January 2013

thx to Jim Lang
who sent me this setting 
of my poem 
which appears in Green Panda's
current anthology

13 January 2013


have long been as more than intrigue. how do they intersect with waking life?

the other nite I dreamt I was planning a trip to Atlanta to see the aquarium.  I woke knowing that that shd become part of my real travel plans.

last nite I dreamt I was lifting something from 25 Years to include in one of my collections of conceptual art pieces.  I just took out that book & will see if I can do it.

can't wait for tonite's dream.

12 January 2013

Jon Finch (1941-2012)

he was best known for this Hitchcock classic & the title role in Polanski's version of "Macbeth."  & I just saw him in a small part in "Sunday Bloody Sunday."

11 January 2013

frottage of past & present

amazes & amuses me.

the other nite I saw the documentary "Searching for Sugar Man."  it's a film full of surprises. but for this film buff there was an unexpectd one:  suddenly an appearance by Steve Rowland.  he was being interviewd as a music producer.  but those my age may recall he startd his show biz career as an actor.  since my boyhood I've had a cache of movie star photos.  one of them is of the young & striking Rowland.  his father Roy Rowland was a director of note ("Beast of 5000 Fingers"). so he was a true son of Hollywood.  some may remember his famous double date with James Dean.

as it seems to happen so often less than 24 hours after seeing what he looks like today TCM ran Don Siegel's "Crime in the Streets."  & there was the young Rowland playing a member of the same gang as John Cassavetes & Sal Mineo.

I've lookd in several files & piles but have yet to uncover that photo I've had of him all these decades.

10 January 2013

remembering Provincetown

last nite I was googling some of the names that crop up in Alex in Movieland. years ago when I was involvd in the Costume Society of America Beth Dunlap had a dinner at her Chicago apartment for the regional officers. hers was one of the names I lookd up.  she was the widow of architect William Dunlap.  they had 2 sons.  one is David W. Dunlap who writes abt architecture for the NY Times.  because of this search I discoverd his wonderful blog abt the history of Provincetown.

I got out my photo albums & made scans of some pix to send to him. but then the flood of memories began.

my first trip to the tip of the Cape was in sept of 1966.  this is the only photo I have from that visit:

even photoshop won't turn it into a good photo but in its antiquity I find charm as well as nostalgia.  on that initial visit I bought a Mexican serape.  here it is with the original snapshot & sandals I had custom made on another visit.  with them is the original printing of my 1982 poem "The Cats of Provincetown."

my last visit was in 1998.  I pickd some flowers then which in the next year became part of my piece "The Last Valentine of the 20th Century."

09 January 2013

Freddie Trenkler (1913-2001)

while historians mark the centennial of Richard Nixon I prefer to celebrate another comedian. this wd be the 100th birthday of Trenkler. I saw him do his famous comedy routine in Cleveland when I was a kid.

08 January 2013

"Sunday Bloody Sunday"

I still remember the very first time I saw this film.  it was on 20 feb 1972.  the only reason I know the exact date is that I wrote this under that date in The Year Book :  

we go to the Kent Theater on Main St.
watch Peter Finch kiss Murray Head

yes. a male/male kiss was quite shocking in that day.  in fact the whole film was bold in its depiction of the complexities of love. & it also gave us a line I've heard repeatd endlessly over the years: "here come those tired old tits again."

I haven't seen this film in more than a quarter century. but Ira Joel Haber kindly sent me a DVD of this title.  altho it seems quite the historical document it still works on an emotional level. & I'd completely forgotten that it was the film debut of a boy by the name of Daniel Day-Lewis. but don't blink: he has but 2 seconds of screen time.

here I am with its director John Schlesinger in the summer of 1996.  I remember us discussing Bessie Love.  she was the silent screen star who is so memorable as the answering service lady.

it's good to look again at films we've respectd.  often time isn't kind to them. but when they measure up to our memory it can be such a joy.

06 January 2013

"Of Books"

Dean Keller sent me the latest imprint of his Costmary Press with this note: "I amused myself with this little gathering of quotations about books (remember them?)..."

04 January 2013