23 July 2017

Big Bear

I moved to Palm Springs a bit over 14 months ago. yesterday I returnd from my first vacation since the move.

Dennis De Groot drove us to Lake Arrowhead for lunch then to the cabin of our host Brian Webb & his companion Rolando Ramos in Big Bear Lake. it was a lovely respite from the valley's heat wave.

Dennis & Brian

with Luis Osuna (photo by Dennis)

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.


                                    13 years later

we still echo
a dead mama’s wow

& heat our ink
on your fire


11 June 2017


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. 

16 May 2017

every morning

I wake hoping the president is dead. instead we get another embarrassing tweet.

11 May 2017


one year ago today & just a month after burying Mom I signd closing papers on my Santa Fe house of 22 years & flew to Palm Springs.

I put everything I ownd into storage while I searched for a new home. in abt 6 weeks I found a condo to which I brought those possessions. there was a grueling period of renovations which took place while I was making friends & becoming familiar with my new city.

one year of a new life playing out while the country struggles with the most disastrous presidency of modern times. one year already.

09 May 2017

Anna Sophie Kovach Hause (1916-2000)

last year I was so busy getting ready to move that I forgot it was the centennial of my godmother.

I had quite the complicated relationship with Aunt Sophie. as a child I adored her. she seemd to be my Auntie Mame. always cracking jokes. & she liked the newest gadgets. she was the first to pop corn on the stove in one of those foil pans. & I recall she bought a sheet of multi-color plastic to tape over the tv screen so she cd claim to have a color tv. she was generous in her way but also boastd abt her giving. she gave me some money for college but I've forgotten how much. however she was fond of telling people she helpd me thru school. & when I was clearing up & cleaning up before the move I cashd in a small savings bond she'd given me decades before for a birthday.

it wasn't til much later that I had to deal with her prejudices & dishonesty. there was a period when I found her embarrassing.

in many ways I'm still trying to balance the many aspects of her life. she remains a colorful figure in our family. I feel she knew I had issues with her but of course we never spoke of them.

however today is her birthday & I'm focusing on the Aunt Sophie of my boyhood where my memories are fondest.

Mom with her sisters Sophie & Mary

Aunt Sophie with me & Regina

Aunt Sophie with a cake she brought to the party for my high school graduation

30 April 2017

A-Z West

Andrea Zittel runs an arts community in Joshua Tree. I joind a small group of fascinating people for a tour.

23 April 2017

17 April 2017

"Men in Love"

as antiquity laps at my toes I find change a daily occurrence. a new case of solar lentigo is visible. an attitude shift can arrive without trumpets.

one activity age seems to have discouraged is rereading. Ned Rorem told me he read Nightwood every 10 years. I never had that sort of romance. but I remember returning to favorite passages. now not so much.

however last nite something jumpd into my mind. it was a simple message: John Perreault's "Men in Love."

all the way back in the fall of 1974 I edited the Perreault issue of The Serif.  I askd John for some new poetry to include in the issue. he gave me a sequence of 26 sonnets. I was thrilld. 

one of the intentions of the author issues of that bibliographical journal was to spur academic attention on contemporary writers. I've been out of that scene for so long I don't know what has or hasn't been done. however I don't think Perreault -- who died less than 2 years ago -- is receiving the sort of review for which all writers aspire.

"Men in Love" is juicy. the poems poke & tickle. there are flares of language & flames of lust. I can't explain how the notion of them appeard last nite. but I quite adore the hour I've spent fondling them.

I wish some publisher wd reprint the sequence as a chapbook. I wish some grad student wd write a chapter in a dissertation on John Perreault abt "Men in Love." I wish that whatever will drop another title on me some nite soon.

I can't do anything abt liver spots. but I can still get frisky with a poem.

06 April 2017

Lucille Garfield (1926-2015)

searching abt the internet I found a death notice which seems to match the sculptor I knew decades ago in Santa Fe. I no longer have contact with anyone from that time who also knew Lucille to verify her death but the few facts presentd make it highly unlikely that 2 women share them.

02 April 2017


American Documentary Film Festival

on the red carpet with Jennifer Tennican (director of "Far Afield")

21 March 2017

Sally Kemp (1933-2017)

I met Sally in the summer of 1994. my friend James Broughton was visiting Santa Fe. one nite another friend threw a big party for him at which "The Bed" was screend. Sally was there with her housemates at the time -- John & Karen Ericson. I took this picture of her with James.

she had a long career both on stage as well as in film & tv. one of my favorite roles of hers was in Tony Richardson's "A Death in Canaan."  it was such a small part that all of it is in this You Tube clip. but as you can see she makes such an impression you remember her thru the whole film -- & even after.

when she left Santa Fe to reboot her career in NYC she had a yard sale. I helpd. & for that she gave me some items that didn't sell -- including a large pot & a throw given to the crew of "Cagney & Lacy." every time I use them I think fondly of her.

in addition to the spark she always brought with her I'll also never forget that she was the one who introduced me to Bernique Longley. I've written abt that before but it deserves retelling. she knew both me & Bernique well enuf to know we'd adore each other.  it says so much abt Sally that she was able to share friends in such a lovely way.

19 March 2017


last nite I went to the gathering of One Million LGBTQ in Action. this Palm Springs contribution to the nation-wide protest against the "president" was feeble bbut heart-felt.

then this morning Judith Gollust King sent me another of her remarkable photographs documenting the history of Kent State University.

I must say I look all too dapper for a protest march. but there I am -- flanked by Patrick Cullie & Peggy Freemon. Judith thinks this was taken on 21 apr 1969. the crowd looks robust.

the first time I was in a protest was as a child when I joind my striking father to picket General Industries.

17 March 2017

"Rolling Stone"

hard to believe it'll celebrate its half century mark this year.

& harder still to know that I had a poem in its pages 47 years ago.

09 March 2017

continuing the X journey

Sherin Guirguis
"One I Call"

Glenn Kaino
"Hollow Earth"

Armando Lerma

Will Boone
Rancho Mirage

07 March 2017

a story instead of a shimmy

I know someone in town who lives in the house that once belongd to Hedy Lamarr. we may be doing something together tomorrow. so he was on my mind. & as my mind is it weaves hither & yon with comfort & ease.

& a tale returnd to me. I had a redneck uncle who had a sister who smoked. I disliked her. once she was visiting Winckles St & in the course of her rambles she lookd me in the eyes & utterd in a slightly desultory manner "I remember when you were a boy & dressd up like Hedy Lamarr."

I was startld because I have zero memory of doing drag as a child (except at Halloween). but I was not to be one-uppd by a hillbilly. so I quickly responded: "you're wrong. it was Betty Grable." then I stood up   turnd my back to her   put my hands on my hips & lookd over my shoulder with a glower for the ages.

06 March 2017

wild flowers

everyone is talking abt the "super bloom" brought on by all our winter rain. so some of us went to Borrego Springs today to see what it's all abt.

welllllll... it's just beginning. I suspect it'll be in fuller glory in another week. but I was happy to be introduced to the desert lily.

also the Ricardo Breceda sculptures are fun.  here I am with a section of his "Sand Serpent" (2011).