12 July 2019

faces & places

my work is often abt connections & overlapping because that's what so much of my life is.

today has been strangely emotional because currents from my past have swum by me. in the afternoon a Facebook friend who I don't know postd some photos he had taken of Coral Sands in Hollywood. I've written of this place before. it's had a long history & a couple of names but I knew it as a gay play spot. recently a rich person bought the property & closed it. it's been gutted. the photos I saw today were haunting. the walls are there but little else.  altho some deride the motel as simply seedy there is a rich history from Divine living there & holding court to art installations in rooms which even David Hockney visitd.



after thinking abt Coral Sands I decided to check on someone I met there in 2008. his name is Mikel Padilla -- a costume designer for movies & tv.  even tho we aren't in touch I thot I'd notify him of the photos. but when I lookd him up I discoverd he died a couple of months ago.

our time together was brief but I have a vivid memory of him in sleek black underwear. he's simply one of thousands of faces that pass us all by. but his name wd come to me whenever I rememberd Coral Sands.

this evening it's too hot to be out so I sit in my study writing. I'm thinking of Mikel Padilla & the address so many dismiss as a dive on Western Ave. this is what history is. faces & places. & the stories we tell abt them.




28 June 2019

an anniversary

Stonewall Inn opend in 1967. it was one of the only gay bars in NYC which allowd dancing.

& dancing was what I did with Jean-Claude van Itallie when we went there in oct 1968. 8 months later the riots happend.

that bar was actually 2 pieces of property -- 51 & 53 Christopher St. it closed after the riots. then it was split. the bar which now calls itself Stonewall startd in 1991 at 53 Christopher. none of the original interior remains.

in my poem "Swimmers Out of Water" I reference dancing with Jean-Claude at Stonewall.

to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the uprising I was happy to participate in Stacey Brooks' "Tutu: A Year of Pride." he spent a year photographing men & women wearing rainbow tutus to commemorate this anniversary.




24 June 2019

Hippodrome Theater (1959)

Lana Turner
at a premiere
in Cleveland
floats
on white ostrich feathers   

18 June 2019

Walt's leaves

on the back cover of the anthology I'm so happy to be in -- Lovejets: queer male poets on 200 years of Walt Whitman -- is this quote from Richard Blanco:

“This wide and impressive range of poetry echoing the spirit of Walt Whitman and his literary forebears demonstrates the essential embrace of community that we’ve always needed to feel whole with ourselves and among others, especially now during these tumultuous times. Celebrating what had to be largely hidden from view during Whitman’s day, the living queer male poets who grace the pages trumpet a glorious and unforgettable spectacle of passion and compassion.” 

going thru photo files tonite I found this. it's Blanco reading his poem at the second Obama inauguration. I'd forgotten that for that moment I put my copy of Leaves of Grass beneath the streaming image.


09 June 2019

a collaboration

a while ago I bought a small button piece by Emeline Tate at Janssen Art Space. then in my regular gallery going I met her. she came to my first book anniversary celebration. after that she suggestd a collaboration. this is what I wrote for her:

LINES FOR EMELINE

1
buttoning silence
lets words
come out to play

2
when white is witty
pink shrinks

3
let us know
how letters hurt

4
filling a square
with smiles
is
practice for paradise

5
a sloth got loose
in a library
& ate so many words
it shat poems

then she got to work using 3 of the little poems. & last nite they made their debuts on the Janssen walls.

(photo by Marconi Calindas)




I have always loved working with artists & photographers & choreographers & any other creative person who suggests such an adventure.


with the artist & a little piece she made for me

02 June 2019

"Kiss My Glass"

Selen Korkut is a Facebook friend who lives in Istanbul. on her last visit to the States she went to Hollywood Forever where she kissd my glass. happily she took this photograph.




you can almost see her reflection but you can clearly see lip imprints. this thrills me.

when she messaged me abt it she told me that preparing one's burial spot before death was "odd for my part of the world." my response: "yes it's odd that my final resting place is already on view but since I paid for it I thot why not put stuff in it now & enjoy it before I move in."

having been able to stage my niche has been comforting. I know that someday my physical remains will share eternal space with some of my literary remains. also I'm delightd that the Century Dimes are there for forever. that piece was literally touchd by so many loved ones over its decade. so it's as if the DNA of some of my favorite people will be with me forever.

& then the artist in me is happy that I've turnd this whole thing into an enduring art work. I've already heard from 2 strangers who love it. & apparently the imprint of lips has indeed begun. how special that I'm still here to appreciate the response.




27 May 2019

"Femme Fatale"

in 2011 a Dutch documentary filmmaker interviewd me abt Jetta Goudal. we were in the backyard of my friend Billy Berger in Culver City.  I often wonderd what became of that. I was searching for something else today & found this clip for "Diva."

later I did some more searching & discoverd the entire film online but with the title "The Woman Nobody Knows."












the director is Erik Brouwer. working the camera is his wife Do.