31 December 2005


allow me to end this year by thanking you for stopping by. there are now more than 20 million blogs out there. that you take the time to visit this one humbles me. many of you are friends. however there are some who drop by with regularity who I don't know. I wish each of you a year filld with love & joy.

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30 December 2005

"Brokeback Mountain"

it's less of a movie than I was expecting. & it's more of a movie than I was expecting.

altho I have serious issues with it   the film does have an extraordinary performance level.

29 December 2005

hit me with a pink gel

Backstage. Brothers & Sisters. Reno Sweeney. how well I recall the nites I hauntd such cabarets. then I longd to be in show biz. I fantasizd my own nite club act. I'd come out in a black tux with an endless white feather boa & sing a lowdown torchy arrangement of "Some Day My Prince Will Come."

28 December 2005

"think abt the guest list"

if you don't know the blog of Jack Kimball
check out his pants

Kennedy Center Honors

the only time I was in attendance was a dozen years ago. at the party afterward I had a lovely chat with Suzanne Farrell. so it was sweet to see her being honord in the telecast last nite.

the broadcast of this annual celebration of the performing arts invariably brings me to tears. last nite I startd to tear up when the magnificent Paul Newman honord Robert Redford & again at the end when Tina Turner's life was being reviewd. but the faucet turnd on full during the tribute to Julie Harris. she is one of the most beloved of stage stars with a long career. & she's gallantly fighting back from a stroke.

there weren't many cutaways to the president who seemd either bored or unaware of the importance of those being honord. but I got a tremendous chuckle when k.d. lang came out in drag to perform before perhaps the least compassionate commander-in-chief ever.

27 December 2005

welcome Ira Joel

this blog's newest reader is one of my dearest friends   Ira Joel Haber. soon we will have known each other for 35 years. he is a great artist & a great pal.

here we are in my last Kent home. the piece just visible in the back is one of his postcard works.

when I began this blog more than a year ago   I never "announcd" it to friends. I have some friends who don't know abt it & others who do but don't care to read it. whatever works.

anyway I'm happy to have Ira Joel looking in.

26 December 2005


I've been having an early morning e-exchange with my Texas penpal abt a possible connection between my fondness for leftovers & my penchant for hand-me-down clothes. I cd throw in that I've collectd used books for years & that I'm not above filching words from others in my writing. & I like having reminders of loved ones who are dead around me. I remember Julia Waida every time I use one of her pans or pots. I think abt Aunt Mary when I spread one of her quilts on my bed. I use Uncle John's copper lock from when he workd at US Steel in Lorain at the gym 3 times a week.

25 December 2005

listening to Jimmy Scott

neighbor Rita fears I'm heading toward hermithood. so she insistd I collaborate with her on dinner today. she just put the turkey in the oven. soon I'll begin: shrimp/brie appetizer   butternut squash with apricots & ginger   anchovy potatoes   salad of red cabbage / broccoli / carrot. I cheatd on sweetness & purchasd a chocolate cherry cake from Desert Desserts.

24 December 2005

other guy's clothes

"Ive always been partial to clothes with a history" I wrote in Postcard Memoirs.

& so today for the first time I'm wearing the Palm Springs tee that Carlos left in my room at Inn Exile. perhaps my fondness for wearing hand-me-downs comes from my boyhood. my parents always shoppd at garage sales (& still do). & I had one older male cousin some of whose things I'd inherit. there is mystery in stepping into clothes of another   intrigue in imagining where those clothes have been   what was done by the men while wearing them.

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23 December 2005

Henry Walker

when I left Kent more than 11 years ago   Henry gave me this watercolor as a farewell gift. it hangs in my bedroom as a reminder of both Ohio friends & the magic that is LA's train station.

I've just learnd that Henry now has a website.

"Union Station, Los Angeles" (1994) Posted by Picasa

22 December 2005


if you like smart cats (well has there ever been a dumb one?)   check out Shimmy. altho she lives in Chicago   she cast her vote in the Iraq election -- for Alice Cooper.

& she makes lists too.

21 December 2005

dark flower

my Texas penpal e'd to say yesterday's portrait -- esp the hair -- reminds him of Bride of Frankenstein.

the more I look at that picture I took of Kimberly the other nite the more haunting it gets. suddenly I knew one reason: in it she reminds me of Elizabeth Short.

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19 December 2005

this weekend

I escapd to where the sands are supposd to be warm.
they weren't.

what sun I saw was in the face of Kimberly Nichols.

14 December 2005

I can
not mention
a movie star
if I
want this
to be read
in 2101

we know
missd her
till the ache
turnd golden

so why
can't I
Lila Lee?

or touchwood?

if I cd
let my lips
Lila Lee

let her
raven bob
thru time

let her
last longer
than the
that burnd
her face
in my flesh

13 December 2005

everything old is new again

Eartha Kitt wearing only ermine poses before a frosty window & purrs "Santa Baby." she delivers probably the naughtiest lyric in any holiday tune: "come & trim my Xmas tree."

this scene is from "New Faces of 1952"   a film which basically preserves the Broadway show. among its writers was Melvin Brooks. it was his first film. & one of the sketches which I presume he helpd write is a parody of Truman Capote. this was over a half century ago. strange that 2 current screen hits are "Capote" & "The Producers."

12 December 2005


within a 24-hour period this site was visitd by readers in Finland   France   Australia   China   Canada   Iran.

"Short Vincent"

the newest poem in my collection-in-progress Ohio Triangle is curently "poem o' the week" at Deep Cleveland.

thx to Mark Kuhar for keeping the mimeo spirit alive.

another Myers credit

years before playing dummy to James Broughton's ventriloquist in "Jungle Girl" I appeard in another Richard Myers film -- "Akran" (1969).

here's a poem I wrote back in 1983 after seeing the film for the first time since it was originally made & shown:


the boy in the seat in front of me
sits behind me a young man

Jake & Mary's kids     grown too
live on two coasts

she in the back is dead
he in front     wives later     lost

in that bus up on the screen
I'm a bearded student riding toward love

but now alone in the dark
I approach 40 barefaced & wambly

11 December 2005

Internet Movie Database

so I did one last festival film. its star Ernie Hudson was there. he began his remarks afterward with "if you check my credits in IMDb..." it was the first time I'd heard anyone -- except friends -- refer to their own entry in the "earth's biggest movie database."

as a cinemaddict I use IMDb daily. those of us who do realize it isn't perfect. there are omissions & mistakes. for example   there is no listing for me. I realize my brief foray into extra work ("Santa Fe" 1997 & "Maniacts" 2001)hardly deserves it. but my supporting role in Richard Myers' "Jungle Girl" (1984) shd be there. in fact   Myers' entry is shockingly inadequate. compare it with the listing Canyon Cinema provides. yes Myers is a non-commercial filmmaker. however "Jungle Girl" premierd at Filmex & was reviewd by Sheila Benson in the LA Times.

given its faults   IMDb still remains a substantial resource. whenever I'm abt to watch an old unfamiliar feature I try to check it to alert me to look for certain uncreditd cast members. for instance   Gibson Gowland   star of "Greed"   16 years later sinks to the bit role of Posse Member in "The Ape."

& then the listologist in me appreciates the entries as lists. as early as 1973 I acknowledge the filmography as art form in Little Lists with my Joe LeSueur piece.

10 December 2005

be still my heart

tuckd in with holiday greetings in my snail mail was a postcard from Flood Editions announcing publication of the Thomas Meyer translation of Daode Jing.

the image of the translator is from a photo by Reuben Cox which is part of his River series. in it Tom is naked in a river shampooing his hair. it's a provocative pose. of course I immediately went to Cox's website to see if there is more of the photo & there is.

09 December 2005

Polish replacement

walkd to the college this morning for a festival panel on the state of filmmaking in Russia today. upon arriving I learnd that one of the directors cdn't leave Moscow & the panel was kaput. however there was a replacement: a panel on indepedent filmmaking with one of the best creative teams at work today -- the Polish twins.

I was immediately taken by Mark & Michael when I saw them in their haunting feature debut "Twin Falls Idaho." it was good to find them offscreen to be both articulate & attractive. I learnd they made that initial film for a half million & shot it in 17 days.

during the Q&A someone askd "I have a double question." Michael immediately quippd "that's all right. we're twins." after spending even such a small time with them one presumes that's the sort of quick wit with which they create their work.

Mark Posted by Picasa

Michael Posted by Picasa

08 December 2005

Santa Fe Film Festival

didn't purchase a pass this year. perhaps it's a sign of age but running from venue to venue in the cold doesn't appeal to me anymore.

so I've only seen 2 films. "English as a Second Language" is Dexter Delara's first feature. he's done commercials & shorts. altho I have some problems with his script I like his eye for color. & the film boasts a lead who has definite star potential. his name is Kuno Becker & I expect to hear more abt him as his career progresses.

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the 1971 doc "The American Dreamer" claims to have a running time of 90 minutes but it seems so much longer. it's abt Dennis Hopper during his drug years in Taos. to some it's an important document of the times. to others it's a bore.

size queen

in Charlotte Chandler's new book on Bette Davis the saucy actress remembers Howard Hughes: "Howard Huge he was not."

07 December 2005

"chili Willy?"

every time it gets this cold (an uncharacteristic 19 here this ayem) I can hear Anne Bancroft doing this line. it's from her Emmy-winning 1970 special "Annie: The Women in the Life of a Man." I remember nothing abt this show except the sequence written by Thomas Meehan which has become such a classic that less talentd performers continue to steal it.

Bancroft plays a woman by the name of Paula who's on the couch at her shrink's recounting a nitemare. she's at a cocktail party & must introduce Yma Sumac by first name to the other guests -- including Uta Hagen & Ida Lupino. along the way she asks Willy Brandt if he wants chili. that line isn't as famous as "Yma Uta" but it's stuck in my head. & it's cold enough now for me to hear the delicious Bancroft saying it yet again.

06 December 2005

recovery day

because I wasn't quite up to snuff I didn't go to the gym yesterday. I stayd home & did some scattershot reading. first up was a return to Jim Cory's 1994 interview with James Broughton ( American Writing 9 ). it's good to see a serious discussion of a body of work too often considerd lightweight.

then I pulld a forgotten figure from the shelves. during my student days everyone read Growing Up Absurd. its author Paul Goodman was considerd a major literary figure but I don't hear him mentiond much now. his startling book Five Years was the blog of its day. I took down his 1967 collection of poems Hawkweed. I didn't read straight thru but pickd around. altho I found some fine moments   the work seemd less exciting to me as poetry than I'd rememberd. my younthful attention to it may have been for its boldness of subject matter. I don't think it was usual for Random House to be publishing at that time graphic poems abt sex with hustlers.

my evening pattern is to watch a movie. last nite it was Raoul Walsh's delightful "Going Hollywood" (1933). the title derives from one of its songs which includes the line "out where they say 'let's be gay' I'm going Hollywood." the film's gayest moment was when absinthe-hungover Bing Crosby croons "Beautiful Girl" to an adoring Sterling Holloway.

05 December 2005


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it's easy to take a pet for grantd. but during my brief spell of unwellness the one constant was the purring of Melina. she seemd to know when to be with me & when it was best for me to moan alone. there is a sacredness abt communication with animals.

now if she'd only learn to make chicken soup...

04 December 2005

inside a paperclip

quick flu or food poisoning?
I don't know but an unpleasant 24 hours.
I'm so rarely ill that I'm not a patient patient.

off to bed (again) with hopes that tomorrow will be better.
sick all nite

03 December 2005

a grave matter

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this picture of Tony Luke Scott & me was taken at the columbarium at Hollywood Forever in sept 2004.

a few years ago Tony compild The Stars of Hollywood Forever. he now has a revisd edition available on CD Rom. it's a must for fans of old Hollywood or those who haunt cemeteries. Hollywood Forever is the final resting place of such greats as Valentino & Tyrone Power. those who know the history of filmdom scandals will recognize the names of other "guests" William Desmond Taylor & Virginia Rappe. it's a grand place to stroll. if you can't get to Hollywood then buy Tony's book & do yr strolling at yr leisure.

02 December 2005

happy birthday

Julie Harris turns 80 today.

few actresses have had the successes she has. a major Broadway star   she also was a legend in the "golden age" of tv drama & appeard in enough solid films to assure herself of a certain immortality on screen.

I see her everyday in this picture my friend Peter Burnell had her sign for me. it hangs in the guest bathroom:

together in Terence Rattigan's "In Praise of Love" (1974) Posted by Picasa

01 December 2005

"Carmen Miranda Forever"

that's the name of the exhibition that opend at Rio's Modern Art Museum this week. it features over 700 items relating to Brazil's greatest star who died 50 years ago.

when I'm in the dumps   there are 2 things I can do to perk up: watch an "I Love Lucy" episode or put on one of Carmen's movies.

30 November 2005


since beginning this blog I've neglectd my website. dealing with HTML has always been a big enough task that I rarely update. so I'm a bit surprisd to see that I just registerd my 40000th hit. now I realize there are porn sites that get that in an hour while it's taken me 6 years. but that seems admirable for a poet's site.

29 November 2005


in the fall of 1978 I went to the faculty show at Kent State University's school of art. I don't recall a single piece in the gallery. but I do remember going down the hall to a space the size of a large closet for the first show of Lilian Tyrrell. there were no more than 4 or 5 weavings on display. having grown up in tornado territory I was immediately attractd to a piece depicting one. I bought it for $300. it was Lil's first sale.

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some thot it was peculiar to do a weaving of a tornado. did they have a surprise waiting. Lil's work got larger & bolder & eventually her disaster blanket series brought her fame.

midafternoon yesterday I got a call from Lil on her farm in northern Ohio. she's having a retrospective at Spaces in Cleveland early next year & wantd to know if I'd loan the tornado piece. I sd yes at once. & her call gave me the chance to tell her how much it's meant to me to live with the weaving for more than a quarter century.

28 November 2005

in the news

sweet streets
in the midwest

a man in Iowa
makes a de-icer
from molasses
(less corrosive
than road salt)

26 November 2005

I woke

to a nest of "what if"s in which nipples cried. I turnd over in my flannel sheets & dove into blogs where men are touching themselves with words. my cat was touching me with her paws so I fed her & jumpd back into bed. it was still dark out. soon my mind driftd to that calendar in which poets expose their chests. I returnd to "what if"s. imagine Robert Frost in a thong. Mr. July. that sent me straight to the kitchen to grind beans.

25 November 2005

what was

"Rag and Bone" is the first film shot in New Orleans I've seen since Katrina. it's sad to see landscape forever changd. altho made in 1998   the movie is reappearing on Mystery Channel.

it stars Dean Cain. few actors fit their jeans so well. which I'm sure partially explains his huge gay following. but the most memorable performance is by Carroll Baker. Tennessee Williams' "Baby Doll" of the 50s & James Dean's last leading lady has a scene without make-up in which every year shows but in which she's still radiant.

black friday

if that were the name of a film noir I'd probably watch it. but stand in line. push. shove. spend money on piles of gadgets. I'm glad I'm an outsider. I don't understand the craziness of consumerism in this country. I read that the average American is $9000 in credit card debt.

don't get me startd...

24 November 2005

pas de turkey today

dinner: pierogies from Trader Joe's   a piece of pumpkin pie pulld from the freezer   green tea in the Warhol mug I bought in Palm Springs on a Thxgiving with Billy Berger. hardly my most memorable Thxgiving meal. but not the worst. that was in 1979. David Meredith & I went to Pittsburgh to see "The Life of Brian." we neglectd to make a reservation at a proper restaurant & wound up in a neighborhood Chinese dive. the MSG-infectd dinner was awful as we ate it but has grown worse in retrospect.

23 November 2005


Brian DePalma's screen version of James Elllroy's The Black Dahlia is currently in postproduction with release in 2006. over at his site
Chad Darnell gives us a sneak peak at the production via a slideshow of extras being preppd for a scene in front of the Pantages.

the Elizabeth Short case has hauntd me for decades.

22 November 2005

opening soon

Emperor Butch is a dyslexic who starts a war in Arockandahardplace. that's the premise of "Fear Itself"   the new play by Jean-Claude van Itallie opening 10 dec at NYC's Theater for the New City.

for those who were around during the Vietnam era   van Itallie is a hero for having written "America Hurrah." so it seems fitting that his voice will be heard at this moment in our history.

with Jean-Claude in 1986

on Hollywood Blvd

G. D. Hamann has a blog which reprints articles abt Hollywood's golden age.

yesterday there was a 1930 piece from Hollywood Daily Citizen which began: "Roses and carnations banked the tables at the dinner dance given last Saturday night by Lila Lee, who entertained at the Embassy Club in honor of her sister, Mrs. Leonard Tufford of Elyria, Ohio." then a list. you know this old listologist is equally smitten by lists & oldtime Hollywood. so I was fascinatd to learn that Peg Tufford -- whose office was right on the town square when I was a boy -- sippd Satan's Whiskers with the likes of Bessie Love   Howard Hughes   Billie Dove   Eric von Stroheim   Laura LaPlante   Paul Bern. & it goes on & on.

Embassy Club was a second-floor private dining room next door to Montmartre Cafe (both run by Eddie Brandstatter).

Elmer Fryer portrait of Lila & Peg that hangs in my guest bathroom Posted by Picasa

21 November 2005

some call it progress

among the clippings in Mother's envelope today was a letter to the editor of the Elyria paper bemoaning the passing of a local tradition.

I've written elsewhere abt Thomasson's Potato Chips. I remember as a boy going to the original store on Clark & eating the chips while they were still hot. when I left for Kent State my folks wd always bring bags of Thomasson's when they visitd. I seem to remember photos of a party I had for Robert Peters featuring a huge tin can with the company's trademark red   white & blue design.

altho the company was doing $3 million a year business   that didn't seem to be enough. so a few years ago they sold out to another chip company in Mansfield. it didn't take long for me to taste the difference. originally Thomasson's chips were fried in soybean oil & were the best I've ever had. the woman who wrote the letter to the editor explaind that the new company uses cottonseed oil. so the chips sold in the red   white & blue bags with that proud Elyria name are no longer the same product. I can still go home again. I just can't eat the potato chips.

20 November 2005

when women wore hats

Cukor's "The Model and the Marriage Broker" opens with a breathtaking shot of the Flatiron Building. I remember when I was a lad & lookd out the window of a cab & saw that landmark for the first time. there were tingles all over my body. soon we see Thelma Ritter & Nancy Kulp in hats. yes this was 1951 & there are hats everywhere. at one point Ritter has a monolog which includes commentary abt seagulls & damn if there isn't a gull on her hat.

one of the many aspects of cinema that I love is that of the time capsule. in this film there are priceless shots of everyday Manhattan of that time. all the way down to a garbage truck. then there is the encapsulization of mores. we learn so much abt attitudes thru popular movies.

& finally film preserves people. here the magnificent Ritter in a rare starring role is at the top of her craft. there are also some brief appearances worth noting: Broadway's Joan Roberts (the original Laurey in "Oklahoma")in the first of only 2 movie roles & silent screen great Mae Marsh in one of her frequent bit parts. but also there is Scott Brady in his prime. he was 27 when he filmd this comedy & I'm sure had both sexes swooning. the only time I went to the Academy Awards I walkd the red carpet just before Brady. he was past his prime then but I cdn't have been more thrilld to see him.

Brady at the baths with Tony Curtis (1950)

19 November 2005

what if

apples bled?

some songs

the big joy in last nite's Deborah Voigt concert: 5 songs of Charles Ives. they remind me that I haven't heard Ives performd live in too long   that Ives is thrilling   that Ives wrote witty & wonderful songs.

18 November 2005

in the mail

for 30 years David Meredith has been one of my best friends. he's just sent me a box full of correspondence I sent him in those years before e-mail. the letters illuminate some dark moments in my life but some shimmering ones as well. they are already a valuable source for Alex in Movieland.

over those decades I sent him poems I was working on as well. one from 1979 is different from the only other copy I had. those differences seen all these years later provide an insight into process for me.

hello cello

talk abt starting the day with a gutsy poem. go over to Pelican Dreaming & feast on "The Schwarzvogel Ficcione."

16 November 2005

in the news

mornings begin for my sweet mother with 2 newspapers & breakfast. she doesn't simply devour the papers she cuts them up & disperses the clippings around town & in the mail to family & friends. she even sent Martha Stewart clippings in jail.

in the envelope of clippings I got from her yesterday was an intriguing one abt Marlene Dietrich. apparently she spent those last years alone in her apartment writing poems. & her daughter is publishing a selection. many are addressd to lovers both male (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) & female (Mercedes de Acosta).

also in yestyerday's mail was a clipping sent from Culver City by Billy. it was Christopher Knight's review of the Orange County Musuem of Art exhibition "John Waters: Change of Life." in it Knight writes "The 79 works emerge as Conceptual Pop -- the illegitimate love child of John Baldessari and Andy Warhol." I adore that category because it seems to come close to some of my infrequent art projects.

15 November 2005

"this constant fingering"

I've spent the morning with Richard Siken. not the person. he's in Tucson. but the poet. the one who left a parcel of poems dripping blood on my bed. the book is calld Crush. I don't think I've ever read a book of poems straight thru before. I feel like I'm sticky & heading to the shower after hours of sex.

I just finishd the book & took off my clothes. I slippd on the boxers I'd slippd off Jimmy at the Sunburst Inn in Phoenix. I know Phoenix isn't Tucson but Arizona is Arizona. & sun bursting on boys works for me.

so I'm sitting here in Jimmy's boxers. I feel I need to examine my flesh for bruises. Crush is a punch. the poems are dangerous. I want to go back immediately & study them but I'm too much enjoying the afterglow. I guess this is the moment in film noir where the couple props up on pillows with cigarets. but I'm alone & don't smoke. so I'll slip off Jimmy's boxers & jump into the shower.

14 November 2005

the small world of Hollywood

I just watchd a cheap western made nearly a half century ago. my reason for seeing "Two-Gun Lady" was that the cast includes one of my faves -- Marie Windsor.

I was taken by a young actress playing a tomboy. so I lookd up Barbara Turner. this was her film debut. the following year she married Vic Morrow. one of their children is Jennifer Jason Leigh. Turner's acting career didn't last long. she became a screenwriter with credits ranging from "Petulia" to "Pollock." I get so excitd when I make all these connections.

what if

monkeys spankd themselves?

13 November 2005

culture in the desert

long before I knew of Palm Springs as a major gay resort I was fascinatd with it as a playground of the stars.

silent star Charlie Farrell startd the Racquet Club. generations of blonde bombshells (Jean Harlow   Betty Grable   Marilyn Monroe) playd there. James Dean drove too fast in its streets. hunks like George Montgomery & Guy Madison & Richard Harrison had homes there. that vibe still retains its power for me. but it's not just a playground. the art museum there is a must stop every time I visit. the film noir festival is important for cinemaddicts.

& now the vivacious Kimberly Nichols has a blog which covers arts activities in the area. her current entry discusses the work of Cole Morgan.

last nite

Charles Lloyd
              old beat daddy
flauting & saxing
trunk asway     legs akick

drum battle
        Zakir Hussain & Eric Harland
worlds collide & meld

11 November 2005

Gerard Malanga

is a month older than I am. we met during that tumultuous summer of 1963 when I was in Kenneth Koch's poetry class at Wagner College. I've only seen him a few times in the intervening years. he's in Santa Fe this weekend for a series of events.

I know how unkind time can be. & I wasn't expecting the beauty who did the whip dance & appeard naked in the pages of After Dark. but I hadn't seen a recent photo of him so when Malanga enterd the theater for a Q & A following a pair of Warhol films I nearly gaspd. he's overweight & uses a cane. it was most unsettling. we spoke briefly at the reception.

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in the news

a man in Ohio
struck his wife
then bit the head off
her cockatoo

10 November 2005

what if

earrings ate ears?

break out the caviar

I startd this adventure a year ago.

recently a friend sent me an article on blogs which includes a list of rules for a successful one. it's not surprising to me that I break most of them. that's probably why my audience is small. but then my audience has always been small. I remember reading an online description that calld me "semi-legendary." I laughd for days.

so what do I think of this adventure? if I weren't enjoying it I'd have stoppd. o sure there are frustrating times. if I work hard on something I think important (like "2 jars")& it elicits silence I become vexd. esp when something I toss off strikes a nerve & gets comments. but anyone who's been at this writing business for as long as I have learns to just keep going. & the blogosphere has introducd me to new friends. for that I'm grateful.

so if you've read this far down   thx for stopping by. & pass the crackers.

08 November 2005

he finds Dennis Morgan divine

I'm not a regular traveler to the country of Amazon.com. so until Shanna Compton tippd me off in her blog I had no idea Kevin Killian has producd nearly a thousand reviews there. I suspect some day they'll be a book. but until then you can dip into them anytime.

& what a dip. here's a sample line: "And what were all those handjobs under the sheets in Cleveland?" I know   I know: it's not fair to isolate one line from KK's zillions. & probably not the single best line. but it's one I adore & so it's here.

Killian covers everything from books on crafts to political biographies. he must read all the time. for me his film reviews are esp fun. in a few sentences he seems able to distill the essence of Barbara Stanwyck or Sylvia Sidney.

07 November 2005

black borders

over the weekend I went to the dedication of a city park which bears the names of 2 brothers. both gay. both murderd (in separate crimes). I was on a board with one of them   Herman Rodgriquez. on Dia de Los Muertos I'd been walking in Rosario Cemetery where the brothers are buried.

perhaps that was still with me last nite in my dreams. suddenly there was my best friend from boyhood. I embracd him & sd "Tom   it's so good to see you." he lookd deep into my eyes & sd "I'm dead... & you're next." that may be a bad movie line but it startld me awake in the middle of the nite. between tossing there were moments asleep but all with dark imagery.

when I finally got out of bed   exhaustd   I turnd on the computer. the 1st thing I do is check my mail & then the obits. I was shockd to find Sheree North   whose movies Tom & I both liked as boys. she grew from sexpot to accomplishd actress.

I dashd to the gym to try to exorcise my anxiety. when I returnd there was an e-mail from a friend telling me of the death of John Fowles. at one time Fowles was Tom's favorite author. he's give me his copies of the novels after he read them.

I'm almost afraid to go outside to the mailbox.

what I read

I may have been reading Dickinson at 12 but my taste in fiction then was centerd on authors who wrote for children. I was 10 when I wrote my first fan letter to an author to Lois Lenski. by 12 I had a regular correspondence with Jean Bothwell. at abt that time I was also writing to Pearl S. Buck & Robert Lawson.

altho we all read comics as well   I was never addictd to them. my favorite was Classic Illustrated. of the action heroes I was most fond of Wonder Woman. & there was a comic which featurd fashion designs that children sent in.

but my favorite reading material as a child was movie magazines. Photoplay   Modern Screen   Screen Stories. usually in the front were the gossip columns of Hedda & Louella   Mike Connolly & Sidney Skolsky. then came the stories   many by sister team Reba & Bonnie Churchill. & all those glorious photos. George Nader in the tightest jeans ever made. Denise Darcel & Tab Hunter on a date. Robert Francis playing golf in Palm Springs.

I clippd these magazines & preservd my favorite images & stories in a series of scrapbooks. I've already written abt this in a series of poems which appeard in the inaugural issue of Court Green.

& my first publication (not counting an early drawing which appeard in a booklet of the Elyria schools) was a brief letter to the editor in the june 1957 issue of Screen Stories.

I miss the old movie magazines. today we still have celebrity publications but they lack the look & feel of the magazines of my childhood with those beautiful movie ads & studio portraits of Ava Gardner & candids of Rock Hudson getting a massage at Finlandia Baths & stories abt the men in Mamie Van Doren's life.

06 November 2005

little Alex receives his 1st rejection slip

yesterday's entry brought back the memory of my submission to Weekly Reader. it was early 1954 & what I sent wasn't publishd.

first   some background. my Aunt Sophie   my godmother   was a woman of such complexity it'd take a book to capture her. but for the sake of this story   let me just say that she was fond of jokes   esp offcolor ones. here's the only one I remember her telling me:

Q: where did Joe DiMaggio spend his honeymoon?
A: in Maryland.

altho at 10 I didn't "get it"   I must've found it quite hilarious because I submittd it to Weekly Reader. the rejection slip that came in the mail was a generic one. when I grew up   I often wonderd abt the reaction of the editors of Weekly Reader.

05 November 2005


I'm fascinatd by Silliman's last 2 posts abt early work. to think that Rae Armantrout had a poem in Weekly Reader when she was 7!

a late bloomer   I was already 12 when I wrote this:

  Blossoms, Blossoms, oh lovely Blossoms,
  An Artist's Pure Delight;
  With Butterflies around.
  Lovely at night;
  In the Pale Moonlight,
  The Bee's gone away;
  A perfect setting,
  On a perfect day.

was this my first poem? I don't know. but it is the earliest to survive. was it the poem that I carvd into the branch of a willow tree in the front yard? I don't know that either.

if someone were to ask me my earliest influence I'd not hesitate in naming Ferlinghetti. but this "poem" suggests that Emily Dickinson came earlier. I have terribly few poems from the apprentice period (1955-60). I startd publishing poems in 1962.

is all the early work bad? it's easy for a quick yes. but as a survivor who's still at it I must say that even some of the worst of those are instructional to me. I see the me I was -- both person & writer. I detect the changes   progress made   but also I retain some awe that I was creating with words before becoming a teenager.

04 November 2005

hard to believe

that Marilyn Monroe's death in 1962 is still making news. but there she was on "Good Morning America" sharing headlines with Shrub's dive in the polls & Camilla's drag queen voice.

apparently there's "new evidence" in the form of second hand memories being publishd in a popular magazine. was it suicide or accident or murder? certain stories will live forever.

03 November 2005

"queerer things were yet to come"

Hitchcock is my favorite Hollywood director. battling for second place are Wilder & Altman. last week I saw Wilder's "Avanti"   a late film which may have been his worst. to gargle away its taste last nite I saw one of his best   "Sunset Blvd."

I don't know how many times I've seen this film but it never looses its allure. it's that perfect blend of script & art direction   of casting & score. Swanson's Norma Desmond is such an indelible performance that it deserves its legendary status. I get lost in her face. Holden is so sexy he's lickable. but he's more than a hot body. he was a subtle sensitive actor whose naturalness balances Swanson's grand guinol performance. throw in Von Stroheim for more ghoul & a minute & a half of Keaton for comedy. mix all that up with those zingy lines & Franz Waxman's magnificent score.

because the movie has been around for 55 years it's accumulatd layers of meaning. & I suppose as with all great art there are universal layers & then those personal ones. as a cinemaddict I find the Hollywood levels irresistable. mentions of silent stars Marie Prevost & Wallace Reid   & of star getaways Catalina & Palm Springs. Hedda Hopper playing herself. that mansion & pool being used again by Nick Ray for "Rebel Without a Cause." the car at the Paramount gate being referencd by David Lynch in "Mulholland Drive."

then there's a fascinating true crime connection. we first see Holden's character Joe Gillis in the Alto Nido Apartments. legend has it that Elizabeth Short once livd there. later in the film Gillis shows up at a party & is introducd as a "Black Dahlia suspect." the actor mouthing that line is Jack Webb who 8 years later wd write a book abt the LAPD calld "The Badge" which includes a discussion of the Short case. that book was a favorite of a young man by the name of James Ellroy who wd write a novel calld The Black Dahlia   the manuscript of which I purchasd for Kent State University Libraries during my tenure as curator of Special Collections.

all these layers make the movie more & more fascinating to me. so it's a work of which I never tire.

02 November 2005

watching the news

2 big stories on the ayem shows:

first it seems the Dems finally got their balls back. that Senate meltdown was sheer fun & portends some fireworks for Scalito. & bravo to anyone who wipes that perpetual smirk off the mug of Senator Frist.

then there's Camila Parker Bowles. everyone seems to think she's a triumph. to me she remains the Duchess of Frump. I mean   with a staff of 40 laboring over you even Marjorie Main wd look elegant.

I turnd off news & turnd on blogs. feeling o so curmedgeonly while downing my second cuppa   I checkd Richard Lopez. I must tell you that his shots of Nicholas as a lobster are so dear that I feel totally avuncular. & the one of our wee lobster smiling at the bookshelves is probably as prescient as it is precious.

01 November 2005

dia de los muertos

among those I remember today is Susan Kirby.

we were students together at Eastern Heights Junior High. & then in our freshman year at Elyria High School she died of the Asian flu. she was my first contemporary to die. I still recall going to the funeral home & seeing her in her coffin.

today I remember Susan.

31 October 2005

trick or treat: part 2

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some feel Halloween is as close as there is to a national gay holiday. maybe that was the reason the management of Rainbow Vision held its official opening this afternoon. it's being calld the world's first full-service retirement center for the LGBT community.

altho the 13-acre site won't be complete till next spring   the first 20 condos opend today. it's only 2 streets over from me so I walkd to the event & went thru several of the apartments. it was a festive afternoon with residents & politicians & newsmen & neighbors mingling.

Lt. Gov. Diane Denish cuts the ribbon with 93 y/o Hilda Rush who calls herself "the oldest lesbian in Santa Fe." Posted by Picasa

a message from Congressman Tom Udall was read by a member of his staff Chris Romero (who announcd he's single). Posted by Picasa

trick or treat?

our noble president opend the door & put Alito in our candy bag.

warning to parents: check for razor blades.

30 October 2005

a rose for Percy & how it wiltd

if you saw my contribution to the current MiPo   you know of my devotion to character actor Percy Helton.

he began acting at 2 & was still at it when he died 75 years later. a child star on Broadway   he made a handful of silent films (inc a debut as leading man to Mary Miles Minter). 25 years after his final silent   Helton reappeard on screen as Hollywood's first "bad Santa" in the classic "Miracle on 34th Street." that began one of the great supporting careers. he was in over 100 films & countless t-v shows   working for such directors as Capra   Cukor   Hitchcock & Peckinpah.

usually he had small parts. sometimes only a line or 2. but with his distinctive voice & unique look you never missd him. one of his movies that I've always wantd to see is "Wicked Woman" in which he got third billing. yesterday morning I checkd the satellite program guide & was shockd to see that Cinemax wd be running it. Percy was even listd as one of the 3 stars. I was thrilld the day long.

then last nite I turnd on the channel. to my horror some soft-porn film came on. it didn't even have the same title. when I switchd back to the guide it still showd "Wicked Woman" & Percy's name. but it was this contemporary piece of crap. I was so pissd off   disappointd   upset. so I turnd off t-v. there was nothing to do but go to bed. but   no   another unwantd experience. I had to change the clocks. as if being Percy-less wasn't bad enough I had to put up with daylight savings time   the vile invention of some lunatic. I felt like taking every clock in the house & throwing each one into the faces of the Cinemax personnel who screwd up & the mad inventor who meddles with time & my mind. my cat got me up at 5:30 this ayem & my body will feel ill at ease for who knows how long & I'll be cursing Cinemax for weeks. so don't even get me startd abt Harriet Mediocre or Lewis "Liar" Libby. I don't care if Shrub was reading scripture or getting drunk last nite at Camp David. I want him & his evil regime to go away. I want Cinemax to give me Percy Helton. I want time to stay where it is.

29 October 2005

yellow willow in the frost

earlier this year I made note of the centenary of the beautiful Anna May Wong.

now comes word of a major exhibition & screening of her work by the Hong Kong Film Archive.

almost 30 years ago I dedicatd a poem   "The Constantinople Death Express"   to Anna May Wong. but a poem abt her impact   "Picadilly"   will appear in the forthcoming Spore 2.1.

27 October 2005

an old tree

W. S. Merwin spent the winter of 1969 in Santa Fe. he lived & wrote in a John Gaw Meem house within walking distance of where I now live & write.

so last nite he began his reading with a poem from that winter. & he read chronologically thru to his most recent work (including "Blueberries After Dark"). nearing 80   this poet/translator/ecologist is a dapper steady man rootd in literary history. he has an abundance of white hair   stands straight   reads without artifice.

some of his recent poems I'd read in The New Yorker. they seemd slick. but his reading of them forces me to reread.

26 October 2005

this vigil

waiting for Rove to be indictd has become as long & frustrating as waiting for Shrub to act on Katrina.

it's overdue for this house of cards to collapse. we've been conditiond to believe that hubris must be punishd. this administration isn't strong in much but in the hubris department it's spilling over. if Rove somehow escapes indictment & Cheney evades punishment now surely they must reckon the ledger eventually.

25 October 2005

2 jars

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jar # 1

paper label:
peach spread
Hotel Limpia
Fort Davis   TX

geodesic dome souvenir pin   Expo 67   Montreal
prop bullet from “92 in the Shade” from Linda Lyke
turkey wishbone given to Dimitri by my mother after dinner on his first visit to Elyria
Hotel Grande Bretagne soap   Athens
pack of Juicy Fruit purchasd at Wrigley’s El Rancho Escondido on Catalina Island

jar # 2

paper label:
Pumpkin Butter
Kudzu Bakery
Georgetown SC

Eugene McCarthy presidential campaign button
Tom & Mary’s Bar key ring   Columbus
Tony Awards souvenir program light
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame I.D. bracelet   Cleveland
chocolate Easter egg with word “talus” on an attachd tag from my first Santa Fe reading

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24 October 2005

Rosa Parks (1913-2005)

celebrating Monette

earlier this month Paul Monette wd've turnd 60.

to honor him UCLA -- where his papers are -- mountd a major exhibition "One Person's Truth: The Life & Work of Paul Monette" & did a weekend conference. curator Dan Luckenbill has done a superb job of posting a sort of online catalog of the exhibition.

I only wrote Monette once. it's an honor to have my letter
quotd in the text.

23 October 2005

isn't it romantic?

it's been eons since I've read Byron. my library includes a batterd copy of the 1825 Philadelphia printing of selectd correspondence. one letter begins with a line Frank O'Hara cd've written: "Lisboa is the Portguese word, consequently the very best."

today it seems his life is better known than his writing. it certainly has fascinatd me over the decades. altho my few stage appearances are long behind me   I've always wantd to play the Byron that Tenneesee Williams brought to "Camino Real."

last nite I took a gander at BBC's "Byron." that it seemd a bit tedious may have been not the fault of the filmmakers but of a wretchd channel calld BBC America. not only do they constantly interrupt the production but they run the same commercials over & over. not only will I never buy their products I shan't be watching BBC America again.

the program -- already 2 years old -- features Jonny Lee Miller as the bard. I'd rememberd him as a cute blond so it was a shock to see him with long brown hair. at first he wasn't Byron to me but as the program developd I found him acceptable. of course much must be droppd for purproses of storytelling. but I wonder why the program begins with an acknowledgment of the poet's bisexuality which then goes nowhere. the first we see of him he's recumbent with a handsome lad who he kisses. but then the complete focus shifts to Byron's affair with his sister.

again I must say that it's difficult to judge this program because of the disgraceful way it was presentd. but it probably will have me returning to the page today to survey some of what Byron wrote & that's a good thing.

22 October 2005

an evening out

I like dance but haven't kept up. so I was happy to go to town last nite for a dance concert. altho there were a few spiritd moments on stage   soaring wasn't on the program.

for me the best part of the evening was running into Nathaniel Tarn & Janet Rodney in the lobby before the performance. I hadn't seen them in a year & a half. we chattd abt libraries & writing & travel. Nathaniel mentiond that he's been keeping diaries since he was a boy. his earliest entries are a list of blitzes in London.

21 October 2005

thx Mark

the best way to start a day is to discover someone's written a poem for you. so my day has begun with hoots & hollers because Mark Young sent me a gift.

it's been eons since I've seen "We're No Angels" but I appreciate his mention of its stars. Bogart is Bogart. not much one can add to discussion of this icon. as for Sir Peter I first remember him menacing me in "Quo Vadis." & of course he cast Terence Stamp as "Billy Budd" -- for which he deserves eternal thx.

then there's Aldo Ray. I think I've mentiond this famous '50s shot of him which Daniel Blum publishd:

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I can't tell you how many gay men of my generation remember it fondly. sort of like an earlier generation's adoration of Betty Grable's over-the-shoulder pose.

Ray was a gruff hunk with a heart of gold who cd handle comedy as deftly as drama. his career fell apart & by the end he was working in cheapies thrown together in a week.

I saw him once   walking down Hollywood Blvd. his beefcake days behind him   he still had appeal. that was a couple of decades ago before the revitalization of the street. I felt like I was in a film noir. I wantd to follow him into a bar   listen to him order generic booze   dare to tell him that picture was imprintd on my soul. but I let him walk on to whatever business was on his mind. I knew he'd always be there. I cd open Blum's book or flip on a classic movie channel.

20 October 2005

a bit of majesty

over the bridge across the arroyo. along the bike path. look up. a hawl perchd on a fence. we stare at each other. feels like my heart stops. hawk blinks & jets off. such beauty I can't move.

19 October 2005

"I still exist"

movie begins with Ray Anthony playing trumpet on the soundtrack. then we see a boat. we hear Grant Williams' voice & finally there he is -- all blond & tan & in a swimsuit. soon the camera focuses on his crotch. & then the mist arrives   covering his chest with glitter.

strong black & white images for me   sitting beside best friend T.R. Queen a month before my 14th birthday to see Jack Arnold's "The Incredible Shrinking Man."

it's the story of a man who is "different." so he becomes "alone." & of course he begins to write a book. it's also a journey tale & a survival story. & as cinema it offers some powerful moments   esp when the tiny Williams lights a giant match.

some of that film has remaind with me all these years. & when I saw it again last nite I was particularly taken with Williams. this is one of the grand performances of the genre. a heroic performance which deserves its cult acclaim.

it was the 7th of 17 films in the 16-year movie career of Grant Williams. his only other memorable role was a brief one of the stud in Douglas Sirk's "Written on the Wind." but that was a small part. however I'd like to see one of his other starring roles in a picture calld "The Couch."

the "lifelong bachelor" was an acting teacher in West Hollywood when he died at 53 or 54 (his publishd birth date varies) 20 years ago. it wasn't a major career but his shining moment as the Odysseus of Universal-International earns him movie immortality.

18 October 2005

drinks from the well

the traditional way to read Alex in Movieland is chronologically. but in the kama sutra of my imagination I see it having an index so that everyone cd make his/her own poems out of it.

for example were you to look up a certain bookseller you'd find this poem:

JIM LOWELL: selections from Alex in Movieland

purchases his first Jargon Books imprint from Jim Lowell at Asphodel Book Shop in The Arcade in Cleveland

joins R. L. Carothers & Jacob Leed to drive to Western Reserve University to read at a Levy-Lowell Defense Fund benefit with Russell Atkins   Grace Butcher Kent Taylor & Robert Wallace

hears Allen Ginsberg & the Fugs at a Levy-Lowell Defense Fund benefit at Case Institute of Technology

attends a campus reading by Gary Snyder with an audience that includes Jim Lowell & Kent Taylor

lunches at Stag Bar with Dean Keller & Jim Lowell

gossips with Bill Berger at the annual 4th party at Twin Lakes with guests including Pat & Dean Keller   Tessa & Jim Lowell   Julia Waida

edits the d.a. levy issue of The Serif with Jim Lowell’s checklist & contributions by Gary Snyder & Charles Bukowski

dines at Pat & Dean Keller's with Eric Mottram & Tessa & Jim Lowell

visits Jim Lowell & r.j.s. with Paul Metcalf & David Meredith

receives a call from Jim Lowell who tells him the facts of B. P. Nichols’ death

visits Jim Lowell's Asphodel Book Shop with Bradley Westbrook

attends Barbara & Bradley Westbrook’s dinner party for John Taggart with Maggie Anderson   Tom Beckett   Dean Keller & Jim Lowell

visits Jim Lowell in Burton

returns home to e-mails from Matthew Wascovich & Tom Beckett informing him of the death of Jim Lowell

17 October 2005

the big one

at dinner at Ray's the other nite. somewhere between Gerty's chili & apple dumpling a la mode. Tom Beckett presentd me with a parcel of questions abt Alex in Movieland. I've been working on it for more than 9 years now. & I guess I talk more than a little abt it being my master work   a source of great joy   a reward for lasting so long.

Tom's questions promptd me to write abt it here. there have been a few examples out there over the years. but it's the longest thing I've ever written & largely unknown. since I'll be working on it till my last gasp the whole thing won't see print till I'm dead. but I'm ready for selections to make their way into publication.

Alex is Movieland began as a list of every movie I'd ever seen. as much as I love lists & movies even I quickly became bored with that. I no longer remember when the work told me that it shd be my autobiography. but I startd adding "stuff" to it. yes it's a long list. but it's also a movie of my life. early on I entertaind the notion that each line was a frame & that enough frames fast enough wd produce the motion of my life.

I suspect its thrust comes more from conceptual art than from literature. but then I haven't been in a classroom for a long time. & as I remember that's a conversation for that venue.

whatever it is I work on it daily. here's a month I pluckd from it for Tom 'cause he wdn't order dessert the other nite:

introduces Gerald Mast who discusses the Marx Brothers prior to a campus screening of "Horsefeathers"
sees "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore"
flies to New York City
greets underwear-clad Peter Burnell in his dressing room at Morosco Theatre following a performance in which he plays the son of Rex Harrison & Julie Harris
introduces Burnell to Antony Ponzini during dinner at Charlie’s
sees John Wood & Clive Revill on Broadway
observes Walter Matthau film a scene for "The Sunshine Boys"
sees Maggie Smith & John Standing in a Noel Coward play
hears Barbara Cook at Reno Sweeney
chats with Carolyn Jones during intermission of a Broadway play featuring Geraldine Page & Sandy Dennis
observes Peter Shaffer walking down West 44th Street engagd in deep conversation with Peter Firth
introduces Gerald Mast to James Kirkwood Jr. at the playwright’s opening nite before an audience that includes Frederic Combs & Constance Ford
joins Mary Ann Begland to hear Michael Moriarty at Michael's Pub
sees Rita Moreno & Stephen Collins under direction of Robert Drivas
is cruisd by Andrew Crispo while viewing the dealer’s Richard Anuszkiewicz show
drinks at Brothers & Sisters with Begland
sees Diana Rigg & Nicholas Clay in a Moliere play
sees Harry Chapin in his own musical opposite Mercedes Ellington & Lynne Thigpen
sits beside Charles Gordone at the bar at Charlie’s
returns to Kent
sees Boston Tea Party (formerly The Proposition) on campus with an audience that includes David Prittie
dines on chicken at Stag Bar with James Bridges
sees Chip Norwood & David Prittie in a Kent Acting & Touring Company musical
lunches at Peter’s Waikiki with Wendy Ma & Julia Waida
celebrates his 32nd birthday by attending Ken Nevadomi's Akron opening with Al Elkins   Linda Lyke & Michael McCafferty then attending Pete Omlar’s Cleveland opening with Robert Swick   Lilian & Brinsley Tyrrell
lunches at Peking with his parents & aunts Mary Gerhart & Ann Nolan
sees "Two Mules for Sister Sarah"
hears Barney Childs in Jacob Leed's poetry class
receives a call from Nancy Holt abt the condition of “Partially Buried Woodshed”
prepares beef stew for Marjorie & Don Harvey   Michael McCafferty   John Sokol & Robert Swick after which he reads at the Kove before an audience that includes Richard Grossinger & Linda Lyke
hears Mort Krahling read “Dear Alex”
sees "Shampoo"
listens to Michael McCafferty mention him after reading “To List” on Tom Maze’s radio program

16 October 2005

Tom Beckett

calls himself "a notorious curmudgeon." but I find him a hoot. we always laugh together. & the other nite was no exception.

& as I workd my way thru my mail tonite I discoverd that the issue of Mi Poesias which Tom editd went online while I was away.

my thx to Tom for putting me in such excellent company & to Didi Menendez for designing such a beautiful issue.

this post is short 'cause I need to go back & start reading.

just got home

spent a day in Kent reseaching at the library. didn't tell many folks I was in town so kept the socializing to a minimum. Tom Beckett bloggd abt our dinner together. & just before leaving I did have coffee with Maggie Anderson:

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then my Kent host David Meredith drove me to Elyria for lunch with my parents. after he left I spent a couple of hectic days doing this & that.

here's a picture from my folks' backyard that I find at once forlorn & humorous:

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