31 January 2005

Madeleine Peyroux

I've never experiencd a performer less comfortable performing. she begins singing in this small voice on a huge stage. the voice goes everywhere   puzzling my ear. she seems full of fear.

it gets better with each number -- altho she doesn't smile till at least 5 in. shortly before the quick set is over she soars. yes finally on one exquisite number it's perfect & glorious. then she hesitates   as if she's waking from a dream   not knowing where she is or why she's there. it's quite unnerving.

30 January 2005

"Exploring the voids of all known undergrounds"

2 of my compatriots on the pages of the premiere issue of Thee Flat Bike   Byron Coley & Thurston Moore   collaborate on the column "Bull Tongue" in Arthur.

in the current issue

they too toast Slow Toe Publications. allow me to quote:
Don't expect "rock" poetry, this is all way more out there and off the tracks. Wasco hears it with the same brain that has read the primordial greatness of the long-flowing history of Cleveland's heaviest. Peeps such as Tom Kryss, Kent Taylor and Alex Gildzen, all constituents of the famed Asphodel Bookshop, where the recently and dearly departed Jim Lowell held court and where the visionary and law-hounded poet d.a. levy burst forth.

29 January 2005

nothin' slow abt Wasco

there's a young man in Cleveland who is bringing back some of the publishing fervor of that city from 40 years ago. Matthew Wascovich is a poet & musician who issues chapbooks under the imprint of Slow Toe Publications .

in my snailbox this afternoon came copies of his new mag Thee Flat Bike . it's an honor for me to share pages with Doug Blazek   Don Cauble   Byron Coley   Hugh Fox   Alan Horvath   Tom Kryss   Thurston Moore   Lee Ranaldo   Kent Taylor   A.D. Winans   & Wasco himself.

take a look at the list & get out yr checkbook. if you don't know which ones you want order them all. it isn't any cheaper now than it was in levy's day to issue adventurous work. yr local library is having trouble keeping its doors open. so don't expect to find Slow Toe books there. order now & order often.

(left to right: Wasco   Todd Colby   Thurston Moore   Gildzen at Bowery Poetry Club oct 03)

28 January 2005

for the boon to doom

floors that were cold yesterday warmd today. & with the sun another interview from our Mr. Beckett ("multiplying musics of slippage"). a lunch of pierogies that transportd me to Parma. a washd-out print of a movie featuring Mitzi Green. a birthday call to an internet buddy I've never met but consider a good friend. finally the song of sand.

26 January 2005

Frick & Frack

I continue to marvel at how a visual from a film can retrieve a whole world from the past. tonite I watchd a little Monogram feature from 1943 calld "Silver Skates." it was abt an ice show & brought back such fond memories. I was 7 when I saw my 1st such show Ice Capades. abt 4 months later I saw the Ice Follies for the initial time. both shows paid annual visits to Cleveland when I was a boy & Mom & Dad & I went as often as we cd.

tonite's film featurd the comedy duo of Swiss skaters Frick and Frack. they came to the US in 1937 & were stars of the Ice Follies. Werner Groebli & Hans Mauch were famous for performing the cantilver spread eagle. I saw them twice before Mauch became ill with a bone disease (he died in 1979). Groebli   billing himself as Mr. Frick   went on as a solo for years. I saw his act 3 times. this year he turns 90. I read that he splits his year between Palm Springs & Zurich.

amazingly it's been more than a half century since the team performd together but their name remains a part of pop culture. besides 2 of the Backstreet Boys appropriating the name it's been used for cats   dogs   mice & even our current president & his veep.

it was a delight to see Frick and Frack perform again. & to remember as well those skating stars of the past: Donna Atwood   Richard Dwyer   the Old Smoothies. I still have all my programs. they're torn & tatterd but bring back endless happy childhood memories.

25 January 2005

Harper House

one of Moreno's directors was Irvin Willat. he began his career on screen opposite Pickford in 1911. a few years later he became a cinematographer & then in 1917 he directd the first of 38 features over a period of 20 years. Willat directd such legends as Lon Chaney & Harry Houdini but so many of his films are lost he's no longer a familiar name. he died in 1976.

the next year I met his son Boyd who was then a set designer. I was at an event in Hollywood with Lois Wilson. because she was the leading lady in two of his father's pictures Boyd introducd himself. we kept in touch & on a future visit I stayd at the Willat house on Harper just off Sunset.

Posted by Hello

at one time in the 20s Boyd's father was married to Billie Dove who was often billd as the world's most beautiful woman. her bedroom had an exquisite staind glass window. I stayd in that room & even wrote a poem there. she left Willat for a young man by the name of Howard Hughes.

a few years ago I was at Chateau Marmont & my cousin Regina visitd me there. we went for a little walk in that neighborhood I so adore. I showd her where Schwab's used to be & where Fitzgerald died. as we were coming up Harper I was abt to point to the Willat house & it wasn't there. I was in shock. some new condos were in its place. I filld with sadness.

so when I found this photo of Harper House on a recent journey on the cyber highway I was thrilld. back in those days before digital cameras we didn't photograph every moment of our lives. so I have no pictures of Boyd & his family & their home. no pictures of Billie Dove's bedroom & the staind glass window. I'm happy to have this visual moment to append to my memory.

24 January 2005

viva Moreno

today he's probably best known as the old adventurer in "Creature of the Black Lagoon." but tonite Turner Classic Movies reminds us that Antonio Moreno was one of the silent screen's hot leading men.

the Spanish-born Moreno came to the US as a teenager with 2 men he met. after appearing on Broadway he enterd movies & was soon appearing opposite Gish & Pickford in films of D.W. Griffith. he was a friend of gay director William Desmond Taylor & found fame as leading man to Gloria Swanson   Pola Negri   Billie Dove   Mary Miles Minter   Clara Bow & Marion Davies. tonite TCM presentd him in the tv premiere of Fred Niblo's "The Temptress." while the advertising stresses leading lady Garbo he more than holds his own. in fact while she slinks & poses he presents a bold natural presence. he was a striking hunk.

with the advent of sound he had a short career as a director -- rememberd primarily for "Santa." then he became a character actor appearing in such classics as Hitchcock's "Notorious" & Ford's "The Searchers." Moreno's private life suggests an in-depth bio wd be some read. he married an heiress whose tragic death has a tinge of mystery. their Silverlake mansion Paramour has become a hip location in the past few years -- hosting concerts & film festivals. it's also used as a set for movies & commercials & now has a recording studio.

let's hope that tonite's screening will usher in a rediscovery of Antonio Moreno.

23 January 2005

frequent flyer miles

I have enuf on both Delta & Continental for a free flight. however I've spent too much of my evening attempting to use them & all to no avail. the flights I want are "unavailable." so what good are these miles?

21 January 2005


not content to have their man in the White House now the religious right is attacking SpongeBob. is there no limit to their lunacy?

20 January 2005

Not One Damn Dime Day

4 years ago I wrappd the Century Dimes in black & wore that armband all of Inauguration Day as my one-man protest. so it amuses me that this time around someone else is using the dime symbolically as a protest.

it's such a sad day. normally I'd go to the movies but I'll be joining those thousands who refuse to add even a dime to the economy as our silent protest. I can't watch tv because the very sight of that disgusting man smirking thru another swearing in wd turn my stomach. so I'll read.

this is garbage day in my community. I'm dressd in black   feeling fearful at what this regime will do next.

19 January 2005

On the Beach with Joan Blondell

from the Cuban restaurant on Collins
I stroll over to Ocean Drive
closd to cars for the festival

on one side Deco facades
outlind in neon
on the other booths selling trinkets

& everywhere       people

suddenly   framd by palms
her face as it was in 1933
everybody's favorite gold digger
her face on a huge screen
in the park beside the ocean
a curve of people under the Miami moon
transfixd by Joan Blondell

I want to whoop or weep
at such a perfect moment
I embrace myself
then walk alone down an alley
to my hotel

Posted by Hello

18 January 2005

more Miami

I had to take 2 buses to get from South Beach to Miami-Dade County Auditorium where the Britten was being performd. after the opera I was in downtown Miami between buses when an attractive young woman -- noticing my program -- askd if I'd just seen "Paul Bunyan." it turns out she was Aleksandra Vrebalov -- a composer who is abt to immerse herself in her 1st opera. she's had work performd all over the world with a new violin piece premiering soon at Carnegie Hall. we got on the same bus & had an enchanting chat abt music & poetry. it was as lovely an experience as the opera had been.

altho the rain causd some outdoor events to be canceld   Art Deco Weekend still had a parade (complete with shirtless firefighters promoting their calendar). & I took in 2 lectures. I did my own walking tours -- both during the day & at nite -- of the Art Deco area.

on Ocean Drive Posted by Hello

& there was fresh sea food & Cuban sandwiches & Argentine pastries. so even if the weather was not what is advertisd I made the most of my weekend.

17 January 2005

since this is my Benjamin Britten year...

...I flew to Miami to see "Paul Bunyan." some call this Britten's 1st opera. others lessen it by calling it an operetta. whatever it is it's a joy. with an exubuerant libretto by Auden it often soars. Florida Grand Opera put on the lively Mark Lamos staging. old-time Wagnerian baritone Thomas Stewart came out of retirement to give voice to Bunyan. it's a speaking part & he's not seen (till his bow during curtain call)but he brings the power requird. add to that the vocal talents of Brian Anderson & Chad Johnson (neither of whom hurt the eyes either) & I had a grand time.

which is good because it rains every time I go to Florida. I did manage to get to a couple of museums before the torrents. I was startld when I turnd a corner at "Paris Moderne" at the Bass & saw Romaine Brooks'"Elisabeth de Gramont."

I include this poor reproduction just to remind you which painting of Brooks it is but it doesn't even suggest how stunning it is. & of course it brought back Natalie Barney's salon & that wonderful group of Amazons.

& then not far away was a painting by another member of the Barney circle Marie Laurencin. her 1923 portrait of Jeannot Salmon doesn't reproduce well either. I found myself going back & forth between the two.

more on the trip manana.....

a proposal

since my last post I've survivd 4 flights. the collapse of personal deportment of passengers has become deplorable. for some reason I took it upon myself somewhere above Texas this afternoon to seek a means of improvement.

I recalld how some of my contemporaries who went to Catholic schools were formd by the tyranny of nuns. so I propose that airlines hire sisters as flight attendants. I can envision them standing hawk-like at entry preventing those wearing flipflops or pajamas from boarding. they can patrol the aisle with rulers ready to thwack misbehaving children as well as parents who allow misbehavior. they will deny peanuts & beverages to those so overweight they flop over into another's space. those who cough without covering their mouths or who practice other failues of manners will be immediately expelld (even after take-off).

I don't expect the return of gentlemen in suits & appropriately-attird ladies dining with cloth napkins & real china. the elegance of flight is in past tense. but I long for a revival of civility & discipline.

12 January 2005


I once wantd to write a book abt ordinary people who witnessd extraordinary events & how their lives were impactd. I believe the idea came from thinking abt Mary Ann Vecchio. she was the young runaway who happend to be on the Kent State University campus the day the National Guard killd 4 protesters. the photo of her with arms outstretchd over the body of Jeff Miller became an iconic image.

then I always wonderd abt Donald Turnupseed   the 25 year-old engineering major whose Ford turnd into the path of James Dean's Porsche. & abt Betty Bersinger who was out walking one early morning & discoverd the several pieces of Elizabeth Short's body in that lot on Norton.

how did these events change the lives of these three?

11 January 2005

waiting for rain
to arrive from LA
I read Richard Lopez

      sudden crash of
the past

arroyo fills
wet words
whip my pants off

poets makes rivers
in the desert

10 January 2005

every day is an adventure

I rejoice in the intersection of what I plan & what just happens. who wd guess that a day cd begin with Mickey Rooney's butt & end with tiny books.

yes one of the morning "news" shows featurd an interview with Judy Garland's MGM playmate abt a commercial in which his posterior is exposd. perhaps the networks think its audiences have had enuf sorrow in their news of late. Rooney is probably the last working movie star who began in silent films. he's made some 250 pictures since 1926. so having something other than his obit be front-page news is exciting. but the whole nonsense of censoring his ass is silly. & putting him in such a key news spot is surreal.

but I survivd "Good Morning America" & went on to the gym & the bakery. & then late in the day in my mail a package from Richard Lopez of Really Bad Movies. he sent me his book The Grapevine & a CD of him reading in Sacramento in 2003. also falling from the envelope like New Year's confetti a trio of tiny books of his. they are part of the Poems-For-All series.

"scattered around town, on buses, trains, restrooms, coffee shops, left along with the tip; stuffed in a stranger's back pocket, whatever, wherever. an ongoing project of the 24th Street Irregular Press." the series began in mar 2001 with the reprinting of d.a. levy's "The Bells of the Cherokee Ponies." I publishd that poem in the 1971 issue of The Serif that I editd. as far as I know that issue was the 1st academic consideration of levy. I'd askd Gary Snyder to write his now-famous essay & Jim Lowell to put together what was the 1st levy bibliography. so to have that poem begin the Poems-For-All series was esp meaningful for me.

I need to spend time with Richard's work but its appearance on my hearth warms my heart. this has been part of today's adventure.

09 January 2005

advances in science

Reuters reports on Spanish research that rats can tell the difference between Dutch & Japanese but not when they are playd backwards.

08 January 2005

one for the road

in another time the Oak Bar at the Plaza was rather gay. servicemen in uniforms or Cary Grant in a tux were various shades of available. it was never a favorite hangout when I visitd Manhattan. my preference was the theater bars such as Backstage & Charlies. or bona fide gay bars -- generally in the west village. they were likely to change from visit to visit. however Ty's has been there for decades & Julius since creation. but a handful of times I journeyd to the Oak Bar out of respect for gay history. my last visit was in 1983 when I got stinko with a Broadway chorus boy.

yesterday I was searching for Robert Carson   the actor who helpd write "A Star is Born" & found my way to a Dorothy Parker site which sd that the Oak Bar was going to be replacd at the Plaza by retail shops. so I e'd Henry Van Dyke   my contact for all things soigne in New York. he verified the death of the Oak Bar   adding: "The Plaza is becoming trashy."

it was probably the Eloise books that promptd me to stay at the Plaza. I think I checkd in only once: for my 35th birthday. some hotels resonate for me. the Algonquin there & Chateau Marmont on the other coast. I felt no connection to the Plaza -- except for that bit of excitement of sitting at the Oak & soaking up the gay stories that staind the bar. I was at least a generation too late. but I still can mourn its passing as a gay landmark.

07 January 2005

Guy Davenport (1927-2005)

"The Dutch philosopher Adriaan Floris van Hovendaal was arranging the objects on his table, a pinecone to remind him of Fibonacci, a snail's shell to remind him of Ruskin, a drachma to remind him of Crete. He had been thinking all morning of time, which was nothing, or was the direction of being, or was a dimension of the world and therefore spatial, or was the deference whereby an effect followed rather than preceded or was simultaneous with its cause, or was but sequence and nothing more."

The Dawn of Erewhon

06 January 2005

Walter's Cafe

finding Bob's memoir put me into a googling frenzy. I rediscoverd Patrick Cullie who now lives only a state away.

& on the site for the Numbers Band was this photo (a sly retelling of DaVinci's "Last Supper") taken at Walter's:

you don't see that much of the place but it was enuf to fire my memory. Gary Lockwood ran it. in daylight it was a restaurant. Mary Ann Begland & I took Ira Joel Haber there for lunch on one of his visits from Manhattan. I remember the bean soup.

but let it get dark & it became a smoky bar. when shadows fell I often found myself walking to town & ending up there. I'd chat with the 2 members 15 60 75 I knew -- Bob Kidney & Terry Hynde. they playd next door & came to Walter's between sets. & I'd run into folks like Gene Gant & Craig Lucas. Jake Leed & I gave a reading there in 1981.

that was my noir period. the rum was the worst in town but it was cheap & I drank it till closing. I was a bum then & stumbld appropriately. I sd things I don't remember & probably did things best forgotten. & even tho it wasn't always a pleasant time in my life it was a time in my life. so I remember Walter's for the good parts & realize that the not-so-good parts were a road I had to take.

05 January 2005

04 January 2005

sharing time/space

in the summer of 1956 Dad left our driveway on Winckles St. he & Mom & I got on the Ohio Turnpike & were off to Washington DC. it was the biggest vacation of my boyhood & we did all the tourist activities. however we also went to Lafayette Square to see Edith Bolling Galt Wilson lay a wreath on the statue of Rochambeau. she was an 84-year-old woman in a black dress & white hat. sometimes calld "the secret president"   Mrs. Wilson held a unique place in the history of the nation.

last nite I rememberd that moment while watching newsreels of her during her tenure as First Lady. it was on a PBS episode of "American Experience" (narratd by the wondrous Linda Hunt).

altho I was only 13 then I think that the experience of sharing time/space with Mrs. Wilson was a seminal event in my formulation of notions of connectivity. I knew that breathing the same air as Mrs. Wilson for that short time was enough to connect me with WW1 & the League of Nations.

03 January 2005

Anna May Wong

recent research changes the birthdate of this beautiful international star. she was born a century ago today.

it's taken a while to generate interest in her career. however a documentary will be releasd shortly & a couple of biographies will bring a new audience. this rediscovery shd be on the scale of the reclamation of Louise Brooks.

02 January 2005

the mirror project

I(da) Posted by Hello

reflections of ida lupino

for alex gildzen

The characters must be
flawed. Otherwise
what interest is there?
Or else. Some aspect
of them. Flawless. Pre-
ferred. The both together.

Mark Young

01 January 2005

passacaglia for the new year

last nite I went to bed before the 10 o'clock news. so I was asleep when 2005 began.

I startd the morning by listening to the recording Benjamin Britten made in 1958 of highlights from his 1st opera "Peter Grimes" featurning his partner Peter Pears. it seems as if several Britten operas are being producd across the land this year. so I've made this my Britten year.

breakfast was french toast & Kona coffee in my Elysium Resort mug. then the slow dance of the mundane (laundry   litter box   & the endless et ceteras that compose a day). a shower with oatmeal soap from Quaker Square before slipping into my Marsden Hartley tee from Kansas City & Bob Barnes' cargo shorts. then I hit the bookshelves. in the process I sustaind a paper cut. the blood on my finger brought me back to a distant New Year's Day in Venice when I began a year by bleeding. I settld into poems by Maggie Anderson & Thomas Meyer.

lunch was split pea soup (bowl had been Julia Waida's  '   spoon was purchasd in Vienna) & a frangipane tart from Desert Desserts with green tea. this afternoon I tried to read on the couch with Melina snoring on my chest. my mind wanderd into a memory forest. because of some recent writing I conjurd an image of the linoleum floor in my undergraduate room at Stopher Hall which Kent State University destroyd last year. then I rememberd a brief meeting with Jeffry Milton Sills but I can no longer bring back his face.

& so another year begins . . .