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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11 October 2005

prepare yr sunglasses

I'm taking the mysterious reappearance of my photo as a sign to continue. as Jim Cory told me it's important as a record.

however I'm heading to the airport. returning to Ohio for my final visit of the year with my folks.

so there'll be a break. let's hope that when I come back a new brilliance will be brought here   a dazzle which will prompt commentary from far & wide.

10 October 2005

time to fold?

no comments for a week.

& this morning I find my new photo has been replacd by a red x.

09 October 2005

30 years pass in a puff

spent the morning working on 1975 in Alex in Movieland. mostly a painful year. so not the most pleasant work. but it was good to revisit old friends.

& in the process so many names of people who seem to have disappeard: Ken Nevadomi   Tom Oldendick   Kate Downing   Todd Rafferty   Robert Swick.

08 October 2005

what is not there

imagine waiting for a bus in Tempe
& being able to read Tom Meyer

if you can't
here are pictures

07 October 2005

delving the depths of waiting

cold wakes me. thermostat reveals furnace shd be on but isn't. barefoot in dark I stumble toward the mechanical closet. pilot off. I'm unable to light it. all my tries produce is a tower of burnt matches. must wait for light to call my electrical man. he doesn't know when he can come but he'll call.

I've done this before. there is an uneasiness abt waiting. the mind fails to concentrate. I do a bit of cleaning. I attack my coin jar. I read how beautiful the young Hawthorne was. I don't got to the gym. I don't turn on the computer because the electrical man mite call. I don't go to the store (so I eat eggs for lunch).

the day soon disappears & my stomach tightens. I've done nothing but wait. I hate to wait. I picture myself on my deathbed demanding this day back. the more I think abt it the greater my agitation. I hear my chest scream but the cat doesn't move so I know that the scream isn't real. dinner can't be far away. but can I eat with my stomach in wait mode? will the spinach in my salad slide down my throat? & if the salad doesn't satisfy will I be able to sleep as the house cools down again? will my mind be defining string theory as I attempt to force my eyelids to close?

then he appears. it's 5:30 & I haven't startd to slice the garlic for my salad. he gets the pilot to go on but it won't stay on. he thinks it's a thermocouple. he isn't sure if he'll come back tonite or tomorrow morning.

the wait continues. but I feel all right now. I see the possibility of a conclusion. I can go into the kitchen & prepare the salad.

06 October 2005

hearing Rushdie

I must confess. I haven't read Salman Rushdie. but he was appearing in town last nite. & I feel an obligation to support any artist who is the target of religious loonies.

because I haven't read Rushdie I wasn't prepard for the reservoirs of humor that inhabit the man. I was expecting gravitas. he read selections from Shalimar the Clown which he calls "a tragedy disguised as a comedy." so there were equal parts of light & dark.

he is a superb reader. & so comfortable that he interrupts himself to add background or a comic aside that seems to have just poppd into his head. I was enthralld to hear him quote lines from movies ("Roger Rabbit" & "The Wizard of Oz"). & to call his grandmother "a ballsy woman." & to mention the name of Tennessee Williams.

after such a satisfying introduction I must pick up one of his novels.

05 October 2005

the undead

with the Dean anniversary behind us & the O'Hara ahead   someone remind'd me that yesterday was the 35th anniversary of the death of Janis Joplin.

I correspond with poets who hadn't been born when she died. yet she seems as alive to me now as ever. same with Dean & O'Hara. of course it's because they were all great artists who left us their art. & that keeps them alive.

04 October 2005


last weekend's 50th anniversary of James Dean's death turnd Donald Turnupseed into a search engine fave. he drove his car into Dean's Porsche   becoming a footnote in history.

in some ways Frank O'Hara was a literary parallel to James Dean. so these past few days I've been wondering what happend to Kenneth Ruzicka who ran his jeep into O'Hara.

Turnupseed & Ruzicka were both 23 when the accidents happend. Turnupseed was a successful businessman & grandfather when he died 40 years after that crash. next summer will be 40 years since O'Hara's death. Brad Gooch interviewd Ruzicka in 1989 but I don't know any particulars of his life in the in-between.

03 October 2005

the dark days persist

the only thing I know abt Harriet Miers is that she thinks Shrub is "the most brilliant man I've ever met." that alone makes her suspicious.

02 October 2005

morning reverie

it's that in-between time. cool morning but the house isn't quite cold enough for the furnace to kick in. I'm in a turtleneck & shorts   wondering if I shd expend the energy to put on long pants.

don't know where the sun is. it's usually brilliant by now. yesterday the sky was an alomost unreal blue. today it's patchy with clouds.

didn't brew coffee today 'cause I'm going out to brunch in a while. it wd've been the perfect java morning.