31 March 2006

life after death

it's hard to believe that Jimmy Kirkwood has been dead for 17 years.

he'd be so happy that 2 of his plays are being revivd. the beleagurd "Legends" will return with Joan Collins & Linda Evans. I saw the original production with Mary Martin & Carol Channing which had so many problems that Jimmy turnd its story into a book   Diary of a Mad Playwright.

& his longest running play "A Chorus Line" will reappear in San Francisco in a tryout for a Broadway return.

30 March 2006

for sale

I read in the paper that the Bela Lugosi funeral book & pallbearer's card are being offerd for $10000.

29 March 2006

what film can do

I've written here abt the ability of film to evoke place.

watching "Come Live With Me" last nite brought back memories of meeting some of the cast members.

when I encounterd Hedy Lamarr on Schubert Alley it was 4 years after she'd made her final film & 4 years before her notorious shoplifting arrest. she was nearly unrecognizable in dark glasses & babushka. welllllllll   I guess Hedy wd never wear a babuska. make that a scarf. but clearly not the silk turban she demonstrates for Stewart in the film.

the dashing but forgotten Edward Ashley was at my table for the AFI salute to Alfred Hitchcock. it was at another of those lifetime achievement award dinners that the film's cinematographer George Folsey was at a nearby table.

irascible character actor Fritz Feld   who has an uncreditd bit in the film   was table-hopping with his wife at a party for the cast of "Bubbling Brown Sugar" at the Brown Derby where the Cobb salad was invented. how sad that that historic restaurant cdn't have held on. right now Hollywood & Vine is once again becoming chic.

& how many times over the years did I see Jimmy Stewart?

heavenly Hedy

yesterday afternoon I read the chapter of the Joseph Cornell bio which discusses his infatuation with Hedy Lamarr. it quotes a letter he wrote to Parker Tyler in which he admits seeing "Come Live With Me" 5 times. & it reproduces his "Enchanted Wanderer" in which he matches the best of all writers on film with his loving description of Lamarr in a scene near the end.

I had to put the book down yet again (I've been reading it in distant moments)to go to town for a friend's booksigning. when I returnd I flippd on the tv to see what mite be on. all hail synchronicity. Turner Classic Movies was screening "Come Live With Me."

the movie is utterly charming. Lamarr was at the peak of her beauty & her leading man James Stewart was perfect. he even quotes Christopher Marlowe. & thruout the film there's a fascinating riff with mirrors. neither the critics who met the Clarence Brown production in 1941 nor most commentators since have claimd any major status for the film. but its influence on Cornell alone is enough to make it important. throw in some stunning Adrian outfits & a solid supporting cast & it's as pleasant a way to spend 86 minutes as anyone cd ask.

28 March 2006

rip the sky

I opend the drawer   withdrew the biggest knife   slashd gray. hole I made let my fist in. I grabbd the sun & pulld it out. blisterd knuckles mean less than this smile.

27 March 2006

bustle & glow

there's a tradition that men don't reveal what happens in the locker room. as both loner & commentator on the human situation I have no compunction abt following such rules.

let me set the scene. I go to the gym every mon   wed & fri morning. however my recent depression pushd me there with more frequency. because I've been going more often & at different times I've been seeing different men there. & I've been noticing the spread into the hinterlands of what the magazines some time ago calld "metrosexuality."

my gaydar is good enough to detect the members of my tribe at the gym. but I see many straight guys who spend f-o-r-e-v-e-r in the locker room. they all bring large bags full of not just the expectd change of clothing but vast amounts of product. some pull out kits which are full of lotions & toners & god-only-knows-whats. they carefully massage nearly all spots of their bodies with said unguents. they use brushes & implements that look medieval to coax what hair remains into something pleasant to their eyes. one brings his own swabs for his ears. too many still use perfumes.

I admit that in my day I pamperd myself. but I never recall straight boys paying so much attention to their looks. perhaps it's a good sign -- a softening of the macho image. however I'm glad I'm old & out of the relationship market. the shock of furrows & spots lessens with the years. vanity among seniors is sad. I feel I've earnd my wrinkles (or "lines of emotion" as my buddy Bob names them). & I get a giggle out of observing tough guys in front of the mirror.

26 March 2006

reviewing a career

Fleischer   unlike Cukor   was never known as a "women's director." but going over this filmography this ayem I was struck by the long list of my own favorite film females he directd:

Virginia Grey   "So This is New York"
Barbara Payton   "Trapped"
Adele Jergens   "Armored Car Robbery"
Marie Windsor   "Narrow Margin"
Polly Bergen   "Arena"
Sylvia Sidney   "Violent Saturday"
Joan Collins   "Girl in the Red Velvet Swing"
Diane Varsi   "Compulsion"
Lee Remick   "These Thousand Hills"
Silvana Mangano   "Barabbas"
Raquel Welch   "Fantastic Voyage"
Karen Huston   "Boston Strangler"
Colleen Dewhurst   "The Last Run"
Ina Balin   "The Don is Dead"
Glenda Jackson   "The Incredible Sarah"
Sybil Danning   "Crossed Swords"
Pam Grier   "Tough Enough"
Leora Dana   "Amityville 3-D"
Grace Jones   "Conan the Destroyer"

& he was no slouch with the men. besides heavyweights like Mitchum & Holden   he directd such hotties as Lloyd Bridges & Don Murray   Stephen Boyd & Barry Coe.

the only time I ever saw Fleischer was in nov of 2001. he was riding down Hollywood Blvd in the Xmas Parade.

Richard Fleischer (1916-2006)

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25 March 2006

what a jerk

Randy Quaid plays a horse's ass in "Brokeback Mountain." perhaps it was typecasting.

the actor is suing the film's producers for $10 million. he claims he workd for less than his usual fee because he'd been told he was making "an art movie."

if the Hollywood press corps still gives out those Sour Apple awards I nominate Mr. Q (who also happens to be the brother of the actor who calld Brokeback "a dick flick").

24 March 2006

dancing with myself

when no one asks me I ask myself. & twirl around the room to music that isn't playing.

other times I answer letters no one's sent. I call them poems.

or stroke the nape of a stranger who hasn't knockd on my door.

I've been known to expose myself to a mirror.

today I ate a whole pineapple from 2 different plates. I was so full I had to take a nap before requesting a waltz.

23 March 2006

a Santa Fean on the Great White Way

let me be honest. I never felt Ali MacGraw was much of a film actress. but the lady lives in my town. she's a good citizen. & stunningly beautiful. I see her every once in a while. she's usually in jeans with something simple yet elegant.

tonite is the first preview for "Festen" at the Music Box in NYC. in it MacGraw will be making her Broadway debut as the mother. I wish her well.

22 March 2006

weather report

the wind was so loud last nite I had trouble falling asleep. I finally did but was soon awaken by mournful moans from the livingroom. apparently Melina was having nitemares. I calld to her & she ran to the bedroom & jumpd on the bed. together we fell asleep again.

21 March 2006

remembering Ramon

cinephiles remember Ramon Novarro as one of the great beauties of the silent era. to see him nearly nude in "Ben Hur" is an experience that doesn't fade. unfortunately more people remember him for his brutal murder.

this morning I saw Novarro as "Laughing Boy." this was the tepid 1934 adaptation of the novel by Santa Fe's Oliver LaFarge. sadly his performance is so soft he's wiped off the screen by saucy Lupe Velez. when she tells him "you do not know a woman from a steer" it's painfully obvious. he tried Broadway unsuccessfully & workd from time to time in small movie roles   ending his career on tv.

even tho I was disappointd in what I saw of his work today there were a few moments when I suspectd that if the sound were turnd off I cd picture the hunk that was.

20 March 2006


I have nothing fresh to add to the debate.

I feel sad   so sad.

19 March 2006

dream a little dream

I've never made a study of my dreams or kept a dream journal. I think part of the reason is that I rarely remember my dreams. only when something wakes me in the middle of one do I usually know what's been going on in that realm.

when Melina woke me this morning I was dreaming abt Gregson Bautzer. I have no idea why. I saw him once at a big Hollywood party 4 years before he died at age 76. & I've seen his grave in the Westwood cemetery whose residents also include Marilyn Monroe & Percy Helton. I've even written a poem in the new Hollywood book abt him. but he's always been a character on the edges & I haven't read anything abt him recently.

Greg Bautzer was a high-profile Hollywood lawyer best known for his bedroom activities. he's the man who brought an end to Lana Turner's virginity & was introducd to Joan Crawford's children as Uncle Greg on his frequent sleepovers. other women in his life were Dorothy Lamour & Buff Cobb   Barbara Payton & Ginger Rogers   Jane Wyman & Dana Wynter. one wonders when he had time for the office.

so why wd Bautzer come to me in the middle of the nite? for the same reason someone I knew in high school a century ago suddenly appears. we hold all this material in our cells & it creeps out when it wants to.

18 March 2006

flores por los muertos

on the way home from the gym I went thru the strip mall where the crash happend. people have made a shrine there. the dead were a 20 y/o receptionist   a 43 y/o woman & her 17 y/o son.

17 March 2006

vita brevis

from the post office I walkd to a favorite bakery. at the strip mall I saw ambulances & fire trucks & tv cameras. it lookd a bit like Iraq. & then I saw the front of a building smashd in. I went into the bakery & the woman who runs it told me that a woman drove her pickup truck into the waiting room of a medical center killing 3 & injuring at least a half dozen others.

feeling blue

on my way to the post office. if there's enuf sun   perhaps I'll feel purple.

15 March 2006

cat as critic

I've never read much poetry criticism. I'd rather read poetry.

but Tony Trigilio trickd me. in his excellent blog he offers a discussion of Aase Berg's "In the Heart of the Guinea Pig Darkness" that's so unique you don't realize you're reading criticism.

14 March 2006

another passing

when I was a kid one of the local Cleveland tv personalities was "Uncle Joe." behind the banjo was a young actor by the name of Joseph Bova. his father sold produce at West Side Market. I had Uncle Joe's signature in an autograph book I kept as a boy.

eventually he went to New York & appeard on stage & tv & in movies. he was best known as Carol Burnett's leading man in the original "Once Upon a Matress." the last time I saw him was in "42nd Street" with Delores Gray.

I learnd tonite that he died at the age of 81.

delicious casting

read there may be a film happening with Shirley MacLaine as Louise Brooks. then I read that Keanu Reeves will play Johnny Stompanato.

13 March 2006

Maureen Stapleton (1925-2006)

dream on

my net bud Luca just e'd to say I was in his dreams last nite:

we were visiting
some memorial for a young actor dead befor his day.
you were the designer of the memorial. it was
fantastical. lots of wrought iron and stone. we then
mingled with lots of people there. you knew many of
the old actors and they knew you. the only one i
recognized was ms. bondi. she looked as good as ever
for being almost 120.

don't recall ever telling Luca abt the one time I was in the presence of Beaulah Bondi but he knows me well enuf to know of my infatuation with the denizens of Movieland.

I love being in other people's dreams -- even if I don't know it while it's happening.

"what did you think all them saddles & boots was abt?"

yesterday's paper had an interview with Ned Sublette abt the song he wrote back in 1981 which Willie Nelson just record'd. the inspiration was the gay bar Boots & Saddles on Christopher St. how wonderful to see an old haunt transformd into art.

it was once a local dive calld George Herdt's. by the time I happend on to it the western name & theme had been adoptd. haven't been there in more than 20 years but I've heard it's now calld simply B & S. I remember seeing Tom Wirth there often. & once I had a long conversation there with Broadway director Stephen Porter. it was never my favorite bar but in my heavy-drinking days I made the rounds. & I recall a group of wags who prefer'd to call it Bras & Girdles.

11 March 2006

just back from the movies

Winterbottom's take on Tristram Shandy has a few good moments but is mostly tedious.

10 March 2006

take that Academy

fans of "Brokeback Mountain" collected $16000 in 48 hours to run this ad in today's Daily Variety.

what gives?

today's LA Times announces the death of Barbara Guest. don't they read other papers? she died almost a month ago.

09 March 2006

in dreams

yesterday I read online that it was Cyd Charisse's 85th birthday. so during the nite the leggy lady appeard in my dreams.

08 March 2006

in the land of kerchoo

back in Ohio we had something calld ragweed. when it came out in the fall I was a mess. so it was lovely to move to the southwest where there was no ragweed. my first several years were fine. then I began to sniffle. turns out that chamisa is the local version of ragweed. so now my autumns are a time of drippy nose & itchy eyes.

in the last few years I've begun to experience a bit of the same in spring when various tree pollens fill the air. we're just emerging from the driest winter since 1890. you'd think that wd dampen pollen. just the opposite. more people are suffering spring allergies than ever. I woke in the middle of the nite with my nose doing a Niagara imitation.

07 March 2006

& now for some good news

Mary Cheney's dad has sunk to an 18% approval rating. he's now the least popular veep in American history.

lucky man

forget the Oscar. Ang Lee got a kiss from Jake. (thx to Towleroad for the picture.)

06 March 2006

get over it

I'm shockd to awake to such vitriol across the internet from gay people against the academy for failing to name "Brokeback Mountain" best picture. come on   gay people   you're supposd to know yr Hollywood history. the Oscar was inventd by a bunch of greedy businessmen as a means to increase the flow of shekels into the box office. it's never been abt art. just take a look at the award's history.

"Citizen Kane" lost best picture. Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Blvd" lost. Judy Garland in "A Star is Born" lost. Imelda Staunton in "Vera Drake" lost. James Dean lost best actor twice. Barbara Stanwyck lost best actress 4 times. Thelma Ritter lost supporting actress 6 times. Marilyn Monroe was never even nominatd. best director never went to Hitchcock or Altman or Scorcese.

the important thing abt "Brokeback Mountain" is that it's become a watershed film whose social importance will only grow with time. the academy can't diminish that.

05 March 2006


Mindy Tucker knew someone for 8 years. when he died she found she had no photograph of him. this is her project of remembrance.

thx to Barry Hoggard on whose site I found this work.

04 March 2006

Independent Spirit Awards

Felicity Huffman won't win the Oscar she deserves tomorrow nite so it was glorious to see her bag a Spirit this afternoon. & I was happy to watch it live on IFC because her hilarious & colorful acceptance will be censord by the time AMC rebroadcasts the show tonite.

03 March 2006

"so funky you can smell it"

second row center last nite. usually I don't like to sit that close to hear music. but part of the Buddy Guy experience is his elastic face so I'm glad I did. it was the first time I've heard the Chicago singer/guitarist & the whiff of funk was invigorating.

02 March 2006

births & deaths

a double beginning. embed'd in the premiere issue of Red Mountain Review is the first chapbook of Charles Jensen   Little Burning Edens. in the first stanza of the first of 20 poems: "I am my own death." in the last stanza of the last poem: "a sun rises like deadly fevers." & in between: "There are dead boys / inside us right now."

these are poems abt "dirty kisses"   "dirty needles"   "dirty world." my first reading of this dark collection left me wanting to devour a box of truffles. these are poems that reflect a century of concentration camps   nuclear games   AIDS. but as bleak as the poet's world view I still mine delight in his language:

    The lick of the river
reminds the eye of the flick
of tongues, the sudden thrust
that parts lips.

I find tumescence of image:

We can never forgive
their ambulance of lips that rushed
over the body like a city
in seige, taking vitals wherever
they found a pulse buried deep.

Charles Jensen is a poet to watch.


the bio of Joseph Cornell. how endearing that he wrote a fan letter to Fay Wray. & that she answerd it.

01 March 2006

LA in 1956

"Indestructible Man" is a minor Lon Chaney Jr. film. what makes it fascinating for anyone who loves the City of Angels is its location shooting. one scene uses the magnificent Bradbury Building. there is also a sequence on Angels Flight. that was the funicular which ran between 3rd & Hill streets from 1901-1969. originally the minute ride cost a penny.

interestingly the film was photographd by John L. Russell 4 years after undertaking the experimental cinematography for Fuller's "Park Row" & 4 years before achieving film immortality for shooting Hitchcock's "Psycho."