31 October 2006

how a death makes us remember

seeing the New York Times obit of critic Richard Gilman this morning made me recall bringing him to Kent State 22 years ago. I put together an academic conference to mark the 20th anniversary of the Open Theater. Kent was the logical place for such an event because we housd the company's papers -- as well as those of its director Joseph Chaikin & leading playwright Jean-Claude van Itallie.

I believe the panel discussions are all available on tape in the archives. I tend to remember the social events. a couple of gatherings at my house & a reception in Special Collections. my recollection of Gilman was of a tall man who was urbane but with a lively sense of humor.

that experience was important because it allowd company members to publically vent some differences that needed airing. I don't know for certain but expect that some true mending happend.

30 October 2006

thx Darryl

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my Gay Cam buddy Durl had some sweet things to say:

Luca picked me up around ten the next morning and we proceded to Palm Springs. We met Alex at the P.S. Art Museum on Thursday for his reading. I've known Alex for a few years now, but I've never seen him read his stuff out loud before. There was a good crowd of poets in the audience and the whole thing went down extremely well! Alex told the stories of when and why he wrote each poem and then spoke it.

Honestly, it was amazing. He's really very good at this. After the reading, we went to Desert Hot Springs, to the Beat Hotel for a reception. The little 50's 8 room hotel is amazing! It's interesting because it was the place where William Bourroughs and a lot of the beat poets wrote some of their works. The guy who restored the place to it's 50's glory was an assistant to Bourroughs during the last years of his life and he had the most incredible collection of books and other stuff, including some of Bourroughs paintings on the walls and a working "Dream Machine" (You will have to do your own research on that).

I mean, it was astonishing and wonderful to hang out in this historic place with a bunch of writers and poets and talk about William Bourroughs!

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29 October 2006

today is d.a. levy's birthday

Kon Petrochuk came to Special Collections in jan 1980 to see our levy materials for a film he was going to make. in june of the following year I went to Cleveland for the premiere of that movie "if i scratch, if i write."

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a quarter century later Kon has producd a revision of that work. watching it I was often overwhelmd. there was the cover of the levy issue of The Serif which I editd & quotes from the essay I askd Gary Snyder to write. there were interviews with my teacher Jacob Leed & my contemporaries Kent Taylor & Bob Carothers & Grace Butcher & Tony Walsh standing on the balconies of the Arcade. there were shots of mighty Terminal Tower & Lorain Ave Bridge. & was that me in the blur of footage of levy at Sun Gallery in Kent?

I can't be objective abt this documentary because I'm too close to it. but 25 years after seeing the first version I feel even more moved by the reworking of it. if you are a reader of levy or someone who loves Cleveland it's a film to see. it's easy to purchase the DVD.

28 October 2006

ups & downs

the books we publish go out into the world & have their own lives. I'm always delightd to find a book of mine in an important collection. some books seem to disappear   others are ubiquitous.

the 1971 portfolio Six Poems/Seven Prints which I editd for the Kent State University Libaries fetches more dinero than anything else with my name attachd. esp the 50 signd copies which market for something like $750.

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but today I found 25 Years: Special Collections at Kent State University listd online with the notation "Price: too low to display."

27 October 2006


Scott Turner Schofield came to the college tonite. here's a performance artist you must put on yr list.

26 October 2006

25 October 2006

"thx darling"

Kimberly Nichols is the Palm Springs Art Museum staffer who put together the poetry series. 2 nites later she was dazzling at an Equality California fundraiser she helpd organize. & on my final day we got together again for an "art for peace" event at Desert Pride Center.

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in the garden of a Keystone Kop

I'm fortunate to have made some wonderful friends via the internet. 2 of them -- Darryl & Luca -- drove all the way from Las Vegas to attend my reading. a humbling experience for me. the next day they came to Desert Hot Springs to pick me up at the Beat. then we wanderd around Palm Springs a bit before lunching at Azul (which had been Lobster Grill when Billy Berger & I lunchd there 2 years earlier). before dropping me off at my resort the 3 of us went to Moorten Botanical Garden. Darryl has his own blog but Luca doesn't like his photo online. so rather than picture them here I present me among the cacti taken by one of them:

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24 October 2006

the reading

for a reading to be a success both poet & audience must work & give.

I felt my reading thur nite was one of my best ever. I was confident & the audience was responsive. it all clickd. I dedicatd the reading to "my parents who I love & Melina who I miss." it opend with a tape of me reading some Palm Springs moments from Alex in Movieland   first time I ever read from that work. then a selection from Ohio Triangle & finally from the Hollywood collection. & I was even able to continue my piece 85 Envelopes. while the opening tape was playing I made a circle of Mother's envelopes which I stood in to read. after reading "View from the Porch" I pausd to pick up envelopes & give one to each member of the audience. I told them they cd do whatever they wantd with it but if they wantd to make some art from it to forward the documentation to me to add to the piece.

the artist Izayah Jeffrey capturd some of the mood:

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23 October 2006

Steve Lowe

proprieter of Beat Hotel. & Lautner Hotel as well. onetime assistant to William Burroughs. our paths have to have crossd over the decades because we've been to the same places & known some of the same people.

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Steve & I in his 1957 Airstream trailer pretend we're Lucy & Desi Posted by Picasa

at the Beat Hotel

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17 October 2006

snails fill my box with poems

Jim McCrary
Oh Miss Mary
Lawrence: Really Old Gringo Press

so there's the baseline of a Donovan song from nearly 40 years ago. & this Bible wench living her life. even a cameo by President Worst Ever.

as they used to say: "what a trip."

Matthew Jablonski
Little Minutes in Ely's Woods
Elyria: Octagon Free Art

his territory has been mine. same town. but I write as a son & he writes as a father. it fascinates me how our poems intersect.

separation of church & state?

reading an LA Times article on how the wingnuts are coming out to save Santorum I read this: Across Pennsylvania, pastors are preparing to stuff voter guides into their Sunday bulletins.

16 October 2006


good news so far is that there appears to be no fatalities in Hawaii. I've only been to Maui. part of the damage there was to Hana Highway. this is one of the great drives in the world. stunning views. I thank my friend Craig for giving me that experience.

14 October 2006

National Dessert Day

guess I've been a bit downbeat here. well   it's hard to tapdance when you're depressd. but I just learnd what today is. & that filld me with memories:

chocolate cheesecake at Emil's in Columbus
whole wheat donuts at Gibson's in Oberlin
hot fudge sundae at C.C. Brown's in Hollywood
pumpkin pie at Egg Castle in Akron
palacsinta at Albabardos in Budapest
chocolate eclair at Caffe Sha Sha in Manhattan
creampuffs at Kyvelia in Kalambaka
cinnamon roll at Absolute Bakery in Mancos
cherry strudel at West Side Market in Cleveland
peach crepes at Squat & Gobble in San Francisco
dessert bento box at Nobu in Las Vegas
canoli at Termini Bros. in Philadelphia

& here in Santa Fe there has been apple pie at Pink Adobe   petitfours at Chocolate Maven   double-dippd cookies at Desert Desserts   blackout cake at Plaza Cafe.

also I can't forget those homemade desserts. Mother's donuts   Aunt Mary's kifle   Julia Waida's kettle cake   Bernice Pogan's chocolate chip cookies   Sal Kovach's pistachio cake   Dimitri's apple dumpling   Luca's cherry pie. & in London 22 years ago Roberta Berke made me this:

tickle my elbow

or beat me

13 October 2006

fri the 13th

the only way to deal with depression is to live in the moment.

dwelling in either past or future can be fatal.

12 October 2006


        for M

blue alex

cold beans on
a rainy sunday

how many deaths
do we live
before our own

yellow alex

chamisa turns mustard
till nose flows

that one near
my bedroom window
I stomp on

kerchoos announce parade
as I drag
branches to ravine

red alex

rub my rod

make me remember

green alex

out of rot
must come bud

tell me so
god damn it

11 October 2006


the world is such a mess Roger decid'd we shd go to lunch. he chose this new place calld Whole Hog Cafe. the barbeque was pleasant but nothing like Gates in Kansas City.

10 October 2006

in the closet

this isn't abt certain Republican members of Congress who may be outd in the next few weeks. it's abt my housecleaning.

I startd to weed outside but yesterday's record rainfall coold things off. so I came back inside & went to work on my bedroom closet. in the past when I've cleand house I pickd up here & there & stuffd it all in the closet. so now everything must come out for editing. keepers must be organizd   the marginal tossd. I feel a bit like Winnie in "Happy Days."

09 October 2006

"the wavishing Kay Fwancis"

that's what the Hollywood wags used to call Kay Francis (1899?-1968). the poor thing had a slight problem with her r's which made her the butt of jokes. but I always found her a bit short of marvelous. maybe it was that she made up for her speech problem & funny hairline by wearing clothes so well & simply standing like a piece of sculpture.

today TCM did a KF tribute. I only caught the 1934 Michael Curtiz romp "Mandalay." as expectd she lookd dazzling in an array of Orry-Kelly creations.

08 October 2006

desert modern

I was first attractd to Palm Springs because it once was the playground of the stars. I wantd to know where JFK trystd with Marilyn   where Tom Neal shot his wife. it was later that I became fascinatd by the place as a musuem for a certain kind of architecture. the fabulous buildings of Frey & Lautner were to be found & admird.

on "Sunday Morning" today there was a segment on PS architecture. among the places shown was Neutra's 1946 Kaufmann House which my old pal Billy & I drove by a few years ago. & there was a quick clip in gorgeous b&w of the Kaufmanns   the Pittsburgh family who also lived at Falling Water. what fun to see a young Edgar Jr.

in the summer of 1972 I was visiting the New Jersey estate of Coburn Britton. other guests included Kaufmann & his partner. there was a grandeur abt the architecture professor. so it shockd his host when Edgar Jr. joind us for skinnydipping at Coby's pond. at the time I was just holding on to my 20s & the stately Mr. Kaufmann seemd quite old to me. well he was only 62 which now doesn't feel old to me at all. unfortunately I kept no notes abt our conversations so all that is lost. but I still keep the memory of Edgar Jr. delicately feeling his way into the pond & standing there in an unconscious homage to "September Morn."

07 October 2006

I feel a song comin' on

Tom Beckett perkd up my morning more than my mocha did.

mission accomplishd

since Melina died 2 weeks ago I've kept busy with the biggest housecleaning project of my life. I do little else but clean & organize. I make smaller projects within the bigger plan to see some progress. the one I finishd tonite was the dusting & airing & rearranging of my film library.

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06 October 2006

mad for Dick

35 years ago most of my male friends were in love with Dick Cavett. he was intelligent & witty & cute in that wholesome midwestern way. & I surely had a thing for him. he appears 3 times in The Year Book.

Turner Classic Movies is showing his old interview series. last nite I caught up with the fun Bette Davis episode. it was lovely to see him in his prime. such charm was rare for television then & remains so now.

05 October 2006

"do you really do it face down?"

who doesn't savor a sex scandal -- except those fundamentalists who pretend not to have sex?

the best part of the Mark Foley mess is the mad scurrying of the very folks who tried to crucify Clinton for a blowjob. the wingnuts are blaming the scandal on gays. Dumpling Hastert claims it's all the fault of George Soros. & President Worst Ever simply stutters.

04 October 2006

carpe diem before the millionaires bring on the bulldozers

I remember years back when I'd go to LA & find some place missing. one time it was the Brown Derby on Vine   another C.C. Brown's. it seemd as if that city had no reverence for its past. not like NYC.

well that was long ago. now when I get back to New York I find places gone. Broadway theaters. restaurants. & just this week more sad news out of Manhattan. 2 famous bookstores are in peril. Coliseum Books at Broadway & 57th has filed for bankruptcy. Gotham Book Mart is facing eviction.

03 October 2006

more abt last nite

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if you've seen Jonny Lang perform live you know his sexuality is as potent as his musicianship. some of his numbers are so hot you expect him to spurt. I don't think I've seen such rawness since Janis Joplin. check out his tour. if he's anywhere near you get tix.

a note on the opening act. this thin kid with great hair comes out alone & sings a song. pleasant but you wonder if he can hold the audience. then his band joins him. Reeve Carney & the Revolving Band are comers. he's only 23. if you're a movie freak you may remember him playing Ethan Hawke as a boy in "Snow Falling on Cedars" some years ago. he's 23 but looks young enuf to give Mark Foley wet dreams. I'd call him sweet. the voice is just getting there.

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in his band are his sister & brother. younger brother Zane will give him major competition as a musician. what Reeve lacks this early in his career is seasoning. in the show's second half Reeve returns as a member of Lang's band. he's blown off the stage by the other performers. one hopes that this tour will be a stepping stone toward his maturation.

Jonny Lang

makes me hard.

listening to him at the Lensic last nite was like rough sex in a dark alley.

& then he did an encore which was tender as first love.

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02 October 2006

in passing

I just learnd that on the day Melina died Mary Orr died. this forgotten actress-turnd-playwright wrote a short story calld "The Wisdom of Eve." it was the foundation for the screenplay for "All About Eve."

01 October 2006

"Random Sightings"

yesterday's mail brought a sterling addition to my collection of the Cleveland scene. Kirpan Press has just issued looking for d.a. levy (Random Sightings): the d.a. levy bibliography. this is the first volume covering 1963-66. its editors are Kent Taylor & Alan Horvath.

I'd like to quote from Horvath's intro: "What makes this archaeological effort to catalogue levy's work more difficult is that levy started printing books almost 45 years ago. Many of these books have disappeared or are moulding in a box in someone's basement. At best they might be found with their staples rusting in the special collections department at a university library or in the vaults of a private collector. Many of the people who were true friends of d.a. levy are a lifetime away. All the fine details as far as exact dates or even who helped print which publication are blurred by decades of dealing with their own lives. Remember, everything was happening so fast at the moment in the 1960s that there wasn't a lot of concern to record volumes of information for posterity. Life was for the NOW, if you could grab it. History was for somebody else to worry about & debate."

as a one-time bibliographer   I support his notion that that art is an "archaeological effort." & as someone who startd publishing at that time I understand how much we forget. writing parts of Alex in Movieland has been an exercise in my own archaeology because I'm getting to the age where memories fade.

but let me return to the book. it's handsomely made. it presents the facts of each publication while offering some commentary which stirrd all manner of memory. The Jug Band? dear lord... hadn't rememberd that group in ages. & one of its members Alan Diamondstein? he was always broke. I remember buying him a meatball sandwich at the Rathskeller Bar in Kent. that place is long gone. Al too?

you too can have a copy of this volume. make out a check for $45 to Alan Horvath & mail it to
Kirpan Press
PO Box 2943
Vancouver WA 98668-2943