30 May 2007

dark cinema

I'm heading to the California desert for the film noir festival.

while I'm gone check the blogs of my Palm Springs pals Kimberly Nichols & Izayah Jeffrey. they just mite tell you something abt what I'm doing there.

29 May 2007

movie meals

(excerpts from Alex in Movieland)

dines on Steak Buster Keaton at Tin Lizzie in NYC with his mother

checks into El Rancho in Gallup where he lunches on Carmen Miranda Hot Tamale Plate

lunches on Cool Hand Luke salad at Talkies in Cleveland

dines on Eastwood Scowl Pizza at Pecos Trail Pizzeria with Phil Andrews & Rita Wood

28 May 2007

26 May 2007

the Duke's centennial

the only time I ever saw John Wayne he didn't look good. it was 15 months before his death & he was wearing a bad toupee. the occasion was presentation of AFI's lifetime achievement award to Henry Fonda.

I was making a beeline to Barbara Stanwyck who has always been one of my cinema goddesses. by the time I got near her someone else approachd. it was the sexy young man who appeard opposite her in one of her great early films "Baby Face." altho they were both 26 when that was made   Stanwyck already seemd older.

I didn't get close enough to eavesdrop on their conversation but even from a distance it was evident that there was affection between the two stars. as soon as Wayne left I introducd myself to Stanwyck.

& so today is Wayne's 100th birthday & in abt 7 weeks I'll celebrate Stanwyck's centennial.

25 May 2007

hear it
for the bird

shat on
President Worst Ever

everything old is new again

the Amish jacket I'm wearing in that ancient photo with Gary Snyder is the same one I wore to the Lensic the nite before to hear Buddy Guy. it was raining when I left the house for the GS appearance at the same theater so I wore my slicker instead that nite.

as Snyder was reading Kerouac's "San Francisco Blues" my mind flashd back 24 hours when I was sitting just 3 seats away listening to other blues. & then I suddenly realizd the jacket connection.

24 May 2007

more Snyder

he calld Rexroth "a terrible man" who once labeld Marianne Moore a fascist. Whalen in the final years was "cranky." & Neal Cassady was a non-stop talker: "I cdn't stand Neal after the first 5 hours."

there was such a mob waiting to connect with Snyder in the theater lobby after his appearance that I didn't try to talk with him. I doubt he'd remember me. we met at the Kent State library late in 1969. when he came to my house for dinner much of our conversation was abt d.a. levy. that was the basis for my asking him to write something for the levy issue of The Serif. his "The Dharma Eye of d.a. levy" became an early landmark in the appreciation of the Cleveland poet.

it felt like an historic nite

for the past several weeks the original manuscript of On the Road
has been lying in state at the Palace of the Governors. museum officials put together several events marking the occasion. the final one was an appearance by Gary Snyder.

of course Snyder has talkd & written abt Jack Kerouac before. but I'm not sure there has ever been an evening like this. Snyder   the teacher   the entertainer   the poet   speaking with affection abt a long dead friend & reading work by both of them.

after relating the familiar facts of their meeting   Snyder read poems they both wrote while living together in Marin County in spring 1956.

when he read some of his Han Shan translations I was particularly moved. in my life as a rare books curator one of our treasures was the magnificent manuscript of that work.

Snyder calld On the Road Kerouac's best piece of prose even tho it's "not a perfect novel in the way Maggie Cassidy is." he sd Dr.Sax is "like a Japanese animation movie." & then he talkd abt Dharma Bums. it's "not my favorite Kerouac novel" & "not a roman a clef." altho some of it is based on actual events that happend between the 2 writers Snyder feels it is "much fictional."

overall Snyder praisd Kerouac for having "a gift for language" & that as a writer he is "one of the very best."

20 May 2007


our local symphony performd his "Estancia" pieces this afternoon. it was exactly the robust kind of music for which I was in the mood.

18 May 2007

"Collateral Damage"

that's the title of new work by Henry Van Dyke in the current Antioch Review. it's the kind of delicious fiction that one expects from HVD.

17 May 2007

Tom Tube

from The Continental Review


a blackout in town last nite took down my internet with it. luckily a good chunk of the 16 hours it was down I was asleep. but it's amazing how odd it is to not have the net right there.

later I found out the reason for the power outage. a tagger -- not too bright these kids -- tried to put graffiti on a power station & got fried.

16 May 2007

the mechanics of the dream

& now: when I awake I no longer leap from bed to begin my day. I consider the nite journey. where I was & what happend there.

this morning my body turnd as often as my mind. naked on flannel sheets. tossing limbs as rapidly as cogitation. I considerd – what? elements of the dream?

before the inevitability of coffee I cornerd a pair of elements. first: repetition. since childhood themes & images have been recurring in my nite journeys. second: morphing. often one person inexplicably beomes another   one thing turns into another thing.

here is an example. one of the recent recurring images in my dreams is a coffee pot. a big batterd coffee pot. the kind Gabby Hayes stood watch over in dozens of cheap westerns. the pot remains a prop but a familiar one a comfortable one. but without warning the dents of that pot have turnd into the abrasions on a beloved book cover.

15 May 2007


this photo hangs in my guest bathroom. it's a production shot from Bobby Lewis' 1959 staging of Colette's "Cheri." the hottie in bed is Horst Buchholz   the loving lady is Kim Stanley.

last nite I saw a documentary   "Horst Buchholz, My Papa." the Broadway show wasn't mentiond. neither were several of the German actor's most famous films. but it's made by his son Christopher. so there was access to the actor & his family which other filmmakers mite not have.

the saddest part of the film is footage taken shortly before his death. we see a beauty who has outlived his beauty   an actor who no longer acts &nsbp; an alcoholic who still drinks & smokes. juxtaposed against that footage are stunning moments from his youth. the bisexual actor was striking on screen.

seeing this makes me want to view his early work.

14 May 2007

poets' blog of dreams

Lynn Behrendt askd permission to reprint my Marilyn dream entry in the Annandale Dream Gazette. when I wrote back I mentiond another dream & it's on there as well.

13 May 2007

a story for the day

today is Mothers Day & Bea Arthur's 85th birthday. which reminds me of a story...

it was 1999. a party for those appearing in my production "Live at the Opera." I introducd Bea who was emcee of the show to Rufus Wainwright. he immediately told her abt the lyric which I believe he wrote at Chateau Marmont abt Bea being his grandmother. she didn't look amusd.

we'd put Bea up in the guest house of some rich folks who lived near the opera but they weren't home. there was one of Santa Fe's wildly beautiful storms that nite & that apparently spookd the golden girl. so the next day Rufus gave up his suite at Inn of the Turquoise Bear in town to Miss Arthur who was so happy she forgave her "grandson." Rufus took the smallest room at the inn.

12 May 2007

sun tea

yes. I've heard the warnings that it isn't good for one. shit. if all those years of rum & coke didn't kill me   do you really think I'm gonna worry abt sun tea?

this is still brewing. first of the season. & of course I have a ritual. I always brew it in an antique jar from my mother. it was made in Slough England for Horlick's Malted Milk of Racine WI. when the tea is ready I pour it into an antique green glass pitcher -- also from Mom.

11 May 2007

fire on Catalina

it seems we're experiencing a weather emergency every week. the Kansas tornado was devastating. & now this magical island. I haven't been there in 6 years but hope to return one day.

10 May 2007

flocking together

my quail have returnd early. yesterday they even came onto the back portal.

& I have doves returning as well.

09 May 2007

20 years ago

photo by Robert Peters

Marilyn on my mind

that I woke dreaming of Marilyn Monroe shd be no surprise. one of the last things I did before hitting the pillows last nite was to finish proofing a 1985 article I wrote abt the Marilyn paperdoll for a new manuscript I'm putting together.

07 May 2007

marketing movie stars

I've long known abt cigaret trading cards. these were cards featuring cinema favorites which were insertd in cigaret packs years ago. only this ayem while flitting abt the net I discoverd that at one time Murillo featurd movie stars on its cigar bands.

06 May 2007

05 May 2007

can't stand it

yesterday I wore shorts to walk to the gym.

right now it's snowing . . .

04 May 2007

"does anyone still wear a hat?"

when QE2 (the person not the vessel) arrivd in Virginia yesterday I thought of that Sondheim lyric. today one rarely sees an American woman wear a hat while the Brits delight in the custom. the queen had quite the creation on but it suits her. unlike that poor frump Mrs. Parker-Bowles who always wears the silliest millinery.

of course there was a time when American ladies wdn't be caught out on the town without a chapeau. just look at yr family albums. in fact that's where I found this period shot of my mother (on the right) with her sister Sophie.

03 May 2007

Betty Grable lives

I was startld to see a full page picture of my first favorite movie star in our local alternative paper. the 1950s shot of Grable was for an ad for a local women's day spa.

Grable -- calld "the girl with the million dollar legs" -- was the number one pin-up in WW2. she made her final film in 1955 & died in 1973 at the age of 57.

I still remember seeing her on stage for the first time. it was 40 years ago & she'd taken over the lead in "Hello Dolly" on Broadway. at one point she liftd her skirt to show off those famous legs & the audience went wild.

altho there have been 3 bios of the woman who was once Hollywood's top box office draw   Grable's fame isn't at the level of her replacement at 20th Century Fox -- Marilyn Monroe. but for her remaining fan base there's good news: Scarlett Johansson may play her in a biopic.

01 May 2007

just say no

in his comment on the last post Craig Highberger mentions the divine Eartha Kitt & her "confrontation" with another First Lady during another unpopular war.

here's something I wrote in February 03:

12 feb 03
(Poets Against the War Day)

do I do
as Shrub sez

buy a gas mask
duct tape & plastic
3 days of food

no I dance
naked while
Eartha Kitt sings
"Arabian Song"

knowing neither
she nor I
will be invitd
to this White House

hooooorah for Sharon Olds

the poet was invitd to dine at the White House. she wrote to the First Lady why she was refusing the invitation. her letter ends: So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it.