29 December 2011

it's an HVD morning

when a friend departs I always search files & scrapbooks for memories. here I am with Henry & poet Paul Zimmer on Morris Rd in 1983.

sometimes photos aren't particularly good but still hold so much information. I took this at what I calld my "family picnic" in 1984. what breaks my heart is that Henry is joind by 2 other dear dead friends Julia Waida & David Meredith.

an HVD memory

Henry     red pants     Trues     vodka-on-the rocks
and so much in love with his ladies

with Dietrich he sings in German

        "what would the word glamour mean
        without Dietrich?"

with Holiday he cries vodka tears

        "in 1959 she was dying at Lenox Hill Hospital
        and someone slipped in
        and gave her heroin"

with Mercer he finally laughs

        "she was an old fat lady when we met --
        55   70   60 . . . . she asked me to jitterbug.
        I said I couldn't dance then we jitterbugged"

dear drunk Henry     falling in love again
and asking for his ladies

(from Dec. '70: Ohio)

& he in turn wrote abt he & I & the last of those ladies -- Mabel Mercer -- in his contribution to A Keepsake for Alex Gildzen Upon His Retirement from Kent State University (1994).

28 December 2011

Henry Van Dyke (1928-2011)

portrait by Carl Van Vechten

in my backyard on Morris Rd

with the Century Dimes at Morgan Library (2008)
last time I saw HVD
(photo by Regina Yando)

salute to Steinbeck

Rt 66 Museum in Kingman

the day after Xmas

Gary pickd me up at Blue Moon & we drove to Boulder City for breakfast at his favorite diner. then over the new bridge to Kingman -- where Lombard & Gable were married -- & on to Oatman -- site of their honeymoon.

Kingman has a mixd reputation. the good part is as a venerable stop on old Rt 66. the bad part is as home to gun crazies & militia wingnuts. the town's favorite son is oldtime character actor Andy Devine. the main street in town is named after him.

when I was a kid I was jealous of the old fella because he was sidekick to gorgeous Guy Madison on the "Wild Bill Hickok" series. his on-set chair is on display with other Devine artifacts at a local museum.

27 December 2011


the strangest Xmas gift I've ever rec'd was one Gary gave me the other day -- a small piece of wreckage from the Carole Lombard plane crash.

Gary took me holding the piece in front of the hotel where Lombard & Gable had their honeymoon.


from Las Vegas an hour ago. here I am in front of the Venetian's Xmas tree.

this was the second Xmas in a row my buddy Gary & I ate our holiday dinner at that resort. this time it was at Pinot Brasserie & the 4-course meal was sublime.

24 December 2011

Xmas 1957

on Winckles St. here's Dad -- age 39.

& look at that television set!

19 December 2011

as grinchy as

I attempt to be at this time of year I must say there is one thing I like abt the holidaze. being in touch with old friends.

today I got cards from a pair of special women. one I met in 1956 &nsbp;   the other in 1961. & then an unexpectd package from an artist friend I've known since 1971.

any life has room for new friends but at this stage of my life it's amazing to know I still have some people who have been with me in the down times as well as the up ones.

18 December 2011

whacky weather

yesterday I wore my trench coat to town & froze my ass off. hardly a soul was on the plaza.

today I wore my heavy winter coat. so naturally it got into the mid 50s. the plaza was teeming with tee-shirtd tourists.

& tomorrow the forecast is a blizzard.

17 December 2011

new chapbook

the other day Bree sent out a call for poems for Green Panda broadsides & a possible anthology. I sent her 4 recent ones which she wrote back she liked.

to my complete shock she just postd this

so I unexpectdly have another little book to add to this wonderful publication year. as we reach its last days I want to thank Steve Tills & Mark Young & Diane Borsenik & Bree. you've all made me so happy by putting my writing out there. no matter how tough things get I kept writing & writing & writing. it means so much that somebody is reading.

16 December 2011

tonite I watchd

a little western calld "Untamed Frontier." it gave special billing "introducing" Suzan Ball. actually she'd already had bits in 2 other films.

seeing her for the first time in a while I recalld some years ago when Ira Joel Haber was visiting & I showd him the movie star scrapbooks I kept as a kid. under a picture of the Universal-International starlet I wrote "the late great Suzan Ball." Ira laughd at my youthful exuberance.

Ball -- a second cousin of the more famous Lucy -- isn't well rememberd today. she only made a handful of films before her death at age 21. I remember liking her a great deal. here's a photo she signd for me:

Ball had affairs with co-stars Scott Brady & Anthony Quinn before marrying Richard Long while fighting the cancer that killd her. none of her films were classics but she had a presence. seeing her again brought back many memories of my boyhood at the movies.


Facebook has given us a new feature which I'm loving. it isn't lost on me that this cd be a template for Alex in Movieland.

that work is a list -- but so much more than a list. I suspect many will use FB's Timeline similarly. for me it's a different project. but as I began playing with it yesterday I felt as if I were gathering illustrations for my masterwork.

15 December 2011

Stan Kenton (1911-1979)

I heard Kenton & his band but once: in 1957 at the Palace in Lorain.

for over 40 years I had a remarkable album -- Kenton & Tex Ritter. I gave that precious vinyl to Ned Sublette because his work reminded me of that classic.

13 December 2011

Kenneth Patchen (1911-1972)

"Suspicion made the first pairapants; but, Joey, it'll be love'll take off the last."

death makes us remember

my 1976 book Liszt & Other Lists opens with a piece calld "Eat." it's in 2 parts. the first is "lunch: Eddie's Stag Bar" & the 2nd is "dinner: Rusty Nail."

this morning I read the online obit of Don Bentley of Twin Lakes OH. in 1967 he bought Green Trees Inn from Therese Green & reopend it as the Rusty Nail. probably Portage County's premier steakhouse it occupied that wonderful old building until 1981 when Bentley sold it. he moved his establishment to an ugly modern structure behind the original & it remains in business. the old building housed one restaurant after another till it burnt down a few years ago.

my list of dinner partners at the original Rusty Nail includes
Jean-Claude van Itallie
Gregory Markopoulous
Gary Snyder
Richard Eberhart
Henry Van Dyke
Paul Metcalf
Gerald Mast
Kevin McCarthy
Jonathan Williams
Thomas Meyer

when I lived in Twin Lakes it was the closest good restaurant & a place where one always felt comfortable. & every nite Bentley was on premises being the perfect host.

reading his obit I discoverd an odd art historical connection. his sister married into the Helmling family. it was Richard Helmling who operatd the backhoe that buried the woodshed for Robert Smithson.

12 December 2011

speaking of . . .

in 1975 Mark Mothersbaugh (author of My Struggle) had a small shop in Akron's famous Quaker Square. the only time I went there I bought this rubberstamp print of his from him:

it's calld "Flying Fish Fight Bomber 3."

11 December 2011

sharing the bill with DEVO

found this picture of the 1977 poster on the internet. I have one somewhere in my "files."

09 December 2011

uber Hollywood

"Who is the Black Dahlia?" was a pedestrian telemovie from 1975 which begins & ends with inaccuracies abt the Elizabeth Short case. not much to reccommend it -- except for one quick scene.

Lucille Ball's daughter & Natalie Wood's sister under the direction of Mitzi Green's husband.

nothing spectacular abt the actual scene. but so many layers of Tinsletown lore.

08 December 2011

out of the past

this is the Cleveland of my high school years. not the best footage -- & silent -- but it includes the famous Sterling Lindner tree.

07 December 2011

never been

a fan of Mariah Carey & certainly can do without Xmas


I'm more than enjoying these videos:

06 December 2011


that was the temp when I woke abt 5:45. then on tv I saw Rob Marciano lead the national weather news with how cold New Mexico is. our high today will be 16.

this is much too Ohio for me. not liking it at all.

03 December 2011

I don't like hot dogs but

they've been on my mind a lot of late. it startd with the recent demolishing of the Thai Hot Dog Stand on the corner of Hollywood Blvd & Western. the place had closed by the time I startd staying down the street at the Coral Sands. I doubt I'd ever dine there but the giant hot dog on top of the building had become iconic.

then there's the current tv commercial for Pink's -- where I have eaten a couple of times. there is always a line & standing in that line is as much a part of the experience as its actual fare.

two other hotdoggeries are a part of LA history. Carney's is in a former railroad car. it's been on Sunset Blvd since 1975. I ate there once & that was enough.

then there's the legendary Tail o' the Pup. I first knew it on La Cienega & here I am with the famous structure in 1987 after it had moved to its final location on San Vicente.

apparently Tail o' the Pup is in storage waiting for another location while the hot dog from Hollywood & Western is on a building elsewhere.

02 December 2011

how embarrassing

to be a Republican.

not only do you have to keep a straight face during the clown show that is the fight for the party's presidential nod but now there's to be a debate featuring the birther with the bad hair as "moderator."

30 November 2011

how happy can we be?

on Facebook today Christina Brooks postd this picture she took of John Burroughs & I at our reading at Lorain Arts Council a couple of months ago

29 November 2011

Nancy Metcalf (1921-2011)

some may know of her as the wife of Paul Metcalf -- one of the most important American writers of the 20th century.

but I knew Nancy as a strong intelligent funny woman who always held her own in the household. yes she was the model of a writer's wife: loyal & supportive. but she knew who she was. I was lucky to have her as a friend.

when I visitd the Metcalfs at Wild Thymes I usually spent more time with Paul. Nancy always went to bed early. Paul & I wd then spend hours talking into the nite. but when Nancy & I had our time alone together there was never an awkward -- or quiet -- moment. it seems we were immediate friends. our conversations wd range from cooking to movies to things other worldy.

around the house are gifts from Nancy: an antique wooden bowl   a Romertopf   Warhol's cat book   & from my last visit to her that beautiful rock which she gave me the moment I expressd my fascination with it.

Nancy Metcalf was one of the beautiful people in my life. I'll miss the way she'd suddenly break into a dance. that's what I see first when I think of her.

28 November 2011

Ken Russell (1927-2011)

I've heard it sd

that nothing postd on the internet ever disappears.

in Spring 2003 August Highland did a special edition of his Muse Apprentice Guild on my career.

when that ezine died I presumd my issue did as well. but o no.... there's something calld Way Back Machine which archives the lost. & there I found this salute.

27 November 2011

bike trail

during the summer I reportd on some work the city was doing to an area where I walk regularly.

turns out the Arroyo Chamisa bike trail is getting a fashionable addition. & yesterday I walkd on the freshly asphaltd surface for the first time. here is that spot where I put the sign:

25 November 2011

from another dream

"In art
everything is connectd."

then an hour or so later --
from an Alice Ripley interview:

"How would they fit together?"

24 November 2011


to my memory for putting Cynthia Mayer & T. R. Queen in my dream.

however as it progressd it developd a disturbing end-of-the-world theme.

23 November 2011

22 November 2011

Theodore Enslin (1925-2011)

Voyage loneliness unfinished
therefore lonely? no way to
put it other than the chance
words of loneliness voyage
whatever the voyage may be
or wherever we looked
any of us
tending fires in the galleys
where we'd cook whatever food
would sustain us
through that loneliness.
A fire     even to cook     at sea
is hazardous business &nnsp;   but
necessary     and loneliness
"... I found out that Hoover had a collection of photos of Clyde sleeping."

Armie Hammer
Out (dec/jan)

20 November 2011

John Neville (1925-2011)

best known for his stage work Neville had an on & off screen career. most will remember him as Baron Munchausen but to me he'll always be Lord Alfred Douglas.

"Bathtub Full of Newt"

as he lowers
his mound of flab
water rises
spilling over tub
a cascade of diamonds
from Tiffany's

18 November 2011

1997 collage

this collaboration with dear friends Bill Berger & David Meredith was done at the Andy Warhol Museum

17 November 2011

snail mail

don't receive much anymore


in the past week a dozen catalogs have arr'd

16 November 2011

behind the curtain

Hollywood is like Oz. the glitter is carefully orchestratd.

the other day we were passing Grauman's Chinese & I decided to have a look for the slab I saw Peter O'Toole do earlier in the year. as Billy & I were leaving I saw a pair of workmen at a side door:

being inquisitive I lookd closer:

these are the prints Mickey Rourke left not long ago. I'm not sure where they'd been & where they were going. only recently I found out that stars do practice slabs inside before coming out before the cameras for the final product. so perhaps that's what these are.

15 November 2011

in the toilet

Billy & I celebratd 11/11/11 by lunching at Micheli's. then we went across the street to meet photographer Rick Castro. his Antebellum Gallery was having its 6th anniversary.

the current exhibition is of the work of Tom of Finland & includes a rare drawing he did of James Dean.

while there I was able to visit the gallery's infamous Tony Ward Toilet:

a true friend

I spent my splendid weekend at the estate of Bill Berger who I've known for more than 40 years. (that's his backyard in the photo of me being filmd.)

I took this photo of Bill beside the David Hockney pool at Hollywood Roosevelt.

at The Abbey

14 November 2011

back from LA

where I was interviewd by Do & Erik Brouwer for a Dutch documentary abt silent screen star Jetta Goudal.

I read my poem "Femme Fatale" (from my book It's All a Movie). the doc will be releasd next year in conjunction with Erik's bio of the exotic actress.

10 November 2011

in my day

students at Kent State marchd to town to protest the government

last nite students at Penn State marchd to town to protest the firing of a football coach

what can I say?

08 November 2011

my body

despises the time change. the older I get the longer it takes to adjust to this cruel joke.

last nite I was ready for bed at 9 but had to force myself to stay up till 11.

this morning I woke feeling unrestd. & there was some snow on the ground. so I'm grumpier than usual.

06 November 2011

Schweddy Balls

when I finally saw this ice cream at my local grocery I immediately bought some. I knew of the controversy & wantd to register my displeasure at One Million Moms. sounds like a great organization but it's actually a herd of disgusting right-wing homophobes.

05 November 2011


this picture was taken during a march snow some years ago.

I'm sharing it because it's the best picture I can find of that windwill. I've had 3 of them in my yard for something like 15 years. they're supposed to discourage gophers (but fail at that). this morning I discoverd that this one has been taken.

04 November 2011

out of the past

it's been a while since I've seen the 1965 Richard Myers film
"The Coronation." but tonite I found it online.

this still features the lead actor Terry Corley. days after entering Kent State I saw him perform at the old University Auditorium in something calld "Freshman Preview." some weeks later I saw him take the Gene Kelly role in "The Time of Your Life."

I have no idea what became of him but it was lovely to see him so lovely so long ago.

01 November 2011

only in America

years ago when air traffic controllers went on strike President Reagan fired them.

so there's a new statute of the bad actor. & where else but in front of an airport.

31 October 2011

"Charlotte Greenwood Kickd Me in the Heart"

we always want to know
was the first

some write
books abt it
scent of memory

I barely recall
a time without
but the first
lies buried

it was when
I saw
that long leg
kick higher & higher
finally above her head

it was that stretch
that made me
movie mad

30 October 2011

don't know

what's become of Beat Hotel but Steve's other property -- Lautner Motel -- recently reopend.

28 October 2011

found this beautiful poster online. my friend May McAvoy with Ramon Novarro.

25 October 2011


for something else I uncoverd this fading color photo:

it was taken in front of the building in which I was born. another photo taken at the same time was used for the cover of The Year Book

24 October 2011

"So This is Hollywood"

I've written before abt how much this 1955 NBC sitcom means to me & my affair with Tinsletown.

tonite I saw Mervyn LeRoy's "Show Girl in Hollywood" (1930) starring Alice White as Dixie DUGAN. early in the film she sends a postcard on which she writes "So this is Hollywood?"

that series I loved starrd Mitzi Green as Queenie DUGAN.

21 October 2011

remembering Paul Goodman

somehow I missd his 100th birthday last month but a new movie abt Goodman suddenly has him all over the place.

on the blog I've only written abt him once
but in The Year Book I wrote at the time of his death:

Paul Goodman
          who once held my hand
          in the backseat
          of a Staten Island taxi
          en route to Frank's Bar

20 October 2011


hard to believe I've had this album for more than 50 years.

but I hadn't seen the movie in as long. however I was able to find it on DVD & saw it last nite. it's hardly a great film but fun & a cinephile's delight because of the cast.

& of special interest to me because of certain cast members.

Edmund Purdom: he plays an important cameo near the end of my new book.

Howard Wendell: his parents were neighbors of mine when I was a boy. see last year's chapbook Elyria.

Bess Flowers: co-star of my recent chapbook Percy & Bess. "the queen of the dress extras" plays Wendell's wife & actually has lines in this film.

Linda Christian: I had a short but spiritd chat with her at a film event some years ago.

Virginia Gibson: co-star of one of the most important tv shows of my boyhood "So This is Hollywood."

& a phalanx of famous muscle men: Steve Reeves   Ed Fury   Dick DuBois   Bert Goodrich & the founder of Gold's Gym.

18 October 2011


thx to Ron Silliman I've discoverd a magnificent site undertaken by Harvard.

so many glorious voices from the past:     Conrad Aiken     Weldon Kees     Laura Riding     Wallace Stevens.

17 October 2011


local news tells me there was a 3.8 abt an hour & a half ago. didn't feel a thing.