28 June 2013

more joy

for me one of the continuing delights of the internet is the constant discovery of things I didn't know were out there.

early in 2011 I was in San Francisco to be interviewd for "Big Joy."  while there I attended a fundraiser at the art institute.  one of the performers was Kirk Read who ended up taking off his clothes & plopping on Jack Foley.

tonite I found documentation of the event.  you may not recognize my baldness in the background but I can clearly see myself in both of these.

27 June 2013

Bert Stern (1929-2013)

the photographer is probably best known for his portraits of Marilyn. in 1968 he turnd them into a series of serigraphic prints for the second issue of Avant Garde.  I subscribd to the magazine but also bought a second copy to cut.  I framed 2 of Stern's Marilyn prints.

when I left Kent I gave one to P. Craig Russell.  but I still have this one hanging in the guest bathroom.

hot beads

Walt Cassidy wearing the piece he made. (not my photo so don't blame me for his face not being here.)

& me wearing it at Castro Theater. (photo by Edward Guthmann)

26 June 2013

forever grateful

to Ana Grillo for caputuring forever my moment on the stage of the Castro Theater:

& yes Armistead Maupin was indeed funny...

pass the frittata

if 69 was my naughty year then 70 is fast becoming my year to be a star. first the publication of Blossoms.  then the reception to my role in the hit film "Big Joy."

before my smile gets as big as Conrad Veidt's in "The Man Who Laughs" allow me to continue the narrative of the magic weekend which found me on the stage of the Castro Theater amid the cheers of 1400 people.

so there I am in bed sat nite unable to sleep because the day's adrenalin was still dancing in my veins. don't know when I finally dozed off but I still woke early.  the "Big Joy" team had been invitd to a brunch in the Castro.  our hosts were Eric Smith & Mark Garrett who frequently open their lovely house to celebrations within our community.

one of the first things that caught my eye was this piece by Lowell Nesbitt:

having known Lowell I was quick to ask Eric abt it & he showd me that this was the template for the huge staind glass windows that Lowell had at his NYC home. Eric bought the piece -- as well as several of the windows. & indeed there in the kitchen & upstairs in the bedroom were Lowell's windows.

Eric also showd me 2 wonderful Sam Steward pieces as well as many by his friends Peter Berlin & Arthur Tress.

the spread was delicious.  & so were the conversations.  I was particularly happy to meet our film's consulting editor Bill Weber.  he's that glorious kind of gent who combines good looks & intelligence. & we were able to laugh together.

& here's another conversation: Joel Singer   Stephen Silha   Edward Guthmann   Michael Hathaway   Mark Thompson   William Stewart.

after brunch I walkd all the way to City Lights Bookstore for its 60th birthday celebration.  there were flash readings in the basement & Ferlinghetti in the offices & music in Jack Kerouac Alley.  & here in front of the store is Jack Hirschman:

from there I walkd thru Chinatown to the venerable John's Grill which has been host to such notable diners as Hitchcock & Warhol.  & then the walk back to Church & 14th for even more star treatment at the inn.

25 June 2013

such a time

I've known Jim Provenzano for 33 years.  so sitting down to lunch was like old times. & so much to discuss abt our lives & writing.

we went walking around the Castro -- past the former Elephant Walk & the space where Harvey Milk's camera shop was.  then he treatd me to the GLBT History Museum where he took this picture of me with one of Sylvester's costumes.  my concession to fashion is the first wearing of my Walt Cassidy neck piece.

I had to do a green room photo op so we partd for a few hours. shorltly after I got there Joel Singer arrivd & we gave each other major hugs. then Anna Halprin arrivd & I was suddenly starstruck.

I also got to tell Chris Turner how much I like his photography & to meet Santa Fe composer Jami Sieber. then the "Big Joy" team posed together in front of the Frameline backdrop.  John Held took this:

we went down to our seats & a sell-out crowd of 1400. it was so emotional to be sitting beside Joel as the film unrolld. & the audience was super -- laughing & applauding & I think even crying a bit. here's s still of me:

when it was over the directors   Stephen & Eric   invitd 6 of us on stage.  the applause was still going on as I walkd toward the stage of the historic Castro Theater.  Armistdad Maupin met me mid-aisle.  he put his arm around me & told me I was wonderful in the film.  so I had quite the grin on my face.  Jim took this with his phone:

as I left the theater strangers came up to talk with me.  the most enthusiastic was Sister Missionary Position.  that's one of the names of the gentleman who co-founded the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (& himself the subject of another doc in the festival). he grabbd my arm & told me I was handsomer than on screen. it was obvious that had there been a bed on the street he'd have whiskd me into it.

next stop: Cafe Flore for the after party.  there Jim & I chattd with one of the film's editors -- Kyung Lee -- & I got a chance to speak with my "co-stars" Neeli Cherkovski & Jack Foley. after the after party Jim & I went next door to Faetopia.  this pop-up queer festival was in what was Tower Records.  on the walls were some of Joel's collages & other work.  Jim introduced me to Steven Saylor.

& at one point a man I'd noticed at the Flore stoppd by seemingly anxious to talk with me abt archives & documentaries.  he sd "my name is Arthur & I'm a photographer." wellllllll   it was Arthur Tress. at that point the batteries on my camera died so I have no picture with him.  however he signd his card for me.

before the Broughton program began I discussd an upcoming exhibition of his work with curator Joey Cain.  then Mark Thompson appeard with lovely words & Jason Jenn declared some of the Hermes poems.

that city's frequent fog was in the air as Jim & I went to Sweet Inspiration.  the super moon was mysterious in the fog.  after such a magical day I needed no more inspiration but a sweet was in order.  finally Jim walkd me back to my room in the b & b where James & Joel used to stay.

the next day

on fri I made my way to a nearby streetcar stop. since I don't get to San Francisco often I wantd to double check what I was doing.  so I pickd someone out of the crowd to confirm. the face I chose turnd out to belong to a writer -- Love Maia. she not only told me what to do but actually got off at my stop to make sure I was going the right way.  we had a delightful chat on the way. & I was grateful for her generous spirit.

I visitd with a legend from the old Cleveland scene -- Kent Taylor.  I filmd him reading a poem & if that footage comes out will use it as the center piece of a little film abt him.  so more on that later.

then it was off to City Lights where I met Richard Lopez. I first wrote to him in 2004 after reading Tom Beckett's interview with him.  but this was our first face-to-face.

he was with his father who makes a habit of falling out of planes.  we walkd down some streets & ended up at Francis Ford Coppola's restaurant in the magnificent Sentinel Building. there was so much to talk abt from movie lore to poet gossip. it was really heavenly.

next stop Canessa Park Gallery.  turnd out that the space was over the notorious Black Cat Cafe. it was a Beat hangout -- mentiond in On the Road. but it became even more famous as a gay bar where Jose Sarria performd his drag act. & it was involvd in some important early gay lawsuits.

these days Avery Burns has a reading series in the upstairs gallery. Richard was reading & I was thrilld that this was part of my initial meeting with him. Richard is a rowdy reader.  what he lacks in polish he makes up in spirit. he has such a good time that it's impossible for his audience not to join him.  & I was honord that he chose to read the Bettie Page poem he dedicatd to me.

also reading was someone new to me -- Steffi Drewes.  I liked her & her work.

among those who showd up for the reading was Richard's pal & collaborator Jonathan Hayes.

we all walkd to Robert Louis Stevenson park together. & then Richard took me back to Willows Inn.

for his version of these events check his blog.

24 June 2013

Frameline opening gala

I arr'd in San Francisco thur & immediately was swept up in an exciting weekend. I was Stephen Silha's "date" for the film festival's opening party. Terra Gallery (near the illuminatd Bay Bridge) was full of filmmakers & writers & actors & local movers.

I took this of Stephen with fellow directors Alex Bohs & David Weissman :

Digital Photobooth was set up at the event & Stephen & I posed:


breakfast in San Francisco
lunch in Los Angeles
dinner in Santa Fe

19 June 2013

Max Weatherly (1921-2005)

sometimes I go thru Alex in Movieland & pick out names of people from my past with whom I've lost touch over the years.  then I google them to see what I can find.  last nite I pickd the writer Max Weatherly & discoverd that he died several years ago.

our mutual friend Stanley Krippner introduced us at a party in the Village 2 years after the publication of his best-known novel The Mantis and the Moth.  altho we never became the closest of friends we did stay in touch over the decades.  he visitd me in Twin Lakes in the fall of 1972.  & he depositd his papers at Kent State.

in 1973 his Southern gothic novel was reissued in paperback with a new title A Crowded Loneliness.  it's been years since I've read it.

17 June 2013


films you haven't seen in years is risky.  some live with such joy in memory & a new viewing reveals them to be less.

yesterday I watchd "The Last Hurrah" for the first time in a while.  I'm not a big John Ford fan (Sheila Benson rolld her eyes at me when I told her that) but I have a soft spot for this film.

welllllll   it's more treacly than I rememberd.  but despite its flaws I enjoyd it -- & mainly for its superb cast of film veterans.  in my memory the stand outs were Jane Darwell & Edward S. Brophy. & yesterday I found that judgment holds.  Darwell is a bit over the top but she still shines. & Brophy must deal with some true silliness. but there is a bit when he responds silently.  his face says so much.  it's a heartbreaking moment.

16 June 2013

Father's Day (an exhibition catalog)

in my curator days I loved dreaming up then executing exhibitions.  this was one of my favorites. there were 138 items -- covering the arts & sciences.  & this catalog had an introduction by Paul Metcalf.  but at this remove I'm probably happiest when I see my signature next to Dad's on the special copies.

15 June 2013

Grace Potter kickd ass

at Sandia Casino

then Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi came on

air was heavy with smell of pot

when it was over

I wantd Trucks & Potter to duet

12 June 2013


one of my most persistent themes is connection. I met the photographer Kevin McCollister in 2010 after having written to him of my admiration for his work. but tonite I discoverd this little film he made in 2007. & I'm down there in that crowd. it delights & fascinates me that we shared time/space before our actual meeting.

11 June 2013

remembering Coby

the older I get the more critical it feels to reclaim gay history.  even in my lifetime so much has been lost.  & so many men have become forgotten.

Coburn Haskell Britton (1935-1997) came from a wealthy Cleveland family.  it's been told that his grandfather inventd the golf ball & his father manufacturd the hula hoop. he went to Deerfield Academy.  I think he was a year or two ahead of playwright Jean-Claude van Itallie.  then he went to Yale (where his papers now reside).

his career in letters began as an editor with Doubleday.  in the '60s he became co-publisher of Horizon Press.  then in 1970 he startd the magazine Prose

my friends who appeard in its pages were delightd because he paid well. & it was often gossipd that he was more than generous with elderly writers he admird who were struggling financially.

my memory of exactly how we got in touch is already sketchy but it was during that time I was editing A Festschrift for Djuna Barnes on Her 80th Birthday.  he put me in contact with photographer Berenice Abbott who allowd us to use a previously unpublishd photograph of the novelist (which after publication I learnd Barnes loathd).

Coby wrote a short encomium to Barnes. the now-famous publication also had contributions by Lawrence Durrell & Anais Nin.

I've been unable to unearth a photo of us together.  I remember a color poloroid of me naked on a raft in Coby's pond on the apple farm in New Jersey in july of 1972 but it hasn't turnd up yet.  however I do have this gem from that visit.

this was a birthday party for composer Charles Wuorinen (whose opera of "Brokeback Mountain" premieres next year). several years later Coby wrote the text for a piece of Wuorinen's.

early in 1974 Coby & his then partner Joseph Focarino (who workd at the Frick where he editd the catalog of their collections) came to visit my then partner & I in Twin Lakes. & a year after that I attended his famous all-male New Years Day party in NYC.  he lived next door to Paul Cadmus on St. Luke's Place but I don't recall if the famous painter was there.

as sometimes happens we lost touch.  so I didn't know him in his final years.  he collaboratd with the delicious artist Willyum Rowe on an abecedarium & publishd some of his own letters.  a while ago Edmund White wrote abt visiting him on the farm. but I don't hear much anymore abt Prose & less abt the boy parties. perhaps there will be a chapter in someone's memoirs. we can only wait.

10 June 2013

Harry Lewis (1920-2013)

a week or so ago I wrote abt him.  in Hollywood lore he is better rememberd for his restaurants than his movie roles.  however he did have some memorable screen moments -- particularly in "Key Largo" :

but most remember him for Hamburger Hamlet.  when my partner & I sat with Lewis & his wife Marilyn at the Beverly Hilton they were supporters of the event  putting gift certificates for Kate Mantalini's in the gift bag.  & before we left town we had a free meal on the couple.

09 June 2013

a Tony day

just as I've given up drink I'm an awards junkie who now finds them silly.  however I do enjoy watching the Tony show because it's always been the most entertaining of the awards shows.

in preparation for tonite's event I remember back to the first play I ever saw on Broadway:

Henry James adaptd by Michael Redgrave & directd by Margaret Webster with costumes by Alvin Colt. the stars were Maurice Evans & Wendy Hiller (with Olympia Dukakis standing by for no less than 3 roles).

here's what I scribbld in my very first Playbill:

& borrowing a word from that mini-review here's my newest poem.


he'd been Hamlet & Macbeth & Prospero
Caesar & Rev. Brock & H. J. too
then there was his ape   warlock
& Rosemary's old friend Hutch

but time caught up
with the toast of Broadway
nearing 90 with dapper dampend
he took to bed in Brighton

his manager saw the flame within
& rentd young men
to lie naked beside him

gone were greasepaint & spotlight
but on that deathbed
the play of life still soard

07 June 2013

"It's in the Details"

at the Wheelwright Museum today I saw a preview of a luscious show of bead work which opens later this month.

among the pieces which startld & pleasd me were these clutches from Orlando Dugi :

Mirabelle (1971-2013)

another restaurant from my past is gone

06 June 2013


in the most recent Hollywood book
there's the poem



(this was a photo MGM sent me when I was a boy)
from Swimming :


to vacuum a pool
to push a gondolier's pole
to bottom & drag
the floor for dregs

4 aug [1974]

from It's All a Movie :


between blue velveteen
front & cardboard back
held together by a spiral
of wire are brittle pages
I filld a half century ago

47 pictures of Betty Grable
19 of Esther Williams
9 of Keefe Brasselle
. . .


. . .
when I askd Esther Williams
if she did her own singing in "Skirts Ahoy"
she took my hand & sang to me
. . .

Esther Williams (1921-2013)

It's All a Movie
back cover 
by Ray Craig

05 June 2013


fires in two directions. so our air quality depends on the winds.  I've had to keep the house closed-up for the last several days. & I do as little outside as possible.

04 June 2013

Rex Williams (1917-2004)

made 21 films during his decade in front of the camera. later in life he was a painter & sculptor in Santa Fe. abt a year & a half before he died I had a pleasant chat with him abt his career at Warner Brothers.

last nite TCM kickd off its tribute to Eleanor Parker with her first featurd part in an hour-long B picture "Busses Roar."  & there was Rex Williams as a villain.  this 1942 movie is a little propaganda production.  but it boasts a terrific cast including in a small part future restauranteur Harry Lewis with whom I once shared a table at one of those big dinner parties at the Beverly Hilton.

the film is without pretense. it is what it is. & it's simply fun to watch.

here we see Williams in a couple of scenes (one with Charles Drake & Willie Best):

03 June 2013

Dad's Army ring

this is one of my favorite photographs of my father. it was taken during the war (I presume in Europe).  he's with one of my favorite photographs of my mother.

I'm in the process of inventorying my jewelry collection (which after my death will go to the Kent State University Museum). one of the pieces I found in a drawer I'd forgotten abt.  when I examind it I discoverd that it's the ring Dad wore during the war.  the ring in the photo.  it's in need of cleaning but I took this picture of it with the same photo of Mom he carried thru the war.

02 June 2013

making movies

it was dec of 2006 when I askd the painter R.B. Sprague to shoot a couple of films of me reading my work. at that time he had a better camera than I did.  this was the first:

with nearly a thousand hits it's my most popular film of me reading my work.  however my Marta Beckett & Inn Exile films are in the 2000-hit range & the one shot at Hash House a Go Go in Las Vegas has over 3000. but so far there have been 70 of my little films on You Tube & I suspect the average has been abt 50 views.  so I've hardly gone viral.

for the most part the response has been positive.  but of course when you put yrself out there some people will attack. that very first film brought me one of the cruelest comments my work has ever rec'd. anonymous of course. but when you've allowd yr work to be publishd for  a half century you have to be strong because some people enjoy being nasty.

I enjoy making these little films & I suspect I'll keep on doing them. it's another way of getting the work out there. & increasingly it's preserving a world that disappears all too quickly.

01 June 2013

Congress #3 (1967)

Dave Roskos has postd all of the Cleveland issue editd by d.a. levy on Gonzo Library of the Indy Outlaw.