30 August 2013

news from Bree

POEMS BY THE AMAZING AND GREAT John Bennett, Dianne Borsenik, Bree, e e cummings, Mark Dennis, Hilary (Krzywkowski) Flexer, Alex Gildzen, Clarrissa Jacobson, Tom Kryss, Shiela Long, Catfish McDaris, Joshua McDermott, Travis McGee, Tim Murray, Dave Roskos, Kathy Smith, Steven B. Smith, Sneaker, John Tabathor, Daniel Thompson, R.A. Washington.

all FOTOS but indicated ADAM BRODSKY 

PLUS SNIPS OF THE SPECTACULARLY FASHIONED LISPS OF Tom Adams, Dianne Borsenik, William Stanley Braithwaite, Gwendolyn Brooks, James Edwin Campbell, James D. Corrothers, Paul Laurence Dunbar, James A. Emanuel, Michael Grover, Frances Harper, Langston Hughes, Roscoe C. Jamison, Etheridge Knight, Kreymborg, William H. A. Moore, Kathy Smith, Steven B. Smith, Scott Wannberg, Walt Whitman, Beverly J. Wilcox, William Carlos Williams and Richard Wright

IN "LOVE IS A LICE COMBER" Green Panda anthologese summer 2013 a forusbyuschorusbuyus prodct'n. $10.00 paypal or cash/check/facesmacks to greenpandapress@gmail.com 3174 Berkshire Rd. Cleve.Hts., Oh 44118

29 August 2013

fig's progress

faithful readers will recall the summer's dreadful hailstorm & my anguish over what it did to Billy's fig.  here is the remarkable progress the plant has made:

26 August 2013


novelist Richard Balthazar also makes sculpture from found items. he's moving into an apartment & was looking for homes for some of his outdoor pieces. this morning he brought this 2008 work here & installd it in my backyard.

25 August 2013


this outdoor cat has adoptd me.

when Melina died I kept her bowl full on the back portal.  over those years several cats have come by.  the first who became a friend was Jonathan who stayd in the apartments next door when he wasn't roaming.

now this cat has found me. we talk to each other.

24 August 2013

Julie Harris (1925-2013)

I saw her in 2 plays on Broadway & 2 others on tour as well as in "Night of 100 Stars" & other such productions. this picture which my friend Peter had her sign for me is in the guest bathroom.

Kamuela C. Searle (1890-1924)

the Hawaiian sculptor had an earlier career as an actor. using the name Sam Searle he appears here in the Lila Lee hit "Male and Female" (1919).

23 August 2013

brothers in life & song

as an undergrad I heard the Brothers Four.  they were a folk quartet known for the hit "Greenfields." but they weren't actual brothers -- simply in the same college fraternity.

today I heard 2 sets of real brothers who are Santa Fe Opera apprentices: David & Jonathan Blalock    Joseph Blaine & Joshua Dennis. this was a community event. it took place at Whole Foods.  quite a challenging venue. but with all the background noise there still was a sort of sweetness abt it taking place in all that bustle.

it was only a half hour beginning & ending with all 4 tenors. in between the Blalocks sang Sondheim's "Agony"   the Dennis twins sang a terrific duet abt brothers which I hadn't heard before.  & each man had his own solo. the appreciative audience was a blend of shoppers & several other SFO apprentices.

here I am with the Blalocks:

for me the opera season began with Jonathan Blalock who sang at a Friends of Dorothy event there. & so today it ends with him as well. thank you young man. I wish you well in yr career & yr life.

22 August 2013

let me back up

so I was in Hollywood. I met up with Lois & May in the parking lot of the Cinerama Dome. as we waitd around a sexy young man came up to me & askd if the woman I was with was Lois Wilson.  I sd yes.  he sd his grandmother wd like to speak with her. well his grandmother turnd out to be the elegant Doris Kenyon who had appeard with Lois in the Valentino costume drama "Monsieur Beaucaire."

that was just the beginning of an amazing day. next Lois & I got into an actual 1929 Model A Ford with Ruby Keeler & her daughters. we then were part of a parade down Hollywood Blvd.  at one point someone dressd as Keeler's onetime husband Al Jolson began to run alongside the car.

we ended up at KTLA -- which in its day was Warner Brothers Studios. there the stamp was unveild. we got a copy in a booklet which I had a few of the assembld stars sign. (it's now part of my papers at Kent State.)

next we were off to lunch at the Palladium where we mingled with other silent screen stars (Jetta Goudal & Carmel Myers) as well as former Warners heavyweights (Jane Wyman & Olivia DeHavilland).

when it was over another young man came up to Lois.  it turnd out to be Boyd Willat whose father had directd her.

in those pre-digital days we didn't carry cameras with us everywhere.  & it was long before the internet which seems to document everything.  so I had seen no photos from that day until yesterday.  while searching Bobby Gordon I discoverd an article by John Hollon in the LA Times. & there was a photo of Keeler.  I keep hoping that someone filmd either the parade or the ceremony or something from the lunch.  or that at least some photos will surface.

21 August 2013

movie ramblings

today is the centennial of director Robert Gordon ("It Came From Beneath the Sea"). his last film was a western shot in Santa Fe.

but he startd his career as child actor Bobby Gordon. & it was Bobby -- not Al Jolson -- who first spoke in "The Jazz Singer." that was mentiond when the USPS unveild a stamp to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that milestone film.

& I was there.  I was there because when I heard abt the event I notified its organizers that the film's leading lady May McAvoy was still around. & I escortd May's dear friend Lois Wilson to the ceremony at the soundstage where the film was shot & the all-star lunch following at the Palladium.

so all day I've been swimming in memories of the history of Hollywood & how my own has been intersecting it for so many years.

20 August 2013

Gerald & Peter

with David Meredith on the deck at the end of their property

Peter with Julie Harris in Terence Rattigan's "In Praise of Love" (1974)

I attended the opening nites of 2 Jan Novak plays Gerald directd. "Czechs" (1979)  was done in Chicago.  Peter appeard in "Bohemian Heaven" (1980) off-Broadway.

with Gerald on Morris Rd. he wd often drive from NYC to Chicago & back & wd overnite in Kent.

those P'town summers

I've written before abt visiting Gerald Mast & Peter Burnell on the Cape. now I get to share a bit of that on David W. Dunlap's glorious site Building Provincetown. little by little Dunlap -- with the help of current & former residents -- is documenting the history of every building there. anyone who has spent any time there will delight in this site.

David Meredith took this picture of me with Peter & Gerald at 581 Commercial St.

the very last time I was a houseguest with them there I went out with both of them & David to see Wayland Flowers perform. now all 4 of them are dead. I feel old.

19 August 2013

Jose Sarria (1923-2013)

when I attended a poetry reading during my recent trip to San Francisco there was something added. the gallery which hostd the reading was above the space that had been Black Cat Cafe. & certainly the aura of Sarria was there.

here is a picture I took of the legend when he was getting himself ready to grandmarshall the Palm Springs Pride Parade in nov 2010.

what a hoe

Rita's cleaning out her garage.  so she gave me this swell implement. it sure makes weeding easier.

here it is beside Dad's trowel & my fledgling hollyhocks.

18 August 2013

rose of sharon

years ago I brought 3 of them from my parents'  & plantd them in my back yard.  they don't like the soil here.  one problem is the layer of caleche which prevents them from deep rooting.

2 have died.  the survivor looks rather bonsai-like because it doesn't grow.  but at least this year it's had more blossoms than ever.

13 August 2013


woke me around 3.  so I stood naked in my courtyard looking up at the meteor show.  it was less active than advertisd.  however I did see something new to me -- a cluster of stars shooting together.

my attempt to resume sleep faild. at first my stomach seemd to imitate the skies.  then my skin began to jump.  it was as if the heavens were in control.

11 August 2013


James Butler (who creatd the role of Fredrick Douglass in the 1985 opera) had one today at a nearby park. it was rich with laughter. I was happy to have been invitd.

08 August 2013

John Grimes (1947-2013)

I met the timpanist when he performd a George Crumb piece on campus in the summer of 1973.  he was there as part of Blossom Festival School & returnd the following summer as well.

over the years he introduced me to composers Lee Hoiby & Daniel Pinkham (who dedicatd his 1974 piece "Liturgies" to John). I in turn introduced him to poet Ron Schreiber   my dear friend David Meredith & my cousin Regina Yando.

John visitd Santa Fe for the first time in the summer of 2005.  here we are together at Camel Rock:

when he returnd 2 years later we began looking at possible places for him to move to after retirement. here is a picture I took of John in Taos:

this past mar John performd Beethoven's 7th Symphony & got this review from the Boston GlobeThe finale had some raucous outbursts, especially from timpanist John Grimes, who was the first to take a well-deserved solo bow at the end.

 I applaud a friend & musician as he takes his final bow.

for years

it was my belief that Shep Houghton was the only actor to have appeard in both of MGM's 1939 classics "Gone With the Wind" & "The Wizard of Oz."

if Houghton is still alive he'll be 100 next year.  he began his career as a child in silent films & appeard in small roles (often as a dancer) in countless hits. but he is not one of the 2 surviving Munchkins the press mentiond yesterday.

& in fact his Oz credit is suddenly gone from his IMDB credits.

also -- while factchecking this I discoverd that 96 year-old Dorothy Barrett who I met when the Munchkins got their star in front of Grauman's also had a bit in GWTW (altho IMDB fails to include that as well).

07 August 2013

another Munchkin gone

Margaret Pellegrini (1923-2013)

I took this at the Hollywood Roosevelt before the Munchkins got a star on the Walk of Fame.

most sources claim only 2 actors who playd Munchkins remain alive.

06 August 2013

05 August 2013

trying to grow a beard

searching for something else I discoverd this ancient photo of me as an undergrad:

03 August 2013

before leaving

Regina shared this video. her husband Dr. John Mordes gave this '59 Olds to Jay Leno.

01 August 2013

Wilde & Whitman singing

a duet in jail.  like that?  how abt Whitman welcoming Wilde to heaven?  that's all part of the silliness of the new opera we saw last nite.

I really wantd to like Theodore Morrison's "Oscar."  sometimes his music is lovely.  but there are so many problems with the libretto.

for me the difficulties begin with the decision to make the role of Oscar Wilde in the range of a countertenor. that pegs the character immediately.  & for this listener it's tough going to spend 140 minutes with a piece whose lead is a countertenor.  it's simply hard on my ears.

I understand using Walt Whitman as a sort of narrator to frame the action but ultimately don't approve. 

then there are the cliches which end both acts.  the first turns the trial into an actual circus. but the major laugh is a stage full of angels welcoming Wilde to the afterlife.

on the plus side I did like the decision to make Bosie a non-singing dance role. perhaps some of his choreography was too much but the basic decision works.