04 December 2018

A Plenitude of Pennies

I was naked & sweating in the sauna at World Gym (same one in which I wrote "Sauna Poem" & "Poetry Inferno"). my fingers slid across hot wood & felt something. no. it's not that kind of story. what I felt turnd out to be a penny.

suddenly that hot copper was a madeleine as I became flush with memories of all the pieces I've done featuring this lowliest of coins.

I began "Pennies from Heaven" at the end of 2000 & finishd it in summer of 2011. there were 120 coins in that piece. it's "sequel" was "Pennies from Heaven: Part 2 (The Leaving)." it was done from 2010 until 2014.

"The 1943 Pennies" was a little work from 2003-04.

more recently I collaboratd with Tyler Alpern on a penny piece a bit too naughty to share here.

finding this morning's penny also made me remember I had a baggie full of coins I'd found & labeld. I decided it was time to conceive a work which wd distribute those.

my initial notion was to list the origin of those pennies. then to mail each to someone whose name supplements the list. but that seemd merely a variant of "Matchless."

so I go to bed knowing I need to stretch. & also that this morning's coin -- which I now call "the sauna penny" -- shd not be used in the new project but kept as a talesmanic muse with a possible future as yet another work.

29 nov 18:PS


over the weekend I put on for the first time the CD I bought a few weeks ago from Linda Lavin. I opend the baggie of saved pennies. one by one I took out a coin & "unwrapped" it. I then put each penny with its original notation into a tiny baggie.

this process turnd out to be a major memory trip. the collection mostly reflectd my day-to-day life in Santa Fe. pennies pickd up in various locker rooms & store parking lots. but there were also many found at airports which in turn included ones from vacations. gay resorts such as Inn Exile in Palm Springs & Blue Moon in Las Vegas & Coral Sands in Hollywood & Alcazar in Fort Lauderdale were spots holding pennies for me to gather.

because the work was surprising tedious I did it over several days. I now have that original baggie full of 68 tiny baggies. what to do next will take time to ponder. I have some ideas but will wait for the new year to complete this.

4 dec 18:PS

02 December 2018

festival of lights

went to Riverside last nite with friends. it was cold. & there were too many people.

26 November 2018

the morning I wrote 2 poems

I was sitting beside a pool with a notepad
when I wrote this:

when I face a blank page
I feel a need
to search that place
within me
that collects every word
I've ever read

I need to scoop
into that trove
to find a combination
never seen before
to spread
across the page

& when I'm finishd
I turn the page
to find
another blank one

my work
is never done

pause while I walk to another pool 
& discover another poem:

after writing a poem
I treat myself
to a trip
to the tangerine tree

it's so beautiful
I don't know
which fruit to pick
but the one I do
makes me want
to write another poem

17 November 2018


last nite Linda Lavin playd the Purple Room.  at 81 she's pitch perfect & put on a show so much better than my expectations. she was backd by the best musicians -- starting with her musical director Billy Strich on piano. he's a cabaret legend & the valley is grateful to have him leave NY so often to perform here.

but there was yet another treat. at the beginning of the show & then again at the end a young man with a violin & almost a smile performd. I confess to having never heard of Aaron Weinstein. but now I'll be checking his progress. he plays his instrument with skill. & his bit of patter was a sweet throwback to vaudeville.

when the show was over I saw him in the lobby & nearly rushd to get to him. after praising  him on his performance he complimentd me on wearing an ascot. "not everyone can pull off an ascot" he sd looking me straight in my eyes. I meltd. there were other words abt this & that & then I was off into the dark.

but as I was enjoying tea on the patio in morning sun he wdn't leave my mind. there was something abt Aaron Weinstein that brought back an era of my past. when I was the age he is now I visitd Manhattan with regularity & panache. there were the Broadway shows & boy bars & museums & bookstores & concerts.  endless cocktails & cruising. flirting with waiters & chance encounters with chorus boys. lads who with a wink & a word had you out of yr pants.

& there was a kind of young man that enchantd me. I suspect my "type" -- if indeed I had one -- was the California surfer boy. a bundle of blondness & lithe body that requests licking. but often after the rush of sex there wasn't much more to do. but the guys that really got to me were the NY charmers. most didn't start out in Manhattan but once they claimd that real estate there was a stamp on them. rarely surfer boy beautiful but a package of wit & charm & accomplishment that beggd you return to them long after you entangled yrself from their sheets.

of course I miss the fervor of that moment. but I had it. I was a part of the whirl. so many of those young men are forever in my heart. & I hope that somewhere there's a not so young man sitting on a patio who remembers the me that was.

so thank you Aaron Weinstein. for what happend on stage & in the lobby. not often is a time machine so attractive.

(photo by Dennis De Groot)

14 November 2018


a friend took this from his moving car. my billboard has been altered. why they put me in sunglasses & a chain with money in my hands is baffling. but I'm still there. I guess that's show biz.

06 November 2018

Palm Springs Pride Parade

the float for the famous LA show "Best in Drag" featured Chico's Angels with a group of calendar men. on the right are Remy Cruze & Devin Franco.  on the left Trenton Ducati is hidden behind S_H_A_M_O.

22 October 2018

40 years ago

the art faculty at Kent State University had its annual show. in a small adjacent space was a modest one-person exhibition. as I recall there were only abt 5 pieces. they were weavings by Lilian Tyrell. she wasn't on the faculty but her husband -- British sculptor Brinsley Tyrrell -- was.

I was taken by a piece calld "Tornado" & bought it for $300. it was not only the single sale from her first show but her first sale ever. I've lived with & loved this piece all these years. I loand it back to Lilian for an exhibition in 1980 & also her retrospective in 2006.

at a lecture abt her work Lilian acknowledged that the piece was a precursor to the work that made her famous -- the Disaster Blankets.

it was easy to love Lilian. she was a sweet woman with an appealing laugh. altho she had strong opinions which she didn't mind sharing she was never mean.

I returnd to Kent in the summer of 2007. a friend had a party for me. Lilian was quite ill but so wantd to see me that she came to the party. as she & Brinsley were leaving I walkd them out. Lilian coillapsed in the drive-way. Brinsley helpd her up as if it were nothing & I tried not to cry as I sd good-bye. I was so honord that she made the effort to see me. she died 4 months later.

20 October 2018

Khashoggi's Fingers

in this world
led by liars
we look to writers
to tell us
where we are

even in death
this man
lifts his bloody hands

his fingers
fill the sky
with lasers
that sear
gloat of prince
bloat of president

Khashoggi's fingers
light the way
to truth

08 October 2018

stop the rallies

the "president" is opposed by two thirds of the citizenry & the majority of editorial boards. his ego is tender. he must go to his base for these events at which he spews lies & rants like Hitler.

these events aren't to present policy. they are purely ego massage. I've been told each one costs nearly a half million dollars to put on. if reports are correct some in the crowd are paid.

there is no reason for taxpayers to put up with this. clearly these are political events. they must be paid for by the Republican party. if Congress weren't controlld by that party they cd stop payment. here is another reason to vote blue next month. it's time to halt the madness.

07 October 2018

on the rocks

wearing Sondheim
at Cahuilla Teewwenet Vista Point

(photo by Estee Huff)

06 October 2018

"Unfolding Humanity"

a Burning Man project transferd to Balboa Park in San Diego for Maker Faire

30 September 2018

in these dark times

each of us must find our own light in order to survive. when I get depressd I write or swim or see a film. & lately I have a new life as a model. strangely since my 75th birthday photographers have been getting me out of my clothes. there have been memorable shoots with Eric Schwabel & Tyler Alpern. & yesterday Mud Baron joind my list.

he is famous for photographing people with flowers. yesterday he set up shop at Ocotillo Lodge -- one of the locations for the Troy Donahue film "Palm Springs Weekend" & a property once ownd by Gene Autry whose guests have included JFK & Marilyn as well as Betty Grable & Doris Day. Mud put together a gathering of male models for "Boy Bloom." altho it's uncertain abt the fate of this project it may end up as a charity calendar.

as soon as I slippd off my pants Mud askd me to unfold myself on a bed of flowers beside local realtor Will Paine. "put yr head on his left nipple" he instructd.  then Arizona masseur  Bryce Hansen was askd to put his head on Will's right nipple.

after this it was time for my solo shot. during that Mud made this little video which I didn't know was being filmd.

28 September 2018

the rape of a nation

the world is laughing at us but assault isn't funny.

this obese man with paintd face & grotesque hair grabs us by the genitals & won't let go.

the legitimacy of his office is suspect but he plows on. he has the opposite of the Midas touch. everything golden that his little hands finger tarnishes.

he plunders our coffers & gives power to his evil spawn. he surrounds himself with venal sycophants who poison the environment for personal gain & put children in cages & mock education & lie. now he seeks to elevate to our highest court an intemperate judge who obfuscates & screams conspiracy while our Congress of cowards applauds. in 2 years he has creatd such damage that it will not be fixd in my lifetime.

everyday -- almost every hour -- his ego & ignorance bring a new crisis.

& what way out of this morass? a ravishd nation cowers in a lockd bathroom waiting for a stairway to freedom.

24 September 2018

Cinema Diverse

another Palm Springs gay film festival under my belt. this time I went to 12 screenings in 3 days & a nite.

my faves:
narrative feature -- "Devil's Path"
doc (tie) -- "Every Act of Life" & "Dirty Sexy Comics"
guilty pleasure -- "Still Waiting in the Wings"

"Devil's Path" team : Stephen Twordokus / Matthew Montgomery / Steve Callahan / JD Scalzo / Jon Gale

Jon Macy ("Dirty Sexy Comics") making a drawing in my copy of one of his books

with Lee Meriwether ("Still Waiting in the Wings")

28 August 2018

Craig Stephens (1944-2018)

altho I haven't seen Craig in years news of his death shakes me.

he was a beautiful 20 year-old when I first got to know him. there was a period when we spent a great deal of time together.  endless discussions abt politics & life. on campus & in the bars of Kent. we even double-dated once.

I workd hard for his election as student body president at Kent State. & after he won I served in his cabinet as Secretary of Communications. I felt as close to him then as I did to anyone.

we all expectd greatness from Craig. to me he had that Kennedy vibe. as happens in life we went in different directions.  he got a law degree & served his community & state with distinction.

in whatever time I have left I will always remember him with affection.

26 August 2018

"Michael's Momentum"

sooooooooo...... a new series. & this is the background:

last month my friend of so many years Michael Pierce gave me my correspondence to him & other personal artifacts. he also askd if I'd like some items he's had for years -- knowing that from time to time I create collages & other oddities. 

so I had a dozen pre-stampd envelopes from I think the 1930s.

this morning I took a copy of the Blossom Center issue of the Kent State publication Momentum that I edited in summer of 1970 & cut out some images which I glued to the envelopes.

then I took some colord pens from a gift bag I recently won in Backstreet Art District's scavenger hunt. I scribbled happily. & here's what happend.

21 August 2018

12 August 2018

winning streak

the Eric Schwabel photo on the billboard is now showing up in other Spotlight 29 promotions. this is from the casino's website where it alternates with Brennan Mejia (aka Red Ranger) "riding" a slot machine.

11 August 2018

in & around San Diego

La Jolla  

with Robert Hansen

Estee Huff at Hotel Del Coronado

dessert at 1500 Ocean

05 August 2018

40 year old letter to Michael Pierce

      68 Jane st.
      22 nov 78

dear Michael --
I'm sitting before a small window in Jean-Claude's study which looks out at the twin towers of the World Trade Center. it's just past 5 & dark already so the towers are lit up. I arrived last nite & walked right into a problem. Jean-Claude's pipes are leaking so the people in the apartment below him shut off the water. you can imagine how lovely that is for me in this dirty city. o well   a plumber's supposed to come soon & the guy whose ceiling is stained with J-C's water said he thought it's all right to turn on the water for about 5 minutes once a day. so.... I'm clean right now from the quickest shower you can ever imagine. last nite after I got over the dis-ease of being waterless I went to Reno Sweeney's to see Gotham & this afternoon I caught John Curry's great ice show. he took a spill in the first dance but is till a fine artist & with all the tricky choreography I'm surprised he only fell once.  "Afternoon of the Faun" closes the show & is a beautiful piece in which Curry's at his best. my flight is United 803 & I leave LaGuardia at 4 pm monday the 27th. hope to see you at the airport around 5. if you don't greet me at the gate with flowers I'll walk down to the pick-up place downstairs & wait for you outside.


04 August 2018

old valentines

there were many special moments in my Ohio visit. one was at the home of painter Lainard Bush. our mutual friend Michael Pierce showd up with a handful of bundles. in them were correspondence & other things I'd sent him over the decades. he wantd me to have them back. that is a lovely & generous gift.

he brought so much I cdn't fit everything in the single bag I take when flying. so he ran off to mail them & they arrived in Palm Springs before I returnd.

among the trove were two handmade valentines. this one was part of a project from 1978. I used a favorite old shirt to make 15 valentines. the one I sent Michael is calld "Bananas are nothing but naughty things." the small figures are Piaf & Travolta. the major figure is our mutual friend Jeff Bixby in the play "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown."  the collage was in an envelope on which I'd typed: "Michael -- if you open this before tuesday   yr cock will fall off."

I remember the patternd shirt series well but have zero memory of the other valentine Michael returnd.  it apparently was made in 1982. I think the fabric is a panel from the pair of pants I'm wearing in my Jim Hinchee photo shoot. one of those is my author photo for The Avalanche of Time.

the piece has 8 squares. the first is a plastic packet containing what I presume is my hair. next is part of a post card of a forgotten motel. next a clipping of a rose. then a drawing of what cd be a heart?

the bottom row begins with a drawing of part of a circle. then a quotation from The Year Book. next what appears to be a trio of blood stains which I suspect are mine. finally a portrait of actress Lois Wilson.

when Michael gave it to me I simply didn't remember it & a week later still don't. unlike the 1978 series I suspect this is one of a kind. I'm so happy Michael saved this & everything else. & how special that he gave all of this back -- knowing how these touchstones to our past help me in my current work.

02 August 2018

seen by others

in my long life I've been lucky to have been photographd by some of the best:

Stathis Orphanos
Walter Chappell
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
Jonathan Williams
Eric Schwabel
Michael Chikiris
Joel Singer
David Wallace Crotty
Bryan Ockert

now I can add Stephen Baumbach to the list. all this month his exhibition "Faces" is showing at his gallery in the Backstreet Art District.

I confess his high contrast b&w close-up was startling at first. I have no problems with wrinkles. we earn those. but age spots & all that are unnerving. however to be a good model you submit to a photographer who gets what he wants.

the portrait currently on Stephen's wall is all over social media. but here is one of the discards.

01 August 2018

"Key Lime Waffles"

      for Dianne Borsenik

in a smaller arcade
across Euclid
from The Arcade
friends meet
for breakfast

it’s almost a poem
but bite into citrus dough
strikes words

that make it so

"Ghosts of the Arcade"

        for John Burroughs

sitting under clock
in middle of bridge
in middle of mercantile center
Eisenmann & Smith built in 1890
I look in one direction
to bookstore Hart Crane hauntd
& in other to cigar counter

up there was the Asphodel
where Jim Lowell sold me
my first Jargon imprint
publishd by Jonathan Williams
& where d.a. levy brought
mimeograph manifestos

one day I too will be a ghost
waiting for someone
to sit under this clock
& say words written here