24 June 2022

30 May 2022

the dark side

 we all present a face to the world. I've often been criticizd for presenting a comic mask. eyes wide & mouth open. that is part of who I am. the joyful part people expect. but every comic mask is twin to a tragic one.

Owen Masterson captures this other mask. here is the pain of heartache & betrayal   depression & death. it's not as comfortable to gaze upon but it's real.

24 May 2022

all abt Gar

when I saw "The Underworld Story" last week I was taken by Gar Moore. altho I knew his name & rememberd stills of him in his early Italian films I wasn't familiar with his story.

so I did some snooping. I discoverd that after his Hollywood career ended in 1959 he moved to Palm Springs. he appeard as Emile in a local production of "South Pacific" but apparently kept busy writing & painting (altho I've uncoverd none of either) as well as working in architecture & interior design. sometime in the 60s he & John Morris designd a sun deck for the Charles Farrell House at the Racquet Club but it's been demolishd.

apparently Moore had quite the social life. at a 1969 fundraiser for the Chuck Connors Tournament there was a Ziegfeld Follies tribute in which he playd sheik to the harem girl of Toni Holt. (& Nelda Linsk was a chorus girl.)

I found an address on Paseo De Anza for him in an old undated phone book online.

for a time Moore was engaged to Madga Gabor. then in June 1971 the local paper reportd on a party at the new home socialite Margaret Pigott Sinek bought on Stevens. it sd they announced their marriage wd happen later in the month at her home in Winnetka IL. guests at the party included the widows of William Powell & Lew Landers. Sinek -- widow of a prominent Chicago business exec -- was a member of the board of the American Cancer Society & an arts benefactor. she was Moore's 4th wife. he had a heart attack in Palm Springs & died in Loma Linda in 1985.

I also discoverd a letter he wrote late in life from the Winnetka house in which he claims to have been on the Hollywood blacklist without knowing it. not sure how that cd be.

anyway...... he was a handsome man. when I go to estate sales in town I'll have to look out for paintings.

15 May 2022

as I age

it seems repetition & rime become part of life. today I went to our historic Plaza Theater for an offering in a local music festival. it was Dee Dee Bridgewater & she was sublime. I first heard her at Kent State in 1973. she was young & I was young. I got to talk with her during that visit. I still remember us at the bottom of that large staircase in the Student Center but I no longer recall a single moment of our conversation. abt a year & a half later I saw her on Broadway in her Tony-winning role in "The Wiz." then on Broadway again in 1979 & yet another musical on stage in Century City in 1982. the next 2 times were jazz concerts: Albuquerque (1998) & Santa Fe (2011). & now...... today. as all of the other times I heard her she was at the top of her form. I'm not a big fan of scat singing but she is such a master my face was one big smile thruout. it's not fair to comment on a single song when she gave everything to each one. however I must mention her "Honeysuckle Rose." it was a one-act play in the middle of the show. she rivals Anita O'Day whose interpretation has long been my favorite. so the concert was memorable on its own. but the fact that I've heard Bridgewater so many memorable times in nearly a half century adds significance for me. she repeats over the years in a way I love.
(H. Les Brown photo borrowd from Facebook)

10 May 2022

Digit Print Bookmarks

I love the creative process. this morning I had to cut a sheet of card stock to make the smaller canvases for my "Circles" series. from each sheet there remains a pair of strips. I throw nothing away because I find often even strips inspire new pieces. this morning I lookd at the longer of the excess pieces from my cutting. it's 8 1/2" x 1." my fresh eye saw a bookmark. I checkd the pile of earlier cuttings & found I had 20. a lovely number for a new project. mind began grinding. what to put on these bookmarks. stains perhaps. or stamps. or tiny heads. at one moment I was bending over. I saw my bare feet. & there it was. I'd print each toe & finger. the next step was what to use to make the digit prints. after some pondering I rememberd a long-ago gift from my dear Cynthia. a bottle of Rubinato black ink made in Italy for Cavallini & Co of San Francisco. then the real work. what seemd so easy in the thinking took much longer. & it was a bit messy. but making art often is. the actual prints vary in quality. some much better than others. but I'm happy with the result. I'll put one in "Billy's Chest." a pair will go in the career archives I've been assembling for collectors I have yet to meet. & then the remaining will find their ways into the books of others.

02 May 2022

Judy Henske (1936-2022)


I dreamt

 I finally got an Anna May Wong quarter but it was a mistake. her name was on it but not her face. it made me sad that I didn't see her but glad that such a possible rarity wd be worth something.

but awake I know that whenever her quarter does come to me it will be worth something to me.

20 April 2022

from the rubble comes a poem

 Caterpillar crushes red tile roof

of abandond inn

is this the casita

in which Tab & Tony

fled the paparazzi?

I observe

from across the street

as bulldozer pounds history into dust

every scoop hides whispers

but my ears are eager

to hear each story 

06 April 2022

21 March 2022

"Bound by Mail"

 because of the pandemic MoCa Cleveland turnd their exhibition "Bound" into a book. & I'm honord to have a book of mine in the "exhibit." yes.... you can still order it. so when you go to the Crisis Chronicles Press website you can order both the opening installment of my epic Alex in Movieland as well as the new book carrying the name of this blog.

03 March 2022

60 years

 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first time a poem of mine appeard in print Crisis Chronicles Press is publishing a collection culld from this very blog.

Arroyo Chamisa 

every day I'm thankful to be able to create. & over all these decades I'm humbled that so many editors & publishers have brought my work to the public.

it's been a hell of a ride . . . .

24 February 2022

wartime lunch

 yesterday -- before the invasion began -- a wag postd on social media "make pierogies not war."  I thot it was cute but silly given the gravity of what's happening.

this morning with all the news of madman Putin's war it kept popping into my head. & each time I dismissd it -- until I got this flood of memories abt the Ukrainian part of my heritage. yes... pierogies are a theme in my childhood. I still recall the eve of Orthodox Xmas the women of the family in my grandparents' kitchen making & rolling & cutting & stuffing dough. I remember the cousins sitting at the kids' table seeing who cd eat the most. & I continue to love pierogies as much for remembrance as for taste.

so on this first day of the war this was my lunch:

15 January 2022

Cynthia Mayer Pramuk (1943-2022)


I've just learnd of the death of my dear friend. 

the earliest poem I wrote for her was in 1964. a love poem which began "Her black hair flying..." just as it will always be in this portrait by our mutual friend Mike Chikiris.

a half century ago I wrote in The Year Book "7 memories of Cynthia."

she has always been part of my work. & even tho I haven't seen her in over a decade she will always be in my heart.

(she calld this "our best photo" together)

02 January 2022


 I write for myself. but I also publish. which means I hope that someone else reads my work. in a few months it'll be 60 years since I publishd my first poem. & then there have been all the books. I rarely get reviewd & none of my works have been a bestseller. so I don't know if anyone cares if I write or not.

I postd a link to my last blog entry on Facebook. a man from Charleston SC by the name of Jerry Evans left this response:

    I discovered this book many years ago. It changed the way I journal. Thank you for this enduring gift.

I was overwhelmd. to receive this is heartwarming. it reminds me of a scene Ingrid Bergman had in "Inn of the Sixth Happiness." 

Jen-Ai: I am not attractive in that way. 

Capt. Lin Nan: Jen-Ai, don't you know you're beautiful? 

Jen-Ai: Once in her life, every woman should have that said to her. I thank you for being the one who said it to me.

thank you Jerry Evans.

01 January 2022

a half century

 so hard to believe that I startd writing The Year Book 50 years ago. it began in my house in Twin Lakes. the 2 floors were connected by a spiral staircase I named after my favorite novelist at that time.

Richard Grossinger publishd the book in 1974. I believe the only review came from Ian Young who calld it "banal." & a colleague in the English Dept told me to my face that it was "a piece of shit." well...... he's dead & the book lives on as a document in gay history. World Cat lists copies in 40 libraries in the US & UK & the Netherlands. several rare book stores have copies for sale.

some day I hope to see the book reprintd with the chapbook that came first -- Dec. '70:Ohio -- & the one that followd  -- Swimming -- under the title The Verse Journals of Alex Gildzen