Tuesday, July 25, 2017

DUNKIRK

I went into DUNKIRK with high expectations, not always the best way to see a flick. I knew it would be visually engaging, even if I didn't see it on an iMax screen. According to some things I've read Christopher Nolan who wrote, directed, and was one of the producers on the film, shot it in 70mm, a rare treat these recent decades (you gotta go back to movies like LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in its original form). But whatever format you see it in, and the bigger the screen the better, Nolan puts you in the middle of the action.

So it's grand to see and experience visually and sonically (the usual theater sound systems turned up high make you feel even more in the middle of the action) and there's a great cast. But, sometimes Nolan can be too clever for my taste, and at times in DUNKIRK his plot with three different time signatures (to use a musical term) and character development challenges (too many with too little development in some cases) felt almost like he was testing the audience to see if we were paying the right amount of attention.

I was hoping to see more of Mark Rylance, one of my favorite actors and never disappointing, as well as other old faves, but it was mostly the lesser known (to me) younger actors who carried the weight of the film and did it perfectly most of the time. I'd just love to have seen more historical context and political perspective, as well as less clever plotting and less focus on so many characters and more on a few with more depth (though Rylance's character's son was brilliantly nuanced by the actor playing him).

As the friend I saw it with said, when I pointed out that Nolan had written, directed, and produced DUNKIRK: "He should have gotten some help." Worth seeing, with a grain of salt.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

ANOTHER FAVORITE QUOTE FROM THE MASTER


From my late great friend and spiritual advisor, Hubert "Cubby" Selby Jr., said to me in conversation sometime in the 1980s:

"Happiness is our natural state, so if we stop doing what makes us unhappy—we're happy."

[PS: Today's his birthday.]

Saturday, July 22, 2017

AUSTIN STRAUS R.I.P.

This is a photo (I'm sorry I don't know who took it, or the one below) of Austin Straus around the time I first met him. A Brooklyn-born L. A. poet and artist, he was a mighty presence in person and in the L.A. poetry and activist scene and beyond. I was sorry to learn today that he died.

I'm away in the countryside of Western Mass with no phone service and no access to my personal library thus can't reprint a poem of his here, so I'll just say he was always honest and unpretentious and kind to me. He and his amazing late wife—and mighty presence in those same worlds as well—Wanda Coleman were good friends to me in my years in L. A. and I miss them both.

Condolences to their son and the rest of Austin's family and friends and fans.

[Here's a shot of Wanda & Austin in later years]

Thursday, July 20, 2017

MORE DUOS (THIS TIME NYC IN THE 1970S)

Aileen (my Irish born late friend) & me (in a shirt I bought in the late 1950s!)
me & JP Donlevy during my less-than-two-years at the only 9-5 office job I ever had (for The Franklin Library) a surprisingly unpleasant and humorless man
Robert Penn Warren & me, same job as above, a delightfully congenial man
me & the mirror me in the bathroom of the loft my composer mate Rain & I rented and lived in with my son Miles on Church Street when it was still only artists and hadn't yet become part of the future Tribeca
Rain & me before we decided to try and become actors in movies
Rain & me after we decided to try and get jobs acting in movies (photo by the great Bobby Miller)
me & the late, great poet, dance critic & friend Edwin Denby at an event (I think a reading of mine) at the legendary Books & Company
me & co-star ("Patricia Lee Hammond") in my first leading man role in a movie, originally called LAST RITES but later changed to DRACULA'S LAST RITES
me & John Carradine in my second leading man role in THE NESTING (my first SAG role, so had to add my middle name David because there was already another Michael Lally in SAG)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

HEY

Check out (and throw some support to) my friend poet Rachel E. Diken's new web site here, and her upcoming speaking engagement at Interesting People, Interesting Times: Future Nostalgia. Produced by Tom Goodwin it's on July 28th in Brooklyn (see below) and looks like a really promising event. You can get tickets here: