Thursday, November 16, 2017

CAUGHT READING (PART ONE)

Dorothy Dandridge & Harry Belefonte reading a script 1950s (I had a crush on both of them as a kid, though I only realized it with Belefonte in retrospect)
Marilyn Monroe (had a crush on her too) reading Arthur Miller 1950s
Ken Wessels in my apartment in Iowa City c. 1967
the late poet Ralph Dickey either in Iowa City or San Francisco late 1960s
the late poet Steve Shrader in San Francisco 1969
poets Simon Schuchat standing, the late Ray DiPalma leaning and Paula Novotnak reading at Trinity College in Washingtong DC 1969
shots of the weekly poetry reading series Mass Transit at The Community Book Store in DC with me reading top far left, Terence Winch reading far right middle row and Bernard Welt reading far right at bottom, DC c. 1972
Washington Post article about the Mass Transit readings and Some Of Us Press, which came out of them, with photo of poets Terence Winch, me & the late Ed Cox, DC c. 1972
the late poet, and my first wife, mother of my two oldest children, at an art opening of individually designed envelopes for the poetry mag Salt Lick, published by the late Jim Haining,  Baltimore c. 1972 
Terence Winch reading in DC c. 1972
cover of second edition of ROCKY DIES YELLOW originally published by Blue Wind Press in 1975

Sunday, November 12, 2017

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES came out when I was four. I saw it at our local movie theater with my older sisters, who were forced to drag me along with them on Sunday afternoons after we had "the big dinner" and my father took his weekly nap and us three youngest were sent to the flickers.

I have seen it many many times since, and though I don't make many lists since the brain operation ended that lifelong compulsion, this movie was always one of my top ten and in recent years' viewings I've decided it's my favorite movie of all.

Watching it each year, on its annual screening on TCM around Veterans Day, despite some dated bits in some scenes, this story of three World War Two veterans returning home after the war has only grown more relevant and prescient and fulfilling.

The female leads especially impress. Mryna Loy's performance should be the template for anyone ever wanting to act in a movie. She can play poignancy, romance, wisdom, comedy, and more with only the turn of a shoulder, or pause in a step, or slight upturn of an eye. For me Loy is the quintessence of screen acting skill.

And Theresa Wright, from my home town but graduated and gone before I was born, is always a delight to watch on screen, her emotional range vast as well. Virginia Mayo, playing the bad girl, as she often did, gives maybe her best performance too. And the male leads keep up with them and anchor the story with their postwar inner demons.

I could go on, but suffice it to say THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES is a classic Hollywood masterpiece that still lives up to its original worthiness.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Friday, November 10, 2017

AS I SEE IT

One of the many differences between Liberal Democrats and Conservative Republicans is that when we saw that the Viet Nam War was wrong we went against our party's leader and then president LBJ, but when they realized Bush Junior, their then president, had misled us into a war they mostly continued to support it (and mostly still do for that matter), or when some Hollywood bigwig donater to liberal and Democratic causes gets outed as a sexual assaulter we support their being kicked out of their own companies and their upcoming projects being aborted...while the other side runs to the defense of their offenders, or if the offenders are forced, for corporate reasons, into early retirement (a la Ailes and O'Reilly) they're given gigantic going away prizes in the millions...just a thought...

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A RANDOM SELECTION OF PHOTOS OF SOME FAVORITE FRIENDS

the late Kenny Graham, friends since boyhood
John Godfrey, friends since c. 1974
Annabel Lee, friends since c. 1975, Don Yorty, good friends since c. 2014, Simon Pettet, friends since c. 1975
Mindy Thompson Fullilove, good friends since 2015
Jim Coleman, friends since c. 2012
Angela Lockhart Aronoff, friends since c. 2007
Mike Winch, friends since c. 1995, Terence Winch, friends since 1969
Jeanne Donahoue, friends since c. 2006, Sue Brennan, friends since c. 2004
Rachel E. Diken, friends since c.2014, Jeff Coleman, friends since c.2008

[I have no idea if these dates are accurate, nor do I remember who took the photos]

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

YAY

The best thing about the elections yesterday was that the Dems showed they have returned to their roots, using the strategy the Repubs got from the Dems after the Dems abandoned it, and that is to work for victories at the local level first, then the county, then the state, and then the national...seeing all those Dems taking over as mayors and other municipality political positions, and as school board members, and county execs, and state legislators, made the governorships that were won an even sweeter victory...and establishes a new generation of leaders ready to move up to greater levels of government in future elections...

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

NEW FAVORITE QUOTE (AND DON'T FORGET TO VOTE IN YOUR LOCAL, COUNTY, AND STATE ELECTIONS, THAT'S WHERE IT ALL STARTS)

“Please exercise caution when calling these mass shooters mentally ill, or insinuating it is to blame. If mental illness is to blame... I wanna know why mentally ill women aren't going to schools, churches, movie theaters, and concerts with assault rifles and slaughtering people?
Cuz it's not mental illness, it's white male entitlement to terrorize and use violence to oppress. When they don't get their way, they use violence to oppress. Again and again and again and again.” ~Val Stephens

Monday, November 6, 2017

REPOSTED FROM A YEAR AGO

Thanks to friend, poet Don Yorty's reposting this on Facebook today and reminding me to remember my own analysis.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

FECK THE NRA


WONDERSTRUCK

Todd Haynes-directed movies are hit and miss for me. I loved CAROL and came to appreciate I'M NOT THERE. As for his latest WONDERSTRUCK, it's a mixed bag. Brian Selznick's script, adapted from his novel, is extremely contrived and full of holes, but the filming of it by Haynes' and his crew is original and at times dazzling in its authenticity (as in the most realistic depictions of New York in the 1970s I've seen in a long time in any film or TV show).

The main reason to see it, for me, is the lead young actress Millicent Simmonds who plays a deaf girl in 1920s New York (some very creative uses of vintage footage and other devices make her black and white experiences seem of the time), and also happens to be deaf. There are not enough deaf characters in movies and on TV and never has been (as can be said about a lot of minorities mostly missing from films and TV), but here's one who should have more characters written for her unique talents.

Julianne Moore plays a few real, as well as a few stage and movie, characters entirely (as far as I can remember) without ever using her voice, quite an achievement too. Other actors, like the two male child actors Oakes Fegley and Jaden Michael in the color parts of the movie set in the 1970s, do pretty good jobs as well. All in all a daring attempt to make a unique film out of a pretty contrived and manipulative script.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

MID-DAY THOUGHTS AT A SAD TIME

In the late 1970s, I lived with my two children and for a while with the composer Rain Worthington, in an illegal (to live in back then) loft on the corner of Duane and Greenwich Streets in lower Manhattan, a neighborhood historically known as Washington Market, but which real estate interests would rebrand as Tribeca.

My kids played a few blocks away at The World Trade Center plaza, and in the towers themselves. They were like the mountains in our back yard. The old West Side Highway, only blocks from our loft, was defunct, unused by cars in years, and broken at the end which made it possible to walk up the broken part and hang out on what had been a highway but was now chipped concrete with weeds growing wild in it, like a scene in a dystopian sic-fi flick, only real.

Me and my neighbors, the few other artists and outlaws living in illegal lofts down there then, would hang out on the defunct highway on warm sunny days, sunbathing and watching our kids ride their bikes over the broken concrete, helmet-less.  A few blocks lower, toward Chambers Street, a tall wire fence had been installed on the other side of which what looked like a beach was being created.

On warm summer nights some of my neighbors would climb the fence and have beach parties near the river, like other beach communities, only not.  That was actually the landfill for what became Battery Park City. The neighborhood changed so much over the next decade and more that on returning to it in recent years I constantly get disoriented and not realize when I'm only doors away from my old loft building.

Where once there were only truck docks or empty warehouses or industrial buildings there are now high-rises and fancy restaurants and all that gentrification jive. Nice for the people living there and I suppose for those who got money to move out of their lofts and found something they could like elsewhere, but for most it was the end of an era and of an intimate creative neighborhood.

I was back living in Jersey after forty years of living elsewhere when 9/11 happened, and still there when this recent attack occurred, both in my old downtown neighborhood. It's been heart rending and continues to be.