Wednesday, November 25, 2020
The story of the New Zealand writer Janet Frame, it captures the poignancy of her life and the power in the most understated way, using the locations and fine acting to convey much of the emotional turmoil and trauma that shaped her life and writing. AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE is a work of art well worth watching.
Sunday, November 22, 2020
On a perfectly clear Fall day, heading back to
Fort Monmouth, I watched as other cars on
The Garden State Parkway veered onto the
shoulder and stopped, the drivers not getting
out, just sitting there. At the toll booth the man
said The president's been shot. As I drove on,
more cars pulled off the road. I could see their
drivers weeping. Back in the barracks we stayed
in the rec room watching the black and white
TV, tension in the room like static. When they
named Lee Harvey Oswald, I watched the
black guys hold their breath, hoping that meant
redneck, not spade, and every muscle in their
faces relax when he turned out to be white.
(C) 2018 Michael Lally [from Another Way To Play]
Saturday, November 21, 2020
Caught the last half of THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS last night and fell in love all over again with Madeline Stowe's and Daniel Day-Lewis's characters' romance (as well as Jodhi May's and Eric Schweig's implied romance characters). So woke up this morning thinking of some other movie character couples I fell in love with:
Teresa Wright and Dana Andrews in THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES
Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd in THE BLUE DAHLIA
Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte in BRIGHT ROAD
Robert Redford and Paul Newman in BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID
Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer in CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae in CAROUSEL
Patricia Charbonneau and Helen Shaver (one of the loves of my life) in DESERT HEARTS
Nicole Beharie and Chadwick Boseman in 42
Andie MacDowell and Hugh Grant in FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL
Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews in LAURA
Martine McCutcheon and Hugh Grant in LOVE ACTUALLY
Emma Stone and Colin Firth in MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT
Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in NOTTING HILL
Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae in OKLAHOMA!
Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney in OUT OF SIGHT
Robin Wright and Cary Elwes in THE PRINCESS BRIDE
Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd in THIS GUN FOR HIRE
Cathy O'Donnell and Farley Granger in THEY LIVE BY NIGHT
Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford in THE WAY WE WERE
Thursday, November 19, 2020
I've been thinking a lot lately of my first wife, Lee. She passed over 34 years ago after 6 years in a coma from a botched operation. So it's been 40 years since I last saw her in person. We were divorced by then. We married in August 1964 after seeing each other once in the Spring of 1961 and then only corresponding til we saw each other again three days before we got married. This is one of my favorite photos of us in the early years of our marriage, 1966, when we had settled in to a comfortable familiarity. We were 24 and 23, an old married couple.
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Irish "famine" (not)
Irish genocide (aka "famine")
IRISH MUSICIANS by Terence Winch
Irish New Year (Terence's birthday as well)
Monday, November 16, 2020
I don't know if I ever said anything but I think he got that. He was "straight" but was always sweet to me in a way few, if any, so-called "straight" men were to me at the time. I appreciated that throughout the years that followed when I often "presented" as "straight" myself and confused others with my attempts to clarify that with my writing.
Whenever I saw him through the five decades that followed, I felt that sweetness and it made me happy. That's what I'm remembering and feeling on learning that he's passed. The last time we read together was at KGB in NYC with Dale Herd in 2015 (I think), and the last time I saw him was a few years ago and still felt that tenderness from and toward him.
He will be sorely missed by many, and my heart goes out to his children and many friends and fans.
Here's a poem of his that was in BOMB in 2013 (the lines should be closer together but I can't get them there:
Dark Side of Time
Time is the solution in which the living
and the dead confer—there’s no other place for us
or them and there’s no other place to be
(except where we are), putting our feet up
on the balcony and staring out at the empty
plain—where everything is invisible and everyone
has a name (the only way back is the way
you came), and once I played Odysseus
to her Penelope, way back when, and we stepped
from the bath in someone else’s house,
and once all the lights went out in the middle
of the night and we built a fire until the storm
abated, and later—it’s getting late in the day—
we’ll have caviar and champagne—at the edge
of the crater on the Sea of Dreams,
and look down to earth as if it was all one
and the same, and leave our footprints
for those who follow.
Sunday, November 15, 2020
TRANSHOOD is an HBO documentary focused on four kids—ages 4, 7, 12, and 15—as they grow through five years of their lives as transgender or gender non-conforming children and adolescents. It's at times either heartwarming or heartbreaking, and sometimes both at once.
Ir's also poignant, frustrating, captivating, and challenging. My heart goes out to the children and their parents and the struggles they face in just living their truth as it unfolds in a world that (mostly, unfortunately, despite what progress has been made) fears that truth.
Friday, November 13, 2020
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
MY LIFE IN CRUSHES
Diane di Prima
The Pointer Sisters
The Bush Tetras
[these are all people I saw first in movies or on TV or stage or in books or on nightclub stages and got a crush on…some I eventually met and a few I became close to…I know there’s more but this is what came to mind as I thought of the decades I’ve lived through starting in the 1940s]
(C) 2020 Michael Lally
Monday, November 9, 2020
I didn't know Alex Trebek or ever meet him, but I feel like I did. I know people who've been contestants on JEOPARDY, or whose names or work came up in the answers and questions. But if I was free and near a TV on any weeknight since Trebek has been hosting the show, I've tuned in to match my wits with the contestants and often fell in love with their unique and at times quirky personalities. It felt like some kind of nerd-love home for me in which I was welcome thanks to the usually (though not always, making him authentic) gracious hosting of Alex Trebek.
Saturday, November 7, 2020
Thursday, November 5, 2020
I've posted this before but it's another favorite. I was born when FDR was still president and was two when he got reelected for the third time. But the first presidential election I paid attention to was in 1948 when I was six and predicted Truman would win despite the premature headlines declaring Dewey the victor.
This photo was taken I'd say in the late '40s or 1950, after my maternal grandmother came to live with us and began making my pants, which I never liked but didn't want to hurt her feelings. It's with my three older brothers, Robert, Tommy (who'd just become Father Campion), and Buddy. All gone and much missed.
Tuesday, November 3, 2020
—© 20013 Michael Lally (from my books SWING THEORY and ANOTHER WAY TO PLAY)
I spent the weekend binging on the seven episode Netflix series THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT, a satisfying feast of extraordinary talent. People can quibble about the mistakes in some of the chess talk and moves, or the anachronistic lapses in dialogue or style, but every element that goes into making any kind of movie or series compelling and entertaining was perfection. The direction, the acting, the cinematography, the art direction, the editing, the soundtrack, et al.—glorious perfection.
And as for the two main leads playing the protagonist at different stages of childhood and adolescence, Isla Johnston and Anya Taylor-Joy (the latter I recognized from PEAKY BLINDERS) should both win every acting award that exists.
Sunday, November 1, 2020
The best way to celebrate the Celtic New Year, and the birthday of national treasure (and longtime dearest friend) Terence Winch's birthday, is to buy his latest book, SEEING-EYE BOY. As my blurb on the cover says, it's "not just the lyrically precise and definitive story of what it was like being a smart and sensitive Irish-American adolescent in the Bronx of the 1950s—it's the lyrically precise and definitive story of what it's like being a smart and sensitive adolescent anywhere, anytime."
[PS: and if, like me, you always felt insulted by Richard Price's THE WANDERERS grotesque distortion of the Irish gang in the Bronx of the 1950s, here's the antidote, a more honest and insightful perspective on that time and place.]
[PPS: plus you get a beautiful object with Susan Campbell's perfect cover design.]