Friday, December 2, 2016

JAMES STASZKIEL R.I.P. (I THINK THAT'S THE CORRECT SPELLING)

Jim and I were in the cast of the play Balm In Gilead during it's premier run in L.A. in 1983. He was a unique personality as well as actor. I loved working with him and getting to know him and becoming friends with him and hanging out with him. I lost touch after I moved back East.

But others in the cast, the tightest knit group of people I've ever worked with on any production, stage, screen, radio or whatever, kept in touch with him as he receded from L.A. and became what looked to me from a distance like a genuine mountain man, who called himself "Whisper."

Jim was profoundly himself, catering to no one else's ideas of who he should be, for which I greatly admired him, and always will. My condolences to his family and friends, among which I am proud to have been included for many years.

[This is the cast of the '83 L.A. production of Landford Wilson's Balm In Gilead, with Jim down in the lower left hand corner of the photo in checkered shirt and me on one knee in bookending him in the lower right hand corner of the shot...]

Thursday, December 1, 2016

ONCE UPON A TIME

My three older brothers and me, looks like around 1960 or so. They were much older than me, as you can see, and bigger (the street is on an incline so it's hard to see they're taller than me). They're all gone now but still in my heart.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

AN OLD FAVORITE QUOTE (THAT IS STILL RELEVANT, IF NOT MORE SO)

"Neither America nor the Western tradition which America has brought to maturity will be rightly understood until one understands that free enterprise is ultimately a political theory, that it bases itself on an ethical premise of conflict, and that its virtue system appropriately confers esteem and privilege not upon the humane (although humanity is not precluded) but upon the willful and relentless—the powerful."  —Carl Oglesby (from Containment and Change, a 1967 book that had a major impact on my ongoing radicalization at the time)

Monday, November 28, 2016

TIME

Yesterday was my oldest son Miles's birthday. Here he is in a double shot of us in our Manhattan pad back in the 1970s when it was just him and me living together, and then him a few years ago on a winter day in The Berkshires where he lives now.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

MUSICAL INTERLUDE

When THE LAST WALTZ came out I had been somehow underrating Joni Mitchell for years and not appreciating her presence and charisma. For whatever reason I couldn't even see why people found her attractive. So her performance wasn't even near my favorite from that documentary/concert film.

Then about a decade after it my daughter away at college in Vermont when I visited made me sit down facing her record player and speakers and she put on Joni's LP BLUE and made me listen to the whole thing and I got it, her unique musical genius. But I still found her unattractive.

Then another two decades later I had a brain operation which changed some of my thinking and taste, including finding myself falling in love with women on film whom I'd previously had no attraction whosoever to, like Meryl Streep, Annette Benning, Mitzi Gaynor....and it turns out: Joni Mitchell.

So I now find this clip from THE LAST WALTZ not only my favorite, but every time I see it I fall in love with Joni Mitchell all over again. Life. What a trip.