Friday, July 30, 2021


When the BBC asked how it felt being an Olympic gold medal-winning athlete, O’Donovan said: “It’s alright, yeah. You can’t complain about it really. I wouldn’t go around introducing myself like that though.” (my peeps!)

[Before 1924, Irish athletes competed as part of the Great Britain team. One of the first notable acts of protest at an Olympic Games came in the special Athens event in 1906, when, having finished second in the long jump, Ireland’s Peter O’Connor climbed up the flagpole during the winners’ ceremony to replace the British flag with an Irish one he had smuggled in.]

Thursday, July 29, 2021


I love the way old family photos capture moments of history—personal, cultural, social, political, etc. Like this shot from the 1950s of my Uncle John Lally, who lived next door and was my father's youngest brother. A critic might say it's framed badly, but not me. I like that we can see the fancy three tone doorbell device at the top left, and the vertical pipe at the top right that came up from the cellar and went to the attic where in previous years as a little boy I slept with my two sisters who would all wake, with everyone else still sleeping, to our mother banging on it with a kitchen utensil as our human alarm clock. 

I also like the brand new knocker on the door, a rarity on our working-class block where we just used our knuckles, but my father had a home maintenance business and installed the latest trends in home accoutrements to please my mother and show off the possibilities, like the aluminum screen door when everyone else's were still wooden.

And down in the left corner on top of a radiator covering (another stylish rarity) two miniature elephant bookends kept upright a miniature library of tiny Shakespeare tomes, another of my mother's touches. She had graduated from high school so was vastly more formally educated than our father who dropped out of seventh grade to go to work. I think I was the only one who actually labored over the tiny print to read all the little volumes.

My Uncle John was the only person on our street who wore a suit and tie to work in an office, even though he only had a high school education. I adored him because he was, to me, the kindest of all the grown men in the clan and neighborhood. I would pester him to sing the latest novelty song when I was little, like "Mairsydotes and lamsydotes and liddellamsydivey" etc. and not only would he not belittle me or dismiss my pleas or make me feel foolish for my enthusiasm, but he'd also sing the song.

The story in this shot, according to my memory, is that my oldest sibling Tommy, aka Franciscan friar Father Campion, is opening the door to my Uncle John and his surprise birthday party, his wife my Aunt Mary, the only Protestant in the family but the one we all knew we could rely on, behind him. She had been a nurse at the TB hospital Uncle John went to in upstate New York in the 1930s, where they married, and would return to nursing soon after this photo was made, as Uncle John had cancer and would soon be gone.

(C) 2021 Michael Lally

Saturday, July 24, 2021


One of the loves of my life, artist Terre Bridgham, and me in the house on 10th Street in Santa Monica that I was always coming up with the monthly rent for at the last minute. If you went through the door to my right there was a door to a bathroom and another door to my son Miles's bedroom. And up the stairs was another bathroom and my daughter Caitlin's and my bedrooms. To my left the living room and beyond it my office.

This was the late 1980s, when I was in my late 40s and would soon see my kids grown and gone and the house sold, and I moved into one-and-a-half room apartment on the border of Venice with a view of the ocean. I've almost always been lucky with finding people and homes I loved, and still do when I think of them, even those that are long gone (this house is now a giant three-story McMansion).  

Wednesday, July 21, 2021



Hip folks who lived in the LA area in the late 20th Century knew him as the uniquely cool frontman of Chuck E. Weiss and The Goddam Liars—the house band for the LA club The Central before it became the infamous Viper Room. A much wider audience knew him only as a name in the Ricky Lee Jones hit "Chuck E.'s In Love."

I knew him from seeing him at The Central and in passing at other venues and events around LA. He was one of those icons of cool that you (i.e. me) secretly wish would acknowledge you and when they do makes you feel like you won something. In other words I dug him and hoped he dug me.

You can read about his many talents and accomplishments and famous accomplices and connections to our cultural history, but from the first moment I saw him, not knowing any of that, I knew I was in the presence of a force of nature. Oh, and finding out he was ten years younger than me was a shock, as my first impression was that he was around in some deeply vital way long before I was.

Condolences to his family, friends, and fans.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021


"All these years I have not had to remember these things. They have remembered themselves."  —Black Elk 

Thursday, July 15, 2021



That's actor/artist/writer Mary Woronov in the white shirt and artist/singer/writer Dianne Lawrence gesturing with her hand, two people whose work I've been a fan of from in front, as we used to say in the 1950s when the shirt I'm wearing was new (at a party in a Santa Monica rental shortly after moving there from NYC in 1982).

Wednesday, July 14, 2021


"I was not obliged, certainly, to say anything, but that argument never made sense to me." —Robert Creeley (from the preface to THE GOLD DIGGERS) 

Monday, July 12, 2021


My dear longtime (35+ yrs) friend, the writer/actor Jamie Rose, has been staying with me since Weds (leaving for LA today) and here's what that's looked like (the photo of me attempting to give the finger with two old guy gnarled hands cracks me up)...

Thursday, July 8, 2021


Me dancing at my 75th birthday party a little over four years ago. I had cataract surgery so didn't wear far sighted glasses for the first time in decades and could still finger pop (snap my fingers in both hands rapidly three times and end with a pop sound in the palm of one) as I had since teen years, but am back to full-time glasses again with right eye vision permanently diminished, and can't even snap the fingers of my right hand any more, but can still dance...

Tuesday, July 6, 2021


I've posted this poem by one of my favorite poets/writers before, but it's always worth posting again:

Friday, July 2, 2021


I remember this event occurring around this time of year (I don't remember the year). It was co-organized and run by the late great, and greatly missed, poet and poetry innovator and entrepreneur Merilene M Murphy. And the late great poet/performer/singer/songwriter/musician/etc. Yvonne de la Vega was on the bill too. In my time slot I read with Mello-Re Houston, who billed herself as Houston and sometimes as I remember it, Houston Blue, a poet whose work I found then, and do now even more, unique and powerful. The photo is of her and me at my reading at Beyond Baroque in December 2018.

Thursday, July 1, 2021


Never before seen by me photo of my second wife, actor Penelope Milford, and me, not long after we married and moved from NYC to LA in 1982 (I was 40). A volatile, short-lived but passionate marriage. She's wearing a boatneck shirt of mine I bought in The Village in the late 1950s (and still own) and I'm in a 1950s shirt I bought in an LA (Melrose) thrift shop shortly after arriving but no longer have. [Posted by old friend, the great artist/singer/writer/+, Dianne Lawrence].