Friday, July 1, 2022

KENWARD ELMSLIE R. I. P.

 
This photo (taken by ?) best captures the way I remember Kenward in the 1970s when we spent a lot  of time at his place or mine for dinners and parties and just hanging out. He was, to me, an exceptionally gentle and generous person. At the time he was the wealthiest human I'd ever been friends with, and I may have been as exotic to him. 

He was a poet/playwright/performer/fiction writer/opera and song lyricist, whose most outrageous work a lot of people didn't get, but I love everything I ever read of his or saw performed. His writing was sometimes compared to the Dadaists of the early 20th Century, and he was also seen as part of the first generation of "New York School" poets who were all his friends.

His most accessible writing (though it all seems accessible to me, if you can surrender to its own logic) were lyrics for an opera about Lizzie Borden and the "only song" he wrote lyrics to that "ever made it to a juke box" as he told me, called "Love-wise"–but the writing that impacted me the most was his short fiction collection:The Orchid Stories.

Last time I saw him, I thanked him for all his kindnesses to me and as always he seemed embarrassed by my gratitude, but also touched by it. I'm still grateful.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

1000 YEARS OF JOYS AND SORROWS: A Memoir by Ai Weiwei

 
The artist and political activist Ai Weiwei's memoir covers the history of more than a century of resistance to repressive authoritarian political forces in China through the stories of his father's and his lives. His father was a revolutionary and renowned poet who was acclaimed and then attacked by the Chinese Communist Party, whereas his son was mostly just attacked.

I'm a great admirer of Ai Weiwei's courage as both an artist and activist so found this book compelling as well as revelatory. The English of translator Allan S. Barr is accessible and clear, except at times for Ai Weiwei's father's poetry, more clumsily rendered. If you're an art, or history, or Chinese culture, or Ai Weiwei fan or student, as I am, you should find this book as engaging as I did.

In the context of current events, it is also a tribute to resistance against restrictions on human rights.

Friday, June 24, 2022

QUOTE FOR TODAY

To paraphrase early 20th century activist Joe Hill writing to supporters after he was sentenced to be executed by firing squad:

DON'T MOURN. ORGANIZE!

MORE 80TH BIRTHDAY PHOTOS (ALMOST A MONTH AGO)

 
standing left to right: my grandchild Donovan, Abi, Will, Alec, John, Lilian, Mark, my cousin MaryLynn, and me sitting

left to right: Nick, Beth, Karen, my son-in-law Ed, daughter Caitlin, niece Lisa, Gabrielle, and me
standing left to right: Rain, Susan, brother-in-law Evan, Frosty, Barbara (?), John, Dick, Mary, Cindi; and sitting: me, sister-in-law Luloo, Brendan, and Heather

Sunday, June 19, 2022

FATHERHOOD 2

 
Favorite photo of my father (crouching) and me (to his right), cause the only shot showing his tenderness to me (and the other troublemaker in the family, my brother Robert to his left). In front of my grandma Dempsey's home in Belmar NJ, where I spent the summers of my boyhood. In back row, my mother, sister Joan, mother's mother, brother Tommy (aka Father Campion, Franciscan friar) and sister Irene (our brother Buddy not present). All gone now, except me.

FATHERHOOD

 

Me and my kids (Flynn in hat, Miles with hand on my shoulder, Caitlin sitting on floor) and grandkids (Donovan in front of bookcase, Deak on couch) in my new house with permanent indoor xmas lights. Happy days.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

DAY AFTER BLOOMSDAY QUOTES

"...as he walked down the avenue and felt the gray morning light falling about him through the dripping trees and smelt the strange wild smell of  the wet leaves and bark, his soul was loosed of her miseries." —James Joyce (from Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man)

"Are you right there, Michael, are you right? Do you think you can hold on by sitting tight?" —James Joyce (from Finnegans Wake) 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

REUNION

These photos are from a clan reunion in the 1980s (when I was in my 40s) of me standing alone in my vintage shirt, and jitterbugging with my sister Irene to music being made by our sister-in-law Catherine on accordion and and our brother Buddy on sax. Our brother Robert sitting next to him. All of them gone now.



Tuesday, June 14, 2022

DUNCAN HANNAH R.I.P.

The artist and writer, Duncan Hannah, always seemed so young, his boyish charm and charisma, that it was a shock to hear he had passed from a heart attack at 69 (or 70 by some accounts). I doubt there was anyone who ever met him who wasn't attracted to him, I certainly was and always felt happy to be in his presence. He was always frank and understated in our conversations, like his art, despite his and its power to impress you (I guess I should say me). Over the past few decades he grew into a kind of James Mason sophisticated elegance that was as much a delight to be around as his boyish charm. He will be deeply missed by many.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

ACTING INTERVIEW

One of the few times I've been interviewed about my acting career. My Parkinson's weak voice on speaker phone isn't always as clear as I'd like, but I think it's an interesting personal account of acting in  movies and on  TV over my lifetime. Thanks to Tommy Kovac and his Splat From The Past podcast.

Here's the link.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT BOOKSTORES

I'm a little hard to understand at times but still interesting, I hope.

Here's the link.

 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osyAULNM1rQ>

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

DC BOOKSTORES HISTORY

check out this online event wednesday june 8th 7-8pm, especially if you ever spent time in DC



Sunday, June 5, 2022

PRIDE

This is a Gay Pride crosswalk in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, the nearest big town to the small New York state town I live in now. The Jersey town I lived in for the previous 22 years and change also had a Gay Pride crosswalk. That may seem like a small thing, but it isn't to me. I've been "out" as a member of the LGBTQ+ community for 51 of my 80 years and am quite proud of that.
[photo by my cousin Tracee Sinclair]

Friday, June 3, 2022

MORE FROM MY 80TH

Dear friends: Nela, Gwyn, and Beth at my 80th...

and John and Lilian...
and Luloo and Evan...
and Chris and Tami...
and Abi and Will...

Thursday, June 2, 2022

ANOTHER PHOTO FROM MY 80TH

 

My best friends for over 50 years from when we all met in DC: Karen Allen, me, and Terence Winch.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

CELEBRATION

Here's some photos from the celebration of my 80th my oldest children, Caitlin and Miles (with help from their partners Ed and Hannah, and their kids Deak and Donovan) and my lifelong dearest friend Karen Allen threw for me. I can't remember who took which ones, sorry.

Best friend Terence Winch interrogating me about the party (my daughter Caitlin Hotaling in background in white and my cousin Mary Lynn Lally in brown).
Terence Winch displaying one-of-a-kind tee shirt he had made with the cover of my last book on it.
Me and my closest cousin, Mary Lynn Lally, (grew up next door and only a year younger) and her daughter Tracee Sinclair.
My grandchild Deak, my daughter Caitlin, me, my son Miles, and my grandchild Donovan.
Dear friend David Mansfield and me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

FECKIN' 80!

Me in my first month(s?) the first time I wore a dress (for my Baptism) 1942, and in a mid-finger-popping (which I no longer can do) portrait by the great rock'n'roll photographer (and dear friend) Lynn Goldsmith in the winter of 1981-'82 (my cold weather outfit of two button shirts under a custom leather (gift from my second wife, Penelope Milford, while she was making a movie in Italy)). Ah, life.

[PS: 2 of my favorite books]







Tuesday, May 24, 2022

A BIRTHDAY MOVIE LIST

woke up a week before my 80th birthday with the first decades of an eight decade list of movies that impacted my life (and not always positively) and finished it the day before:

1942 CASABLANCA
1943 GOING MY  WAY
1944 LAURA
1945 THE BELLS OF SAINT MARY'S
1946 THE BLUE DHALIA
1947 OUT OF THE PAST
1948 I REMEMBER MOMMA
1949 THE THIRD MAN
1950 CINDERELLA
1951 STRANGERS ON A TRAIN
1952 THE QUIET MAN
1953 STALAG 17
1954 ON THE WATERFRONT
1955 MARTY
1956 THE SEARCHERS
1957 SAYANORA
1958 SOUTH PACIFIC
1959 BLACK ORPHEUS and SHADOWS
1960 SPARTACUS
1961 WEST SIDE STORY
1962 DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES and DAVID AND LISA
1963 81/2
1964 DR. STRANGELOVE and AIN'T NOTHING BUT A MAN
1965 A HARD DAY'S NIGHT
1966 THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS
1967 MARAT/SADE
1968 MONTEREY POP
1969 BURN
1970 THE BOYS IN THE BAND
1971 THE CONFORMIST
1972 THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT
1973 THE WAY WE WERE
1974 THE GODFATHER PART II
1975 THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR
1976 THE MISSOURI BREAKS
1977 ERASERHEAD
1978 ANIMAL HOUSE
1980 COMING HOME and LAST RITES (AKA DRACULA'S LAST RITES)
1981 RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and THE NESTING
1982 BLADE RUNNER and TOOTSIE
1983 A CHRISTMAS STORY
1984 STARMAN
1985 DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN
1986 CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD
1987 PRINCESS BRIDE and FULL METAL JACKET and MOONSTRUCK
1988 BEETLEJUICE
1989 MY LEFT FOOT and LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN
1990 THE FIELD
1991 THE COMMITMENTS and WHITE FANG and RAMONA!
1992 BASIC INSTINCT and COOL WORLD
1993 IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER
1994 THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH
1995 EMPIRE RECORDS and 12 MONKEYS
1996 SWINGERS
1997 GROSSE POINTE BLANK and IN & OUT
1998 OUT OF SIGHT
1999 ELECTION
2000 REQUIEM FOR A DREAM
2001 THE OTHERS
2002 GANGS OF NEW YORK
2003 AMERICAN SPLENDOR
2004 NAPOLEON DYNAMITE
2005 BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN and A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
2006 THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY
2007 ONCE
2008 IN BRUGES and SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
2009 UP IN THE AIR
2010 THE FIGHTER
2011 THE GUARD
2012 SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
2013 12 YEARS A SLAVE
2014 BOYHOOD
2015 THE DANISH GIRL
2016 MOONLIGHT
2017 GET OUT
2018 BLACK 47 and BLACK PANTHER
2019 PARASITE
2020 MA RAINY'S BLACK BOTTOM
2021 CODA
2022 we'll see

Thursday, May 19, 2022

BOB NEUWIRTH R.I.P.

First time I saw Bobby Neuwirth was on screen as Bob Dylan's wingman in the 1967 documentary about Dylan's last solo acoustic tour of England in 1965 just before he went electric. There was a moment in the film where both Bobs are in a lobby off a hotel lounge where a jazz combo is playing and Neuwirth starts making fun of the jazz cat image in a belittling way that made me want to smack him. In 1965 I was still in the military trying to support my wife and me on the lowest rank pay, supplementing it by playing jazz piano in places like that while watching the British invasion replace jazz with rock'n'roll in most of the venues I played in.

So when I met Neuwirth in person in New York around 1980 I was predisposed to not like him. But after I moved to LA in '82, I got to know him pretty well and found him still capable of devastating sarcasm, but also of unconditional friendship. I learned he was a unique singer/songwriter and painter, and always there when I went to him for any kind of help. I came to rely on  him when I got myself into my usual predicaments. His advice was always sound and specific. I know he will be sorely missed by many. Condolences to all who knew and dug him.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

MOMS

 

My father, his Irish immigrant mother, my oldest (of seven) sibling Tommy (in Army Air Corps uniform), my mother's mother, my mom, and me, during WWII. My mom passed when I was 23, on May 9th, 1966, fifty-six years ago tomorrow.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

CARRIE WHITE R.I.P.

 
Carrie White was a Hollywood hairdresser (actually Beverly Hills mostly) known for styling the hair of the famous and celebrated (as well as the not so famous and celebrated, like me, though she just gave me a trim now and then for auditions) and lived the kind of thrill ride life that you'd want to read in a book (which you can, her bestseller memoir UPPER CUT) or watch in a movie (which we'll all be able to do when the movie based on the memoir, now in development comes out), or be a part of, which I fortunately was for almost forty years. Just one of the many lucky ones to count her as a dear and endearing and enduring and entertaining and encouraging friend. Condolences to all who knew and loved her.

Monday, May 2, 2022

ME WITH MORE POETS

Two of my favorite poets, Maureen Owen on the East Coast with me after a reading I did at St. Mark's in The East Village in the early 2000s, and Mello-Re Houston on the West Coast with me after a reading I did at Beyond Baroque in Venice Beach in 2018.




Friday, April 29, 2022

POETS

I met poet Ray DiPalma at the U. of Iowa in the Fall of 1966 and we became lifelong friends. We had periods of estrangement, but we always got past them and his last words to me over the phone only days before he passed were "I love you." Here we are in the late 1960s, and at a reading we did at Saint Mark's Poetry Project in the early 20teens.




Wednesday, April 27, 2022

"POETRY MONTH"

 As I've said before, every month is "Poetry Month" to me, and "Black History" and "Gay Pride" and "Women's History" etc. month too. But I still woke up this morning with a list of thirty (one for each day of April) off the top of my head favorite living poets (and could easily add 30 or 60 or 90 more):

Terence Winch
Elinor Nauen
Geoffrey Young
Simon Pettet
Maureen Owen
Gary Snyder
Patricia Spears Jones
Elaine Equi
Jerome Sala
Sean Thomas Daugherty
Thomas Devaney
Theresa Burns
Stella Kamakaris
Eileen Myles
Quincey Troupe
Annabel Lee
Maria Serrano
Jose Funes
Wang Ping
Joel Lewis
Harry E.Northup
Chris Mason
Susan Hayden
Pam Ward
Wanda Phipps
Ellen Maybe
Bill Zavatsky
Lonely Christopher
Keri Smith
Maria Mazziottti Gillan

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

"POETRY MONTH" LIST

Off the top of my head, this list for "poetry month" of twenty poets I knew personally who are now gone but inspired me early in my life as a poet:

Diane di Prima

Bob Kaufman

Joel Oppenheimer

Allen Ginsberg

Joanne Kyger

Robert Creeley

Etheridge Knight

Audre Lorde

James Schuyler

John Ashbury

Kenneth Koch

Barbara Guest

Ted Berrigan

Anselm Hollo

Ralph Dickey

Michael S. Harper

Ed Cox

Lorenzo Thomas

Joe Brainard

Lee Lally

Sunday, April 17, 2022

EASTER 2022

outside my window

it's snowing, big flakes

falling on the daffodils

and forsythia bushes,

the bright yellows and

greens. gray sky, white

snow, some sun beams

too! all these realities

blossoming at once

like the days of my life


(C) 2022 Michael Lally

Thursday, April 14, 2022

THE MICHAELS

 
Me and longtime friend actor-poet Michael O'Keefe in a photo booth somewhere I'd guess (by my glasses) around 1990? I never saw this before today (4/14/22)...but it brings me much joy to encounter it now...

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

PARKINSON'S AWARENESS

Just found out yesterday was Parkinson's Awareness Day. I don't even know what that's supposed to mean. I am quite aware I have Parkinson's, thank you. Hopefully if you have it, you're aware you do too. Okay, moving (disorderly) (it's a "movement disorder") on.

Monday, April 11, 2022

SIBLINGS DAY

Saw that yesterday was siblings day (who determines these "day" designations?) so here's a photo I'm sure I've posted before of me and mine during World War Two. My oldest sibling Tommy holding me in his arms had just joined The Army Air Corps, the next oldest, "Buddy" to his right, would soon join The Navy. Next, to Tommy's left, is Robert, then Joan in front of Robert and me, then Irene, and in the gap between Irene and me was John, who passed as an infant. All gone now, only me still here, but on that day (I would guess by the clothes that it's Easter Day) entire lifetimes were still to come.


Thursday, April 7, 2022

HISTORY

I forgot to mention last month marked half a century since I "came out" and became a Gay Rights activist (already being a Women's Rights, Civil Rights, and Anti-War activist). I was 29 and it was March 1972 when homosexuality was still considered a mental disease and homosexual intimacy a crime. It led to my losing some friends and family and my then job teaching at Trinity College, a Catholic women's school in DC.

I was what most people called "bi-" but I called "pansexual" because I didn't see my sexual relations as only two kinds but as varied as each encounter was. I was part of The Gay Liberation Front but backed away in later years when the movement fragmented into opposing positions on various goals, and because in the latter 1970s I was raising a young son in New York on my own and didn't want to lose custody.

I wrote poetry about it from that March moment on, including some graphically sexual and sensual poems and suffered exclusion from some literary scenes and magazines, but was embraced by others. Some bookstores refused to carry my poetry books grumbling to the publishers that they didn't know where to shelve them: "Is he gay or straight orr what?" etc. I always preferred the term "queer" because it encompasses so much, and I wish we'd had the term "fluid" back then too (we called it gender bending).

Here's three photos of me in DC shortly before I came out, shortly after, and two years later [the steely-eyed one was taken by Len Randolph, the Madame Binh tee shirt one by Tom Wilson (tee shirt by Jimmy Fouratt) and me in the chair by I don't remember] (I wish someone had photographs of me when I wore dresses at protests and public events etc.) .

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

BOBBY RYDELL R.I.P.

 
I met Bobby Rydell in 1960 before he was a big star, in movies and all, but was a star to those of us his age, 18, who hadn't come close to achieving what he already had. It happened when I briefly attended a Catholic college in upstate NY. Here's a sonnet I wrote about it from an unpublished series about that time:


Tom was from South Carolina. Smart, dark,

and good looking, he dressed more like 

someone on their way to church than ready

to jump up on a bandstand and wail, like me,

when we ran in the black clubs around Olean.

My roommate, Marino Vincente, Champ to

his friends, a tough little Italian from Philly, 

dug Sinatra as much as I did. Old friends

with Bobby Rydell, Champ took me to see

Rydell’s show when it was in Buffalo, then

backstage to meet his neighborhood buddy,

whose real name, Champ said, was Riderelli.

My first time in a star’s dressing room. Both

unexpectedly humble: the room and Rydell.