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


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



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


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.



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


" 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


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


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


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


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

Here's the link.


Tuesday, June 7, 2022


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

Sunday, June 5, 2022


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


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



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

Wednesday, June 1, 2022


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.