"I never gave away anything without wishing I had kept it; nor kept anything without wishing I had given it away." —Louise Brooks (from a NewYorker article on her by Kenneth Tynan)
Thursday, August 25, 2022
Me and one of my favorite poets, music makers, and humans: Mello-Re Houston, at my poetry reading at Beyond Baroque in Venice CA in December 2018. Wishing her the happiest of birthdays today, August 25th. I totally identify with her commitment to making her life into her art.
Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Brilliantly directed and edited documentary about the lives and careers of Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman made by Ethan Hawke. Two of the last movie actors to be made into stars by the old studio system before its demise, Woodward was the first to achieve stardom and was later overshadowed by Newman, her husband.
It seems Newman and his friends and associates had been audio taped for a biography of him that he grew disenchanted with so destroyed the tapes. But later transcripts of the tapes were discovered, so Hawke got actors—like Laura Linney and George Clooney for the leads (Linney gets the essence of Woodward, as Newman, Clooney just does Clooney, but it worked for me)—to play the now deceased real people.
Using footage from their movies to match the commentary or mood of the memories, the six-part doc works perfectly for my taste. I had a tooth pulled last week and used the recovery time to binge it. Highly recommend.
Friday, August 19, 2022
It was controversial from the get go because of its too-muchness. Made from hundreds of small square tiles, combined to create patterns or scenes or not, in ways that you could dig up close as separate artworks or step back and get a bigger pattern or scene and then even more by stepping back further. I went back to immerse myself in it day after day while the exhibit lasted. Dragging my kids and lovers and friends to it too.
I wrote about it, but this was the pre-computer and social media era and I can't remember where it might have been published (but it may be in my archives at NYU). To me it was and is perfect, but even the person who wrote the intro to the coffee table book about it, Roberta Smith, called it "imperfect" (which came out in 1981 and I still cherish my copy, signed by Jennifer, though it's no substitute for a full immersion in the whole piece).
I loved her writing too and remember her reading at Saint Mark's an interminable list of the brand names of various products that I slowly realized was a completely unique new way of writing an autobiography. She was one of a kind (as I guess we all are) and I'm sorry to hear of her passing, though it sounds like it was for the best. Rest In Painting, and poetry, Jennifer Bartlett.
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Wednesday, August 3, 2022
A detailed record and analysis of the last several decades that transformed Ireland politically, spiritually, and culturally, by a journalist who experienced and/or witnessed first hand, and wrote about, the changes as they were happening, I found this account so engaging I "couldn't put it down" as they say.
I don't know how those without an interest in Ireland and the Irish will respond to O'Toole's book, but for those who are into the ongoing story of the Irish at home and abroad, this is quite a successful feat of tying a lot of historic currents and upheavals into an impressive and informative document worth reading.
Tuesday, August 2, 2022
Joel Kim Booster wrote, produced, and stars in this loose adaptation of Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE update to the 21st Century and set in the summer vacation getaway, especially for gay men, FIRE ISLAND. Directed by Andre Ahnm and co-starring Bowen Yang and Margaret Cho, it's worth seeing just for the fact it's a Hollywood style rom-com that stars Asian-Americans who happen to be gay (a first as far as I know), let alone that it's at times uncontrollable laughter inducing.
It's mostly light but has enough serious issues depth to anchor it to present realities (pre-covid though) and give us a reason to switch allegiances as in the Austen version (Conrad Ricamore as the Mister Darcey reincarnation is excellent, as is the entire cast). Perfect summer fun movie, though with much more sex than the usual Hollywood hetero norm fare (fair warning). Hope it's successful enough to pave the way for more trailblazing movies like this one.