“… even sweetest lies
(the bright vermillion
of wayward litanies and disbelief)
wear out the bond of trust …”
“I’m holed up in Superville … flat broke … what happened is this: I took off with Dick (you know him) in his Dyno … The idea was to sell it here & score for the uh amenities … By the time we got to Cuneo Lingo the engine broke down … it cost us 200 to get it fixed … That was all the dough we had between us … I tell you we crawled into town on all fours … So we sit in this café nursing a glass of lemon juice & trying to figure out what next … when out of the blue this chick appears & sits down at our table: Suzie Wong (you know her!) … & now dig this: she’s got a Dyno & … well, you can guess the rest … This hick country is strictly from General Motors … & anyone trying to get rid of a European car invariably finds himself facing a solid wall of hostility & suspicion … shoved around by rude inspectors, searched at customs, the works …”
I see from the morning paper that Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen were on Broadway as surprise guests in an improv hip-hop comedy and that Mirren is quoted as saying, “We are so outside of our comfort zones.” Given that the only other time they were on a Broadway stage together—in a Strindberg’s “Dance of Death”—Rodney Dangerfield couldn’t have said it better. Let me take you back to the year 2000.
“Now and again a poet is found who is a complex of many capabilities and patterns, all relating but none so isolating in its practice that the one is lost to the other. I have marveled for years at Gerard Malanga’s articulate endurance as a poet.”— Robert Creeley
“Some memoirs feel more trustworthy than others. Nhi tells her stories not in a straight line but more like a roundelay. Outsider, refugee, immigrant, outsider again…. Some of her memories are horribly sad, others are funny, and all are recounted with a simple grace and an admirable survivor’s strength.” — John Stausbaugh, author of City of Sedition and Victory City.
MoMA’s redesigned galleries have put some great previously unseen pieces on display, like Wolf Vostell’s antiwar art. Lipstick tubes replace bombs in a “widely circulated war photograph” of a B-52 dropping its bomb load over Vietnam. I won’t argue with MoMA’s explanatory description that Vostell was “equating mindless consumerism with apathy toward contemporary injustices and violence.” Of course he was. But I would go much further than those abstractions. Seems to me he was equating it with mass murder and genocide. Coincidentally, a friend sent me a 50-year-old “telegram collage” about the Mi Lai massacre of March 1968, which he happened to see in some library archive. No abstractions here.
In a rave review of what he calls a “vastly insightful” biography of Nelson Algren, Andrew O’Hagan sums up his admiration for Algren. O’Hagan describes not only what made him a shamefully unsung master who deserves recognition among the greats of the modern American literary canon but also why he was denied it.
“The art world has disfigured the legacy of the Puerto Rican Lower East Side artist Angel ‘LA2’ Ortiz by failing to acknowledge his contribution to Keith Haring’s work. Nobody has dealt with the racist issue of his exclusion from the Keith Haring legacy. Nobody of any consequence in the art world has the internal strength to deal with this ‘oversight.’ We all know what it is like to be cheated out of our rightful credit. But years’s worth of credit? Even though Ortiz’s art is clearly visible for all the world to see in Haring’s work? Ortiz has been cheated out of his credit in shows at prestigious museums, in books published by powerful institutions like the Whitney, and in credit left off Haring’s work at a world-famous auction house. Just totally ignored. Would that happen to a white artist?” — Clayton Patterson.
“This worldly, richly layered adaptation of Sinclair Lewis’s 1929 novel is one of the triumphs of the storied career of director William Wyler—and that’s saying a lot.” (New York Film Festival.) The chapter about the making of “Dodsworth”—and what went on behind the scenes—also was among the most pleasurable to write for my biography of Wyler.
Once upon a time Burt Britton asked me for a self-portrait. He subsequently included it in SELF-PORTRAIT: Book People Picture Themselves. I sent him as minimal an image as I could think of. More than three decades later he put all the originals up for auction. As I wrote at the time, many went unsold—Tomi Ungerer’s, Frank Gehry’s, Jorge Luis Borges’s. Which was ridiculous. More peculiar, mine found a buyer.
The Something Else Factor: Alison Knowles, Barbara Moore, Martha Wilson and I will be participating this evening in a panel about the glory days of Something Else Press, moderated by Hannah B. Higgins, at the Emily Harvey Foundation. It’s the first of four discussions organized by Christian Xatrec and Alice Centamore. The events are free. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Born in 1948, underweight, no ears, and on Christmas Eve dumped on a church step. In the ’40s and ’50s people were afraid of the deaf. Imagine the mental isolation. The system had no way of dealing with a deaf orphan. He was placed in Pressley Rigeway for Disturbed Children and Home for Cripple Children, and seven foster homes.