Sunday, July 30, 2006

Cry 3: The Finale, or Borrowed desktop clearing Sunday

p.s. I don't like to do related posts so close together in time, but I've been on a mom-son (plus sometimes daughter) incest porn kick while in LA, and, well, I guess the day's title says it all. On the contest: some people have picked numbers that were already taken and will need to choose new numbers if they want to be in the contest. They are: trecko, mbuitron, michael karo, gus trenor, hedi, will, danny, dooflow, and dave. I'm sorry about the numbers difficulty. The last time I did a contest, this blog had a lot fewer visitors. Do try to post your guesses in the comments area of yesterday's post if you can. That'll make it easier to see if numbers already have people's names on them or not. For what it's worth, the numbers that are still available for picking as of the time of this post are: 6, 10, 12, 20-22, 25-28, 30, 31, 33, 36, 38, 40, 43, 49, 50, 55, 56, 58, 59, 62-64, 67, 70, 74-76, 79-81, 84, 86-96, 98, 100. But, obviously, depending on when you read this, double check the 'entries' before picking. Again, sorry for the confusion. It's really nice to see the contest pulling blog readers out of the woodwork, so I want give a really warm welcome to np0804, field_extension, dooflow, abel, florian, jonas, nycdork, summer, matt, laney, pete, goo-goo, and anyone else I might have missed. I'm on my way back to Paris and Yury and lots of visa-related preparations and the official start of 'Kindertotenlieder's' construction today. I'm hoping all that will prevent me falling back into my bad funk, at least until the fateful date of the visa interview. Oh, I want to add to any of my friends who might be reading this, I managed to lose my phone book of 15 years while I was here, and with it the contact info for all my friends, so, if you're seeing this, that's probably why I didn't call while here, and, if you don't mind, email me your info when you get a chance so I can start over, ugh. Like I said, there'll be no post tomorrow, but I'll be back on Tuesday at the more usual Paris posting time schedule. Now I'll try to do some real quick responses before I zoom off. ** Saa viccenzo, We're getting very close to the time when you and the other 'Userlands' contributers will be hearing from me re. the edit, etc. Adopt you? That's tempting, but with me on this incest porn kick, that might not be the safest thing to do, ha ha, not that I guess you would mind so much, ha ha again. Thank you, my prince. ** Momo, How awesome that you got and like the Buffy Sainte-Marie and early Bee Gees. The Bee Gees really were wonderful for a short time in the late 60s. You doing okay? Boy, how great that you got to stay in Germany for so many reasons right now. ** Dynomoose, It sure does seem like 'Userlands' would qualify for that prize. Interesting, indeed. I'll consult with Akashic about how we can submit the book, and, if by some miracle we win, the contributors can split the prize. Nice. Thanks a lot. I knew nothing about that. ** Katsim, It's so nice to see you. I've wondering how you were. Great about September 18th. Really great. Hey, maybe Yury and I will get lucky too and we can clink glasses for real. You take care. If you have time, let me/us know how everything goes, okay? ** Laurabethnoble, A really early Happy Birthday, though I hope I'll see you here before then and can congratulate you in a more timely manner. ** Christopher michael stamm, I'm glad you're doing well. Investigating esoterica is a good sign of something, I think. I hope today's post doesn't cause a ruckus at your work. ** Atheist, That popularity poll is interestingly telling about something or other for sure. I'm going to have to hunt those stats down. Latvia must be curious place to be so magnetized by Klark. Hm. ** Nyc dork, I only draw a skull and crossbones for people who seem particularly cool, so thanks, cool dude. ** Rigby101, No, there's never been an audio version of any of my books. That's a good idea though. The upcoming 'I Apologize' soundtrack CD has my voice reading a whole bunch of texts against Peter Rehberg/Pita's music. That's the closest, I guess. I'm gonna track down and read Havoc. Thanks a lot. For the first few years that I lived in my current LA apartment, Joe Dallesandro lived on my street about four blocks from me and three doors down from Leonardo DiCaprio, but, unlike Leo, who I saw everywhere all the time before he moved, I never once laid eyes on Joe Dallesandro. Yeah, what is he doing these days? David ehrenstein, you must know. ** Tosh, You're such a flirt. Goodness. ** T.pkendall, Yeah, sounds like a swell day, congrats, oh deserving one. ** Hedi, Baja sounds nice. It's cooled down here in LA quite nicely for you. I'm sorry didn't to get to see you this trip, but, if cows can fly, I might see you with Yury in tow quite, quite soon. Take care of yourself. ** 5stringaphasia, I'm going to show what a Metal novice I secretly am, but Phil ... Lynott? That's not the right Phil is it? ** Brooklynserpico, I'm sorry to hear you've been in a funk. I have too, for sure. So never feel shy about sharing the funk here, if you want, signed your brother in funk, Dennis. ** Porcelain skull, Oh, I know re. Billy's passing. That really sucks, but a new, even more amazing Billy is just a wisp away, I reckon hopefully. ** Antonio, I know. The numbers rule has been outnumbered by the populace, it seems. Next contest I'll think up rules more befitting the groundswell. Any ideas? ** Tigersare, Thank you, thank you. Whenever DP Day is ready, I'll be more than ready. God, I almost made a Helen Reddy joke. I must be really stressed about my flight today. Yikes. ** Morgan, I'm really, really glad the decision got made so smoothly. Yeah, it'll be fine, for sure. Oh, 'Perv' is great. Did I already tell you that? ** Paradigm, It's really good to see you. Oh, when CT Day is ready, send whatever texts and images, links, etc. to: If you have an idea of the Day's design/look, just give me the appropriate instructions and I'll recreate your Day to your specifications as closely as I can. Any questions or anything, just ask. I'm really glad and grateful to hear it's still in the works. That documentary series sounds wild. I don't know if I could watch it. I'm weirdly sqeamish, but I'd definitely try. Maybe it'll end up on youtube because everything does. Thanks, man. ** Jax, Thanks a lot. Everything went fine with my family yesterday. Listen, what's going on in Lebannon ... a lot of my LA trip involved me and everyone I saw venting in horror and hopelessness and fury about that. I just don't know what the fuck is going on that that can just keep going on and on every day without anyone or anything able to stop it. But I'm just yelling in circles like everybody else. Unbelievable. ** Nikolas, Yeah, huge congrats, pal. I'll be in touch once I touch down in Paris and get my brain in order. A Robert Wyatt Day would be stellar? Anybody interested? Otherwise, I'll put it on my to-do pile. ** Cautivos, There you are. I'm so, so sorry about your unhappiness. We miss you here, if that helps. I've seen the Sopranos maybe twice, and I've never seen Six Feet Under. Weird, I know, but I never got HBO on my American TV, and you need HBO in the States to watch them, and you need cable in Paris to watch them, and one of my residency's flaws is that they don't have cable TV in the building. You like them? You take care of yourself. ** Oh shit, I'm running late. I've gotta go. You all take care until I see you here again.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Blog Contest #6

It's been so long since I've held one of my blog contests that I doubt most of you know what the fuck I'm talking about. Anyway, for fun and with thanks to the people who read this blog, I hereby announce the sixth contest in my ongoing if very sporadic series. Winners will receive one of the hard to find, me-related books on the list below, signed to you by me. The rules are the same ones I've always used: I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 100. What is it? The deadline for entries is midnight this coming Thursday, August 3rd, in your time zone. Post your guesses in the comments section below, although it's okay to post them in any of the comments sections between now and the deadline if need be. Make sure you don't guess a number that's already been entered in the contest because in that case it's first come first serve. There'll be four winners. The person who guesses the right number or comes the closest will have his or her pick of the prizes. The second closest will pick a prize among the remaining ones, and so on. I'll announce the winners on Friday. I'll ask the top winner to pick his or her prize and send their mailing address to the usual email address, and then we'll just go down the line of winners until we're done. Understood? If you have any questions about the rules or anything, just ask. Otherwise, if you're interested in snagging one of these items, good luck to you.

#1. JERK (1993): Seeing as how I've been mentioning 'Jerk' here lately due to its current transformation into a French radio play, and because it's o.o.p. and an extra copy just popped up in my search through some boxes in LA, and since it's a prettily designed, quasi-children's style book with lots of illustrations/art by Nayland Blake that is not one of the books of mine that people tend to own, I thought I'd toss it on the prize list. This copy is in near mint condition, as they say.

#2. LITTLE CAESAR MAGAZINE #1 (1976): I think most of you know I used edit a kind of punk rock literary and arts magazine called Little Caesar from the mid-70s to the early 80s. This was the first issue. LC grew into a heavily illustrated little behemoth of magazine over the course of its life, but the first issue was short, very simple, cheaply printed, and mostly contained poetry. So that's a warning. On the positive side, it features a amusingly punk rock manifesto-style introduction by yours truly, and it's very, very scarce.

#3. MY MARK (1982): This is a chapbook featuring the first piece of fiction I ever wrote that wasn't total shit. It's still one of my favorites among my work. 'My Mark' was later revised and included in my first novella 'Safe.' This chapbook was published in an edition of 500 copies by the poet David Trinidad's Sherwood Press. It's very rare. I featured it as a prize in an earlier contest, but I just found another copy in very good condition, and if you want it ...

#4. DISCONTENTS: New Queer Writers (1992): In the early 90s, I edited a 400 page anthology of writers and comix artists loosely associated with the queer zine phenomenon of the time. It featured work by a ton of amazing people (from Alison Bechdel, Dorothy Allison, and Eileen Myles to David Sedaris, Scott Heim, Gary Indiana, and many more.) It went out print within six months and has never been reprinted, although copies still pop up here and there. It's a great book, and one of the projects I'm most proud to have been involved with.
p.s. Hey. So it's my last full day here in LA, and it's a see my mom and family one. This is the point in the trip where I'm forced to realize I'm not home, as much as it feels like being home, I'm just visiting my home. So I'm feeling really melancholy. And so it goes. ** David e. patton, It's startling to hear you received that kind of idiotic treatment in Boulder. But then, never having been there, Boulder essentially means Naropa to me. I don't know why I have this persistent image in my head of Colorado as a relaxed, enlightened place since the voting record there speaks to the contrary. I hope your upcoming trip is a good one, and great luck at your reading, not that you need the luck. Thanks a lot for sharing that. ** Dynomoose, Those 'life lessons' figurines are wacky. The crazy cat lady action figure I saw elsewhere was a lot less dignified, but that 'Discovery' one is funnier. I got your video, yikes. I'll try to find a place for it here, which shouldn't be too hard. Thanks, pal. ** Jack, I'm transparent tastes incarnate, and yours seem a lot more mysterious relatively, trust me. I just recalled you being a bit more into the hunky side of things than I am. But then I guess I could be saying that to almost anyone in the world, couldn't I? ** Christopher michael stamm, Hey, there. It's awesome to see you. Thanks for the vote on the heterosexual porn. I haven't read the new Houellebecq yet, but you've gotten me all excited. Yeah, where's joshua van moore, I wonder. I was just wondering where motor inn went myself. People seem to pop back in eventually. You doing okay? ** Atheist, Thanks for that. Interesting trivia about Klark: being on a strange investigation of straight porn of late, most of it Russian it turns out, I see that most of the familiar young Russian models also do an equal amount of straight porn, but not Klark, as far as I can tell. And let's face it, Klark is a model who seems like he'll work for any gay porn site that wants him. So I thought that was interesting. My favorite of those Russian boys is Vitya, if you know him. I keep hoping for, but I fear my addiction is a relatively lonely one. ** Tosh, Patrick Dennis ... that's a name I haven't heard in a long time. What a lovely book he wrote. So with your constant, daily star sightings there at Book Soup, what has been the most personally mindblowing star encounter for you? ** Antonio, The P.Runway guy that made my blood run cold was the really pre-Stonewall looking, queeny one with the blowdried blond hair and hatchet face who designed those really conservative formal things. I don't remember his name, but I think they should market a Halloween costume of him. I totally get your argument for Kid A and OK Computer. The personal attachment thing and the missionaries for the more interesting things thing. Like I said, I don't hate them. It's the worshippers' fumes I hate. I mean give me Radiohead over, uh, The Raconteurs or Wolfmother or I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness (or whatever the fuck their name is), etc. Animal Collective: I purr along with you. ** Joe mills, Can that be really true that 'Friends of Dorothy' refers to Dorothy Dean? Really? I'm having a hard time believing it, but, if so, wow. ** Rigby101, No, I must have missed your question somehow. That said, I don't know Havoc or his work at all. Pray tell. What's the deal? ** Porcelain skull, Roy Harper, how cool. Your spooky story gave me a David Lynch-style rush. ** Tigersare, Giant thumbs up and bright green light on the Dorothy Previn Day. That would be wild. You know, I don't her work hardly at all. Just faint traces of it. My friend the poet David Trinidad is or was way into her. So you'll be doing me the favor of filling me in if you do the Day. So yes, please, and thank you, man. ** David ehrenstein, You actually saw Frank O'Hara in the flesh? I'm totally in awe. For some reason, it's hard for me to imagine him in corporeal form. Yeah, is he not god? Yeah, he is. ** Laurabethnoble, Gosh, hi. Awesome to see you indeed. You doing okay? What's going on? ** Imnotstopping, So you actually had encounters with Dorothy Dean? I'm in awe again. Hey, you want to help me do a Tim Dlugos Day? I think there should be one, but I'm not sure in what form. Just a thought. ** Morgan, On balance, from what you've said, I think you need to go to Austin. Will you really be alone? No friends there or anything? What is the offer, if you don't mind sharing? It is sad to think you'd have to break up your band, because the band's really good. Is there any way you could do a kind of trial run? I mean go out there, give it six months, and see if you're happy and into it, and then either cut ties back home or come back? I'm trying to think of a way you could have your cake and eat it too, as it were. But look, what's the worst that could happen if you move to Austin? I mean you could just come back to Florida one day if need be, no? You say it's one of your dreams to go there. That's a pretty stong argument for going there. And moving there doesn't really seem dangerous on any level. You can always go elsewhere if it sucks. I think you want to go. Semi-believing in fate as I do, I think the offer could easily be fateful. I think you should go, don't you? ** Steve, Hey. I'm into Bill Jones' films for sure. He's also a friend, and a really great person. I haven't seen V.O., although I was just getting raved at about it from people who have two days ago. Very cool of you to being him up here. Thanks a lot. ** C., Man, I think that was most beautiful thing you've ever written here, which is saying a lot. It made my mind a whirl, or, in the words of the great Arthur Lee, 'it made my soul a sail.' ** 5stringaphasia, But did you see that Radiohead documentary 'Meeting People is Easy' (or something like that)? They just seem so, so not fun, unlike Pantera. ** Adjoun, You're going there for vacation or ...? You been to Istanbul before? I haven't, but those I know who have speak of it with glory in their voices. Cool for you. ** Vomitingghosts, Sorry the Joseph Cornell Day is taking an emotional toll, but then again, if it didn't, the Day would suck, you know? So I greatly appreciate your willingness to suffer. I wonder if Jamie Stewart reads this blog. It wouldn't shock me. Not that I think he does. But he might. Hey, Jamie, are you there? ** So make your guesses if you like, and avoid melancholy because I can't say I recommend it. Oh, and like I said, I'll put a post up tomorrow/Sunday unsually, but not on Monday unusually. Take care.

Friday, July 28, 2006

David Ehrenstein presents Dorothy Dean Day

(photo: Dorothy Dean's portrait by Robert Mapplethorpe)

(photo: Dorothy Dean and Jackie Curtis)

Let’s begin at the end, shall we?

----"Dorothy Dean, a former editor for The New Yorker and for such publishers as Times Books and Harry N. Abrams, died of cancer Friday at the Hospice of St. John in Denver. She was 54 years old and lived in Boulder, Colo.
Ms. Dean had also held editorial positions at Vogue magazine and at Harper & Row. From 1963 to 1964, she was a member of The New Yorker's research department - then called the fact-checking department. At her death, she was a proofreader for The Daily Camera newspaper, published in Boulder.
Ms. Dean was born in White Plains. She was a graduate of Radcliffe College, and earned a master's degree in fine arts at Harvard University. She also studied art history on a Fulbright scholarship in Amsterdam.”

As these things go, fairly accurate. But not accurate enough for Dorothy, the ultimate “stickler for details.” So let’s turn the floor over to my long-time saddle pal Bill Reed who writes of her in his matchless memoir Early Plastic (o.o.p., but available on eBay):

----The following definition of the genus fag hag (you won't find the term in Webster's) appears in The Queen's Vernacular: A Gay Lexicon, by Bruce Rogers:
"Some are plain janes who prefer the honest affection of homoerotic boy friends; others are on a determined crusade to show gay boys that normal coitus is not to be overlooked. A few are simply women in love with homosexual men; others discover to their chagrin that their male friends are charming but not interested sexually."
All of which-and much more. except for the chagrin part-was true of my friend Dorothy Dean. The Mother of All Fag-Hags, she felt the term had an ugly ring to it, and much preferred "Fruit Fly." I didn't get to know her until some time after her mid-1950s glory years during which she was the Queen Bee of a Harvard set that operated out of the Casablanca bar (where Edie Sedgewick later came to shine). And where the men that she hung with ---none of whom had any notion that there was anything coming down the line called gay lib---looked to her as a kind of ultimate arbiter of style, attitude and taste. She was an outrageous woman who would say things that no one they had ever met before would dare utter. She would tell people to their face exactly what she thought of them and continued to play this role later on in a number of different contexts. It was almost inevitable that Dorothy would become part of Andy Warhol's Factory circle, where it was demanded that people be outrageous and try to top one another. But that scene had pretty much disappeared by the time my boyfriend David and I met her in the Seventies. Her breakup with longtime closest friend Arthur Loeb was indicative of a lot of dissolutions and changes that were going on within the social scene. Gay militancy had to some degree turned the fag-hag into a symbol of the past, both in its traditional cheer-leader style and even in Dorothy's overwhelming she-who-must-be-obeyed approach. In addition, unlike your garden variety fag-hag who fears sex, Dorothy wanted to get it on with her boys-she wasn't afraid of anything-and was equally inclined toward heterosexual inamorata.
Complex to a fault, Dorothy was the sweetest, brightest, and most frightening woman I have ever known. I met her in 1970 while working at a bookstore owned by her friend Arthur, the inspiration for the Dudley Moore movie of the same name (or so it has always seemed to me) and a member of a prominent New York family long perched in the more vertiginous heights of New York's 400. In exchange for their son's pledge to put aside his legendarily dissolute lifestyle, Arthur was being backed to the hilt by his parents in this literary emporium that advertised itself as "a carriage trade" operation in the classified ad that I answered for a job. I was on staff when the place opened, and although Dorothy wasn't an employee, she was so omnipresent a fixture that she seemed like staff. My boyfriend David was dazzled when he found out she hung out at the place.
Working for Arthur was not at all like work. A past master of the zippy comeback department, one day an East Side matron came into the store and with a totally straight face asked him what might he suggest for "a man who has everything and is going on safari." Without missing a beat, he replied: "Have you considered giving him Deborah Kerr?" An avid reader of the New York Times, who always first read the bridge column and obituaries each day before getting on to the day's less important news, Arthur said that his memoirs were going to be called (in a play on the Rocky Graziano autobiography), Somebody Down There Likes Me. I was surely as good an "audience" as Arthur was ever likely to get.
While she may have been black and a woman, in the final analysis, she wasn't black and she wasn't a woman: she was Dorothy Dean. Slight, ferret-like, and possessing coffee-with-cream skin, Dorothy wore horn-rimmed coke bottle lens glasses, usually dressed in a simple, tasteful shift dress; and was, without question, New York's most incurable diseuse. Nearly every time I was with Dorothy, she happened to be drinking; she would invariably ask me the same question: “Did I ever tell you about the time I once danced the 'Tennessee Waltz' in Tennessee with Tennessee Williams?" (Which was true.) She claimed that it was one of her proudest accomplishments in life. I don't think she was joking.

(photo: Henry Geldzahler and Dorothy Dean)

In 1995 the New Yorker ran a lengthy profile of Dorothy, entitled "Friends of Dorothy," by which time she had been dead for nearly a decade. Fifteen years earlier the Soho Weekly News had run a picture of her at a party with "living legend" underneath it, and the New York Times contained a brief obit of her in 1987 when she died; but until the New Yorker, that was just about the only public acknowledgement of the unique part Dorothy had played in at least a half-dozen overlapping social and professional "scenes" in New York in the Sixties.
Hilton Als wrote in the New Yorker profile [which can be found in his collection of essays called The Women } that years after her passing, people are still "dining out on Dorothy stories." One of the many tales not included by Als was related to me by Dorothy herself shortly after I met her. In her usual nasal drawl, which bore a remarkable resemblance to Mae West if she had gone to Radcliffe (which in fact Dorothy had), Dorothy asked me, "Have you ever heard of this person, Kris Kristofferson?" An odd question, because of course I had heard of the hyphenate performer who had just crossed over from recording artist to actor in a series of mildly interesting films such as Cisco Pike and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Dorothy then went on to tell me about a brief and intense relationship (were there any other kind for Dorothy?) with the entertainer that had taken place in Italy fifteen years earlier. She was on a Fulbright and Kristofferson was (hard to believe) a Rhodes scholar, fully one hundred eighty degrees away from the public shit-kicker image he began cultivating in the 1960’s.When it came to pass that Kristofferson resurfaced in this entirely unrecognizable form of movie star-country singer, Dorothy sprang into action. She sent him a letter excoriating him for all the cultural criminalism he was wreaking ("Jesus Was a Capricorn" has to be the all time worst song title ever, she opined) on records and in films. Her missive to him was minus a trace of for-old-times- sake sentimentalism, but instead was a request---more like a pronunciamento---that Kristofferson tithe a reparative ten percent of his considerable earnings to the New York Public Library. She never received a reply.
----Growing up, Dorothy was felt to be exceptional. Born in 1932 to Reverend Elmer Wendell Dean and his wife, Dorothy was the first black valedictorian of White Plains High School. In 1950, she entered the gates of Radcliffe to become one of the few African-Americans on its campus. Four years later she graduated there with a bachelor's degree, with honors in philosophy, and then went on for a masters at Harvard where at some point, Dorothy later told me, she had become pregnant by a wealthy student there. The boy, fearful of the consequences of his blue-blooded parents learning that he had impregnated a girl-and an African-American at that!-washed his hands entirely of the matter. Dorothy, even then possessing a fair share of temerity, proceeded to blow the whistle on the cad to his fraternity brothers. Forthwith they, in an act of honor, broke into the boy's dorm room, stole a small Matisse from his wall, gave it to Dorothy, who sold it for enough to pay for an abortion-and then some. In 1956 Dorothy became pregnant once again; this time, though, she went full term before giving the child up for adoption. Some people believed the father was a Dutch student she met while on a Fulbright; others thought him a certain M.I.T professor.
----In 1963 Dorothy, her extensive formal studies finally concluded, arrived in New York, where she was immediately taken up by a set of sad young men and bright young things, many of them relocated from Cambridge. Once again, they became seminal to her reputation as the mother of all fruit flies. Now Dorothy also found herself becoming acquainted with the world of Sixties New York debs, druggies and drag queens.
----Some believed that Dorothy harbored toward fellow blacks an aversion bordering on loathing, as perhaps evidenced by the fact that she ofttimes referred to James Baldwin as Martin Luther Queen, and was not at all adverse to using "watermelon" and "jigaboo" rhetoric when writing or talking about blacks. While this might indicate that even Dorothy found it hard to avoid the tradition of red, white and blue racial self-loathing, it never seemed to bother her that my friend David was African-American.
----A stickler for grammar, even in the most casual of conversations, one nearly always felt the presence of a giant red pen in Dorothy's hand ready to strike you down and mark you up for incorrect usage. Thus, it isn't surprising that her passion for lingual concision led to one job after another in various copy editing and proofreading capacities at such publications as Vogue, Show, the New Yorker and Essence, "the magazine that proves black is pathetic," she once said. She was fired from the latter after suggesting that the magazine run a picture on its cover of her friend Andy Warhol in blackface.
----As with most people of slight build, it didn't take much in the way of intake to get Dorothy drunk. Like my mother, one drink and Dorothy was well on her way to Blotto City. One evening she came to have dinner with David and me at our apartment on West 85th Street and was as charming as ever. . .at first. But it only took a couple of glasses of wine to put her in her cups. She ended up staying the night, and was more or less a royal pain-waking David and me up, tickling us, crashing crockery to the floor, etc., until finally passing out in the wee small hours. A couple of days later we received from her a pluperfect "Miss Finch's Day School for Young Ladies" bread and butter letter thanking us for our hospitality, except for the postscript in which she profusely apologized for her besotted behavior. We were scarcely the first to be sent such a note. These thank you/apology missives, we later learned, were a part of Dorothy's dinner going modus operandi.
----Dorothy often referred to herself as the Black Barbarella, but reminded me more of Dennis the Menace's prissy friend Margaret, who wanted your friendship and was willing to lose it at any cost. In the last analysis, she was an unreconstructed hipster, cut from much the same cloth as those I had known at Stanley's Bar on the Lower East Side.
----At one point Dorothy was hired to guard the portals of a somewhat trendier, slightly more uptown version of Stanley's, known as Max's Kansas City. It was home away from home to the conglomeration of failed hippies, artist manques and Euro-trash who satellited around Andy Warhol, and had the back room of the trendy spot pretty much all to themselves. No bigger than a minute, Dorothy Dean may have been the only bouncer ever hired strictly for the brute force of her vicious tongue.

(photo: The Sugar Plum Fairy (Joe Campbell) in My Hustler)

----Be they straight or gay, Dorothy specifically had a "thing" for men with high cheekbones-in fact, she could be said to have elevated such a taste to the veritable level of sexual fetish. Her small Greenwich Village apartment was dominated with the famous Personality Poster of a very handsome, young and shirtless Herb Alpert who, say what you will about his corny music, had cheekbones like the White Cliffs of Dover! The same could be said of Clint Eastwood - another Dorothy passion. But the most devastating cheekbones of all belonged to one Joe Campbell, aka the Sugar Plum Fairy who, despite that moniker, was one legendarily tough little number. A co-star of Warhol's classic comedy of manners, My Hustler, where he does his butcher-than-thou act to the max, this demi-mondaine was the lover of Harvey Milk, when the gay-politico- martyr-to-be was a closeted New York investment banker. He was also, along with Dorothy, a major "character" in Warhol's taped "novel" A. I never met him, but my friend David certainly did. One afternoon in the basement of the Museum of Modem Art, while waiting for the doors of the film auditorium to open for a screening of something foreign and obscure, Joe spied David (sitting demurely, leafing through a copy of the latest "Sight and Sound"), and made his move. Terrified by Joe's ability to move from a quick hello to an even quicker "let's go back to my apartment," David politely declined. "You turned down The Plum!," a horrified Dorothy exclaimed when told of the incident many years later, "How could you?" Still for all his cheekboned perfection, Joe didn't mean as much to Dorothy as her longtime running buddy Arthur did.
----For a couple who were not married or even sexually involved, Dorothy and Arthur were an extraordinarily famous twosome. For years they had been nearly inseparable, with their main base of operations being Andy Warhol's inner circle; one so inner that it is unknown to all but the most well-versed in Warholian lore. In A Dorothy appears as "Dodo Mae Doom," she's "Gwen," a central character in Lynne Tillman's Cast in Doubt (Tillman also features Dorothy stories in her book about the Warhol Factory The Velvet Years); and in James McCourt's novel, Time Remaining, she appears as herself. Additionally, she pops up as nearly herself in several Andy Warhol films, including My Hustler (a very funny walk-on in the last reel), the original cut of Chelsea Girls (her section, "Afternoon" also featured Arthur, was shot in his apartment, and somehow disappeared during the second week of the films' initial run), and in several sequences of Warhol's legendary 25-hour-long Four Stars. The truly Dorothy dedicated can also find her playing a secretary in Jean-Claude Van ltalie's gay porn classic American Cream.
----In what Dorothy later described to me as “an act of systematic sobriety," Arthur began-shortly after opening up the rehabilitationaI therapy/retail establishment where I worked and initially met Dorothy-to slowly chop away from his life all the people and things that he felt had reduced him to his previous, pitiable alcoholic estate. Almost like he was going down a list ticking off people, influences and controlled substances one by one. Just like a tornado which first appears to be miles in front of you and then suddenly is right on top of you, Dorothy never saw her own de-annexation coming. Finally one day Arthur came to her on his mental list and, without provocation, never spoke to her again: she would come in the store, he would leave; she would phone, he would hang up. Previously thought to be as invulnerable as Margaret Thatcher crossed with Loretta Young, suddenly Dorothy was a bundle of raw nerve ends-crying like a seventh grader who had just been terminally dis-ed by someone they had been friends with for a lifetime. Dorothy begged me to intervene with Arthur, but I wouldn't have known how to even begin, and so I spent a lot of supportive time with her in her cups, while she just sobbed over and over again. . ."Why?" She was willing to do anything, even Alcoholics Anonymous, to regain Arthur's friendship. But the door of fraternity was inexorably slammed shut. Here was the toughest woman in New York, and she had met her Waterloo. I have never known one human being be so hurt by another's actions. And yes, as far as I know, the once notoriously wet Arthur is still sober twenty-five years later-a feat comparable to crossing the Rubicon. Shortly after Arthur fired Dorothy from his life, he also gave me, without explanation, my walking papers as an employee. I never saw him after that.
----Dorothy was a long time member of the National Board of Review, the fuddy duddy quasi-official film board. This was indicative of her station in life as a frustrated film critic. She once told me an hilarious story about viewing, in her capacity as a NBR member, a particularly racy foreign film, Louis Malle's Les Amants, in which the heroine and hero are both horizontal in bed nearly naked. When the former, going down on her lover, disappeared frame left, the woman next to her began to question hysterically, "Where did she go? Where did she go?" "To the bathroom," Dorothy answered. Which seemed to have satisfied her fellow Board member.

(photo: All Lavendar Courier cover)

----Dorothy, David and I had dinner the last night before he and I moved from New York to California in 1975; but it was not the final time I heard from the "Queen of Spades" as she sometimes called herself-along with the "Spade of Queens." In what was clearly a working out of her long suppressed desire to be a film reviewer. Dorothy began putting out her own rather wild manuscript reply to the NBR's long-running. But exceeding unimaginative publication Films in Review. Calling her publication the All-Lavender Cinema Courier. we began receiving copies of it shortly after moving to California, starting in July 1976 with issue number 3. Knowing Dorothy there may not have even been a 1 or 2, or else these might have been issued sometime during the Sixties. Enclosed with the issue was a form letter which was a request for money to keep her venture going. In it she wrote:
----"We are all aware, I fear, that most practicing movie critics are pragmatically useless. They consistently lose sight of the point that the cinema's prime function is entertainment; they are misleading, pretentious. and needlessly longwinded." In the letter Dorothy never explains how she intends to avoid such pitfalls. but in the "Courier" proper she cuts right to the chase, heaping praise upon well-crafted commercial crowd pleasers and damning almost all other films, domestic or otherwise, which fell outside these rigidly constructed critical boundaries. Much of the "Courier" is Wonderful Stuff. Here is one entry chosen at random:
----"The Last Tycoon. Not very good and who is to say precisely why. Let us not forget that F. Scott Fitzgerald, it is said, by definition can never be successfully translated into the movie medium. But given the long string of flash names attached to this latest attempt---Elia Kazan. Harold Pinter. Tony Curtis. Rbl De Niro. Robert Mitchum (gone, sadly to fat). Jeanne Moreau. Jack Nicholson, Donald Pleasence. Ray Milland. Dana Andrews, etc.---one had hoped for much better. However. all is most humdrum and drab. inane and vacant, constituting a movie without a personality. The dialogue comes mostly from FSF. as I remember. except of course for the pitifully false ending; and so it is really difficult to imagine how Harold Pinter. as has been claimed. consumed an entire year in 'crafting' a script from what survived of the original MS. It is disheartening to learn that someone brilliant enough to describe scotch whiskey as the 'great malt that wounds' (Pinter. No Man's Land) could fail so markedly at patching together extant Fitzgerald. Perhaps if some of the planes and trains and what have you in the original had been retained, the results would have been perkier. The spectacle of De Niro stalking about in expectation of conveying a commanding presence as the high panjandrum of a big-time Hollywood movie studio is ludicrous; Robert Allen could easily get away with this kind of thing but not the aforementioned mealy-mouthed invertebrate."
----Doubtlessly Dorothy's ad hominem characterization of DiNiro was based on actual experience, for she was definitely not of the school that believed that revenge is a dish best served cold, as evidenced by her remarks re: the film The Other Side of Midnight in issue no. 8 (14 July 1977) of the "Courier":
----"[Marie-France Pisier] is eventually in a most enviable position, indeed as regards implementing the revenge of one's dreams- the very best kind, whereby the revengee is made to hopelessly writhe and squirm and agonize, fully cognizant of the source of his suffering."
----As for the film itself, Dorothy deemed it, "Quality trash on a high level, and a stunning paean to [you guessed it] revenge."
----Below the "Tycoon" review is one for Brian De Palma's Carrie (a wish fulfillment fantasy for Dorothy if ever there was one!) which begins: DO NOT MISS!!!! Eight to ten such squibs were included in each issue of the "Courier" which, at the bottom of number three, Dorothy scrawled a personal note to me:
----"I am dismayed at myself that it's taken so long to get the ALCC going again. Will answer your letter properly in a few days (I hope)---glad to hear you have settled in, as it were."
----But Dorothy never did answer my letter, and then after issue number 8 of the "Courier" dated July 14, 1977, I stopped hearing from Dorothy altogether. Radio silence.

(photo: Dorothy Dean and the gang on Fire Island)

----I began to inquire after her; but Dorothy had been on her last legs as a scenemaker, and no one I contacted seemed to know or care much about what might have happened to her. My first trip to New York after moving to California I devoted much of my time toward a search for her, but unlike Thompson in Citizen Kane I couldn't gain a clue. I went to her apartment, but her name was not on the mailbox and no one answered when I rang the bell. A few weeks later, after I had returned to L.A., David got in touch with a seemingly reliable source, someone from Dorothy's old Warhol days, now a successful movie publicist, who told him the following story: an extraordinary tale, but one not so far out, considering its subject was Dorothy, that it couldn't conceivably have happened. It seems that she had attended a cocktail party at the penthouse of a well-known Broadway composer, the gathering composed of the usual witty, brittle people who congregate at such affairs; the kind of event to which Dorothy had probably been to hundreds of times. At one point in the evening, her usual two sheets to the wind, she found herself in the middle of a particularly bothersome conversation with a musician friend of the host. Finally when Dorothy could take no more, she allegedly leveled at the offending party just the sort of attack that she'd launched on hundreds of such boors in the past:
----"You are a boring, insensitive lout who has misused and mangled the English language exactly 20 times in the last five minutes while in my presence" she said, "and if you had any feelings of regard toward the human race, you would march over to the edge of this terrace and throw yourself off."
----Which, according to David's informant, is exactly what the man did, killing himself and in the process causing Dorothy to have a total nervous collapse, resulting in weeks spent in a mental hospital. Afterwards, she had gone to Boulder, Colorado, to stay in a commune run by Off-Broadway playwright, Jean-Claude Van Itallie.
----In truth, I was to soon learn, there was not much veracity to the story (the part about Colorado, though, was accurate). Apparently an individual who happened to have been at a party with Dorothy a few days earlier, had killed himself; then somehow the two unrelated incidents had become conflated. An seemingly apocryphal tale, but Dorothy would have loved the idea of someone killing themselves over bad grammar.
----All the years of drinking had finally caught up with Dorothy both physically and mentally. Thrown out of her longtime Morton Street apartment, she was rescued by sympathetic friends who began the process of trying to help Dorothy put her life back in order.
----After obtaining Dorothy's address in Boulder, I wrote her a simple chatty letter, making no reference to the recent unpleasantness. I received no reply from her. Then in February 1987, the same week that Andy Warhol died, I opened up the paper to the Death Notices to learn that Dorothy had succumbed to cancer. She had long been associated, the notice informed, with the likes of Vogue and Harper and Row and at the time of her death was a proofreader for the Boulder newspaper, The Daily Camera (what fun Dorothy would have had with inept Boulder cops and the Jon Benet Ramsey case!). Otherwise, the obituary---the only such New York Tunes unpaid obit ever accorded a mere proofreader?---was short and perfunctory and with no hint of the "real" Dorothy. Such as that---as I later learned----after moving to Colorado she had not only joined a bible study group (!), but Alcoholics Anonymous as well. Joining AA, regardless of her sincerity or lack thereof, must have finally given her what she had been looking for all her life: complete and total command of a room full of people. Just like the old joke (one that the old Dorothy would have loved) about the comic who tells a friend he has to go to an AA meeting. His pal replies:
----"But you're not an alcoholic."
----"Yes, I know, but I need the floor time."

To quote James McCourt in Queer Street quoting Joseph L. Mankiewicz via Bette Davis, “Slow Curtain. The End.”
p.s. First, major thanks to the all-knowing, all-seeing David Ehrenstein and his pal Bill for today's magnificence. Do devour and post your thoughts. Oh, before I forget, due to my traveling schedule, which gets me out of here on Sunday and back in Paris on Monday, I'm going to take this Monday off instead of the usual Sunday. So there'll be a post on Sunday, though probably not a wildly ambitious one. This has been my most unreportable LA trip, I think. There's really nothing much to share with you other than the visa-related stuff, but if by some miracle the tourist visa comes through, the next trip will a lot more worthy of anecdotes and pix galore, I think. But even expressing hope on that front fills me with anxiety, so I'll move on. ** Ronnie, Your captions gave that pic the soul I was hoping to suggest in quite a brilliant manner. So thank you, my collaborator. ** Maximum etc., I think you're right about her being the first 'naked' woman here, or on camera naked at least. I hope it doesn't cause a little riot here, but I think there might be more and better female nudity upcoming since I seem to be strangely more fascinated by strange heterosexual porn than strange gay porn these days. Still, I'll try to be strange and judicious about it. ** Adjoun, saa viccenzo, Sadly, that's a pic I've had floating around on my desktop for about a year, and I don't remember where I got it or what it's from. Sorry. ** C., I'm not a big Bel Ami fan, apart from their early stuff, but Josh Eliot, the peener sporting 'crying' model in that photo you liked is more than a bit of allright in my book. And I couldn't figure which picture it was that you didn't like. The guitar strumming one? ** An exploratory finger, That wicked pic is from a bizarre porn site called Retromature which concentrates on mom-son incest with the twist of historical settings and costumes. The weirdest thing is that in every picture from that site that I've seen, the models are always gazing confusedly off into space rather than each other, even when they're doing the hot and heavy, which I guess is the site's tip of the hat to historical paintings or something. ** Michael karo, Sorry about the boner quashing. Gosh, to me that wallpaper is the key. But then I'm all into melancholy in porn. If the models were lying on a bed in some West Hollywood apartment, I don't know that I would have grabbed and dragged that pic into your field of vision. Which is not to say your boner is unimportant to me. ** Nikolas, Well, white space porn must exist, but I can't think of an example off the top of my head. It's a good idea though. If I ever get to do my 'Citizen Kane' porn film, I'll implement your idea. Sorry I haven't written you back. Rough times here. Soon, my friend, and much appreciated. Wait, Scott Treleaven is moving into Centre International des Recollets? Well, that's cool, if so. You should definitely move in, but, before you start planning it, know that the place is not cheap at all. Yury and I pay 900 euro a month for a very small, dorm room like joint. That's one of the big reasons being over there needs to come to an end: I'm going very broke. But otherwise, yeah, join the party. ** David ehrenstein, My direct huge thanks to you for today. Betty Hutton in a hurricane: you nailed me. This trip is turning out to be the winding down business trip I suspected, so I'll be deprived of your presence just a little longer. I'm telling you, though, if Yury's and my dream of the impossible dream comes true, it'll be LA party time within a few weeks. ** The darwinist, Hi, welcome. I really appreciate that. Yeah, the UK is almost up there with the US on the fascist front. From what I understand, getting Yury a UK tourist visa would not a smidgen easier than getting a US one. Shocking to me, but then Tony Blair is just like shocking central, isn't he? Anyway, thank you. ** Jose, I feel like I know that feeling you describe very well, I think I get it quite a lot when I remember the alone times in my childhood. So, yeah, I'm totally with you. Doesn't anyone else here have that sensation? ** Bett, Hm, you know I'm kind of stumped as to what to ask SJ. My suggestion is to get some basic work related questions together to ask, thereby satisfying your employer, and in the actual interview, grab onto the things she says in her answers that more offbeat and interesting, and pursue them in the moment. I've done that. And the truth is, employers actually end up loving that shit as long as there's some kind of work context. So I guess my main advice is to pay close attention to her answers focusing particularly on the things in her answers that signal what she's longing to talk about, and then follow her unspoken lead. She'll love you for that, and it'll work like a charm interview-wise. Does that make sense? ** Robert-nyc, So how come you didn't take a pic of your kitsch collection for our home interiors Self-Portrait Day, young man? Maybe I'll have to do a kitsch collection day. ** James, It's good to see you. Oh, I'm sorry about the demeaning work you're having to do. Look, it's dust in the wind, you know? Annoying, time consuming dust in the wind, but nevertheless. You're such a talented, amazing guy, and a stupid job is just a temporary interruption, remember that. Anyway, with your brain, couldn't you get a more interesting job? That seems bizarre to me, though I've never had a real job, so what do I know? I'm really glad you like Milhauser. I think he's really special, one of the rare American fiction writers who's working in a really pure way. That's great. Really, I hope you can tough out this crappy work phase without losing your great spirit and originality. Don't let it overly get to you, okay? ** Xkoesj, So you've gotten the tattoo by now, yes? Does it hurt? Take a pic so we can see it. And you're another one with a job unsuitable for your greatness. Fuck it, you know? Are you still digging being in Sydney? I will write you soon. ** Dynomoose, What is a 'life lessons' figurine? ** 5stringaphasia, Dude, you're so kind. I'll stick to my guns as long as you do. ** Antonio, Well, I only bought two tapes from them 'cos the first two I bought were the broken ones. Oh fuck, I'm not going to remember that tape's name. Insane looking: oh, that's my LA speak for incredibly cute. His stage name is/was Edgar. Russian boy, maybe 20, did some work for Dolphin, did a not very good SEVP video. I never saw the tape, so I dont know if it was good, but it was the sequel to another video whose name also escapes at the moment, that was really good and really simple -- four Russian boys in a sauna having sex, that's it. But there was no music, and it was miked so you heard every breath and little crack of their knees and ankles and the squishing of saliva in their kisses, and they were very vocal during the sex, but not in an irritating fake way, just like every little thing from the slight movement of a finger to whatever else had an audio equivalent that they were incapable of suppressing. Anyway, that was my only TLAVideo experience. Yury would indeed be riveted by Project Runway were he able to see it, but he would be saying how ugly and stupid everything was at the same time, 'cos he's a no compromise kind of guy on the fashion front. Artstar: wow, have you seen any of it? Lastly, and I'll keep this brief, but I'm one of the Radiohead haters. Well, actually, I don't hate them. I hate the worshipping of them. It drives me crazy. Like is mainstream rock so lame that Radiohead's borrowed progressive stylistics and holier than thou attitude about their work and aggressive literacy really so special? And I know the answer is probably yes, but I think they're mucho mucho overrated. They're like a prog version of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions. I know my opinion is the unpopular one, and it's terrible of me to fantasize giving pitchfork a virus in retaliation for their part in fostering the Radiohead is God phenomenon, but I don't care. Thom Yorke solo album: phooey! Am I crazy, antonio? You know I'm not. So what's the solution? ** Jack, God, what a prick, but my magic shop experiences tell me that the guys who work in those shops really are total snobs about that kind of stuff. You like Bel Ami, right? Josh Eliot is probably a little too fey for you, no? Yes? ** David c., I pray the temperature drops before your charity walk. I keep hearing it's supposed to lower this weekend over your way. It's inching cooler here, I think. But then I thought that yesterday at this time of the morning, and yet the boiling returned. ** Atheist, Hi and welcome. Well, here's my theory. Klark used to have the King Twink of Russia field to himself. His site got swamped with members. Then Ton came along and stole some of his thunder. And others followed Klark's lead like Ricky and the others. And with a zillion photo sets of Klark getting porked, he started to seem like an old shoe. And then Mike, the new Russian twink superstar came along, and Klark fell way back in the field. That said, I think Klark is fine. He's been doing a lot of guest appearances on Mike's site and others, and the photos would appear to be quite recent, although I do think the fact that Klark hasn't seemed to age a minute in five plus years of debauchery is a little strange. So, long story short, I think Klark is fine, but I think he's in the 'guest star/character actor' phase of his career. Does that help at all? ** Joe mills, I liked Superman Returns. I didn't think it was great or anything. I thought the ending was kind of belaboured. But as a summer blockbuster fan, I enjoyed it. I'm speaking as someone who has some discrimination about blockbusters. Although I think I might be quirky in my tastes too. I hate the Spiderman movies. I think they're totally empty, fake, mechanical crap. Yet I totally enjoyed Poseidon, which everyone else I know thinks is nuts. Anyway, I liked SR. I'm with you. ** Brian curtin, Yes, please contribute to my upcoming art crit day. I'd be honored. Just let me figure out how to do it, and watch this space. But yes, please. Oh, and belatedly, it was really nice of your boyfriend to post such kind words here earlier this week. Please thank him for me, or, if he's reading this, thank you. ** Lots to do today, not enough time to do it. Be well, and all praise to Dorothy and David and Bill.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Cry 2

p.s. Hey. Today's that day in my trip that I realize it's almost over and I start running around getting things in place and trying not to feel too sad. On the visa preparation front, it's a lot of not so interesting to hear about stuff --getting a copy of my mother's medical records and a letter from her hospice care, trying to confirm that the Congresswoman will send the letter supporting the visa, seeing if there's a way to register Yury's and my relationship in Paris, as it seems proving our relationship is serious will help. Things like that. Btw, my mom is doing pretty well considering. She's been amazingly stable for months now, and has been going out to see plays and have dinners with friends and shopping for herself, so on that front we all feel very lucky even if it doesn't change the drastic nature of the future. That's basically my story so far today. ** Bernard welt, Hey, Bernard. Yeah, any tips you can pass along, mafia related or otherwise, would be great. No stone unturned, etc. Good luck finishing whatever you're finishing out there. ** Derekmcc, Thank you, pal. Hey, you may be seeing us before too long depending on how things go. You must know I thought of you in making the magic day and hoped it would tickle your fancy. ** Teenagekicks, Thanks a lot. Nice little Kafka battle you started there. ** Garrison, Are you still down in swampyville? It's sort of swampy lite here. ** Jax, Cool that magic day sparked a plot twist. Personally, I think any movie/soap opera/novel/song/whatever is automatically improved with the addition of a magic trick/shop/-ian. They should teach that in writing workshops. ** T.pkendall. So is the real thing as musty and glittery as it looks? ** Joe mills, When I was wee, I begged and begged my parents to let me join the 'magic trick of the month' club. It took a long time to convince them, I don't know why, but they finally let me join, and about two weeks after I did, it went out of business before I received a single trick in the mail. I still feel the pain. ** Callum, Barring unforeseen disaster, I'll send you a postcard before I leave LA. Cool. Nice idea, nice linkable page. ** Dynomoose, This isn't to say your mom's a crazy cat lady, because she obviously isn't, but your post reminded me that on one of the magic shop websites they sell a crazy cat lady action figure, which I longed to buy for about eight seconds before I came to my senses. ** Rigby101, Oh, that's an ugly, terrible story about your friend's stigmatization. On the other hand, your joke was good. And it cracked up my nephew, so thanks. ** Xkoesj, Hey, man. That's sweet of you. Expect an email from me pronto. Things have been a little crazed. ** Sypha_69, Well, I get the impression you're already set to publish with iUniverse, so I won't warn you off as I probably would have. The thing is, you need to do a lot of work for your book going that route. You need to get the word out. When the time is right, let me know and I'll certainly use my little blog's resources to help. Letting the world know it exists in some way is important. You just need to make sure, in the ways you can, that the book doesn't get completely lost. That's the danger. I imagine you did the same google search I did on your behalf about iUniverse and seen the possible pitfalls. But mainly, awesome you'll have a book out. Can't wait. Keep us here informed, allright? ** Vomitingghosts, You make me so tempted to do a Party Store Day on the blog, but I won't. I do love them though. Not as much as magic shops, but when Halloween rolls around, party stores can become semi-magical to those of us who aren't employees. Oh, you are hereby given my extreme permission to do a Joseph Cornell Day here the minute you're ready. What a great idea. Thanks, vg. You are generosity incarnate, sir. ** Lost child, My sweet friend, thank you. I have a feeling I'm going to get a book out of this whole visa nightmare someday with Yury and me hopefully as the romantic heroes of your thoughts. It seems pretty inveitable given that it's basically been my life for over two years now. ** Tigersare, Believe it or not, that 'Steve's Magic Shop' pic is on the site of that shop. Now, that said, I did cherry pick it from dozens of shots of smiling midleaged men in magician outfits and product walls, so I'm semi-guilty as charged, I guess you could say. ** Antonio, I am so weird, aren't I? It's difficult for me to accept, but the facts are the facts. TLAVideo! I bought a couple of porn tapes through them once and they arrived cracked, chipped, and completely fucked and unplayable, yet they refused to refund my money, and one of the tapes was a Russian thing I really wanted because the main star in it was insane looking, and TLA was the only place selling it, and now it's o.o.p., so I say fuck TLAVideo, even though they do carry my novels which I guess kind of cool even though I bet the number of people who've bought one of my books through TLAVideo is exactly zero. You know, your Cal Arts idea isn't half-bad. I mean you and killer luka and porcelain skull and the other artists out there creating his portfolio. But then he'd get in, and he'd start designing a fashion line, and they'd toss his ass. So I don't know. Also, you gave me a really good -- well, maybe a really good -- idea for an art crit blog day. I don't want to say anymore and spoil the surprise, but thanks for that, you idea exploder you. ** C, I think you're right about Hitler. No offense, but your dad sounds like he needs to be seriously straight bashed. Am I wrong? ** Michael karo, That's a good joke too. I wish my mind could retain jokes. I don't know why it can't. I should write them down. On the asylum issue, no, Russia may be a dictatorship, but since it calls itself a democracy, you can't seek asylum from it. We looked into it because if Yury had evidence of being heavily abused due to his being gay in Russia where gay bashing is like skirt chasing, that might have worked in getting him full time residency in France. But Yury's too fleet of foot, thank God, and his gay bashing has been mostly verbal, so he doesn't qualify unfortunately. ** Jose, Well, Canada may well get us, potato hands. Thanks for asking. ** Ignacio, I've never even heard of Julian McClaren-Ross. I'm a loser. Thanks for getting all juicy and nasty on the blog. That was hot. ** Tosh, I know David Copperfield is a grotesque figure and a fake and all that stuff, and he unforgiveably plays Phil Collins music during his show, but I saw him do his flying around trick in person, and I have to say, it looked like magic to me. ** Paul curran, Your description of your magic trick loving self sounds like me. I don't know about the uploading question. I'm one of those people who has to ask someone for help at every cyber-turn. If you still need to know when I get to Paris, say so, because Yury, computer wiz, surely knows how. ** David e patton, Wow. That was a really nice flashback. Thanks a whole for that. Steven Hall was a really interesting poet, and I wonder what became of him. He was also the boy toy of Rene Ricard for a long time. In fact, in Ricard's amazing first book of poems, the one with the Tiffany blue cover, there are a handful of unbelievably vicious yet great poems about Steven Hall. Anyway, I digress. Thank you again for that sweet refresher. Ah, the good old days. ** David ehrenstein, Got the stuff you sent a-okay. Tomorrow then. ** Brian curtin, It's true. Boy, you sure do have to want it a whole fucking lot though. Thanks, man. ** 5stringaphasia, That's really pretty. You've got the words thing seriously down. ** And with that, I head off into my busy day. Take care until tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The magic shop

I read an essay a few years ago by some guy who'd studied the childhoods of people who grew up to be what he called creative social misfits -- ranging from artists both professional and private/outsider to criminals who approach crime in an aesthetic or inventive way -- the Zodiac killer, the Unabomber, Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson were among his examples -- and he found that with rare exceptions they shared an unusually strong childhood fascination with magic tricks, novelty gifts, and the stores that featured them. Certainly for me, being among a vast array of normal looking things that, with some cash and a mastering of their instructions, could be transformed into sources of inexplicable wonder was the most electrifying sensation possible, and that feeling does correspond to the more pragmatic thrill I get when working on a novel. But the intensity of the magic shop rush was never quite equalled, although, having been a teenager in the pre-internet days, the first few times I got my courage up to go into a porn shop, I remember a similar feeling that I was in a place where a dizzying number of doors into a new, secret, unimaginably exciting world could be opened with a crack of my wallet. I got to wondering whether the kinds of magic shops I loved so much as a kid still exist, and, with a lengthy internet search, I realized they do in pretty much the exact same form they had when I was a child albeit with the addition of related websites. I also wondered if you creative people out there share my lost adoration of those once transcendent seeming places. If so, or even if not, here are twenty magic shops and links for you to investigate today.