Sunday, May 18, 2008

Launching the Eggmobile

If you want to skip this piecing together of images, enjoy a straight slide show by clicking on "View All Images."

Using a Photo Taken by Fred Goldsmith...

Friend Peter in Portland sent me this birthday greeting...from his patron saint? from my patron saint?

Waiting for the Bus to Oakland

...staring at the wall in the bus shed.....

15 May 2008 in the Castro District

During the heat wave, I feel langorous, in shorts and sandals, drinking coffee and reading Cavafy at a table outside a café at Sanchez and Seventeenth in San Francisco. I look up from the words about young men glimpsed on the streets of Alexandria to look at a young man passing in T-shirt and shorts. He eats ice cream on a stick with nonchalance, too young to fear that his slim body will gain weight from the treat he licks. He moves on flipflops, as if on flippers that slap the cement sidewalk, seemingly unaware of the world around him, pulled along by a mongrel pug on a leash. The little dog so quick and curious, searching the world as he pulls the beautiful, bland young man like a child pulling a toy that rolls on wheels. The dog is more attractive than the absent-minded youth. Young man, you have failed me. Back to the streets of Alexandria, looking for that mirror that reflects the beauty standing behind us as Cavafy borrows coins from me and purchases Turkish cigarettes. Our purchase done, I see that the beauty reflected has disappeared into the street. But his memory enlivens the mirror that trembles, the beautiful poison of liquid mercury.

The California Supreme Court has ruled that gay people may marry. The Castro District is sleepy with the heat. Later in the afternoon some reporters show up who try to arouse some strong reaction in passersby who are more curious about the behavior of reporters than obsessed with the ruling.

Later Andrew and Donatella Minama (I think that is similar to how Gregg B. spells the name of our mutual friend) are in the Castro Theatre watching Jean-Luc Godard’s CONTEMPT when it begins to sound as if a mob is going to invade the theater, the sound of the celebration that has commenced out on Castro Street. We older three leave after the movie, quietly making our way through the happy throng, eager to find the more peaceful streets. One of us for a long time “married.” Two of us having had our “marriages.” All of us accompanied by ghosts, some of our best companions.

There are all kinds of gay people in many stages of life and with different ways of celebrating life. No judgement. As I have written


Both married and single
are terrible things
but what a man suffers
is what a man sings.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Stanley Wade, Poet, Translator....

reading her translations from Turkish literature, ancient and modern, on 13 May 2008, at the Center for the Art of Translation, San Francisco...
I enjoyed Stanley's reading, but I am also very happy that, as Poetry Editor of SUBTROPICS, at University of Florida, she intends to publish my translation of a Baudelaire verse in their January 2009 issue.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Publication is Fun

I let one of the surviving Cockettes, Rumi, know that THE GAY & LESBIAN REVIEW has just published a version of an essay he had seen (and passed along to Peaches Christ), although, since he read it, it has gone through changes, and was finally edited and given a certain slant by editor Richard Schneider Jr. It is a fragment of San Francisco history from the late 1960s. I wondered if Sebastian (AKA Milton Miron) would dislike being referred to, on page 4, in the editor's opening remarks, as "founder of the Cockettes." I know that Sebastian supported the Cockettes phenomenon once it was set loose, and he seemed to have a theatrical acumen and so he might have been more directly involved with their shows than I know. I hoped that Rumi would let Sebastian know about the essay, especially as the editor titled it, "Sebastian's Nocturnal Dream Shows."

With my article, Professor Schneider also published some of my photos of posters by Todd Trexler and Steve Arnold. I suppose I should eventually give the posters to the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society, while, on the other hand, I wonder if there is any person or place that would like to buy Cockettes posters. I told Rumi again that I feel a bit silly to have something published, written by someone like me, a peripheral witness to the Cockettes and Nocturnal Dreams Show, but I think it adds a valid little fragment to the whole picture -- the experience of the audience, as the actual performers and participants could not so often experience their work from "out front." In a month or so, elements of this May-June issue of the magazine should appear on their website, but not necessarily my article:

Friday, May 09, 2008

Strange New Mobile

Strange new mobile, pieces patterned with much-reduced copies of Martha Hubert's paintings -- Not sure it works or should be allowed to survive...

Painting Egg Shapes Over the Kitchen Sink

A Code Pink Fundraiser

Thanks to my buddy Martha H., I enjoyed being present for a fundraising evening for Code Pink in Berkeley. I wondered why the wonderful comedian Marga Gomez was standing outside with the rest of us waiting for the doors to open, but it was because she was there as an audience member in favor of Code Pink. But Anne Lamott saw her and recruited her for the program, and, on the spur of the moment, a consummate performer, she did a great "set" that had everyone roaring with laughter.
As Medea Benjamin had just come back from Iraq exploring the dilemma of the millions of displaced Iraqis -- some of her tragic accounts conveyed to us second hand -- she could not attend, as planned, because she was to be part of a panel the next day in Washington, D.C., to discuss the refugee tragedy.
I always love being at these gatherings of activist women, fresh from political action, taking a night to celebrate their solidarity -- and their sisterhood.
As usual, Annie Lamott had great comic timing as she read passages from her comic novels, and Maria Muldaur sang her way through various kinds of songs, and really wailed on "Send Me Someone to Love," receiving a standing ovation. The energy was high for everyone.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

"The Lonely Pioneer" - a distant Eilers

Accidentally, I started arrowing forward In YouTube through all the "Eilers" entries, and following any family name will, I suppose, take you on a zigzag journey, one entry having little to do with another. First I found Justin Eilers, and watched him beat someone up in one of those no-holds-barred matches -- He won -- I'm afraid I suddenly felt empowered. There was a young Eilers playing his guitar and singing softly. Eventually, of course, it lead into entries by Eilers in the place the Eilers came from, Germany. But, at last, I found my kind of Eilers. I'll have to let him know that I have made up similar songs that came to me out in nature, along with a tune -- that no-one but the trees will ever hear me sing. What kind of fool am I? Here, followed by one of my own arcane nature songs is my kind of fool! Have a laugh with my new favorite Eilers. Hark! 'T'is the Royal Bard....

One of my own arcane songs. You will have to guess the tune:

Summer Psalm

River, flowing to the sea...
River, flow down to the sea...
River, flow by thee and thee.

Blossom bent to weight of bee –
Lift again and be care free.
River, flow by thee and me.

Dead leaf held in a green leaf’s palm…
Butterfly hymnals’ fluttering pages…
Wordless thoughts of woodland sages.
Spread the balm of summery light
in the shimmering calm.

(23 June 1973, with Michael, Walnut Creek, California)

Copyright 2008

3Penny Opera revived

After seeing the 1931 German film of Weil/Brecht's THE THREEPENNY OPERA a couple times over the decades, I decided it was too much trouble trying to enjoy that original production by looking at fuzzy, foggy images. But friends pointed me to the new Criterion version, drawn from the original negative (the film banned as soon as Hitler came to power). Wonderful to see how the film should look (although I wish director G.W. Pabst had not omitted so much of the songs and music.}
For those who love Lotte Lenya, images like these are such a treat: