Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Rush to judgement. Anyway, haven't updated in a few days, and a lot has happened. And yet, not much has happened. The black-and-white cat who seems to love this house (she used to stretch out on the window ledge or on the little back porch) had some more kittens. We haven't seen them, though our neighbors did, but we've heard them at night (very tiny mewling sounds). Went to the Dada press previwe at MoMA: a lot of people showed up for it. Ran into Eleanor Heartney, Elizabeth Kley, saw Regina Cornwall, Liza Bear.... many more people. As Larry and i were leaving, Kyoko Hirano, Barbara Mayfield and Cecilia... her last name starts with an "E" and she's the person who has the "Eye on Dance" program on cable TV... they were coming in just as we were leaving.

Curious note: on the way into Manhattan, we sat opposite this extremely handsome young man. Wearing very neat dark blue jeans and a navy sports jacket. With a very trim beard and mustache. He's sitting there, reading... KANT! And being very serious, and jotting notes in the margins. Be still, my heart! I mean, not every day you see cute guys (who usually read - ugh - the Wall Street Journal) reading Kant. On the way back, a guy (not quite as cute) was standing opposite (even though the subway was not crowded, but he was waiting for his stop) reading the latest Peter Handke! Amazing. (Made me realize that the last time i read Peter Handke was sometime in the mid-1990s.) But when we changed this morning, to catch the express train, i turned to Larry and said, "Get me that!"

Well: for more than half a year, i gave up going to the IMDB message boards, because it was getting too ridiculous. There are no critical standards AT ALL, and every other jerk makes a comment, and some of the comments are just too inane to go into. But i got suckered into it: there was a thread about Robert Osborne's book "50 Leading Ladies" and the fact that he left out a number of people (Jennifer Jones, for example) and chose to include Olivia De Havilland over Joan Fontaine. So i had to stick my damned two cents in, and now every day i get some joker who wants me to know that Olivia De Havilland is a "greater" actress than her sister. (Actually, i simply quoted Andrew Sarris, when he said that, because Fontaine worked with more "auteur" directors, her career was more significant artistically. In short: appearing in a masterpiece like LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN trumps THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD.) Now these idiots are writing to me constantly. And i don't give a flying f*ck about either! I was just making a point (and using Andrew Sarris as my critical backup).

But have started hearing from different friends. Bill Jones has an exhibit out in LA; his movie "Massillon" will be playing at MoMA as part of the Cal Arts programs this month. Heard from Dennis Poplin: dire news. Will have to find out more, but nonprofits are in trouble! Jeff McMahan just had an article published in TDR, and is going to Europe for a conference.

One (very troubling) thing: Joan Fontaine's career was severely damaged because she agreed to star in "Island in the Sun"; in the movie, her character was supposed to have an affair with Harry Belafonte (though, by the time the movie was finished, the relationship was more hinted at than overt). Because of that, she received death threats, and her movies were boycotted in the South! (That's enough to scuttle anyone's career.) Donald Bogle talked about this during the TCM series on Race in Hollywood cinema.

It reminds me of the fact that Leila Goldoni (who is actually Italian) had a blighted career because she played a black girl passing for white in Cassavetes's "Shadows". The idea that, because people thought she might be black, she didn't work in movies.... it's a sign of the kind of place Hollywood was....

And probably still is.


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