Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2008: the seventh anniversary of "September 11th", the attack on the World Trade Center. Seven years is supposed to represent some sort of auspicious occasion in astrological terms.

Television this morning was dedicated to the ceremonies at the site, mostly a recitation of names. I'm reminded of the fact that, in our time at any rate, one of the first "memorials" where names were read aloud was the Day Without Art project from Visual AIDS. (Two events that were put on at MoMA for the Day Without Art: i remember going to read a list of names for half an hour; another year, in one of the small galleries on the first floor, there was a table with pieces of paper and pens, and you were supposed to write the name of someone you knew who had died of AIDS and post it on the wall. I remember that three of the names i wrote were "John Bernd", "Calvin Culver" and "Coleman Charles Jones, Jr.")

The political situation at this time has become so hysterical (in every sense of the word): i watched "Real Time With Bill Maher" and it was all he could do to stay civil on the subject of Sarah Palin. What a masterstroke on the part of John McCain! Utterly cynical and manipulative. But i don't feel like dwelling on something so horrendous.

As if wallowing in 9/11 isn't horrendous.

I remember what i was thinking that morning, as i walked away from Beekman/Downtown Hospital (which is near the World Trade Center). My appointment (annual check-up) was for 8:30 AM, and i arrived a half an hour early... and as i started walking from the subway station (City Hall stop on the "R" line), a huge shadow came over the area (it was one of the planes). As i got to the hospital lobby, phones started ringing off the hook, as emergency calls came in, and the police arrived to ask that people with non-emergency needs, please leave the hospital. And some people were being brought in who were bloody.

And as i walked to the subway (why that was my response, i don't know, but i managed to catch one of the last trains that moved before the system was shut down), i remember thinking of three things: the R.E.M. song "It's the End of the World As We Know It" played in my head; i thought of my grandmother, my father, and Kenny, because those were three people who had lived downtown for most of their lives, and i was glad that they were not around to see downtown Manhattan being destroyed; and i had images of all those post-WW II thrillers (like "The Third Man" and "The Man Between") of living in the debris of a destroyed city.

August marked the tenth anniversary of Kenny's death, and it also brought Michael back (via Facebook) in our lives. I don't care how it happened, but once a child comes into your life, you do (at least, i did) start to imagine a future for your child.

Kenny was always reading, and he would often say things that were so startlingly eloquent. And when he was in prison, he would write us letters (though it was rare, and every letter was an occasion) and the turns-of-phrases and images were really amazing. And so i gave him different sized notebooks, so that he could write. And he tried. In one of the notebooks, he struggled to begin the same story (about his parents fighting).

But he just couldn't concentrate. But i certainly think he had talent.

And with Michael: he wanted to be an actor, and we encouraged him. We let him participate in a children's theater troupe in San Diego.

Another thing that's happened in the last week: one of the Yahoo! Groups that i joined is devoted to gay porn stars from the 1980s to 1995. Initially, the group was closed, and all the albums posted were from the moderators. But then they opened it up, and other people started posting albums devoted to their favorite stars from the period. So i decided to do the same. At the end of August, there had been a "tribute" to Casey Donovan, consisting of two albums of photos as well as a tribute page and a biographical tribute. So i decided to post some photos of some of the people i knew, such as Keith Ardent. There actually isn't much online of Keith Ardent, but what there was, i tried to post.

And in the last day, i got some e.mails asking about Keith and Bill Eld. And it brought back memories.

And how this ties in is that Keith (whose real name was Coleman Charles Jones, Jr.) wanted to be an artist. I told Larry that i had gotten an inquiry about "Keith Ardent", and Larry remembered him (he was hard not to remember, he was such a tall person). I gave him several pages with old etchings on them, so that he could use them for his collages.

Right now, i'm watching "A Notorious Affair", part of TCM's Kay Francis Star-of-the-Month series. It's from 1930.

I should be thinking about movies, since the press screenings for the New York Film Festival start tomorrow, and i've been reading various dispatches from Toronto. But today was disconcerting....

I mailed off a package to my friend Mike in England, and then went to the gym where i worked out for more than an hour. Then i came back, showered, and then went down to Staples, to get some of the items on sale. Then i read some stuff online, and then laid down to take a nap.

When i woke up from my nap, the phone was ringing, but i couldn't answer it. Both of my calves were knotted up in cramps, and the pain was excruciating and i really couldn't move. I was hitting and massaging my legs, and eventually the pain subsided, but not for a good ten minutes or so.

And then i watched "Private Screenings: Leslie Caron", "Trouble in Paradise", "Cynara" and now "A Notorious Affair".

Tomorrow, "Bigger Than Life" is on the Fox Movie Channel, and TCM has a Frank Borzage night. So the stuff on TV is actually quite fascinating.


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