Thursday, September 22, 2016

Not tomorrow never again I did it and don't want to do it I'll wait until then when everyone's happy nobody is guilty besides I've nothing to give but the strength that is guiding me I who am weak am Despicable with it decrepit without it I must get an agent perhaps I can Market it

Friday, April 08, 2016

The Charles Busch Cleopatra

Mr. Busch presents original productions at Theater for the New City.  I think the prior one was a compendium of religious movies, perhaps like King of Kings, or Samson and Delilah or, the Robe.  I sometimes associate them with sword and sandal movies. There is a genre aspect to his TNC offerings.   His latest is a compendium of Cleopatras, with an emphasis on Mae West.  Part of the script incorporates a Mae West song, and that is a very beautiful segment... We have to begin with the notion that 1930's Hollywood acting is valid, while being perhaps histrionic and over the top.  The ultimate hysteric for me was Colin Clive in Frankenstein.  I sincerely believe in his performance.  The problem may be a question of naturalism.  I grew up with a love for melodrama and it has left me with an expectation.  Melodrama penetrates my skull.  So Mr Busch writes a perfectly eloquent script seriously considering the magic of relationships.  I can't tell how important I think it is to turn antagonism into eroticism, or rather, into coupling.  I don't know... I was thinking about the hit man who goes home to his wife.   It's a closed circle, all his relationships, his seductions with the outside world get redirected to the one true love, and in a way one might think it misdirected... ok
So the piece lives within the realm of gay camp... Maybe it doesn't.  Maybe saying that secures its position elsewhere because in fact I see nothing in it that is gay, nor camp  It's informed... Historically it is informed by Cinema, and yes, to me that is valid.  Cinema dialogue is the drama I know.  

As for his acting, he is reforming the English language.  They all are.  They are excellent actors working with their physicality and further validating the realism of their characters.  

I realize my offering of thoughts to the world requires more thought in doing so. however, this is it.

Addendum:  The introductory announcement for piece, that it's a story of love, betrayal, murder...concludes its list with "eye-liner."   It sounds funny but, yes, look at the eye of Horus.  Eyeliner figures prominently in the symbology of Egypt.  

Saturday, January 16, 2016


Finally an upbeat story reminding us to do and not INVEST PASSIVELY.  

Cement binds.  Its mortar of concrete is ground stone.  

Grind the stones to dust; pulverize them.  Add water to the dust and fill the space between puzzle mounted stones and any space between them is forgiven   You have a sealed fireplace chimney. 

When water permeates the stones, because cracks in the cement allowed the water to gather and freeze, expanding the cracks, then water gets into the fireplace.  

The fireplace insert that was the rage in the 1930’s was a heatilator, with self-contained interior vent-paths on each of its sides, with openings at the bottom to draw in cool air and openings up top to release the hot air, having passed through the fire heated iron lining to the left and right of the fireplace.  How heatilating!

Because our fireplace stones had been laid and cemented around this enormous 1935 iron heatilator box, all our options for the fireplace addressed inserting an insert inside and up the chimney, through its flu, of which there are two running through the one chimney,

The water that permeated the stones for the past 80 years, corroded the iron.  As the iron rusted thin, it became brittle until, at last, gashes breached its elemental fabric. 

-- Such that I could bend and pull out the pieces.  The Mason observed that our old corroded heatilator box even came with its own (corroded) flu flap, which was incompatible with the flu cap wire that also ran through it to the chimney top.   

So you could never close the heatilator flu containing the fireplace box without catching the wire running up the chimney to the chimney-top flu cap. 

As for the two flues inside the chimney, they run parallel, side by side.  

Surrounded by cemented chimney stones are two clay lined flues running up to the chimney-top, one is for the fireplace and the other for an oil burner below the house.   This took me a while to comprehend.  There are two passageways, the big fireplace is only using one of them.  It is like only 4 inches square... I know this as if I always knew but I assure you, that is not the case.  Was this small opening causing smoke to pour out when we lit a fire?

Water had also rotted the fan of our forced air oil burner and, along with its corroded 300 gallon iron oil tank, it is now gone from the basement. 

In order to heat and cool the house without oil or propane or other fuels, we are using an electric powered Japanese freon-manipulating Heat-pump which also provides cool air through the old oil burner ducts that snake through basement ceiling.  The installers humored me when I asked them, rather than mounting the air-conditioners around the house, to mount them in the basement ceiling and use the old ducts.  

This is the same split system whose condensers you see everywhere, hanging from brackets mounted into the buildings throughout the shanty tenements in the shadow of the Marriott skyscraper along the windy streets of old Shanghai.   

However, our one big fan vented condenser runs its recycling freon through three differing units also mounted into the basement ceiling.

Realistically a zero degree temperature must make it a strain for that freon to produce heat from temperatures lower than the outside weather, but this is a system that is still somewhat incomprehensible and as they say about our judgment of it, the jury is still out. 

So every shanty apartment in old Shanghai has its split duct condenser hanging from the walls.  It is just another example of how our ancient worlds (of the 1930's) live on.

For the Shanghai of 600 years ago, go to the Yu Gardens.

And we're really straying from the topic of successful fireplace masonry.

So I thought that the self-contained re-purpose idea of using those oil fired forced air heat ducts to run the modern heat pump was a good idea, even though it also sends cold air through the floor vents and cold air tends to settle on the floor.   

We just have to remember to kick around the air during the summer. 

The mason man's first job was to re-point the chimney-top cracks.  He also restored the original stone grill (that Candlewood Isle Founding Father Mr. Ducey must have built his own in the back of the house). 

Smoke still poured into our a-frame living room especially as the fire in the hearth died down, so while the mason scanned the internet for a replacement heatilator (I think he did) I drove around the entire Candlewood Lake searching for insert ideas, two places, and then visited the guns and weapons stores -- a Japanese Guy named Hans was quit forthcoming there.   Yes they are collectible saved from the trenches during world war I.  Yes they work.  And if you want magazine guns, there's an extra form to submit.  And I didn't take pictures, no.  

I also visited the pipe by the damn and lake pump.  I drove around the entire Candlewood Lake.  

What of the wood? Buy proper wood.  Don't use the cuttings from your crazy scissorhand prunning  There's Crenolite?  Pine oils?

Forget it.  All the  cuttings are going in there, and yet the chimney is clean (I bought and ran through it a 50' chimney sweep rod.  Nothing.)... 

So the mason just pulled out the entire interior and relaid the stones without the heatilator, kept the vents to the sides, used the original wood mantle, and raised the fireplace one foot, building a hearth stone that looks as if it was always there.    

We've still got our $5 four flap screen in front of it, it’s low cost attributable to its light weight, which is of course preferable.  And I was at last able to use my Columbian artifact antique bellows with the copper embossings of owl chewing lobster tail on one side and eight-pronged man on the other.  

The turning point for the commercially manufactured wood burning inserts with the glass window was my visit to the New Fairfield thrift store.  I may have actually bought nothing but when the lady behind the counter heard me talking about the woodburning insert with a neighbor she said, all those fuels are dirty.  There’s a reason we no longer use wood as fuel, it’s the dirtiest there is and when I walk down the street I have to breath the smoke from the homes heating themselves with these woodburning inserts.   

Well you can always get pellets. 

That was pretty illuminating.  Even though fossel fuels are NO LONGER the subject of international price-gouging, electricity is still cleaner.  

Finally, in the lower back of the fireplace box the mason installed a vent pulling air from outside through an opening at the bottom of the chimney. 

The Mason is James Delafield, referred to us by our primary country cottage counselor, Joseph Snopkowski.  Green Star installed and continues to support the Heat Pump HVAC system.  

Monica's insisting that we raise hearth is transformative, even as it looks as if it was always there. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Candlewood Isle Film Fest continues the Third Saturday of Every Month with homemade dinner and a movie at the Clubhouse.

Last night, we saw The 1962 Manchurian Candidate, which varied our pattern in previous months of viewing collaborations between directors and their spouses. 

Les Diaboliques stars Vera Gibson-Amado, Henri Clouzot’s wife.

Under Capricorn is scripted by Alma Reville, Alfred Hitchcock’s wife.

Meet Me in St. Louis stars Judy Garland, Vincent Minelli’s wife.

The Great Gatsby should have starred Ali McGraw, producer Robert Evens’ wife, had she not run off with Steve McQueen... Instead it starred Mia Farrow, the former wife of Don't Drink the Water playwright Woody Allen.

Rachel Rachel stars Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman’s wife.

Here are my notes on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, a book enhanced by a 1974 movie, of which I watched at least 70%.  It runs 2 and a half hours, in 4 reels, flat and red, 1:3 to 1, well-cropped, in 16mm perhaps to run during airplane flights across the Atlantic.

It is first and foremost a Robert Evens golden age of Paramount production (1968 through 1976). Ali McGraw, his wife, was to play Daisy until she left him for Steve McQueen.

Francis Ford Coppola already wrote the script, then directed the Godfather I and II, the Conversation, and Finiah’s Rainbow, while Robert Evens held onto the script.

Nelson Riddle adapted the music.
Ralph Laren worked Way Too Hard for the credit he received but it is his movie, too. 

I read the book in high school.  I saw the opera at the MET.  I held the prettily packaged soundtrack to this 1970’s movie in my hands.  That’s the extent of my patchy Gatsby appreciation, until Monica ordered an Ebay print as my Christmas present.

An impeccable cast for the delivery of content consists of Sam Waterson, Bruce Dern, Karen Black, Mia Farrow and Robert Redford (5’8”). 

Its British Director also made The Innocents.”

Gatsby is a purist.  Everyone together is not worth one of him.
There’s a problematic issue, never hit and run.

The Robert Evens bloodbaths are somehow always more violent and upsetting than anything depicted today.  First there is the lingeing over the details of warmth, beauty and luxury (He wants us to smell the pasta.).  

There’s another transgressive moment, too, where Karen Black puts her bloodied hands into her mouth after putting them through a shattered window. 

The languorous pace is heavy with poetic Fitzgerald crafted words.  The text rewards thought and attention with illuminating life experience. 

Rachel Rachel is Paul Newman’s wife’s movie.  Our version is in 16mm Technicolor (from Films Incorporated).  By the time it arrived I forgot why it was initially interesting, because Fairfield County area provided its location.  People who attended the screening remembered its production and knew members of the cast. 

It introduces the exceptional range of Joanne Woodward, in a production directed by her husband.  His next collaboration with her was only as producer.  It’s They Might Be Giants, a Sherlock Holmes windmill of a movie with a memorable supermarket scene near the end, which is currently missing.  Ms. Woodward plays Watson to George C. Scott’s Holmes.  

It was this production's connection to They Might Be Giants that sold me.  

This movie has a lovely conclusion.  Why further impose upon the hospitality of the buyer? When Ms. Woodward leaves her childhood home she takes along her mother.  The change is gonna do them good.  ..  

The April 18th, 2015 Candlewood Isle Film Fest featured pizza made from scratch, the 16mm condensed digest of The Spider Woman with Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce and Gail Sondergaard  and, for the feature, The Manchurian Candidate, delivered in the form of a one-gigabyte mp4 file.

The modern television screen that rendered the file refreshes so rapidly (60 times a second) that it made the 24 frame film movement look as smooth as a live video broadcast.  Do you remember when movie theaters were mostly projecting darkness, between which our eyes had to carry one image to the next?  This persistence of memory theory has been debunked, but I still think that traditional film projectors display mostly darkness between the flashes of transparencies… Our eyes are just not sensitive enough to read the flickering. 

Frank Sinatra’s two foiled presidential assassination movies are The Manchurian Candidate and Suddenly. 

My impression gleaned from wikipedia research is that he didn’t buy up these movies and suppress them, it’s simply that the movies weren’t that popular and weren’t remembered until 25 years later.   It turns out, that the New York Film Festival returned Manchurian Candidate to the screens in 1988, when I originally saw it. 

To paraphrase my second favorite moment, it is:  They will pay.   I asked for a trained assassin and never imagined they would give me you.  (Ms. Lansbury’s actual concluding line: “… when I take power, they will be pulled down and ground into dirt for what they did to you. And what they did in so contemptuously under-estimating me.”)

And the other great scene is in the pressroom when a shouting match opens between the drunken senator and a defense department head, while the news cameras run (and while Frank is acting as a publicity manager?)  The overlap of TV coverage caught within the larger movie frame seems groundbreaking.   

Laurence Harvey, a man from Lithuania, with a Chinese manservant who looks strangely like

The author, Richard Condon, also wrote Prizzi’s Honor. He’s a great storyteller with a rampant imagination.

I also saw John Frankenheimer’s Seconds and The Island of Brando as Dr. Moreau.  I like his Moreau movie, with Brando’s Eleanor Roosevelt routine… Moreau’s Horrors!  This version from 1996 added dictatorial implants.  All the mutating population needs to do to revolt is to pull them out.  According to L. Ron Hubbard we should do the same. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

I entered the world of Les Liaisons Dangereuse last night through a preview performance of the Palm Beach Dramaworks production.  Elizabeth West Versalie, playwright/lyricist of Convertible and member of the South Florida Theater League, also attended.
What is amazing to me is my total lack of sympathy for this play, which took 3 hours to deliver.  I'm sure my low level irritation arises because the subject matter cuts so close to home regarding my own work, in which audiences are challenged to find anything that concerns them.
Somehow after three hours I am at a loss to find character development in the figures parading about.    Their sincerity or lack of it seems arbitrary.  Somewhere buried in them are feelings, and the lead fellow's drive to not take no for an answer is somehow a show of strength and ingenuity, useless though it may be.  The playwright's waste of eloquent speech to resurrect the novel, giving costumed actors the opportunity to pretend and prey upon lower realms from a godlike precipice, is completely inconsequential.  Perhaps it lays a foundation for the French Revolution, but the main question after seeing what you'd be overthrowing is, why bother?  Ok, there's more to consider....   Perhaps this griping goes to the merit of classical french theater, the only names coming to mind being Voltaire and Moliere, which is vaguely satirical.  I remember being also annoyed by The Miser and The Hypochondriac (is that Tartuffe?).  I suppose I've grown to love the Bernstein Wilbur modern day derivative of Voltaire's Candide.  I may grow to love Christopher Hampton's Play, too.  

Thursday, January 01, 2015

The Candlewood Isle Film Fest continued last Saturday night with a holiday dinner party screening of Meet Me in St. Louis,” a 1944 movie that introduced the Blane & Martin song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” 

During dinner we projected a 16mm kinescope TV broadcast print of the 6th installment of “The Judy Garland Show” (1962), which included memorable commercials of odd products of the time (Wondra Flour, Winston Cigarettes, Head & Shoulders Shampoo). 

The show featured June Allyson and Steve Lawrence, as well as sidekick Jerry van Dyck.  We focused our eyes on the screen when Ms. Garland began her solo finale, her “informed” heart throbbing version of a rousing Jeanette McDonald song called “San Francisco.”  Triumphant as the credits ran, she contentedly rolled about the stage ending in a fetal position.  

Then we projected the Blue Strip Technicolor transparencies of Meet Me in St. Louis, a print from Rochester New York, perhaps from the George Eastman House, purchased from The Cure Thrift Shop on East 12th Street for $5. 

The movie commemorates the transformation of St. Louis’s marshland into fairgrounds for the 1905 World’s Fair. Its episodes cover a year of holidays in the lives of a St. Louis family threatened with a move to New York.  Its screenplay drew from a collection of stories Sally Benson wrote for the New Yorker magazine as a series called 5135 Kensington Street.   Ms. Benson’s varied credits include screenwriting Shadow of a Doubt, Viva Las Vegas and The Singing Nun.

By 1944 Vincent Minelli, had left set designing for Radio City Music Hall and had already directed for MGM the black and white musical “Cabin in the Sky.”  He had a way of creating an intimate family atmosphere in his movies.  Another highlight for me is his Shirley MacLaine bar scene in Some Came Running.  

The Three strip Technicolor printing process used for Meet Me In St. Louis, developed by MIT scientists in 1918, was still precious in the 1940s, so the studio indulged Mr. Minelli’s attention to color detail while allowing him to direct this film.   The color palette is intoxicating.

To photograph in Technicolor, Red Green and Blue filters cover the exposure of three strips of black and white film.  The three films are imbibed into one strip of film, such as the strip we ran through the projector on Saturday. 

The blue strip on our print suggests that the print itself was from the 1940’s when it was necessary to conserve on silver for the war. For some reason this adds to the softness of the high color saturation, giving viewers a blue rather than black base.   

The no-place-like-home warmth of the film becomes satirical against such highlights as the anarchy in the streets bonfire of the Halloween segment,

This is the movie where a bonfire burns brightly in the background as Margaret O’Brien, playing a 5-year-old child, bravely goes forward toward the home of a cat killer and throws flour in his face.  As she runs away the house-dog laps it off the floor.  Throwing furniture into the street fire she yells, “I’m the most horrible.”  Ms. O’Brien demonstrates her range to me in the Secret Garden (1949) where she and another boy engage in a yelling match and I think she wins.  The camera crew must have stood back and let that happen.  She’s a pretty great actor.  . She’s still alive, by the way.  

It was such fun having dinner with the movie that we plan to charge $10 and serve dinner and drinks at all future screenings, which are the third Saturday of the month.