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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

False Start Friday (Wednesday)

It feels a bit previous writing a False Start Friday here on Wednesday but there are three reasons for doing so. I wanted to take advantage of Suze's project before her December hiatus, so she can see it and perhaps respond before 2013 when we may expect the pleasure of her renewed company. Secondly, it's a very rainy Wednesday and my indoor fun has included perusing back-pages and old photos. Lastly, it is not always fun for me to find old photos. So many precious people I knew then are no longer with us and that makes me blue. Not the case with this pic. I googled everybody and they're still in the game.

This photo was taken maybe 1977-78. I remember riding my motorcycle (our family's second car then) downtown from work, about 9:30 p.m., to Barbara Crockett's Sacramento Ballet School, found her stowing tutus in trunks and indulging in a cigarette. Last I heard --April of last year-- she was still involved part-time with the studio at age 90. Barbara isn't detectable in the photo because she was bustling around in the background faster than the speed of light. Also found Evan Nossoff, photographer and performance artist, with his camera and lights set up. Beside Evan was Victoria Dalkey, poet, artist, journalist. Beside her was Jim Leitzell, artist and musician.

We were there to take promo shots for a performance in which we all figured. As I recall, it took place at the YWCA and my notes were sketchy.  I found some pieces I used that night that were neither polished nor final, qualifying as "False Starts", but they allowed great volume and emphasis on humor so I included them then and here:


Not to be outdone, she purchased a Renoir.
"Yes," I said from vista points in her gown. "Restoration can be tiresome."

And she fluttered and bossomed, remembering those frequent visits to the studio. I told her Renoirs need regular tune-ups.

"Every time I get mine back, something else goes wrong with it!" said the pillow man in tights.

El Presidente arrived in a three-year-old Picasso. "It's lemons in the still-lifes." He declared, "Traded mine in on this little number. Not a lick of trouble yet!"

I grabbed another drink and waited for the assassination, but wondered, is this about beauty or truth? Is that all I need know? Something voluptuated out of her gown. I sat a little closer.

"I grew my fingernails out just to scrape the crud off your teeth," she said breathily. Like a fool, I fell for it.

El Presidente stepped on my hand. "That's an old line, kid. Shouldna fell for it."

Or is truth beauty? I still can't tell. But I didn't notice El Presidente sticking pins in the map until his face appeared in the sky over California. I'm not sure what Renoir would say but suspect the composition suggested tragedy.

"He's right!" said an odd bulge in the carpet. It moved.

"Assassin!" we all cried and pillow man led us outside where we tied up El Presidente safely in the path of a glacier.

                                      CHAPTER XXVI, A NARROW ESCAPE!

           The ancient and cavernous sunset thawed from its frozen station.
           The young couple, motoring gravely on a slant of unfallen rain,
           heard the horizon begin to fry.
          "Must be Summer," said the young man as he lifted the young
          lady out of the auto just before it fell out of the sky.


  1. This brings to mind, 'The Bald Soprano.' Geo., have you read Eugene Ionesco?

  2. Heehee! Suze, if Geo. had been older he could have written 'The Bald Soprano'! That being said, those were still surreal times in the '70s for many of us. What a menage from the 90 year old to the nippers then! I remember it well, and IMO Geo. captures it well. That also being said, wha?


  3. Suze-- Very good question. Honestly, the only Ionesco work I knew at the time was "Rhinoceros". I liked it. I also was fond of Italo Calvino and Kenneth Patchen. They all explored themes of conformity, consumerism, social movements destructive to individuality, and they all used absurdism to convey morals for which conventional logic was sometimes too ponderously awkward. Work these people did in the '50s, '60s and '70s weren't simply entertainment, they were saving lives.

    Willie-- Thanks Will. I appreciate your guidance and enthusiasm as much now as I did then. It was a strange and treacherous era. But get a load of the present one!

  4. Wow, great writing! And it would appear that your mind percolated with its own wild and woolly rhythm just as much in the '70s as it does now. Impressive.

  5. As fresh now as it was then. Fascinating writing and a great photo!

  6. This reminds me: I need to take my Man Ray in for a rotation. Maybe this time I'll figure out which end is up!

  7. Reminds me of Daniil Kharms. Very interesting read.

  8. It is lemons in the still lifes!!! Love it! :-)

  9. Well done! I understood this completely. Should I be concerned?

  10. Love that line about the fingernails!


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