Friday, October 7, 2016

The Least Photographed Boy in the World

Everyone last night found Arthur Vanderbilt's book unsatisfactory in one way or another. We all complained about the lack of photographs, which can be expensive. But what's extraordinary (it occurs to me today) is that the only photograph in the book (on the cover) appears with neither comment nor commentary (such as when it was taken, by whom, under what circumstances etc). One should probably excuse the author but it's no credit to publisher Riverdale Avenue nor its "imprint" Magnus [sic] Books. One can rummage about in Google Images and find all manner of junk. This however

may be a Platt Lynes' photograph of the twenty year old Fouts. It certainly makes more credible his legendary allure.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Saturday, September 17, 2016

R.I.P., Edward Albee

Sad news from the theater world:

Edward Albee, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of modern masterpieces dies at 88.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Post Medici Boy

Readers who liked The Medici Boy and even (or especially) those who didn't may be interested in reading the author's story  "Three Short Moments in a Long Life"  in a recent New Yorker. The "especially" above is for those who found his writing slack and repetitious. Maybe it was just the narrator.

And for those who are still interested in the MB, I've come across the publisher's Book Group Guide. It includes none of the interesting questions we discussed but … a window into how the other half reads (or to how Astor+Blue thinks they do or should). Followed by an interview with author L'Heureux.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

"He would have sinned incessantly..."

My favorite poet is Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935), who won three Pulitzer Prizes but has, alas, fallen into undeserved obscurity. "Richard Cory" is the one poem of his that is still in virtually all anthologies, but this one, "Miniver Cheevy," also often makes the cut.

Since we'll be discussing The Medici Boy on Wednesday, I'm seizing the opportunity to shine a little reflected glory on a great poet (see Stanza 5 for the connection). For what it's worth, by the way, I strongly suspect Robinson was one of our own, though a recent biographer insists he was straight.

Anyway, for your reading pleasure:
Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn, 
   Grew lean while he assailed the seasons; 
He wept that he was ever born, 
   And he had reasons. 

Miniver loved the days of old 
   When swords were bright and steeds were prancing; 
The vision of a warrior bold 
   Would set him dancing. 

Miniver sighed for what was not, 
   And dreamed, and rested from his labors; 
He dreamed of Thebes and Camelot, 
   And Priam’s neighbors. 

Miniver mourned the ripe renown 
   That made so many a name so fragrant; 
He mourned Romance, now on the town, 
   And Art, a vagrant. 

Miniver loved the Medici, 
   Albeit he had never seen one; 
He would have sinned incessantly 
   Could he have been one. 

Miniver cursed the commonplace 
   And eyed a khaki suit with loathing; 
He missed the mediæval grace 
   Of iron clothing. 

Miniver scorned the gold he sought, 
   But sore annoyed was he without it; 
Miniver thought, and thought, and thought, 
   And thought about it. 

Miniver Cheevy, born too late, 
   Scratched his head and kept on thinking; 
Miniver coughed, and called it fate, 
   And kept on drinking.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Angels in America  at Round House in Bethesda

Angels in America [click on the banner above] is soon coming to the Round House Theatre in Bethesda, produced jointly with Olney Theater from September 7 through October 30. The epic is performed as two separate but inter-related plays, "Part 1: Millennium Approaches," and "Part II: Perestroika." I got information about a group discount and discovered that other, better discounts are available, allowing all who are interested to select his own convenient date. Among the discounts are: 1) 25% off, when you buy both together on-line or over the phone, and use the code TWOANGELS at checkout; 2) Also, each show has a very limited number of $10 Tuesdays (the seats are blue on the seating charts); 3) If you are a member of any of several professional theater organizations, there are special discounts for you; 4) There are a couple PWYC nights (pay what you can), which look like they may serve as final dress rehearsals. There are a few days during the run when it is possible to catch both plays on the same day, with a break for dinner. For tickets on-line, visit Angels in America or call (240) 644-1100 (only during business hours M-F). I suggest acting right away if you are interested, because desirable dates and discounted tickets are selling fast.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Testa de Cazi

Posted here is as something of a curio. It comes from the Ashmolean where more can be learned about it. My only observation is that if the dicks are supposed to be circumcised (the basis of the maiolica's supposed antisemitism), Francesco hadn't seen many Jewish men naked.