Saturday, January 23, 2016


Snowbound, BookMen continue their Mad Pilgrimmage of the Flesh.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The enormousness of "enormity"

Can't imagine how I've managed to be ignorant (blissfully) of this nit-pick. No one who's serious about such things can be without Webster's Dictionary of English Usage (first published in 1989). Everyone may have their [sic] preferences and I have mine, but it's foolish to presume that they amount to much more than that. Webster's concluding paragraph from its documentary four columns is:

We agree with these two commentators [one of whom, William Safire]. We have seen that there is no clear basis for the "rule" at all [a common conclusion]. We suggest that you follow the writers rather than the critics: writers use enormity with a richness and subtlety that the critics have failed to take account of. The stigmatized sense is entirely standard and has been for more than a century and a half.

My purpose in this post is more to call attention to the work cited than to engage in the dispute. I haven't yet summoned sufficient interest to read the full entry.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

10 @ most photogenic

Merlo, Kazan, Tenn, and Feldman

      "the best photo that Tennessee Williams ever took" — Lee Levine

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Anyone should get the first four (first six?) of this tongue-twisting acronym … but the last six!? Test yourself before clicking on the link that reveals all. Once you've got it down pat, try it out as a pick-up line in your favorite bar (or at least a conversation starter). Write a "comment" to report on your success.

Reeves Center Parking

Thanks to John for this information:

"There is an underground parking garage with its entrance on the north side of U Street just west of the building housing the DC Center—in fact, I think it's within the same structure. It costs a flat $10 in the evening. I have never found it anywhere close to full. Having circled many blocks down there hunting for a space in the past, I now go right to the garage."

Friday, January 8, 2016

"Disreputable Anal Rhetoric"

Washington Post cultural critic Alyssa Rosenberg (always worth reading), has a new column up titled "What Marlon Brando can teach us about the fight for equality in Hollywood." In it, she praises Susan L. Mizruchi's 2015 book, Brando's Smile, citing its "lessons for socially conscious actors in the legacy and negotiating style of one of their greatest colleagues." Here's the pertinent quote for our purposes, following up on our ongoing discussion of John Lahr's biography of the playwright:

In 1963, Mizruchi points out, Brando went on the "Today" show to read excerpts from Magazine’s coverage of playwright Tennessee Williams, “calling attention to the anal rhetoric and physical slurs so obviously misplaced in a reputable journal,” and criticizing for letting homophobia color the publication’s coverage.

Pretty ballsy for 1963, I'd say!  And it would still be brave today.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Lucky 17!

I don't usually report attendance at our meetings, but I'm so thrilled at the turnout of 17 Bookmen (one brand-new) for tonight's discussion of the first half (five chapters) of John Lahr's Tennessee Williams: Pilgrimage of the Flesh that I thought that worth sharing.  As a bonus, our usual wide-ranging discussion flowed well despite the large crowd.

Besides being remarkable in its own right, that turnout sets a new record for our group.  The previous high-water mark came nearly a decade ago (June 20, 2006), when 16 guys attended a discussion of Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty (also at the Cleveland Park Library).

We'll discuss the biography's second tranche, also consisting of five chapters, four weeks from now, on Feb. 3.  Hope to see lots of you then, too!