This article on Letters Home, by Adolphus and Jonas Mekas catches my attention…

When Jonas Mekas died in 2019, aged 96, he left behind a monumental legacy. Widely recognised as the “godfather of American avant-garde cinema”, the auteur and poet’s boundary-breaking works propelled the New American Cinema movement of the 1960s and 70s to brave and brilliant new heights.

… it mentions Kenneth Anger, Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg and Maya Deren as friends and collaborators with Jonas Mekas… i know of two of the four…

… Deren’s film, Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) “has been one of the most influential experimental films in American cinema history… the film is short and can be watched through its Wikipedia page…

… here lies a rabbit hole of substantial proportions…

The Journals of Denton Welch

… Eric Oliver appears in DW’s life… it is interesting how matter of fact DW is about his gayness… he describes in great detail time spent with EO, makes it very clear that he loves him, but has yet to say anything much about a sexual relationship…

… a remarkable passage of existential angst…

 Again I felt nothing but all the sadness and parting and dying and diseases in the world. All the accidents and hate in the long, long everlasting going-on-ness of it all. I thought that I and Eric and all people living were nothing but the reflection of all the thousand million people who have gone before, and I thought that in a long time, almost no time at all, we would all be gone again and swept away.1

… it’s all EO all the time now… total infatuation… EO seems to be bisexual… DW describes the attraction between him and a woman friend, and how they go off together alone to do he knows exactly what… apparently EO thought the girl was “passionate”… sexuality is implied often but not talked about overtly… discretion seems to be the dominating force… finally, there is a kiss, one, to comfort… he so doesn’t make a point of the homosexuality… it just is and this is probably as it should be…

… i did a search on Eric Oliver who’s noted accomplishment seems confined to being Denton Welch’s companion and executor of his estate…


  1. Welch, Denton, The Journals of Denton Welch, p 125 [return]

The Journals of Denton Welch

… DW appears to be a bit of an aristocrat in attitude if not in actual wealth… he seems to admire the trappings of wealth, refined things, interiors, private pew boxes for the wealthy…

… and then, a passage describing an encounter with a young working class man… he seemed to be attracted to pleasantly muscled with labor and tanned from sun exposure young men… it’s his version of a pinup that he might pleasure himself to… it’s rather contradictory, a bit Lady Chatterly’s lover, LGBTQ+ version…

John Cowper Powys A Philosophy of Solitude is mentioned… Wikipedia describes this book and two other non-fiction products as better aligned with the self-help books of the modern era… offering advice on the achievement of happiness in an otherwise ordinary and mean existence…

… DW goes on at length about all the “boys” he encounters in the landscape… very few women and when encountered, a more matter of fact and brief assessment… well healed and well connected women are worth his time in description but mostly he has eyes for the men… homosexuality is a clear subtext of his observations of men and boys… so clear that it is frank and honest without being in your face…

Talk about a provocative photo!

… was looking through a selection of photographs from Photo Vogue Festival and this:

A photograph by Kennedi Carter from “10 Years of PhotoVogue”

… immediately reality is distorted and the mind bent… woman or man?… it’s a bit erotic… a bit forbidden delight… hmmm… an image that really explodes the idea that gender is tied to the genetic sex of the body… amazing image for the way it crystalizes the fluidity of gender…

Paz Errázuriz’s La Manzana de Adán (Adam’s Apple) (1982-87)

Paz Errázuriz, “La Jaula, Talca” (1984/2014), Inkjet print, 12 5/8 × 17 3/8 in. (32.07 × 44.13 cm)

an article in Hyplerallergic about Paz Errázuriz’s photographs documenting trans sex worker communities in Chile during the reign of Pinochet… twenty of the photographs have entered the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angelas…

Modern Nature, Derek Jarman

… DJ hospitalized with mysterious illness, not confirmed to be HIV, but he and we suspect that it is, though i think he hopes it is something exotic he picked up in Poland… exotic and treatable… fevers, sweats, no appetite… i am reminded years ago of Fleet… of working in an office where we were asked if it would be a concern if there were a co-worker with AIDS… i said no… what i knew of the disease at that point was that it was transmitted through sexual intercourse or blood transfusion, otherwise, not easy to catch…

… DJ’s descriptions of hospital life are deadpan and sometimes funny… he writes more than when not in the hospital… possibly because he has lots of time on his hands when symptoms are not washing through him… he describes himself as having the classic symptoms of HIV…

… i get to the place where the doctors say it isn’t HIV related… but nobody knows what it is… of course, i know how the story ends… he dies of HIV related causes eventually… his was in the early rounds of dealing with the virus, before they developed treatments that managed it… people live long and normal lives while carrying it now… there is not, to my knowledge, a cure, just management…

Modern Nature, Derek Jarman

… we seem to be in the throws of the memoir writing decades… the memoir format is much more literary, much more composed… memoirists conjure up memories of things that happened long ago, which allows them to create a well rendered and, most of the time, more flattering, if quasi-fictional, account of their past… moreover, it seems to me that everyone has decided they live in interesting times and should tell the world about it…

… as i open the book to read, the sound of garbage trucks in the DMV parking lot which reminds me the garbage needs to be put out… back in the studio, i am re-reading a section which mentions the journals of Denton Welch which describes his writing as “crystalline”… i have looked him up on Wikipedia where he is described as “an English writer and painter, admired for his vivid prose and precise descriptions”… i purchase a previously owned copy of his Journals… Maurice Cranston’s description of Welch is quoted in Wikipedia:

He had no trust. This in turn connects with his greatest limitation as an artist. He built too many barricades and enclosed the range of his understanding. If he could have seen the wider human comedy with his miraculously penetrating eye, and described the world as he described his own, he would surely have been among the greater writers in our language. As it is he will survive as a minor genius, one of very few from an uncreative age.1

… DJ wishes he could write in as crystalline a way as Welch…

… names dropped, Annie Lennox, Keith Herring… the later reported as dead, the former ringing up to discuss whether to do an AID’s charity gig…

… a trip to Poland for a film festival featuring his films… the descriptions of a country in which everything is state owned… mercantile competition doesn’t seem to exist…

… then this brief paragraph:

Meetings like this, with an exchange of ideas, have quite disappeared in London. Music there is so loud no-one can hear a conversation any longer.2

… this causes me to pause, quote, it occurs to me that loud music in social settings was/is a plot to keep young people from exchanging any meaningful ideas… in this way they can’t coordinate their misery into rebellion and the capitalist machine can profit off of them… i wonder how much in our world has been constructed to keep the young from coming together and rebelling… just keep them dancing, drunk, drugged and by the time they come out the other end they have lost their will to fight…

… i am finding it interesting to read a journal, which is written as one goes… i expect it has been tidied up for publication, but the Derek Jarman i perceive in the pages would not have been one to do that much tidying… mostly editing aimed at making it more readable… by contrast, in my time, people don’t publish journals… we seem to be in the throws of the memoir writing decades… the memoir format is much more literary, much more composed… memoirists conjure up memories of things that happened long ago, which allows them to create a well rendered and, most of the time, more flattering, if quasi-fictional, account of their past… moreover, it seems to me that everyone has decided they live in interesting times and should tell the world about it… i have this thought that i shouldn’t be too critical here, as i am writing and posting things that are of little interest to anyone but me, and are hardly consequential… i am just another human making their way in the world, wishing i was consequential, writing and publishing like they i am consequential, when, in fact, i know i am not… but it’s wrong to put it that way… i am not broadly consequential… i have been consequential to a small circle of lives…


  1. Cranston, Maurice, quoted in Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denton_Welch [return]
  2. Jarman, Derek, Modern Nature, p247 [return]

Modern Nature, Derek Jarman

… interesting portrayal of calamities… a huge storm… the nearby nuclear power station seeming to blow up, but only shutting down in an urgent way due to lightning strikes… an uncle on a boat to Calcutta in 1915 on which influenza is dropping the passengers like flies… the world is chaos much of the time… i wonder how the present times would be described by DJ or by some DJ in the process of becoming…

… DJ talks about what it meant to be open about his sexual preferences and HIV+ status… he felt in a privileged position to be open, figuring if his film career stalled he could make paintings and sell them… he seems to have done generally well for himself despite being something of a radical filmmaker…

Modern Nature, Derek Jarman

… i keep thinking about gay promiscuity, the cruising scene… DJ talks of cruising in Hempstead Heath… i’ve been to London… my first wife’s family lived near the Heath and i would walk there… had no idea it was a gay cruising park… a big park so possibly not at the end my in-laws lived near…

… was this the largest part of gay culture or was it the most sensational part?…

… DJ seems to have had a committed relationship of sorts… still, he cruised often… what does he look for?… what is the attraction of giving and receiving orgasms to and from strangers?… sex for the sake of sex… is there a thrill attached?… risky behavior is thrilling behavior?… i try to puzzle it out…

… Alice Cooper enters the narrative… memories of a time he had been asked to help stage the band?… the focus is on mountains of Budweiser beer and a bed where men and women have sex for everyone to see/watch if they care… it is not so unlike the gay cruising behavior… i don’t find it as off putting…

… discussing the movie Last Exit to Brooklyn

How, after 20 years of feminist lobbying, do you view the act of the girl who invites gang rape as a triumphal revenge?1

… this strikes me because, as much progress as one thinks gets made in the USA, there are such large swaths of the public that make no progress at all that it seems pointless… the ability of the country to absorb all this progress without changing deep down is mind boggling… we are fighting culture wars that have been raging for hundreds of years… every now and again a period of seemingly substantial progress only to be hammered back… the country is like the blob, able to ingest anything without changing it’s essential nature… D was an example of that virulent essential nature… and it is not just men refusing to change… women seem to get some kind of perverse satisfaction in setting themselves back decades… i have this looming fear that M will find a companion and re-yoke themselves to companion stupidity that limits them… i am enjoying the sense of their blossoming in their newfound freedom… H’s M seems to have done this on a certain level…

… talking about growing up Suburban…

A suburban child, I was inexperienced and insecure, my upbringing designed to protect me from life. It was not that my parents neglected me — they were enthusiastic, though cautious. But the mores of middle-class life meant that no problems — unless financial — were ever discussed. They had no language for the emotions.2

… this rings so true to my upbringing and in particular to being the child of a parent who had little in common with me or i them…


  1. Jarman, Derek, Modern Nature, p 188. [return]
  2. Ibid, p 192. [return]

Eve Adams

I have been following the blog Body Impolitic, written by Laurie Toby Edison. Today I read her post about Eve Adams and was moved by it. The final paragraph in the post:

Eve Adams is worth remembering both for her accomplishments and for her fate. In the end, in the hell of the camps, who she was, what she wrote, who she loved, and what she believed was dissolved and erased. Everyone who died in the camps, everyone who dies at the hands of the police, everyone who is deported today to a dangerous homeland, everyone who dies of abuse of any sort should be remembered both for their individuality and for their common experience. The celebrated and deported Lesbian activist writer dies next to the housewife who never left her home village, and nothing about any of their deaths is inspirational, or hopeful.1

Ms. Edison describes herself this way.

06 La Veneno, Spain’s Badass Trans Superstar:

an article about La Veneno in Hyperallergic

… trans women interest me… it’s the one form of alternative sexuality i could fancy myself being, except i think i would make an unattractive woman and i do enjoy heterosexual life… there is a biographical miniseries on HBO about La Veneno

01 First Thoughts

… no middle of the night waking by either dog, but Chas is ready promptly at 4 AM… it’s ok, no alcohol last night and in bed more or less on time…

… the heat should break today… there isn’t anything abnormal about a few days of this kind of heat at this time of year… not like the Pacific Northwest where temperatures are breaking records, and in the case of British Columbia, setting an all time record… 116 degrees!…

… this morning’s Heather Cox Richardson is all about how the oil and gas industry are lobbying states for legislation that favors the fossil fuel industry and makes it harder to pursue green energy strategies… the problem with capitalism… money equals power and big oil and gas have lots of money… interests are entrenched… numerous states depend substantially on the oil and gas industry for jobs and revenue… we should be better at adjusting but the market capitalist system often makes it difficult to do what is beneficial in the long run…

a sweet story about Gertrude Tate and Alice Austin love affair in Brain Pickings… Alice Austin was a pioneering photographer… Maria Popova describes her work as brilliant, i am not as clear that it was, but she was both pursuing photography and loving a woman when both were difficult to do… i think her genius was in just getting out and doing it, recording people, in dignified portraits… here is an example…

Street-cleaner at 34th Street, New York City, part of Alice Austen’s 1896 series Street Types of New York. (Alice Austen House archive.)

… trying out Craft after a high recommendation from a Micro.blog community member… trying to see where it might fit into my workflow…

… the internet is so freaking slow this AM… that is what i hoped i was leaving behind when i came home… what gives?…

03 Love is Love

Loving: A Photographic History of Men In Love, 1850-1950

… one remarkable thing about this collection is the courage of the men being photographed… the world was far less enlightened than it is now, though there is still a long way to go… it reminds me of one of Simone de Beauvoir’s achievements in The Second Sex, which was to establish that gender and sex are not the same thing, the former being a social construct, the latter being a condition of the body… gender is fluid, sex, less so…

04 Gottmik

this article on Gottmik caught my attention this AM… femininity in all it’s forms is an interest of mine, trans femininity included…

03 Elle Perez, a different queer gaze

the article attracts my attention, and this image is what pulls me in…

… it’s an image i would make, lots of people might make, and for that reason, becomes a touchstone of common experience between me and the photographer, who is queer and prefers they, them, their as pronoun…

… when i type the name Elle, i have a fleeting memory of an Alvin Ailey dance class on Time Square… i was trying to teach a young woman a dance movement we had learned in class… she was beautiful, her name was Elle… it wasn’t till later that i became aware of Elle, the model, and i was never quite sure if she were that Elle… it’s possible i taught Elle a modern dance move… we parted on the street outside the building where the dance class had taken place… i remember her fumbling to pull a cigarette out of her bag then out of a box… we parted… i never saw her again…

… there is something very attractive about this work… something honest, particular and universal both… deploying seascapes and landscapes to mediate between their experience and the experience of others… something brilliant about it…

04 Herbert List

an article on the sensual photography of men and sculptures of men by Magnum photographer Herbert List… i am not into the depiction of the male body sexually, so i view the images with a certain detachment that i don’t have when viewing depictions of female bodies, where viewing is always sexually charged… List photographed during the Second World War… he had little opportunity to exhibit or publish during his lifetime… looking at the images, i imagines him traveling through the Greek Isles and surrounding himself with youthful, heavenly bodies wherever he went…

03 Paris Lee, Trans Woman

a conversation with Paris Lee, trans woman…

… i envy men who make attractive women… it is the one piece of LGBTQ+ spectrum i could have inhabited under the right circumstances… i haven’t minded being male, but i have these very feminine parts of my psyche and wonder what it might have been like to be a woman sometimes… except, i am convinced i would make an ugly woman while i am a passably handsome man… the thought that J sensed this in me and didn’t like it…