Understanding Tennessee: how he projected his “wound”

Writing for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Greg Barrios (who has written two plays about Tennessee Williams and Williams' two great loves, Frank Merlo and Pancho Rodriguez) interviews John Lahr, who just published last year an award-winning biography of Tennessee Williams called Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh. It's absolutely fascinating, "literary detection" as The Guardian says. What I likeContinue reading “Understanding Tennessee: how he projected his “wound””

How to make classic movies not sexist: McSweeney’s

This was one of the top ten columns on McSweeney's often hilarious Internet Tendencies site in 2014. Classic Movies changed to not be sexist My faves: Gone With The Wind Rhett kisses and grabs at Scarlett against her will. Scarlett informs Rhett that though they are married, she still has autonomy over her body andContinue reading “How to make classic movies not sexist: McSweeney’s”

2014 Poem of the Year: “A Moment in a Room”

Of course yours truly "achange" has not read a thousandth of the poems published this year, and this poem I submit below as poem of the year doesn't even come from 2014. But it's great, it's by Tennessee Williams, and it's never been published before, I don't believe. It comes from a magisterial biography ofContinue reading “2014 Poem of the Year: “A Moment in a Room””

Nature in a can: Tenn Williams and Thom Pynchon

In Night of the Iguana, a play first performed in 1961, but evolved out of a short story over a period of about fifteen years, Tennessee Williams expressed anger at our species for ruining our planet.   In the movie of 1962, starring Richard Burton as a disgraced priest, his character, at the end ofContinue reading “Nature in a can: Tenn Williams and Thom Pynchon”

Why gay men like Marilyn Monroe: Caitlin Flanagan

Caitlin Flanagan, the writer, has a lot of nerve, and the arrogance can grate on a reader. (And maybe grated on her editors at The New Yorker too, which might explain why she's not there anymore.) A writer who reviewed her most recent book went on air with her and Tom Ashbrook a year ago andContinue reading “Why gay men like Marilyn Monroe: Caitlin Flanagan”

What Obama has in common w/JFK…and Kurt Cobain

In a recent interview with Franklin Foer of The New Republic, Barack Obama said he liked to shoot: FF: Have you ever fired a gun?  BO: Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time. FF: The whole family? BO: Not the girls, but oftentimes guests of mine go upContinue reading “What Obama has in common w/JFK…and Kurt Cobain”

Marlon Brando ambles insolently onstage: Paglia

Camille Paglia describes a familiar scene, and makes it new: Marlon Brando, carrying a “red-stained package” from the butcher and sporting blue-denim work clothes as the lordly, proletarian Stanley Kowalski, ambles insolently onstage at the opening of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire. “Bellowing” for his adoring yet tart-tongued wife, Stanley is the strutting maleContinue reading “Marlon Brando ambles insolently onstage: Paglia”

Tennessee Williams: I’m not a typical homosexual

(In case there was any doubt)…from an interview with Tennessee Williams: "I'm not a typical homosexual. I can identify completely with Blanche — we are both hysterics — with Alma [Winehouse], and even with Stanley, though I did have trouble with some of the butch characters. If you understand schizophrenics, I'm not really a dualContinue reading “Tennessee Williams: I’m not a typical homosexual”

Disaster lurks behind every moment: Suddenly Last Summer

Nate Sinnott, who comes from the world of stage production, and has not directed before at this level, wrote his master's thesis on Suddenly Last Summer. Currently he has on a brilliant production of this play by Tennessee Williams at California Lutheran's Black Box Theater. It’s shocking, symbolic — unlike most of Williams’ plays —Continue reading “Disaster lurks behind every moment: Suddenly Last Summer”

Now with the forecast tonight, our new weatherman — Tennessee Williams!

True story: In an attempt to stir up interest in Small Craft Warnings, one of his best late plays, in the l970's Tennessee Williams not only resorted to playing a character on stage, but made appearances around the New York, to attract attention and spread the word.  This didn't always go well.  [From Dotson Rader'sContinue reading “Now with the forecast tonight, our new weatherman — Tennessee Williams!”