December 31st, 2006

Chris Keeley

He grows a beer belly but remains ruthlessly good-looking and hungry — not just for sex but for sex

On days you wish to speak to Hugo, Rupert picks up the phone and dials the number for you, allowing you to preserve the myth of your marriage. He gives you injections, takes you to the doctor, and when you crave release, he gently carries you into the glittering pool behind the house so that you may swim.

Pole was persistent, which led to Nin’s double life.



The Lover Who Always Stays

If you believe, as the writer Anaïs Nin did, that life should be full of rich drama and inspired sex, then naturally you would be thrilled to board an elevator in a Manhattan apartment building in 1947 and encounter a staggeringly handsome young man. The fact that he is wearing a flamboyant, full-length coat of white leather and still sports a bashful smile only adds to his allure. And when you realize, upon introducing yourself, that the two of you are headed to the same cocktail party, it could seem that your fate is set. You are, after all, always looking for another lover.

Collapse )
Chris Keeley

Until his death, Martinez’s family and friends did their best to keep his mental illness a secret.

Martinez on the Berkeley campus in 1992, during his unclothed heyday.


The Naked Guy
By JASON ZENGERLE

The Naked Guy
By JASON ZENGERLE

Andrew Martinez wanted to be called the Militant Nudist, but the nickname never stuck. He was simply too gentle, too agreeable for it. In the summer of 1990, when he was 17 and had fallen under the nonconformist spell of Henry David Thoreau, Martinez took off his clothes in public for the first time. But before he did, he went door to door, fully clothed, in his hometown, Cupertino, Calif., to ask his neighbors if they would mind. Soon he was walking down Highway 9 wearing nothing but a backpack and a sign that read, “I was born naked and so were you.” He made it about a mile and a half before the police stopped him and asked him to put on some clothes, which he obligingly did.
Collapse )

Chris Keeley

Do mad geniuses make great music because of their illness, or despite it?

when a musician’s charming psychosis devolves into profound mental illness — the symbiotic relationship between vision and lunacy collapses like a black hole.



Off-Key

No one really disputes the correlation between rock music and insanity. At this point, people assume that most unconventional rock performers are either authentically crazy (Ozzy Osbourne, Daniel Johnston), preoccupied with seeming crazy (Prince, Iggy Pop) or trapped somewhere in between (Axl Rose, Courtney Love). Most of the time, there is no cultural penalty for mentally unstable behavior. Very often, a disconnect from reality is perceived as creativity; musical geniuses are expected to be mildly insane. The problem is that when this cliché reaches its inevitable conclusion — when a musician’s charming psychosis devolves into profound mental illness — the symbiotic relationship between vision and lunacy collapses like a black hole.

Collapse )
Chris Keeley

Parks was unusually protective: he never wanted to let a single image out of his studio that didn’t

He also shot fashion for Vogue, wrote more than a dozen volumes of fiction, poetry and autobiography, directed several feature films, including “Shaft,” and sometimes even composed the music for them.


Gordon Parks

Rare View: Gordon Parks b. 1912

Gordon Parks was nothing if not prolific, and he wasn’t shy about putting his work out there. As a photojournalist for Life magazine, he became one of the country’s most important chroniclers of social inequality and racial strife — and at the same time made portraits of everyone from Barbra Streisand to Alexander Calder.

He also shot fashion for Vogue, wrote more than a dozen volumes of fiction, poetry and autobiography, directed several feature films, including “Shaft,” and sometimes even composed the music for them. Given how willing he was to go public in so many ways, it is a bit surprising to learn that when it came to his photographic work, Parks was unusually protective: he never wanted to let a single image out of his studio that didn’t make his own personal A-list. But even a portion of a contact sheet (provided by his foundation), from his first Life photo session with Muhammad Ali in 1966, shows what an eye the self-taught Parks possessed. At the time, the reigning heavyweight champion was being scorned by many for his conversion to the Nation of Islam and his resistance to the draft. In nine shots, a sense of Ali’s physical elegance, prowess, defiance, warmth and, perhaps, isolation comes through.

Chris Keeley

“How could I be intoxicated?” Kerouac said on the tape. “I’m only drinking beer.”

The King of the Beats did leave Northport, never to return before his death from internal bleeding in 1969.

For Kerouac, Off the Road and Deep Into the Bottle, a Rest Stop on the Long Island Shore

NORTHPORT, N.Y. — The King of the Beats was already a literary celebrity when he moved with his mother, Gabrielle, to this Long Island harbor town in 1958, but the locals remember him mainly as a broke barfly who padded about barefoot or in bedroom slippers.

“He never had any money, so he’d get your ear till you bought him a drink, always Schenley’s whiskey,” Bob Reid, a 69-year-old clammer, recalled of Jack Kerouac’s six years here, much of them spent in Murphy’s, a salty bar overlooking the public dock where the fishermen, lobstermen and clammers would come in still wearing their smelly hip waders.

“He dressed like a bum, wore an old ratty overcoat and always needed a shave,” Mr. Reid added. “We knew he was a writer but we didn’t know he was famous. He never talked about books, maybe because we weren’t exactly a book crowd.”

Collapse )