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"Notes for Jerome" to be screened at the Anthology Film Archives

Jerome Hill

Jerome Hill (1931), (Photographer: Edward Weston), Collection Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona © 1981 Arizona Board of Regents (MAC) ("Living the Arts," Jerome Foundation, 2005)

July 14, 2019: Jonas Mekas' film, Notes for Jerome, will be shown during the Jonas Mekas tribute on July 16, 2019. The footage was shot at Jerome Hill's home in Cassis. Hill and his younger boyfriend Charles Rydell were owners of Interview magazine in 1970-1971. When Andy Warhol shot Blow Job he initially asked Charles if he would be the person getting the blow job but Charles never showed up for the shoot and Warhol had to use DeVeren Bookwalter instead. (See "Andy Warhol's Blow Job")

The Living Theatre also performed at the amphitheatre at Cassis - Theatre de la Mer (Jerome Hill Greek Theater). The Cassis performance of The Living Theatre is the one that took place in late July 1966 which was famously heckled by Warhol star Taylor Mead (see "Jerome Hill and Charles Rydell," p. 2).

Mekas describes Notes for Jerome as follows:

Jonas Mekas:

During the summer of 1966 I spent two months in Cassis, as a guest of Jerome Hill. I visited him briefly again in 1967, with P. Adams Sitney. The footage of this film comes from those two visits. Later, after Jerome died, I visited his Cassis home in 1974. Footage of that visit constitutes the epilogue of the film. Other people appear in the film, all friends of Jerome: Taylor Mead, Bernadette Lafont, Charles Rydell, Barbara Stone and David Stone and their children; Noel Burch, Judith Malina and Julian Beck and the Living Theater collective, Ms. Chaliapin, Jean Jacques Lebel, Michael Fontayne; Alec Wilder, P. Adams Sitney and Julie Sitney and Jerome's perhaps closest and oldest friend, whose name I forgot, but whom he always called Rosebud. The soundtrack was practically all recorded during the same period, during the same visits to Cassis. Piano improvisations are Jerome's and Taylor Mead's; the soloist (Monteverdi's 'Lasciatemi morire!' and Giordani's 'Caromioben') is Charles Rydell's practicing, in Cassis; the ocean and most of the wind is the late summer mistal; and so are the cicadas, street music, scooters, motorboats, birds, and my own sing-songing. The text of my Lithuanian 'song' is, in translation, 'the sun is setting, the sky is red, I am sitting by the sea and I am singing by myself.' Those were lonely summers for me, I thought a lot about home. That's why this film, this elegy for Jerome is dedicated 'to the wind of Lithuania.' Sometimes, though, I had a feeling that Jerome was as much of an exile as was I. (JMF) ("Jerome Hill and Charles Rydell.")

Director of the V & A defends the Sacklers

July 11, 2019: The Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London has defended the Sackler family against the accusations made against them by photographer Nan Goldin and others. "We’re proud to have been supported by the Sacklers,” he said on BBC Radio yesterday. According to the press pack distributed by her U.S. gallery, Goldin was obtaining an opioid, OxyContin, illegally after her doctors refused to prescribe it to her. One branch of the Sackler family has an investment in Purdue Pharma which makes the drug - an important pain reliever for patients suffering from chronic and terminal illnesses. (See Nan Goldin vs. The Sacklers.)

Douglas Crimp has died

July 7, 2019: Art writer and AIDS activist, Douglas Crimp, died on July 5, 2019. Crimp's memoir, Before Pictures, was published in 2016. I didn't know Crimp but we both knew of each other through Andy Warhol's scriptwriter, Ron Tavel, who wrote me in 2008: "Douglas Crimp is Head of Humanities at Rochester U. He made his rep as an architectural theorist (THE MUSEUM AND ITS RUINS) and went on to Queer Theory. While investigating transvestites, their use and meaning, he came upon my work and started to write about it. He's easily the deepest thinker who's turned his attention to my efforts." (RT to GC, "Re: Continuing," 4 June 2008) I ended up putting Crimp's essay on Tavel on my site.

My commiseration to Crimp's family and friends. In addition to educating his readers about art, he also educated them about AIDS. From 1977 to 1990, he was an editor of the journal October and in 1987 he edited the October special issue on AIDS, entitled AIDS: Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism.

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