Category Archives: Arts

Harold Norse

Harold Norse by Allen Ginsberg We received word that Harold Norse passed away on Monday. He was 92. 

The Beat Museum will be hosting a Memorial for Harold Norse on Sunday, July 12th, time TBA.

From the Beat Museum: "In 1951, Norse's talent was recognized by William Carlos Williams, who invited him to read at the Museum of Modern Art in early 1952. Williams remarked on Norse's ability to "use the direct image on its own," and became an important mentor to Harold. Williams would later call Norse "the best poet of his generation," a profound accolade considering Williams was mentor to such figures as Charles Olson, Denise Levertov, and Allen Ginsberg. Following the 1953 publication of his first book of poetry, The Undersea Mountain, which was reviewed in The New York Times and Poetry magazine, Norse left America for Italy.

"In 1957, Norse was nearly deported from Italy when the Italian government deemed his poem "Victor Emmanuel Monument (Rome)," political fodder for the Communists.

"Norse moved to Paris in 1960, on a tip from Williams and, at the Beat Hotel, met Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, and others, drawn by their interest in Buddhist meditation, which Norse had recently taken up. Using the cut-up technique devised by Gysin and Burroughs, Norse wrote his experimental novel, Beat Hotel. Originally titled Sniffing Keyholes, the first chapter—which he describes as "a sex/dope scene between a muscular black youth called Melo and a blond Russian princess called Z.Z."— made even the often stoic Burroughs laugh. During his time at the Beat Hotel, Norse began creating his 'random paintings' or Cosmographs (using the hotel's bidet).

"Norse returned to America in 1969 and, with Carnivorous Saint: Gay Poems 1941-1976, became a leading gay liberation poet. For the last 35 years he lived in San Francisco’s Mission District."

Friends have created a memorial website But apparently the bandwidth has been exceeded and you may have difficulty reaching the site.

Rise Up and Shout!

RISEUP_FILM_POSTER_Small Got some good news in the morning email (almost called it "the post" which has a whole new meaning now) from psychotherapist and filmmaker, Brian Gleason, who works so hard in Los Angeles.

Some of you may be familiar with the Rise Up & Shout! project with which White Crane has been associated. It started in Los Angeles, with people like Brian, Malcolm Boyd, Don Kilhefner, Mark Thompson (I'm leaving out many, may other names of people…this kind of thing takes dozens of people…just don't have them in front of me as I write. I'll find them and include them later, promise) working with young GLBT people in L.A. to produce a talent show showcasing their various and sundry talents.

More importantly, it offered young GLBT people a chance to come in contact with elder GLBT people and let the intergenerational transfer of wisdom and experience mingle with the exuberance and freshness of youth. The first Rise Up & Shout, was a live stage production at the Barnsdall Park theater, directed by award-winning Broadway director, Jim Pentacost, and benefited White Crane, among others. And it was filmed by Brian Gleason.

That film will now receive the wider audience it deserves when it is aired on the Sundance Channel, later this month. The schedule is:

Mon 06/22/09 9:00PM       Sat 06/27/09 3:35PM       Sun 06/28/09 06:40AM

This is MUST SEE TELEVISION folks! Stirring, inspiring, touching. Worth getting cable for, even.

Check your local listings, as they say, for airtimes in your area.


RFD: 35 Years – Remarkably Festive Divas


Join the NYC Circle of Radical Faeries for an evening of readings, ritual, high drag and magic! Celebrate the 35th anniversary of RFD,

the digest of the Radical Faerie community.

Saturday, May 30th at BLUESTOCKINGS

6:00 PM Meet, Greet, Drum and Chant

7:00 PM Readings…and…


RFDIssue132 The current issue explores the relationship between the Radical Faerie's ritual practices and Starhawk's Reclaiming Collective. It includes articles on the life of Faeries and Witches in the 1970', 80's and 90's
as well as meditations on the current practice of Faerie Ritual. Rare back copies from the last 35 years of quarterly publication will also be available for sale. 

a bookstore, fair trade cafe, and activist center
in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
172 Allen St.
New York, NY 10002
Bluestockings is located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan at 172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington, one block south of Houston and First Avenue.

By train: F train to 2nd Ave , exit at 1st Ave , and walk one block south.

By car: If you take the Houston exit off of the FDR, then turn left onto Essex
(a.k.a. Avenue A), then right on Rivington, and finally right on Allen, you will
be very, very close.

Free Speech

I think
as I please

And this gives me pleasure.

My conscience decrees,

This right I must treasure.

My thoughts will not cater

To duke or dictator,

No man can deny —

Die gedanken sind frei.

— German 16th-century peasant
song (revived as a protest anthem against the Nazi regime)*

As emotionally satisfying as it is to hear that the British Home Secretary has banned San Francisco radio shock jock Michael Savage (ne Michael A. Weiner) and the despicable Fred Phelps and his family from entry into Great Britain, along with various and sundry mad Muslim imams, Egyptian clerics and Russian skinheads…it is, alas, the most wrong-headed ham-fisted response, to say nothing of an appalling lack of imagination.

Soapbox Simply put: the proper answer to abuse of free speech is not the stifling of speech, but rather more speech.

That is to say: Let idiots be heard. Let their rantings be viewed in the cleansing light of day. Ugly speech, like cockroaches, can't take the exposure to light.

Are we really so afraid of one another that we must repudiate our own values in the defence of those same values? Are we so afraid that they will gain greater audiences that reason will be lost (Japanese internment camps, the House Un-American Activities Committee and the Defense of Marriage radicals notwithstanding)? 

The time to defend core values, essential rights is not when it's easy, but when it's difficult.

The world has been presented with a teaching moment in which the
argument for free thought — that die gedanken sind frei ("thoughts are
free") that the Nazis and every other absolutist dictatorship have
excelled in crushing — has not been advanced by those who know better. The easy way out is not the answer. It's convenient to simply stifle ugly speech, but it also serves to elevate its standing.

As a result,
a world sorely in need of a crash course in the efficacy of free debate
received nothing of theMuzzling (1)  sort from the British Home Office. Instead, the lesson has been that the suppression
of ideas is valid, as long as the suppressors are convinced and self-assured that they are "more moral," of "higher character" and in
the right.

As usual, it helps to remember Mark Twain: "Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.

And you also have to think, when will my speech be deemed "offensive"? 

When will they come for me?

* with thanks to Robert Scheer

Bea Arthur – We Loved You.

I was sad to read that Bea Arthur passed this weekend. Over the years I've heard rumors that she was a Lesbian, and it isn't hard to believe. But I don't know it for a fact. It would fit, though, with my remembrance of this strong, smart, brave woman. I had personal history with her.

In 1976 I moved to Los Angeles from San Francisco, where I had just been "the naked guy" in Clint Eastwood's The Enforcer. I had no lines, but because I was required to be naked in the scene, I was given my Screen Actors Guild card, the holy grail for a budding actor. Much to my chagrin, you won't find me in the credits, but I'm the naked guy on the bed in the scene when the bad guy, whose being chased by Dirty Harry, falls through the skylight and crashes into the midst of a porn movie being shot. My mother was so proud. All I see when I watch it now is that I once had a beautiful head of hair.

But I digress…I moved to Los Angeles (as crew with A Chorus Line, another story), and, as is my wont, got involved with SAG union activities. I was serving on the SAG Morals & Ethics Committee in 1977 when Anita Bryant announced that she was bringing her pitiful, small-minded ignorance, intolerance and fear to California in the form of support for State Senator John Briggs' Proposition 6, the Prop 8 of the day, that would have forbid Gay people…or any of their supporters…from holding teaching jobs in California. Nice, huh?

I decided that the Screen Actors Guild needed to be the first industry union to come out against Prop 6, and that the only way to accomplish that was to get some big star power to appear before the Morals & Ethics Committee and demand it.

Beatrice-Arthur Enter Bea Arthur. Ms. Arthur had just made a splash in Norman Bea Arthur - Mame  Lear's Maude, and would receive the first of two career Emmy's (the other for Golden Girls) that year for her groundbreaking work as the title character. On television, there just wasn't a bigger star. And if the only role she'd ever played was Vera Charles opposite Angela Lansbury in Mame, she would forever be a star in my firmament, (and opposite Lucille Ball in the film even if Lucille Ball was miserably miscast).

But I digress, again…It was just about this time of the year that I sat down and wrote a letter to Ms. Arthur, outlining my idea. I mailed the letter and didn't think anything more about it. It was a shot in the dark.

Weeks later, May 16th was my birthday, and I was getting ready to go out on the town with friends. Literally, just as we were heading out the front door, the phone rang (cell phones were still a Dick Tracy fantasy…I could still decide whether or not I was going to stop and answer). I picked up, said hello, and heard the unmistakable, gravelly contralto of Bea Arthur,

"Is Bo Young there?"

"Speaking," I said, my heart pounding out of my chest, my wide eyes popping out of their sockets as I pantomimed to my friends at the door, who were wondering what was going on.

"Well hello," she growled on, "I just wanted to let you know that I received your letter and I wanted you to know I'll do whatever you want me to do."

To which I responded, with breathless gratitude, "Oh god bless you Ms. Arthur!"

To which she responded, "What's this 'god bless you' shit?…I didn't sneeze."

The surprise was finding out, later, just how shy a woman this powerhouse actor was. When I met with her she insisted that I write something for her to say when she came before the committee because she was sure she would become tongue-tied and not be effective. Maude. Not effective. Right. She did everything I asked, just as promised, to perfection. Reading my lines to the committee, which immediately came through with the required vote, which then went on to the larger Steering Committee of the Screen Actors Guild, which was the first industry union to oppose the Briggs Initiative. As a result I was brought into the campaign as "assistant state press secretary" to Sally Fisk.

Later, I had cause to call Ms. Arthur again, to see if she would appear at a fundraiser we were holding for No On Six. Unbeknownst to me, she had undergone a face lift just weeks before, and as a result her face was still puffy and black and blue.

She still had bandages on her face, albeit small ones…and she appeared at our fundraiser.

She said it was more important than what she looked like.

That's the kind of person Bea Arthur was.