So Dennis Hopper has left us, one of the first friends I had in Hollywood, the youngest he was of ‘Young Hollywood,’ the clique that ruled at the time, the time being the end of the ‘50s,early 60s. We never thought about death. All we worried about was whether or not we would be successes, love would ever find us, Fame would be elusive. Nobody ever considered we would grow old or, as in my case, older. And death was a dramatic surprise, Jimmy Dean having crashed his car, something that gave Dennis his big brag, his having achieved nothing yet on his own except for small parts and telling Jack Warner to go fuck himself, so his great credential was having been Jimmy’s best friend, with Dean not able to verify or contradict.
We never thought about dying as part of the life process, because we were that young. I’m sorry because I don’t think he had a really happy life, but he must have enjoyed being over-rated. There will be a piece online at Vanity Fair that I wrote about him, so read it if you want to know more and deeper and funnier, and earlier.
These have been strange weeks as I rev up to write a new book, and try to love New York. Have seen a number of disappointing plays, Fences, in which Denzel was a whole lot better as a working man in (I think it was) Pittsburgh than he was as Brutus in last year’s horrific Julius Caesar, played in modern battle costume as if it were in Turkey, with a lot of machine guns. Viola Davis was good but whole evening more a slice of life than a play, even if it was August Wilson.
Also went with my baby cousin Lori to see Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson that I had heard someone raving about. I must be careful on whom I eavesdrop. It was painfully collegiate, something a wise-ass from Princeton might have gloried in. But the African-American gent next to me loved it, I think probably because it portrayed America as horrible to the Seminoles as we’d been to the other Native Americans, thereby giving a universality to our mean-spiritedness.
The boy who played Jackson, though, was cute with a hint of blue eye shadow, so Lori remarked that if Adam Lambert had been in the role it might have been more
To carry on about.
Went to throw my newspapers away in the recycle bin in my building, and pulled out a magazine called ‘REFORM JUDAISM’ as its cover story is ‘Unmasking Shakespeare,’ “Was the greatest canon of Western literature written by a Jewish woman?” Made me laugh a lot, though the painting of her, Amelia Bassano, is very pretty, all in Elizabethan array, mit pearls, holding a mask of Shakespeare a few inches in front of her face. I hope Erica Jong doesn’t get hold of the magazine, as her Serenisima was, I thought, an embarrassment, though I didn’t tell her that at the time, as we were friend-ish, and at the Cooking School of Umbria, an expedition I had arranged, so I read quietly in between sauces, and tried not to guffaw when the young Shakespeare, there to research The Merchant of Venice, falls in love with a nun who, I think I remember, gets pregnant and dies, and as they carry her upstairs, someone actually says—NO NO I begged aloud before I turned the page—“Good Night Sweet Princess.” God knows what Erica would do with this one. Perhaps use it as an argument for reincarnation, herself being the result of being Bassano in that previous life, and the Master herself. Jews are really funny, but I don’t think they’ll claim Dennis.