Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pity Party Alert

I'm A Stranger Here

Ain't it hard to stumble
When you've got no place to fall
In this whole wide world
Yes I got no place at all

I'm a stranger here
I'm a stranger everywhere
I would go home, but Lord!
I am a stranger there


Or, perhaps: Home?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Am in Baltimore. Returning to NYC tomorrow morning. Next trip will be back to West Virginia. Prolly this week-end.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Striking the set

Three years to put up; one month to take down. . . .

Friends are coming around noon to help pack the car. Then I'll be driving to Baltimore to drop off a load, stay the night at another friend's house, and returning tomorrow morning in time for parking.

I can hardly begin to say how much I do NOT want to do this. Clutching to straws, indeed. Leaving this place where we were so happy, with stuff, yet. And yet that stuff is stuff that surrounded us, our dreams, and is pretty much all that is left that is tangible. It is also his only tangible legacy.

The memories in the hearts of his friends will last, of course. And perhaps, for some, even be passed to the next generation. And equally certain, none of this matters to his soul's survival, of which I have no doubt. I know he's fine, and more than fine. But this trip is really the beginning of the end (to be completed later this week) of striking the set.


Mount Polar Bear

Beary Cold Night


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Stary Stary Bear

What can I say?

Some Days Are Diamond

When you ask how I've been here without you
I'd like to say I've been fine and I do.
But we both know the truth is hard to come by
And if I told the truth, that's not quite true

Some days are diamond some days are stone
Sometimes the hard times won't leave me alone
Sometimes a cold wind blows a chill in my bones
Some days are diamond some days are stone.

Now the face that I see in my mirror
More and more is a stranger to me
More and more I can see there's a danger
In becoming what I never thought I'd be

Some days are diamond some days are stone
Sometimes the hard times won't leave me alone
Sometimes a cold wind blows a chill in my bones
Some days are diamond some days are stone

~~ John Denver

New Gold

The wind so wild last night and this morning that most of the new gold has been blown from the Sweetgums, and is scattered like handfulls of gold coins across the green grass.

Speaking of bears....

The bear was, I think, his most important totem. I'm wearing his Zuni turquoise bear (the one he never took off, except for hospital stays)(I've worn it since September 9). I gave him a bear skull for his birthday. He wept. And placed it on his altar. He said it finished the altar. The last thing. It's the only thing on the altar that will not go back to West Virginia with me. It is now Greg's.

This is a dancing bear from http://www.bearsonbroadway.com/ (click title) a cancer support project in Canada. And so, I think, especially fitting here. . . .

He'd owned three motorcycles in the past, and was longing for another. For me, a surprising footnote, even though I knew he was a diverse, huge character. . . .

Friday, October 20, 2006

It was a dark and stormy night. . . .

Well, it *was,* in every sense . . .

But still sobering to find one's self on the same page as Bulwer-Lytton. . . .

Woke this morning, with my heart hurting. Literally. Not major angina. Prolly not really angina at all. Just a tight achy feeling. Need to go take the hawthorne. Last night in our bed. Move on. Right. As if you had a choice.

Small rain. Feels perfect for the day: The NYC lovebug crew is arriving soon to help pack up. I know it has to be done, but it hurts. And today, the real change begins. . . .

Thursday, October 19, 2006

It is a legend at the Players Club that the god of all the arts once whispered into the ear of the young Edwin Booth, and this is what he said:

"I shall give you hunger, and pain, and sleepless nights. Also beauty and satisfactions known to few, and glimpses of the heavenly life. None of these shall you have continually, and of their coming and going you shall not be foretold."


I found this quote in several places among Edwin's papers, and so know he loved it. It describes his life. . . .

I would add: Nor is this untrue of poets' lives . . . .

But. . . . . no lies. clicky

I'm Sorry

It's cold here in the city, it always seems that way,

and I've been thinking about you almost every day.

Thinking about the good times, thinking about the rain.

Thinking about how bad it feels alone again.

I'm sorry for the way things are in China, I'm sorry things
ain't what they used to be.

More than anything else, I'm sorry for myself 'cause you're not
here with me.

Our friends all ask about you, I say you're doing fine. I expect
to hear from you almost anytime.

They all know I'm crying, and I can't sleep at night. They all
know I'm dying down deep inside.

I'm sorry for all the lies I told you, I'm sorry for the things
I didn't say.

But more than anything else, I'm sorry for myself. I can't
believe you went away.

I'm sorry if I took some things for granted, I'm sorry for the
chains I put on you.

But more than anything else, I'm sorry for myself for living
without you.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

In a few minutes it will be the 19th. The day they are turning the cable off. I don't know when, but when they do, I won't be back online till I get back to WV, prolly the middle of next week. So enjoy the dancing till I get back.

Love you all. You've been life savers, and that is the trooth.


Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?

Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?

Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?

Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?

Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?

I'll always remember the song they were playing,
The first time we danced and I knew.
As we swayed to the music and held to each other,
I fell in love with you.
Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?
Would you be my partner in bed every night?
When we're together it feels so right,
Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?

I'll always remember that magic moment,
When I held you close to me.
As we moved together, I knew, forever,
You're all I'll ever need.

Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?
Would you be my partner every night?
When we're together it feels so right,
Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?

Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?
Would you be my partner every night?
When we're together it feels so right,
Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?

On Golden Pond

photo credit: listener

To: drillingcompany@aol.com
Subject: Edwin Owens

Hi, I am Dylan Perlman, twelve years old, from the cast of On Golden Pond. I would just like to tell you about how kind and helpful Edwin was. On Golden Pond was my first national tour, so I was very homesick at some points. Edwin helped me through that by being extremely welcoming to my mom and me. We had a great relationship, and I'm very glad that I got to know him. We had a great day at the Minnesota State Fair, especially on the log ride. Edwin and I were the two who didn't get that wet. We had a lot of great times like that. I remember all the times we ran lines together. Whenever I think of Norman's lines I hear Edwin's voice in my head. He was really a great man, who loved to help others. In the few weeks I knew Edwin I really got to know him well. I apologize that I couldn't come today. Unfortunately circumstances don't allow me to come out from Seaford, Long Island. I wish I could've come to the memorial for an amazing man.



Edwin had talked to me about this young actor. He was looking forward to working on Shakespeare with him. He also had a wonderful day at the Minnesota State Fair with Dylan and his mom, and Shadoe (whom Dylan was standing in for) and his mom.

In going through his papers, I've found so many letters from the children in his shows. He clearly treated them with great respect, which they, as clearly, felt.

Beyond that, I watched him take under his wing (with great delight!) the young actors he played with. It was very important to him that theatre continued to be peopled with actors of talent and mission rather than *Stars* ~~ and he was willing and eager to help them in any way he could.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The two men (not related to me by blood) I love most in this world. . . .

Today was just lovely. Small rain as we were leaving the apartment and arriving at the park. Christy, Agatha, and Sylvie met us with umbrellas. Christy had the key to the park, and we entered. No one else was there, perhaps because of the rain. Edwin Booth's statue, in full light was obvious (not so obvious the previous summer when we entered at dusk). He faces the entry gate. The statue is fully guarded by 6' high very thorny roses, so the plan to dust his feet was quickly revised. The garden at his feet has the thorny roses (a beautiful pale pink, and wonderful smelling!), and also low Rosemary, in bloom. The small box of Edwin's ashes I'd been carrying since yesterday was dusted in a complete circle around Booth. The roses duly smelled, and one petal taken and deposited in the box, as was one sprig of Rosemary floweret. Then a moment of silence among us all, during which I silently chanted Om mani padme hung. We hugged, and left.

Sylvie went to work, and the rest of us went across the street to the Arts Club and had a lovely lunch, and shared memories of Edwin. Our waiter was a fine waiter and an Irish actor, and we shared our mission a bit with him.

It was a sweet, good, fine day.

Ghosts and Ghost lights

Ghosts and Ghost lights

Tales of haunted theaters abound, not only in America, but also in Europe. Almost every theater in fact has an unexplainable occurrences that some attribute to ghosts. Jim Whitherell, who was head of the COS Theater Department for over 30 years, has one as well. It happened when the COS theatre was fairly new. One of the acting students had been killed shortly before this incident in a car accident. The stage lights flickered on and off throughout one dress rehearsal, when the lighting booth was inaccessible. Many theaters even attribute much luck to any one who sites one of their theater's apparitions. Anyone who sees the Drury Lane Ghost in London, England is supposed to have extraordinary success in acting.

Ghost lights are another interesting superstition. The generally accepted definition of a ghost Light is “… a single bare-bulb lamp left burning in the middle of the stage all night.” (Knapp) There are many ideas about how the practice of ghost lights came to be. There is everything from an urban legend about a burglar in a theater who sued when he fell off the stage in the dark, to that simply it is an equity mandate. (Primrose)

The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts gives this background on their ghost lights; “There is a special light on a pole that can usually be pointed out easily in this theater. This is known as the ghost light. There is one in each of the four theaters. They are there for two reasons- one more practical and the second more fun. The first reason for the ghost light is so when someone walks into backstage of the dark theater they don't trip over set pieces and hurt themselves or accidentally walk off of the edge of the stage. The second reason is that back in Shakespeare's time candles were burned in theaters to scare away ghosts from old performances. Many theaters burned down from the simple fact that fire and wood don't mix but since we now have electricity, that is really not a problem.”

We do not have a ghost light on the COS theater stage--not yet anyway. Fortunately, we do have light switches next to all the theater entrances, so that fumbling in the dark does not occur. Recently, I found that our neighbor, the Southern Oregon University theater stage does have one. They have even named it--Helga.


N.B. ~~ At the Memorial Celebration, while setting up, I asked Joe about the hat tree. Though it had always been there, it wasn't. He found the Ghost Light, and arranged Edwin's hats and one scarf on that. Some time during the service, several people noticed that because of the stage lights, the Ghost Light with Edwin's hats cast a shadow on the wall to the side. From Agatha's post this morning at HEP:

"Tracey Denton was there and spoke from her heart. Tracey is the head of DFNYC, and during the Dean days, she blogged as Tracey in Hell's Kitchen. I think she and Edwin are similar in that they can both be absolute professionals and wonderful human beings without a seam present, simply because they are both very real.

"She was very sad and moved, and she was also struck by a certain shadow. puddle had Edwin's hats and a scarf arranged on a pole onstage. It created a shadow of what I would describe as a man with his back to the audience, very present and there but technically facing forward. Interesting. Edwinesque?"

When I looked, it wasn't "a man," it was clearly Edwin: The edge of the cheekbone, the collar, the shoulders, hair, Was about two thirds back, one third right side of the face. Not quite profile. The presence of the shadow was electrifying to say the least. Whether he actually arranged it or not, I'm positively sure he enjoyed it!

Bon voyage, Sweet Heart. I love you.

An Open Heart

Nearly a month and yet so raw
the pain.
Of course a celebration.
Of course move on.
Drink the kind words
yes even the laughter for
bright shining times there were
And friends, so many friends.
Winter comes too cold
to be alone.

we are all there with you puddle

by Phil Specht

I am SOOOOooo glad it wasn't a funeral. . . .

Just back, and threads read.

Longest celebration in my memory. 3:30 to 10:30 p.m. First part was at the experimental theatre where Edwin had done a number of plays, including as a director. Joe Clancy from The Drilling Company was the "producer" ~~ and offered the opening about theatre, what actors do, and why it's important, and then memories of his own. The next speaker was Paul Hilepo, who spoke about how kind Edwin was to him as a young agent, and how impressive it was to represent an actor who personified honor in the profession. Then Greg Simmons, maybe Edwin's closest friend, read from some other friends' memories. I talked, a bit, trying to fill in some spaces. And then we turned it over to the celebrators. And my, such lovely memories, from old and young. Those who'd worked with him ~~ both in theatre, and on the hustings. His young Maggie from the WV gig; drinking buddies, an upstairs neighbor, his shrink, incognito, spoke of how ill he was for how very long, and how it was that he never complained or used it as an excuse. Ever. Of what courage. Tracey Denton, DFNYC spoke of her love for the sheer reliability of the man: always being there when needed. Joe recalled an email from a 12 year old understudy from on Golden Pond that Edwin was helping (and was looking forward to coaching when they got back to NYC). Subway spoke, and Chris, and Agatha. Part one broke up at 5:30, and after a smoking break we headed to Joe Allen's, Edwin's "club" ~~ a place he loved dearly. We stayed too late to get to Gramercy Park, so we'll be doing that tomorrow. First rounds to toast Edwin, then a few left and a couple of more came. Edwin's CDs found new homes both at the celebration and at Joe Allen's. Left the last 10 or so at Joe Allen's so some of the waitstaff who wasn't there, who'd like a keepsake could pick them up. More memories shared at Joe's.

A lovely day really, a few tears, much laughter, and a LOT of very sweet memories of a very kind and great man.
puddle*in*NYC | Homepage | 10.17.06 - 12:39 am | #

Monday, October 16, 2006

Got the copied pictures cropped and in a collage ready for the memorial celebration tomorrow. Need to transfer some of his ashes to a smaller container for the after celebration dusting in Gramercy park. At the foot of Edwin Booth's statue. Do NOT want to start a day with that task ahead of me. The basket full of his CDs is ready to go (asking friends to take some: I have taken many, but so many are left). The prayer bowl was polished weeks ago it seems. The hats need brushing, but that's all. Friends are coming early to help carry things over to the theatre. His friend, Ofrit, has composed some music for him, and is sending it over (from Israel) to play at the celebration. Everything feels done, or nearly, and right on track.

And it's all making me feel desolate. As if from now on, it'll be everybody's job to get back to life, to forget and get on with it.

I'm not even close to wanting to get on with it. . . .

Sunday, October 15, 2006

One thing, however, marriage has done for me. I can never again believe that religion is manufactured out of our unconscious, starved desires and is a substitute for sex. For those few years H. and I feasted on love, every mode of it — solemn and merry, romantic and realistic, sometimes as dramatic as a thunderstorm, sometimes as comfortable and unemphatic as putting on your soft slippers. No cranny of heart or body remained unsatisfied. If God were a substitute for love we ought to have lost all interest in Him. Who'd bother about substitutes when he has the thing itself? But that isn't what happens. We both knew we wanted something besides one another — quite a different kind of something, a quite different kind of want...

~~ C.S. Lewis
~~~ from A Grief Observed

All I can add to this is: Indeed!

"I must go on, I can't go on, I'll go on."

The Unnamable
~~ Samuel Beckett

Saturday, October 14, 2006

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face… You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

~~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, October 13, 2006

Journal, such as it is. . . .

10 - 12 2006 9:27 AyeM

Beginning to feel doors close here: RCN called yesterday about the late bill. Which prolly means I don't have two weeks. . . . Have to find the new bill and call them. Also, need to pay my own bills in WV, so that I *can* go home again.


Just checked. Cable will go on the 19th, phone on the 24. Or I can pay the bill. . . . $249. Hardly seems worth it. . . .


Thinking about the mess I'm trying to clean up. Very nearly got pissed a minute ago. Guess pissed is a good thing: everyone sez so.

October 13, 2006 9:54 ehEm

The first laughter feels like betrayal.

Going "Home" to a place that doesn't feel like home anymore. Hasn't in fact *been* my home for a year an a half (since I first came here). Home was where my heart was. Now home is ashes. And I have to leave this place: things shutting down around me, faster than I'd like: lights burning out, phones shut down, and about to be shut down. The landlord will be knocking on the door soon. So I clear, clean, and pack. Pain, gnawing bones, must be put on the back burner so "things" can get done. And when "things" no longer matter, then what?

So March has become a museum,
And the April curtains move.
I travel the vacant gallery
To the last seat...
The actors pitch tents..
Their cries in the powdered dark
Assemble in mourning over
Ambassadors from the wings....
I move to the interval,
Done with this repertory.

~~Harold Pinter

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Wuzzup with that?

Heard him tell this once or twice. Back when he was in hollywood, working on black hat/ white hat movies, the actors would be sitting around between takes. The "bad guys" would be exchanging pics of cats, dogs, and toddlers whilst the "good guy" was passing around photos of his new Uzi he'd gotten on his last trip overseas. . . .

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

These nice little blue flowers are forgetmenots. . . .

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 10 -10 ayem

He was not dead in my dreams last night. He was not present, but he was not dead. Progress of a sort, I think.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 10-10 2:36 peeEm

Greg just woke me from a nap. In which Edwin was! Alive and acting, and in which I got a huge, surprised (on his part) hug! Literally lifted me off the pavement. He was busy, running along side a train, or building with lots of doors, and I was looking for him, and he saw me, grabbed me up into the air, then sat me down, and hurried some more.


Lear ~

During the hospitalization, I had occasion to be in contact many of his friends in the business, and five or six times heard a version of: Well tell him to get better: he plans to die at 82, on stage, while performing Lear. . . . He'd told me that when talking about the impossibility (for him) of ever retiring. "God help me, but I *love* what I do" was something he said oftener. Musing on this just now, and looking through The Players Club site's membership rolls to find Marian Seldes. . . . I remembered something she said to him at the opening night party for The Right Kind of People.

So, you've always wanted to play Lear?


Well, I believe you just did.

A pause, a little light in the eyes, a grin, and another, emphatic, nod.

Thank you, Marian Seldes, for the comment, and the memory! He was very pleased.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I walked across that bridge in Selma, I was shot at in Mississippi, I’ve done what I was capable of doing over the years.

Edwin and activism

One of the things he was most proud of in his life, and therefore spoke of least often (usually prefaced by, I'm not bragging but. . . . the rule of his household of origin was that you didn't speak of things that you were proud of: that was "bragging") was his activism. His very real, "put your body into it" activism. Put your time, put your money, put your brain and heart into activism. Speak up even if you are afraid activism. Do it even if it's dangerous activism.

What I know for sure of that is what he told me. As a young man, first away at college in the late fifties, early sixties, he started at Tulane, and gravitated immediately to the theatre department although his official major was pre-law. The theatre department was crawling with community organizers. He wasn't adverse, and joined them. After that he was at Carnegie, and then at Lambda, in London. Was back in the US in Florida, doing Shakespeare in 1965. Just in time for the King and Meredith Marches.

He told me once about sitting around a camp fire in the dark, surrounded by state troopers. Everyone being afraid, and Seeger striding through with his guitar and everyone singing their fears away.

Yesterday, I found the pictures of that very intense young man in Florida. The piercing gaze, the soft curling hair. And loved him all over again. Last night, I was looking through pictures of the marches, and found this one. It's from the March Against Fear in 1966. They'd stop every night, and the leaders would speak to them, encourage them.

Perhaps this *isn't* Edwin. Some other white boy with soft curling hair. But I kind of think it is. The way the ear lays against the head is one I'm heart-breakingly familiar with. . . .

Monday, October 09, 2006

I have to say, that in the process of messing around in this man's great glorious messy life, I've discovered a whole bunch of really remarkable women. Noticeably, clearly, amazingly remarkable women: strong, talented, gifted females. I've talked a good bit with a couple, more briefly with others. The fact remains: the man had an eye, and a talent for picking great ones. . . . I'm honored to be the last in the line. . . .

And yes, I think I would have been. We came home to each other.

Update: failed to mention that his Best Man at his second wedding was a woman. . . .

When he'd get depressed about the state of the universe, I'd send him this. It helped.

You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour. Now you must tell the people that this is the Hour. And there are things to be considered:

Where are you living? What are you doing?

What are your relationships? Are you in right relation?

Do the children want what they see in you?

Where is your water? Know your garden.

Does your life grow corn?

It is time to speak your Truth. Create your community.

Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

This could be a good time!

There is a river flowing now very fast.

It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination.

The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open and our heads above the water.

See who is in there with you and celebrate.

At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!

Banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary.

All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we've been waiting for."

~~ The Elders, Oraibi, Arizona, Hopi Nation

We talked, once, of what a beautiful couple they made. . . .