Thank you for Women in Love, The Devils, Mahler, Tommy, & Altered States. They were audacious, brilliant, & unforgettable. What nice memories I have of seeing all those movies.
mlr: (modern)

Santiago, the father of my handsome partner Israel, died last week. The funeral was in rural Oklahoma on Saturday. The day included tributes (including Israel) in both English and Spanish, Mormons (Santiago was one), Masons (ditto), military honors, and the mingling of one huge family (Israel had six siblings; Santiago, six surviving siblings - and his wife, Librada, as many or more.)

He was always very kind to me and respectful of our relationship - not always a guarantee in this part of the country.

In Chicago this past weekend for my umpteenth Bear Pride - somewhere along the way I lost count. It was fairly muted for me this time. I only interacted with the bears a little: randomly at the hotel, and in Boystown for a couple hours on Saturday. Other than that I did the flâneur thing, hit the museums, got buzzed at Touché late at night. Of the restaurants I stumbled upon, I liked Blackbird best. At the Art Institute I made a mental short list to keep the visit reasonable. One was to seek out any Zurbarán's. And Zurbarán's there were: a crucifixion in the grand Spanish manner to mirror the Prado Velasquez, and a sublime still life. Close by was the blazing resurrection by Caravaggio's little brother.

Sunday, I flew up to the Twin Cities for John's remembrance on Monday. Sunday evening there were hamburgers at Glenda's nephew's house, replete with husky daddies at the grill, incredible potato salad, and toddlers. The daddies and the teenagers took off to a Twins game, while I took Glenda and John's daughter Megan to the airport to meet a nephew.

Monday was almost a perfect day. John had said he wanted nothing like a memorial but rather something like a Christmas party. Perhaps 150 people were there altogether, it was a come and go event. Highlights for me were witnessing the gracious, successful, and caring person Glenda has become; conversations with John's Chinese relatives; slipping away with Megan to a coffee shop for a quiet break; and a placid ride around the lake with a group of five - each person astonishingly different from the others.

Toward the end of the day, a small group was left in the living room: me, Cindy - a grand daughter of John's sister Mary, and two nephews - Jonathan and Ben. Glenda and Megan were in the kitchen talking. Jonathan asked what music John had left on the piano. There was an old book of Christmas carols, and under that a copy of Schmann's Carnaval and the Kinderszenen. Jonathan asked me to play something out of them. So I opted for the first piece from Kinderszenen, and then Träumerei. His old Knabe was the ideal instrument, and the Schumann pieces were the ideal medium for a chance encounter with his spirit.

died today.

He was born in China 79 years ago, the son of Chinese diplomats. As a child, he was raised in London and Paris. His parents gave him (and his brother Peter and sister Mary) Western names because they thought they would remain in the West. However Mary returned to China where she managed to survive the Maoist years despite being educated and very Westernized.

He came to the U.S. in 1937 and attended the University of Michigan. By the time he retired from working he had had several professions. He was a gifted singer and worked as such in the Chicago area for many years. He later earned advanced degrees in psychology and worked as a prison psychologist in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

He married my best friend, Glenda, in 1977.

He was one of the many people I know who absolutely detested the state of Texas - in any of its manifestations. With most such people the hatred seems to be irrational. But hatred, as all things, with John, was completely and hopelessly rational. Because of Glenda's family he occasionally had to visit here. But in the last ten years, I think he might have come only once.

One odd incident I recall:
In the mid 1980's, Glenda's mother was the principal at "Boy's Ranch" - a 1930's styled orphanage, part dude ranch - part reform school. Her mother of course lived out there - it not being close to anything at all. John hated Boy's Ranch - always (no matter who he was addressing) referring to it as a Hitler-Jugend camp. He hated the forced table manners, the prayers, everything. John was staying with me in town. On a Sunday morning I drove out there to deliver him. While we were driving, he started rummaging in the glove compartment of my old VW, where he happened to find an old joint, which amused him. It so happened that I had not paid attention and was running low on gas, so we stopped in the village of Channing to see if we could find some. The only place with any sign of life was the town cafe, where we inquired. It turns out there was only one gas pump in the town, and at that hour we would have to visit the local sheriff who could unlock it for us. So we found the small house of the "sheriff" whom obviously we had awaken. He stumbled down the steps buttoning his shirt and buckling his belt. He was a creamy muscular towhead, tanned and covered in blond hair. He could not have been much more than 22. John of course charmed him with small talk, and he gladly let us fill up. As we got in the car, the guy was inside closing the small station. John insisted that we leave the joint on the pump for him as a gift. I 100% totally freaked - knowing that this would not be well received - but we split as fast as we could - and that was that.


Jun. 2nd, 2008 08:48 pm

the cadillacs were painted yellow to salute hunter, by the time we visited on tuesday evening, the tourists had almost covered them back up...


Jun. 2nd, 2008 10:01 am
hunter ingalls died last tuesday. israel came up for the memorial service on saturday. he was a fixture in our lives - for the last twenty seven years the phrase 'hunter and mary' seemed the most natural thing to say. he was very supportive of israel's art, and supportive of my playing - i think he attended every recital i gave. most people that knew him felt this kind of support. he almost always dressed in what seemed to be second hand store clothes: old khaki pants, often a polyester shirt, a bolo tie, and an old floppy hat. he probably could have been mistaken for homeless or next to it - when in fact he was one of the most erudite people in town, and through marriage one of the wealthiest. he was a wry spirit that (in the most taoist way) had a profound effect on the community in which he found himself.

one early memory: when i was living with delmas, we decided to have a party where people were asked to come as their favorite painting. (it was inspired from a new yorker cartoon that was current and became one of my favorites.) it was a very successful party. i dressed as the man with the blue guitar (from the art institute). delmas was an odelon redon painting. jo davis dressed as botticelli's birth of venus, and claude as 'the persistence of memory' by dali. most dramatically, someone entered completely dressed in black including a black face mask and sat in the room in silence. no one knew who it was, but we had guessed it might be an ad reinhardt painting. when judy periman wandered in thirty minutes later in a chic black dress with multi-colored ribbons that ran from her shoulders to her wrists (a morris louis), we knew that the stranger was philip periman. hunter and mary, and their baby alicia were in these curious gunny sacks. when i asked what they were, mary held up alicia and hunter held in his hand a couple of stuffed shapes wrapped in the same gunny sack material. they stood there for a minute before his announcing 'we are the six persimmons'. i smiled slightly because the costume was very effective. but also because i knew the painting. i think that pleased hunter, but he was always so droll it was hard to tell what he thought.

we will miss him terribly.
nice day with israel today. we drove out to bushland thru the road that divides hunter & mary's land from stanley marsh's, up to the boy's ranch road. we were going to clayton NM to have lunch. but when we got close to dalhart, we decided that was far enough, so we drove around and ate in a small mexican place. then as we were leaving israel asked directions to the cemetery. i knew that my grandparents were buried there, along with marion - my dad's older brother. they all died before i was born, except marion, who died in a state institution in abilene when i was four. i only vaguely knew he had existed. glenda's mother explained the whole thing to me sometime in my 30s.

we found the cemetery, and walked around for maybe an hour without finding the names. i was surprised it was rather relaxing, and the weather was peaceful today. israel of course spotted them. i heard him call out, but couldn't see him we were so far apart at that point. when i found him, we were surprised to find six graves. the little site itself had a certain decorum, but still inviting - balance, restraint, no ostentation. my great grandparents, emigrés from vincennes france in the 1870s, were also buried there. i thought they were buried in gallup NM, where they lived. another uncle was there that had died in infancy. none of this was too surprising though - my father was completely taciturn with everything about his past.

this was the first fourth i've spent here in quite some time i think. quiet and nice. no pool parties, no beer, no bears, no travel. in fact the whole town is quiet, even I40...



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