Some bits & Pieces of A MISPLACED LIFE
In NYC, you know you are in a fashionable restaurant if there is mouthwash in the bathroom; I’m used to restaurant bathrooms that post the phone numbers of bail bondsmen.
There is no news like no news.
A POEM THAT IS 2 LINES SHORT
OF A SONNET
“But Jumbo was too big for its cash registers, Though it received superb notices and played to over a million customers, it lost money. A few years ago the Whitneys got some of it back when Metro bought the movie rights. I don’t know when the studio is going to get around to making this picture, but before it does, I would suggest that it send the director to New York and instruct him to stand still some night near the parking space at 43rd Street and Sixth Avenue where the old Hippodrome stood. If he listens closely, he’ll still hear them yocking it up at what drama critics agree was the biggest laugh in the history of show business. It came near the end of the first act when a sheriff caught Jimmy Durante trying to steal an elephant.
“Where are ya going with that elephant?” yelled the copper.”
“What elephant?” asked Jimmy.
BILLY ROSE. Wine, Women and Words/ (Simon & Schuster,1948)
quotations, observations, thoughts, quips,
& philosophical, literary, historical,
& contemporary insights
Collected by Louis Phillips
President Bush was against abortion, but for capital punishment. Spoken like a true fisherman: Throw them back, kill them when they’re bigger.
You accept the death of a six-year old child by aerial bombardment or economic sanctions and defend the life of a six-week old fetus. Think of it as taking the high road in Lilliput,
Garret Keizer Harper’s Magazine (February 2005)
One can make the case that we have lost the capacity for abstract thought. When we read or listen to the radio, the mind forms images in response to the suggestion. the same thing can be said to occur when an illustration provokes the viewer by its symbolic relationship to reality. There are certain tribes in Africa that do not distinguish between their dream life and their daily life. We find ourselves in a similar condition. But on must note that the reality that television has provided us with does not serve our deepest needs.
In order to attain the impossible one must attempt the absurd.
Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936)
A character in a novel some years ago described academics as merely “reviewers delivering their copy a hundred years late.’ This is no longer the case: nowadays they’re jostling the freelancers out of the weekly literary pages.
Introduction to Reliable Essays: The Best of Clive James (Picador, 2001)
Who killed James Joyce?
I, said the commentator,
I killed James Joyce
For my graduation.
Patrick Kavanagh, from “Who Killed James Joyce?”
The academic community is composed largely of nitwits. If I may generalize. People who don’t know very much about what matters very much, who view life through literature rather than the other way around…In my fourteen or sixteen years in the profession, I’ve met more people that I did not admire than at any other point in my life. Including two years in the infantry, where I was the only guy who could read.
Robert B. Parker, author of the SPENSER mystery series
On November 16, 1980, the French philosopher Louis Althussen strangled his wife Helene. In reviewing Althussen’s book –
The Future Lasts Forever — George Steiner
Told his readers that “The doctor came and gave Althussen an injection in Althussen’s study. “Someone (I do not know who) was removing books I had borrowed from the
Ecole Library.” This is a Shakespearean touch
unendurably exact in its intimation of academic personalities. What is mere homicide compared with unreturned library
See The New Yorker (February 21, 1994)
…I have lectured on campuses for a quarter of a century, and it is my impression that after taking a course in The Novel, it is an unusual student who would ever want to read a novel again.
“I’m so glad you’re not a teacher,” he said. “They never seem real somehow…An accountant’s is a sensible yet glamorous occupation. He made Homer sound like balance sheets and balance sheets like Homer…”
from ROOM AT THE TOP by John Braine
ACTING (see also FILM ACTING)
The mortar between the bricks.
Beulah Bondi, describing what character actors are, quoted by Anthony Slide, “The Character Player” in Films in Review (March 1990)
At the end of the play I had to explain to the audience –as I build the church all in mime – that I’ve been told by God to wheel my mother in a barrow all over England….and I’d been wheeling this fragile old lady all over the stage…until God told me to stop at this mound (on the stage) and build a church. Finally we stop, and I build the church – I and the audience have to imagine it, As I tell the villagers in the play how it happened, I could feel the absolute stillness of the audience. The atavistic hairs on the back of the back of my neck roe and I thought: what an extraordinary feeling, That was the first time I felt a sense of the power of acting, of being the medium through which the emotions of he words could be felt. That’s when I thought I’ll go on with it.
Richard Burton, on acting in Christopher Fry’s The Lady’s Not For Burning. Quoted by Hollis Alpert in Burton.
I try not to play characters that ever have ever have any self-awareness that their conviction is boneheaded. And I think that can either be funny or dramatic. After all, a character doesn’t know whether they’re in a comedy or a drama.
Steve Carell, in an interview with Ana Marie Cox New York Times Magazine (December 6, 2015)
I don’t care if people think I’m an overactor. People who think that would call Van Gogh an overpainter.
I remember during one of the first days of the shooting, as his (RONALD COLMAN’S) portable dressing room was next to mine. I could hear much of what was said in his: the door was open and he was being interviewed
By an earnest and rather awed young lady. She asked him what he thought was the most important thing for an actor to retain, and he said, after only a moment’s pause, “His amateur enthusiasm.”
Celeste Holm, quoted in Ronald Colman: A Very Private Person by Juliet Benita Colman
(William Morrow & Co. l975).
To impersonate a really bad actor takes a really good actor.
The first day I rehearsed with him (TYRONE GUTHRIE) he spotted me marking my script and immediately demanded to know what I was doing. “Marking in the move you’ve just given me, Mr. Guthrie.” “Don’t,” he said. “Waste of time. If I’ve given you a good move you’ll remember it; if bad, you’ll forget it and we’ll think up another.” I have never marked my script since
Joe Leberman says to the method actors: “When I appeared in the crowd scene in Julius Caesar, I stood downstage right in extreme profile. I cried only with my right eye. No sense wasting tears that the audience couldn’t see.”
quoted by Judith Malina in her Diaries
Acting is a lot of damned hard work. It’s not just the physical exhaustion, but little things like having to play
a whole scene with your nose itching, or doing a long violent speech when you have indigestion, or wanting to raise your eyes suddenly only to find yourself blinking into a thousand-watt bulb,
Sir Laurence Olivier
Saturday Review (March 8, 1952)
I took up acting because it let me burn off energy. Besides, I wanted to beat the 40-hour-a week rap. But, man I didn’t escape. Now I am working 72 hours a week. So there you go.
Steve McQueen in Life (July 12, 1963)
To me, there’s something that happens in your head early in the day when you know that, later that night, you’ve got to perform the role, the whole role. You’re not doing a minute of it or three minutes, like you do in a movie. You taxi to the end of the runway and you take off, you know what I mean? There’s no returning. You’re on. It does something to your adrenaline. It changes your chemistry.
Interviewed by Rick Lyman, NY Times (April 20,2003)
You can’t play psychiatric conditions and any actor knows that when a director says “Be more angry,’ you think that’s meaningless.
But to play a scene as if the character has some kind of mental fog that has descended and clouded his thinking, that gives you a range of things to work with. So you haven’t got to actually explore the psychiatry of the character to reveal it.
Geoffrey Rush, discussing playing David Heliflott in Shine
Paul (Newman) slaves at acting. He studies scripts for hours and doodles all over them. I like doing things subconsciously and bring them forth full-bloom. If I did as much thinking about a part as Paul does, I’d go raving mad.
Joanne Woodward in Life (July 5, 1963)
CLERIHEWS by LOUIS PHILLIPS
Did not advertise Have Skis
It was just something I read in a novel.
As you may be well aware,
Was the birthname of George Orwell.
I just give the facts. Farewell!
On his keyboard found
The symbol #
& when he learned what it meant, he cursed %^&&#.