About me

1. ‘Voi ch’ascoltate in rime sparse il suono’

You who hear the sound, in scattered rhymes,
of those sighs on which I fed my heart,
in my first vagrant youthfulness,
when I was partly other than I am,

I hope to find pity, and forgiveness,
for all the modes in which I talk and weep,
between vain hope and vain sadness,
in those who understand love through its trials.

Yet I see clearly now I have become
an old tale amongst all these people, so that
it often makes me ashamed of myself;

and shame is the fruit of my vanities,
and remorse, and the clearest knowledge
of how the world’s delight is a brief dream.

Petrarch, 1342

Age: 199
Gender: Male
Astrological Sign: Virgo
Occupation: Writer
Location: United States

Reading & ‘Riting

Favorite Movies
The Godfather Trilogy
Once Upon a Time in America
Apocalypse Now
The Natural

Favorite Music
Rickie Lee Jones
Bob Marley

Jimi Hendrix

James Blood Ulmer

Favorite Books
Satanic Verses
The Moor’s Last Sigh
Midnight’s Children
Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Love in the Time of Cholera
The Ground Beneath Her Feet
Harlot’s Ghost
Tough Guys Don’t Dance

I am ‘Kleinman’ “They need illusions like they need the air”

(This leans heavily on the review of the film I discuss by the late great New York Times critic Vincent Canby)

It’s always night in this closed world of miasmic fog, cobbled alleys and street lamps that shed too little light. And on this terrible night, death stalks the streets, picking victims at random. One fellow it strangled with piano wire. Another’s throat it cut from ear to ear.

His most heinous crime: the murder of pretty, virginal identical twins.

Kleinman was sleeping fretfully on the second floor of a grubby little rooming house when, at 2:30 A.M., there was a sudden pounding on his door. Men wearing long overcoats and fedoras pushed their way in. They came for Kleinman’s help in their search for the homicidal maniac. Kleinman, exhausted, shivers in his underwear.

What homicidal maniac?

Don’t ask so many questions.

They tell him he is part of their plan.

What plan?

There’s no time to explain now, says the leader. Just get dressed and go outside. Someone will find you.

Woody Allen played Kleinman as a timid clerk in his under-appreciated 1992 black-‘n-white film ‘Shadows and Fog.’

In what might as well be a life motto, Kleinman himself said: “I don’t know enough to be incompetent.”

” A vigilante questions Kleinman: “Are you a coward or a worm or a yellow-belly?”

“No,” Kleinman says, “but keep going.”

Allen contemplated in ‘Shadows and Fog’ life, death, love (the unrequited kind, at least), literature, movies, American humor in general, the gags of Bob Hope in particular, the music of Kurt Weill and the changing fashions in B.V.D.’s.

Authority here is absolute and inscrutable. It may be represented by the police, by angry mobs or by Kleinman’s petit bourgeois employer, whom Kleinman calls “your grace.” For Kleinman, it’s six of one, a half-dozen of the other.

If the homicidal maniac doesn’t get him, the vigilantes will.

Kleinman keeps meeting people who assume he’s part of the plan, but who either can’t or won’t tell him what his part is. Or, even, the plan. There’s an obsessed coroner (Donald Pleasence), impatient to perform an autopsy on the killer as part of his study of the nature of evil. Meanwhile, poor Irmy (Mia Farrow), a circus sword swallower running away from an unfaithful lover (John Malkovich), is befriended by a philosophical prostitute (Lily Tomlin) and taken back to the brothel for a good hot meal.

Before the arrival of dawn, the original vigilante group has broken up into warring factions. The killer finds additional victims. Kleinman comes to the brothel saying that he has never before paid for sex. “You just think you haven’t,” says a prostitute played by Jodie Foster.

Eventually a bogus seer, Spiro the clairvoyant, with a sensitive nose sniffs Kleinman and identifies him as the killer. So, to great comic effects, Kleinman takes off, with the posse in pursuit.

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