Geer, Will -- early activist, friend & coworker of Harry Hay, and Hollywood actor

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Will Geer, early activist and celebrity and artist, etc.


billy glover to ronaldtate4 Mar 17, 2011


Yes, I can't remember names. And I had never heard the other spelling. Thanks for this bio. It is good; in this case Wikipedia is a good resource. What do they have on Morgan Farley, or even Don and Dorr or Jim Kepner? This is celebrity info young glbt people should know,but they will not find on LOGO. And it seems to me it does lend some credence to the book, Bohemian L. A.)

CC: pauldcain From: ronaldtate4 Subject: Re: A book on early L.A. and three reas-politics/arts and glbt Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2011 13:11:49 -0500 To: billygloverhic

Will Geer is the one you are thinking of who was paired up with Harry Hay for awhile.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_Geer


On Mar 17, 2011, at 11:23 AM, billy glover <billygloverhic> wrote:


That is why I liked this book, The Madonnas of Echo Park; it talks abut the streets where Don and Tony lived and I walked them, often with one or the other or Rudi, walking the dog, etc. I do think there is a slight connection with Harry and the arts and politics, not sure how the book covers it, but it is a good question about this aspect of history and the movement in L.A., and the difference even in this from the East Coast-communists, etc.

From: PaulDCain Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2011 Subject: Re: A book on early L. A. and three reas-politics/arts and glbt To: billygloverhic

Billy, I own Bohemian LA. I don't recall being overly impressed by it, although you would probably enjoy it since you lived there -- I expect it would bring back some memories. pdc


[edit] ==Original Message==

Subj: A book on early L. A. and three reas-politics/arts and glbt Date: 3/16/2011 From: billygloverhic To: waynedynes CC: ronaldtate4 Sent from the Internet (Details)


Either on C-SPAN or somehow I knew of this book and think I made reference to it in an email long ago, and had forgotten it. I agree with your thinking. But the one thing that may be relevant is that Harry knew and worked with so many communists who were also in the Industry. His lover? was grandpa later on the tv show, and he was in some music thing wasn't he and taught at some leftist college thing.

But I too never understood the thinking of some leftist "gays" who didn't learn about/from Cuba, and didn't remember how Harry, et al, were kicked out of the party because of their homosexuality. A good discussion has not been held on the answer. Many glbt people stay in church trying to change it. Is the Communist Party worth trying to change?

I never said much about not being in a fraternity in college-neither was my sister who was asked and her friends joined. I was not asked but never tried and don't remember knowing anyone in one except two from my high school. BUT I went there with the belief, based on my Methodist upbringing, that it was elitist and unChristian to separate yourself and discriminate, etc. An irony was that as I recall a group tried to form a Methodist fraternity. There was discrimination so there was a Jewish one etc. There were no black students till the last year.

Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 1 Subject: Re: Mary Alice's visit/I've said most of what I want to say From: waynedynes To: billygloverhic CC: ronaldtate4

A couple of years ago I reviewed another book about the earlier history of the Echo Park / Silverlake District. The thesis did not convince me, but the author certainly did a lot of work. He is now living in New York, where he collaborates with Jonathan Ned Katz. Here is the review: --


The Los Angeles books by Faderman & Timmons, and by Robert Hofler, noticed in recent postings, have now been joined by Daniel Hurewitz, Bohemian Los Angeles and the Making of Modern Politics (University of California Press, 2007).

Hurewitz originally presented his findings as a UCLA dissertation. In the several years intervening he has enlarged his data and refined his ideas. What we have then is a carefully crafted presentation of his case. Hurewitz focuses on the early and middle years of 20th century. Supplementing previous accounts, there is a good deal of information about ordinary gay men that is new.

In my review of Gay L.A.by Faderman and Timmons, a generally excellent book, I faulted the writers for not offering a sufficient explanation for the seemingly improbable fact that America’s only enduring gay emancipation movement arose in Los Angeles. Commendably, Hurewitz attempts to resolve this conundrum. Unfortunately his explanation doesn’t work.

He portrays three interdependent spheres of innovation in the Southern California city--the arts community; the political radicals (especially the Communists); and gay men and lesbians.

Ostensibly linked by their sharing the neighborhood of Edendale between Hollywood and downtown LA, Hurewitz’ three worlds are not in fact closely connected. While many artists and leftists lived in Edendale in the first half of the twentieth century it did not enjoy the status of a “gay village” until recent decades, when it became known as Silverlake and Echo Park.

A number of the founders of the Mattachine Society had also been Communists, but this fact, while true, is not enough to justify the triple project. The reason Mattachine survived and prospered was because after its reorganization in 1953 (a change much lamented by today’s nostalgic leftists) it was led by individuals who were centrists.

Over this book there is a haze of the Romance of American Communism, to cite the title of a gushing book by the New York writer Vivian Gornick. These people were working to establish a Soviet system in America. Had they succeeded in doing so, “degenerates” would have been sent to Gulags.

Those who sugarcoat this leftist history instruct us to forget about international politics. Instead, just look at the rewarding personal lives these Communists lived! Regrettably this picture wasn’t rosy either. When one joined the Party one was urged to devote all one’s free time as much as possible to working for the Revolution. There were no “free weekends.” Just as with a religious sect, members were encouraged to marry within the Party. All this meant severing one’s previous ties. After the pattern was set, members were discouraged from leaving because they knew that if they did no they would be ostracized. They would end up with no friends at all.

As noted, the linkage of the three phenomena is elusive. If there was an L.A. Bohemia, this wasn’t it.

Hurewitz makes much of the matter of identity. Yet this was not an issue during the period he mainly covers. Gay identity (and other purported identities) became important only in the seventies. The legacy of this concept has been scarcely benign. The perception of Balkanization, appealing to separate interest groups rather than the national interest, continues to haunt the Democratic Party. Hurewitz further believes that Los Angeles was the crucible in which the identity principle advanced to be part of the national agenda. This claim, which ignores the crucial effect of the civil rights movement in the South, is specious.

In short this book is good in parts. Yet in my view its overall claim fails.

Wayne D.

On Wed, Mar 16, 2011 , billy glover <billygloverhic> wrote:

It is a beautiful day and I have had a great visit with Mary Alice. Tell Lynn she is visiting here, and now it is his time. I just realized I didn't hug her as we ate and then drove to see Buddy and they were talking and I left to come on to the library.

I'm thinking, partly to save gas, that I will start going less to the library, and in a sense I have said all I feel the urge to say about my/our history. As Don said, it is on record, and his part is in the magazine and newsletters, etc, so let history decide on its own.

But it is strange to find a book at the library on the discard rack that is about Don & Tony's area, called The Madonnas of Echo Park. It is of course interesting to see mention of all the areas we have walked in, and it would be nice to share this with Tony, but he doesn't do computer and in a sense seems not to care to remember those long years they lived there.

It is doubly interesting as the author is Mexican American and shows a side of L.A. I would not have experienced, and doubt Tony did. But mention of Pioneer Market-for some reason he changes the name to Pilgrim- and other local places and streets brings back memories I have forgotten. Above the lake is where the picture of Melvin and me was taken that is on the cover of ONE. I don't know if the area has changed much-the book is 2000. The houses on Carroll St are still on a tour route I think. But who lives in that house across the street where the author of the book/movie Love Story lived-next to Rudi, and a few other famous people. I think the houses are still expensive. And he talks about it being Angelino Heights, remember Don insisted on calling it that even though everyone else calls it all Echo Park.

AND he of course echos one of the many "concerns" of Don that made him so special. That is that he, and the book, never forgave L. A. for stealing Chavez Ravine from the owners to give it to the Brooklyn Dodgers. That is the Don that others can't seem to know or that would help them understand him.

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