Friday, June 01, 2007

lana turner has collapsed

I am away for a week and the fools* over at Project Gay's Dames and Diva's Deathmatch voted for Eve Arden over Lana Turner.

(*I'm not talking about T&L of course: they simply provided the venue where the foolishness unfolded.)

Leaving aside the utter genius of Imitation of Life (books have been written on this) . . .

First, I do have to wonder, since the web site is called Project Gay, if being a fabulous drama queen still counts for something anymore? But more importantly I have to point out that Lana Turner holds a special place in the pantheon of Hollywood dames: there is no other diva who has been honored at the literary level of being the subject of one of Frank O'Hara's Lunch Poems.

Frank O’Hara, as I'm sure you all know, was a New York School poet and something of a gay icon (well, as much as a poet is iconic to anyone these days). In his “Poem (Lana Turner has collapsed!)” -- one of his most famous and funniest -- he writes about Lana Turner who is (or was – obviously she is less well known these days) something of a gay icon. I thought every gay man could recite this poem. It's on the Agenda, isn't it?

Click here for more information on Frank O'Hara including the text of "Poem (Lana Turner has collapsed!)" and a brief interpretation of the poem as defining the "gay diva". There is some information on Lana Turner as well.

This is from his classic book -- Lunch Poems. Of course every English major has a copy of the Lunch Poems. Right? You did come to class prepared didn't you? I know, I know. I'm looking at gaps in education that result in Dr. [Jesus wept] Boogie thinking that Tyson was Amish (the mind reels) and yet I expect people to have committed to memory works by New York School poets.

Sigh. I'm not angry. I'm just disappointed.