Monday, June 16, 2008

DOWN DON WAY



Over the weekend I learned that a documentary about writer, Christopher Isherwood and his life partner, artist, Don Bachardy is being released on DVD after being shown last year at several film festivals. Theirs is truly a fascinating story and I look forward to watching this movie.

In the late 70s, my friend, Kirk and I met Chris at one of those UCLA weekly gay gatherings where Chris spoke. We chatted with him afterward and he invited us to lunch the following week. We went and as we entered their home, Don was in swimming trunks heading to the beach. Chris introduced us and Don dashed out. The pic above in b&w was probably taken around this time. I remember Don had long, shaggy hair and a moustache. My memory is a bit cloudy on the details of the lunch but Kirk and I had a lovely time with this lovely man. I could kick myself now because at the time, I really didn’t know the importance of this man and I didn’t even have my always-present camera!

In the early 90s, I contacted Don and he agreed to be interviewed for my book, STRAIGHT OUT, at his Santa Monica canyon home that he shared with Christopher [who died in 1986] for many years. He was then living with his partner, Tim Hilton. Due to my inexperience of being a writer and interviewer, I failed to get a release form signed by Don at the time. Weeks later when I called and asked him to sign, he said he would only after he read the article. I agreed and he called me afterward. He kept me on the phone for over an hour changing, correcting, rearranging the piece. It was laborious. Some was helpful, most was picayunish. Boy, did I learn my lesson! From there on, I had the interviewees sign BEFORE the interview.

Last year I met up again with Don when he attended Davidd Batalon’s gallery opening [see pic below of Don standing between Davidd and I]. We hugged and chatted briefly. He seemed quite feeble, though his trademark Tallulah Bankhead-British accent was still there. I don’t think he remembered me. [ Davidd Batalon's website: http://laartrat.tripod.com/intro.html ]

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Dan,

It's great to hear from you. I am delighted that you love my blog, which is at its embroyonic stage. I hope to dedicate more time to blogging in future. I am equally happy that you're also a journalist and actor. What a coincidene to exchange words with a colleague from a far way land!
I hope we will share our experience as we go along the way.

My email address: musa.saidykhan@gmail.com

Kind regards.

Musa

KATE EVANS said...

I can't wait to see this film. I'm writing a historical novel that involves Isherwood & Auden...