Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Tru to a Fault

Over the weekend I watched Ebs Burnough's (Covid-interrupted) "The Capote Tapes" and can't stop thinking about it. Having grown up with virtually no gay role models, it was hard not to be fascinated by Truman Capote from the first time I laid eyes on him, if only in self-conscious horror that someone like him/me would have the audacity to actually live his life. (His talk-show visits and appearances in "Murder by Death" and "Annie Hall" all came before I'd ever read anything he'd written, as did my fawning over photos from his famed Black and White Ball at the Plaza Hotel!)

Keep reading BELOW.

As we all know, Capote’s story "is one of fierce talent, personal bravery, poor professional ethics, eccentric celebrity and eventual addiction and dissolution." (Near the end, a friend of mine was asked as a favor by a New York City bartender to "please go talk to that lonely man at the end of the bar" only to realize it was the writer of "In Cold Blood" falling off his barstool.) 

Having read George Plimpton's oral biography, there wasn't anything particularly shocking or new learned in "The Capote Tapes." But there's something profound about having those quotes come to life -- the intonations and delivery from the likes of Lauren Bacall, Dick Cavett, Sally Quinn, Candice Bergen, George Plimpton, William F. Buckley and Jay McInerney -- that felt revelatory, as was lengthy on-camera segments with Truman's adopted daughter. (If you don't know THAT story, I'll let you see it for yourself!)

While the "Is there or isn't there a completed 'Answered Prayers' manuscript locked away in a safe-deposit box somewhere?" subplot felt like a bit of a red herring -- I mean, really: How could there be? -- I was also tickled to hear from a couple of his "swans," the term the writer used for his dearest friends from the ladies who lunch set who later turned on him after feeling he had betrayed their trust. 

At the same time, I couldn't help being highly conscious of the fact that the number of people who would find such an outing so delicious has to be rapidly declining. 

This is a text I received from a gal pal, who can't wait to see the documentary. But are there really people, say, much younger than I am whose friends reference Babe Paley ... ever?

To this point: My post-viewing googling led me to the fact that Ryan Murphy appears to be making a series about the subject: "Feud: Capote's Women." Having grown up on a diet rich in Slim Keith and Lee Radziwill biographies -- and actual Truman Capote stories -- I'm leery of what Mr. American Horror Story might do with my women. (Would you believe I happened to be viewing Andy Warhol's portrait of Lee at the Whitney when news broke that Jackie O's sister had died?!) 

As a young man, I was so enthralled with "Slim: Memories of a Rich and Imperfect Night" -- the very idea that you could reinvent yourself and have the life you so wanted really spoke to me -- I read it all in one sitting. But as a kind-hearted Republican once said about rape: If it's inevitable, just lie back and enjoy the sex, which is what I might have to do with some of Murphy's casting choices.

I don't know what a Naomi Watts is. But I can tell you one thing: She's no Babe Paley.

Diane Lane doesn't come to mind when I think of Slim, but perhaps it's because I've never seen my beloved in motion

Although he uses her in everything, you can probably never go wrong with Chloe Sevingy

But this too is problematic. Although she has the Park Ave. "build" down, that's where this comparison ends. 

Send me your thoughts and prayers about the upcoming series. And if know, tell me if Capote's writing continues to resonate or be taught to younger generations. In the meantime, you can watch the trailer for "The Capote Tapes" below:



Rix said...

Are any actresses alive with the same panache? I think Lane can pull it off and Flockhart I really want to see if she can. Watts is a great character actress and the performance should work out well.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

@Rix: I think you hit the nail on the head. I'm thinking of actresses from the 1960s and '70s for these roles when obviously that isn't feasible!

Jaradon said...

And who is going to play Capote- ( which is not as easy as it sounds)

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

British actor Tom Hollander has been recruited to play Capote himself, while award-winning director Gus van Sant is behind the camera.

Powerhouse said...

Oh my god, dude... you know about the "swans" - perhaps you haven't heard/read this one: late in life, Cary Grant received a telegram from a journalist/reporter (I believe telegrams charged by the letter or word, so apparently senders omitted articles to save money) which stated: "how old Cary Grant"...and his reply, "old Cary Grant fine"... perhaps apocryphal, but funny as hell, either way. Now I recall how I came to your blog - I was watching an episode of "Rhoda" and David Groh looked really hot (I was probably 15/16 when this episode aired and I was DEFINITELY not hot for him). So I Googled "David Groh circa 1975 naked" and I came upon your post. I was fucking men much hotter. I was very aggressive and my gaydar was fully operational. I'd probably already had my first 3way with a couple in their '30s. But that's nuthin' - TRUMP was, what did he say..."INDICATED"?

Powerhouse said...

Good morning, Kenneth. Upon rereading my comment, I apologize since, aside from the mention of "swans" it had nothing to do with your post, which I hadn't read in its entirety. Too many gimlets when I started to write. Surprised you posted it. The casting game has me intrigued. As does your comment about Capote and role models. I started having sex with adult men days after my 14th birthday and most were neither swishy queens nor hyper butch, like most of us are.