Posts tagged ‘poetry’

Girlhood Crush – Ethan Hawke

Alright, Ladies. I’m going to take you back. Back to a time – somewhere between 1988-1995, when you were reaching that tender age in which a teenage girl begins to yearn for an adorable, sensitive boy to hold and kiss. But this particular type of boy couldn’t be found at school or at youth meetings, he could only be found in between the pages of such mockingly named periodicals as Bop, Big Bopper and Tiger Beat.



Yes, I’m talking about your pin-up boy crush.






We’ve all had them. I, at one time or another had five or more boys at once pinned to my bedroom wall. Cute boys. Boys with crooked smiles. Boys with heart melting blue eyes. Boys with dangerously cute floppy hair.



I actually spent my summer between 6th and 7th grade writing letters frantically with up to 10 pen pals a day – from all over the country and from all over the world – girls found in the back of said magazines who would trade you pictures of your crush if you sent back pictures of hers (especially awesome if they lived in another country and you got French or Japanese versions of newspaper clippings.) Say you weren’t totally into Jonathan Brandis (I wasn’t – something too goody-goody about him) but you LOVED Edward Furlong (I did – that hair…ooh…that hair…) you two could switch and BINGO! You got rid of the ones you didn’t want for ones that you did! More posters to love and kiss!!






The thing that’s funny to me looking back now, is that none of my feelings for any of these boys were ever sexual. I dreamed of kissing them, snuggling with them and maybe living together, but nothing beyond that. They remained perfect boyfriend fantasies – always saying and doing the right things. I would spend hours with my friends at weekend sleep-overs lying in bed, lights out, describing our ideal chaste lives with our beaus. Mainly this would consist of describing our first date, leading up to the life changing good-night kiss, and then fast forwarding to our incredibly hip wedding, the details of which a teenage girl can get lost in for hours.



I decided today I should take a walk through memory lane and re-visit all of those old crushes who adorned my walls and book covers. Find the particular snapshots of my loves that I gazed at longingly every night, falling asleep beside and waking up to every morning. The ones that burrowed their way into my soul – even now. The ones that I loved so much it almost hurt.



We’re going to start with one that, thankfully, has been making a comeback as of late…Ladies…remember Mr. Ethan Hawke?






Dead Poet’s Society loomed large during my junior high years. A movie made especially for the pre-pubescent girl – brimming with gorgeous boys in uniforms being passionate about life, love and poetry!! (SWOON!) I was a fan of both Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard in this film (we’ll get to Mr. Leonard in another post), but today lets focus on Mr. Hawke. His character, Todd, is unbearably shy. and yearning to belong – to break out – to sound his barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world!! I was INTO this character. And, by proxy, I got into some poetry, so this was a win win situation. And as you will see in these posts, my boy crushes very often turned into literary explorations. Yes, I will write it here for the world to see – if you asked me about all of the books I have ever read in my lifetime you would probably find that 75% or more were read for a reason trailing back to a cute boy. And I LOVE to read.






I was also known for pillaging the video store after I found a new crush. Eager to get more face time with my darling, I would watch any movie I found with them in it. Which lead to me watching some pretty varied and weird things as a pre-teen. Watching Dead Poet’s Society lead me to watch Dad, White Fang (leading to a brief Jack London phase), A Midnight Clear and even Alive. Can I confess something that’s super creepy looking back on it? I was INTO Alive. Way too into it. I saw the movie 11 times in the theater. My 14th birthday party was me dragging all of my friends to the theater to see it. I read the books – it was, like, a whole thing. Only I could go to a movie about plane-crashed-cannibal-rugby-players FOR THE CUTE BOYS. Sigh. Okay, onward.






Let’s take a long stroll down Mystery Date lane. Ladies. LADIES. This is primo stuff. First rate shy-smiles, hair tosses and sweet kisses. Heady. I cannot count the number of times I watched this movie. I knew every glance, every awkward giggle, every twisted smile by heart. I just re-watched this movie today and can I tell you, it doesn’t disappoint. He is still as incredibly beautiful as I remember, and everything came flooding back. So much so that I immediately had to leap upon this laptop and type away my overflowing thoughts and feelings. Wowsers.






Ethan also wins special points for sending me an autograph in reply to my girlish letter! (many didn’t – we will get to the Corey Haim autograph debacle in another post)I actually kept up a correspondence with Ethan Hawke’s grandmother for a while, as I found out she was answering his fan letters for him at the time. She kept me posted on all his movie adventures for a year or two!! (When you’re a teenage girl, knowing even Ethan Hawke’s grandmother is a dream come true, and worth major bragging points in middle school.)



I followed onwards with Reality Bites and Before Sunrise, but the height of my Ethan Hawke fanaticism had waned. I still make it a point to watch his new films when they appeal to me, but at the time my crushes ran hot and cold and fast. You snoozed, and I was on to other boys and other posters. Still! I am glad he is back in business with TWO movies in the theaters currently! (Before Midnight and The Purge)



Mr. Hawke, I salute you.

Kerouac, Man.

Kerouac - On the Road book cover[4]


I have been a major Jack Kerouac fan since I was about 15. I found On the Road and became fascinated with his world of jazz, poetry, and intellectualism. I would carry my battered copy around with me throughout high school, highlighting my favorite words and phrases. My friends and I started dressing in black and going to weekly poetry readings at the Enigma coffee-house. (My grandmother was very opposed to this – every week she would accuse me of going to hang out with dope fiends in an opium den. Really. In 1995.)






My high school Kerouac coup de grace (besides having his “burn. burn. burn” speech as my senior quote) was convincing ten or so of my friends to dress up as beatniks with me for Halloween. We went trick or treating, wearing our dark shades and black turtlenecks, calling out “Trick Or Treat, Daddy-O” as doors were opened. I then would start shouting passages from On The Road to them while  bebop jazz blared from my boombox. Needless to say, most people were flummoxed. Las Vegas is many things, but a literary hub is not one of them.







After high school I fell out of the obsession, but happily recently found it again – thanks to Walter Salles’ film adaptation of On the Road. I was nervous going in, since the book is practically un-filmable and because the subject matter is so dear, but I was overwhelmingly surprised. It’s a tremendous film. I know it’s been snubbed quite a bit because of Kristen Stewart’s involvement, but she is great in the film, and fought very hard to be part of it. Sam Riley is fantastically gruff and salty as Sal Paradise, Garrett Hedlund does a passable Neal Cassady, and Tom Sturridge shines bright as Allen Ginsberg.  It’s beautifully shot, and obviously made with great care.  The film captures the feeling and the energy of the book very well – fleshing out the naughtiest bits such as their frequent drug use and promiscuous sex for a modern-day audience . These portions are in the book, alright, just glossed over as would have been necessary in 1957, the year the book was published.





Unfortunately, it played in ONE theater in Los Angeles for two weeks. Seriously. I saw the film in its opening week, and dragged my boyfriend back to see it the second week, since I knew it wouldn’t last long. I don’t know what the studio did with their marketing campaign there, but it was really given a lousy showing. I’m sure it will be on VOD and Netflix and whatnot soon – please check it out, I’d love to know what you think.



As an adult, I’ve seen past the bongos and lingo to see what the Beats were really about – LIVING. Just experiencing everything as it comes and filtering it into language as best as possible. I can’t think of another literary movement so enthralled with just living living living – more, faster, crazier, louder. It’s really inspiring – DO MORE! BE MORE!



neal cassady 1944



The one who has really captured my attention this time around, though, has been Neal Cassady (Dean Moriarty in On the Road and Cody Pomeroy in several others), Kerouac’s buddy and accomplice. Besides inspiring Kerouac to actually go on the road and, in turn, write his novels, he also was a muse to Allen Ginsberg and Ken Kesey – who later admitted to basing Randle McMurphy from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on Cassady. He was the inspiration and spark  for two major cultural movements – both the Beats and the crazy Acid Head’s of the 60’s – Neal Cassady was the driver for Further, the bus that took Kesey & the Merry Pranksters across America to blow everyone’s mind.






How could ONE man inspire so much? Everyone who met him declared him god-like, holy, a man with infinite energy and enthusiasm – a man who wanted to live more than anyone they had ever met. I’ve ready several biographies/autobiographies of Neal now, and of course each one reveals the negative side to his incandescence – the constant disappearing and drinking, sex and drugs, leaving behind wives and children without a second thought if it led to KICKS quicker and easier. I’m not condoning such behavior, of course, but it has got me wondering. If Neal inspired so much incredible art – and only lived to be 42, mind you,  I have to root for him for living his life the way he wanted to and not ever letting anything get in his way.



So here I sit, listening to bebop jazz (the closest thing you could get to rock n roll in 1950), and dreaming of Neal Cassady. Wanting to meet him and just spend time LIVING myself. Lighting out for the territories myself and see what mad people await me out there in the world – because the only people for me are the mad ones….



Neal Cassady & Jack Kerouac ..