From Book 2: The Sex Discussions, Part One

Desnos never locked his door and now this worried me. When I stepped inside I saw a lit candle in a far corner. Artaud lay there on a mattress, and someone lay next to him. Desnos was asleep on his sofa and Roger and Justine lay tangled on his regular mattress, but everyone else hadContinue reading “From Book 2: The Sex Discussions, Part One”

From Book 2: In Total Darkness

            February days turned grey with rain. Trapped inside, I fled the café scene for Louis’s small apartment. We spent a great deal of time together, for the two of us were seeing very little of our other friends lately. “We’re the only people who aren’t successful,” Louis joked, “or failing successfully.”             Justine modeledContinue reading “From Book 2: In Total Darkness”

From Book One: Fernand

            Outside the train station Marseilles greeted me with her heat and her noise and her dirt, so frightening to me as a child. Now I welcomed the jostling crowd, the colorful frocks, the flash of bright eyes and teeth, the smell of sweat and of perfume, the many swaggering languages. Palm trees and molderingContinue reading “From Book One: Fernand”

From Book 3: This Ragamuffin

            “And could that be why,” Barrault interrupted, “Artaud is angry with me?”             He sounded stricken. I turned to him again and saw the pain in his eyes. He was, after all, just a kid. “Barrault, what has happened?”             Barrault sighed. “We’ve spent so much time together and shared so many ideas thatContinue reading “From Book 3: This Ragamuffin”

From Book 2: Foujita and Youki

“Come on, Geoff,” Youki urged, tugging at my arm. I allowed her to lead me to the car. “Come see the studio.”             I climbed in the back seat of her yellow Ballot with Foujita and Bernice, and the chauffeur nodded to Youki while she sat in the front passenger seat arranging her hair. “Home,Continue reading “From Book 2: Foujita and Youki”

From Book 2: Napoléon

            The role of Roderick Usher went to another actor, but Jean-Paul Marat in Gance’s film Napoléon belonged to Antonin Artaud. We attended the premier held at the Paris Opera. Napoléon Vu par Abel Gance, originally intended as a six-film series, was now a four-hour epic film promised to be on par with D.W. Griffith’sContinue reading “From Book 2: Napoléon”

From Book 3: Mexico and Trotsky

Days later, when I again visited the studio, Artaud had the gall to tease Sonia and me in front of Anita about knowing how to show an attractive young lady a good time on her first visit to Paris. When Anita in her effervescent voice demanded the details, Sonia threw a bottle of ink atContinue reading “From Book 3: Mexico and Trotsky”

From Book 2: Escaping the Police

            Hands tore at me and I threw my fists out blindly, making contact with eyes and cheeks. The air cleared and I crawled onstage. Now Breton was nowhere to be seen. I hauled Desnos up by the arm. Holding his handkerchief against the flow of blood, Desnos stumbled in the direction I shoved himContinue reading “From Book 2: Escaping the Police”

From Book 2: Morocco

            We stood there looking at each other with the door wide open. From the auditorium a roar of clapping and boos accompanied the appearance of a man onstage, a genteel-looking old peacock obviously accustomed to more civilized public gatherings and who now had the thankless job of introducing André Breton. His tremulous voice wasContinue reading “From Book 2: Morocco”

From Book 3: Desnos and Youki

            The weekend—two days of rain, two days of revelation—was over and now the sun was out, drying up the puddles in the streets, puddles that had caught the glitter and frivolous paper streamers of some Montparnasse street party. The sun turned the glistening streets to dry pavement and raised my fears. Artaud was likeContinue reading “From Book 3: Desnos and Youki”