I agree with the nay-sayers about Cuckoo’s Nest in that Nicholson is terrible in the top-hero role (unfortunately, James Dean was dead) and agree with the plus-note people that Louise Fletcher redeems the foul, dated sexism of the concept of Nurse Rached. (Kidz, it was this: stuffy, norm-obsessed, perfectly domesticated women were holding freed spirits and wild men back. Like they had that power.)
Since David moved back to Boston, I most regularly encountered him at the Farmers’ Market (a classy one) that happened about a block from his place. We ran into each other once, maybe twice, a season ( he was able to come earlier than I was). But it would always be a highlight of all my visits because David would aesthetically evaluate the displays, the offerings, the sellers, the crowd, and whatever art he had seen recently, with an emphasis on plugs for what was out there. David was by far the finest part of the harvest those days, never to happen again.
One of David’s superb characteristics is that he made sure if you hung out with him you would learn art information that was exciting and important to you. During that same St. Louis visit, he ensured we went to what he called the most essential exhibit in the city for me. Turned out to be a small gallery featuring a bunch of early drawings by Jim Nutt (one of the most perfect artist names, ever) including most of the items on this page.
I was captivated and transported. I knew nothing of Nutt (love the phrases that happen spontaneously) barely more about The Hairy Who than they had a super-cool name. Now we’ve got three books about Nutt and the Hairys and a lot more savvy about a major part of early Pop Surrealism. Thanks to David.
When we visited him in St. Louis, we took the outstanding walking tour from his home. He showed us the house where one of my prime mentors/inspirations/parasitic-demons grew up, William S. Burroughs. Bit grand but unassuming, except for the peculiar sculptures that lined the walkway up to the house. (Obviously inhabited by people more like the author and less like the guy who invented the adding machine.)
“They insisted there should be no sidewalk notification of what this was,” said David, “because they were afraid of the hordes of weirdos that would show up all the time.”