Monday, June 05, 2006

Robert Towne Remembers And Other Miller Bits

While I was away, I accumulated various Henry Miller internet references through my subscription to the Google Alerts keyword feature. Here are a few very trivial yet mildly interesting items from that collection.

On May 27, The Telegraph newspaper published an interview with filmmaker Robert Towne [seen in banner art above] about Jean Renoir's 1937 film La Grande Illusion. Towne recounts the first time he met Renoir:

"Well, I met Renoir when I was 28, and I'd seen [the film] before then.
"It was at a garden party, and I went out into the backyard, and [the novelist] Henry Miller was there, playing ping-pong with his girlfriend, a very large-busted, 25-year-old Asian girl. Renoir was sitting in the blazing hot sun, wearing a beautiful blazer. I remember his shoulders were sloping and very heavy. He had the Légion d'honneur on his lapel. He looked up at me and he said: 'Renoir.' And I said: 'I know.'
"Later on, I happened to sit with him. There were three of us - Renoir, Henry and myself. I remember Renoir saying that he believed that, in the end, defeated peoples, peoples that were conquered, very often were the people that survived; that victory was not in conquest but survival."


Bezalel Schatz (1912-1978), artist and friend of Henry's (and brother-in-law to one of his wives, Eve McClure), created the artwork to accompany Henry's text, for the 1947 collaborative coffee-table book, Into The Night Life.

Some of this original artwork is apparently in the possession of Brandeis University, which is currently holding an exhibition called Collective Voice: The works of Reuven Rubin and other Israeli artists from the Brandeis Collection.

"To its left is Bezalel Schatz's Into the Night with Henry Miller (1946), in which a monstrous and tortured creature-like an alligator, deformed by stray paint strokes and splatters-lurches violently."


The Long Beach, CA Press Telegram has a story about a long-running barbershop that has a few signed celebrity photos on the wall, including Henry Miller's (it's run by Tom Lasorda and is at 5th and Flower in downtown L.A.). There is no other mention of Miller, but if any of you live in L.A., why not pop in on Lasorda and ask for Henry Miller stories?



"Between Cannes and St. Tropez" on the French coast, in a village called Boulouris, sits a hotel called La Villa Mauresque. The hotel has co-opted the names of primarily French writers and artists and applied them to their luxury-priced suites. The rooms don't appear to have any connection to the artist names, other than to offer some articifical romantic associtaion with their namesakes. Somewhat randomly thrown into the mix of Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, Rimbaud and Baudelaire suites is the Henry Miller room, at 310 € a night [picture above].

Somerset Maughm stayed here, but I'm not sure if Miller ever did. There is no Maughm room.



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