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Friday, April 30, 2010

Paywright Portrait, Shawn Hirabayashi, Excerpt from Floating

The playwright Shawn Hirabayashi 2007
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010
Excerpt from "Floating.

(AT RISE: The sounds of seagulls. The lights are hot. ACHILLE, dressed formally, stands on a large piece of deep blue silk.)


Hail, tugboats. What do they call you? Hm? Hm? You probably know what they call me. One of the ships that has been here for the past four days must have told you what they call me. One of the ships holding the men watching me burn, waiting for me to sink. Perhaps the one holding my captain. My ex-captain. Tell me, what do you think you know? Have you heard the talk of the men? Hm? What do you think you know?
I am an ocean liner. 23,479 tons.

They used to call me something different. Before Achille Lauro. Something Dutch. I only remember the meaning: “floating bell.” Isn’t that lovely? Yes? No?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Playwright Portrait, Zakiyyah Alexander, Excerpt from 10 Things To Do Before I Die

The Playwright Zakiyyah Alexander 2007
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010

excerpt from 10 Things to Do Before I Die

VIDA: Hello, it’s me and I am leaving you a message. You know what I hate? What I hate about you? I hate the fact that you drip sweat all over me, it’s disgusting, not sexy. I hate that you say the word fucking while you’re fucking me. I hate it when you go down on me. I lie there and wait while you think you’re actually doing something, then I pretend to come cause I’m worried that I might hurt your feelings. I hate that you don’t call me enough, that you don’t think about me enough, that you don’t love me. And, I hate the way I feel when you walk out the door. I hate you for making me hate me.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Playwright Portrait, Matthew Maguire, Excerpt from Luscious Music

the playwright Matthew Maguire
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010

excerpt from Luscious Music

Clea: If you ain't ready to walk, they got your ass in a sling, you hear me, babe?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Playwright Portrait, William Electric Black, Excerpt from My Boyfriend is a Zombie

William Electric Black 2007
copyright peter bellamy 2010

excerpt from My Boyfriend Is A Zombie

Paula Rhinestone:
I know other boys are handsome hunks
And play on the football team
But my gruesome guy is my maggot pie
Yeah, he knows how to make chicks scream

He’s kind of shy
esn’t drink or smoke
And always slurs his wordsWho could ask for more
From the creature I adore

Does that make me somewhat disturbed

My boyfriend is a zombie
Though he’s gooey, creepy, freaky
He really charms me
My boyfriend is a zombie

Though he’ll munch someone for lunch
He’d never harm me

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Artist Jack Goldstein, 1986

Jack Goldstein 1986
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010

“The man committing suicide controls the moment of his death by executing a back flip.”
Jack Goldstein

Jack Goldstein was one of the torch bearers of appropriation.  His success would rise and fall and ultimately he was a giant.  To this day, his suicide causes despair amongst those who looked to him for inspiration.  He is pictured here with his dog, who he said was the brother of Man Ray, William Wegman’s dog, in his loft deep in Brooklyn.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Artist David Budd, 1986

The Artist David Budd 1986
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010

David Budd left the sheltered obscurity of Florida in the 1950s, after seeing a film on Jackson Pollack.  In pursuit of the big dream, he went first to Paris than to New York; he fell in with similar artist and had modest success.  Here, pictured in his studio, lies David Budd.  How he was injured, I am not sure.  Perhaps gambling and drinking - he mentioned something about OTB (off track betting). I prefer the other story, that he fell off a horse.  He had to be in pain, but the brave face and cheerfulness was all he offered.  He threw himself to his art, like Christians to the lions; hence his crown of thorns.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Artist Michael Tetherow, 1986

Michael Tetherow 1986 Tribecca
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010

Michael Thetherow's brother contacted me to tell me of Michael’s death. He wanted to have my portrait represent his presence at the memorial.  When I photographed Michael his loft was freezing cold and he lived in a plastic tent in the center, which was the only area of warmth.  Michael suffered from rheumatoid arthritis.  The loft wars had been going on for sometime and many artists lived with out the benefit of heat or hot water.  I understand that toward the end of his life he lived and painted entirely outdoors, seldom seeking shelter.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Artist Paul Thek, 1985

Paul Thek 1985 East Village
Copyright Peter Belllamy

Paul Thek died in 1988.  In the 80s, the war was with AIDS and every day it cut a swath through the city taking many creative and wonderful people in its horrible path.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Artist Porfirio Didonna, 1985

The Artist Porfirio Didonna 1985
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010

Porfirio Didonna died in 1986.  His ghost wanders Franklin Street.  It was morning when we took this photo, and afterwards we drank beer to celebrate the occasion of his portrait.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Artist Herbert Katzman, 1985

Herbert Katzman 1985
d. 2004
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010

He was one of my favorites because of a timeless quality in his art and life.  This portrait could have been taken at any time within the last 150 years.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Artist Bill Jensen, 1984

The Artist Bill Jensen 1984
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010

Bill Jensen had a studio in Williamsburg.  I think it was the only standing building on the block and you had to cross a moat to get to it, than endless locks and snarling dogs.  His landlord had tried to shoot him or something like that. So he was a little paranoid.  You climbed a series of ladders through a cavern of darkness, and then there was Bill.  I worked two years to get his portrait and had to photograph a series of artists he liked and respected, each more obscure than the one before. Then I had to pass some kind of test as to whether or not I could be trusted with portraying the story of the real art world of oil, canvas, and booze.  And his teachings.  I remember the quote, “There is no such thing as an inanimate object.”  At the end of the eighties he transformed into a normal guy, but the magic for me was back in the day. He used to spend several years working on a painting and there was no way to communicate with the outside world from his studio. His wife would send him packing on a rickety bike with a bag of peanuts and he had his jar of spirits, which he would pour into a glass that was always half full but never half empty. I remember the toilet, just an open pipe connected to a sewer line, I was glad I didn’t have to use it. Of all the artists I met, he was my favorite. I loved his work more than anyone else’s.  To this day, Bill Jensen is in the best of health, and lives a vibrant, happy and creative life, creating magnificent paintings.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Exhibition: The Playwright Portrait Project

Tarell Alvin McCraney © pswb 2010

The Playwright Portrait Project

Exhibition on Line
14 playwrights
14 excerpts (selected by the playwright to accompany their portrait)
14 days Starting April 5
-April 18

day fourteen:Tarell Alvin McCraney
day thirteen:Elizabeth Swados
day twelve:David Lindsay-Abaire
day eleven:Lenora Champagne
day ten:Thomas Bradshaw
day nine:Edward Albee
day eight:Sally Oswald
day seven:Richard Foreman
day six:Sheila Callaghan
day five:John Guare
day four:Young Jean Lee
day three:Eric Bogosian
day two:Sarah Ruhl
day one:Craig Lucas

Playwright Portrait, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Excerpt from Wig Out

The Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney 2009
copyright Peter Bellamy 2009

Excerpt from Wig Out

By the time this play is produced, assuming that
The motherfucker is produced, half of the
The language and song will already be antiquated

Friday, April 16, 2010

Playwright Portrait, Elizabeth Swados, Excerpt from The Foundling

The Playwright Elizabeth Swados 2009
copyright peter bellamy 2010

excerpt from The Foundling

He lived among usHe was Europe’s child
His ways were simple and his manner mild
We looked beyond him
And saw what we chose to see
And now the truth about him stays a mystery
One sad boy One lost soul
One more story left untold
One more name scratched on a stone
One more baby left alone

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Playwright Portrait, David Lindsay-Abaire, Excerpt from Rabbit Hole

The Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire 2007
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010

Excerpt from Rabbit Hole

This feeling. Does it ever go away?

No. I don’t think it does. Not for me it hasn’t. And that’s goin’ on eleven years.
It changes though.


I don’t know. The weight of it, I guess. At some point it becomes bearable. It turns into something you can crawl out from under. And carry around - like a brick in your pocket. And you forget it every once in a while, but then you reach in for whatever reason and there it is: “Oh right. That.” Which can be awful. But not all the time. Sometimes it’s kinda….Not that you like it exactly, but it’s what you have instead of your son, so you don’t wanna let go of it either. So you carry it around. And it doesn’t go away, which is…



Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Playwright Portrait, Lenora Champagne, Excerpt from The Best Things in Life

The Playwright Lenora Champagne 2008
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010

excerpt from The Best Things in LifeLenora:"Everything turns to work in her hands. It's what she knows how to do. Sometimes she meditates on chance. Or on how things happen in time. She often goes back to what she knew first--cleaning. When she cleans, her blood moves, and the blood in turn moves her mind."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Playwright Portrait, Thomas Bradshaw, Excerpt from Cleansed

The Playwright Thomas Bradshaw 2008
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010

Excerpt from Cleansed

Grandmother: Yes. Your mother should never have married that nigger. It’s been nothing but problems since she met him. When you were a child she came crying to me about the fact that kids were making fun of you. What did she expect? Everyone could see that coming a mile away. But what really upset me was the fact that she had the nerve to blame it on your classmates and their families! She called them ignorant and racist! I have lived in this town for forty-six years and I can assure you that the people in this community are neither ignorant or racist! They’re just good Christians. And all good Christians know that the mixing of races is a sin. Your mother and father are the ignorant ones.

Do you think that I’m a sin?

Goes and Hugs Lauraul
Oh no honey. Your parent’s sins are not your fault. I’m just sorry that they didn’t consider your feelings before they had you. It’s not fair that you’ve been treated this way all these years. And it makes me love you even more to know that you’re rejecting the culture and the blood that your father infected you with.

Thank you Grandma. I’m so glad that someone understands.

But you know that you must fight hard everyday to resist your tainted blood. It’s very powerful, and can sneak up on you when you least expect it. So I’m giving you something to help you to resist it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Playwright Portrait, Sally Oswald, Excerpt from Vendetta Chrome

The Playwright Sally Oswald
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010


Mrs. Bosworth, I've been reading your book—

Dear Lord.

And I am intrigued by some of the positions you mention.
I got some more ideas for my routine that I thought we could add.

Like what.

The darker passions.

I see.

We already have Surprise and Laughter,
Salvation, Submission, and Listening—
But what I want to try is
[she shuffles through the poses in “shorthand” as she mentions them]
and Grief!


And. Of course, the Dancing Girl!

[VENDETTA strikes the pose of the Dancing Girl. It looks a little like a frozen Irish jig and causes her to blush.]

I never intended that young ladies would make use of the humors in that way.

But it’s all right there in your book!

That’s my early work.

Playright Portrait, Richard Foreman, Excerpt from Zamboid

The Playwright Richard Foreman
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010

Excerpts from Zamboid1) Deep Voice:
Strangers are not
Permitted to view this
Private performance

2) Deep Voice:
It would be
Fine indeed
If there were rules for beginners.

3) Deep Voice:
Suppose I were to postulate—
Those things under control
Are under control backwards.
How would you deal with that?

4) Deep Voice:
Those pre-disposed to happiness
Seen nothing
Hear nothing.

5) Deep Voice:
Why not, please
Take the fun out of life?
A true stretch of time.

6) Deep Voice:
Suppose I were to postulate--
An opinion must always
Be an internal

Friday, April 9, 2010

Playwright Portrait, Sheila Callaghan, Excerpt from Dead City

The Playwright Sheila Callaghan 2007
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010
From Dead City

Projected: "how many languages do you know what time of day do you find this city most beautiful do you like the way the sidewalk steams when it rains after a hot day does the smell of laundry detergent from a basement window break your heart do you ever go bowling do you believe the world is falling apart does television make you woozy what size shoe do you wear are you a vegetarian do people often disappoint you could you get lost in the smell of an unshaven beard"

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Playwright Portrait, John Guare, Excerpt from Landscape of the Body

The Playwright John Guare 2006
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010

Excerpt from Landscape of the Body

Rosalie: Our spirits--it's so simple--float around in space and it all makes sense when you realize the planet Earth has these fishing hooks on it. What we call gravity is fishing hooks and all the nice things in the world are baited on those hooks and our spirits floating up there all loose and aimless spy those baited hooks and we bite. And we are reeled down onto this planet and we spend the rest of our stay on this planet trying to free our moths of that hook, fighting, fighting.

You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to Earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The Earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe.

Playwright Portrait, Young Jean Lee, Excerpt from Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals

The Playwright Young Jean Lee 2007
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010

Everything is fairly clear and straightforward, like on a balcony in bare feet with the stone of the balcony against your face, shot in the back, fallen to the ground with an arrow sticking out of your head.
And I’m sorry to have been such a disappointment to you. I mean that sincerely. But I also feel kind of like, fuck you.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Playwright Portrait, Eric Bogosian, Excerpt from Talk Radio

The Playwright Eric Bogosian 2008
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010

From Talk Radio

Barry: (Into in-studio mike): Kill it, Spike. (0n the air) I’m here. I’m here every night, I come up here every night. This is my job, this is what I do for a living. I come up here and I do the best I can. I give you the best I can. I can’t do better than this. I can’t. I’m only a human being up here. I’m not God. Ummm. A lot of you out there are not…I may not be the most popular guy in the world. That’s not the point. I really don’t care what you think of me. I mean who the hell are you anyways? (Beat)You—audience—you call me up and you try to tell me things about myself. You don’t know me. You don’t know anything about me. You’ve never seen me. You don’t know what I look like, You know who I am. What I want. What I like, what I don’t like in this world. I’m just a voice. A voice crying in the wilderness. And you like a pack of baying wolves, descend on me, because you can’t stand facing what it is you are and what you’ve made. Yes the world is a terrible place. Yes cancer and garbage disposals will get you! Yes, war is coming. Yes the world is shot to hell and you’re all goners. Everything’s screwed up and you like it that way, don’t you? You’re fascinated by the gory details. You’re mesmerized by your own fear! You revel in the floods and car accidents and terrorist attacks and unstoppable diseases. You’re happiest when others are in pain. And that’s where I come in, isn’t it? I’m here to lead you though the dark forest of your own hatred and anger and humiliation. I’m providing a public service. You’re so scared. You’re like little children under the covers afraid of the bogeyman, but you can’t live with out him. Your fear, your own lives have become entertainment. (Beat) Monday night, millions of people are going to be listening to this show. AND YOU HAVE NOTHING TO SAY. NOTHING TO TALK ABOUT. Marvelous technology is at you disposal and instead of reaching up for new heights, we try to see how far down we can go. How deep in the muck we can immerse ourselves, What do we want to talk about? Baseball scores? Your pets? Orgasms? You’re pathetic. I despise each and every one of you. You’ve got nothing. Nothing, absolutely nothing. No brains. No power. No future. No hope. No God (Beat)The only thing you believe in is me, is me. What are you if you don’t’ have me?
Because I’m not afraid, see. I come up here every night. And I make my case. I make my point. I say what I believe in. I have to. I have no choice. You frighten me. So I come u p here and I try to tell you the truth. I tear into you. I abuse you, I Insult you. And you just keep calling. Why do you keep coming back? What’s wrong with you? I don’t want to hear anymore. Go away. Bunch of Yellow-bellied, spineless. Bigoted, quivering, drunken, isomniatic, paranoid, disgusting, perverted, voyeuristic, little obscene phone callers. That’s what you are. (beat) Well to hell with ya… I don’t need your fear and your stupidity. You don’t get it. It,s wasted on you. Pearls before swine! (Beat) If just one person out there had any idea what I’m talking about!… Fred you’re on.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Playwright Portrait, Craig Lucas, Excerpt from Prayer For My Enemy

The Playwright Craig Lucas 2009
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010

from Prayer For My Enemy:

Billy. (unfolds a piece of paper) This was in Dad’s—we found this in his things. He would write these out; I walked in on him once by mistake and saw him on his knees, head bowed, reading from a slip of paper. This is … (reads) “God. Love, guide and protect those who would seem to harm me … To the Iraqi – citizen, soldier and insurgent – grant peace of mind, long life, prosperity; anything and everything I would wish for myself, give to him. Or her. A sense of purpose, of fit. May he wake up to life’s bounty and know he does your bidding. Give him passion, delight, worthy challenges, wisdom and surprise. May he never come to make or inhabit a land so indecent as the one that lives in me. May he bask … ” You know he had his thesaurus for that. “May he bask in your perfection and be complete in all ways, to your design. Amen.”

The Playwright Portrait Project

Tarell Alvin McCraney 2009
Peter Bellamy copyright 2010


14 playwrights
14 excerpts
14 days
Starting April 5

day one: Craig Lucas
day two: Sarah Ruhl
day three: Eric Bogosian
day four: Young Jean Lee
day five: John Guare
day six: Sheila Callaghan 2007
day seven: Richard Foreman eight: Sally Oswald

day nine: Edward Albee
day ten: Thomas Bradshaw eleven: Lenora Champagne
day twelve: David Lindsay-Abaire
day thirteen: Elizabeth Swados
day fourteen: Tarell Alvin McCraney

Easter, My Own Personal Jesus

Willmore Wilderness, Alberta, Canada, 2002
Peter Bellamy Copyright 2010

My own personal Jesus is married to Mary Magdalene. Much like the first time he is betrayed by a kiss and when he dies, he is released to the earth and his passing is barely noticed.  His teachings continue to sustain us for they are the teachings of love.  Not much has changed.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sant Mary's Pass, Glacier National Park, Montana, 1999

Saint Mary's Pass 1999, Glacier Park, Montana
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010

On the fourth day the rain stopped and I climbed out of the valley up to the pass, where earlier in the spring a grizzly sow with two cubs had attacked and eaten a man from Colorado.  From the height of the sun I could tell it was about 10:00.  From the heat and vibrancy it felt like a direct communication with a higher power.