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Big Joy Oral Histories: G

Gildzen, Alex

Interviewee: Alex Gildzen
Interviewers: Eric Slade and Stephen Silha
Date of interview: March 2011
Extent: 53 minutes, 36 seconds

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Alex Gildzen is a poet, artist and model living in Palm Springs. In an earlier life he was rare book librarian at Kent State University where he catalogued the papers of James Broughton. His most recent book is "Son of Hollywood." Gildzen appears in Joel Singer's new film "Last Words."

Topics discussed: Meeting Broughton in 1963 at New York City Writers Conference along with Willard Maas, Kenneth Koch, Paul Goodman; Working at Kent State University Library in 1977 when Broughton's papers were purchased; catalogued the papers; Broughton's tortured relationship with Stan Brakhage; Disappointment in not getting more recognition; mixed reviews; Broughton's childhood in California, getting sent to military academy by stepfather; Aunt Esto, family "outsider," first female attorney & state legislator, took James to first Shakespeare play, drove him across the country; In contrast, his relationship with his mother, Olga, was "strained"; Unhappiness with Sidney Peterson re-editing their film The Potted Psalm; Role of play in Broughton films; Roommate Pauline Kael introduced James to Kermit Sheets, who collaborated and starred in many films; created Centaur Press, published Anais Nin, Robert Duncan, etc.; Kermit and Joel were the two great loves of Broughton's life; Going to Edinburgh Film Fest, staying in England and making The Pleasure Garden with Lindsay Anderson, Hattie Jacques, Jill Bennett, etc. in ruins of Crystal Palace, London; Cannes Film Festival screening with special award presented by Jean Cocteau; Turned down offers to work on Hollywood films, to take "the poet's road'; Involvement in poetry group called "The Maidens"; After 15 years not making films, why did he start up again? The Bed, starring San Francisco Bay luminaries Alan Watts, Gavin Arthur, Imogene Cunningham, Anna Halprin; Perseverance of James Broughton's artistic vision / not fitting in; Acting with James in Richard Myers' 1981 film "Jungle Girl."

Guthmann, Edward

Interviewee: Edward Guthmann
Interviewers: Stephen Silha and Eric Slade
Date of interview: April 2009
Extent: 45 minutes, 29 seconds

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Edward Guthmann, a friend and colleague of James Broughton, was born in Chicago and grew up in Southern California. He earned a B.A. in journalism from Humboldt State University and has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1972. He was a staff writer and film critic at the San Francisco Chronicle for 25 years, winning awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Assn. and the American Society of Feature and Sunday Editors. Also a filmmaker, Edward wrote, directed and produced "Return to Cameroun" a one-hour documentary about his grandparents' lives as missionaries in Africa. His writing has been published in several publications and anthologies, and he continues to work as a freelance writer. See

Topics discussed: Broughton as an ecstatic soul, disseminating wisdom, merriment and joy; A mentor to younger gay men, as well as a flirt; Broughton told a film critic, "Critics are in a conspiracy against the imagination."; Pauline Kael as much more famous than James; Broughton's films as beloved by a niche audience; Broughton's love life / Joel Singer as spirit incarnate; Relevance of Broughton's work today; Broughton as not interested in his children; Reads many poems, some from Graffiti for the Johns of Heaven; Broughton's birthday parties at San Francisco Art Institute, and the Radical Faeries; Why Broughton isn't more famous; His scholarship, craftsmanship, and hard work; Magnified beauty after meeting Joel Singer; Broughton's Native American approach to death.

Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections and Archives

Phone: (404) 413-2880

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