Monday, September 06, 2004


Kissing Time

It was the winter of 1967 -- right around New Year's, I'd gone to a party, I forget whose, that Warren Sonbert had told me about. Several of the people he'd put in his movies, most of whom I knew rather well, Vivian Kurtz in particular, were there. One I didn't know until that night was Tom Dillow. Tom was in Warren's first film, Amphetamine where he shares one of the longest screen most intense kisses ever with Warren's friend Ronnie. They were both high as kites, and Warren was doing a rapid hand-held 360 around them -- a homemade hommage to the climactic kiss in Vertigo where the camera circles James Stewart and the iconographically reconstructed Kim Novak.

Tom was very loud and very forward and very drunk and very hot. Grabbing me in the bedroom alone he stuck his tongue right down my throat with an eager alacrity I'd never experienced before. Then, right out of the blue, he proposed we leave and go to the movies. So we went to the Regency and saw The Chelsea Girls -- which we'd both seen many times before. Being from Boston Tom knew everyone in the movie personally (Ed Hood and Patrick Fleyming in particular) and began dishing away with great enthusiasm -- all the while making out with me. I came very close to coming several times. It was a delirium of talk and sex. (Nothing like it. Wish it could be bottled. ) And each time I reached the brink he cooed in my ear to calm down and hold off -- which I did until we got back to his hotel room for what turned out to be somewhat anti-climactic in context. We were both too drunk and too distracted by then -- essentially already spent. Naturally I never saw him again. Yet oddly I wasn't crushed. I'd gotten more than I'd asked for.

Just this month I finally got around to reading Savage Grace; an amazing oral history of a real-life incest and murder story that Tom Kalin has been trying to turn into a movie for years. Now I hear it's going to be a "go" for next year with John Malkovich and Julianne Moore as the rich and twisted Brooks and Barbara Bakeland -- heirs to the "Bakelite" plastics fortune. An unknown will be cast as Tony -- the gay son that Brooks ordered Barbara to "ungay" by sleeping with him. To their great surprise (but no one else's) this didn't do the trick, and only spurred his hatred of her. In fact things got so out of hand that he slashed her throat in a fit of pique. He was sent to a looney bin in England (where the murder took place) and was thought to be successfully rehabbed enough to get shipped back stateside for care in a nice expensive clinic. But due to a technical screw-up he was sent instead to his grandmother. He pulled a knife on her stabbing her several times. She lived. He went to a U.S.looney bin where he eventually killed himself. Minus the murder and incest, Tony Bakeland struck a familiar chord -- An Arthur Loeb gone wrong as it were. But there was something more that popped upright into my face -- Tom Dillow. My epic trick of 37 years ago was one of Tony Bakeland's boyfriends!

You must remember this, a kiss is not just a kiss.
I was never,ever Tony's boyfriend.The kiss,however, sounds right.
Tom Dillow
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