Archive for July 15th, 2014


by Duane Porter

Vikar Jerome, the protagonist of Steve Erickson’s novel, Zeroville (2007), set in 1970’s Hollywood, has a picture of Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift tattooed on his shaved head, “their faces barely apart, lips barely apart, in each other’s arms on a terrace, the two most beautiful people in the history of the movies, she the female version of him, and he the male version of her.” This is the terrace scene from George Stevens’ A Place in the Sun and it is 1969 and no one shaves their head and no one has tattoos. Vikar has been known to react violently when curious onlookers misidentify the couple as James Dean and Natalie Wood in Rebel Without a Cause. It might be hard to find someone that passionate about this movie today, but there are still a few of us captivated by its beautiful delirium.

As it begins, a young man wearing a black leather jacket over a white t-shirt is standing at the side of the highway trying to catch a ride. He turns to look at a huge picture of a bathing beauty on a billboard that declares, “It’s an Eastman.” It’s an image very much like the one in his dreams. Just then, a brand-new Cadillac convertible zooms by and the pretty girl behind the wheel beeps her horn, leaving him standing there as she speeds down the road, a departing vision of his American Dream. Finally, a beat-up old truck, filled with junk, stops and he gets a ride into town. He gets out in front of a large building that has the name, “EASTMAN,” engraved in large letters over the entrance. (more…)

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