On 10 August 1981, I visited Jack Smith at his apartment, # 33, 21 First Avenue, New York, hoping that he would screen Flaming Creatures for me. I spent the whole day eagerly listening to his nearly continuous monologue and taking notes on it.  He told me that his father was a hillbilly and his mother a Hungarian peasant, who was actually Turkish though she didn’t know it. He saw him self as “an exception to this country”, but wasconvinced that “one day I will find a country where my kind of art will be appreciated” He was then working on a new film called Sinbad, “an Arabian Nights movie, more beautiful even than the Thief of Baghdad”. It had a part in it that would allow him to play Hamlet. He knew it would take him many years, but when it was finished he planned to “go around the world to find a non-technological, non-Christian country.” Since he had spent the day with me, he asked me to return the next day to do some office work for him. I did so and prepared a draft of his Lifetime Résumé.  After I returned to Los Angeles, we corresponded for a couple of years. He wanted me to approach Universal Studios on his behalf, and agreed that if I could raise $7,000, he would come to LA.  He also sent me the self-portrait.

 

 

David E. James