Monthly Archives: March 2019

“A Body in the O: Performances and Stories” by Tim Miller— Issues of Gender, Immigration, Homophobia and Censorship

Miller, Tim. “A Body in the O: Performances and Stories”, University of Wisconsin Press, 2019.

Issues of Gender, Immigration, Homophobia and Censorship

Amos Lassen

Tim Miller is an internationally acclaimed performance artist and gay rights activist. He has performed in such places as the Yale Repertory Theatre, the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He is also the author of “Shirts & Skin, Body Blows: Six Performances”, and “1001 Beds: Performances, Essays, and Travels” both of which are reviewed elsewhere on this website.

He has sold out shows in which he addresses issues of gender, immigration, homophobia, and censorship and is  one of the “NEA Four,” who successfully sued the federal government for violating their First Amendment rights when their funding was rescinded in the early 1990s. Miller has always played an important role in defending queer artistic expression on stage through his autobiographical explorations into identity, politics, and art through the lens of his own experiences. These experiences lead to visceral, humorous, and poignant performances. His activism and experiences are here in this newest collection of performance scripts and writings and they represent the culmination of the many struggles for rights and equality that Miller has documented, and performed, over the course of his career. This book is an important addition to Miller’s existing body of work.

By demystifying queer experience, Miller continues the unabashed and purposeful sex-positive, embodied conversational style of protest and encounters with power. His work is driven by his own life experiences and does so much more than attempt a realist account of the events he speaks to since it also includes surreal, dream-inspired evocations of fear and possibility. Miller led the way for others to follow with his daring imagination and vision.

“Illuminations on Market Street: (a story about sex and estrangement, AIDS and loss, and other preoccupations in San Francisco)” by Benjamin Heir Shepard— San Francisco, the Early 1990s

Shepard, Benjamin Heim. “Illuminations on Market Street: (a story about sex and estrangement, AIDS and loss, and other preoccupations in San Francisco)”,   ibidem Press 2019.

San Francisco, the Early 1990s

Amos Lassen

Cab is having a losing streak. He has been dumped again. Set in San Francisco in the late 1990s, we meet Cab who moved to Haight-Ashbury right after college. It is the middle of a recession and before the dot-com boom a time when AIDS is an immediate and untreatable reality. He works in a housing program for people with HIV/AIDS at a time when the entire city is reeling and his clients are dying. Cab listens to their every word and begins drafting a narrative of every person with whom he’s slept including those who dropped him, those he adored, and those he let go without even thinking. He wants to reassess what he has left behind from the South of his childhood that was made up of dyslexia and infatuations, football and joy, divorce and sex panics. In between girlfriends, acting up, attempts at romance, and trying to find his place in the greater San Francisco narrative, Cab realizes that he is looking for something as he traces the interconnecting stories of the people he’s meeting, sleeping, and drinking with just as everyone tries to find a space in the city. As treatments emerge and the economy changes, a new story takes shape in Cab’s life and the city.

The novel looks at the lines between fiction and non-fiction, activism, loss, AIDS and the impacts of HIV on sex and culture. This is a story about living and fighting in the face of insurmountable challenges and it is  “deeply moving, vivid, funny, tender, sexy, rough-around-the-edges memory novel of the early-nineties San Francisco when AIDS was claiming lives but also when sexual, cultural, and political walls were falling and everything seemed possible.” Here is a rare account of that time and place from a straight man who opened his mind and heart to everyone around him―men and women, cis and trans, gay and straight, sick and healthy―and came away changed. Shepard shares that transformation with us here, in a novel filled with love, lust, friendship, romance, books, ideas, dancing, drugs, sex, death, and lots of music. It is a fantastic and powerful read.

“Cold Story: A Novel” by David Koepp— Three Strangers and a Deadly Organism

Koepp, David.  “Cold Storage: A Novel”, Ecco, 2019.

Three Strangers and a Deadly Organism

Amos Lassen

It has been a long time since I read a book that made me fear the way we live today as Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby or Peter Benchley’s “The Deep”. This is a wild and very scary adventure about three strangers who must work together to contain a highly contagious, deadly organism and it is both terrifying and comic. Writer David Koepp has written screenplays for some of the big Hollywood movies including “Jurassic Park” and “Mission Impossible” and he now moves into novels with “Cold Storage”, a novel about a fungus; a highly mutative organism that can bring about a very high level of destruction. Roberto Diaz, a bioterror operative for the Pentagon , was sent to investigate what was suspected of being a biochemical attack but he found something very much worse, the afore mentioned organism and he was able to contain it and bury it in cold storage deep beneath a little-used military repository. After spending years festering in a forgotten buried basement, it has found a way out and is so hungry that is goes on a “feeding frenzy” that is lethal. The only person who knows how to deal with it and stop it is Diaz

Now, after decades of festering in a forgotten sub-basement, the specimen has found its way out and is on a lethal feeding frenzy.  Only Diaz knows how to stop it.

Diaz races across the country to help two unwitting security guards—one an ex-con, the other a single mother.  During one harrowing night, the three people must find a way to contain and quarantine this horror again.  It becomes their job to save all of humanity yet all they have on their side is luck, fearlessness, and sharp senses of humor. 

Granted that this sounds ridiculous but take my word for it, it works and works well. I understand that the idea for the novel began as a screenplay but like the monster in the story, it soon grew into its own and it became too big to be just a movie. Koepp’s inspiration came from early science-fiction films such as “Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The novel is not out until September but take my word for it—it will be well-worth the wait.

 

 

“The Parisian” by Isabella Hammad— Finding Himself

Hammad, Isabella. “The Parisian”, Grove Press,  2019.

Finding Himself

Amos Lassen

Set against the First World War, Midhat Kamal searches to find himself as families are destroyed and lovers are parted. He faces a world that has been torn apart and this is felt wherever man lives.

As the First World War shatters families, destroys friendships and kills lovers, a young Palestinian dreamer sets out to find himself. Midhat discovers that everything is fragile: love turns to loss, friends become enemies and everyone is looking for a place to belong.

Isabella Hammad in her first book looks at the tangled politics and personal tragedies during the Palestinian struggle for independence, the pain and losses of the early twentieth century and the looming shadow of the Second World War. Hammad gives is an intensely human story in the middle of a global conflict. We enter into an important period of Palestinian history through the journey and romances of Midhat, from his studies in France during World War I to his return to Palestine as it battles for independence. Midhat Kamal is the son of a wealthy textile merchant from Nablus, a town in Ottoman Palestine. He is a dreamer, a romantic, an aesthete who in 1914 leaves to study medicine in France and falls in love. When he returns to Nablus to find it under British rule, and the entire region filled with nationalist fervor, he must find a way to cope with his conflicting loyalties and the expectations of his community. Midhat’s life story develops alongside the idea of a nation, as he and those close to him face what it means to strive for independence in a world that seems on the verge of falling apart.
That political change continues to define the Middle East. The novel   explores questions of power and identity, love, and the fact that the past can disrupt the present. Written in the style of classic literature with a storyline that captures both the heart and the mind, this is a novel that will stay with you after closing the covers. It is a historical novel, a romance, and a family epic.

This period of history frames and relates one of the most intransigent conflicts of our world as seen through characters especially the young idealistic Palestinian from a comfortable background ordered by his father to study medicine in France, from World War I to the period approaching World War II. It is 1914 and Midhat lives in Montpellier with a professor and his daughter, Jeanette, with whom he falls in love. He finds himself in a turbulent Paris during the war years, engaging in lively political and philosophical discourse and more, and where friendships and relationships are turned upside down.

Midhat is recalled back home to Nablus by his father to will fulfil his family duties. This means to get married to a woman he does not know, have children and work in the family business. The world he left behind was just that, another world and another place yet his clothes and acquired European perspectives now show him to be an outsider, where he comes to be referred to as The Parisian. However, his everyday life and family domesticity is to be shattered beyond belief, bringing about a climate of political activism and rebellion in the Palestinian communities. This takes place amidst the actions of the colonial powers of Britain and France, the drawing up of national borders that take little account of regional history and local populations that later bring about  personal, family and national tragedies that continue to the present day.

There is a lot to think about as a period of history becomes clearer. Hammad has done incredible research and her focus on portraying the Middle East through the years through the lives of Midhat, his observations, trials and tribulations in the times he lives through works very, very well.

“Jews in Medicine: Contributions to Health and Healing Through the Ages” by Dr. Ronald L. Eisenberg M.D.— Two Loves

Eisenberg M.D., Ronald L. “Jews in Medicine: Contributions to Health and Healing Through the Ages”, Urim, 2019.

Two Loves

Amos Lassen

Dr. Ronald Eisenberg brings two of his great loves, Judaism and Medicie together in “Jews in Medicine” in which he focuses on the contributions made by Jews over time to the medical profession. He shares the history of

More than 450 individual Jewish physicians who he divides by region and area of specialization, “all within a historical context—from Talmudic times to the modern era, from Islamic and Christian lands to the spread of Jewish communities in Europe after the Spanish Inquisition.” There is a large section devoted to the modern era that focuses on European and American physicians and includes Jewish Nobel Prize winners. Included is a description of physicians who were leaders in the Zionist movement and those who contributed to the development of medicine in the State of Israel.

I doubt that there are any American Jews who grew up at the same that I did who are not aware of the importance of the Jewish doctor. For Jewish parents, having a son or daughter who is a doctor is a sign of great achievement. We grew up hearing over and over again how important and pervasive the medical profession is within modern Jewish culture. (And that a PhD is not a real doctor).

Ronald Eisenberg is a medical doctor and Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School and radiologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, has submerged himself into this  fascinating subject and he gives us details  about Jews and medicine. The book is encyclopedic in scope with profiles of over 400 Jewish physicians, psychologists, scientists and other medical professionals. We have short biographies of their life and information about their medical accomplishments. Dr. Eisenberg pays careful attention to history, both Jewish and secular since it is backdrop for the rise of medicine. We read that the end of the 18th-century, the age of specialization of clinical medicine started. Because science was advancing so rapidly alone with medical discoveries, a physician  was unable to take care of it all and medical specialization began.

Before this many physicians worked in all fields.  Men such as 15th-century Yuceff Faquin and Abraham Zacuto, whose work on cartography and astronomy revolutionized ocean navigation. With specialization, Jewish physicians, who were able to bypass the quota system, et al. and got into medical schools were still excluded from the mainstream areas of internal medicine and general surgery and so they went to the then less popular clinical specialties that did not attract their non-Jewish colleagues, such as ophthalmology, dermatology, neurology, and psychiatry.

In the Talmud, it says that The books quotes the well-known Talmudic staying that “the best of physicians are destined to go to hell”. There are many different takes on this and what it means. Dr. Eisenberg “quotes the most common explanation that it refers to physicians who place all of their healing powers solely within themselves, and don’t not acknowledge a higher power.”

Dr. Eisenberg includes wonderful little stories and anecdotes making this book both fun and educational and we never really lose sight at how Jews entering the profession were treated yet once they were accepted it was generally a good deal easier.

We read that entry into the medical profession was highly restricted to Jews. In Europe, almost all of those who wanted to attend medical school found that unless they renounced their faith and were baptized, they could not attend university. A number of those ultimately and sadly, placed professional aspirations before faith. Here in America, there were very limited quotas for Jews in medical schools and  these quotas led to the creation of Jewish hospitals. At its peak, there were about 113 Jewish hospitals in the United States. Today, there are about 22 that are still in operation and we understand that the decline in Jewish hospitals is a direct result of the quotas no longer being enforced.

Many doctors fled Germany and Europe during World War II because they were not allowed to work under Nazi rule. Many came to the United States, South America, England and Israel, where they flourished and  even made live-saving discoveries and inventions.
Among Jewish contributions to medicine, we have the discovery of aspirin, Novocain, stopping blindness in infants due to oxygen therapy, to discoveries of vaccinations for Polio and much more. Vaccinations are the greatest public health discovery in the history of science, and the Jewish contributions in that area are large.

The book is written for everyone from the lay person to the scholar and is not only a delightful read but one that is also full of surprises.

“I’m Open to Anything” by William E. Jones— “Literary Porn And That’s a Good Thing

Jones, William E. “I’m Open to Anything”, We Heard You Like Books, 2019.

Literary Porn And That’s A Good Thing

Amos Lassen

When I first began reviewing about thirteen years ago, I was sent a good many copies of gay porn and I noticed that several writers tried to emulate classic literature with porn themes and this is so much different that out and out porn. It was as if a whole new genre came into being which I chose to refer to as literary porn, For the last few years, there were not many titles that I could refer to as literature that was also sexually and sensuously arousing. But then there was William E. Jones’ “I’m Open to Anything” and it is one of the most amazing books that I have read so far this year. It’s a little book with quite an explicit cover that is a perverse coming-of-age story that holds nothing back as it looks at Southern California in the late 1980s, a time before gentrification and when living Bohemian style was in vogue. Our narrator has come to California from the Midwest and does not have too much going for him.  He has a job in a video store (remember those?) in Los Angeles and he watches a lot of movies and he meets a lot of men who bring him into gay life by teaching him the sexual pleasures men can have together. One of the ways of pleasure that the learns is that of fisting.

As he meets more and more men, he realizes that many of them are immigrants who share the stories of their lives and their bodies with him. The story moves back and forth between sexual escapades and kink to stories of life and lust and how it was to come out before it was so easy to do so. William E. Jones is a master storyteller who will both arouse your libido and provoke your mind. There are books that we rush to turn pages to find out what happens next but this is a book that has you lingering on the page because turning it moves you closer to the end and you are enjoying the read so much that you want to drag it out.

There is so much to take in here that I found myself rereading it immediately finish it the first time. Not only do I recommend it, I urge you to get a copy and let me know how this little book affects you. I have deliberately been vague about the plot because In want you to enjoy it as much as  did.

“CAM GIRL”— Rivalry, Risks and Excess

 

“CAM GIRL”

Rivalry, Risks and Excess

Amos Lassen

I can’t say too much about Mirca Viola’s “Cam Girl” because to do so would ruin the viewing experience so far once I will be a man of a few words. This is a sensuous Italian drama that focuses on Alice (Antonia Liskova) who after being passed over for an advertising agency job starts a sexy webcam site with three of her friends. Using her marketing skill, the site becomes an instant hit and expands rapidly. But what started as a lucrative business venture quickly spirals out of control as the cam girls enter a world of dangerous risks, violent excesses and bitter rivalries. Such is the world of sex for pay and play.

Director Mirca Viola, a former Miss Italy turned model-actress, brings this seductive world into focus like never before.

The film comes to us from Omnibus Entertainment, the genre imprint for Film Movement, founded in 2002 as one of the first-ever subscription film services with its DVD-of-the-Month club. Now, Film Movement is a North American distributor of award-winning independent and foreign films based in New York City. It has released more than 250 feature films and shorts culled from prestigious film festivals worldwide. Film Movement’s theatrical releases include American independent films, documentaries, and foreign art house titles. Its catalog includes titles by directors such as Hirokazu Kore-eda, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner, Andrei Konchalovsky, Andrzej Wajda, Diane Kurys, Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. In 2015, Film Movement launched its reissue label Film Movement Classics, featuring new restorations released theatrically as well as on Blu-ray and DVD, including films by such noted directors as Eric Rohmer, Peter Greenaway, Bille August, Marleen Gorris, Takeshi Kitano, Arturo Ripstein, Sergio Corbucci and Ettore Scola. For more information, please visit www.filmmovement.com

“FIDDLER: A MIRACLE OF MIRACLES”—The Story of “Fiddler on the Roof”

“Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles”

The Story of “Fiddler on the Roof”

Amos Lassen

A new documentary by Max Lewkowicz looks at the classic musical “Fiddler on the Roof” and how it succeeded beyond all expectations and continues to keep going strong today. This is the origin story of the creative roots in early 1960s New York of the show that is
one of Broadway’s most beloved musicals, “when tradition was on the wane as gender roles, sexuality, race relations and religion were evolving. We were no longer living in the America of “Oklahoma” and “Show Boat” but an America where some believed that God was dead and faith was shaken. Yet a Broadway show based on the Jews of Russia, singing and fighting for their very existence stole the hearts and minds of this country. You did not have to be Jewish to love this show and I remember when the Japanese production broke records, the Japanese diplomat said it was because “Fiddler” was so Japanese.

For the first time,  the documentary gives us intimate interviews with the show’s creators who reveal how the tremendous success and worldwide impact of Fiddler and its subsequent film adaptation is most appropriately viewed through the lens of the social upheaval and change in mid-20th century America. Yet, as the film shows, audiences world-wide and for the last half century claim the story as their own. 

The documentary explores a variety of international productions of the show and details how individuals of many cultures see themselves in the residents of Anatevka. The film includes major worldwide productions from  Canada, The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, as well as the last Broadway production revival with Danny Burstein and Jessica Hecht.  As I write this “Fiddler” is back on Broadway and playing, once again, to packed houses.

We have interviews with the show’s Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning lyricist, Sheldon Harnick, producer Hal Prince as well as original cast members and there is rare archival footage of choreographer Jerome Robbins.

This is the first in-depth documentary film that chronicles the life and themes of this iconic offering of American culture. The goal of our documentary is to understand why the story of Tevye the milkman is reborn again and again as such beloved entertainment and as a cultural touchstone all over the world.

 “Fiddler on the Roof” opened in 1964 and held the record for the longest running musical for almost 10 years. It won nine Tony Awards, and spawned five Broadway revivals. The show is still performed more than any other show, from middle schools in inner cities to high schools in rural America, around the world from grand state theaters in Japan and Vienna to Johannesburg and Mexico City.

“Fiddler on The Roof” is an unlikely work to have captured the imagination of so many people. It was the first major musical on the American stage to feature not one American character, and it tells of the trials and tribulations of a venerated Jewish milkman named Tevye, trying to make a living in a small Jewish shtetl in the Pale of Settlement in Czarist Russia.

Jerome Robbins originally wanted Marc Chagall, the great Jewish Russian painter, to design the sets for Fiddler. He did not have the time but his lush, impressionist paintings were the principle influence on the visual style of the show. Boris Aronson, the talented young scenic designer, took on the project and his miraculous Chagall-like drawings became the visual “bible” for the show. Aronson’s original sketches as well as the beautiful sketches of Patricia Zipprodt, the costume designer gave the viewer a sense of the granular details of the original show.

The documentary includes footage of the newest incarnation of the show now on Broadway and it highlights the athletic prowess of the dancers, the spare and haunting set, the movement of Tevye as he throws himself into the joy of music, and there is footage from a variety of Fiddler productions – a recent production in Thailand, a middle school in Brooklyn, the film “Fiddler on the Roof”among others.

Each of the themes of the show and all of the major songs from the show are illustrated with animation in the style of Marc Chagall and there is Chagall’s imagery throughout the film.

POC Trans Docu-Series AMERICA IN TRANSITION Premieres on Revry on International Trans Day of Visibility

DIVERSE TRANSGENDER DOCU-SERIES PREMIERES

POC Trans Docu-Series AMERICA IN TRANSITION Premieres on Revry on International Trans Day of Visibility

March 28, 2018 – In honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility, global streaming network Revry will premiere the award-winning, Sundance-backed documentary series America in Transition (AIT), a Revry Original that explores the community, family, and social issues of trans people of color across in the United States – capturing real life for a veteran turned activist, an immigrant seeking home, a woman living with HIV healing from trauma, and a model navigating family life.

Transgender Filmmaker, educator and community Organizer, André Pérez, founded the Trans Oral History Project in 2008 motivated by the isolation he felt growing up in a military family in Virginia. Perez journeyed across the country to document the subjects of the series. Each of the four episodes explores one person’s story in depth, tackling intersectional issues such as HIV criminalization, living as trans in the South, family acceptance, trans exclusion from the military, and immigrant detention. See TRAILER.

“America in Transition is a compelling and powerful portrait of trans people surviving in a world built for their exclusion. André Pérez tells these stories with the empathy and understanding that only another trans person can.”
—Zachary Drucker, Producer of Transparent

“America In Transition (AIT) was initially inspired by my own experience coming of age in North Carolina and starting my transition as a youth in rural Vermont,” said creator André Pérez. “I had questions about everything from health care access to navigating relationships, but I had no one to ask. Without role models or institutional support, I felt like I had to come to the city to find myself. I went on to found the Trans Oral History Project. Over the past seven years, I’ve interviewed trans folks across the country who express parallel stories of being told trans didn’t fit with other aspects of our personhood. How can you be trans and Muslim or black or Mexican or Southern? We found ways to reconcile the seemingly disparate parts of who we are.”

2015 was heralded as the “transgender tipping point,” but 2016 has brought some of the most regressive civil rights legislation in modern US history. Trans people have become the targets of radical social conservatives who are leveraging fear and ignorance to create a social climate of increasing and unrelenting hostility – a culture war, as Southern lawmakers fight the federal government in order to protect the supposed “right” for businesses (MS and NC), schools (TX), and even health professionals (TN and TX) to discriminate against transgender people. AIT uses character-driven storytelling in order to highlight issues of importance to trans people in marginalized communities.

At its heart, AIT is about how environments shape who we are. It will complicate notions of social change in underrepresented communities. This is a crucial moment to help people understand how trans realities differ based on identity, geography, and social context. The world is changing for the white, upper-middle class people we see on mainstream television, but trans people of color, immigrants, and working class families face a different world. AIT focuses on relationships as it explores where, when, and how change happens in a complex individual, a diverse community, and a divided nation.

Along with the series premiere March 29th on Revry.tv just before the March 31st Trans Day of Visibility, America in Transition will be partnering with more than 20 institutions around the country to build community, amplify trans people of color’s voices, and activate accomplices. Go to Revry.tv for additional information about this and other available LGBTQ+ content.

March 29th Premiere on Revry
for
Trans Day of Visibility (3/31)

DIRECTOR’S BIO
André Pérez is a Puerto Rican transgender filmmaker, educator, and community organizer. He founded the Transgender Oral History Project in 2008, and created traveling multimedia historical exhibit about transgender activism in 2009. Since then, he has presented workshops about storytelling and the transgender community numerous universities and conferences including Creating Change, Allied Media Conference, and MIT. After experiencing housing instability as a youth, Andre went on to help launch El Rescate and co-found Project Fierce Chicago, both grassroots transitional housing programs for LGBTQ youth.
In 2012, André served as Director and Senior Producer for I Live for Trans Education, a grassroots multimedia curriculum. He worked with a team of 20 transgender community members at varying skill levels to create four documentary shorts and accompanying interactive activities. I Live has reached over 15,000 people through online views, installations, live community events, and train-the-trainer sessions at conferences.
Between 2012-2015, André recorded over 500 interviews as part of StoryCorps, broadcasting 50 segments on NPR and WBEZ. He sat on the Board of Out at the Chicago History Museum and the Community Advisory Board of the Civil Rights Agenda. His work has been honored by the Trans 100, the Museum of Transgender History and Art, the Association of Independent Radio, and the International Independent Film Awards.
André continues to pursue his passion for sharing stories from communities whose voices have been shut out of traditional media. Summer of 2016, Pérez premiered Been T/Here on the inaugural cycle of OTV. After helping its founders launch Trans Lifeline into the national spotlight, André set out to make America in Transition, a sundance-backed documentary series explores community, family, and social issues with trans people of color across the United States. André is a sought-after public speaker and Social Impact Consultant who recently relocated to the Bay Area so that he can spend more of his off-time hiking and snuggling.

About Revry
Revry is the first queer global streaming network, available in over 50 million homes in over 100 countries, with a uniquely curated selection of LGBTQ+ film, series, and originals along with the world’s largest queer libraries of groundbreaking podcasts, albums and music videos. Revry is available worldwide. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Revry is led by an inclusive team of queer, multi-ethnic and allied partners who bring decades of experience in the fields of tech, digital media, and LGBTQ+ advocacy. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @REVRYTV. Go Online to: https://revry.tv.

“DEATH IS A NUMBER“— Cursed by Number 9

“DEATH IS A NUMBER“

Cursed by Number 9

Amos Lassen

Robert Henryson’s “Death is a Number” 1951 film, “Death is a Number” is about numerology. It is a strange movie I which everyone talks properly and looks absolutely perfect – vowels clipped, moustaches groomed, trousers waxed, chests out, stomachs in, feet planted firmly on their marks. This is something of a horror film that begins when a man, Alan Robert (Charles Hungerford) is speaking about a  man named John Bridgnorth (Denis Webb) who believed that he was the victim of a curse. We then hear that the number 9 is the only number that cannot be destroyed and that this John was a definite 9. John was also a racing driver but the excitement faded for him and he retired from the world and became a recluse.

Alan Robert gets a call from John’s worried butler, who tells him: “Something terrible goes on there sir, I’m sure of it” and since John has already confided in Alan that he believes that he is the victim of an old family curse he rushes to his friend’s hideaway in Sussex and fights through bad weather to get there. Alan, in voiceover says, after realizing that there are many paranormal people in Sussex. “It seemed to me a natural expression of some great emotion. I had heard of places being haunted, but never a whole region.”

No sooner has Alan arrived at John’s haunted and half burned-out house, than he meets (Ingerborg von Kusserow) a young woman who shares the story of the ghost of Lady Beatrice. Then some kind of mist surrounds them and the young woman runs off. Upon meeting John, we’re treated the same tale again, although this time more elaborate.

I am really not sure what any of this is about but it was fun trying to figure it out.