elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Charles Boultenhouse & Parker Tyler

Harrison Parker Tyler, better known as Parker Tyler (6 March 1904, New Orleans - June 1974, New York City) was an American author, poet, and film critic. Tyler had a relationship with underground filmmaker Charles Boultenhouse (1926-1994) from 1945 until his death. Their papers are held by the New York Public Library.

Charles Boultenhouse met Parker Tyler in 1945 when Boultenhouse moved to New York in order to attend Columbia University. Boultenhouse had, only a year earlier, read Tyler’s The Hollywood Hallucination and had been deeply impressed by Tyler’s creative and intelligent analysis of commercial film. Soon after their meeting the two men became lovers; they lived together for almost thirty years, until Tyler’s death in 1974.

Before the 1940s Tyler had been best known as a poet and co-author, with Charles Henri Ford, of The Young and The Evil. Beginning with The Hollywood Hallucination, published in 1944, he came to be regarded as a pioneer in the new field of film criticism.

Besides writing on commercial film, Tyler wrote several articles and books on the underground cinema emerging in the United States during the 1940s and ‘50s.

Under the influence of Tyler and the experimental filmmakers with whom the couple were friends, Boultenhouse, who was an aspiring poet, began making films. His explorations in a genre he called “poetic cinema” enjoyed some success and critical acclaim within the small but lively world of experimental film in New York. In the 1950s and 1960s the couple thrived: Tyler was an esteemed cultural critic and champion of the avant garde, and Boultenhouse a promising filmmaker. Their apartment on Charles Street regularly bustled with social and artistic activity.

Parker Tyler with Andy Warhol
Harrison Parker Tyler, better known as Parker Tyler, was an American author, poet, and film critic. Charles Boultenhouse met Parker Tyler in 1945 when Boultenhouse moved to New York in order to attend Columbia University. Boultenhouse had read Tyler’s The Hollywood Hallucination and had been deeply impressed by Tyler’s creative and intelligent analysis of commercial film. Soon after their meeting the two men became lovers; they lived together for almost thirty years, until Tyler’s death in 1974.

by Carl Van Vechten

Besides their accomplishments in cinema, both men worked in and wrote about other arts: Tyler continued to write poetry, art criticism, and biography, and Boultenhouse published several poems, translations, and film and dance reviews.

Their group of friends and colleagues included Stan Brakhage, Maya Deren, Willard Maas, Marie Menken, Lloyd Williams, Jonas Mekas, Amos Vogel, P. Adams Sitney, and Gregory Markopoulos from the world of experimental film; and poets, artists, and composers such as Marius Bewley, Lucia Dlugoszewski, Charles Henri Ford, Philip Lamantia, Leslie Powell, Ned Rorem, Donald Sutherland, Allen Tanner, and Pavel Tchelitchew.

Charles Thayer Boultenhouse (1926-c.1994) was born in Boston Massachusetts in 1926. In 1944 Boultenhouse graduated from high school in Buffalo and moved to New York with the intention of attending Columbia University. Boultenhouse was introduced to the coeditors of View, Charles Henri Ford and Parker Tyler, when he went to visit an old friend from Buffalo who was managing editor at the magazine. Shortly thereafter Tyler and Boultenhouse began a relationship that lasted until Tyler’s death almost thirty years later.

Charles Boultenhouse became interested in making films, through his relationship with Tyler and his friendship with the two experimental filmmakers Willard Maas and Marie Menken. The first film Boultenhouse made, Henry James’ Memories of Old New York (1959), was based on James’s autobiographical memoir “A Small Boy and Others.” Later the same year Boultenhouse completed Handwritten, a film of his own hand as he wrote Mallarme’s A Throw of the Dice in the shape of a hand. In 1963 Boultenhouse wrote, produced, and directed Dionysius, which he described as a “free treatment of Euripides’ The Bacchae.” It starred the dancers Louis Falco, Anna Duncan, and Nicolas Magallanes as Dionysius, Agave, and Pentheus respectively, and the experimental filmmakers Charles Levine, Willard Maas, Gregory Markopoulos, Marie Menken, Lloyd Williams and William Wood as the Chorus of Cameras. The film’s score was by Teiji Ito.

Besides making films, Boultenhouse published some poetry, translations, and film and dance criticism. For some time during the 1960s he wrote the regular Film Chronicle for Kulchur. Boultenhouse supported himself by working at Brentanos; from 1953-1981 he held several positions—manager, buyer, Director of Operations—at the 5th Avenue store.

After Tyler’s death in 1974, Boultenhouse became depressed and began to drink excessively. The drinking lead to a series of medical problems. By the early 1980s, his emotional and physical health began to improve. While he did not produce any new films, he regained some of his interests in his artistic pursuits: he got back in touch with his old friends in the film world, spoke at some film festivals showing his work, wrote several introductions for reprints of Tyler’s books, and began to work on a biography of Tyler.

This last project remained unfinished.

Harrison Parker Tyler was born March 6, 1904 in New Orleans. Tyler arrived in New York at the age of 20 where, after brief flirtations with acting, dancing and drawing, he became a writer. He was soon known as a poet and book reviewer who assumed the selfstylized persona of The Beautiful Poet Parker Tyler; meanwhile he earned his living at a monotonous editorial position. Tyler read his modern poetry—his influences were Stein, Pound, Moore, Cummings, and Mallarmé —at Greenwich Village clubs like the Sam Johnson, and his poems were published in national periodicals alongside such poets as William Carlos Williams and Louis Zukofsky.

In 1928 Tyler began corresponding with Charles Henri Ford who edited and published the literary journal Blues. Ford moved to New York and the two became an infamous duo around town. In 1931 they co-wrote the novel The Young and Evil which portrayed the homosexual underground of Greenwich Village in which they lived. They could not find a publisher in the United States, so Ford journeyed to Paris where the book was eventually published by the Olympia Press in 1933. The book was banned and burned in the United States and England. Later, Tyler collaborated with Charles Henri Ford again: in the late forties they co-founded and co-edited View, a surrealist-inspired journal of arts and letters.

Tyler spent the late 1930s and early 1940s in Hollywood and began writing film criticism in 1940. Along with James Agee, Tyler was one of the first to devote serious criticism to the Hollywood commercial film. While Tyler remained the occasional poet, biographer, and art and literary critic, he became and remains best known for his critical examinations of film—Hollywood, foreign, and underground cinema. In his evaluation and interpretation of underground and experimental film Tyler brought an esthetic eye previously reserved for high or fine art; his creative and rigorous analysis uncovered the social, psychological, and sexual meanings hidden behind the images and conventions of commercial film; these readings of film were the groundwork for his provocative and insightful observations on American culture in general. Tyler wrote nine books on film subjects including Magic and Myth of the Movies (1947); The Three Faces of the Film (1960); Classics of the Foreign Film (1962); Sex Psyche Etcetera in the Film (1969); Underground Film, A Critical History (1970); Screening the Sexes: Homosexuality in the Movies (1972); and The Shadow of an Airplane Climbs the Empire State Building: A World Theory of Film (1972), and he regularly contributed reviews and articles to periodicals and journals such as Partisan Review, Sight and Sound, and Film Culture.

In addition to his work on film Tyler published five volumes of poetry, including the long surrealist poem The Granite Butterfly; several studies of artists such as Van Gogh, Renoir, and Carl Pickhardt; and a full length biography of the painter Pavel Tchelitchew, The Divine Comedy of Pavel Tchelitchew(1967).

Parker Tyler died at the age of 70 from prostate cancer.

Source: http://www.nypl.org/sites/default/files/archivalcollections/pdf/boultenh.pdf
A 1929 account by the young writer Parker Tyler in a letter to a gay friend of his encounter with several men one evening in the Village suggests both the extraordinary effectiveness of these conventions in structuring such interactions and gay men’s ability to play with them: [A friend] and I were in a speakeasy and four young [men] (I think they were newsreel cameramen) tried to make me, asking to be taken to my apartment. But they were frightfully vulgar; they called me Grace or something, until I insisted on Miss Tyler. It was really amusing, for one made a date with me quite anxiously and quite seriously, just as though I were a girl. You know the type he is: W - o - l - f. But I stood him up, of course—the little prick! The young men’s interaction with one of Tyler’s friends indicates the degree to which the fairy’s reconstruction of his gender through his gay cultural style outweighed the physical evidence of his body in determining the men’s response to him. “Jules, being drunk, camped with them too, and they tried to date him—even after feeling his muscle: he could have laid them all low: really it’s as wide as this paper.”
Many gay men also had jobs in the city’s restaurants, u and some tested the limits of managerial tolerance in the boldness with which they welcomed gay customers. Parker Tyler described the scene in the fall of 1929 when he visited a Childs in Brooklyn with several friends: “Well my dear considering that I was in a huge fur coat of Clairmont’s [one of his women companions] and must have looked very gorgeous, it isn’t a surprise but that waiter started right in camping just as though there were no law!! And everybody in our party started camping after the waiter asked me: ‘What will you have, gorgeous?’, and I replied bitterly: ‘Nothing you’ve got, dearie,’ which really did upset everyone. And you can imagine how things went from bad to worse. So I concluded Brooklyn is wide open and N.Y. should be notified of its existence.”
Many gay men and lesbians, in fact, especially younger people who felt they had less social position to lose, regularly tested the limits on their openness at restaurants, speakeasies, and other establishments, by dancing together, speaking loudly about their affairs, and camping for others. While at the Round Table in Greenwich Village one night in 1929, Parker Tyler was invited to join a group of lesbians and gay men who were clearly unwilling to brook any restrictions on their evening’s fun: “Someone—Lesbian—rushed up and asked me to join their drinking party,” Tyler wrote a gay friend, “and I did and someone who said he had just been brought out began making drunken love to me but he wasn’t much and then someone—officially male—asked me to dance.” The management had tolerated the gay flirtation at Tyler’s table, but drew the line at same-sex dancing and promptly “ordered [them] off the floor.” The woman who had invited him to join them dismissed the management’s action by commenting curtly that “THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND OUR TYPE,” as Tyler recalled in full capitals. Although Tyler sometimes declined invitations to dance for fear of such reprimands, he often tested the limits in precisely this way—and was almost as often told to stop dancing with men.54 Even Tyler, hardly reticent, was occasionally taken aback by how relentlessly some of his friends challenged hetero-normativity in their Village haunts—and by how insistently they demanded that he not present himself as anything other than gay. At a neighborhood speakeasy one night he found himself, somewhat to his surprise, beginning to neck with a woman he had just met. After a brief flirtation and “some drinks,” he reported to a gay friend (in a reversal of the usual attempt to blame homosexual escapades on drink), “I found myself . . . kissing her madly.” The fact that he was “kissing her madly” suggests the casual atmosphere of the place, though casual heterosexual interactions were usually treated more casually than homosexual. But his friends would have nothing of it, and turned his brief heterosexual flirtation into an occasion for asserting a gay presence in the speakeasy. “Who should come in about then,” Tyler continued, “but Paula who exclaimed, ‘What! Parker kissing a female!’” Tyler quieted his friend, but when he returned to the first woman and “started to kiss her again,” a second friend, a gay man, “exclaimed in a booming voice: ‘Parker! Why don’t you tell this girl you’re homosexual?’” Before Tyler could recover from his embarrassment, “who should positively BLOW in at that moment but a bitch named—(artist) who shouted at the top of his voice 0 HELLO MISS TYLER!” “And this was in a speakeasy,” Tyler added immediately, as if even he found it astonishing that someone should be so overtly—and loudly—gay in such a space. He had a similar reaction to the waiter at the Brooklyn Childs who “started right in camping just as though there were no law!!” For all his boldness, Tyler never forgot there was a law—informal as well as formal—against public expressions of gay culture, and it is doubtful that any other gay man did either. Nonetheless, many of them regularly tested the boundaries that law established. --Chauncey, George (1995-05-18). Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940. BASIC. Kindle Edition.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher

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Tags: author: charles boultenhouse, author: parker tyler, days of love

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