The Making of Fowl Play

Thirty-Five Years Ago
I find an annoying monotony in [Tennessee] Williams from play to play: always the lecherous, oppressive Southern summer, always the longing for emotional closeness that can only be expressed through a sexual desire at once agonized and sentimental, always the febrile toying with repressed homosexual impulses, always the compulsive reaching for the bottle, along with the tawdry and tedious jargon of the perpetually drunk. One play from this author might have been enough.
“A VIVID CRY FROM HELL,” Jon Simon, January 22, 1976

Thirty Years Ago
I begin my homelessness. I am an aloof child, quite independent for an eight-year-old, and a very solitary person. That’s not to say I’m not sociable. Mom and Dad are always complaining that I talk more to strangers than to them. They don’t understand that I have already studied them drinking beer, smoking cigarettes, and watching television, and see little to be learned from that other than knowing I want more from life. So I talk to strangers to get some ideas.
“TO WANDER NO MORE,” Joan Bradley, January 22, 1981

Twenty-Five Years Ago
Producer/director George Martin...who has made “six or eight” pornographic videos...picked a secluded spot along a stream near Kitchen Creek Road.... According to the director, two undercover vice officers and two uniformed deputies came out of the woods with guns drawn, yelling, “Don’t move!”

After frisking the director and the cameraman, the officers saw a bag of marijuana in [a performer’s] purse when she retrieved her identification. Technically the drug charge was the only violation that GM Video and its crew was charged with. It is not illegal to make an X-rated movie, according to detective Hoxter, unless the actors are paid, which then could result in a prostitution charge. Both performers said they were doing it for free.
CITY LIGHTS: “THE MAKING OF FOWL PLAY,” Brae Canlen, January 23, 1986

Twenty Years Ago
Last week’s state of the city address by mayor Maureen O’Connor amounted to a dreamy proposal for building a new central library on Lane Field, the baseball diamond-cum-parking lot at Broadway and Harbor Drive downtown. In the months ahead, politicians and library boosters will be lobbying the board of port commissioners to hand over the last undeveloped parcel on San Diego’s paltry waterfront.
CITY LIGHTS: “MO BOOKS LANE FIELD,” Neal Matthews, January 24, 1991

Fifteen Years Ago
They were handed out to incoming freshmen at Clemson University in South Carolina by cautious administrators, and now they’re available to anyone else worried about self-control. They’re Credit Card Condoms, and they’re manufactured and distributed by the San Diego–based National Center for Financial Education. The condoms are actually paper sheaths that fit over credit cards. Paul Richards, the center’s education vice president, says the idea behind the condoms “is to make people think twice before they make a credit decision.”
CITY LIGHTS: “SAFE CHARGING,” Thomas K. Arnold, January 18, 1996

Ten Years Ago
Oblivious to all but my own troubles, it wasn’t until I stood on my front porch, staring at the yellowish dawn, watching what looked like snow flutter down on my front lawn, that I realized the mountains to the east were burning. Ashes from 10,000 acres of sage and mesquite, burning 30 miles away, had found their way into my [coffee] cup.

The last time I’d eaten ashes was years ago in Jerusalem, as part of my meal before Tisha B’Av.
TIP OF MY TONGUE: “ASHES,” Max Nash, January 18, 2001

Five Years Ago
In early October a woman phoned Ryan Hill at Don Carlos Taco Shop on La Jolla’s Pearl Street to complain about his signs. They’re illegal, and besides that, she ranted, “They are ugly, gaudy, and look like Mexico.” ... “I told her,” he says, “that some of the world’s most beautiful things are in Mexico.”

But the woman, who did not identify herself, told Hill that if he didn’t take down the signs she would boycott his store, call the La Jolla Light, and file a complaint.

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