First of all Peter (keats): Thank you for the compliment -- and compliments you extend to Terry (store hadji), Stanley Rosenbaum, and ones you might have extended to Jeff Wilson, Roger Ryan, The Night Man, tony, mido505, tonyw, Alan Brody, NoFake, Harvey Chartand, Rick Schmidlin, or a score of others. These are our little band of talented lovers of things Wellsian. As are you, at your best.
I apologize for not picking up on Todd Baesen's evident intention, aeons of posts ago here, to introduce Christopher Welles Feder's memoir, In MY FATHER'S SHADOW, as a candidate for the best book on Orson Welles. I have just finished reading her work, in less than two days, no easy task for me right now.
Mrs. Feder may consider Frank Brady's book the best one on her father, as David Thomson predicts that Simon Callow's trilogy will eventually take the honor, but I agree with Todd (presuming here again, I'm afraid} that IN MY FATHER'S SHADOW is at least the most informative study of Orson Welles, in a personal sense. Christopher was there "at the beginning, [almost] before the beginning," but as she so brilliantly and movingly admits, she was not there at "the end."
Christopher's opening chapter on the end of Welles' corporeal existence elicits the famously missing final sequence from THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS. She gives us a heartbreaking portrait of muted virtual exclusion, the kind that Aunt Fanny would have understood. And then, she goes back in time to Hollywood, when she first saw Rita Hayworth -- being sawn in half by her father in 1942! From there, she proceeds to tell us of the often unrequited, sometimes neglected, but always proud and magically transforming love she had for her father. And she comes to reveal how she gradually understood only after his death the Orson Welles most of us know a bit about, partly with the help of people like Jeff Wilson, Roger Ryan, and Stefan Droessler, creators of, or contributors to, Wellesnet. That is the kind information and insight no outside observer now alive can fully equal.
She chooses to make her book "a story."
In fact, she writes in "A Note to the Reader" (which reminded me of the opening of NAKED CITY):
The book you are about to read is not another biography of Orson Welles. It owes nothing to scholarly research and everything to firsthand knowledge . . . .
And that's my kind of book.
I hope you are right, keats, that we shall all be unmasked in 2015 (assuming we survive 2012), but I'd much rather live in the present so long as I can. Meanwhile, let me assure you that Todd Baesen and Alfred Willmore are not the same person. One must have personal knowledge of each to make such a statement.
Harvey puts it right, as does Roger Ryan and Alan Brody, we should all try to get along here, even if the "real" Orson Welles described by Chrissie Welles in such poignant detail was closer to the one imagined by Storyteller David Thomson than the one we are so certain of "in our heart's desire."
And, keats, let me add an item for your scholarly file of postmodern allusions to Orson Welles and things Wellsian:
I have just been watching a collection of movies by the BBC's Adam Curtis (THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES: THE RISE OF THE POLITICS OF FEAR), possibly the most significant of modern documentarians about the American scene. His latest, "IT FELT LIKE A KISS (2009), "starring" Rock Hudson, Doris Day, Enos the Chimp, Saddam Hussein and other avatars serving the American myth of the Unexamined Life, contains a series of hilarious and chillingly ironic media, and shows how they lulled self-satisfied Americans in their ignorance, and created mazes which enchanted and enflamed various portions of the Non-American World.
One of them, a central one, involves Songwriter Carole King, who in 1962, after listening to her babysitter Eve [Narcissus] Boyd's tale of boyfriend abuse, wrote "He Hit Me (and It Felt Like a Kiss." Phil Spector, long before he put a loaded .45 in a lady's mouth, produced that song, which enraged America. But Spector then made a star of the babysitter as "Little Eva," and went on to sponsor and exploit dozens of other songs obviously or subtly abusive to women.
The connection for your file, keats, is that Spector, after marrying another of his lead singers, kept her locked in a closet [in an estate surrounded by attack dogs and barbed wire, I understand] while he watched, over and over and over again -- what else? CITIZEN KANE!
So much for changing attitudes, or helping others, through "the Lessons of Art."
Finally, Peter, the problem of the avatar is not mine, nor yours, nor Wellesnet's. Not exclusively. It is an age-old device which has bridged the line between Religon, Art and Culture to permeate our modern history and political system. It threatens our democracy, not just your sensibilities.
Really . . . get used to it, or fight against false uses to which avatars may be put.
In the immortal words of Sasa Devcic: "Those who dance are considered insane by those who can't hear the music."