I remember my first lover (Joe LeSueur). I don’t think he’ll mind—there it is, Joe [Brainard’s] acknowledgement of our affair in the original I Remember… Oh, if only I could say to Joe now: No, I don’t mind being described as your first lover—on the contrary! And would you mind, I’d add, if I gave an account of what happened that first night? Joe’s guileless confessional writing answers that question: of course he wouldn’t mind…
For the longest time, the situation doesn’t look promising. Joe, I told myself, is going to be a hard nut to crack; if only he weren’t so shy, he’d meet me halfway. Later, when I got to know him, it became clear that he was deceptively shy, in his quiet way assertive and headstrong, someone who knew exactly what he wanted and went after it…
Frank tunes the TV to The Late Late Show and stretches out on his bed, a drink in hand, as Joe and I fetch chairs from the living room, a routine we will fall into over the next couple of months… I remember seeing Frank O’Hara write a poem once. We were watching a western on TV and he got up… — Joe LeSueur*
This month, bringing a focus to the paintings and writings of Joe Brainard, the John Giorno Foundation presents a talk with critic John Yau on the occasion of his new book Joe Brainard: The Art of the Personal.
Next week, the foundation will screen Matt Wolf’s I Remember: A Film About Joe Brainard (2012)—featuring audio recordings of Brainard reading from the poem and an interview with his close friend and collaborator Ron Padgett—and I Remember (1999), directed by Avi Zev Weider and David Chartier, starring John Cameron Mitchell and Liam Aiken.
See links below for details.
Tuesday, November 8, at 7 pm
John Giorno Foundation
222 Bowery, New York City
Tuesday, November 15, at 7 pm
John Giorno Foundation
See Joe Brainard, I Remember (New York: Granary Books, 2001).
*Joe LeSueur, “The Sentimental Units,” in Digressions on Some Poems by Frank O’Hara (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003), 284–285. Text © The Estate of Joe LeSueur.
From top: Joe Brainard, I Remember (2001) book cover image (detail) courtesy and © Granary Books; Joe Brainard, early 1961, New York City, photograph by Ron Padgett, courtesy and © Ron Padgett; John Yau, Joe Brainard: The Art of the Personal, painting Joe Brainard, Whippoorwill, 1974, oil on canvas, book cover image courtesy and © Rizzoli; Matt Wolf, I Remember: A Film About Joe Brainard (2012), poster courtesy and © Matt Wolf.