Occasionally, life on stage matches up with his life off it: “I’m playing a bisexual Frenchman afraid of losing his student visa, trying to woo this girl while having this male lover around. And ... in real life, I’m a bisexual of French descent, having an affair with a woman for legit reasons, but slowly falling in love with the guy who just happens to be my lover in the play, all while being petrified of anyone in the production finding out my illegal status.” That passage exemplifies Naked Ink’s ethos of pluck in the face of challenges, the storytelling steeped in an irresistible milieu, offering both rich personal and cultural histories.
Maxwell offers delicious offhand memories like “fooling around with this Orthodox Jew” in the bathroom of the Bleecker Street subway station—“payess and all”—between fascinating asides about heartache, auditioning, and long-gone restaurants, plays, theaters, and people. The material’s often dense, and only occasionally dramatic, but lovers of New York cultural history and epigrammatic journals (“I was offered the part of Jean-Pierre in Quadrille for Equity Library Theatre’s Informal Series. It’s so informal we hardly get paid”) will find much to savor.
Takeaway: This journal from late ‘70s New York City dives deeply into theater, sex, life, and priceless cultural history.
Great for fans of: Tim Dlugos’s New York Diary, Allan Tannenbaum’s New York in the 70s: SoHo Blues, A Personal Photographic Diary.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A