Sleep in a Nest
  of Flames
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• thanks to Mary Vernon for her help in creating this website•
site design by James Dowell and John Kolomvakis


Produced and Directed by
James Dowell John Kolomvakis


Directorial Editors

James Dowell John Kolomvakis
special thanks David Lindblom


Narration Written and Read by
James Dowell


Principal Photography
Scott Barnard


Associate Editor: Kent Kitzman

Assistant Editors: Randi Cecchini, Chris Guido, Cristina Villoresi

Post-Production Assistants: Scott Barnard, Chris Guido


ADR & Sound Mixing
Jacob Burckhardt


Negative Matching
Noelle Penraat


Dailies and Prints DuArt Film and Video


The Young and Evil courtesy Charles Henri Ford

by Charles Henri Ford and Parker Tyler ©Charles Henri Ford 1988. Adapted for film by James Dowell


Rich Bernatovech
Eric Cole
Christian Gilbert

Art Design and Costumes

James Dowell

"A Sentimental Playlet" courtesy of Charles Henri Ford and Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center University of Texas at Austin

puppets by James Dowell, inspired by Kurt Seligmann's 1946 puppets

sets by James Dowell

Hank Flacks
Tina Stafford
Valery Oisteanu
prinicipal puppeteers
John Tartaglia, Gina E. Cline, Dean Jackson


archival footage:
Paper Ball courtesy Wadsworth Atheneum Eugene Gaddis, archivist
"Poem Posters" by Charles Henri Ford courtesy Charles Henri Ford and Filmmakers Cooperative
Charles on Dakota roof courtesy Gerard Malanga / Gerard Malanga Archives
Andy Warhol screentest of Charles Henri Ford courtesy Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
"Johnny Minotaur" by Charles Henri Ford courtesy Charles Henri Ford
"No President" by Jack Smith courtesy Plaster Foundation special thanks: Penny Arcade Jim Hoberman Jerry Tartaglia
stock footage courtesy of Streamline Films, Inc.


Literary Excerpts:


excerpt from "I Will Be What I Am" courtesy Charles Henri Ford as read by Rich Bernatovech


Nightwood segment and "Behind the Heart" courtesy executors of Djuna Barnes estate Author League Fund New York, with thanks to Mary-Lynn Broe

read by Mary Lou Wittmer

Rich Bernatovech as Charles Henri Ford

Mary Lou Wittmer as Djuna Barnes

flute, Sarah Hornsby


title page Nightwood courtesy New Directors Publishing New York


Our Lady of the Flowers jacket courtesy Grove Atlantic


William Burroughs letters courtesy William S. Burroughs read by David Taylor


whenever possible photographs by Charles Henri Ford were used
additional photographs courtesy of:


Archives of American Art   Sotheby's London
Rudy Burckhardt   Wadsworth Atheneum Hartford, Connecticut
Condé Nast Publishing Charles Scheips, archivist   The trustees of The Boston Public Library
McKeldin Library University of Maryland   Chicago Historical Society
Orange County Citizens Foundation   Ruth Ford
Phillip Ramey   New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Billie Rose Theatre Collection
Photofest, Howard Mandelbaum & Jay Weisberg   Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin


Portrait Photographs by:


Charles Henri Ford George Balanchine, Max Ernst, Ned Rorem, Pavel Tchelitchew, Carl Van Vechten

courtesy the photographer


Peter Rose Pulham Charles Henri Ford Eugene Berman

with thanks to Philippe Garner


Jane Bowles

Paul Bowles

courtesy Paul Bowles

James Thrall Soby Charles Henri Ford by tree courtesy Wadsworth Atheneum Hartford, Connecticut


Ira Cohen

Charles Henri Ford (with horns and scarves) courtesy of photographer

Pavel Tchelitchew Charles Henri Ford (various photographs) courtesy Charles Henri Ford


Henri Cartier- Bresson

Charles Henri Ford (coming out of pissoir) courtesy the photographer and Magnum Photos

Carl Van Vechten Parker Tyler, Charles Henri Ford courtesy the Estate of Carl Van Vechten, Joseph Solomon and Bruce Kellner, Harry Ransom Center for the Humanities, University of Texas at Austin


Lee Miller

Joseph Cornell (profile with boat) Dorothea Tanning (with dog) (with "Maternity") © Lee Miller Archive Chiddingly England & Dorothea Tanning


Indra Tamang

Brion Gysin courtesy of the photographer


Hans Namuth

Joseph Cornell courtesy Center for Creative Photography University of Arizona © Hans Namuth, Ltd.



Max Jacob courtesy the photographer & Stanley Wise Gallery


Charles Henri Ford and Gerard Malanga

courtesy of Gerard Malanga/ Gerard Malanga Archive, Photomat 1968


Alfred Knopf

Jean-Paul Sartre by permission of Alfred Knopf, Inc.


Jack Smith

self-portrait photo collage courtesy Plaster Foundation Penny Arcade and Jim Hoberman


Marie Beck and Helen MacGregor

Edith Sitwell courtesy Butler Vogene and Condé Nast Publications


George Platt Lynes

George Balanchine (profile) Expatriate Europeans, NY Ruth Ford (with moth) Gertrude Stein (in landscape) Pavel Tchelitchew (in studio) (with phonograph) courtesy ofGeorgePlatt Lynes II & Estate of GeorgePlatt Lynes


Berenice Abbott

Margaret Anderson Djuna Barnes (in profile with turban) Rene Crével courtesy Commerce Graphics Ltd., Inc


Marion Morehouse aka

Mrs. ee cummings

Djuna Barnes (by gate) courtesy the photographer McKeldin Library The University of Maryland W. W. Norton New York, NY


Cecil Beaton

Cecil Beaton (self-portrait) Charles Henri Ford (on newspapers) (with chain collage) Pavel Tchelitchew (in studio) courtesy Sotheby's London Cecil Beaton Estate Lydia Cresswell-Jones & Condé Nast Publications Charles Schipes


Works of Art:


Joseph Cornell

"Untitled (Greta Garbo)" "A Dressing Room for Gilles"

courtesy Richard Feigen


Pablo Picasso

"Portrait of Gertrude Stein" courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art New York


Dorothea Tanning

"Birthday" "Tableau Vivant (living picture)" courtesy Dorothea Tanning



Pavel Tchelitchew

"Portrait of Lincoln Kirstein" courtesy School of American Ballet

"Hide and Seek" "Charles Henri Ford" (with large ears) ©1996 Museum of Modern Art New York

"Portrait of Ruth Ford" "Blue Boy with Pitcher" courtesy Ruth Ford

"Portrait of Charles Henri Ford" courtesy Elisabeth and William Landes




Didgeridoo Brent Johnson

"Descriptions Automatiques"

Erik Satie 1913

performed by William Hobbs , recorded at Hillside Sound studios 1998

"Shortenin' Bread"

Ora Dell Graham, courtesy Library of Congress 1940




Spike Hughes 1933

as performed by Spike Hughes and His Negro Orchestra

Tenor sax Coleman Hawkins

courtesy Largo Music

"Preludes for Piano"

Paul Bowles

performed by Irene Herrmann, courtesy Paul Bowles

recorded at Hillside Sound Studios 1997 ©Mercury Music Corporation



"Sonata for Oboe and Clarinet"

Paul Bowles 1931

as performed by HCD Productions, courtesy Largo Music


"Bonaparte's Retreat"

as performed on the fiddle by W.H. Stepp 1937 courtesy Rebecca Howard Arnett

music for "Behind the Heart", Sarah Hornsby 1998



37th Annual Session of the Alabama Sacred Harp Singing Convention Birmingham Alabama courtesy Library of Congress 1942

"The Aquarium" from The Carnival of the Animals Camille Saint-Saens 1922 courtesy Naxos Records


"Le Tombeau de Couperin, suite d'orchestre"

Maurice Ravel 1919 performed by Orchestre National de France 1987 conducted by Eliahu Inbal courtesy Denon Records Nippon / Columbia


"Embryons Desseches-D'Holothurie"

Erik Satie 1913

performed by William Hobbs, recorded at Hillside Sound Studios 1998

"Special Rider Blues"

Son House 1942 courtesy Library of Congress



"Avant derniere pensées"

Erik Satie

performed by William Hobbs , recorded at Hillside Sound Studios 1998

"Low Down Dirty Dog Blues"

Son House 1942 courtesy Library of Congress



"Night Without Sleep"

Paul Bowles, text by Charles Henri Ford

sung by James Busterud Irene Herrmann, piano courtesy Paul Bowles and Charles Henri Ford publisher G. Schirmer, Inc. recorded at Hillside Sound Studios 1997


Erik Satie 1917

performed by William Hobbs, recorded at Hillside Sound Studios 1998



"Concerto for Two Pianos, Wind, and Percussion"

Paul Bowles 1948 commissioned by Arthur Gold and Robert Fizdale performed by HCD Productions, courtesy Paul Bowles & Theodore Presser Company / ASCAP courtesy LargoRecords


"Air in D"

Spike Hughes 1933 performed by Spike Hughes and His Negro Orchestra

Tenor sax and clarinet Coleman Hawkins courtesy Largo Records


"Sailor's Song"

Paul Bowles 1946 performed by Romolo Di Spirito accompanied by Carrington Welch, courtesy Paul Bowles


Spike Hughes 1932

performed by Spike Hughes and His Orchestra courtesy Largo Records



"Prelude #2 Waltz"

Paul Bowles

performed by Irene Herrmann

Recorded at Hillside Sound Studios 1997, courtesy Paul Bowles ©1947 Mercury Music Corporation



Erik Satie 1916

New London Orchestra conducted by Ronald Coup courtesy Hyperion Records


Drums, William Burroughs segment

Jason Wildman 1998


"Music at Midnight"

Spike Hughes and His Negro Orchestra tenor sax and clarinet Coleman Hawkins

courtesy Largo Records


"Fantasy on Wie Schonleuchtet"

Max Reger

Paul Fejko, organ

courtesy Arkay Records

"Long Night Scamper"

Spike Hughes 1932 performed by Spike Hughes and His Orchestra

courtesy Largo Records



"Tristan und Isolde" Prelude to Act I

Richard Wagner

First performed 1865 Berlin State Orchestra, conducted by Karl Muck 1928

courtesy Centaur Records


"Huapango #1"

Paul Bowles

performed by Ramon Salvatore, courtesy Cedille Records, Paul Bowles and G. Schirmer, Inc. New York


"Pavane Pour Une Infante de'funte"

Maurice Ravel 1910 Czecho-Slovack Symphony Orchestra

courtesy Naxos Records




Beth Alvarez
Hillside Sound Studios
Calle Angel
Nikos Ieronymakis
Lothar Braun
Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah NY
Ed Delucca & Midtown-Payson Galleries
La Maison Francaise, New York University
Dino Kayas
Dan Marks
Dorothea Tanning Foundation
Lawrence D. Mass
Cam F. Dowell III
Gladys Murray
Evelyn Dowell
Vincent Pepe
Lana Fritz
Neal Pilzer
Cathy Henderson
Martica Sawin
Paul Harris
Leslie Tonkonow
Tracy Harris
Mervyn Willis
Special Thanks


Paul Bowles
Mary Lynn Broe
Virginia S. Carr
Eugene R. Gaddis
Irene Herrmann
Ned Rorem
Elliott Stein
Dorothea Tanning
Steven Watson
Regina Weinreich
Arthur Williams


This film is a sponsored project of the New York Foundation for the Arts supported in part with grants from:


Frameline Film/Video Completion Fund

The Jerome Foundation

The New York Council for the Humanities, a State program of the National Endowment for the Humanities


©Symbiosis Films 2000

all rights reserved


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