Sleep in a Nest
  of Flames
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the interviews


Paul Bowles (1910-1999)
American expatriate writer and composer who was one of Ford's oldest friends, they having known one another for over seventy years. His novel The Sheltering Sky is often considered one of the most original since World War II and his musical compositions, mostly completed before 1950, made him one of the most sought after composers of his generation. In addition to works for the concert hall he composed for the theatre, including music for Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre and Tennessee Williams' Glass Menagerie. Ford published him in Blues magazine in 1929 and he later became a frequent contributor to View magazine. He wrote the music for Ford's 1946 puppet play A Sentimental Playlet and the version of this play is included in Sleep in a Nest of Flames.
Paul Cadmus (1905-1999)
American painter whose classical drawing and design sense kept alive a tradition going back to the Renaissance at the same time he imbues his paintings with a sort of magic realism that teeters on surreality. His often homoerotic viewpoint seems a precursor of many contemporary artists who incorporate this sort of sensuality into their work. In the story he tells in Sleep in a Nest of Flames he takes the viewer back to a summer night stroll in the 1940's on 42nd Street in New York City where he runs across Charles Henri Ford. It is a slice of life that demonstrates Ford's light humor and Cadmus' very centered charm.
Charles Henri Ford (1910- )
American poet, novelist, filmmaker, magazine publisher, photographer and avant- gardist. The picaresque of his life is presented in Sleep in a Nest of Flames in a story that combines a search for art with a daily dose of leavening humor.
Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)
He was described by the New York Times as "the poet laureate of the Beat Generation whose 'Howl' became a manifesto for the sexual revolution and a cause-célèbre for free speech. " He first met Charles Henri Ford when he was a student at Columbia University in the 1940's and he sought out Ford at the offices of his innovative art and literary magazine View. They maintained a relationship under the glow of their mutual respect for William Carlos Williams. An interview with Ginsberg and Ford is interwoven in Sleep in a Nest of Flames and in it they cover the gamut of their concerns, from poetry to love and sex.
Ted Joans (1928- )
African-American poet and visual artist of the Beat Generation. His books of poetry include Beat Poems (1957) and Funky Jazz (1959). Joans knew Charles Henri Ford work from his youth. He later became friends with Ford and this friendship is demonstrated in a section of Sleep in a Nest of Flames, in which Ford is making a photographic portrait of Joans. In the banter Ford remembers a visit in Morocco to Claude Mc Kay, the important Harlem Renaissance writer.
Philip Johnson (1906- )
The dean of American architects. His influential Modernist and later Post-Modernist designs have set the pace of much of 20th century American architecture. Johnson was one of the originators of the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art. His glass house, the Pennzoil Building, the AT& T Building and many others have been milestones in architecture and design. In Sleep in a Nest of Flames Johnson is seen in conversation with Charles Henri Ford while Ford makes a photographic portrait. In the portrait session Johnson buildings are projected behind the architect and at the same time a lively banter is maintained between the two senior culturatti. The conversation demonstrates how a lively humor can be of the essential components of successful aging.
Gerard Malanga (1943- )
American poet and photographer. He was introduced by Charles Henri Ford to Andy Warhol and became his principal silk screen assistant. From 1963 through 1970 he was one of the most notable members of Warhol's Factory and in his interview in Sleep in a Nest of Flames gives another facet of the Warhol years.
Paul Morrissey (1938- )
Independent American film director, he managed the career of Andy Warhol during the late sixties and early seventies, discovered and managed the Velvet Underground and Nico and started the newspaper Interview. He directed hundreds of film experiments before writing, photographing and directing a series of films, including Flesh (1968), Trash (1970), Women in Revolt (1971), L'Amour (1971) and Heat (1972), entirely by himself. His later films include Forty Deuce, Mixed Blood, Beethoven's Nephew and Spike of Bensonhurst. Morrissey supervised the Warhol Factory film portrait of Ford. He appears in Sleep in a Nest of Flames and offers his own perspective on this aspect of the culture of this period..
Ned Rorem (1923- )
American composer and diarist, was one of the composers who kept alive an appreciation of tonal music during a period when it was out of favor. Time magazine has described him as "America's leading composer of art songs." He is the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for music and his diaries have set a new standard for candor since the first, The Paris Diaries, were published in 1966. He is an old friend of Charles Henri Ford and appears in several sections of Sleep in a Nest of Flames, always providing his amused and amusing insider's view of the art and literary world. He is also the subject of the forthcoming Symbiosis Films biographical portrait Ned Rorem: Word and Music.
Harold Stevenson (1929- )
American painter whose longtime devotion to the eroticized figure has made him a precursor of much contemporary figuratution. In 1963 he constructed a painting four stories tall on the Eiffel Tower that depicted body parts of his friend, the matador El Cordobes. Stevenson's work was at the center of the ensuing controversy. He was directed by Paul Morrissey in Andy Warhols's Heat and also appeared in the Warhol production Kiss. He has known Charles Henri Ford since 1949 and Ford's sister Ruth for only a slightly shorter period of time. In his interview in Sleep in a Nest of Flames he puts the two siblings' relationship in a context only an old friend can provide.
Indra Tamang (1953- )
The Nepalese photographer has had a long friendship with Charles Henri Ford and has been an indispensable help to him since they met in 1972. Tamang's portrait of Brion Gysin is included in Sleep in a Nest of Flames, along with a seated interview in which Tamang explains the daily life he shares with Ford.
Dorothea Tanning (1910- )
American artist closely associated with the Surrealists, first in the United States and later in France. She was married to the painter Max Ernst until his death in 1976. During the summer of 1947 Charles Henri Ford and Pavel Tchelitchew went to visit Tanning and Ernst in Sedona, Arizona. As part of Sleep in a Nest of Flames Tanning describes an incident in which Tchelitchew was threatened by a rattlesnake and saved by a small dog. It involves the kind of mystery that is part of a surrealist sensibility and integral to the Sedona landscape.



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