Thursday, July 31, 2008


In August 1979 I went on a road trip with my Mom, Grandma Belle and her boyfriend Harry. We travelled all the way up North until we hit Canada. Our main stops along the way that I recall were San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver. Here's a Polaroid (One Step camera using Time Zero film) of three generations. The car was my Grandma's Chevy Monte Carlo (bright yellow with a black landau top). The Monte Carlo had just passed through the Chandelier Tree in Northern California. From Wikipedia: "Chandelier Tree is a 315 foot (96 metre) tall coast redwood tree in Leggett, California with a 6 foot (1.83m) wide by 9 foot (2.74m) high hole cut through its base to allow a car to drive through. The hole was carved in the 1930s."

To see more photos from this series, check out my flickr set FAMILY.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Last night I was trying to find a photo of my Mom cooking or "entertaining" to use in a future blog post. I have tons of digital photos going back to 2001 but my Mom passed away in 2002 so I don't have that many digital images of her. The majority of photos of her are un-scanned 126 and 35mm photos we took while I was growing up. And those are crammed in boxes in no particular order. There are a couple of my Mom's albums from the era that predates me that are tucked away in a cupboard in the living room. I haven't looked through those photos in YEARS. Maybe decades. But at least I remembered where they were stored. So late last night I dug into the cupboard and pulled out two albums. I was surprised to find on the first page of the second album the original invitations to my parent's wedding. I don't recall every seeing it before. When my Mom first passed away in December of 2002, my Dad and I still celebrated their wedding anniversary when it came round. I'd give him a card, we'd choose a special restaurant that we used to all go together as a family, and basically we'd think about my Mom. Then either last year or the year before, we didn't observe the day. I forgot, he didn't mention it, and time went on. I never was that great at remembering the actual anniversary date - I seem to recall it being either the end of June or end of July. But last night when I opened that album I looked at the wedding date and it was staring back at me - July 30, 1955 - literally a few hours away. Today I brought out the album to show my Dad the invitations and for some reason he thought the 30th was still to come, not today's date. When I told him it was today, he was surprised (and of course it's a bit emotional). I left him the album to peruse while I began scanning a few images I had pulled out for this blog. Deciding to get the album and go through it the night before their anniversary (without actually realizing the date) and stumbling onto the wedding invitation and photos from their honeymoon strikes me as another incident that goes beyond "coincidence." I've written about my Mom's touch before and this seems like another one of those times. Here are some photos of my parents from their early days and a few from the last year of my Mom's life. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad, today would have been your 53rd.

Dr. and Mrs. William Burton request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter Beverly to Fred Marcus on Saturday, the thirtieth of July, Nineteen Hundred and fifty-five at seven o'clock in the evening.

Their wedding photo. My Mom was absolutely gorgeous.

The Point "Just Married"

Honeymoon, August 1955. My Mom's inscription jokes, Oakton "Manure" Manor. I think my Mom looks like a glamourous movie star here in her bathing suit. Esther Williams watch out!

My Dad the swimmer in his white speedos.

This is a screen grab from a home movie I had converted from 8mm to video. To my surprise, most of the home movies were in glorious color.

Another from the home movies

My Mom is wearing the same outfit here, so the photo is probably taken the same day as the home movie.

My Mom's caption reads: "could choke him, but I adore him." I think that pretty much sums up their entire marriage.

My Dad and Mom on her 70th birthday in 2001.

May 2002

The last mother's Day, 5.12.02, The Bistro Garden in Studio City. Believe it or not, the guy wearing sunglasses in the background between my Parents is David Cassidy! I guess he was out with his Mom too.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


This beautiful 1974 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 belongs to one of my neighbors who lives a few blocks away. The guy owns four Alfas including two squarish four door Milano's from the 80's and a Spider convertible. He pretty much shared that once you drive an Alfa, they basically become an addiction. I've only seen one of the Milano's (a silver one) and this little black coupe. He told me he keeps most of the cars in storage and I guess occasionally rotates them. I've never met him before and he was very nice. He saw me kneeled down in front of the hood when he came out and started talking to me about the car. I never realized he owned so many Alfas. I told him that I definitely want to come back and take some Polaroids and he said that if the car was covered up to just ring the bell and he'd come outside and uncover it for me. Really nice. Maybe one day I can get a ride ;-)

1974 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 photos by Lydia Marcus

Sunday, July 27, 2008


From July 9-21, I attended Outfest, the 26th Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Outfest is the oldest continuous film festival in Los Angeles and definitely the largest and most attended one in the city. This year's festival featured 212 films and videos from 25 countries in 7 different venues over 13 days.

Outfest and I go back a LONG way - I've been going to Outfest since 1987 when I had just graduated high school. Over the years I was their first college intern (back in 1991), as an entertainment journalist and film critic I covered the festival for numerous Frontiers Magazine cover stories, was a juror on the American Narrative Films jury in 1999 with actor Wilson Cruz and director David Moreton, have been a participant on panel discussions and moderated post screening Q&A's, but this was my first year going to Outfest just for fun. My only agenda was to film a couple panels that "Desert Hearts" director Donna Deitch was on for possible use in my documentary "Desert Hearts Mon Amour" but other than that all I planned to do was see films, connect with friends, look for possible interviewees for my documentary, and have a fun two weeks just hanging out.

The best films I saw this year were: "The Secrets" (a tense and sexy story about the friendship and bourgeoning chemistry between two orthodox Jewish women); "Wild Combination" (a documentary about avant garde composer and musician Arthur Russell); "Hamlet 2" (the funniest damn movie I've seen all year - watch for it coming soon to theaters); "Breakfast With Scot" (the poignant and wacky opening night film); "She's A Boy I Knew" (a documentary directed and about a male to female transexual); and "Trinidad" (a documentary about the frontier town in Colorado dubbed, "the sex change capitol of the U.S." and transexual Dr. Marci Bowers, the top sexual reassignment surgeon who practices there).

Here's a photo recap of the festival.

OUTFEST, Opening Night at the Orpheum - a longtime tradition. The Orpheum is a restored downtown Los Angeles Movie Palace.

Filmmaker & Women On A Roll founder Andrea Meyerson, partners Valerie Madden and Tina Scorzafava (a talented filmmaker), and Me.

Me and Monica Trasandes, my former Frontiers editor. There's some real history here. We were young pups together. We sat next to each other at the first press screening of "Showgirls" - if that doesn't bond you for life, nothing will!

Two femme fatales (Calpernia Addams and Andrea James) and me LOL.

The main Outfest location - The Directors Guild of America, on Sunset Blvd.

"Boys Don't Cry" & "Stop-Loss" director Kimberly Peirce conducted "A Conversation With Donna Deitch." Donna was the recipient of the 12th Annual Outfest Achievement Award on Opening Night. (Photo Credit: Danna Kinsky /

Kimberly, Donna, and Me (photo credit: Danna Kinsky /

Donna Deitch, Kirsten Schaffer (former Director of Programming and present Outfest Interim Executive Director), and Kimberly Peirce (photo credit: Danna Kinsky /

In back of the DGA

S & Me

The Outfest Legacy screening of a restored print of seminal gay and lesbian documentary "Word Is Out."

Wolfe Video founder Kathy Wolfe and "Desert Hearts" director Donna Deitch in front of a giant "Desert Hearts" poster. They had a small dvd signing in the lobby of the DGA.

Donna Deitch

Me & Donna (photo credit: Angela Brinskele)

Outfest Awards at the beautiful Ford Ampitheater. This is Craig Chester at the podium and awards presenter Momma.

Calpernia Addams and Momma.

More of Calpernia and Momma.

Outfest Closing Night, the Orpheum after party.

S, M, & Me


The huge Orpheum lobbby

Gorgeous lamps and details of the Orpheum ceiling.

The last marquee of this year's festival, Polaroid SLR 680 SE with Polaroid 600 Film.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Ducati photo by Lydia Marcus
Photographed July 24, 2008 in Porter Ranch, CA

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I was in the backyard taking a Polaroid of the pool tile when the portrait lens viewfinder attachment for my 195 fell off and sunk to the bottom of the deep end of the pool. My Dad fished it out with the skimmer and after I dried it off, I tried to take a photo of him but couldn't focus at all with the rangefinder. The little glass window on the attachment was totally fogged over with condensation. The 195 can be hard enough to focus in bright light, but here I was in the dim light of twilight with a film of fog over the rangefinder. I took a closer look at the attachment and figured out that there were teeny, tiny screws that held it together and that it could be opened up and really cleaned. My Dad, the lifetime engineer and Mr. Fix It took it upon himself to do the repair and cleaning for me. Now that he's had both his cataracts removed in the last year, I think he can actually see better than me! Once he got the attachment open he told me, "You clean glass with alcohol. I learned that when I worked at a lab at Northrop." I don't really know anything about my Dad's time at Northrop, so I asked him what kind of lab he worked in and he told me that he inspected parts for guided missiles. From as long as I can remember - from early childhood until college graduation - the only company my Dad worked for was Hughes Helicopters (as in Howard Hughes). He was a Quality Control engineer and under his watch there were never any helicopter accidents due to parts failure. Unlike most companies that want to get rid of their older workers, Hughes (then taken over by Boeing) begged my Dad to stay on with the job when he retired at the age of 70. Having worked full-time since he was 18 and with me finally out of college, my Dad had enough of working and retired despite the bonuses dangled before him. Anyway, back to the present - after a few swabs with alcohol and dealing with the tiniest screws known to man - my Dad got the viewfinder attachment clean and clear again, in fact I think it was actually cleaner than when I started. So dropping it in the pool turned out to be a happy accident indeed!

My Dad begins the repair as Lucy The Boxador looks on.

Polaroid 195 shot

The Engineer photos by Lydia Marcus
Photographed July 5, 2008 in Encino, CA