Guild Hall’s next JDT Lab will feature Descent of the Dolls, an unmissable retelling of Jacqueline Susann’s 1966 best-selling novel Valley of the Dolls and the 1967 film starring Patty Duke, Sharon Tate, Barbara Parkins, and with Susan Hayward and Lee Grant.
“Descent of the Dolls is a book length poem (part one – two more to come) that has taken ten years to complete,” explained Gillian McCain. “Poets Jeffery Conway, David Trinidad, and myself take scenes from the film Valley of the Dolls – and in a tribute to Dante – break them into cantos whereas they go off on numerous tangents inspired by the film.”
For the first installment of this epic poetic trilogy, the three poets follow the film’s leading ladies – Anne, Neely, and Jennifer – on a philosophical odyssey that takes a behind the scenes look at the shady circles of Showbiz and PoBiz, where goes – like Allen Ginsberg forces a gifted poet to leave the show, Joan Crawford makes an unexpected drunken drop by, or ambitious M.F.A. poetry students get in over their heads.
“Their guides – Anne Sexton, Frank O’Hara and Sharon Tate – take the poets by the hand and guide them downward toward hell – with lots of pit stops along the way,” McCain noted. “Think of it as literary MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER.”
Conway and David partnered with Lynn Crosbie for the innovative Phoebe 2002: An Essay in Verse, which Publishers Weekly said was “astonishing and hallucinogenic . . . the most preposterous book of the season turns out to be one of the finest.” Conway also penned Showgirls: The Movie in Sestinas, The Album That Changed My Life, and teamed up with Crosbie and Trinidad for Chain Chain Chain.
Trinidad is the author of Notes on a Past Life, Dear Prudence: New and Selected Poems and Peyton Place: A Haiku Soap Opera. Swinging on a Star, a new collection of his poems, is expected to be released this year.
McCain co-authored, with Legs McNeil, the cult classic Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, which earned a spot on New York Daily News and Time Out New York‘s Top Ten books of 1996 lists. The duo joined forces again to co-edit the young adult book Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose. McCain is also the author of two books of poetry: Tilt and Religion.
JDT Lab: Descent of the Dolls with Jeffery Conway, Gillian McCain and David Trinidad will take place on Tuesday, September 12 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free, but reservations are required.
Guild Hall is located at 58 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, call 631-324-0806 or visit www.guildhall.org.