Good friends, a small friend, & more … much more

Website & blogs © Louis Kraft 2013-2017
Contact Kraft at writerkraft@gmail.com or comment at the end of the blogs


Those of you who know me, and I mean, really know me, know that I move at my own pace, especially when it comes to my personal life.

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Annette Florczak after a screening of The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) 75th anniversary at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, Ca. She and her hubby Robert made sure that I joined them on this night. It’s Robert’s favorite film. As Annette was preparing to take a group shot I captured her. Not too long ago Annette said to me that she liked that I said what was on my mind. I hope that I’m always true to her compliment. (photo © Louis Kraft 2013)

I’m in no rush, for I cherish my life and attempt to enjoy each and every minute of it, regardless if it is a never-ending night as I can’t sleep or hanging out with my daughter or seeing friends. You probably don’t know this, but I intend to live to at least 120. I have books to write, people to piss off, and friends to know and enjoy.

My closest friends have all become friends because of my writing life.

Most live in other states, outside the U.S., or in that far-off land we call Northern California. Whenever I’m in the same location as them, it is pure joy regardless if it is for work or pleasure.

My daughter is my life, and luckily she lives close to me. 

Back in 2008 (I think) a group called the “Mulholland Drive Boys” was created to unite writers, artists, directors, and other people interested in Errol Flynn and bring them together. For the most part, the group doesn’t exist, or at best is dormant. No matter, for the creation of the Mulholland Drive Boys introduced me to four people, four people that have become good friends.

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From left Robert and Annette Florczak, Greg and Nam Maradei. The three kids were, along with me, Robert and Annette’s guests to see Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland as Robin Hood and Maid Marian. He tutors them in art. To my dismay I don’t have any single or two-shots of Robert on this night (he hid behind his students). Actually I don’t have any single shots of him ever—guess he doesn’t trust me (if I capture his image I’ll steal his soul). Ladies and gents, I’m not a skinwalker and I don’t shape shift. It was a fun evening. (Photo by lk on May 11, 2013)

Two fellows and their gorgeous wives (Robert & Annette and Greg & Nam). Over just a handful of years they have become my closest friends in Los Angeles.

As there is a memoir in my future, I am also using this blog to not only explore my writing ups and downs, my thrills and failures while also keeping you updated on current projects. The goal is to also figure out who I am, where I’ve been, and zero in on a past that is filled with both unsavory and golden moments. That is people, memories, flashes in time.

It’s time for you to sit down and hold on

If you’re not sitting, please do so before looking at the next image and reading the first sentence that follows the image and its caption.

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No, no, no, and once again NO—lk isn’t a convicted felon. This image was taken at the Lincoln Heights jail in Los Angeles on January 24, 1979, by Ron Batzdorff, who was the still photographer on The Onion Field. If memory serves me, this jail was not in operation at the time (don’t know if it still exists). Great film location, and honestly scary. During free time, I spent time sitting in a locked jail cell, letting my mind flow with whatever images hit me. Not something I ever want to experience in real life. The numbers you see in the image are real, Gregory Powell murdered a Los Angeles police officer in 1963. Joe Wambaugh’s best selling book, The Onion Field, documented the crime; he also produced the film. James Woods shot to stardom with his portrayal of Gregory Powell, and to a lesser extent so did Ted Danson, who played the murdered officer. Although I haven’t seen either in 30 or so years, back in those days I worked with them on other projects. My memories of Jimmy and Ted are first class, and in no way are my views of them negative. … On a side note, although I never manually worked in an onion field, I have run and crawled through them (a few years before the film was shot I did work in a cotton field in Texas).

One thing I can state clearly and honestly—I’m shy. Always have been. Those of you who know me are probably chuckling. Go ahead, make it an out and out laugh, but ’tis true. I’ve always been aggressive when I’ve played sports (tennis, football, baseball, and so on), but when interested in a lady my brain goes south. I’m lucky if I can mumble a few words.

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A publicity photo taken at Encino House on June 29, 1981. The smile was still present, but by 1984 it would be gone. (photo © Louis Kraft 1981)

I had a fairly long acting/modeling/film world career that was at best unfulfilling and at worst a waste of my time.  A very true statement, but it obscures and almost damns a multitude of truly caring and artistic people I worked with, hung out with, and have nothing but cherished memories during my time with them. Actors, directors, crew members. This was also a time of getting in sync with my inner being, understanding what made me tick, and accepting me for being me. When not working, I did this on an almost daily basis with actors (exceptional people). Most are gone from my life (but I have memories). Two friends are always with me, regardless when I see or talk to them. An actress I worked with for a few years and a costumer I met on Tucker’s Witch (we also worked on Johnny Belinda). Good friends, always.

Returning to those dark days of yesteryear, I did learn that to succeed (and I quit acting cold turkey to write full-time in the 1980s) I needed to approach what I wanted head-on. I needed to put my fears to rest and be aggressive. What I failed to do in the film/acting world (due to shyness hangups and my refusal to do things I found repulsive and/or disgusting), I have not encountered. The writing world has never assaulted or compromised my values. Never. Add the good fortune to also write for companies, and I have had the freedom to only write about subjects important to me in the freelance world.

The times they are a changin’

 Events in April 2012 made me take a long hard look at my world. It was time for a change regardless of the cost (and this would be large). That change would take time and guts for me to hold course. Fast forward a year to May 2013. I could now look back at 2011, a year that had been a wild ride of highs and deep-deep lows, but the hibernation had been in effect since late 2008 or early 2009 when my world went south. This is not quite true, for the Wynkoop book saw print in 2011 and my relationship with Marissa blossomed after a decade of darkness.

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David DeWitt at Tujunga House in January 2013. When David visited we spent good time together deep into the night (deep for me) as we shared tales from our past. For me, it was just what the doctor ordered. We chatted, we laughed, and we enjoyed ourselves. During his visit I gained a good insight into myself. (photo © Louis Kraft 2013)

I pretty much keep to myself. I see Marissa, but that is pretty much it. Entertain? Me? Who are you kidding? My good pal and Flynn expert David DeWitt visited for five days at the beginning of this year. Robert F. came over for dinner a couple of months later. David and Robert are two friends I can hang out with for hours on end. They are always welcome in my home (as are Annette, Greg, and Nam). I’ve been in a shell for years (except when on the road). I needed to escape from my self-imposed banishment.

An introduction to a key person in my life

In 2002 Robert Goodman, MD, suggested I see Malcolm Cosgrove, MD. Within a little more than six months Dr. Cosgrove would become responsible for me continuing to walk this earth. If not for him I would be a long-forgotten memory. I see him every three months. I saw him on June 14, and everything went according to plan. We tested and discussed two subjects important to me. Over the years I’ve grown to know and like him, so we have more than just a doctor-patient relationship. The next day, June 15th, he was flying to Israel for a family reunion and much more, and he looked forward to a great trip. He’s aware of what I do, but on this day I introduced him to the website/blog, which hadn’t gone live when last I saw him. He asked what was up next, and I told him about a dinner party on June 15, and that one of my friends was bringing a friend to introduce to me (more about this below). He asked if I had ever been married, and I replied that I had been back in the dark ages. He chuckled as he asked if my friends were married. I said yes, and he said, “Be careful; they want to make you like them.” We laughed, and I said, “Don’t worry.” I have a protective shell that is forever present—unless I want, no one enters my life.

A June dinner party

Back to the thrust of this blog. I had survived April and May bills (no easy task; actually I’ve relearned how to juggle, a throwback to the acting world). It was time to again entertain. I hadn’t hosted a dinner party in a long time. This had to come to an end, and I wanted it to happen now. Who else would I invite but Robert & Annette and Greg & Nam. Over the years following the creation of the Mulholland Drive Boys we would see each other at increasing intervals. This grew to friendship. But on this day, this June 15th day, I would have a bonus for I would also meet a lady. … Let’s call her a small friend—for now. … Patience, my friends, patience!

I don’t know enough about Annette, Greg, or Nam’s professions
to speak about their work worlds accurately.
Not to worry, for I will talk about them. 
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Annette & Robert Florczak at Tujunga House on June 15. I like this image for you can see their closeness and togetherness, which is always present. (photo © Louis Kraft 2013)

Robert is one of the brightest and artistic people I’ve come to know over the years. Artist-Musician-composer-singer-historian/writer-art professor-film consultant … A Renaissance Man, he’s also writing a book about Errol Flynn. I’m not going to tell you about the book, for I don’t want to give anything away. I will say this; when it is printed it is must reading for anyone interested in Errol Flynn or the Golden Age of cinema. I think I can safely say that he is probably the most knowledgable person I have ever known in regards to Flynn (and that includes people who are no longer with us). He is also the historical consultant for the upcoming film on Errol Flynn’s last years with Beverly Aadland. This project (already in the can) is first class all the way. The Last Days of Robin Hood (not my favorite title; but it may be after I see the film) stars Kevin Kline as Flynn (he was born to play Flynn), Dakota Fanning as Beverly, and Susan Saradon as Beverly’s mother Florence Aadland. From what I have heard from Robert, this is going to be a special film.

Robert is charming and bright and I enjoy every minute I spend with him. Oh, I should add that his sense of humor is in line with mine—a little twisted. Whenever one of us has the chance we try to pull each other’s legs. Great fun!

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Annette & Robert Florczak at Tujunga House on June 15. Someone said something that was really funny (wish it had been me, but it wasn’t). Perhaps Greg M., for he was also shooting pictures at that moment. Annette is really enjoying what was said, and in a moment she would be totally bent over, and Robert, who has a nice smile here would also be laughing all out. A first class moment! (photo © Louis Kraft 2013)

I can’t say enough about Annette. She is friendly, open, and caring … and is always a delight to be around and speak with—I’m at home with her at all times. She is a perfect hostess, so much so that I drag my heels when leaving her and Robert’s home. She’s German, and yet a marvel with the English language. If she didn’t tell me that she was German I would have never guessed. Amazing! Like Robert, she can talk about anything, and do it in a knowledgable way. I think she enjoys Flynn; at least I have not heard her complain when Robert and I talk about him and Olivia de Havilland (more about this below). … As I have told Robert more than once, he is one lucky fellow.

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Greg & Nam Maradei at Tujunga House on June 15. As you can see they are close, and I think had a good time. Certainly their smiles are nice in this image. (photo © Louis Kraft 2013)

Greg is a Flynn fan, a big Flynn fan, and this interest has brought me together with him and his pretty wife Nam. We all should have his enthusiasm and curiosity. He has the gift to make people—certainly me—feel like I’ve known him all my life. It’s a good feeling. Certainly he is a hard worker (as is Annette and Nam … Robert is like me, and we live in a different world work-wise—I’m not saying Robert isn’t a hard worker, for he is, … it’s just different). Not only is Greg outgoing and fun-loving, someone I enjoy hanging out with, but he is also a fellow I know I can count on. A good feeling.

Nam is a mischievous charmer who I have an absolute blast teasing (and she gives as good she gets). She keeps me laughing at her antics. Like Annette she is caring, giving, and a good hostess (including when she and Greg visit). But her talents continue to amaze me—she even knows the sword (when she shared her native knowledge with a blade my jaw almost hit the ground). If I haven’t told Greg how lucky he is, I should have, and if not, I’m saying it right here. He’s a lucky fellow that Nam is his wife. I should add that her concern for my welfare is touching. Realizing an emptiness in my life, she asked if she could do something. I gulped and hesitated, but luckily said yes (more below).

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Nam working with the blade at Tujunga House on June 15. All I can say about her impromptu performance is wow! Unfortunately I ran out of film before she finished (which doubly hurt, for right after Greg performed a funny skit with the sword, and I couldn’t capture it. … Not a good ad for a 35mm film camera. (photos © Louis Kraft 2013)

Before moving on, I want to say one final thing about Robert & Annette and Greg & Nam. I have never seen two couples more devoted to each other and more in love with each other than they are. In our day and world this is wonderful to see.

A small friend

When I announced the June 15 dinner party, Nam asked if she could bring a friend to introduce to me. I hesitated, and I think she was hurt or worse mad, but Greg told me that she doesn’t get mad. We’re back to the “shy” thing. You know my world now—it’s me and my fantasy life that spends fully 85-90 percent of the time in my house studying or searching or dreaming or writing. My social life? Robert & Annette, Greg & Nam, Marissa … and my gym (but here I have tunnel vision). It took me a while to say yes to Nam. After she asked the lady and the lady said “yes,” I felt good. Nervous, but good. Nam asked what her friend could bring, and I replied, “The fish, veggies, and salad.” She chuckled online, “Ha-ha. Very funny.” I told her that all the lady had to bring was herself.

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Nam Maradei and a small friend in the living room at Tujunga House on June 15. I had missed an opportunity when I opened the door, but I would not miss it twice. Here you can see Pailin’s eyes and smile that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. (photo © Louis Kraft 2013)

On June 15 Robert and Annette arrived first. Robert knew the house but Annette didn’t. As we walked through the rooms, Robert paused and said, “I think I heard a knock.” I went to the front door. Greg was at the door, with Nam below him, and a small lady farthest away. She was holding orchids and smiling. With eyes drawn to her my heart skipped a beat or three or five. I should have had a camera in my hand, but didn’t (story of my life—read into that whatever you want).

I had promised Nam and Annette that Flynn wouldn’t dominate the conversation, and that if Robert and Greg got too bad that I’d send them to the corner of the room while the ladies and I retreated to another room. Of course the ladies had to remind me of this. The fellows were understanding, and without being exiled to the corner of the room they placed Mr. Flynn on hold more than once.

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Nuch in the backyard at Tujunga House on June 15. She has an open warmness that drew me to her immediately. (photo © Louis Kraft 2013)

Nam had told me her friend was shy and she was. Her name is Pailin Subanna. “Nuch.” Nuch had a quiet presence, a quiet control of what went on around her. She’s a good listener and she fit in. Robert later told me he thought she was poised, and I couldn’t agree more. I’m a gentleman (probably some people might disagree with this; all I can say is that I try). On this day I was definitely on good behavior, and when combined with my shyness, it guaranteed I wouldn’t say too much. Which was good, for it meant I couldn’t stuff my foot down my throat.

I enjoyed this day and evening.

Alas, the time for everyone to leave came too quickly. But by this time I knew one thing—I wanted Nuch to enter my life, I wanted her to become my friend.

We had talked about our social media, and later that night connected. Social media gave us the opportunity to share our thoughts and set a time for us to meet.

__________

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This was a special day for we had the opportunity to walk and talk and get to know each other. The day ended too quickly, but I drove home knowing one thing–I wanted to see her again and again and again. All these images are from Nuch’s camera (and she shared them with me). She did the design of the portrait of her within a film strip.

And the good news is that we are getting to know each other while enjoying each other’s company. Exploration and learning are always fun. She has a good sense of humor, is very feminine, and has a sensitivity that I have not seen in many people. She likes to explore, and from what she has told me, she has the adventurous spirit of some of the men that have caught my interest over time, … Francis Drake, Kit Carson, Ned Wynkoop, and Errol Flynn. I’m not joking here, for she has no fear to set out into the unknown. Nuch is a brave person.

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Nuch & lk at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, Ca., on June 27, 2013. Like the following image, it captures two people enjoying the closeness of each other. Nuch took this photo, did the art work, and turned it into a postage stamp. I like it, for it gives us good hope for our future. (photo & art © Pailin Subanna 2013)

She also has a tender touch. Physically and inside her. She has an intimate feel for the moment, and is in tune with her inner being as well as what is going on with us. Her openness to what she senses and reacts to is something that has been with me since those long gone days of the acting world, something I haven’t experienced with another lady in decades.* When someone has this gift, and Nuch does, culture and language are not barriers. For me culture and language are a lure, an enticement to know another human being. It has always been this way with me, and I think for Nuch, too. It has, in a very short time, given us a closeness that is special.

* Acting training includes exercises wherein you get in tune with another human being. Facing each other, and without doing anything you react off what you see, feel, and sense. The goal is to make you open to what is happening around you so that you can grasp it, understand it, and react to it. Everyone should go through this type of training.
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Nuch & lk at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, Ca., on June 27, 2013. I like this image as it captures the joy at the beginning of our relationship. (photo & art © Pailin Subanna 2013)

My life has been out of balance for years now. I have my writing, my friends, and Marissa, but there has been a missing piece. But no longer, for Nuch has opened her heart and become my friend. And listening to her words and knowing what is going on inside me, I think that our friendship is going to grow. My life has suddenly found a new balance.

lk: “นี่คือผู้หญิงที่สำหรับฉัน” .และเธอเป็นผู้หญิงของฉัน” (khụ̄x p̄hū̂h̄ỵing thī̀ s̄ảh̄rạb c̄hạn .Læa ṭhex pĕn p̄hū̂h̄ỵing k̄hxng c̄hạn)

Sand Creek Massacre and Errol & Olivia updates

Website & blogs © Louis Kraft 2013-2018
Contact Kraft at writerkraft@gmail.com or comment at the end of the blog


You wouldn’t believe what my day entails if I told the truth; heck, you wouldn’t believe it if I lied. Let’s put it this way, the days are long. Long days are good, for nights can be hell … even though sometimes decent work bounces trippingly off the keyboard during the wee hours.

Images and ideas constantly dance before me; still it is often lonely. A hard and yet inevitable decision made 14 months ago set my book projects key to my future. This has locked me into “an outside forever looking in world” of my own making. No regrets, for it was a decision of choice (but surprisingly not new just dormant).

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lk watching daughter Marissa K. at the historical park where the Custer Battlefield Historical and Museum Association’s banquet was held the day after their annual symposium on June 24, 2011 (I spoke about Flynn, de Havilland, & Custer). Weather was great; not hot, not cold … nice. During the trip, Marissa and I hung out with good friends Linda Andreu Wald and Bob Williams. We tracked Custer at Pompey’s Pillar where he had a firefight with the Sioux in 1873, explored Billings (like the city, but don’t think I could survive a winter), saw a great piece of art on Kit Carson I had never seen before, and of course walked the Little Bighorn National Historic Monument (first time I’ve seen green grass there). Good times. … Here Marissa is checking her phone for something that Linda sent her. Bob Williams took this photo on June 25, 2011, and I like it for it captured a moment of time in my life that was at a crossroad (and I didn’t know it). More important at this late date, it shows me doing one of the few things I’m good at—observing.

Sand Creek and the Tragic End of a Lifeway

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Marissa Kraft exploring Sand Creek below the bluffs at the big bend of the dry riverbed on the Bill Dawson property in September 1987. (Photo © Marissa & Louis Kraft 1987)

Work on Sand Creek and the Tragic End of a Lifeway has picked up speed and intensity. Research is now ongoing and daily (except when I visit the USC Warner Bros. Archives). An historian’s search never ends and it is forever ongoing. William Bent, a trader who would play a major role walking between two worlds (Cheyenne-Arapaho and white), is seeing his part in the story grow while at the same time seeing portions of his life debunked.

The question here is how to present information that puts the lie to supposed known “truths” that have been repeated so long that they are no longer questioned? George Bird Grinnell’s work with the Cheyennes is standard. How can his writing be challenged without outraging the multitudes that have accepted it without question? Me included … until now.

Battle or massacre? For years I have held steady that the attack on the Cheyenne-Arapaho village on Sand Creek in November 1864 was a battle. Within the last two months I have changed my opinion. I recently read Ari Kelman’s A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek (2013) and am disgusted and yet thrilled with his book. His facts and conclusions based upon listed primary source material confuses me. How could he have good information and yet interpret so poorly that his sections dealing with 1864 and 1865 are loaded, and I mean loaded, with errors. This isn’t excusable. How? Why? But this only accounts for 20 percent or less of his text.

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The rest of the book, fully 80 percent, is a page-turning exposé of the struggle to find the Sand Creek battlefield and the ongoing fight between property owners in southeast Colorado, Cheyenne and Arapaho massacre descendants, politicians, local residents, National Park Service personal, historians, would-be historians, government officials, and so on before the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site could become reality.

This portion of Kelman’s book is not about that terrible day of November 29, 1864, when people who thought they were at peace were attacked by Colorado volunteer troops, killed (and in numerous cases murdered), and then hacked to pieces (but Kelman understands and captures the devastating wound that still burns within the soul of today’s Cheyennes and Arapahos). On that November 29th day volunteer troops used small children for target practice, an unborn child was cut from its dead mother’s body and scalped, three women and five children prisoners were executed by a lieutenant with his saber as their guards backed away in horror and while they begged for their lives. Many of the bodies gave up between 5, 7, and sometimes 8 scalps. Penises, vaginas, and breasts were cut from the dead and displayed as ornaments and trophies. I have been talking about this and writing about this for years. AND I’m always disgusted (as was Ned Wynkoop when he learned what had happened). BUT it was Ari Kelman’s book that made me realize that Sand Creek was a massacre—not because everyone died, for many people escaped the bloodbath and survived, but because of the heinous intent of the onslaught, the heinous intent to remove a race of people from the face of the earth.

Yes, I’ve been outraged for years, and that outrage is front and center right now.

That said, Sand Creek and the Tragic End of a Lifeway will be told from all sides and in the POV (point of view, a cinematic term) of the participants. I will paint no villains; you will judge the participants by their actions, and when I know them by their motivations. It took Chuck Rankin, editor-in-chief at OU Press, and myself years to piece together a story idea that both of us are enthusiastic about. Over these years Chuck has become a good friend and a calming element in my life. Sometimes I push too hard, and he growls back. But that’s good for it gives me a release on frustrations and at the same time keeps me focused and in line.

Errol & Olivia

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Cool ef & odeh art from a magazine that no longer exists. I want art for the cover of Errol & Olivia, and if not I already have the photo I want to use (believe it or not, I already have the cover art for the second Flynn book).

Research for the manuscript on Errol & Olivia continues, and although I’m not writing as many words as I’d like I’m thrilled with the direction and focus in which the manuscript moves. I have constantly stated that this book will be “different,” and this remains true. The focus is certainly on Flynn and de Havilland, but it is on so many levels of their lives and times that I can’t remember reading a similar type of biography. The search for them is ongoing and intense as I use every means I’ve learned over the years (from the theatrical, technical, and historical worlds) to bring them and their world to life.

______________________________________

As with all previous books, it is the entire research, writing, and production process that gives me life. … This guarantees that the upcoming years are going to be one hell of a good ride.

A stressed Kraft

Website & blogs © Louis Kraft 2013-2018
Contact Kraft at writerkraft@gmail.com or comment at the end of the blog


I thought that three things kept my life in balance: writing, friends, and the ladies in my life (currently only my daughter). This, as it turns out, isn’t true, for there is a fourth piece to my life—my computers and how well they perform with programs (Microsoft’s Word, Adobe’s Photoshop, and WordPress’s website/blog template are the three I use the most). I depend upon the internet and the phone to land work and deliver work. The website/blog (along w/my buddy the internet) will hopefully become my best selling tool. But I never say “never.” … What does that mean? Yikes!!!! Maybe below I’ll explain, but then again, maybe not.

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May 30, 2013. The face of total frustration, as I live with and test the total shutdown of this website/blog when I changed internet providers (the land phone hasn’t been performing with raves either). Yesterday (June 3) I had a very good 2½ hour session with a bright engineer from the East Coast named Wensor as we kicked ideas back and forth on what could be the problem. A lot of testing and a lot of failure for the first 1½ hours, but perhaps success. All tests closing out of programs, shutting down the computer, restarting it, and most important getting to the website/blog and being able to log in at the end of our meeting succeeded (kudos to Wensor of AT&T). He and I’ll again talk today after I do more tests … but first I wanted to do a blog in case we had just entered a short safe time zone of false hope. (Art © Louis Kraft 2013)

The last week of May has been hell—pure and simple hell—and it has continued into the first week of June. A learning experience with patience (trust me, I’ve improved with this over the years).

I’m not going to bore you with the problems—which have been ongoing—of changing internet and land line providers, but this has drastically impacted my work. Research for Flynn/de Havilland and Sand Creek as well as emails with editors have continued during these dark days that began on May 24 (no writing except for four-five hours on a Geronimo article), for the rest of my time has been spent trouble-shooting internet/phone/computer problems and working with my new provider. Enough said!!!

In the previous blog I posted an image of Errol Flynn that I’m working on. It isn’t complete, as I’m juggling artwork projects. I’m behind on some promised Ned Wynkoop images, and I need a Geronimo piece to accompany that article submission. Two bottom lines here: I like submitting artwork for articles and books as they can provide an image that supports the text (an image that doesn’t exist or isn’t obtainable); and they bring in additional money. I’m not big on money, but I like eating.

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This Ned Wynkoop image first appeared in an anthology that printed a Wynkoop article of mine, “Ned Wynkoop’s Lonely Walk Between the Races” (2008). It has since appeared in Wild West, True West, and has just appeared in Symphony in the Flint Hills Field Journal, Volume V (2013), that accompanies the orchestra’s concert, which happens each summer at historical sites in Kansas. This year they are featuring classic western film scores at Fort Riley. I had an open invite to the concert, but unfortunately couldn’t land a writing gig in Kansas at that time, so I won’t be there. BTW, this is a terrific book; well designed, nice range of articles with a wide selection of photos and artwork. I was pleasantly surprised. (Art © Louis Kraft 2007)

orchestra’s

Pardon the bragging, but my floppy-hat Wynkoop portrait sees print for the fourth time this month in a book dealing with a live concert in Kansas this summer. This isn’t ego, for it gives me the chance to invite friends over for dinner, to see a play, to walk in the park with a friend, to pay a bill.

Believe it or not (and no this isn’t a Ripley’s “Believe It or Not” cartoon from the Dark Ages), … I have at times been pounded for using art I created in my books and magazine articles, and worse I’ve been pounded for being an actor (in days long gone—I only appear now when I write the script). You see actors can’t be historians. This came with the Custer book, and for years after I hid my past life in a closet. Editors and publishing houses had no clue I had been an actor. After I came out of the closet and began acting onstage again (again, only in scripts I write), I decided to hell with hiding a past I had no problem remembering. It’s out in the open; now I get pounded for artwork and not acting. Go figure.

Ouch! I’ve probably put a curse on myself. Most likely the image of Ned Wynkoop in Sand Creek and the Tragic End of a Lifeway will be of him riding a horse. Ladies and gents, this image doesn’t exist. If I’m going to use it I’m going to have to create it. I’ve begun illustrations of him in Indian Territory in November 1868 surrounded by snow and another of him on the parade ground at Fort Larned, Kansas. Actually, the Wynkoop/horse image is under way, but alas, in a very early stage of development. Slow progress and actually these images may not be shared until they are published (or at least in a presentable view as was the Flynn/Custer image from the last blog).

hooperHome_apr2013

April 2013 view from the front porch of Vicki and Layton Hooper’s home in Fort Collins, Co. I am beginning to believe that I am the “Snowman of Colorado.” When Governor Hickenlooper needs more snow, all he has to do is call up ol’ Kraft, pay a decent salary, all expenses, and I’ll be on my way. I’ve already created a snow dance that guarantees success. Why wait for Halloween to begin the Christmas season? Why not July 4th? I can guarantee days upon days of the white stuff obliterating the sun. I’m not mean, … I’m just having fun, justifiable fun for being snowed in the last two times I’ve visited Colorado. Hell, the “gov” likes the Wynkoop book; that makes him a pal. (Photo © Louis Kraft 2013)

I had planned this blog to deal w/my thrilling time last April in the land of 300 days of sunshine—Colorado … dealing with people, my favorite subject. The above problem (internet/website) again ruled yesterday and will do so again this day, I walked away from my planned subject even though images and artwork were ready. … That said, and in a totally unexpected transition from what I’ve been talking about, I may enter that coolest of zones, that place from which I thought I had walked from—a place that forever excites me for the challenges are huge, the environment a maze of electricitya world in which I’m at home. What?? Good interview yesterday. I never hold my breath, … we’ll see.

Is Kraft fickle? I’ll never tell, … but I do like to tease.