The ethereal blonde on the cover of SOLEDAD #5 is Alexandra Hay, best known for her supporting roles in late 1960s movies like Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Otto Preminger’s Skidoo, and as the leading lady of Jacque Demy’s Model Shop. The final starlet under contract as the old studio system broke down, she also played Jean Harlow in The Beard, a controversial play which led to her being arrested 14 times for ‘lewd conduct’ (with Billy the Kid), before winning an historic acquittal under First Amendment rules. Dylan Staley, who is working on a biography of this neglected actress, shares an extended profile in this issue.
Other highlights include Aaron W. Graham’s article about The Long Distance Piano Player, a 1970 TV drama written and directed by Alan Sharp, the Scottish novelist who became a Hollywood screenwriter. Part of the BBC’s ground-breaking Play for Today series, the teleplay also starred one of English music’s finest, Ray Davies of Kinks fame. Elsewhere, Sandra McCollum presents five evocative prose pieces about growing up in the segregated American South.
Regular contributor Marcelline Block shares two book excerpts (Filmed Letters From Algeria, and The Films of Michel Gondry) and a selection of poetry, while Robert Monell concludes his science fiction series with Government By Magick. There’s also a photo-essay by Amy Pangburn, new poems from Emily Clare Bryant and lyrics by musician David Neuland, and Soledad editor Jeremy Richey’s interview with Christian Valor, author of a new biography of French exploitation filmmaker Claude Mulot.
And finally, my long-overdue, 17-page, illustrated review of Lana Del Rey’s 2019 opus, Norman Fucking Rockwell! Yes, I know she’s made two more albums since then – with another on the way – but I hope you’ll agree that whatever I may lack in punctuality, I compensate for amply in breadth.