Rebel Rebel Without Applause

Every January 10th I wear a red sock on my left foot and and a black on my right, just like Plato in Rebel Without A Cause. The film just screened at the Arclight, and my smart newish friend Daniel Wehr ( loves this film, as do I. We were mesmerized for the entire duration, and I found it difficult to peel my eyes away from the commanding visage of James Dean. His brave performance in this Republican era of American conservatism has to be honored as daring and brilliant. A suffering boy, unsure of why he is a misfit and what to do about it, resonates with me in ways I cannot say. When he says the line I use almost weekly, “You’re tearing me apart!” with the look of drunken, complete anguish filling the screen, chills run rampant. His kiss with Natalie Wood is so genuine and sensual, I was actually (ALERT: TMI MOMENT) physically aroused and hung with the image for a good long while. 

Sal Mineo, Plato in the film, was killed a day before his 40th birthday in an apparent robbery attempt-though some say gay lover incident- just a few blocks from my home at Villa Allegra on Laurel Avenue here in West Hollywood.
Tragedy seems to follow the famous, and every star associated with this film died before their time, in a gruesome way. A curse? Not likely. Just a sad fact of the excess endemic to the life of a megawatt star. 

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