Late Sunday afternoon I attended a Word Theatre poetry reading called ‘Tongues on Fire” in West Hollywood. The big draw was actress-poet Amber Tamblyn reading from her latest volume, Bang Ditto. The passages she read were mostly about relationship rage (“I would sleep with your friends if you had any”) and were delivered with a certain arch-deadpan tonality, like pithy fire-drill alarms.
Russ Tamblyn, Amber Tamblyn following Sunday evening’s Word Theatre presentation of
‘Tongues on Fire: An Evening with California’s Finest Poets” at Restaurant3 in West Hollywood — Sunday, 10,.25, 6:25 pm.
Tamblyn’s writing is fierce, brilliantly honed and sometimes razor-hilarious. She also sang two duets with her mom, Bonnie Murray.
My admiration for Tamblyn began with her lead performance in Stephanie Daley, which I first saw at Sundance ’06. (Distribution mucky-muck delayed its release until April ’07.) I called her performance “awfully damn good…conveying a haunted, gloom-ridden, terrified emotional state, and she’s immensely watchable, attractively so, every second she’s on-screen.”
Amber has been seriously invested in poetry since 2005 or thereabouts. Her first poetry book, Free Stallion (Simon & Schuster), came out that year. She exec produces an annual L.A. poetry event, “The Drums Inside Your Chest“, and is the co-founder of Write Now Poetry Society. She’s hooked up these days with comedian David Cross. She currently lives in Brooklyn’s DUMBO district.
Amber’s actor-manager dad Russ Tamblyn (who’s partnered with Joan Hyler these days) was in the audience. Post-performance we briefly spoke about Robert Wise‘s The Haunting (’61), a landmark horror film in which Russ co-starred. An English home known for being actually haunted was used for exteriors, he said, with interiors filmed at Elstree Studios. We talked about that killer climactic scene in which a large wooden door bends and contorts from the pressure of ghosts, and what it might have actually been made of.
Amber Tamblyn, Bonnie Murray during yesterday’s Word Theatre performance at West Hollywood’s Restaurant3. The show was produced by Cedering Fox.