July 4, 2022
Here are some interesting old photos from the UTSA digital
collection showing Sam and wife O-lan in their early theatre days.
June 30, 2022
Upon Sam's death in 2017, film critic Brian Marks wrote the
"In recent years, he
was best known as a reliable
supporting player, the go-to actor for noble lawmen, stubborn soldiers, and
bitter patriarchs. His skill on screen almost overshadowed the fact that his
career started behind the scenes and on the page. Shepard was the rare
playwright and actor, a category strangely uncommon in the history of
"Sam Shepard was not a commercial figure Ė his plays were
done off-Broadway and his best work on screen is more recognized by
lovers of film than the average moviegoer."
I very much consider myself a passionate cinephile and I
absolutely agree with that last statement.
June 17, 2022
Eagle Rock Theatre Company has set their dates for the
premiere of "Unseen Shepard" at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The play,
directed by Martin Jago, will run from August 5-20, 2022.
Here's a little history on how the play developed. In 2017,
American actor Nic DíAvirro approached Matt Braaten, his good friend and fellow
actor, with an idea for a play about Sam Shepard. Nic was an actor first and
foremost, whereas Matt had previously written plays and scripts. At first, there
was just an idea about Sam on his last night alive, but Nic clearly knew the
tone of the piece yet to be written. Energized by the concept, the two began
sharing ideas and learning as much as they could about him. They obviously
checked out this web site. Slowly the structure of the play began to take shape.
Other plays to be staged this summer -
At London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art - "Curse
of the Starving Class". From June 30 to July 9.
In Wellfleet, MA, the Harbor Stage Company offers "Buried
Child" from June 16 thru July 9.
In California, the San Jose Stage company will present "The
Tooth of Crime" from August 3 thru August 22.
May 27, 2022
News from Scotland - The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has
announced it will be premiering a play this summer called "Unseen Shepard".
Written by Nic D'Avirro and Matt Braaten, it's a three-actor, one-act drama
described as a fictional/surrealist telling of Sam's final night alive. The
synopsis reads: Sam Shepard is on his deathbed and heís confronted by
characters from his past works, demanding a rewrite. They won't let him go
without a fight. Among them are writers, cowboys, abusive husbands, punk
rockers, and long-suffering women, who all want more out of their trapped
existence. However, they only have a short time to plead their cases.
Reading the synopsis, it comes off more like a comedy than a drama. You can
imagine Lee and Austin as characters returning to haunt the playwright as they
attempt to confiscate his beloved Hermes 3000 having destroyed their own
April 6, 2022
For those who wish to inquire about permission to use any of
Sam's works for future book publications or plays, you might try writing to this
New York, NY 10019
February 18, 2022
In November Valarie Smith of the Oregon Artwatch
Organization posted an interview with author Willy Vlautin and together they
had some very perceptive opinions of our playwright.
"Nobody I know reads Sam Shepard. Nobody... It
might be hard for women to relate to him. Also, his prose is deceptive ó
heís working on so many levels. And when you look at his body of work,
thatís what tells the story. I bought a biography of his, but I canít think
of a biography that Iím less interested in reading Ė itís already there, on
the pages of all his books."
"It seemed like it got worse for Shepard over the years,
like he became unmoored somehow... Iím reading a book of letters he
exchanged with Joseph Chaikin, a theater producer he worked with in the
early years. Even then, you can see the cracks: how he canít reconcile these
opposing sides of himself. I wonder if he was afraid to lose something
creatively if he tried to come to terms with it all."
"You wonder with stuff like that, like his problems with
his dad. If you keep making a lot of mistakes throughout your life, maybe
you just keep leaning on that idea that it all started because of that. I
donít know if he kept that wound open so he could keep mining it, like it
was a wound that never healed, so he had to write about it."
"I think thereís a loneliness in [Shepardís writing] that
a lot of people have. Family doesnít bring him comfort, religion doesnít
give him comfort. Alcohol gives him comfort and then beats him on the side
of the head for getting comfort from it. And his past wonít ever let him go
or he wonít let it go."
January 7, 2022
On January 13 at 1:30 pm, Manhattan's MoMA will screen the
documentary ME AND MY BROTHER (1965-1968). Written by
director/cinematographer Robert Frank and Sam Shepard, this film shows the
relationship between Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky and Peter's brother Julius,
who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. This 4k digital restoration of the
original version was done by The Museum of Modern Art and this screening will
mark its North American premiere. It is a record of bohemian artist life in
1960s New York and was first featured at the 1968 Venice Film Festival.
January 5, 2022
When "Travellin' Man" Bob Dylan began his Rolling Thunder
Revue tour (1975-76), he enlisted Sam to write a screenplay of the event. He
imagined his troop of artists, which included Joni Mitchell, Allen Ginsberg, Arlo Guthrie and Joan Baez, would create an on-the-road Kerouac-style story. The
task ended up being too difficult for Sam so the film never developed but his
log of the tour's experience was published a couple years later.
Among his impressions, Sam noted, "MYTH is a powerful medium
because it talks to the emotions and not to the head. It moves us into an area
of mystery. Some myths are poisonous to believe in, but others have the capacity
for changing something inside us, even if itís only for a minute or two. Dylan
creates a mythic atmosphere out of the land around us. The land we walk on every
day and never see until someone shows it to us."
Sam continues, "Dylan
has invented himself. Heís made himself up from scratch. That is, from the
things he had around him and inside him. Dylan is an invention of his own mind.
The point isnít to figure him out but to take him in. He gets into you anyway,
so why not just take him in? Heís not the first one to have invented himself,
but heís the first one to have invented Dylan."
Myth also became part of Sam's persona. Upon his death in
2017, the LA Times wrote, "Despite dozens
of blatantly personal plays to his name, movie stardom and the spotlight of
celebrity and acclaim, Shepard remained throughout his life an inscrutable
figure, an American myth in plain sight."
It has just come to my attention that on the back of the
Viking Press edition of the logbook is a photo taken by Johnny Dark, of Sam and
January 1, 2022
In the January 2022 issue of "True West" magazine,
Mark Broadman writes, "Sam Shepardís 1980 play True West is one of his
best known efforts. It examines the relationship of two brothers, previously
estranged, as they come to grips with their relationship through writing a
screenplay about the 'true West.' Shepard had to get the okay from True West
magazine to use that title for his play. It wasnít the first time that happened.
The 1965 album 'Johnny Cash Sings the Ballads of the True West' was reportedly
inspired by The Man in Blackís love of the publication."
July-August 31, 2017
January - June 2014
January - June 2011
July - December 2010
January - June 2010
July - December 2009
January - June 2009
July - December 2008
January - June 2008
November 2005 - December 2006