look What I found!

We all know what happens when we don’t check our email or our blog mail. Today I finally decided to check my MYSPACE and look at what I found..an email from Mary Jordan the film distorter…..I have posted it in it’s entirety…but I will copy it here as well. I think I will respond to it line by line or should I say defamation by defamation.This was posted on my website

Mary Jordan said…

Jack Smith NEVER appointed you at the end of his life. He never even mentioned your name. the only reason you got to his bedside is because you had a car.

From Penny:

Mary Jordan..How would you know?

Even Mark Russell of Performance Space 122 wrote in the catalog of The New Museum’s EAST VILLAGE USA show how my lighting designer Lori E Seid and I made a bed ON MY STAGE for Jack in my August 1989 show so that Jack could see the show and be there as he didnt want to be alone in his apartment when I was caring for him. Jack died in September of 1989 when you were in high school or most likely boarding school far from the East Village. You came out of the ether in 2002 sent by Jack’s deathbed enemy Irving Rosenthal. You lied to me about your credentials as a film maker saying you had made several films on human rights and since I am a feminist as well as someone who wanted the best for Jack Smith I recommended you to Jim Hoberman, strongly suggesting that you would be a good person to make a film about Jack (non one else had EVER asked, and while I intended to someday make a documentary on Jack , I was happy to help you make one before me) Jim Hoberman, the prestigious film critic of the Village Voice, who is my partner in the Plaster Foundation, who has worked without pay and tirelessly for just shy of twenty years to promote Jack Smith and his legacy, as I have and on my word and recommendation allowed you access to the archive.When faced with this support and access , you instead used the contract for the minimal amount of money the archive charged you for film rights (that only went to pay storage for Jack’s artifacts) and turned the contract over to Irving Rosenthal who used it as bait for Jack’s greedy estranged sister who only ever came oout of the woodwork when their was money to be had. You reinvented her relationship with jack and then set out to slander and defame us who had worked on Jack’s legacy for years with no money. You used your relationship with the sister to take much of the materials the archive loaned you and make inferior copies which you sold to fund your film laying to waste years of our careful guardianship of Jack’s legacy.

To say that I was not close to Jack Smith is pathetic. Even if I had not known Jack for over 20 years at the time of his death, my committement to keep his name alive and spread the word of his genuis should be enough to garner your respect if not to stop you from slandering me. many ,many people all over the world will tell you that I have shared my celebrity and my stage with jack long long before the recent interest in him and that many people both abbroad and in NY first heard of Jack through me. If that was nt enough, Jack’s work would have never been saved at all if not for me. Then there would have been nthing for you to make a film about.

To try and erase my relationship and history with Jack borders on the unspeakable…most people who knew Jack ,knew that I was caring for him on a daily basis , at his request and because most of teh people who did know him were deathly afraid of his temper. You Mary Jordan interviewed everyone you could and yet no one would say anything about me on film and you had to abandon your original screen play that cast me as a villain who stole Jack’s work and you cast The Plaster Foundation in the same sordid light. How sad and pathetic is that?

Your sentences reek with amateur defamement…
Jack never uttered my name???

I only got to Jack’s bedside because I had a car???

This is just stupidity.

Mary Jordan says:

You tried to get Jack to sign a will where you had your name on it.

Penny:

Jack dictated a will to me AFTER I talked him out of wanting me to go tohis apartment, take all of his work and BURN it.
Hiis will stipulated that his works would remain together in an archive called the Penguin Foundation. He named me as the director of the foundation and II asked him to add Ira Cohen’s name. It was always not for profit and was meant to interact with institutions so his works would be seen.

Mary Jordan:

He angrily refused to sign to you. which means….I DONT WANT TO GIVE YOU MY THINGS. But you still took them. tell everyone how you stole the key to jacks apartment. He would never give you a key let alone give it to anyone.

Penny says:

He wasn’t angry about anything except my suggestion that he might want to notify family members.
When I told you that he had put off signing the will , the reality was : It was HIS will and he could do as he liked.
Later after the All Things Considered story on NPR about the court case I was contacted by his former neighbor Kurt Lavene, who heard the story on NPR (and who went to the hospityal with me in my car with jack) and emailed me to tell me that Jack became distrustful of Ira Cohen because of Ira’s friendship with Irving Rosenthal who was calling Jack non stop about wanting to take Jack’s works to his ‘vault’ in San Francisco, and that this was the reason that Jack delayed signing.

When Jack realized that he was getting weaker he decided to sign . This will layed around Jack’s room for 4 days. It was Jack’s will after all. Jack was completely concious up to the moment he went into his final coma. For you, Mary Jordan, or any one else for that matter to act as if Jack had dementia or any other state that would put him at risk for being manipulated is absurd. Frankly , the so called friends of Jack who prefer this theory didn’t bother to come and see Jack till he fell into a coma and that was after he was in the hospital for over two weeks..real friends those!

Mary Jordan says:

You have constantly said untrue things about the family. When did you ever or anyone ever interview the sister to get a synopsis of Jacks childhood?

I have never said anything publically about the sad state of Jack’s relationship with his sister until you tried to depict their relationship in an unreal light and depict me as someone who tried to take advantage of her when in fact Jack’s sister suffered from a very strong case of homophobia and had I not given her the $50,000 in bearer bonds that Jack gave me, she would have had all of Jack’s works destroyed. It was only the money that kept her from destroying his work.
Unlike you , I do not have a major inheritence and am not finacially independent. I could have done alot with that money but I chose to give it to Jack’s sister to save his works for posterity. I assume this is too much of a personal sacrifice for you to envision.

I interviewed Jack’s sister about their childhood , when against the feelings of nearly all of Jack’s so called friends I chose to call her and tell her that her brother had died. I took alot of flack for that action but I believed that his sister needed to be apprised of her brother’s death. It was not my place to go over Jack’s head and notify her that he was sick, he refused to let me and it was his deceison which I had to respect but once he died, I called her from his rolodex.
They had not spoken since 1978 when they had gotten into a serious fight over their mother’s will. Before that they had not spoken since 1953 when her and her husbands attacks on Jack’s homosexuality from their born again Christian philosophy estanged them. For you Mary Jordan to depict Jack and his sister as close is a lie.
There were serious breaches in that relationship cased by Jack’s mother favoring jack in her will. Jack was rather selfish, no one will say he was not. I tried to help his sister feel better but the thing that made her feel good was money.

Mary Jordan says:

Do you know there are letters that the sister posesses that prove you wrong?

Penny say:

The letters which Jack’s sister has were given to her by me. They were letters from Jack’s mother to Jack written mostly in the 160’s to early 1970’s. They are mostly about Jack’s mother’s concern for Jack and about her day to day activities caring for elderly people who often left her money. I have copies of them.

Mary Jordan says:

Do you realize that Jack collected his mother’s funds by an attorney who after endless questions Jack found out if you die intestate as his mother did, your things go to next of kin. Jack was not stupid. If he wanted to give you anything Mrs. ART CRUST he would of signed that will. He didnt.

Penny says:

jack believed he was protecting his work by signing the will which is why he signed it.
When I told yo that Jack finally decied to sign the will when he was physically weak and could only make his mark…
it was my wording that said ‘he stabbed his pen to the paper” and it was you who interpreted that as an angry action, you and you alone Mary Jordan.
Jack didn’t want to leave his sister even one dollar, which was suggested to him as a way of making his point clearly. he refused to even utter her name much less have it writen into the will. Jack believed that she would never even be toldof his death. I felt it was compassionate to let her know about her brother’s death not that she had any interest in how he had died. All she wanted to know was how much money he had left of his mother’s inheritence to him.

Mary Jordan say:

But you took it anyhow and feel you have some claim to it.
you published that you were Jack’s muse. Not one person who worked with Jack, even Mario Montez who was in Jack’s life for a signifant time- did not even know your name! Mario lived with Jack!

Penny says:

I could have taken everything for myself. That was the deal when I gave the sister the $50,000 in bearer bonds. For those of you who do not know, bearer bonds are like cash. You do not need anything to cash them except the bonds themselves.
If my goal was to personally own Jack’s work why would I have formed an archive? your thinking is irrational and illogical.
I put many of my own pices of Jack’s work into this archive as well as the negatives he gave me in order to keep them out of Irving Rosemnthal’s hands.

I would find it odd that Mario Montez would not remember me from the 1960’s however that said what would Mario know about this? He left NY in the 1970’s and has been largely incommunicado for close to three decades.

I have never promoted myself as Jack’s muse. There is not one shred of evidence to support this allegation of yours. jack had only one muse :Maria Montez.

Mary Jordan says:

Wake up. your constant self fullfilling change of history is boring. You were not in one film. Not one photo.
Penny says:

I think Mary Jordan that you need to wake up to reality.
Jack never made another film after 1966.
I came to NY in 1967 and i have NEVER claimed to be in a film of Jack’s

Mary Jordan says:

Not one of his close friends remembers you in his life as some dear friend.

Penny says:

And who are these close friends? Does Ira Cohen say that? No. Does Phoebe Legere say that? No.
Michael Oppedisano who was my gravest enemy after Jack died himself changed his mind after he saw the 1998 exhibition at PS 1 and you told me yourself that you had seen footage of him retracting the horrible things he said about me after Jack’s death. I let Michael slide because I knew that Jack cutting him out of Jack’s life two months before Jack died was a terrible tragedy for Michael and that Michael trasfered his rage at Jack to me.
The truth is that jack ,like many people compartmentalized his friends and that Jack had almost no friends at the time of his death…only a tiny handful of people even called him. In the month before Jack went back to the hospital I can remember only Ira Cohen and Ivan Galietti visiting him at home.
Who are you talking about Mary Jordan? and why wouldn’t these so called expert friends of Jack say this for you on camera?
even after you badgered everyone who even vaguely knew Jack to denounce me in some way on camera.

Mary Jordan says:

Prove me wrong. I told you…SHOW US THE WILL. Why wont you show us the WILL that you wrote.

Penny says:

After Jack went into his final coma, people who had not had the strength to visit Jack while he was conciosu flocked to the hospital. For some of them , their only interpretation of Jack’s will focused on my being named. They immediately decided that the will was my doing somehow forgetting the type of person Jack had always been. As if ANYONE could MANIPULATE Jack and that Mary Jordan is where you show your ignormance of Jack’s personality and nature.

Once these people saw that Kurt Lavene was one of the two witnesses (the other was Mitch markowitz who I was married to at the time) They badgered Levene with their fears. While the probate office was willing to accept the will as it was, MR Levene made the following statement to me;

“I know that this is what Jack wanted but as a born again Christian I cannot say for sure that at the moment he signed the will he knew what he was doing”

Jack never didn’t know what he was doing but I decided not to pursue the will when it was obvious that the people who presented themselves as jack’s friends would rather see the stuff destroyed than to not have control over it.
After Jack died people came out of the wood work and wanted to rule by committee.
Ira Cohen witnessed me trying to get Jack to name someone other than myself to be in charge and Jack refused. He said some quite ulgy things about nearly every one he knew which was Jack’s lifelong pattern. The ones who he did not say uly things about he considered to weak or too susceptable to Irving Rosenthal.

Mary Jordan says:

Tell everyone how there was a commitee of jacks close freinds who wanted by vote to decide what to do with Jacks things and instead you took everything and refused to join that commitee.

Penny says:

these people came around AFTER Jack was in a coma.they had no idea of what Jack wanted. They wanted to rule by committee when Jack had left me in charge with very specific instructions. 9 out of ten of them had not thought to bring Jack a bowl of soup while he was rotting on his kitchen floor but suddenly they were forming committees to discredit me, even though I included everyone. Tell me how they reponded to my attempt to save his apartment as a museum?

“What’s the point ? jack’s dead” said one of your ‘special” friends of Jack.

When I said that I had contacted Jim Hoberman because NO ONE, Not One institution in the art world had any interest in preserveing Jack’s work except for MOMA who only wanted Jack’s films. Jack had refused to have his films seperated from his other art stuff. When it cam eto the sugestion of MOMA Jack said “They don’t even know what to do with Andy Warhol’s films!
I do not want my films buried under Warhol’s. The response to teh fact that I had contacted Hoberman who Jack considered “my personal critic” for keeping jack’s name in print and alive thru the 1980’s when jack was patently ignored, was that a couple of these ‘special’ friends wanted to meet Hoberman. they happened to be film makers and I knew the last thing Hoberman wanted was people promoting THEIR work to him. There is alot of sordid self serving in the libel and slnder that has been hurled at me from this quater.
eventually I will tell the whole story..but as you can see I am still too kind to name names.

Anonymous said…
Dear Penny,

i just got to read about you and mary jordan and jack smith’s estate and i am shocked. i always felt something was fishy about the filmmaker and documentary that was being made on his work, yet I was remotely involved with its partial presentation during a performance program, despite the many warnings we received from some of our peers. i regret for not having contacted you. i really do. best,

defne
10:57 A