"the only way to be quiet is to be quick, so I scare you clumsily, or surprise you with a stab." — Frank O'Hara
Ennis SmithAbout

Ennis grew up in Cincinnati, the sixth of ten children. In his first life he was an actor and singer; embarking on his second, he completed his BA at Empire State College, where he was a Richard Porter Leach Fellow.

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Latest Publication

Creative Nonfiction cover 2014-10-16 at 1.19.36 PM copy

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Deep Songs, Writings

Still, Standing

Creative Nonfiction #53 / Fall 2014 / “Mistakes” For an art model, time bends, saunters, crawls, or stealthily expands, but it rarely flies. Twenty minutes can feel like infinity if the pose is difficult—and each is difficult in its own way. Tonight is my first full-figure gig, which means I’m struggling to maintain the position…

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The View

There I was sunning on an island off the tip of Long Island, as my vacation days dwindled to a precious few. Clouds rolled in. Part of me welcomed the momentary break from the rays, but another part dreaded the sun’s disappearance. I counted the minutes wondering if they would ever would. Uncertainty. In this…

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Art, Music

Hang in there, you…

Tough times for Folkies Dept: First she fended off Taylor Swift’s attempt to make a movie of her life.  Now comes word that Joni Mitchell was hospitalized this week.  The prospect of losing the ultimate artist is too dispiriting to contemplate.  We love you, Joni–now get up and get back to work.

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Criticals, Film, Gay, History, Short Cuts, Theater

Oscar Bait!

It isn’t true for every child that grows up in a large family, but it was true for me: I wanted to be seen. There I was, a middle child (one of ten) convinced of his invisibility, and fighting like hell to rectify the injustice.  From where I sat, recognition came either by way of…

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Film, Television, Theater

Mike Nichols, 1931-2014, Director

The very first play I saw on Broadway was the original production of D.L. Coburn’s The Gin Game. By then, Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy had left, and been replaced by E.G. Marshall and Maureen Stapleton. No matter: it was still a once-in-a-lifetime evening watching those two deliver performances so perfect they made me weep….

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Music, My back pages

Tim Hauser 1941-2014, Founder of the Manhattan Transfer

Photo: Hauser, left, with Siegel, Paul and Bentyne “Boo-bop-boooo-bop…” It was all I needed to hear–til this day those first four notes of “Tuxedo Junction” can still elicit the pleasure it did when the Manhattan Transfer released it on their debut album back in 1975.  Hearing this matchless quartet for the first time was a…

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My back pages, New York, Soujorns, Travel

Vacations like other people

The sea air is a drug that addles reason. How else to explain the amnesia that comes over me every summer on the first bike ride back to the Ram’s Head Inn on Shelter Island?  I forget that its approach involves two short steep hills—the first brings you up to Little Ram’s Head Island, a…

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Music, My back pages, Vespers

Horace Silver, Jazz Supernova 1928-2014

Thanks to Horace Silver, the magical moment occurred shortly after I first moved to New York, one of many that effectively, resoundingly, shot down (or made me re-consider) all my country Midwestern notions about…everything. I’d say I was hooked from the moment I heard that sneaky vamp. “Come on Home” was the first cut on…

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