My country in 1922 (…searching for my country…)
Born in Cleveland, Ralph Steiner was a key avant-garde filmmaker of the 1930s. Originally a chemistry major in college, Steiner turned to photography and film and ideas of using these art forms for progressive social action. Steiner photographed America from the 1920s to the 1960s, and produced short films such as “The City”, a documentary for the New York World’s Fair of 1939.
I seen the sun come up. That was pretty, too — all red and pink and green. I was looking at the skyscrapers — steel — and the ships coming in, sailing out, all over the earth — and they was steel too. The sun was warm, there weren’t no clouds, and there was a breeze blowing.
Sure it was great stuff. I get it all right — what Paddy said about that city being the right dope — only I couldn’t get in it, see? I couldn’t belong in that.
I’m a busted Ingersoll, that’s what. Steel was me, and I owned the world. Now I ain’t steel, and de world owns me. Aw, hell! I can’t see — it’s all dark, get me? It’s all wrong!
1922 — The Hairy Ape — Eugene O’Neill
Playwright Eugene O’Neill wrote plays in a realist style, using American vernacular and depicting people marginalized by society. Son of Irish immigrants, O’Neill never finished college but instead found inspiration working aboard ships and then living and working in the Greenwich Village literary scene in the 1910s. O’Neill wrote more than 50 plays from 1914 to his death in 1953. O’Neill was born in the Barrett House hotel near Times Square, and died in the Sheraton Hotel in Boston, and his last words were reported to be: “ I knew it. Born in a hotel room and died in a hotel room. Of course.”