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Frank Lloyd Wright was enough of a "man of the world" to perceive the personalities of the young people he chose to admit into this organization. I gather that a "don't ask, don't tell" policy was in effect with regard to the young men and women who worked at Taliesin - as far as FLlW was concerned. Olgivanna may have thought and acted differently - I don't know. I think FLlW's own unconvential personal life may have made him relatively open-minded when it came to judging other's private lives. His Unitarian background may have also contributed to this liberal outlook.
FLlW was a product of the 19th century, having been born in 1867. The fact that he knowingly worked with and did what he could to accommodate * at the fellowship within the context of a totally hostile american culture is something to consider before judging him by the standards of 2006.
Seeing the young man, who was quite convincing in his costume, Wright turned to the quartette and said: "A waltz, please." Then he approached the Spanish dancer, bowed, held out his hand and said: "May I have this dance?" And they danced around the living room at Taliesin.
I can only say: that's priceless.
Of course, we have to wonder whether FLW knew this was a man (I'm thinking of Ling Po's mother who saw him dressed up for a play as a woman, and she kept trying to get him introduced to that "good Chinese girl").
On the other hand, if FLW knew it was a woman, that was just wonderful.
Home movies from Taliesin in the early 30s give the sense of a free-spirited community. I do not mean that in a negative way. Certainly they worked and had great demands put on them, but we also see the apprentices having fun.
They were part of a special community. Thirty Five years later it may have been called a 'commune,' but that term has negative connotations for some people, within the context of the Sixties and Seventies. We see Mr. Wright carry a watermelon into the county fair in the movie, and then share it with the apprentices as they watch horse racing in the grandstands.
Mark Hertzberg wrote: We see Mr. Wright carry a watermelon into the county fair in the movie,
I saw part of this neat film in a video I have around somewhere. Frank also makes decidedly goofy gestures towards the camera. Considering his usual propensity to be "on" in public, it was nice to see him in unguarded moments having a good time. You can hear and read about the experience of being in his presence, but these home movies are treasures and all we'll ever have as a substitute.
It always seemed to me that those first years must have been the best of times to be a fellow. Some of the worst of times were occurring outside their bubble, and the initial cohesion and sense of purpose must have been exhiliarating. Then things just got wierd.