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Going Home is Such a Ride

Dianna Dilworth

Living in Switzerland during the pandemic, I often talked to my close friend Julia Greenberg to pass the time. On the line from back home in the Catskills, she told me in detail about her quarantine project: helping Joby Baker organize Dory Previn’s archives to donate them to the New York Public Library. I had seen Julia perform Dory’s songs, but I didn’t really know about her backstory beyond some kind of vague connection to Andre.


On our calls, Julia shared stories of the treasures in the archive. Dory’s letters from Jackie O and Woody Allen, photos of Dory with Georgia O’Keeffe, old VHS tapes with performances, masters from an unreleased album, a Hollywood rolodex that would make Cindy Adams swoon and dozens of boxes of hundreds of journals with Dory’s most personal writings. It had always been Dory’s dream to donate these materials to the NYPL and Julia was working to make that happen.


“You should make a movie,” I said during one of these calls. “Before you send these things to the library.”


“Are you insane? I don’t make movies!”,” she said. “Maybe you should.”


Fast forward a few months, at my first 4th of July party in years, Julia brings out Dory’s former acoustic guitar, a gift from Joby, and tells our assembled friends that we are making a movie. The next thing I know, we are driving from the Catskills to the Berkshires with a trunk full of camera gear, “Lady with the Braid” blasting from the speakers. 


Would you care to stay till sunrise

It's completely your decision

It's just that going home is such a ride

Going home is such a ride

Going home is such a ride

Going home is such a low and lonely ride

Arriving at Dory’s home, it became evident to me that that’s what we were doing. We really were making a movie. We passed Joby’s painting of Dory in the living room as we loaded in the gear. Boxes of Dory’s journals were stacked in her dining room on top of the floors she herself had hand painted. Her office was jam-packed with museum-worthy photos, posters, records, drawings. Everything about being there made me realize that we needed to make this movie.


Joby regaled us with stories and jokes about their romance, shared creative impulses, marital spats. He said she was a great cook and hosted many dinner parties (a fact verified by the esteemed Rex Reed). We met with a handful of Dory’s closest friends – wonderfully kind and creative people – all of whom shared Dory’s favorite line: “Art is fart.” 


Staying up late in a nearby hotel, we read some of Dory’s personal diaries, only just beginning to understand her internal journey, and thus began our almost three year process of creating Dory Previn: On My Way to Where. 


We hope you’ll come along for the rest of the ride.

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