Thursday, June 2, 2016

Schulenberg's Page: New York, Part LXII

Text and Illustrations by ©Bob Schulenberg

David Bryson
came to my apartment uptown and we went to the West Side to visit Barre.
Barre, who had a cat he'd named "Toklas" in honor of Gertrude Stein's companion, played for us a recording of "Four Saints in Three Acts," the collaboration Stein did with Virgil Thompson.
Barre went on to tell us about the inception of the piece and proceeded to read us some writings of Stein's.
Eventually, David went home to Brooklyn and Barre and I visited Carole, who lived close by.
I had seen this drawing in an ad and the hair reminded me of Carole's.

Being involved with projects dealing with the crazed fixation on new ways to style hair, I'd become very aware of how real people were responding to the trend.
The next day I started working on the hair styles book commission which I thought of as a means to practice rendering hair. It was tedious, but interesting to see how many variations of hair styles were possible. In writing copy for these projects, Connie Bartel, editing HAIR TRENDS magazine, always said it was all made "out of whole cloth!"

I came up for air and took a late night coffee break.
A few days later, Suzy McHugh from the ad agency had a small get-together. People were interested to know what I was doing now that I was back in New York and freelancing. Some of them told me that they were envious and wished they weren't harnessed to a 9 to 5 job.
Some of these were hard drinking ad men.
Pattie Ferrier was someone I'd met in 1958 when she was in Los Angeles touring with the musical "REDHEAD" starring Gwen Verdon and Richard Kiley. She had a family member living in Huntsville, Alabama and I had met her through Daisy Lange.
Pattie was Bob Fosse's dance captain, and after a few years married Richard Kiley. She invited me to go with her to see "Ben Franklin in Paris" starring Robert Preston.
Two days earlier, Pattie and I had gone to an event at the State Theater where we saw Jacqueline Kennedy. There were a lot of familiar faces.
Seeing Carol Channing, Pattie thought that her massive bouffant wig and huge glasses made her resemble "a female aviatrix!"
Previously, Carole and I had seen "Tiny Alice," a somewhat inscrutable play by Edward Albee.
Irene Worth ...
... and Sir John Gielgud.
When the play was over, the woman sitting at my left, sighed and looked at me and said, "What was that all about"? I told her it might be like a joke I'd heard:

A man dies — is 'dead' for a half hour — until he's resuscitated and brought back to life. The medical staff is incredulous when he tells them that while 'dead' he had seen God. 'What is God like?' asks the surgeon. 'Well to begin with,' he says, 'she's black!'
The woman laughed and told me her name. Caresse Crosby. Although I didn't let on, I was shocked!

Caresse Crosby and her husband had been one of the most flamboyant couples of the Jazz Age!
She had "invented" and patented the first brassiere in 1913, divorced her socialite husband and married Harry Crosby, a Boston Brahmin and nephew of J.P. Morgan and with him, founded Black Sun Press in Paris where they lived a life that could politely be called profligate.

They were early publishers of T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway and many others. When Harry was 31, he shot and killed his young mistress and himself having the belief that it was the ultimate surrealist act of love!

There's a book, Black Sun, documenting their tempestuous life together.

Of course there were questions I wanted to ask her, but what can one do after a play has ended? So I only said I was pleased to meet her and we left.

Following the play, we'd been invited to join Leonard Lyons, the syndicated writer of a popular column, "THE LYONS DEN," which dealt with every aspect of nightlife. He knew everyone and everyone wanted to know him. His son, Warren, was a friend of ours.
I met Warren when he came to Paris with Treva Silverman. He was working in David Merrick's office and had arranged a house seat for me at HELLO DOLLY the night I arrived from Paris. I assume that Carole met him at Merrick's when she worked there.
Meeting Lyons, we started at Sardi's where Mr. and Mrs. Beatty stopped to say hello.
The only people of real interest appeared to be the actor Maximilian Schell and Soraya, the divorced-ex-queen of Iran whose relationship was news.
We then went on to El Morocco.
It was strangely uninteresting and surprisingly quiet so we left and ended the evening at The Oak Room of the Plaza.
After our "night on the town," I shared with Carole that the evening felt somehow empty and that the only conversation Leonard Lyons had shared was to point out and name any well known person. Since there hadn't been that many, there was not much "conversation!"

It seemed to me that he was an older version of an autograph hunter!

And Carole agreed.
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