Thursday, December 1, 2016

Schulenberg's Page: New York, Part LXXXVIII

Text and Illustrations by ©Bob Schulenberg

New York, Spring, 1967.
I had recently met and become friendly with Ron Dahlman, another illustrator who lived near me on the Upper East Side. One night, he invited me over to meet his good friend Karen Roberts and another friend named Ellen.

I was getting a lot of work and was grateful to have an evening without an immediate deadline for the next day.
This was in no way a very special evening, but was just a comfortable visit with light conversation and music.
The next day, a lunch meeting.
And back uptown for home and work.
After The Secret Cinema, Paul and I had talked about doing more movies. We still hadn't been able to find a distributor for our movie, finding everyone saying it was too short for a feature film!

Nevertheless, I found myself thinking in terms of film design and in case the opportunity arose, made notes to myself full of ideas about ways of shooting a scene.
My friend, Oscar Molinari-Herrera, a young South American I'd known in Paris, had arrived in New York for a visit. We'd decided to meet downtown at The Cedar Bar which had been the hangout for the Abstract Expressionist painters so popular during the 1950s.
Oscar hoped for some of the glamour!
His elegant mother was an art collector and one night in Paris at Regine's nightclub, New Jimmy's, she asked if she could buy one of my sketchbooks. I was very flattered but told her they were part of a whole. She then said, "do you realize how valuable they are?"

I guess I did because in financial terms I'd once asked my father, a lawyer and businessman, how I might evaluate them in practical ways — money!
He said if I'd ever sold a drawing for reproduction or even privately, the potential financial value was at least that price times all the pages in my books! At that time there were only about five books but even so, the amount was considerable!

If there were a purchaser!
So I met Oscar and a friend of his, Martin Arreaza, downtown at The Cedar Bar but there were no Abstract Expressionist painters!

They had moved on and along with the next generation of POP artists, were now spending their time a short distance away on Park Avenue at Max's Kansas City!
Willem De Kooning at Max's.
Oscar and Martin had hoped to see a famous artist or two!
But they were not disappointed by Max's.
We went in past the bar in the front and were led through a door leading to the back room which was becoming well known and notorious for its clientele and their various activities!
J. Fred Muggs from the Today Show.
A baby elephant.
"Showtime" in the Back Room at Max's!
Andy Warhol was hidden away at a table in a corner surrounded by some desperate-looking young people.
Isabelle Collin-Dufresne, the young French woman who was now called "UltraViolet," stopped by to say hello and very vaguely and distractedly visit before joining the Warhol group in the corner.
I'd never understood the fascination with the Warhol crowd whose excesses were pretty boring, but Oscar and Martin were getting The Full Treatment!
After a long evening we left, parted company and I headed back home uptown surrounded by a less boring hyper-reality.
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