Thursday, January 21, 2016

Schulenberg's Page: Paris, Part XXXXIII

Roman Polanski, Lola Mouloudji, and Jean Genet at Cafe Flore, July 23, 1963.
Schulenberg's Page: Paris, Part XXXXIII
Text and illustrations by ©Bob Schulenberg

Just a few days before I visited Harper's Bazaar and watched Avedon photographing the couture collections, I was meeting Roman Polanski to have dinner somewhere in Saint Germain-des-Pres.

He was always asking me questions about Hollywood actors. "Is Rock Hudson really gay?"

That's what I'd heard — and while I was at UCLA and part-time working at the Duncan Vail art store on Beverly Drive, he came in to buy art equipment to take to Laguna with his friend, a young guy wearing shorts and flip flops.

It seemed probable.

"What about Cary Grant?"

I had no idea.

"Humphrey Bogart?"

Probably not.

We were stopping at the Flore before deciding where to go for dinner and as we got closer, we saw Lola Mouloudji on the terrace with someone. She invited us to join them — the person with her was Jean Genet!
I was surprised at how small and finely made Jean was. He was himself meeting someone for dinner and when she arrived, I was equally surprised that she was a young American student.

What an unlikely couple! The truly notorious writer of plays with shocking themes — the man that Sartre had called "Saint Jean" — with this young, auburn-haired, innocent-looking undergraduate type.
A short time after, I asked Lola what It was like to know Genet and she told me they'd gone on holiday together.

"What was that like?" I asked. She said she'd brought a lot of books along ... and while she read ... he tried on her clothes!

Once, when I was leaving the Flore with Lola, an older man entered and greeted her.

"That was Tristan Tzara," she said.

Tzara was one of the original Dadaists!

She knew a lot of interesting people.

One of the first evenings to which she invited me was dinner at the home of her client, Daniel-Emilfork, an actor who parlayed his very unusual appearance into a successful career as a film actor.
He played the villain who stole children's dreams!
In reality, he was as kind as he was unusual looking.

He lived at le Bateau-Lavoir in Montmartre, since the very late 19th century, a residence of artists, one of whom had been a very young Picasso. It was here that Picasso painted the groundbreaking painting, "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon."
The building was very important in the development of early 20th century art being also a gathering place for everyone else from Modigliani, Van Dongen, Gris, Dufy and Matisse to writers Apollinaire, Cocteau and Gertrude Stein and art dealers Vollard, Kahnweiller, and others who are lesser known today.

Emilfork's residence itself looked like a larger artist's studio from a production of "La Boheme," and dinner was to be at a large rustic wooden table in the center of the room.

Emilfork was an excellent chef and the first course was a slice of cantaloupe which was a surprise to me as I wasn't accustomed to cantaloupe as a salad course. This was during my first days in France and so much was new and different.
The meat course was served ... and it was calves' liver! Oh, oh!

I wasn't a fan of liver and in fact, hated it! But I was a guest and a representative of America and how could I say "no thank you?" Even if I knew how to say it.

So I was determined to eat it with a semblance of pleasure. I took a bite. And it was delicious. Calves' liver delicately sautéed in butter and served with a lemon slice.

It was the beginning of my becoming more aware of the possibilities of food.

Years later, in Hollywood at Musso & Frank, Hollywood's oldest restaurant, I saw liver on the menu. I thought I'd try liver-in-America at this prestigious restaurant and relive my Paris experience so I ordered it. Unfortunately, it was the same old liver that I'd always detested. Liver and onions.

I've never forgotten that first home dinner in Paris, but I've never been able to duplicate it.

A week or so after meeting Genet, I was at the Cafe des Deux Magots a few steps away from the Flore.
I was joined by Ivy Nicholson, who as a model, Cecil Beaton had called one of the most beautiful women in the world!
With her was Nico who, years later would become affiliated with Andy Warhol. She would become the featured performer of The Velvet Underground, but this was just a few years after she had been in Federico Fellini's film, "La Dolce Vita."
There was a lot of gossip between them and I got the impression that Nico had had or was having an affair with Alain Delon! It turned out that the previous year she'd given birth to a son by Delon and the baby was being raised by Delon's parents.
Nico with son Ari (Alain Delon's son).
Nico with Marcello Mastroianni in "La Dolce Vita."
Later in her life, Nico became addicted to heroin and aside from her involvement with Warhol and The Velvet Underground, became known as a singer/composer.

While in Ibiza, off of heroin and trying for a more healthy life, she had a heart attack while riding a bicycle and fell, suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. She died at the age of 50!

So many of the people involved with Warhol appear to have led brief tumultuous lives.
Nico and Andy.
Years later, when I was back living in New York, I was waiting for the crosstown bus near the Museum of Natural History and I noticed a tall, slim, and somewhat haggard woman, very plainly dressed who was also waiting for the bus. I was thinking that this plain woman, slim, tall and with the small head that models have*, could've been a model if her life had been different.

*(An artist "measures" a figure by how many "heads tall" they are. The familiar artist pose, staring at a figure with his arm extended is "measuring" and a model is 7.5 to 8 heads tall, whereas the average person is 6.5 heads tall!)

I was staring at this woman and she turned her head and I saw a very familiar profile. Looking at me, she said, "I. Know. You."

Very grand, very dramatic. It was, in fact, Ivy.

The bus arrived, we hopped on together, and after decades of not seeing each other, shared what in our lives we were doing. I told her that I was still illustrating. Ivy smiled a big smile and said she was going to marry Andy Warhol!

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
— the more things change, the more they remain the same!

She didn't marry Andy Warhol.
Photobooth portrait of Ivy Nicholson by Andy Warhol.
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