Thursday, February 23, 2017

Schulenberg's Page: New York, Part C

"Paul depressed after seeing The Secret Cinema at The Bleecker Street Cinema; Le Figaro on the terrace, May 27th 1966."
Text and Illustrations by ©Bob Schulenberg

Paul had arranged to screen an assemblage of The Secret Cinema
at The Bleecker Street Cinema to get an idea of how it looked on a movie screen — something larger than an editing machine screen.

After, we went to Le Figaro coffee house and sitting on the terrace talked about all the work that still needed to be done. We'd shot the film silent in the style that Italian filmmakers had used, dubbing dialogue after. We had so little money and were shooting "guerrilla-style" — without permits, using locations without paying, etc. — that it was much quicker and was a way of working that Paul, having studied filmmaking in Rome at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, was comfortable with.

We were aware that we weren't finished. Connie Ellison, who played "Jane's" friend "Helen," wasn't an actress and had a bit of a Midwestern accent. We had her re-record some of her dialogue but finally Paul realized that he'd have to find another actress to re-dub all her lines; also, we had originally recorded all the dialogue in a conference room at West, Weir & Bartel, Paul's father's advertising agency and the sound was sometimes inadequate.
Camille Fyfe was one of the women in the restroom describing the secret movie theater where movies about "this dumb girl" were shown. Mara was the young woman asking the questions.
Mimi Randolph had played three parts, the Plaza Hotel's Palm Court waitress, the Secret Cinema's ticket seller, and the psychiatric nurse.

I dubbed the nurse's growl in the doctor's office sequence.
Mimi Randolph (right) with Amy Vane as "Jane" and Paul at The Palm Court of The Plaza Hotel.
After leaving, Paul I went uptown to meet the artist David Bryson, who introduced me to Etienne de Rachmaninoff; somehow I don't remember asking him if he were related to THAT Rachmaninoff!
After, I met Paul again at Rose-Magwood, the production company at which he worked and whose editing facilities we were using after hours.
The next day, a Saturday, I met Mara for lunch in the Village where she was working at Paraphernalia.
That night, with David Bryson and some friends, we went to Arthur.
After leaving Arthur, we stopped at The Corner House for a late night/early morning snack.
Mara invited me to a birthday party for her friend, another "Paraphernalian."
There was another screening of The Secret Cinema — this time at Movielab. Our cinematographer, Fred Wellington, came with his young son, John.
An afternoon break at Yellowfinger's and that night, meeting at Janet Coates' apartment for drinks after which Abdul Faisal (Abdul never drank alcoholic drinks) had invited us for dinner at The Golden Horn, a favorite restaurant of the Saudis.
Drew Collinson was Abdul's friend from Princeton.
As we were leaving the restaurant, two elegant young middle-eastern men entered and one turned to Abdul saying, "excuse me, but I think you are my brother." They exchanged a few details and it turned out that indeed, they were half brothers having had different mothers.
The Faisals were not monogamous.

I couldn't think of a question or a comment.
We ended up going to Arthur, which was becoming a habit.
I wondered what Abdul was thinking as he watched the dancers.
This was such a contrast to what else was happening. I would leave this world and go home to work on my assignment deadlines listening to WBAI as I worked and hearing on-the-spot reports of anti-Vietnam War demonstrations. There were sit-ins that started peacefully and were brutally broken up by police ending up as violent riots! These were not fully reported in the news so the greater public was largely unaware of important details. But hearing it as it was happening made it all too real, while hearing an edited version made it frustrating!
There was still time to visit friends on Sundays.
And also meeting with Elaine Sorel, who had been married to the illustrator Ed Sorel and who was herself a very influential artists' representative. She was helpful to me, guiding me with how to effectively present samples of my work. She wasn't able to officially represent me as she had a client who would have been competing for the same jobs as I'd be up for, but she was immensely helpful. Just the fact that she was interested in my work was encouraging as her artists were among the most successful and well known.
And that evening Mara and I went to the discotheque Cheetah for a party given by Mademoiselle magazine.
New York: city of unavoidable contrasts!
On June 9th, Mara and I visited with my UCLA fraternity brother Herb DeLey and his beautiful wife Margot, who were sailing on the SS France for a summer in Paris. I had sailed on the ship two years earlier coming back from living in Paris and everything still felt familiar.
The ship sailed at 4:00 p.m. and we'd been invited to a party on a Circle Line boat at 5:30 p.m. so we killed an hour at a Bickford's and Muffinburger.
As I said, New York, a city of unavoidable contrasts — Ready or not!
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