Thursday, March 2, 2017

Schulenberg's Page: New York, Part CI

Text and Illustrations by ©Bob Schulenberg

In the spring of 1966, Paul Bartel and I were finishing
filming The Secret Cinema and were dubbing the dialogue. Paul had studied motion pictures in Rome at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia and in the Italian style decided that we'd shoot the film silent and dub the soundtrack after. It would be faster and less expensive too as ultimately the whole film only cost $3500 to make!

One weekend he invited me to go with him first to the Hamptons and then to Westport, Connecticut to visit an old friend who'd been a sort of mentor for him. The one thing we both remembered from Westport was seeing a horrific car crash that erased any memory of the rest of the trip.

So we were back in New York but before the weekend, Paul had arranged a meeting with David Sawyer and his wife Iris, who Paul was hoping might be helpful for whatever might be the next step in finding a distributor for our film. Nothing much came of it but the Sawyers remained friends interested in our project.
Stopping at Hamburg Heaven where Buddy Felio was working as the manager, we dropped off a script for him.
So we started dubbing the soundtrack in a conference room at West, Weir & Bartel, Paul's father's advertising agency.
After this session we had a small celebration at Mr. Waffles' Ice Cream Parlour.
The following summer, having been persuaded that weekends away from the city would be rejuvenating and a healthy contrast to the busy and hectic life in town, I started spending the weekends sharing a house at The Pines on Fire Island.
I was in an Aubrey Beardsley-influenced period.
It was called "The Hideaway" and was down one of the wooden walkways that meandered through the small forest of pine trees. A red wagon used for shopping trips came with the house as there were no cars allowed on the island. One of the first things my roommates agreed on was to host an open house cocktail party.
Back in town I attended a performance of the opera, Lulu, with amazing sets reeking of pre-Hitler Weimar Republic imagery.
And after, off to Elaine's for a late supper.
Elaine, surveying the scene.
Elaine's manager, Donald.
Then it was the weekend escape.
Holly Bower was a photographer and had previously become interested in The Secret Cinema. It was a rainy weekend again and there was a lot of house-to-house visiting.
Philip Farron was someone I'd met and would run into decades later.
At late afternoon, there was always the "Tea Dance" at The Blue Whale which was the bar/discotheque at the Botel, the small hotel at the harbor.
People were frustrated by the bad weather with another weekend of rain after a week of perfect sunny weather. It always seemed to clear up as we were getting on the ferry to take us to Sayville and the train back to New York. The dancing was a release and had a frantic desperation about it.
There was just a lot of hanging out.
Back in the city, I went to the opera.
"The Visitation" was a disappointment.
And after, dinner at l'Etoile with my cousin Adrienne Albert, her husband John McClure, and Cynthia Conroy, a friend from Los Angeles who was a friend of Igor and Vera Stravinsky. John was Stravinsky's producer at Columbia Records and my cousin Adrienne had been a soloist on one of Stravinsky's recordings.
Cousin Adrienne with Igor Stravinsky.
The next night I was back at Elaine's with Burt Bluestein.
The card games were flourishing.
And then it was the weekend and the sky began to darken with menacing grey clouds.
Sure enough, the next day we awoke to a rain storm.

My old friend Ed Galligan had a house nearby so it was another day of house-call visits.
I had met Ed when I first moved to New York. He was a very friendly guy and a great host and introduced me to his friends just as he had when I'd first met him in Greenwich Village in 1960.
Ed's nickname was "Ee war."
It rained all day and finally I went back to The Hideaway where Gary Van Kirk had cooked dinner.
Then after dinner it was back to the Blue Whale. It was still raining.
Kristine Karam was a beautiful young woman who always travelled with luggage full of hairpieces and false eyelashes and always within reach of a hairdresser.
The next day it was still raining.
People were beginning to be weary of the wet weather.
As evening fell, the dancers became more animated with new dances, the Shing-a-ling and the Funky Broadway.
As others watched.
This was the summer that men's clothing started competing with the new fashions that women had been discovering. Suddenly billowing silky pants in flamboyant patterns appeared and every guy seemed to have a vivid scarf as an accessory. They were worn around the neck although if someone was wearing tight fitting pants they might be tied at the knee. They were also worn as a belt. However anything was worn it was always vividly bright in color and vaguely hallucinogenic in pattern!

And on July 4th it was still raining!
And just as it had the weekend before, as we were leaving the rain stopped.
It was a beautiful sunny day.
It appeared that some people in the city were taking advantage of the warm sunny day!
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