Thursday, March 16, 2017

Schulenberg's Page: New York, Part CIII

Text and Illustrations by ©Bob Schulenberg

Nearing the end of summer, '67.
I'd met John Piero through Tony Favello, who was one of the Fire Island housemates. John was a hairdresser whose work had begun to appear in magazines and I persuaded him to do Amy's (awful) hair style for our movie in the sequence where she goes to the Raided Premise discotheque only to be humiliated. As a grateful thank you I invited him to a performance of Sweet Charity.
Amy as Jane in her discotheque costume with hair by John Piero. Photograph by Joe Baker.
I'd met Fred Sonnenberg through a UCLA friend, William Ezelle-Jones; Fred had gotten married and he and his new wife were moving to France and eventually to Rome where Fred would be involved with the American Overseas School of Rome.

As was becoming a habit, I visited them at a Bon Voyage party on the S.S. France.
I'd mentioned in previous posts that Ben Bagley was a tease; this time he and I had gone to the movies to see Audrey Hepburn in A Nun's Story and typically he kept saying that Hepburn was miscast and her role as a nun should've been played by Doris Day!
As we were walking and arguing about the film and the casting we ran into Fred and I introduced Ben to Fred. Hearing the name, "Sonnenberg," Ben assumed Fred was related to Ben Sonnenberg, a financier who at that time lived on Gramercy Park South at Irving Place in the largest private townhouse in Manhattan! The house even contained a ballroom.

When I lived a few houses east I used to see his chauffeur waiting for him in Sonnenberg's classic Rolls Royce and sometimes I'd see his butler polishing a brass detail at the front door!

Ben smelled dollars and dollars meant possible backing for one of his projects!
Benjamin Sonnenberg's house in Gramercy Park, originally the Stuyvesant Fish House.
I had an evil idea: thinking of Ben's teasing about Doris Day instead of Audrey Hepburn and all the other times Ben had been teasingly argumentative ... I said to Fred that Ben used to be a producer of revues but that he wasn't able to anymore as he had such strange ideas!

"Like thinking that even though Hepburn was being talked about for getting an Academy Award for best actress, Doris Day would've been better!"

Poor Fred just smiled and said it was nice to meet him and Ben and I continued our walk. Ben asked me, "why did you say that?"

And I said, "don't tease me — or I'll destroy you!"

After that he was very careful but I never told him that Fred wasn't related to Ben Sonnenberg! (As far as I knew ...)
A typical quote from Ben!
Fred Sonnenberg's wife.
Ben and I went for an after-movie snack at Ham n' Eggs in the theater district.
He went home to Queens and then as usual, I went to Elaine's.
I saw China Machado, whom I hadn't seen since Paris.
Paris, 1963: an Avedon fashion shoot for Harper's Bazaar with China Machado, Bea Feitler, model Dorothea MacGowan, etc.
Time passed.
Abe Dulberg was, with Sam Reiter, a partner in Reiter-Dulberg Photo Lab. They had been recommended by my friend Pattie Ferrier-Kiley, who was married to the actor Richard Kiley and who was herself a prolific photographer. Abe had become a good friend after he and Sam (processing my photographs) had thought I was shooting copy prints of old photographs.
UCLA friend, Jean Clyde Mason-Quinn.
I explained that I was a fan of photography from an earlier time and that I was interested in trying to replicate the illusory glamour of that period.
My cousin June (Schulenberg) Hibdon, her husband Milton, and son Dennis arrived from Honolulu where they lived, and while Milt was in business meetings I gave June and Dennis a quick tour of the town.
The next day we ended at my favorite neighborhood L&H German bakery/restaurant in the 80s on Second Avenue.
I was invited to a party.
Lots of music and dancing!

The Funky Broadway was a new dance that for some reason few people could do, but it was very compelling and seemed to sum up the spirit of that summer.
The Village was still one of the best places to draw.
Someone had said that every corner was a one-act play!
And the subways ...
Back at The Gay Vienna on 86th Street in my Yorkville neighborhood, dinner was always accompanied by Austrian zither music.
The next day I received a phone call from Sharon Tate whom I'd seen with Polanski a few nights earlier at Elaine's.
They were staying at the Essex House on Central Park South and were in town while Roman shot some New York locations for Rosemary's Baby
At the time, Polanski's nickname was "Romek," although he doesn't use it anymore.
Sharon invited me to come up to the Dakota and visit as they shot.
Earlier at dinner at Victor's Cafe I met this beautiful woman, Gina. Someone asked her why she was wearing an eye patch and she looked at him, sweetly smiled and said, "because I don't have an eye!" I gave her a Secret Cinema button — Paul Bartel had given me a supply of them.
Romek shooting Rosemary's Baby at the Dakota.
I invited my upstairs neighbor Eileen Brennan, who'd become a good friend and an even better neighbor, to come with me to the Dakota! She often received mail addressed to the actress Eileen Brennan and being enraptured by Show Biz would generously and very politely respond to each fan letter saying to me that she didn't want to disappoint anyone! She came along with me and we sat visiting with Sharon as Polanski worked.
The next day we met for coffee at Martell's on Third Avenue and I told her my Polanski stories, meeting him early on in Paris, being with him in Amsterdam and finally in November, 1966 being with him and Sharon in London.
Eileen had been one of the extras at the Palm Court in the Plaza and had stayed long into the night until the bitter end! She told me that she was surprised watching the crew working the previous night at the Dakota — they weren't much different than our tiny Secret Cinema crew. There were just more of them!
Paul checking the crowd at The Palm Court in The Plaza for The Secret Cinema. (Photograph by Joe Baker).
Our friend Patty Sauers had been cast in a show — it was Hello Dolly with Betty Grable. David Columbia and I visited with her to celebrate.
She asked me if I would do a drawing of the theater.
And indeed, Patricia Sauers had billing; the last of the names of the featured players just above Will MacKenzie.
Patty Sauers and Paul Bartel in Los Angeles, 1960 in a photograph by ©Bob Stone
The next evening I was invited to a going away party for Harry and Lynette Logan, who were also moving to France. Lynette had been an art director at West, Weir & Bartel and when I, a total advertising know-nothing novice, arrived from LA to work at the agency, she had been particularly patient, kind and helpful. She and Harry lived in a vast apartment overlooking the Hudson River and in their living room was an antique concert grand piano. I wondered how it was being shipped to France.
I'd met Karole Kolb at The Pines.
She was a friend of Maria Smith whom I'd also met at Fire Island and who'd become a friend. Maria's sister Geraldine had been in several of Andy Warhol's films and was a regular at Warhol's Factory.
Geraldine Smith.
At Fire Island, Maria and Kristine Karam were inseparable and being both barely five feet tall and resembling each other, people just assumed they were sisters. John Piero was always nearby with a kit full of hairpieces for them.
If they'd been a foot taller they'd have been super models!
So again, it was the weekend. And after a beautiful cloud-free week we hoped the weekend would be the same — but as we approached Sayville and the ferry to the island, clouds were beginning to form.
The next day the rain was back and another weekend was spent indoors at house parties or dancing at the Botel.
Back in Manhattan!
My old friend from high school, Phil Bock, came to New York with his wife Layeh and young daughter Marian.
He was an anthropologist and professor at the University of New Mexico. Back at Fresno High School we had been duo-piano partners playing for assemblies and talent shows and in 1961 before moving to New Mexico, he and Layeh had invited Barbra and me to dinner at their apartment in Queens.

It was my first visit to Queens.
Fresno High School, today.
Phil has also always been active in theater. Writing plays, composing music and acting and now, in retirement, with his second wife, Barbara, more active than ever in Albuquerque's theater environment. Barbara does the designing.

His first cousin was composer Jerry Bock, with Sheldon Harnick, of Fiddler on the Roof, She Loves Me, and others.

It must be genetic!
After, going downtown to Max's Kansas City.
I'd met and become friendly with Pat Ameche (speaking of theatrical families).
He was a friend of my good friend Ray Smith and Pat's younger brother Tim came by.
There was also Gail and Edna whom I'd met earlier.
And it was another Friday — hoping it might not be too much to wish that the weekend might be sunny and without rain this time.

But even as we hoped, grey clouds were again beginning to form.
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