Thursday, June 15, 2017

Schulenberg's Page: New York, Part CXIV

Ellie Silverman at the Brasserie; October 7, 1967.
Text and Illustrations by ©Bob Schulenberg

My mother had returned home to California and I went back
to my regular schedule working and taking advantage of so much that was happening as autumn arrived. The play, SCUBA DUBA opened and got rave reviews from everyone except the acerbic critic, John Simon — and I must admit, me. I didn't understand what all the hoopla was about.

After sitting through it I went with Paul and Elinor Silverman to the Brasserie where we dissected the play. Ellie Silverman had been very helpful with her professional support of The Secret Cinema; she worked in public relations and aside from her professional help had become a good friend.
My friend Craig Simpson, whom I had gotten to take the photographs of Barbra in 1961, had moved home to San Francisco but was now back in New York and married.
Craig's 1961 photographs of 19-year-old Barbra.
I was having success with my new representative, Pema Browne, who was getting me a lot of work and so I borrowed Craig's portfolio of samples to show her and her husband, Perry. I thought that she might be interested in representing Craig.
She liked his work but felt that she wanted to represent only illustrators.

It was a good time for illustration. Advertising was using it in a creative way that representational photography wasn't able to capture. There was a lot of work to be had.
The next night my friend and neighbor Eileen Brennan and I watched transfixed the 1939 MGM spectacular movie, Ziegfeld Girl on television.

It reminded me of my days while still in UCLA graduate school designing costumes freelance for the Krofft Marionettes' Poupées de Paris, Ice Capades and Lido de Paris in Las Vegas. Even after so many years I couldn't resist taking notes.
While working in Capitol Records' legal department my brother was writing a monthly satirical column for Teen Set magazine. He used the nom de plume Gunther Yorty in a somewhat perverse tribute to Los Angeles' controversial mayor, Sam Yorty.

Judy Sims, Miss Teen Set as my brother had named her, was the editor-in-chief of the magazine and visiting New York, she had to see Max's Kansas City. So I took her and her cousin downtown to see the scene for themselves!
There was nothing remotely like that in Los Angeles. Or anywhere else for that matter!
The next evening was much quieter with a visit to Barbara Dromgool's, who had gotten a puppy she'd named Rabbit P. Swerf. She didn't tell me what the P stood for and I didn't ask!
Paul, Ellie Silverman and I went with Jim Walsh downtown to see a play, The Beard, after which we went to the Cedar Bar (a decade earlier it had been the hangout of the abstract expressionist painters). The bar had been superseded by the new, younger batch of Pop Art painters making Max's Kansas City their current headquarters. Where alcohol fueled arguments had been frequent at the Cedar Bar, Max's was now notorious for drag queens, Andy Warhol, sex in the public telephone booth, and a pretty blonde waitress named Debbie Harry!
Jim Walsh had been at UCLA with Paul and me and had been one of the founders of a theatrical group there called Bones & Barley. The name's origin had never been explained but I became a part of it and designed the sets and costumes for an ambitious original musical called All Rooms Face the Ocean — the plot of which involved a hotel that somehow washed out to sea and kept operating. It was too ambitious and a critic in the Los Angeles Times reviewed it saying it was a pity that "all the seats faced the stage!"

Jim had come to New York and now had become a successful theatrical producer! I remember next to nothing about The Beard except that later it became a famous representative of 1960's avant garde risqué theater!
After a full evening, finally, a late night somewhat quiet and uneventful bus ride home.
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