Thursday, July 20, 2017

Schulenberg's Page: New York, Part CXIX

Text and Illustrations by ©Bob Schulenberg

Jay Weiss invited several of us to his apartment.
I met Peter Lester there who years later would become the editor of a new tabloid type publication that Andy Warhol had conceived called Interview.
I'd known Jon Peterson from the previous wet Fire Island summer where he mentioned that he was (in some way) related to the family of the Shah of Iran. Although his name was so un-Persian, he was Iranian (at least in part!)
The next day I had coffee with another person I'd met at Fire Island, Calvin Hampton, who was a musician and on Sundays, a church organist.  He was also a composer.  We met at the Twin Brothers coffee shop restaurant on Sixth Avenue just north of the Waverly Theater in Greenwich Village.  I'd lived on Gay Street just around the corner when I'd first come to New York.
It was next door to the basement apartment occupied by Ruth and Eileen McKenney, which was made iconically famous by Ruth when she wrote My Sister Eileen, which subsequently became the musical and movie, Wonderful Town.
I still felt very at home and comfortable in the neighborhood.
Calvin and I shared reminiscences of our times in Europe.  I mentioned that while living in Paris I, who usually was never sick, had gotten every strange malady that was recognized only during The Middle Ages — even to the point of having my hair begin to thin a bit.

Cal said that he'd lost his hair, going bald while living in Italy!
I waited for the rest of his story; the punchline.

"... and?" I asked, looking at his very full, thick head of hair.

"Oh," he said. "This is a wig!"

I thought he was being funny.

"No, It's true! I lost my hair just as The Beatles made longer hair popular and I thought I was too young to be bald!"

He explained that he'd commissioned the best wig possible ($6000+), and when I looked confused he even stood up from the table and leaned over to show me the netting base! It was the best wig I've ever seen!

I even remembered seeing him with wet hair in a swimming pool at Fire Island on one of the few non-rainy days!

Sadly, he died during the worst of the AIDS plague, but later there was a compilation of recorded works by five composers who shared that fate.
The next evening I was invited to Bobby and Dick Waddell's duplex for a Thanksgiving buffet and a cocktail party at Jacques Kaplan's. He was a furrier and had invented the idea of fun furs for the less staid younger crowd. He was a collector of adventurous art and applied startling ideas to furs even opening an adjunct to his fur salon where he sold Furs by the Yard.

Babe Paley had him carpet her bathroom in lamb's wool!
I met Mrs. John Varian of Finch College, who had been told by Bobby Waddell that I'd produced a small independent film, The Secret Cinema. Finch had a museum and there was a possibility of having a showing there.
Karen Waddell was the younger daughter of Bobby and Dick.
Afterwards, I visited Tom and Dale Krumwiede and I met Tom's brother Dan and sister-in-law Ann who were visiting.  I was impressed to learn later that Ann's sister was the actress, Jessica Lange!
The next day I went for lunch at Hamburg.Heaven with my neighbor and friend, Eileen (not the actress) Brennan. I wanted to show her drawings that Buddy Felio who was the manager and Dick Heller, the owner had had me draw and which were decorating the walls.  Buddy had, of course played Mr. Troppogrosso in The Secret Cinema and Dick had written I Wanna Take Your Picture, our song played in the disco sequence of the film.
And later, I met with a family friend from California.  Gisela Aronstein who was visiting her friend, Anne-Lise Pagel.
Gisela was an artist and with her husband and infant daughter had escaped Germany just before WW II.  Since she was an artist, we went to the Museum of Modern Art and then I took them back to Hamburg Heaven also.  I wanted her to see my drawings on display!
She would tell my mother about it on her return home;  my mother would be so proud!
After leaving them I killed some time before going to a new cabaret nearby called The Candy Store where Pat Ast was trying out a new cabaret act and I wanted to give her some support.
Years later, she'd become one of Andy Warhol's superstars and a muse and (unlikely) 299+ pound model for couturier, Halston!
When and where else but New York could any of this have happened?
Contact Bob here.
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