Artists at work

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Delivering down Fifth Avenue. 7:00 PM. Photo: JH.

Monday March 18, 2024. A weekend of sunny days, we’ve just put behind us. And now at 7 p.m. it’s (almost) still light out. The temps warm(er) too, but just touching 60. Some say that the interest in the weather is a sign of age. That would have made me an old man by age 7 growing up in New England.

For me anyway, it comes from having that annual weather in Massachusetts and Maine growing up;  and  so I remain. Living in Southern California as I did the ‘70s and ‘80s, I found the ideal weather.  It rarely if ever was cold, and the same with very hot. I learned how it could change one’s way of looking at things.

The Southern California climate provided a very agreeable weather, easy to live in (easy living).  Coming back East (now 30 years ago) from L.A., the Northeastern climate was ordinary but it too, was changing.

The Forsythia about to burst just inside Carl Schurz Park.

I was a poor boy back in the day of dreams but I learned early how to sing for my supper, so to speak. You do your best singing in life when the weather’s singing along with you. In thinking about this I reveal to myself that social version of “singing” is how I fed myself in the early days when I was living out there.

I had made the move almost suddenly after a film script I wrote and later showed my friend Beth Rudin.  Unbeknownst to me she gave it to her mother who was living in Hollywood (Beverly Hills) at the time and married to an important entertainment executive named David Begelman.

Gladys Rudin and David Begelman out and about in Los Angeles.

Gladys (was her name) gave the script to a friend of hers who was in the business — unbeknownst to me —  until one evening about 7, back in North Stamford, Connecticut where I was living quite comfortably at the time, the phone rang. I answered it and a woman with a very nice, sunny California official voice told me that she’d read the script and said, “you are so talented, you should come out here and write scripts.”

Those were her words that I shall never forget upon hearing. I was so flattered, I was dumfounded. The conversation was brief after that — she was an executive, new in her early position, at M-G-M, and her name was Sherry Lansing. I put the phone back on the hook and said to myself: “I’m going.”

Six months later I sold my business, gave up my house and most of my belongings, and with five cats and one dog, I moved to L.A. Cold.

I was familiar with L.A. in a vague tourist way of the city. It can look like a place where nobody works because the climate’s so great; you just take it all in — and so they’re out and about all the time. Or reclining. This is all in one’s imagination because the weather is always like a great background in your life. The reality may look different to an outsider, but it’s still reality like we all know it.

To be continued elsewhere when the room is quieter.

One of my favorite trees across the avenue about to burst.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch … Yesterday was a beautiful day in New York, bright Sun throughout the day with the trees beginning their birth once again. With cloud formations that were magnificent but odd: as if some artist had produced them with actual clouds. Now, of course not.

Although cloud formations were arranged in parallel rows that when observed from the right perspective, they are also referred to as cloud streets. Unusual, unfamiliar and like beautiful pieces of natural art in the sky – again, almost as if they were part of some artist’s project.

I am one of those people who when seeing something unfamiliar in nature — like those “artist’s” clouds — I tend to look to imagine what and why about them. It’s the mystery that intrigues.

St. Patrick’s Day was officially yesterday although the parade was held on Saturday. For many years in the previous century it was held on a weekday. That gave the day a different atmosphere for the workers — who took the time, even for just an hour or two — to “celebrate” the parade in every bar and beer hall in New York. This atmosphere of potential inebriating was rife, but mainly jolly. I didn’t see Saturday’s parade but I’m sure it was a lot of fun for a lot of people Irish and not-so.

Then last night, the official day, Susan Gutfreund hosted a dinner for 20 in her new apartment overlooking Central Park. It was called for 7. For Susan it is jacket and tie. I mention that only because it’s losing its customary uniform, and that is an indication of something universal.

Looking west across the Park.

Susan also has a brilliant chef who provides the excellence. And of course, elegant tables and the serving maids who see that each guest is served well. The staff are artists at work, like the chef. It is also notable because social habits change over time and generations, and with Susan’s entertainments one can only appreciate it. It’s another kind of artfulness that’s a pleasure for any audience, as it was yesterday evening with Susan’s guests. It was indeed a beautiful  St. Patrick’s Day in New York for this crew, Mrs. Gutfreund’s guests.

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