I hate putting all of us through this again, but in ‘71 Nixon was still President and the Vietnam War was slowly being lost! Nixon had ordered the robbery of the Brookings Institution looking to steal evidence that he’d violated the Logan Act, the law that makes it illegal for an unofficial private citizen to deal with a foreign government concerning political affairs!
During the 1968 presidential campaign Nixon had attempted to discourage the South Vietnam government from participating in the Paris Peace Talks being fearful that the Democrats might get the credit for ending the war and gain the presidency for Hubert Humphrey!
We didn’t know about Nixon’s involvement with the 1971 Brookings robbery until the Watergate Scandal later released the news that there were audiotapes secretly recorded in the Oval Office!
But so much bad news had already happened during the year that it was as if all the bad behavior and excesses of the Sixties had come home to roost!
And it was just beginning!
Richard Amsel and I went to visit fellow illustrator Wilson McLean. Like Richard and me, Wilson was represented professionally by illustrators’ representative Pema Browne and her husband Perry.
Perry was a very vocal supporter of Nixon and the war in Vietnam whereas Pema kept silent on the subject — most likely for business reasons!
Illustrators working alone at home or in their studio rarely get to meet each other so we enjoyed the chance to get together and compare notes and experiences in general.
Wilson had a beautiful painterly style and was beginning to gain quite a professional reputation with better commissions monthly! Pema had been good for all of us.
Here are some examples of Wilson’s work …
Just after Thanksgiving my brother arrived in Manhattan to work out of the Columbia Records offices. He was a lawyer, the head of Columbia’s West Coast Business and Legal Affairs! To acclimate him to being a Manhattan resident, even if temporary, I thought he should know about Daley’s Dandelion, the popular Upper East Side restaurant on Third Avenue.
He was looking very much like a recording industry personality and told me that he realized that he would probably never again get the chance to have long hair. Every day, he said, was a new record length!
He had bought a conservative-looking short hair wig to wear in case he had to appear in court!
Over the weekend I took the train to Stamford, Connecticut where David Columbia (DPC) met me and drove me to Pound Ridge where he and his wife Sheila had their store Whipsnade’s in a small red barn! My brother stayed in town being busy with meetings.
I was doing illustrated ads and mailers for the store and this weekend I was getting references for the merchandise for the next ads!
The clothing catered to a youthful crowd and was similar to what was being sold downtown in Greenwich Village and what was beginning to move uptown to some innovative youth-oriented boutiques! Early on, the place had the unmistakable aura of a head shop with New Age-y gifts and incense!
Later, the store would carry the same designer clothing that high end Manhattan stores were featuring but at discount prices, which was uncommon in that neighborhood!
Finally, I went back to town!
I had known Sharon Powers from the days when I was an Art student at UCLA. Sharon was a high school student and would come visit her older sister (my friend) Patricia who was also an Art major. We’d all hang out in the art studios with Pattie and me working on our projects and Sharon urging us on!
She moved to Manhattan shortly after I did. Previously, she’d had a remarkable time in Los Angeles working for legendary designers James Pendleton and then Tony Duquette! But being a singer and an aspiring actress, she decided it was time to move East! She never looked back!
More recently, she had been Katharine Hepburn’s secretary!
Now, she has a cabaret act!
A few days later, my brother and I went to Connecticut to visit David and Sheila. Tim Anderson was a young man who was staying with them while helping at the store.
My brother was entertaining them with stories about some of the recording stars he’d dealt with. He also told us that he was the person who had to legally approve and sign off all the graphics on the Beatles’ Sargent Pepper album!
Before we knew it, we were back in Manhattan where we met Barry Dennen (born Barre on his birth certificate) at The Haymarket. I have no idea how the restaurant got its name — there was a Haymarket incident in Chicago in the 1880s at Haymarket Square when, during a labor rally, a bomb was thrown at police trying to break up the demonstration! Many were killed and injured — but I can’t think of how or why a restaurant would commemorate that event!
Barry was appearing in Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway as Pontius Pilate, the role he’d created in the original production in London the previous year.
He also repeated the role in the film version.
Every time I look at you
I don’t understand
Why you let the things you did
Get so out of hand
You’d have managed better
If you’d had it planned
Now why’d you choose such a backward time
And such a strange land?