January, 1975. I had become friendly with Jim DeWoody who was a painter and had come to my gym, The Sheridan Square Health Club, as a trainer. He fit in very well with the group of artists who began to associate socially and very quickly we had a reliable group of friends with similar interests.
Jim was also teaching art somewhere but I never found out where or don’t remember any details. He was very easy to talk with and we found ourselves spending a lot of time talking! We could spend hours, almost days, sharing ideas. There were so many places to hang out in Greenwich Village and as it got to be later in the evening (or night) the management didn’t care how long we stayed! Jim lived in Chelsea and I lived uptown so the Village was our meeting place.
Sometimes I had a request to “draw my picture!” from someone who had waited on us; and it was only fair of me to comply!
David’s Pot Belly Stove on Christopher Street was our preferred hangout and the staff got used to seeing us.
I had met “S. J.” Mendelson through my friend, John Wallowitch.
And I had met John when he was accompanying Joanne Beretta at The Duplex in Greenwich Village. She became a friend, too.
I’ve previously written about her and her many, many gifts.
New York really was like a village itself for people with similar interests.
John was working with S. J. Mendelson telling me how bright she was and how he thought she could have a career like Barbra’s.
She was singing at The Bushes on the West Side, another club that hosted young newcomers. There were so many clubs and newcomers!
So John Wallowitch thought I should meet S.J. and help her with her visual presentation as I had done with Streisand. S.J. and I became friends.
I took photographs of her to try out some glamorous looks and she got right into it!
No matter how elaborate or fanciful it got she played right along with it.
Hal Frederick was someone I was used to seeing uptown at Elaine’s so I was surprised to see him at The Bushes enjoying S.J.
There was also a singing trio called “The Gramercy Three,” but I don’t know anything more about them or if they continued as a threesome or went their separate ways.
The next evening I found myself with friends at a now forgotten place, Roger‘s on East 57th Street, where at a neighboring table there was a small party that appeared to still be celebrating New Year’s Eve!
I must have been in a terrible mood. And we were only ten days into 1975!
After Roger’s, we made a stop at a White Tower burger joint … because why not?
I’d always wondered what their burger was like and there it was, as different from a California hamburger as Manhattan was from Los Angeles!
It made sense.
But it didn’t seem to have changed my mood.
It was beginning to look like 1975. Even with discos and cabarets and even new friends, it was going to be as unhappy and depressing as 1974’s Watergate Scandal-ridden year had been!