I met Bob Olton at the restaurant, Soerabaja. The Saturday Evening Post magazine had just stopped publishing a short time before. It had become extremely conservative and public tastes had changed. During the 1940s and ’50s it had reflected postwar Americans’ contented view of life: wholesome and traditional. But Vietnam had changed that!
And ESQUIRE was experiencing a Golden Period!
Bob, who was an advertising writer, and I were wondering what the future would bring.
There was certainly no lack of sources of information! The Village Voice was very popular and had been around since Norman Mailer and friends founded it in 1955!
The East Village Other was a more recent arrival. It was a lot less inhibited leading To New York Times to write that it made the outspoken Voice seem like a church publication! It featured comics by Robert Crumb, Kim Deitch, Art Spiegelman and others, all either highly erotic, hallucinogenic or other drug-themed! The paper had started as an intellectual venue for East Village alternative thinkers but by 1969 it had evolved to a publication filled with suggestive hook up ads. That got them a younger, more radical readership!
Things were getting more sexually explicit anyway. Al Goldstein went into competition with the EVO’s personal advertising and started SCREW magazine, a blatantly pornographic publication!
Underground publications were no longer underground! And sex, drugs and rock & roll was everywhere!
Goldstein went even further with KISS! And Robert Crumb became well known with his truly outrageous ZAP COMIX!
There were many variations!
The next day I was off to The Museum of Modern Art which was still a haven of graphic civility — or if it was really erotic it was cloaked in the mystique of art!
Gary Van Kirk and Bill Rilling had gotten an apartment together in Brooklyn.
Bill had covered all the kitchen cabinets in thin sheets of copper making the kitchen a warm and glowing destination! Craig Caswell, Annie Rieger, Rita Gardner and I had all been invited to dinner so we took the subway out to Brooklyn! I’d only been there once and to me it felt like I was going way out of town!
Funny — as an Angeleno (the official term for a Los Angeles native) I would’ve driven all over Brooklyn, Queens AND Long Island. But without one, all I knew was Manhattan!
We arrived; and after a slow, leisurely candlelit dinner we sat around drinking wine telling ghost stories!
After the scary ghost story session, we took the subway back from Brooklyn to Manhattan.
That’s when it felt really scary!!