August, 1970. To take your mind off of the cold — if it’s cold where you’re reading this, let me take you back to August, 1970 in New York where it is decidedly not cold!
In fact it is undeniably hot!
And I found myself on a hot subway going to Brooklyn to see a musical.
My friends who worked at NBC on the TODAY SHOW were giving a performance of ANYTHING GOES, a title possibly in so many ways more relevant in 1970 than when it was first presented in 1934!
The performance satisfied a long held dream of my good friend, Ray Smith! He played a steward on board the transatlantic ship!
It wasn’t a very big part — but that’s beside the point. It was a part!
And he was in a show!
His roommate Guy Elisco was also there for support and afterwards there was a party at the home of Juliann Martinez , who starred as Reno Sweeney!
Al Reyes had been the director.
A few days later, it was Paul Bartel’s birthday and Elinor Silverman and I took him to Christ Cella for a small celebration.
Elinor was describing a medical exam to Paul and he had a strong reaction!
To change the subject, Paul was telling us about some of his unfortunate investments — equally unpleasant thoughts! He needed a happy birthday!
The next day, while I was out and about at the Garden Pharmacy, a man stopped me and said:
In 1970, the world was a masquerade — I was wearing red satin bell bottom pants and yellow shoes that my brother called “Donald Duck Shoes” and I wasn’t the only one! So many were similarly dressed that you’d notice if someone were conservatively dressed!
I was friendly with a woman named Marie Ashdown, who lived in a beautiful large apartment on Sutton Place. She had afternoon At Homes to which she invited young and not so young artists and musicians. At one of these I met Harold Burns, who was one of the “young.” But he was very bright and even wise; and we became friends. I met him for lunch at my favorite place that summer, the Bethesda Fountain Restaurant in Central Park. It was such a popular meeting place I’m still surprised it wasn’t a permanent fixture! It was the center of so much activity and interaction! Always the sound of tinkling Tibetan bells mixed with the perfumes of incense floated through the air blending with the murmur of conversation from the restaurant. Usually there were young people playing and bathing in the fountain itself!
And the standard popular place for people watching was across from Bloomingdale’s at Yellowfingers!
And there was always Annie Rieger!
I’d become fascinated with the graphic ability of Charles Dana Gibson, the artist who’d popularized The Gibson Girl ideal. His pen and ink work was inspirational and I began studying him in earnest!
Those were the days one could become both famous and rich by drawing for publications! As illustrators, we were discouraged from signing our work for advertising commissions, and for publications our credit was so extremely microscopically tiny that unless a reader knew where to look there was no chance of public recognition!
My friend Bernard Sabatier arrived from Paris and with a young friend of his, Alain (something) and we went to dinner at the Brochetteria.
It was still hot in New York and it was still muggy but at least there was a lot happening and a lot to do!
Meanwhile, as the Troubles were erupting in Ireland, demonstrations were continuing and anger toward the Nixon/Agnew government escalated, Jim Morrison and The Doors were on trial in Miami for lewd and lascivious behavior!