Thursday, August 17, 2006

Broken Glass

For the last week or so, Philip Glass’s wonderful score that he composed for Paul Schrader’s film Mishima has been playing madly in my head. Its there when I try to go to sleep at night with the air conditioner blasting away, and its there during my usual ordinary daily routine of riding the subways, working out, reading, making art or buying food. The music makes even the most mundane things that I do during the day dramatic and exciting. The reason that this film score is in my head is because I recently saw the film again on DVD, and hearing the music brought back memories of the first Philip Glass concert I went to, and what happened to “M” on that day. The concert was being held at the Leo Castelli Gallery which was located in the Soho of 1972, before the boutiques, before the rich and their off spring had chased all the artists away, before the unreal estate barons had taken over this once barren neighborhood with the magnificent cast iron architecture on the other side of Houston street. That Saturday in the spring of 72 “M” woke up with a terrible hangover. He had been drinking heavily the night before which was nothing new for him. He drank a lot, and I usually drank right along with him. To keep him company, to amuse myself, to ward off boredom I don’t know. More than likely we were at a dinner party with notable writers of poetry and prose that Friday night. More than likely there were also some heavy duty artists there also. In any case “M” had a hangover, but he still wanted to go to the concert and so did I. The gallery was packed with people who sat and sprawled on the smooth expensive wood floor. We also sat and sprawled, but “M” looked pale and drawn. His hangovers were usually dark, dramatic and very frequent. Out of the corner of my eye, I recognized someone I had gone to high school with a decade earlier as Glass came out to clapping hands, and the music began. I don’t recall it at all, except that the music they made started to freak “M” out. It was turning him green and he looked as if he would vomit all over Mr. Castelli’s beautiful wood floor so we left. We left carefully so as to not disturb the sprawling people, we left and walked down the stairs to the spring afternoon and we left to walk through the village as “M” needed air, the fresher the better and to walk off his hangover that hung over him, me and the spring day. I was concerned. We walked north on 6th Ave, or if you prefer The Avenue Of The Americas”. When we reached 8th street, “M” was feeling somwhat better and he suggested that we walk over to the 8th St. Bookstore so he could find some new sci-fi fiction or cookbooks to read. Just as we reached the bookstore, “M” started to make moaning sounds and started to fall towards the bookstore’s large display plate glass window. I caught him in time to avoid a horrible accident, and he fell rather nicely to the sidewalk. Cop cars, people and shock. He was out, blotto, cold to the touch but still alive. He slowly came to and I got him up off the sidewalk with the support and help of strangers and cops. We got into the police car and took him to St. Vincent’s Hospital. The doctors there told him he had a seizure from alcohol withdrawal and told him the best thing would be for him to stop drinking. They gave him some anti-seizure pills the kind that epileptics take and we went home. This was not the end, as he would have another seizure a few weeks later on his way to the supermarket to get food for a dinner we were giving for Linda and Klaus. As he lay on the sidewalk unconscious, animals went through his pockets and stole the $100.00 food money he had on him.


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