Sunday, September 27, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
The Saturday Afternoon Show At Max's Kansas City
Just found this original artwork for the flyer that I did for "The Saturday Afternoon Show At Max's Kansas City which was in 1970. This was an early performance piece by some then and some still noteworthy artists and poets. Each artist did a performance piece somewhere in the restaurant. My piece was that I played the Stone's Let's Spend The Night Together over and over on the juke box, and it drove everyone nuts.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Life Is But A Dream
In 1963 when I was 17 and in my senior year in high school I got mixed up with a wild group of kids. Now by wild I don’t mean that we shop lifted or knocked little old ladies down and stole their purses. No it was in this wild group I learned all about sex, drugs and rock n roll big time. It started one day soon after the new school term was in full swing. As I was walking to my first class of the day I was approached by a girl who looked like she knew a thing or two. I had seen her often enough, I mean how could you miss her in her tight skirts and breast revealing sweaters, not to mention her beehive hair do. This was after all the early sixties and some girls dressed to give off signals and she was signaling all over the place. “Do you like to party” she asked. “Whose birthday is it?” Laughing she came closer to me her cheap perfume stinging my eyes and whispered in my ear what she meant. As soon as I picked up my dropped books, I said “sure why not“. I said this because I didn’t know what else to say, and I could not imagine why she was asking me to “party”. I mean I was not exactly the most popular kid in the school, not by a long shot but I said sure. She handed me a slip of paper with an address written on it, and the names I was shocked to see of two of our most liked teachers, a bi racial married couple (he was black and she was white) both of whom taught in the English dept. Maria saw the shocked look on my face and told me not to say a word to anyone, not to anyone did I understand? “Yes yes of course” I croaked out. Aldo and Margaret Trainer’s whose name and address was written on the paper lived in Midwood a nice middle class neighborhood in Brooklyn. As I started to ask the girl who gave me the paper a question or two, she held up both arms and gave me a backwards wave as she walked off. I was left dumbfounded, but determined to find out what this secret group was all about. There was also a day and time written on the note. Friday 9 o’clock. I couldn’t wait. Friday finally came and I dressed up real nice for the party giving lots of thought to what kind of a gathering this was going to be, a literary thing or what? Maybe I should bring the short essay on “The Catcher in the Rye” I had written last year for Mr. Trainer’s honor English class that I could read out loud to the group. “Where are you going” my mother asked as I fixed my tie, and threw on some Canoe men’s cologne that my sister had given to me for my last birthday? “To a party mom” “Well don’t be too late and watch the way you go.” I practically skipped on my way to the subway. Finally after a long ride I found the Trainer’s big old house that was located on a dead end street. Nice house I thought as I rang the bell and waited to be admitted into my new literary club. Margaret Trainer came to the door wearing a very revealing dress and this gave me pause, but she was so attractive & sexy, and besides isn’t this how sophisticated women were dressing these days. I mean it was 1963 after all. The house was bathed in candlelight and there were clouds of smoke along with a sweet smell that I didn’t recognize. “Come in Ira, I think you should know many of our guests. And recognize I did. There were several football jocks, who I had heavy duty crushes on a few cheerleaders along with this beautiful Italian boy who was in some of my art classes, and some very handsome young black men and beautiful black women, none of whom I recognized. The large living room was full of bookshelves and colorful paintings hung on the walls and there was a long table with lots of bottles of wine and beer along with the usual party food. I was nervous, all the guests were so attractive and sexy. “What am I doing here, where do I fit in with this group” I thought. Just then Maria the girl who gave me the note came up to me and I realized that I did belong here. “Hi cutie pie” she said. Gee I never thought of myself as a cutie pie but maybe I was one, and maybe that’s why I was invited. One of the black girls flounced over to me, “Hey sweet little babe want to dance? “Well sure but there isn’t any music” “Oh there will be sweet child, just you wait a minute.” And sure enough suddenly the room was filled with loud rock music that I didn’t recognize but it sure shook the house and guests up and soon the room was rocking and rolling. “Who is that” I asked Lotte the beautiful black girl I was swinging and swaying with? “Honey that’s my man James Brown the one and only.” I had never heard anything like it, and after that and after that more black rock came and went. This was not the music I was use to listening to on my little transistor radio; this was not American Bandstand bubble gum pop. I was sweating and so was everyone else. There were people everywhere moving and shaking their small tight butts. Someone passed me a thin little cigarette and told me to hold the smoke in, and not to blow it out like I was smoking a cigarette. Suddenly the room started to melt a little and I was stoned. For the first time in my young life I was smashed on weed. I had my tie off, and my shirt opened and I was really having a great time. I felt a hand on my ass and when I looked to see who it was I sure was surprised to see that it was Mr. Trainer. Man I thought this is so fucking wild. I took a break from dancing just as Etta James came on, and had myself a cold beer and took in the scene. Clothes were coming off, the jocks were only in their jock straps, and were making out in a corner. I must be dreaming I thought this couldn’t be real. This is Brooklyn for Christ’s sake. But it wasn’t a dream and more and more people were stripping and the sex was erupting. There were boys with girls, girls with girls and boys with boys. I was pulled down on a coach and off came my pants and underwear. I had mouths of both sexes all over me and I couldn’t breathe but I didn’t care. People were all over the place moaning and groaning to beat the band. So this was my introduction to the “literary club” which I attended all that year. I finally left the Trainer’s house at 2 in the morning and limped back to the subway, without some of the clothes that I arrived in. I lost my virginity along with my underwear and had only one sock, plus my hair was standing up like I had the fright of my life, and in a way I guess I did. I stunk of cigarettes, pot, beer and sex, and I was covered in lipstick but I was happy. I only hoped that my mother was not up waiting for me. My apartment was dark when I opened the door, but when I turned on the light in the kitchen there was my mother like some apparition in a housecoat waiting for me. “Where were you, do you know what time it is you should be ashamed of yourself for worrying me so?” “What’s that smell?“ “Were you smoking?“ “You look strange and why are you covered in lipstick, and what’s wrong with your hair? “ For a scary second I thought she would say that I smelled like a vagina or semen but of course she didn’t. “What has happened to my beautiful little boy?“ “You are becoming so wild, what can I do with you?” “Are you hungry? You want something to eat?“ My poor dead beautiful mother, she worried so much about me, but she had nothing to worry about. I was in very safe hands, mouths and other orifices for that year. Nothing was ever said or mentioned among the clubs members but if we saw each other in school we would offer sweet smiles to each other and go on our way, knowing we would see each other soon enough on those great Friday evenings in Midwood. .Every so often a new attractive guest would appear at the club, and sometimes some of us would do other things together like getting into those big spiffy gas gusling 60’s cars and roar down Ocean parkway to Coney Island and Nathan’s on mild spring nights to stuff ourselves with their hot dogs and crinkle cut fries, or sometimes we would drive into lower Manhattan and take in a show at night court, or maybe we would drop in on one of the few remaining stripper clubs that could still be found along the side streets of Times Square. We all of course had fake ids. The only Friday that the club didn‘t meet was on that mean Thanksgiving weekend when a murder in Dallas took place. Soon we all graduated and went on our own separate paths, but boy I‘ll tell you, I will never ever forget those Friday nights at the literary club in Midwood Brooklyn.