Party Man ’94

bins

February 27, 1994

My gay friends are more interesting than my straight friends. They seem exotic and glamourous to me. They’re better dressers and become emotionally overwrought at a moment’s notice, which can be phenomenally entertaining. I have a lesbian friend across the hall, Cindy, and another next door, Hedy. I live in Harvey Fierstein’s version of Three’s Company. They invited me to a dinner party. They needed to borrow my table and chairs but I’d like to think they would’ve invited me nonetheless. It was me, Pete, five lesbians and one cute straight girl. Pete is a talented guitarist with a big afro who plays gigs with Cindy. They call him Linc, after the black cop from The Mod Squad, but not to his face. They were making fun of Pete and me, calling us breeders.

Most of them were vegetarians (of course). I thought the food would be bland but it was surprisingly satisfying. I had a few glasses of wine and got carried away, but just the right amount. I like when Pete laughs. It’s a hearty, full-throated laugh. They sat cute straight girl next to me. She dropped hints that she’s not seeing anyone and would occasionally rest her hand on my arm when making a point. I liked her but I’m reluctant. She’s Hedy’s close friend. What if we wind up in bed and I can’t deliver the goods or I freak out and perform my disappearing act (as usual)? Girls talk. I can picture all those lesbians exchanging knowing nods.

A few nights later Ellis had Clarance and me over for dinner. Again, I was the token straight in the room. Ellis is a terrific cook. The recipe called for mayonnaise and he didn’t have any so he made some. I didn’t know you could do that. I thought you had to buy at the supermarket.

Clarance was renting an apartment in the brownstone he owns to a woman who up and left for Tampa on short notice and still owing him money. Not long after, she called and asked him to be a reference for a mortgage application to buy a house. He said, “I fixed her. I told her ‘Of course you can use my name.’” When the bank called he told them she was chronically late with payment and still owes for back rent. Afterwards, she called and said, “Clarance, I thought we were friends!” He said, “We are, dear, but you still owe me money.”

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Loony Marina Abramovic. I liked her a lot more before she wrote an autobiography. She grew up in a wealthy family right after the war. While folks around her were starving she enjoyed maids, theater and a grand lifestyle. Yet, in her autobio, she complaines of “…the tyranny of support.” After success she whined about “…changing planes so often, museum and gallery openings, endless receptions…” Boo-hoo.

Marina Abramovic
Rhythm 0
Est: $10,000-30,000
Sold for $365,000! Wow!

“There are 72 objects on the table that one can use on me as desired. I am the object. During this time I take full responsibility.” Duration: 6 hours. 1974. Naples.

Items on the table: gun, bullet, blue paint, comb, bell whip, lipstick, pocket knife, fork, perfume, spoon, cotton, flowers, matches rose, candle, water, scarf, mirror, drinking glass, polaroid camera, feather, chains, nails, needle, safety pin, hair pin, brush, bandage, red paint, white paint, scissors, pen, book, hat, handkerchief, sheet of white paper, kitchen knife, hammer, saw, piece of wood, ax, stick, bone of lamb newspaper, bread, wine, honey, salt, sugar, soap, cake metal pipe, scalpel, metal spear, bell, dish, flute, band aid, alcohol, medal, coat, shoes chair, leather strings, yarn wire, sulphur, grapes, olive oil, rosemary branch, apple.

One ringy dingy

bins

February 1, 1994

I’m destitute. I’m so broke and in desperate need of money I took a temp secretarial gig at Lehman Brothers. Answering seven phone lines isn’t doing much for my self-esteem. Is this all I’m capable of? I got home Friday and wept over feeling so hopeless and unemployable. Laura used to say I was either the most confident person she’d ever met or the greatest actor. It’s the latter. I miss her terribly.

Ann came over the next day and I was still a mess. We laid in bed and after pouring my misery out we went at each other like two Tasmanian devils in heat. She is equally adept at taking charge and being submissive. It’s a talent. I felt a little better after that. She’s leaving for Cambodia in three weeks to go ancient artifact looting—I mean shopping—to stock the gallery. I wish she would take me with her. I asked but she said it’s a business trip, otherwise, etc.

When she left she pressed a $100 bill into my hand and said I didn’t have to pay it back. I feigned like I couldn’t possibly accept it but of course I did. After she left I went across the hall to Cindy’s. Her house slippers look like oven mitts. We went to Two Boots for pizza and I paid with the money Ann gave me. $20 including tip. I spent $20 at the smelly Key Foods on Avenue A and paid my phone bill ($40). That leaves $20. Cindy is playing out on Wednesday night at the Knitting Factory and said I should bring Ann.

There was a notice in the lobby from a Law & Order location scout. They’re looking for apartments to shoot in. I took the notice down so no one else would see it and called right away. They pay $500.

I sat through orientation at Ernst & Young to be on their on-call list. It was dreadful. They covered the glorious history of Ernst & Young. Apparently, there’s a misconception in the public’s mind as to how the company’s name is pronounced, so they went around the room and made each of us say the name out loud. Humiliating. The Citibank orientation was more humane. They said I should get a beeper.

I sat in my window last night and watched firemen put out a tremendous fire across the street. There was so much smoke. I’m afraid of apartment fires. You never know what your knucklehead neighbors are up to.

~~~~~~~~~~

Oliver and Alice are alive and well albeit bored, bored, bored.

Treat her like a lady

bins

January 22, 1994

I’m battling the flu and guilt. I feel bad about not seeing Ann. I like sleeping with her, but not spending a great deal of time with her. This is the sort of thing that prevents me from having a proper girlfriend. Being unemployed doesn’t help.

I got another short letter from Sedaris. He said his life is still pathetic and he’s still cleaning apartments but things are changing rapidly because of the play and his exposure on NPR. Bang. Zoom. Right to the top. He said when he wrote Stitches it was just him, his sister and some friends sitting around smoking weed. I don’t buy it. I laughed hard and stuff that you write stoned is never funny the next day.

Had lunch at Bendix Diner with Laura. She’s a stunning beauty with the sexuality of a cloistered nun. The bill was $18. She ‘forgot’ to go to the bank and didn’t have any money. I probably shouldn’t be going out at all, much less buying lunch for someone, but we have a nice time and I enjoy her company. We’re quite close. We gossiped about our friends.

I called Karen at work and told her I spent New Year’s Eve in Times Square but left out the part about being alone. She went to a party with her boyfriend and when they got home he vomited all night. She gave me her home number and told me to call in the evening because he doesn’t get home from work until after midnight. I haven’t called intentionally to make her think I’m out having fun and living the champagne Manhattan life. I should call in the middle of the day and hang up when he answers.

Jessica called and I can tell she didn’t think I’d be home. She just wanted to leave a message on my answering machine, I’m sure. We talked for a while and it was nice. I’m glad she makes an effort to keep in touch. I told her I haven’t called because I don’t have a job and am ashamed. She said she understood.

Tomorrow I’m going to watch football games and stuff envelopes with resumes and cover letters. I’m mailing out 21. I hope to God Ann leaves me alone.

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The construction of 1 Vanderbilt continues. It will not obstruct my office view of the Chrysler Building, but it’ll compromise the aesthetics a bit. It’ll be much taller. When complete, it’ll be the fourth tallest residential tower in the city.

~~~~~~~~~

If you stare into his eye for too long, you’ll inexplicably find yourself sending cat treats to New Jersey. Beware!

Unfulfilled yearning.

I was focused on the composition and lighting and didn’t notice the background until the next day.

~~~~~~~~~~

Security guard at the Whitney Museum’s expansive Andy Warhol retrospective, From A to B and Back Again. 300 pieces. Catnip for any Warhol fan.

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My daughter took this on Christmas morning. A cup of coffee, a cat, something to read and my family close by. If I’m not content now, there’s no hope.

Cold in more ways than one

I forgot how fun these are (for me). This made me melancholy for an entire afternoon.

bins

January 18, 1994

I met Oswaldo and Ellis at The Public Theater despite it being 10 degrees out with a chill factor of 25 below. The cold gave me a headache so severe it felt like I had a mild concussion. They invited me to pre-show dinner but I said I was too broke join them. I can barely pay my bills. I was embarrassed. It’s humiliating to not have any money.

I had a long chat with Bonnie. She is still broken-hearted. When is she going to stop tormenting herself over that old man? Bonnie’s old boyfriend, Ricky Jay, is in the Times. He’s doing an off-Broadway show and she wants me to join her. I love magicians and that guy is the grandmaster. Somehow, I’ll find the money for a ticket. She introduced me to him in a restaurant once. I was star struck but held it together. I told him I admired his work and didn’t want to know how any of it was done. He said, “That’s good because I wouldn’t tell you.” David Mamet is directing the show. Bonnie hates him. She watched him dump his wife for a younger women. That’s kryptonite for women. She said she could tell it was going to happen because he suddenly started paying close attention to his appearance and clothes. I hope we go backstage. I’d like to see the dynamic between Bonnie and Mamet. [Note: Ricky Jay passed away last week.]

I had a job interview Friday. Afterwards, I didn’t want to go home so I went to the Angelica and saw Mike Leigh’s Naked. I’d heard it was excessively violent but the story was so compelling and the acting so adroit I didn’t notice if that was the case. I felt stupid sitting in the Angelica lobby café in a suit. So obvious. Took a slow walk home in dress shoes that hurt. They look great but feel like two bear traps.

Called [my brother]. That nutty girl I met at his wedding—Jezebel or something like that—was visiting. They handed the phone to her and she got all breathy and wanted to know when I was coming to Cleveland again. I remember trying to kiss her in the Holiday Inn parking lot after the wedding. She gave me her business card and it had her photo on it. When I got back to New York I found it in the folds of my wallet and threw it in the garbage. I didn’t think I’d left any kind of impression at all.

I stopped in a bar where I suspected Peggy, the girl I met at Kris’s Christmas party, worked and I was RIGHT! There she was, behind the bar. I made a fake call at the payphone, talking into it while listening to the dial tone, and then sat at the bar. She said, “I know you,” and I said, “Yes, I met you at Kris’s party.” Her eyes lit up and said, “That’s right! I remember you! You’re Joe!” That hurt. I thought we had a pretty good time at the party but the conversation was just awful. Her teeth are brown and rotten from smoking.

There was a terrible earthquake in Los Angeles yesterday morning. They cancelled regular programming to cover the destruction and I couldn’t tear myself away from the TV. It’s a miracle only 30 people died when you consider the amount of damage it caused. The town is pretty fucked up. The highways are all collapsed. Why would anyone live in Los Angeles? Aside from it not being 10 degrees with a -25 chill factor?

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A few more from last month’s auctions. Rothko usually didn’t work with such a dark palate but I love his use of plum here.

Mark Rothko
Untitled (Rust, Blacks on Plum)
Est. $35,000,000 – USD 45,000,000
Sold for $36,312,500

Impractical to display in home. Fun to say 10x fast. They’re just neon lights is all.

Bruce Nauman
RUN FROM FEAR FUN FROM REAR
Est. $ 400,000 – USD 600,000
Sold for $427,500

Another Warhol/Basquiat mash-up. That Reganesque figure in the back is Basquiat, correct? And the pricing is Warhol? Sold over estimate. That’s a Calder sculpture in the foreground.

Andy Warhol & Jean-Michel Basquiat
Outlays Hisssssssss (Collaboration #22)
Est. $1,000,000 – USD 1,500,000
Sold for $2,052,500

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This was a food bodega near my apartment in Downtown Brooklyn. It’s long gone. Wiped off the map for the Barclay’s Center.

How to enjoy unemployment

[Note: I didn’t lose my job. This is from 1994. A bit risqué but I sanitized it.]

bins

January 11, 1994

I haven’t worked for over a month and am falling behind on the bills. I wrote a letter to the student loan vampires and asked for a six-month reprieve. I threw the utility and phone bills in the garbage. I made the minimum payment on the credit cards but I have to pay the rent IN FULL. I went to an interview today and have five more lined up. They made me take a typing test. 65 words per minute with two errors. Champion.

I visited Ann. It was 10:00 at night on Sunday and bitterly cold so I took a cab uptown. $7. That son-of-a-bitch came off the FDR, turned onto Third Avenue and drove right past Laura’s apartment. I craned my neck out the window to see if her light was on and was desperately looking for her on the sidewalk.

Ann keeps a case of Veuve Clicquot in the spare bedroom and she’s always got a few cold so we popped a cork, took our clothes off, got into bed and watched reruns of Get Smart, House of Buggin’ and The George Carlin Show.

I always feel kind of bad when a woman goes down on me. That can’t possibly be any fun, can it? I don’t feel bad enough to stop them. It takes very little to bring Ann to complete and full satisfaction. It often occurs more than once. I don’t take any credit for this. She is so in tune with her body that she’s able to practically do it all on her own. Sometimes, the glorious event occurs before we take our clothes off. Good for her! There was an unusually large wet spot. I slept on the edge of the bed and woke up with a sore back.

The next morning I was going to launch a new assault but my breath was bouncing up off the mattress and back into my face. It was so horrific that I lost interest. Ann tried to coax me but I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I stank. That reminds me…Laura used to leave in the morning without brushing her teeth. And she smoked! I can’t abide by poor dental hygiene but I miss her terribly.

Ann made a pot of tea and some whole wheat toast with raspberry preserves. She put a little honey in the tea. It was good. I confirmed my interview with Prudential Bache. Ann was in the kitchen rinsing our tea cups. I walked up behind her and put my hands under her T-shirt. I told her I wanted her and she shouted, “OKAY!” and said it with such unintended glee that we both laughed. We stumbled into the bedroom and did it. We laid there for a bit and then I got up and washed. It was the first time I had to wash my genitals prior to an interview.

I went to that David + Amy Sedaris play in the East Village by myself last week. Today, The New York Times gave it a good review. That guy is on his way. The Times said he’s developed a cult following. Can you believe it! It said he’s a “social satirist” and that’s an accurate description of what I remember him being like. I went to the library and read his pieces in Harper’s and they seemed like elaborate diary entries. Is that a type of writing? Maybe I can do that?

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Adieu to summer. Summer is the coldest month. My office and commuting buses are like meat lockers. My bride keeps the house thermostat set to Pluto. Here are some bugs courtesy of my iPhone.

Hot moth love.

Butterflies are beautiful from a distance.

Pollen party in my backyard.

The whites are a bit hot in this pic but I don’t know how to fix that.

Game of Thrones dragon.