Saturday, August 29, 1992

A book like poisen

This Book is like poison". Johannes had warned. But it was too late I had
already taken it.

I was set up so nicely in Berlin. Nobody can beat the German girls. I had
already met Michi, a very tall and very slender Korean girl with brown skin
and long black hair. She had broken up with her boyfriend two months
before and was busy trying to line up the next one. It was summer and
she was very horny and in Berlin you don't get much of a chance. Winter
comes in just a moment. When she started talking to me in the cafe she
already had a project in mind that would fit nicely into her schedule if I
was interested. We had a very nice few days, with lots of candles and
baths and home cooked meals.

Then there was Annabelle. A curvy Bavarian blonde who seemed to have
leapt off the packaging of some beer company. Strangely enough, she
doesn't drink it. She is so friendly everybody loves her.

Every week the German government gives the unemployed a big
fish.Annabelle makes the dinner and all her friends bring the wine. I
stayed to help with the dishes.

We went to the dacha and swimming in the Wiesnsee. At the Tiefensee,
Annabelle swam all the way across and back with Johannes and I. Actually
I had to struggle to keep up with them. I ate the rabbit and Annabelle had
roast brat kartoffeln (roasted potatoes) which she loves. She
loves every kind of thing you can make with potato. You should see her
eyes light up. Just say "kartofelen poofin mit apfelmus sauce".

On our way to Documenta 11 I read out loud a German children's poem
called "Max and Moritz." It is about these two demented evil german boys
and the horrid jokes they play on mostly old helpless people. Annabelle
found it at the bottom of a sale bin in a used bookstore on Moll Strasse.
She thought I might like it.

On our way back it was too dark to read so we listened to "On the Road"
or "This book." as Johannes calls it. The next day he asked me if I was
going to Spain. I said yes. "Why not just stay in Berlin?" He asked me. "I
can imagine she has very good genes." He just shook his head. "This Book,
its like a poison."

But then, I would have never met Tunte and Shatzie.

Besides Annabelle and I wrote and then we met again in Barcelona. We
stayed for a week in the Barrio Gotic, a neighborhood with streets so
narrow you can reach across and touch the neighbors balcony. We had a
tiny room and an aloe plant. We bought a big chunk of gooey hash on the
street. We saw all of Gaudi. We made whole fish from the market
with rosemary we had gathered in Park Guell and Garlic so fresh it had
the juicy texture of an apple. And we learned to play Patanque.

I had always wanted to learn this game that old men in short sleeves and
berets play in the park. I didn't think we would get an invitation. We made
a project of buying a nice set and getting the rules. The rule book was
incomprehensible. There was so much "PROHIBIDO" that we couldn't
discern the rules of play. We made up are own and waited. Eventually the
old men took the bait. What spanish gentleman could refuse this pretty
blonde Berliner? She was so sweet, especially when she said things like.
"Ohh 15, did I win again?

All of Spain and I think perhaps much of Germany knows that I only won
one game and that it was close.

I got a message from Tunte to "Watch out". He said that Daniella was
very disappointed that my girlfriend had shown up. I had already caught
the vibe. That makes two hotels in a row where the landlord wanted to
jump me. Daniella's friends have helped her turn her rooms into an art
installation. There are so many little doors with strange metal clasps and
every sight is designed like the perfect movie set. Much of the inspiration
comes from Cosima. She is a sculptor and you can see it in her muscular
but very feminine body. She is older an italian beauty with thick black hair
and a classic latina face. When she can she gives me these piercing looks
that make me shudder. I think she is the dangerous one.

Annabelle is oblivious to all of this. She is so nice. There are so many
beauties in Barcelona and they are so skillful with it. They lie naked on the
beaches here during the day and then squeeze themselves into
unimaginably sexy outfits for the evenings. It is hard to imagine why
chaos doesn't break out. She took me to a club last night where the
women all had their phazers set on kill. I had to ask her if we could leave. I
tried to explain to her the next morning why I felt uncomfortable. She
told me that she didn't´t even notice these other girls. Why should she?
There are always so many nice men looking at her.

Annabelle left for the airport yesterday. I begin my slow journey
tomorrow. First the night train to Malaga, then the plane to Berlin, a day
there and then New York. But first one last night in Barcelona.

Monday, March 30, 1992

Letter to Chris

It's been awhile since I've heard from you so I thought I'd drop you a line and check in. Kali must be turning more and more into a little person, what's she like. I would think that if Inger is the confessor she would take another tack. Does Inger do the confessing for everybody? (I guess that would make her the tattler) How do they get along. How is the Belgian winter?

I went home for Christmas and did a quick hit. I went in Christmas eve and was gone by Christmas day. I spent most of the time at Danny's with his in—laws. We had the usual completely fake celebration at my mothers house. I didn't see any of the old gang. I think they put this holiday at the end of the year when the sun is disappearing and the weather is getting bleaker because they figure it can't get any worse so they might as well get it over with now.

Dawn Clements came down to New York in January. She had an opening at the Drawing Center in SoHo. Most of her family came down also. So I saw the entire clan, except for Steven. It was pretty successful for her and in the 3 weeks the show was up she sold two pieces.

Dianne wrote me a letter and says she is living in Belmont with her new boyfriend and taking drawing classes.

I havn't heard a thing from Scott but there is a child pornography case pending in federal appeals court with a frighteningly familiar modus operandi.

Most recently I was in Florida for a week. A friend of mine Jim, was playing violin in the Sarasota Opera. They rented a little house for him, which he had to share with another musician, Dan, a bass player. They had a living room with a big couch and you know what that means. Cheap vacation! The first day it rained. So, I saw an Opera. The Barber Of Seville. It was O.K. but the conductor was lousy. The musicians didn't even follow him because they knew he was giving them the wrong cues, so they just came in when they were supposed to. We hung out at the house and watched T.V. There are a lot of tangerine trees on the dead end where the house is. The air was very pungent with the smell. In the mornings I was able to pick them fresh and make juice for breakfast. At the end of the street there is a gator pond. But I never saw any, despite frequent visits. I saw ducks though. What I really wanted to see was a huge pair of jaws rise up out of the green slime and snap up a bird before it had a chance to unfurl it's wings. No such luck.

More rain the second day, and cold. Now I was starting to get depressed. I hung out on the couch flipping channels. Finally I got motivated. What the hell. I had a car. I had cash. The world was mine. I went to the front desk and started checking out the millions of brochures that gather like swallows in motel lobbies. Excellent. The Salvadore Dali museum in St. Petersburg. It features “The worlds largest collection of Dalis on display”. Hey, it's America, big is good. So I was on the road again. Jim is like a demagnetized compass when it comes to directions so I got instructions from Dan (a master mechanic and general car freak) before we left. That allowed Jim the pleasure of cranking the one casette I had brought "Led Zeppelin Box #1" while mouthing the lyrics and performing on air guitar.

The museum contained much beauty. There were several enormous pieces on the far wall including the magnificent Columbus Discovering America. The collection spans his entire career and includes many masterpieces.

The next day the sun came out. Florida's flat tropical landscape and brightly painted horizontal architecture is at it's best when flooded with abundant sunshine. I drove out to Siesta Key for the afternoon, lugging my guitar to the shore. The sand down here is a warm white powder. The ocean, a sapphire pool. Let me tell you about the latest in beach—ware “The Thong”, (made strictly illegal by the withered retirement majority). The babe density in this region is about six to one (mostly southern college girls), with the fitness craze, now into it's second decade, paying off huge dividends. A nymph walks by. Her lithe brown body swaggering with the confidence only a sola—flex can give. She flashes you a smile as luminescent as pearls. As she passes, her naked bum, glistening with mysterious tanning oils, floats by, her cheeks dimpling and swelling to an ancient rhythm. She gives you one last backward glance to make sure you are mesmerized by her tribal call. I played my guitar, singing to the sirens. A Zep Head came by and gave me a beer saying if I wanted any more to come back to the red cooler, “over where by the cop is standing”.

Day four started out a little cloudy so I hit the road in my red Geo Storm. A good looking but painfully unremarkable car, (zero pick—up). I tooled on out to Myakka State park. 45 square miles of Floridian wilderness. I saw a crock as big as a canoe drifting in the river (still no savagery, except I did see a heron swallow a frog whole, he took his time too). Dozens of hawks circled overhead and armadillos dug the earth everywhere. I talked to people from Canada and Germany. Walked out into the middle of the plain and generally enjoyed the clean fragrant air and sunshine. On the way back I passed a carnival and went to one of those all you can eat catfish and fried okra things.

The night before we heard some music by John Sierre while we were cruising around. It was written for a production called “Aniara”, that is by this famous swedish poet who's name I forget. It is about this ship that gets set adrift in space. They were doing a mixed media presentation of the piece at the Bishop Planetarium which is nearby in Bradenton. I went out there and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately the audience was small. Afterwards I went up to the roof to look out the telescope. The guy who ran it was nice and we were joking around, like when he would turn on the motor to rotate the observatory I would say “Rotate the pod please Hal”. We quizzed each other on sci-fi trivia with questions like; Where were the Robinsons going before the evil Dr. Smith sabotaged them? and What was the message that Patrica McNeil had to deliver to the robot in “The Day The Earth Stood Still”?

Day five. I took Jim to Thoroughbred Music to buy a guitar. They had a huge selection and we played just about every axe on the rack. What do you think of the fender signature series. Are they worth the 1000+ price? I was thinking of splurging and getting something like that and a Mesa Boogie amp. Let me know. I'm willing to spend about 2 grand total on everything including picks. Later I was at Bare Bum Beach again. I met some girls from The University of West Virginia. They wanted to hear Hotel California but I couldn't remember the words. So I sang them some other stuff. I played paddle ball with Holly, long, full, tangled chestnut hair, black eyes, brown skin. A physical therapy major and tennis hobbyist. We got some good volleys going. When they left we made plans to meet later at Cha Cha Coconuts to hear a Reaggae band.

I went to the Opera that night and saw a production of Simon Bocanegra. The artistic director, Victor Delorenza, conducted. The sets and costumes were still a little cheezy and the acting a little hammy but the orchestra sounded great. They filled the hall to the brim with a booming sound.

After I went to Cha Cha's to look for the UWV'ers. I noticed this woman at the bar who kept looking over at me. She had one of those great wide mouths with full lips, auburn hair, big doe—like blue eyes and freckles spattered across her nose. She was giving me —the smile. I said hi, my name's René and she said "Oh, you ahre franch?" Her name was Anne—Laure. She was from Paris. She smelled incredible. She introduced me to her cousin Stephanie, another Parisian and her friend Monica, a big Norwegian girl. They kept buying me beers and we laughed and laughed. Monica and Anne—Laure worked at the Epcot center which, the way they described it, is like working in a concentration camp run by born again Christians. We went to another club when Cha Cha's closed and danced until three in the morning.

The next day Jim and I met Stephanie, Anne—Laure and Monica at their hotel and went to a town park beach. It was more secluded than Bare Bum and had more flora and fauna. There are Pelicans and Herons who have figured out what a fishing pole is, so whenever you see someone fishing you always see at least one of those birds just hanging out, watching. We looked for seashells and played paddle ball, swam. These girls were great. They requested Bob Dylan songs. They knew who Salvadore Dali was and could talk intelligently about art and they looked excellent in bikinis. A winning combination. We had to leave so I could take Jim to visit his cousin. That night the girls came over for dinner. I made fetticini al carbonara, and everyone cleaned their plates. Jim and Dan tried to play the blues but Dan didn't have a clue. But the girls clapped anyways. They liked it best when I sang and Jim accompanied. Anne—Laure kept saying “You are too good. You should do this for a living.” Then we had coffee and played some more while Monica videotaped us. We all exchanged addresses and kissed good-by as they drove off to Orlando.

After they left Jim and I drove out to the beach for one last walk around. I caught a flight back to New York early the next morning.

So, now I'm back in New York and even though it's supposed to be spring we are getting pummeled by snow. I am doing freelance computer work which is OK., the pay is really good so I can take time and travel. My partner and I, J.P., have developed five scripts now between us. We are calling ourselves Demi—monde films. We have a meeting in Washington D.C. tomorrow. Circle films is interested in two of our scripts. We have also attached some talent to one project. A very well respected and pretty well known actor here in the U.S., named Ray Aranha. He was featured in John Sayles' City of Hope. He loves one of our projects and his agent has sent us a letter of commitment to help with financing. Beyond that all is well. Hope things are good with you. Drop me a line.



Friday, January 31, 1992

Letter to Chris


It's been a long time since I wrote, hasn't it? Well, it's not because I don't think of you. I do. It's just because I'm lazy and busy and all that sort of stuff.

I still plan to come in the late spring so hopefully we'll see each other soon. I was broke in November so I rented my apartment out to these Christmas tree sales people (At a profit). Most of them were from Sweden. In fact there were two "Babes" staying at my place. They are from Helsingborg. So I promised I would try to visit them also.

I worked most of the holidays doing catering to make extra cash If you work on x-mass etc. you can get $25 an hour cash, plus tip. So I worked a lot in December to get ahead. Now I am taking most of January to catch up on my writing. I am also performing with Maxine Moremon. An underground New York Choreographer.

The week between Christmas and New years I went home to Chelmsford and also spent time with friends in Boston.

While in Chelmsford I hooked up with Dawn Clements. As someone else in their thirties and still struggling, there was a strong feeling of solidarity. I guess we both wonder some times if we should quit and join the system. But then we look at our parents. I don't think either of us can imagine working for Raytheon or some kind of similar thing. So we realized that we were very lucky. We are doing exactly what we want to be doing.

Working with Maxine has been a blast. We've performed at a few places now. She got some kind of award at our last thing at B.A.C.A.. So now she gets a "Shared Concert" there in the fall and an honorarium. I didn't think I'd be dancing again but, here I am.

The movie is also going pretty well. I got an investment of $2,000. to cover some of our expenses. Legal, scripts, phone, etc. perhaps we might also make a trailer. We are working now with John Thomas the Cinematographer from "Metropolitan" perhaps you've heard about it? It did well here in New York and is now being distributed nationally by New Line Cinema. Anyways that's what is going on there.

Beyond that. I am working with a performance group called madness. Once a month we do a show at the West Beth Theatre Centre in the West Village. So far west it's almost in the river. We do vingettes, silly songs and that sort of stuff. I think I'm going to do "I found a Job" next week. So that'll be it's New York debut. I also do all their graphics. Surprised?

I have gotten a few really good jobs doing computer graphics the last few months and that keeps me solvent and gives me time to persue my other interests. Which as you know are many.

The guy I was working for was pretty cool. He was so nervous about this presentation (it's for the president of CITIBANK) that towards the end he just stood there looking over my shoulder. Finally I said "I'm not making you nervous typing under your shoulder like this am I?" He laughed and like an expectant father stayed in the hall pacing back and forth until I called him in. It's great going in just for one week on a high pressure project. It's like you're the cavalry. You work late every night, they buy you dinner and lunch. And of course every click of the mouse amazes them. I made 1100 in one week. So now I can just do lame jobs and work on whatever.

By the way, I have the rest of the money I owe you and will be sending it along in about two weeks. I guess I'll send you a bank check. I hope that will be allright.

Enclosed is also the info on silly but for real dog suits. The prices have gone up about 10% since the printing of this. I am sorry to add that they have just come up with their own snow suit. I didn't mention yours because I know they would have become wierd. If any wierder is possible. It is made of Gortex and has little boots. I think they plan on selling it for under thirty. Also of interest I think is their whole sizing system.

The war is the biggest thing here. It's on every channel and a lot of people are really into it. Pop phycologists are calling it CNN-itus. Perhaps you should make little dog infantry suits with gas masks and different ranks? Sorry, I am so disgusted I can only try to laugh at it now. But Bush started it with the biggest joke of all. I'm sure you heard him say that we are fighting for the liberation of Kuwait. I wonder what the Emir's eighty wives thought of that line? I'm not sure I get the freedom of speech connection either.

Give my love to Marcelene and the little boogers. Hope all is well. Please write me and I promise to be better about responding.

As always.