Wednesday, December 06, 1995

Letter to Jutta


Well I can’t help thinking of you. They are doing a three hour retrospective on the music of Serge Gainsbourgh on WFMU 91.1. It is filled with all kinds of wonderful historical facts. Such as... Je Tem Mon on Plus was the first song to be officially banned by the Vatican and... he made a film called “Cannabis” in 1969 that featured a very young Gérard Depardieu. I wonder what the pope thought about “Lemon Incest”?

We have been having pretty good weather. I had a little slow period at the end of November — early December and managed to get in some Rollerblading in Central Park. My friend Steve and I, our favorite thing to do is to do a couple of loops (20 km) then get burritos and go to the $2 movies. The $2 dollar movies is this big brand new movie complex they built under a new skyscraper in mid-town. The problem is, is that nobody went there. The building itself is almost half empty. So, to attract people they lowered the admission to $2 and started showing movies that were 6 months to 1 year old. I have found that the price has a huge impact on the enjoyment of a film. Case in point. Waterworld, for $8 I would have thought this movie was a big stinking piece of sharks turd, but for $2 we laughed at it all the way through, made fun of all the actors, the script, the sets and had a great time.

Claudia comes to visit next week. It’s more of an official visit as she will be working. I am currently working at BBDO, they do the advertising for Pepsi. So, let’s see if I am up to the Pepsi Challenge.

The film goes well. But more slowly than I hoped. I am still working on the script with the actors.

I will also be doing another serial theater piece in January. I finally gave in to everyone and agreed to do it. I have a great writing staff so that is a big part of the incentive. It will be called SPYS and feature spy stories set in locations around the world.

This is great news about the grant. I would love it, if you came to New York, especially for six months. I’m wishing you extra-double-special good luck. Also if you can send me a copy of TV-Dinner on video. I can have it dubbed here.

I am including a piece of real New York City craziness. There is this young guy who goes on the subway, proclaiming the stuff in this document. He looks like a clean-cut all-American type. He wears a utility belt with screwdrivers and plyers and things. He sells this newsletter for 25¢ to “help support his cause”. If you want to make a contribution too, his address is included at the end.


Wednesday, October 18, 1995

Letter to Jutta

Hey there!

Greetings from New York. Hope all is fine with you. Italy sounds amazing (even if it is filled with churches). I called Nicholas Roeg and he told me he based the character of the demon in Don’t Look Now on a little German girl he met during pre-production in Wurzberg. Her name? JUTTA OSTHUES! Coincidence? You decide! I have always wanted to go to Italy. All I have to do is meet some nice Italians here in New York so I can arrange an inexpensive tour. After Italy and Spain, I can start working on the orient.

Johannes is here and he helped me celebrate my birthday. We went to an superb French restaurant only 3 blocks from where I live. The cuisine was as good as it is in Paris. Can you believe it? Here in the East Village! Afterwards we went to the First Street Cafe. It is this tiny little club where I like to hang out. Its no bigger than Johannes’s Frankfurt apartment. We love it because the owner has a bigger place (Baby Jakes) that he believes is the real money maker. So he hardly cares about First Street at all and let’s it go to hell. The waiters never come and you can sit there all day with one cup of mint tea. At night, there is always a wonderful Folk singer or Jazz band or something playing for free. On my birthday night there was a Jazz band with a guitarist from Osaka. He sat at our table in between sets and we got to hear first hand about the music scene in Japan. They had the tiniest little DAT machine I had ever seen. The tape was as big as half a matchbook and could record sixty minutes of music.

Work is the same. I am finally getting some checks. My goal is to make it to December, reload my bank account, then ease off into part time. Sitting at the computer makes my arm and back hurt. I only can seem to get to Yoga classes three or four times a week. I really miss doing it every day. I thought after all the vacation I had I wouldn’t mind going back to work. Not true! The less you work the more you don’t want to work. I am sure you are discovering this also. Let’s travel. We have a tent. All we need is some bread and a little cheese.

I am helping a friend produce The Doll Cycle at Workhouse. I am overseeing all aspects of the production and doing some graphics, along with set dressing, staffing, publicity etc. It is a four part serialization of “The Valley of The Dolls” by Jacqueline Suzanne. We have an amazing cast of downtown all-stars (including me as one of the singing and dancing Gaucheros). The response has been overwhelming. We have a seventy seat theatre and had over 110 reservations for opening night. The second part was sold out by the following Monday. The Village Voice comes this week and I will send you the review. I am very proud of this production as the writer worked with me on Ailanthus for two years and credits me with his education in this style of working.

I have my first rehearsal for the film this Saturday. We have had several delays but now it is finally coming together.

Can you believe it? I got a call to go in and audition for Central Park West. It is one of those big cruddy TV shows I hate. But... the money is unbelievable. They got my name from a friend of mine who works in production. I don’t think I was what they were looking for. In fact. They hated me. But I was well prepared ( I got the script the day before) and did my best. Who knows. At some point they may need a singing Gauchero.

Exhibit A
Went to see the opening of The Flower of My Secret at the New York Film Festival. Almodovar, Rossy de Palma and Marissa Paredes were there. We sat right in front and afterwards they invited the audience to stay and ask questions. It was inspiring to hear how he works and learn that we share similar beliefs about how a piece can be created.

Exhibit B
Excellent exhibit in SoHo.

Exhibit C
The card I created for The Doll Cycle.

I hope you are great, that school is great, that Berlin is great and that all things are great, and that soon, very soon I will see you here in New York.


Monday, September 25, 1995

Letter to Jutta


How are you? So... Here's highlights of my life.

After we said good-by I went to the Deutches Theater. I got there right at 7:00. The performance was beginning. I don't know, maybe because I was late or because I didn't speak German or because I said I was from New York they just ushered me right in with out paying. I had a decent seat in the balcony, but of course during intermission I moved to an empty seat in the front row, center (My favorite). The performance was almost 4 hours long. I stuck with it. Visually it was good, especially the costumes. Afterwards, a midnight ride to Huffeland Str.

The next day, as I was riding to Frankfurt, thinking about the trip, I planned out my last two days in my mind. As soon as I got to Frankfurt I would go to Kannonenstemple and have my final Bratwurst and Affelwoi festival. That night there was to be a party at O&M, we would also go to "The Blue Bar" I'm sure, perhaps see Birgette and Andy. Johannes and I would have time to talk. The next day I'd take a bike ride along the Miens. Then we'd go to the airport, have a tea and then New York. As I was picturing this I heard one of the other riders say something about the date. To my horror, I realized that my fight was that afternoon at 2:50 and not the next day as I had thought. It was 11:00 and still 300 Km to go. We roared to Frankfurt, arriving at 1:45. I ran to Cranach Strasse. When I got there I called the airport and found out that the flight had been delayed 2 hours. Thank god for PIA. Johannes came right home and we grabbed a cab to the airport. We had time for a quick tea, but soon I had to board the plane. I left never having a chance to really feel the ending.

When I arrived in New York I had been traveling for the past 23 hours. I opened the door to my apartment and the Beer Garden out back was filled with screaming, drunken idiots. Upstairs, they were blasting the stereo. More Frat-boy punk. I began to seriously wonder whether I wanted to live in this town.

I sleep. Time goes by.

I go to the beach. We still have summer here. I worked on perfecting my body surfing technique. I'm lifted high by the waves, shot through a tunnel of water and thrown onto the hot,wet sand. Is this what it's like to be born?

I had tons of job offers when I got back. A good thing. I'm working at Grey Entertainment. They do the ads, marquees, programs, etc. for Broadway and Off-Broadway. We got an advance copy of the Sunday Times Fall Preview a few days before it's release. I am amazed by the incredible scope and sheer volume of Art and Culture here. And The Times doesn't even begin to cover the avant-garde. There's no such thing as a "must see" show in New York. Everything, everyone has scores of rivals.

We produced a favorite band of mine at Work House (where I am artist in residence). Little Jack Melody from Denton Texas. They are a strange contemporary blend of Sinatra and Kurt Weil. The artistic director of Work House, Damien Grey, LJM's leader, Steve Carter and I are discussing working on a musical together. I would do the book. I'm thinking a musical version of The Stepford Wives, with a little of Metropolis and The Bachaee thrown in.

The film goes on. I am still working on the screen play. I am set to do a reading, early October and begin shooting shortly afterwards. Everyone I mention it to is excited about it and eager to participate.

Still doing Yoga at dawn. Well... most of the time.

I think often of our trip. Every time I tell someone about it, I get to relive pieces of it. I have of late been very conscious of the passing of time. I often feel I can visualize it's structure. Moments strung together like beads of light, each moment stretching off into a dim infinity. I try to be as present as I can in each moment, to see as much of it's periphery as possible. I think of lying outside at night and looking up at the stars and remembering thinking "Oh that's enough, it's time to sleep". As if that were possible. As if there was ever enough time to look at the stars.

Miss you.