Sunday, December 01, 1996

Letter to Xenia

My Dearest Xenia:

Or should I say “The Fabulous Miss Xenia” as Stephan calls you (remember him? he was the one who let me stay in the “monks bunk”). I am not sure why he refers to you in this way. I guess you made a big impression on him. Stephan and I are in constant touch via E-mail. It’s a great way to keep up because it is totally effortless. No stamps, no post office, you just push a button and it returns itself to the person who sent it, like an electronic homing pigeon. now we are trying to rig our computers so that we can talk and see each other live. It is called C-U C-Me technology.

So your sister has arrived. You should get a big African tribal mask. Then if she has any boyfriends over that you don’t like, you can frighten them off in the morning.

Things have been Ok here. I don't have many plans for Christmas. I have a few invitations for New Years and that should be good. I am mainly working and trying to get my video project off the ground.

We experienced another set back this week. The guy I was negotiating with for the space turned out to be a total fraud. He was stringing me along hoping to get me to commit to producing his project. I am the king of getting people to work for free and I guess he figured that out. The thing is I only get people to work for free, for me. Me Me Me!!! When push came to shove he had no authority to lend out the space. I am now dealing with the person who is really in charge. Unfortunately we have to cancel the shoot until late January at the earliest. I also started hunting around for some other options and have had one good meeting so far.

I went to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving. My intention was to go to Chelmsford, the town where I grew up. I got a “knock knock” from my best friend in the forth grade a few weeks ago. We hadn't talked in over ten years. He found me on the internet and we started e-mailing each other and had made plans to meet up again this past weekend at our 20 year high school reunion. I took a bus up north, they have movies on the busses now, an excellent innovation. I stopped over in boston on the way and spent a night at a friends apartment. The next day I came down with a really bad case of the flu. I was so sick and weak and crazy that I couldn't go anywhere and had to cancel all my appointments. I didn't even make it to the reunion.
It was pretty much the worst Thanksgiving I ever had. A four and a half hour bus trip to nowhere... to a porcelain banquet table. Yes, it's just a little cough now, but one week ago this microscopic invader had me on my knees.

I did have some interesting fever induced delusions. I wrote some of them down.

1. My body is the crashed jet liner from "The Lord of The Flies" Each aching muscle is the complaining voice of a child passenger. The real torment begins when they started arguing with each other.

2. I have to get up. I have to escape. I Rene Calvo alone know the secret to the Kennedy assassination. There were 3 Lee Harvey Oswalds! How else can you explain the contradictory sightings prior to Dallas? The triangulation crossfire in Deely plaza? A small highly trained contingent from the legion of Oswalds being bred by ex-nazi scientist in Brazil. Why? Kennedy would have given the Israelis jet fighters. the Israelis would have bombed Cairo where an ancient order of Egyptian masons that funded Hitler are headquartered. They would stop at nothing to keep their cabal intact. even... poison. I can't move!!!

3. I am a toy. a plastic toy. but it's OK, it's good plastic.

These are the memories I will
treasure from the Thanksgiving
of “96”.* *Available on video cassette
Johannes was here for a visit in October. It’s always fun when he’s in town because he is like
a guy who has just gotten out of prison. He runs around calling people, going to parties, chasing girls and staying out all night. He was never home once before 3 am and he got up every day with me at nine. I bet he is still sleeping back in Germany. He bought tons of corny shit (and a few good tapes and CD’s). On my birthday I celebrated “Pesto Fete 96”. I took all the basil from my
garden and made a quadruple batch of Pesto. I invited over a few close friends and we drank wine, ate pesto and cake and talked until late.

Johannes and I went roller-blading in
central park a lot. There were some rainy days but they never lasted. It was nice skating in the fall. The park is empty and the road is clear. You can really zoom along. The air was a little cool so you didn’t get over heated. Johannes also helped me fix my skates. Now they’re like rockets. I still go to the park now when it’s sunny. But it’s impossible to find
anyone who wants to go along.

During Johannes visit Halloween came and went. We attended two parties also went to the Greenwich Village Parade. I made my own costume. Here in America they used to put pictures of lost children on the side of milk cartons. They had headlines like “if you see this child call 1800-MISSING”. I designed a big milk carton on my computer and pasted it to poster board. Then I cut a hole where the face of the child went, so that when I put it over my head, my face showed. I got great reactions. I got so bold that I jumped over the police barricade and joined the parade. I would go from policeman to policeman looking lost, making a little play. People were laughing like crazy.

I have been working the last two weeks in a new place, Merrill Lynch, a big financial corporation. The graphics are really boring. We call it the “Name Badge Institute of America”, since most of the time we get stuck making name badges. There are however 3 good things about this job. 1. They have huge windows facing New York Harbor and there is a beautiful sunset behind the Statue of Liberty every day. 2. They have a really great cafeteria, with international cuisine and low low prices. 3. The people there are pretty nice and they all love me and want me to work here forever.

Why do they love me?

I worked here for a week over a year ago. There was this woman, Michelle, who was complaining all the time about how boring her job was and how her life was in a rut. Well, it happened to be leap day. That extra day you get during leap year. (We call it Sadie Hawkins Day) On this day you’re supposed to do something out of the ordinary. So I asked her “What would you do, if you could do anything”? She replied that she would like to be an apprentice at Milton Glaser’s studio. So I said that didn’t sound so hard. I picked up the phone and dialed information and got the number. Then I called and asked to speak to the studio manager. When the manager got on I handed the phone to her and said, “Go ahead, ask”. Her face had turned bright red and she could barely speak but she managed to make an appointment. A year goes by and when I return to this job I’m like some kind of local hero. I’m the guy who changed Michelle’s life. Everyone I meet there says “Oh, so you’re René, we’ve heard all about you!”. They look at me hopefully, tell me their problems, like maybe I have some magical power to change their boring lives.
The good thing is that I can do no wrong (within reason, I suppose murder is out). I come in late every day. I’m lazy. I talk on the phone and still they don’t fire me. So I guess I have to hang out here for a while.
anyways. I guess it serves my purposes for now. I spend a lot of time here working on scripts and making phone calls and using the facilities to make brochure type stuff. I hope all is well with you and you are healthy and happy. Anytime you want to visit New York give me a call. I think you would love this city, especially the dance scene. I’ll give you a call so we can work out the fax thing.

Love René XXXOOO