The ethnic mix, the 19th Century architecture, the potential.
Caribbean accents shouting over the sleepy neighbourhood.
A man, wearing his dreadlocks crammed into a woolen hat, screams at a lover. “Suck my dick you bitch!” his roadside companions say, “Chill man.” He ignores them, grabbing hold of his cock through his baggy jeans. “Go on, suck my fucking cock you fucking bitch.”
Every morning at sun rise I walk the dog through the fetid neighbourhood.
The once elegant streets, charming garden enclaves, Victorian arches to long abandoned mews. The beaux-arts flourishes and tatty pediments, the flaking eves and badly painted architrave in desperate need of wholesale renovation/conservation.
“This is the front line.” I hear a cocky young white boy say to his distressed looking girl.
The charming coffee shops and elegant restaurants are already here. Franklin is heralding the beginning of the great gentrification. Some of the multi-occupancy dwellings have already been restored to their original 19th Century grandeur. The streets will be reclaimed.
Yesterday, after my long walk, I met a young actor kid who sat with us and told his life story. Later that day I met his gf, he gave me a button that says ‘Is That A Poem in Your Pocket?’ We are going to take some pictures today. I want to wrap him in a sheet like those Eve Arnold pictures of Marilyn Monroe.
S and I had a lovely dinner at Cafe Select then headed over to the Bowery Hotel when we met film producer Sofia Sondervan. On the way there, S warned me Sofia was prone to heavy drinking and bouts of anger stemming from post natal depression. She told me that they had fallen out but S had since forgiven Sofia. Sofia had ‘taken a break’ from the film industry. Sophia’s most notable achievement in film? The lamentable Party Monster. The true story of Michael Alig.
Sofia is a sturdy woman, sporting large country hips perfect for child-bearing. A character Thomas Hardy might have written. The face of a jolly farmer’s wife, ruddy complexion and broken veins in her nose and cheeks. A solid, Dutch female, roll-mop eating though her late 40’s. Her large, masculine hands more suited to kneading dough that writing script notes?
At first she was utterly charming, her blue eyes flashing and flirtatious. She showed me a picture of her dog. She ordered martinis. She was accompanied by a young woman who could very well have been her daughter.
After a few drinks some women disintegrate. Usually older, blousy blonds… like Sofia.
She embarrassed us all by telling loud stories of S’s past sexual conquests… then made sure single S was aware that she (Sofia) was married and had a child. Her increasing drunkenness thinly disguising her passive aggression. The subtext was clear: like many married people Sofia looks down her nose at her unmarried friends. The tyranny of marriage. She announced that she had ‘fully financed and cast’ her new film. Triumphal, decadent and wholly ersatz.
I asked, quite innocently, if the young girl sitting with her was her daughter.
Sofia baulked. “No”, she said. “How could you say such a thing? This girl is 29 years old”.
“Oh,” I said. “She looks like a 19-year-old.”
“Yes”, the girl said smugly, “I get that all the time.”
It wasn’t the most helpful thing to say. It didn’t exactly help Sofia out of the vain quicksand into which she now began to rapidly sink.
“How old do I look?” She asked.
“55?” I guessed.
Sofia ‘suddenly’ realized who I was. Her tone changed. She had been reading this very blog. She had read the LA Weekly article about me going to jail…
“What is the difference between jail and prison?” She mocked.
“I”m assuming you get a bit touchy about your age.” I mused.
Sofia decided that this was a good time to unleash the hounds.
She told me what she knew… real and imagined. That I hated AA. That she had ‘heard’ things about me from other people. ‘She invented fights with Joe Simon and mocked the white in my beard. Yes, she tried to shame me for being older than her. She pretended that I had ‘friended’ her on Facebook when the opposite was true.
For those of you who know me… and I mean… KNOW me… this drunken attack was ill-judged. S left the table. I cocked my semi-automatic and took aim into the fat, menopausal, drooping face of Ms. Sofia Sondervan.
“Do you want some good advice Sofia?” I asked quietly. “If you don’t want men to think you are 55 years old… lose some weight, get those unsightly bags removed from under your eyes and do something with your hair.” I smiled comfortingly into her bovine face. “I mean, let’s face it… your credits are lacking, your choices are poor. You should be at home with your husband… if he can bear the sight of you. If touching that aging, crepe skin and those white, wiry pussy pubes still turns him on. At least you have your baby… and the great thing about babies? They’ll give you unconditional love regardless of what you look like.”
She took it well. Gulped at her dirty martini and smiled at her friend.
“Did that make you feel better?” She asked naively. “Oh yes,” I said. “I can live quite well on a diet of pure vitriol.”
“Tell S, ” she parried, “Both of us are married.” Her smug friend nodded in agreement and held up her left hand. “And we both have kids.”
As I was leaving I saw the equally reptilian Producer Dan Halsted sipping water with his pugnacious assistant in another part of the bar. All the freaks were out last night. He’s probably at an AA meeting right now conning the assembled crowd with his story of perfect recovery. Fuck. What a cunt.