Again We Meet
When I came to NYC the second time, my second coming, I came this time as a writer first and a musician way in the back of my mind. After my divorce from my #2 wife, I shillyshallied about living where I chose, mafficking about the U.S., getting divorced in Haiti and staying there 3 months, then coming back and rocking and rolling all over California, then dropping in on Texas again as I flew back to NYC to began life in NYC Volume 2, another dawning, another chance, another effort.
Soon I was living by myself in bachelor paradise in downtown New York, just adjacent to fastly becoming fashionable SOHO, South of Houston Street, and not after the Soho in London, whatever the hell that one's named after--I'm an anglophobe so I have really never given a damn about the origins of that name. Just like a circus is a circle; SOHO is a section of NYC south of Houston Street (pronounced House-ton Street and not Hugh-ston Street like we Texans pronounce it due to Old Sam Houston, the great white father of the State, and a pretty decently thinking dude to boot, though he wasn't very respectful of Mexicans).
Right around the corner from my loft was a bar called The Green Door. I went in there one time; I got such a cold reception, I never went in there again. One day I happened by that way, though, and on this day I saw a young redheaded guy and a really old grayheaded woman out in front of the Green Door hosing down its outside. "Hi," I said, going up to the redheaded guy, "what the hell's happened to the Green Door?" "It's no more. This lady and I now own the place--we'll be opening next week. You neighborhood?" "Yeah, right around the corner on Greenwich." "Well, I hope you come by and visit us." "You gonna keep it The Green Door." "No. We're up in the air about that." Over the old Green Door was a ancient neon sign that on its best day said "BAR" in big red letters on the black metal background. The "B" of that bar sign had been damaged by time and in its current state, looking up at it, it yelled back at you "EAR," not "BAR." When the bar finally opened, and yes I was in attendance, it was called The Ear. Later, it became known as The Ear Inn.
One of the first dudes I met in the Ear Inn, besides the owners, a whole host of other new friends and enemies, was a guy who called himself a master futurist and who had the distinction of being the first male to ever graduate from Vassar College up in Poughkeepsie, previously an all-girl school along the line of Sarah Lawrence, Smith, and Bryn Mawr.
This futurist and I got along well, and with another genius I met there, one of the bartenders, one of the first guys to ever get a Humanist degree--he was from Berkeley--we'd get into long conversations about art, culture, writing, poetry, and one time the futurist told me he was working on placing video cameras at intersections to better regulate gridlock and also traffic law abusers like redlight runners or hit-and-run scumbags. He said he'd gotten a consulting job with the city to give a futuristic appraisal of the traffic situation. I also loved this dude's girlfriend, I might add, who was a charming supersure-of-herself babe, at the time working as an assistant to the painter Jaspar Johns.
Damn if I didn't get up a little late this morning and while having my morning coffee and juice I flipped on the teevee and up popped the CBS "snooty-for-teevee" Sunday Morning show. I couldn't believe my eyes. One of those hot teevee babes was interviewing, son of a bitch, the futurist from the Ear Inn--yep, there he was, grubbier and certainly older, but it was him and he was still talking his anthropological shit; and we used to sing a little song about him at the old Ear Inn bar back in those early good ole days, and we'd splat his name out trickily to the tune of "La Cucharacha," "Ta-ta-tah tah-tah/ ta-ta-tah tah-tah/ ta-tah ta-tah ta-tah tah," and I felt kind'a bad about that because the little song was done in fun since most of us old Ear Inn-ders loved the guy, though he had a tendency to be an intellectual snob at moments, like disregard you if he was in such a mind. But there he was on teevee, still kicking, still hawking his futuristic predictions, which is what he was, a future predictor, predicting based on his sociological approach to the combat of technology vs. culture, or vice versa, except now he was calling himself a "shopping anthropologist" and talking about stores that induce buying as opposed to old-style stores that are now going broke against the modern competition. He said we wanted either well-made but honestly cheap goods or else we wanted the very best of goods and we'd settle for nothing better. They were interviewing the old futurist in a new Manhattan shoe store that he declared a perfectly conceived innovative layout that just begged consumers to shop among their high-end and bargain-end shoes--this store guaranteed all its shoes were limited editions, selling around $200 avergage. I'm laughing the whole time I'm listening to the futurist's spiel. He's also got a bestseller on the shelves he's marketing, too. "You're just a damn marketer, Senor Futuristo; and you're still an intellectual snob, but I love ya. It was the same guy still spouting the same predictions as he gazes in his money-making superfuturistic crystal ball of futuristic urban planning. I'll say one thing for the futurist: he knew all about Frank Lloyd Wright's planned city and we had many a long talk about the Broadacre City concept back in those good old days when the Ear Inn was an inn for guys like me and the futurist and would give us ear no matter how celestially eccentric we were--and oh the stories I could tell you about my times in the Ear Inn.
Cheers to the futurist; he's still in the NOW, though his heart is high in the future highlands.
A jaunty little Sunday post. I'm still blogged down in blogging. It's fun, but grueling at times.
for The Daily Growler