On the Fly
By: Charles Giuliano - Jun 13, 2013
IIt was my old apartment at 303 East 11th Street in the Lower East Side.
Smaller than the original but kept as a pied a terre in NY.
In a neighborhood which had not been gentrified.
Back then Jim Jacobs came to visit.
There was no phone and Con Ed cut off the lights during summers when I was “unemployed” because the gallery closed between seasons. I collected unemployment which was just enough to buy milk for coffee that spoiled by afternoon because of the lack of refrigeration. Gas was cheap and stayed on to boil water.
In the car Jim had an old upright Underwood, reel to reel, typewriter.
He wanted to give it to me.
This time I didn’t refuse as I had when the artist Bruce Conner made a similar offer a few years before.
I turned down the gift insisting that I was an artist with no need for the machine.
Bruce didn’t say anything. Left and came back with a baseball bat.
As I vividly recall to this day he smashed the typewriter to smithereens.
The ribbon popped out and unwound trailing across the floor.
So the second time I accepted the gift and have been writing ever since.
It was an omen.
Jim staggered into my tiny, slum apartment.
I was surprised to see him as we don’t often connect although he is always promising get togethers.
A couple of summers ago he and Kathleen flew in for lunch in separate airplanes.
The apartment was tiny but had an impressive bathroom, an open room, with an Arab style hole in the ground and shower.
When I looked in Jim was crouched down under the shower.
Looking carefully I noticed blood in the water. He was holding his side which seemed to be wounded.
I went away but came back with concern.
Insisting that he had to go to the hospital. Perhaps it was a deal gone bad and he ducked in for refuge. Odd because he sells art which rarely results in such violence.
Reluctantly he agreed and with the help of a retainer was assisted into his Mercedes.
I followed in my shorts.
We came to a corner and I lost him.
It was a confusing neighborhood I had never visited.
Very steep like a mountain.
Not really NY more like the Alps.
My car struggled to make the ascent.
Finally reaching the summit and a spectacular street with enormous chalets and upscale restaurants.
The kind Jim dines in and way out of my league.
But I examined the menus posted outside for food I could not afford.
Pretending to be a customer I entered one and brushing past a wait staff in tuxedoes found the fabulous rest room. Kept looking for Shango who was long gone.
Outside there was a throng of people in traditional outfits.
A young girl was emoting. Singing opera actually from Bellini’s “La Sonnambula.”
We saw it at the Met a couple of years ago.
Then her instructor/conductor stopped her.
The group moved on and out of my life at dawn.