...Being Red Skelton
Three memories with Hats
1. There was usually a group of musicians over for the day or the fortnight blasting looped tapes out the window to see street walkers reactions. A few of these virtuosos were obsessed with Einstein on the Beach at the time. Most of these guys were transplants from a music commune up in Woodstock. I think, by some of the sounds that were crafted, they majored in comprehending feedback.
Some of the guys made up the Swollen Monkeys. They split.
They regrouped to become the Butthole Surfers. They split.
Never underestimate the value of really well thought out rock’n roll name.
We’d have parties depending on what we wanted to score. For instance a Hat Party. People invited would know hats were mandatory. Eventually everyone would get drunk and a sea chapeau would be left behind. Voila. And, if it ever got too weird, I could always crawl into my loft and pretend I didn’t know what was happening.
2. I went down too see the opera production director with a hat in question pinned together, mocked up to the nth detail. Upon seeing it, he ripped it apart verbally and shredded it literally. Humiliated, I came back up stairs to the craft room where Charles was huddled over a balsa block pining a turban. He glanced at me sideways for a moment & caught the mortified shock on my face with the hat draped over my arms in pieces. He offered,
“...Oh, I forgot to tell you he’s in a snit today...”
From Charles I first heard of the ‘blind nuns at dawn’ stitch.
3. Manhattan winters are slap-in-the-face cold. Turning up toward the sun to warm our faces, we walked along planning a trip to the flower mart. We carried three ‘regular coffees’ from Chock Full of Nuts steaming into the chilly early morning air. Heading down to the Bowery we traverse Union Square where we recognized the huge pile of fabric as Evelyn. She embodied a fashion statement by building a hat ornament day to day. If you had the time, you would notice that she added a bit of this or that to her chapeau everyday until her headpiece became too heavy. She’d have a two day break and then begin the building ritual again. She inhabited a homeless dingy heap moving from this place to Washington Park on quieter days. Kyle and I had been paid in cash for a restaurant installation the day before, so life was good. I casually handed Evelyn a twenty dollar bill and coffee as we passed her in the park. Her frosty breath rose from the lifeless pyre into the crisp air. When she bolted and came chasing after us, we didn’t know if she was in trouble or if we were.
Happy TT, for more chapeau...(...at sixty bucks a throw...) go to Theme Thursday.
On Thursday, of course.