Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Mon Amour"

I was stranded in waste deep anxious wakefulness last night. so I got on the subway at 2:00am, and came to town. I had a pizza in Times Square, wandered eighth avenue. Not as deadly or interesting as it used to be. Which I will admit is a good thing, but still.

I miss the all night porn shops where I could get the demented dreams of my choice above or usually below the counter, vivid color too.

It was cold, and raining like hell, but I loved it.

Before I left the house I was watching this movie on 13, the local public station. "New Orleans Mon Amour". Wow. Love in the ruins indeed. It was was an indie starring a bunch of nice young actors.

The "name" guy or mainstream star was the fella that played the Doctor in "Doctor Who" two doctors ago. 'Always liked him, but don't remember his name,...figures. He does all that neat work, and his name evaporates.


...wait, wait I remember the guy now.

Eccleston, right Christopher Eccleston!

Anyway I eventually ended up at the radio station, WBAI. That place is my second, and at times primary home. Been there 31 years. Most of my generation from there is either stiff in the mud or happy grandparents now.

Oh the adventures we had! Scary politics, techie hyjinks, swell drugs, and sex now'n then. Even almost won a bunch of awards. As for now,..well.

Well I'm just living is all. I miss the old daze, and my old pals. The station, like the Navy,..that's another story, goes on forever. Something always needs fixing or my voice is needed for this or that. It's a life.

On the other hand something from that movie, "New Orleans Mon Amour". Someone in all that mayhem of a sunken city, and complicated relationships said,

"...what is the past good for."

"All that damage, and dead weight."

"Throw it away."

Them lines is what got me out of the house. Got me out to wander the rainy canyons of the Emerald City". I stumbled about wondering which bits of my screwed up past to dump.

Oh how I love my pain. 'Don't we all. Our memories of hell. How could I ever part with any of it.

Well like I sez I went, and had some pizza. I sat'n stared out into the wet purgatory of another pharmaceutical night.

Aw crap, this scans like the opening to that Woody Allen film "Manhattan". Only unlike him I didn't mean this post as comedy.


("New Orleans Mon Amour")


Candy Ass said...

When it comes to 8th Avenue, Bruce Benderson always has the last word:

"Don't believe the hype about the infamous Stonewall bar being an oppressive place where sad homosexuals had to hide from police oppression and where Mafia bosses exploited their desperation. Any illegal bar run by the Mafia always has the hottest, most inspiring atmosphere. And excitement, risk and underground activity are what makes the best writing. The Mafia may have created a lot of heartache in our cities, but we owe them a debt for having created such good illicit bars, which were at the basis of a lot of good American literature. As for me, I probably wouldn't have written a decent sentence if I hadn't discovered Times Square and the hot Puerto Rican hustlers who came down from the South Bronx to frequent its mostly Mafia-owned bars. * * * The first and most famous Times Square bar I ever went to was called the Haymarket. It was a big, sprawling place on Eighth Avenue with cheap drinks, a long bar counter, booths you could sit in and a big pool table. In those days, a lot of the hustlers were poor white kids. Since the minimum drinking age in those days was 18 (rather than today's 21), there was some very young trade in there. The place was pulsing with young testosterone and horny old men willing to spend the $20 on some fresh meat."

Uncle 2012 said...

Yeah, but the music was always too loud. One could hardly woo anyone with tender verse.

Still them's was the daze.

Anonymous said...

I never remember any music at Haymarket. And anyway, Haymarket was no fucking place for "tender verse"! It was a nod and a wink and off you went. Come to think of it, it was the same out on the deuce too.
Benderson actually came late into this scene which was centered in other bars (and on streets) in different areas of Manhattan, during the 60s and 70s and those were far more interesting. Haymarket was the the beginning of the end. The fucking Linos of the world took over and its been a funeral parlor ever since.

Anonymous said...

I''m sorry to say Ive only been to New York City once. That was in aoutn1971, and some of us in the church we attended had formed whatbwe euphemistically called a "Gospel Quartet" to sing the Good News to the masses.

Anyway, we had our first and only southern "tour" and our first gig was somewhere in central Jersey. We decided to stop in the Big Apple on the way down to see if everything they said aboutnit was true.

After spending a week on the Goerge Washington Bridge one Saturday morning, rthe road excreted our station wagon and we ended up somewhere in the Times Square area. I remember all the porno theater marquees. I wasn't the little St. Chip I had painted myself out to be, and those marquees were SOOOO interesting!! Of course I couldn't tell a soul. I was in deep psychic disguise.

We decided to stop for lunch, and parked near a news kiosk, where there were papers with names like "Screw." Heady stuff vor an innocent abroad.

We ate a cheap, and not very good, meal at an automat, got in the car and hit the Verrazano as fast as we could. No stopping for souveneirs, the girls in our group looked downright panicky.

That image of New York continues to live with me, and there are tkmes I wish I could have just let myself go and have a good wallow.

Anyone wanting a good novel of the period, about a Puerto Rican street hustler, should llok for Saul's Book by Paul D. Rogers. Long out of print, you'll need to check used bookstores or Amazon. Rogers wrote about tyhe city he knew and was eventually murdered, it was suspected. by one of the hustlers he beffriended. Its an excellent read.

I enclose to links to photos of old New from 1941, the other from the early '60's...

These are from the Charles W. Cushman collection...

Mr. Chips

Uncle 2012 said...

One point, about the noise, I wasn't talking about the Haymarket.

I never actually went there,...that I can remember.

I remember the bar scene in the West Village of the early to mid 70's. After that I stopped going. That world 'was' loud, and crappy.

Expensive too.

In my youth I mostly hung out with my young Queer pals. That's how I got into the radical Queer art, and publishing realms.

I was a romantic, and the bars while good for what they were there for didn't work well for me.

Still the bars hold some funny, horny and happy memories here, and there as in all adventures in life.

poetreader said...

I was in NYC 1962-3. Never liked the scene around Times Square - too commercial and more than a little scary. There were a lot of bars in the Village area, particularly the West Village and a couple in Brooklyn Heights where I was quite happy. Went a couple of times to a dancing bar way West of the Village (forget its name after 45+ years) that was raided the night after I was there. The whole thing was seriously illegal then, even between adults, and most of the older guys I knew had done time. Twice I went to a leather bar with a friend who insisted I do so. That was scary. I felt out of place and tried to be invisible.

Haven't been back to NY since, so I don't really know what it's like at this point,


Candy Ass said...

Sidney, by 1970 the bar and street scene had moved out of the West Village which became a ghetto for socially acceptable gays and today also includes Chelsea where one of your more despicable posters lives.

Had you taken the time to get to know some of the participants on the deuce you would have made contact with artists, writers, professors and a variety of interesting professional people in addition to the usual "ordinary" folk who worked the area.

By 1970, the more interesting bar and street scene had moved to the upper East Side while the deuce remained active. By 1980, it was all but over and Haymarket lingered as a sad reminder of the glory that once was.

A lot of books came out of that era, not only *Saul's Book*. You can do your own research or rely on the kindliness of strangers for more information.

Once again, for those who are interested, Benderson on *Saul's Book*:
"One of the best novels about that scene was written by a guy named Paul Rogers. It’s a novel called Saul’s Book, which tells the story of an angelic but fucked-up Puerto Rican hustler-junkie and his Jewish john-daddy who is a reader of Shakespeare and a forger of checks. When the book was published around 1980, it won a prestigious literary prize called the Pushcart. Everybody thought that Paul Rogers was a social worker who had learned about that sleazy world of hustlers through his altruistic profession. It turned out, however, that Rogers was just like his character Saul. He was a drug addict and a con man with a taste for young trade. The love of his life — a fucked up white kid with a learning disability and a drug habit — eventually bludgeoned him to death. And Rogers was dead before he could even write a second novel."

Zaek said...

I was only in NYC a couple of times: for a day in 1979 and ten days in 1983. So I was just a tourist there. Went to the deuce and found it not at all pleasant, and the porn Mr. Chips mentioned was long gone. Oh well.

I did have a chance to go to a boy bar frequented, I was told, by young but rich queer kids. I've always kinda regretted that I didn't go. Coulda found me a sugar baby!

So all I have to show for this trip is a book I picked up about a Baroque artist called Bibbiena. It's great stuff, but alas no porno.