Tonight, a call from a friend who wanted me to get dressed and go crash some Providence Oscar parties. A Providence Oscar Party? Think of it. The damp cheeses, the gaudy jewelry, the Rhode Island accents. I suppose the flat screen maxi-t.v. set is front and center, and the couches are set right, so that the women can chatter about the fashions on the stars and the men can stand far enough away from them to enjoy a cigar and a glance at the bodies of the stars. Celebrity obsession. Have you ever seen a celebrity in person. Except for Barack Obama and Audrey Hepburn, they are mostly pimpled and pale, gaunt and vacuous. I worked as an extra on Working Girl and spend several days standing near What’s Her Name– you know, Tippy Hedren’s daughter – and she was very nice because she was very high on coke. On camera, as Mike Nichols gazed at the Daily’s, she looked sweetly plump. In person, with her head in her hands between takes, trying not to vomit, she was red-eyed, bloated, blotched and bleached. I saw first hand what cameras could do, and editing, and several takes of one scene. I understood publicity, and marketing and money. I remember passing Mike Nichols in the hall. He stopped and said, “Well, you are particularly beautiful.” There I stood, in panty hose, dull suit, with over-sprayed hair and a plaster of face numbing make-up, unable to answer because I had lost myself in the role of an insignifigant. Being an extra kills your personality, let alone your talent. I merely smiled blandly at the greatest film director in the world, and shuffled past like a cardboard cutout. That being said, I enjoy watching movies and the Oscars, but I don’t think that getting dressed up on a Sunday night in Providence in order to “crash” an Oscar Party full of fluffies is a can-do. Even if a local celebrity or two shows up. Would might that be? Kitty Litter? Buddy Cianci? I have long ago come to understand that no introduction, no connection, no job offer, no party can take the place of focused work and honest performance, even if the honesty demands that you remain unknown.
Doesn’t take much to make me happy. New Orleans, breakfast at noon, lots of jazz, a warm sun at my back, shrimp gumbo extra hot, and Howard is able to walk again without freezing his feet. A beautiful house in the garden district all to myself, people who becomes friends after a hello. I am singing here for a few weeks with friend Del on whorehouse piano, up and down Bourbon Street and in little out of the way clubs on the side streets of the Quarter. I am housesitting and doggie sitting for a wonderful friend who is visiting Belize — Her funky house is full of Indonesian voo-doo and hot sauces. I’m learning some new music for upcoming gigs in the cold and grey north where my friends are about to have a nervous breakdown, like I almost did. Well, I’ll have it when I get back. Remember, rice and hot sauce is cheap, and so is the rental of a cold water flat. Don;t forget about public transportation and if you’re worried about money for your retirement, if you sell everything you own, which is always a good plan, you can take the money and put it under your mattress, and if you run out, get a cyanide capsule. There are alternatives to recessional suffering. There is another life out there that you’re missing because of your fears and habits. Oh, dear, I feel, at this very moment, that I am catching a bad cold. Now, that’s life!!!!