b r e a t h i n g   r o o m

30 Apr 98

Barbie Nation showing at the S.F. film festival. I meet the director, Susan Stern, a prizewinner with her first film. Very cool, reminds me of some of Dick's and Briggs' friends (same age group). Afterward, drift to North Beach for a modicum of food and drink, maybe because I'm dressed for it. Noisy bistro could easily make me feel alone, the women too young, too late anyhow. Times past I'd have wished for a book, newspaper, menu to read, something. I still try to insulate myself from moments of total quiet, exhale, introspection.

They are out of Carlsburg. I feel like trying Moretti, an Italian beer, though I suspect it will be light, watery for my taste. The waiter said, "I like it," and you can never trust a waiter's taste in beer. The waiter at a Vietnamese/Chinese restaurant on the Algiers side of the Mississippi in New Orleans recommended Saigon (brewed in Ho Chi Minh City) by saying another patron had compared it to Miller Lite (ironically, the sponsor of JazzFest and only beer served there).

I couldn't help noticing the swing/zoot suit scene club and the bar, the Mambo Room on the corner of Broadway and Columbus. Earlier today I passed a grinning young man on 13th St. in Oakland, just off the other Broaday, sunning his chihuahua. Is this dog, thanks to a mega-taco franchise, going to become the next fad pet? .Surely that fate is not in store for rats, the stars of Rat Women, a short film from the U.K. that preced Barbie Nation tonight, along with a fantastic short narrative in German, subtitled, called Speak Easy, that featured entirely German teenagers talking on telephones.

Their subculture seems so American, or perhaps multinational? I liked the rough, cognate literal translations in the subtitles - "stressy" (not stressful) for stressig - and a long argument about whether a female can be said to fuck a female, in which the speaker, on the john, repeats again and again "Sie vicks ihn" (pronounced "zee ficks een).

So now I have this little notebook to keep me occupied and project that impenetrable "artist at work" veneer.


Got encouragement to pursue a dream project, a biography of James Booker (who?). How's this for a title? "Gonzo: the Short Life and Hard Times of James Carroll Booker III, Piano Prince of New Orleans"? OK, a little wordy. All his album titles would work (Spider on the Keys, Resurrection of the Bayou Maharajah, Junco Pardner, etc.), as would one lyric, similar to a Dylan album title: Knocked Down Loaded.

Ad lib from Booker's version of Goodnight Irene: "Please don't let me drown."

Thinking of pizza, I wandered into The Steps of Rome, where the Italian Beatlesque pop album has obviously been played so often that all the waiters, countermen, and busboys sing along loudly, impassioned, a do several of the overwrought male customers. I've opted instead for a risotto of tomato, shrimp, and arugula. They keep turning the music up.

My risotto has now cooled enough for me to commence scarfing.

OK, just need to preen for a few moments until my check comes, pay it, resist the urge to ogle the dancers at the Lusty Lady, and head on home.

yester morrow
day one
first lines

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