Lead in this feature was a fascinating woman named Juliet Anderson, a classroom teacher who, in early middle age (39), started in porn and quickly became a star due to her talent in enthusiastic penilingism, plus she photographed well doing it. I was a little more delicate going about it but I think no less effective as a wiggly little lovedoll. Fan Brian likens this pose to the one in “Cantara, 1973” except in 1973 I was 18 and this flick was shot 8 years later on a proper set.
I like to post short little items like this when I’m in the middle of big writing, which is where you find me now (Mamoulian in Mindand Runes of Minneapolis). This was tremendously popular in the jukeboxes of the Castro, circa late 1970s, before and after AIDS first hit. So ubiquitous was Jane Olivor’s rendition novelist Armistead Maupin couldn’t ignore it—this was the song that brought Michael “The Mouse” Tolliver to tears in the first volume of Tales of the City. Put this on and there isn’t a dry eye in the room, whether you’re thinking of a dead lover or a living one. I think of both.
Above: “Some Enchanted Evening” written for the 1947 stage musical South Pacific, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. A song has lyrics, John my love. This is how I speak to you.
Here’re my two connections to musician-composer Carlos Santana and his music. One, The Kid attended Santana’s alma mater, Mission High, in our neighborhood the Mission across from gorgeous Dolores Park, where he used to cut classes and take his girlfriend of the moment, wouldn’t you? And two, Santana’s “Evil Ways” was the last number in the live lesbian love act I used to do years earlier with the other girls employed by Katherine (wife of “History of the Blue Movie” Alex) de Renzy, bless her rapacious little heart. Eight freakin shows a day. Tickets ten dollars, and this was 1979. We got visitors from everywhere, sailors and Japanese businessmen and tourists from the hotels. Katherine pushed the Screening Room as a classy joint, classier even than the better-known O’Farrell Theatre up the street, but apples and oranges. I guess naked pillow fights are better suited to some tastes.
For those of you who know that, as well as being a retired porn actress, I also write porn for a living (actually “women’s erotica” but you know and I know it’s porn, lady porn, but PORN), Full Dress being a riff on my old boss Rouben Mamoulian’s classic The Song of Songs—you know, the one where Marlene Dietrich has a rich would-be composer for a husband and a young, sensitive, bespectacled conductor for a lover, inspiring them both to artistic heights through her Mighty Marlene Power. Oh, baby. This is the movie that inspired me to emulate you in my youth.
But just so you don’t go on thinking this is some kind of fanblog (really, I’m not a fan*, just crazy in love with the bloke below) I thought I’d spend a posting to tell you all how I got my first gig in pictures.
I see you like this, John, and I’m a puddle of goo at your feet. Above: La Dietrich’s song to my John.
This happened in San Francisco—in the 70saparadise for the sexually adventurous—and coming after the time I worked as classic film director Rouben Mamoulian’s amanuensis, which was after the time I posed nude for a blind sculptor in St-Paul-de-Vence, which was after the time I danced topless in a mob-run bar in Red Hook, which was after the time I was the night solfeggist at ASCAP…
Soanyway. One lovely summer evening about six weeks after I hit the city I went with a (legit) actress friend to a house party up on Potrero Hill, mostly because she enticed me with the information that the party would be featuring a hot tub. (Am such a pushover for hot tubs.) Well, at the party there was this cute but obvious older guy from London (trimmed ginger beard, open shirt, bead bracelet—no one goes California like the English) named Paul, who owned the house and who invited me seulement for a session of coke+quaaludes and a nice soak later, after all the other guests have left. Then he gave me his card. (This was only the second time a man ever gave me his business card before we had sex, and it wouldn’t be the last)…
*No, really, I’m in love with John but he plows through Gershwin like a bull moose and treats Bernstein like Bernstein’s Saruman and he’s Frodo. How could any red-blooded American woman countenance such effrontery to our national treasure?**
Carol Doda’s Condor Club on Broadway and Columbus. I used to work the live hetero sex act at Adam and Eve’s (upstairs from Spec’s on Broadway) on this street in the late 70s, around when this picture was taken. Yes, Carol’s tits lit up at night.
Above: Donna Summer sings “Hot Stuff”. Would you download it if I told you I danced naked to it?
In November 1983, I heard, bouncer Jimmy Ferrozzo and his girlfriend, exotic dancer Theresa Hill, decided after hours to do the deed atop the famous white piano upon which, after being lowered from the ceiling by cables, Carol would make her nightly entrance. They accidentally hit the On switch, and the piano rapidly rose to the ceiling, trapping the couple. Ferrozzo was asphyxiated. Hill survived, only because she was thinner than Ferrozo.
I knew Chesley in San Francisco when I was working (when not working in a porn movie) as second electrics at the old Eureka Theatre (the good one, the one that produced David Rabe, Trevor Griffiths, Caryl Churchill etc) and he was a stage critic, composer and nascent playwright. He had been a fan of a show Mister Grumble and I were lighting at the time called The Rosy Black Life, and eventually we ended up following him to New York and lighting some of his own shows there at venues like the Three Dollar Bill Theatre in Chelsea. He was The Kid’s godfather.
Portrait by Rick Gerharter.
In tonight’s (1 June 2019) music series called Nightcap curated by composer John Corigliano members of the New York Philharmonic will perform Bob Chesley’s art song, “Autumn”, in their program Music of Conscience, which focuses on young composers who died of AIDS.
San Francisco, open your Golden Gate
You’ll let no stranger wait outside your door
San Francisco, here is your wanderin’ one
Saying I’ll wander no more
The Castro Theatre was our neighborhood picture palace back in San Francisco. Went to dozens of movies there, sometimes with Mister Grumble (this is when he still could see), sometimes with the The Kid, sometimes with both: King Kong,Casablanca, The Garden of Allah, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, that movie Steve’s son was in called Brokeback Mountain, etc etc etc. But the organ was always the best part.
Here’s David Hagerty between evening shows giving the best of The Mighty Wurlitzer and ending (starting at 8:17), as he always does at every performance, with an inspiring rendition of the official anthem of my spiritual birthplace, “San Francisco” (Bronislaw Kaper and Walter Jurmann, lyrics by Gus Kahn, 1936).
Fast forward through World War II to Al Williams’ Papagayo Room in the Fairmont Hotel. It’s 2 a.m. Al’s place is the hangout on the late shift. Mexican food in the middle of the night? We were young and indestructible. Frank was on his own now and headlining at (again) the Golden Gate. The critics weren’t impressed with “Frankie,” as they called him, to his disgust, but the schoolgirls were cutting classes to catch his shows and I was giving him sincere plugs. At the Papagayo Room on his closing night, a burly broken-nosed guy in a polo coat came to my table and said, “You Caen?” When I nodded warily, he slipped me a small package, said, “Frank says t’anks” and disappeared. The package contained a solid gold Dunhill lighter. It was the first but not the last time I would be reminded of Sinatra’s penchant for extravagant gifts…