Thursday, June 22, 2017


-the Jazz Loft, pt. 10, 1967 -
Two things, I noticed, were going on
about the same time : in the art world, of
which I also was peripherally aware and
involved with as a member of the Studio
School. These two things were fighting
each other, in some fashion of disordering
either one or the other. The art world was
breaking down, and the jazz/music world
was tightening up. A real paradox, when
viewed. I sensed it was coming, but I was
pretty lost.
Figure it thusly : When you're living on
the street as a newcomer from nowhere, it's
axiomatic that, to get started at least, you take
what's given to you, accept it, harbor it and
from it learn. You watch others. You observe
what they're doing and how they're going
about it. Believe you me, no one had ever
taught me how to scavenge for food, how
to pick for remnants, nor where the better
and best ones were. (I always used to
think it was heartily funny to listen as
food scavengers got on about where 'the 
best throw-outs were.' As if they were in the 
Gourmet Bum Club.' You don't learn that
hanging around the train station at Abbe
Lumber with the school-buses going by.
I'd never known what it was  -  and fortunately
for me it was soon high Summer and warm
for three or so months  -  I could and did
just plop down in the park, on the grass,
and sleep. Summer of '67 there were freaks
everywhere, new arrivals bounding off
buses every two hours  -  wandering in,
dazed and weary. Just like me. Me! Who
soon, within two weeks, was a veteran and
an old hand already at all this scavenging
and hippie-street-living stuff. It seemed
like everything was free, and everyone was
happy and able to assist, or share. Once it
all began getting just a bit too sunny for me,
too much good stuff, I backed off, and was
able to easily as  -  already stated  -  a
'veteran.' Funny. People had started asking
ME things.  I had the Studio School and I
had the park(s) and the dock(s). Only later
as I got more and more inured to things did
I venture  -  that's when I got the jazz loft
stuff. It's a long story, and it ain't pretty  -
suffice it to say (and I wasn't even gay) that
for what I thought was a free lunch some
black dude tried picking me up, made the
big move, which immediately smartened me
up as to what kind of stuff was going on and
why and how to keep away from the plain
old naivete that had gotten me to that pass.
I've written about this in other portrayals and
other formats, so I'm not about to rehash it
all here again. But! This black guy was the
one who led me to other black guys who
then turned out, some of them, to be allied
with the jazz guys I later caught up to. You
had to be there; 1967 was that weird, really.
I was juggling five balls in the air, each of
an unknown value and consequence, and I
myself only had one arm with which to do
the juggling. Mostly they call girls 'naifs.'
I fit that bill until I 'wisened' up.
The jazz guys took me over, they showed
me ropes. The geeks at what eventually
became my apartment had, by this time,
driven me off just by the crowded nature
of the thing that was going on there. I'd
lost control, bad shit was happening, it
was getting way too hairy for me, and I
just sensed that sooner or later someone
was going to get really hurt and something
illogical and mortal was going to come of
it. It did, eventually. The people at the Studio
School  -   which was then about as informal
an operation as you could think of  -  let
me start living there, in a little basement
room (which was better than things I'd
seen before) under the guise of being the
'night watchman.' It worked, though I
never really 'watched' anything.

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