COLUMN FIFTY-TWO, OCTOBER 1, 2000
(Copyright - 2000 Al Aronowitz)
RAINY DAY GARDEN PARTY
JOHN AND YOKO
There was Harvey the stickball player and I think some woman named Harriet and a man with a mustache everybody called The Count. Obviously Richard Milhous Nixon has better connections than Allen Klein. They both threw garden parties this weekend, but it rained harder at Allen's.
were also five mediums, not the kind you'd find in Lew Mangran's shirt shop.
Allen had summoned them to give a psychic demonstration as entertainment
for the guests. As for Harold Seider, Allen's partner and legal beagle, he
went around saying that five mediums might better be called "media." As for
John Lennon, he kept telling everybody that he had invited his dead relatives.
"Personally,? John said, "I'd like to see Eddie Cochran come. Maybe he and Buddy Holly'll sing us a song."
party was up at Allen's modest little palace in Riverdale, overlooking the
Hudson, where every time you rang the doorbell it played another Beatle tune.
The occasion was the 33rd birthday of Allen's wife,
Betty, but it also served to celebrate the addition of John and
Yoko to the client list of Abkco Industries, Allen's managerial firm.
"I heard Allen was going to invite 50 straights," John said, 'so I invited 50 freaks."
or a freak"
in limousines provided by the host: Jerry Rubin and friends, Andy Warhol
and company, Ornette Coleman and his lady, Howard Smith and his blonde, Jonas
Mekas and his camera and a veritable bouquet
of others, all of them hand-picked from New York's underground garden in
colors that paled the floral arrangements on each of the round patio tables.
There was also a former Miss Austria, but nobody could tell me whether
she was one of the straights or one of the freaks.
really enjoying New York this time," John said.
"I think we are going to stay longer than I expected."
The afternoon started out as
brilliant as the guest list, with Marty Ostrow, the recording
industry's Clifton Fadiman, leading the plunges into the swimming pool. An Italo-American rock group serenaded the guests, the
neighbors and much of the rest of Riverdale with tunes. Featuring two jumping
horn players and a vocalist who reminded me of Domenico Modugno, Elvis Presley
and Ernest Borgnine all at once, the group had been
recruited by Pete Bennett, Klein's promotion man, somebody you might think had
been banned from the cast of The Godfather because the Italian
Anti-Defamation League thought he looked too real.
'see if you can get their name
in the paper," Pete told me. 'they're
called 'the Boys In The Band."?
"It figures," I said, and Pete
rushed off to have his picture taken with the two surprise guests of the
afternoon, Miles Davis, whom I had brought, and Jack Nicholson, who smoked a lot
of cigars and who was in town for the opening of Drive, He Said, a movie
that marked his debut as a director.
Meanwhile, I could hear one of
Allen's straight guests asking Yoko if she knew what they called a Chinese
"No," Yoko said, sweetly.
"An Oriyenta," the straight
Yoko was wearing black hot pants
and a white crocheted see-through top that didn't reveal anything new.
It was the first time Miles and John had met and Miles asked if Yoko was
"No," John said. 'she's a
"Why didn't you marry a nice
white blonde girl from London?? Miles asked.
'that's what I thought she
was," John said.
Then they walked around to the
front of Allen's house, where John showed Miles the psychedelic Rolls Royce
that he had given to Allen as a gift.
"In Spain," John said, "I
had a black one with the windows painted black.
When I'd ride by, the women would cross themselves."
Back at the party, they were
serving omelets, sirloin hamburgers, watermelon balls, slices of filet mignon
and crabmeat hors d?oeuvres when Andy Warhol discovered that somebody
had stolen his cassette recorder. Meanwhile,
Allen's daughter Robin asked Jerry Rubin for an autograph and Jerry started to
write her a poem.
"Just some revolutionary
advice," he told me.
"Did you tell her to kill her
mother and father?? I asked.
'that's the next line," he answered.
is bogged down
in the past or in the future
The rain and the mediums arrived at approximately the same time, and everybody
who was interested gathered in Allen's projection room for the s?ance.
Ornette Coleman commuted back and forth from the bar, where he had been
telling one of the straight ladies that only writers, musicians and painters
could live in the present. Everybody
else, he said, was bogged down in the past or the future.
The s?ance began with one of the
mediums telling Betty Klein that she'd soon be going on a cruise.
It was old news for Betty, who'd been planning the cruise for months.
"Will my husband stay through
the whole trip?? she asked.
"Just before the end, is
business entanglements will force him to leave early," the medium answered.
When Allen heard that, he
laughed and said:
"Listen, that's already been
The Mediums (or Media) kept
looking at the corner of the room, where John and Yoko were lying on the
carpeting. Yoko, they said, would
soon be heading north toward Canada in connection with a court case.
"You, with the glasses," one
of the mediums told John. "I
don't know who you are, but you're going to win."
For his part, John kept muttering
that he wanted to see Eddie Cochran. Before
the party was over, he had fallen asleep. ##
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