At dinner in SoHo, upon my arrival, Steph and I turn to each other throughout the meal: “we need to write this down.” I don’t end up writing much down except for the factoid that Dean shares about a particular organ frequency that is known to make women wet. He also implores everyone at the table to read more books as he eyes the women entering the restaurant. I walk in on Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman’s daughter in the bathroom. I sit next to Gabe who happened to live in the same house as me in college four years earlier. A small dog at the table next to us, makes her way to Arielle who holds onto her for the entire dinner. The dog was jet lagged from Paris fashion week, her owner tells us. By the end of the dinner the woman asks for Arielle’s contact information, offering to share the dog with her going forward.
At the birthday party of a book critic who I don’t meet, I meet my favorite art critic, Gary Indiana who holds court at the center of the bar’s patio. He’s wearing a t-shirt with Mick Jagger's mugshot on it. I’ve seen other photos of him online wearing these shirts with celebrity mugshots, a great uniform. We talk about Cookie Mueller and he begins to weep remembering his late friend.
I meet with an 86-year old conceptual artist who has lived in the same loft for over 40 years. We discuss art world tabloids and he tells me he’s very loyal. He complains about pedanctics and serious people. The apartment is stacked with books, pieces of cardboard with his name scrawled on them, VHS tapes, film reels, pictures, and notebooks. Alex tells me the artist is concerned about his legacy.
In New York, it seems like everyone is getting engaged but everyone is also polyamourous, informally. Getting engaged at 23 is the new joining the peace corps or doing porn. It’s what our grandparents were doing two generations ago. Are we really always just going in circles? I encounter former classmates from college who give me reports about who’s with who and who has broken up. “It’s interesting how money finds money,” Jack says to me. We watch our peers begin to make financial decisions, marrying for money or a green card. Gone are the days of bisexuality and cheap cocaine from townies and 16mm films about our adolescent consciousness forming in upstate New York. Time to get serious, get a dog, think about reproducing, start working for one’s parents.
I go to the Velvet Underground documentary and fall asleep. I enjoy the footage of old New York and the Warhol screen tests. I wished it was more psychedelic, louder and they played a whole song through. It’s always the same though with these movies: the walls of sound, the rawness, the determination for money and fame, the volatility and siconicity between the bandmates, the day the phone rang, the light that shined so bright and burned out so quickly, meteoric rise to stardom. I have no interest in Lou Reed—seems like he was a nightmare. Despite this, I listen to the Velvet Underground the rest of the trip on the subway. I see Laurie Anderson outside Veselka.
I love the way women looked at the camera then, in the shots of The Factory overlaid with commentary about their desire to be discovered, to be creative, to be part of something. They roll on the floor in the direction of the camera, toss their dark bangs around, wave their stocking-ed legs in the air. This is work. Like me, they’re trying to get a job.
Gracie Hadland is a writer living in Los Angeles.