Sunday night - pre midnight, written from my bed. A very welcome place to be tonight.
Where to beging with the last couple of days, which have been like a collage of overlapping imposed people, periods and points of view? Primo, I suppose is Paul’s reappearance in my life. Friday night I was dressing to go out when I was dimly aware of a rush of footsteps mounting the second floor stairs, preface to the hearty knock on the door. A little annoyed, for I was running late, I opened on a for-an-instant-only vaguely familiar face - gold eyeglass frames, a wide grin. Paul of Morocco! I was overwhelmed while at the same time I knew that this is the way I had been expecting it: no announcement… someday Paul would just reappear. Funny, wonderful Paul - initially so unapproachable (each overture seemed an invasion against his almost impenetrable interior barricades) to resolve into a loyal and fond friend.
We talked over a drink, he very summarily caught me up on events and activities in Morocco over the last two years. The telephone rang, people were waiting and I had hurriedly to finish dressing and leave to join Barbara, Jody and Bob. P. and I arranged to meet the next day and shook hands in the dampness of Spruce Street.
The rest of the evening was the other side of the coin, from the intelligence and logic of Paul to the inflated folly, the IN campiness of the Andy Warhol vernissage (sans pictures, incidentally, as the social crush of the preview the night before threatened their safety - they were removed until the public press will be a little lighter). Finally inside the cordon of policemen and inside the Institute of Contemporary Arts one glimpsed Andy and entourage (Edie in an evening dress like like a long brilliant pink jersey, sparkling and transfigured as a legendary actress) (these two longhaired young foils wearing turtleneck sweaters fitted over husky torsos, Sam Green looking quizzical behind his Van Dyke beard but more or less in control, et al.) leaning over the wrought iron complexity of a Furness stairway, basking in the klieg light silver of television lights and cameras - while below we, the public, the “pop” of pop art stared or didn’t stare, called questions to Andy which he answered to Edie which she in turn relayed to the audience, or didn’t ask questions but merely pushed our way into the next “gallery” where a phonograph was howling at high volume a Salem Witches Dance or young people in fantastic costumes, which were surely the result of a mad confusion between Halloween and Harper’s Bazar, were gyrating at dance. I was struck by both the impression of the students mad irresponsibility and a sense of this shrewd evaluation of their time and place- their recognition of the absurdity of it and a consequently cool buying of it for that reason, as a quite detached but paradoxically “involved” evolution of the period. Or some such; this could be better put and deserves to be.
Ambivalence is, I believe, the keynote of our times, particularly sexual; it was especially evident Friday night, the one-sexness of youth - men with hair equally long as girls, women with pants as tight and boots as tall as the neuter looking men (neuter not per force: but by the sameness of the sexes canceling onto its opposite).
The night continued. We, three couples, walked back to Center City from the Penn campus - along Walnut Street, over the Schuylkill, to the Square. A nightcap at the Emperor.
Saturday I met Paul and married friends of his at the scene of last night’s gala (it was actually a demonstration rather than an exhibition!), the Institute to see the pictures. Then we set out in the spendid October noon for a drive around town, a tour of Society Hill (the Colonial and 19th Century Center). A couple of beers, a bowl of snapper soup at McShea’s (Paul, his friend Richard and I- Richard’s wife and little son lad by now dissappeared somewhere).
Saturday night I joined Bob Barnes, Ted Carey and others for late drinks: first at Bob’s, on to Walter Stait’s, next stop somebody else’s house (a preciously decorated townhouse including a truly marvelous small library of art books and prints - the books were rich treasures) and finally to an after hours boîte crawling with a cross section of a very special section of humanity. Drinks here until very late - at last to bed at five.
A kind of prelude to the night’s display was a drink with Andy and his two assistants at the Barclay before lunch on Friday. Andy, paler than the pale pink of the walls, dressed totally in black, his eyes screened by orange goggle sunglasses, his hair colorless, moving liquidly from behind the hot pink covered, laden breakfast table into the incongruously correct and anonymous sitting room - giggling with Walter Stait, camping with Bob (Barnes) while for the most part Gerald and the apostle and I watched Tallulah Bankhead hostessing the Mike Douglas show on TV. Thanks heavens for vodka!