Monday, May 3, 2010

"I like thighs. Do you like thighs?"


The Muses #01

Okay, I admit it. One of the main pleasures of doing theatre was being surrounded by a lot of interesting women. I love women. It's a weakness. I married one--a woman, that is. But I waited a long time until I thought it was right. You can have a lot of lovers but only one wife. At least in my book. Sounds like Pagan meets Catholic doctrine, doesn't it? But I digress. So in my years of theatre, I met many ladies, each gifted in their own area of professional expertise. Actresses, costume designers, set designers--I've had the pleasure to work with a variety of talented people.

It's 1978 and I am putting together my record album for Space Pirate Radio. The album is a collection of comedy sketches from my show between 1974 and 1978. The artwork for the LP is coming together nicely with the help of my friends. I want it to be mostly funny, satirical, ironic, arcane and maybe a little sexy. My girlfriend at the time, Robin, introduces me to her friend from the Santa Barbara City College Theatre Department. Her name is Bernadette Emrik and she is an up-and-coming artist. We all become friends. One day Bernadette says to me "I have an ambition to pose nude on an album cover." My instant reaction: "I will make that dream come true!"

Oh, how wild and crazy we were! I thought it would be wacky...to have a formal and informal photo of yours truly on the back of the cover. I wanted the informal photo to look like one of those blackmail snaps you would find in a vintage issue of Confidential or Hush-Hush magazine. Me caught in a bad moment with a leggy, unknown companion. My photographer friend, Gary Alessi, flew down from San Francisco. We booked a motel on upper State St. in Santa Barbara for the appropriate background. Shot the photographs on a weekend. Gary flew back up to San Francisco. I did my radio shows on the weekend and then Space Pirate Radio on Sunday night/Monday morning, then immediately after the show, flew up to the City to choose the photos for the album. It was Halloween and our deadline was that week to get all cover materials ready for the album. These were to be taken down to Burbank. My god--looking back, I don't know how I had all the energy.

I was happy with Gary's photos. Bernadette looked good. I didn't care how I looked in the informal shots. I just wanted the best photos of her. So there we are.

And I think it worked. I sent the album to Lawrence Christon of the Los Angeles Times, who did a comedy column every Sunday. He very kindly reviewed my album and I'm pretty convinced he wouldn't have listened to it if it hadn't had Bernadette's long legs on the back of the cover. He certainly mentions that in the review and he had favourable words regarding my model when we spoke on the phone. So, my thanks to Bernadette, who I am pleased to say is a talented and successful collage artist in San Francisco. You can see her work on the internet.

So, please pardon my obsessions. I will always worship at the altar of the goddess. Women rule the world. The sooner men understand that, the better off they will be and the better time they will have.