Tuesday, August 3, 2010

An American Zany In Europe

London, Munich and Paris: three of the most exciting and artistically rewarding cities in the world (Pomona can be exciting also, but I'm dealing only with Europe here). Where does the pilgrim go, in search of his aesthetic roots? Westminster Abbey, perhaps; rich in the pageantry of English rule? The Munich Museum of Modern Art, maybe; loaded with its collection of Germanic Impressionism and post-Bauhaus Neo-Classicism? Or else, the Louvre and the Bauborg Museums, the two poles of Parisian art? Not me. I was checking out the local temperatures in the X-rated cinemas.

A sociologist at heart, a scientist at foot, and a degenerate at any other body part you'd like to mention, I enthusiastically ventured forth on my study of European tastes, as reflected in its A-Dult Entertainment.

London was my first stop, and I was quite ready for the sinful delights of Swinging London. In the West End, I found myself at the Moulin, a complex of five cinemas, each with three features of steamy film fare. I chose Cinema 3, with the triple bill of Come Play With Me 3, Mary Millingtons' True Blue Confessions, and The Daughter of Emanuelle. Alas, the experience was a disappointment.

First, the cinemas are a major fire hazard, with only one entrance/exit for each show, with each row of seats ending against the wall. And the films? Not worth dying in this potential pyro-hall--in England everything is rated and then censored. And I mean everything. Cigarette commercials, in fact, all commercials, begin with the brown and white Board of Review Rating. In the X-rated films themselves, all the steamy parts are removed, thus turning an imported romp of naked German schoolgirls into a patchwork of sight and soundtrack. "Tongue slowly glides down thigh..." And Zappo! A sudden change of musik, and tongue has arrived at knee, with the profound hint of topographical explorations deleted. After the 306th cut, with everyone suddenly dressed and smoking ciggies, I'm exhausted of the experience.

In London, to see the type of fare available at the Pussycat in Ventura or the Screaming Beaver Theatre in the City of Appliances, one must be a dues paying member of a cinema club. Suddenly London swings a little less, and in certain circles. Munich, however, restored my faith in trouser tightening movies.

Sometimes I think Germany invented Sex. Maybe Sex in Other Places than the Home. Munich is a beautiful city, though perhaps not the healthiest place because of the elevation. Walking down the Schillerstrasse (as most streets in Munich are something strasses, usually named after Bavaria's greatest, like Leopold, Ludwig, and Klaus Kinski), I found myself at the Blue Movie Kino, featuring two imported items. One was the American film Inside Desiree Cousteau, dubbed into German. The other was a French scorcher entitled Die Madschen Vom Paris Pigalle, likewise dubbed.

Paying my certain DM, a man says to me, "Bier?" "Nein," I replied, to which he says, "Nein?" in shock, his false teeth falling out on the counter display of Der Kracker Jacks. Come to find out, the bier is included in the admission. They give you two biers, a large cup, and put them in a small wire bike basket. These baskets fit in a rack behind the large and comfortable loge chairs, a holder also ready for your cup. What comfort! And the surprises aren't yet over. The films are in Super 35mm with Dolby sound! Suddenly grunts and groans of passion emit behind you, and it's not the couple two rows back--state-of-the-art pornography. And the films? Well, let's just say I'm glad I brought my rubber jodhpurs with latex curry sack. And I've never been able to get my old hair style back. For weeks I eyed mail boxes with bad intent, and still go into a cold sweat when anyone says, "Du machts meine loins gertingle." I hope to visit Munich again soon for another dose of PVS (Perverse Visual Stimulus), though I'm not sure my heart or laundry can take it.

In Paris I visited Le Gate cinema, which was showing a French-Spanish porno called Vicenses A Ibiza, which was pretty fair, especially after Germany. And no bier here (I was amazed that in Germany, with all those bottles around, not one went rolling under the seats, was dropped or thrown at the screen. That would never happen in Ventura). All I remember vividly about Paris pornography was that men kept coming out of the bathroom, but no one ever went in. Curious. Le Gate cinema was in the Montparnasse district of Paris, so, hopefully, things are different on the other Banke, Montmartre and the Pigalle.

Eschewing film, I visited the notorious Crazy Horse Saloon, but that's another story. A friend of mine, meeting some French visitors, told them of my Crazy Horse experience. "He went to the Crazy Horse?" they asked in disgust. "It is for tourists." "Didn't you visit Disneyland?" asked my friend, and the conversation closed. By the way, I did see the Louvre. I remember people dropping like flies from the humidity, the Mona Lisa smiling sardonically at her voyeurs, and lots of big paintings with naked people on them.

[First published March 2, 1983.]