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January 13, 1974 - Image 3

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1974-01-13

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marty porter
tony schwartz
contributing editors:
laura berman
howie brick



books-page 4
gifted children-page 5
looking back-page 6

Number 12 Page Three

January 13, 1974

Alone and

lonely Christmas day in

a sleazy New

EVEN THE diehard hustlers have
gone home. It is mid-morning
Christmas day on Broadway and
Forty-Fifth Street and there are but
a few people on the sidewalks, alone
and lonely. They seem to be filling
the void by talking to themselves in
low, undistinguishable hums.
A wizened lady looks in the window
of a topless bar and notices a bumper
sticker reading "SPIRO A G N E W
NEW YORK TIMES." She turns away.
"A bunch of fucking communists," she
mutters acidly, to no one in sight,
about no one in particular.
THERE IS only one other person at
the bar when the young custo-
mer enters. He has been warned that,
this establishment is a notorious clip
joint, but his curiosity overcomes his
better judgement. Rosie, the barmaid,
-flip hairdo, a flower-print pants
suit and 15 pounds of excess fat -

approaches him quickly. "Wadda ya
"Scotch and soda."
"Ya wanna buy Rosie a drink for
The customer nods reluctantly.
Rosie certainly doesn't need it. It
may not yet be noon, but her voice
already has a slurred quality, and it
becomes more distant as time passes.
While she's fixing the drink, Rosie
decides to make introductions. Point-
ing to one of two ageless dancers
standing on a long, thin gym-board
surface above her, she acts as if this
is a wedding reception.
"This is Hetty, one of our topless
dancers," she says in a serious tone.
Hetty, like her topless cohort, is
wearing pasties, a bikini bottom, high
heels and a distant gaze. From far
away she isn't bad looking. Up close
she's awful.
Rosie serves up a drink with just
enough alcohol to fill a hollow pista-
chio nut. "That'll be six dollars, she
says. "Cheers."

ark topless
THERE ARE people peeking in the
bar window, but few of them
come in. There aren't holiday decora-
tions to relieve the bleakness. The bar
is dimly lit, and the abandoned seat-
ing area in the back is dark, but for
a mysterious revolving red light. The
liquor at the bar is obscured at knee
level. They don't go for expensive
brands here. Rather ones like Black
and White Scotch, Morel Vermouth,
St. Croix Rum.
There is a flicker of action as Can-
dy replaces the two original dancers.
Tall and overweight, with wavy
black hair, a huge mouth and enor-
mous, sagging breasts, the manager
refers to her affectionately as "the
big Mexican". The manager, in turn,
might fairly be called "the fat Ital-
ian." He has black, wavy hair which
is slicked back, a menacingly protru-
ding belly and a voice laced with
tart, biting sarcasm.
"Why do I work on Christmas?"
she asks out of the blue, in a whiny

high-pitched voice. "Cause you guys
gotta have crotch to watch, right?"
She breaks into an enormous laugh,
which none of the patrons acknowl-
"You're crazy Candy," the manager
says, pacing the aisle behind the bar-
"I brought my own bottle today,"
Candy replies. "And why shouldn't I?
It's Christmas ain't it? Hey Rosie, get
me a shot."
Rosie has been hunched down in a
corner of the bar downing drinks
the way little old ladies jam quarters
into Las Vegas slot machines: by
rote, and from a seemingly unending
supply. But she obliges. "See what I
got for Christmas?" Candy says, lean-
ing over to model a necklace. Rosie
approves and calls the manager over.
He doesn't see what's so nice about
it. "It's nice," he tells Candy. "Very
LATER ROSIE switches to what can
only be called "chasers"; a con-
tainer of coffee, a cup of tomato
juice, and two pieces of greasy pizza.
Hetty, the topless dancer on break,
has been making the rounds at the
bar and decides, finally, to approach
the young customer.
"Ya wanna buy me a drink?" she
asks, nuzzling a face tortured by acne
close to his.
One clip seems like enough, and the
customer politely declines.
"Well anyways," she says, moving
on quickly. "Mary Christmas."
CANDY'S sidekick and polar oppo-
site, a thin, attractive Spanish
girl named Lee, suddenly rushes into
the bar, out of breath. She asks Can-
dy to lend her an extra pair of stock-
ings, disappears, and reemerges
naked from the dressing room mo-
ments later.
Lee mounts the platform and floats
off into her own world. Her compara-
tively energetic dancing inspires
Candy for a few minutes. No one
talks to her, and that's apparently
the way she wants it.
CANDY IS still talking a mile a min-
ute. "I ain't givin to no man," she
tells Willy. "Candy's got money now."
"I could understand how you
wouldn't like Jackie," Willy reasons.
"But Rocky's back now. 'I gotta make

Nostalgia takes a



Dylan opening night in Chicago

THE THING that got me was that
the bastard didn't say a word all,
For Dylan, it was the opening con-
cert of his first tour in nearly eight
years, a tour which, if he only played
well enough, would be expected to
make him a leading candidate for
President and guru to all the young
children who lately have deserted
folk-rock for the likes of Donny Os-
mond, Bobby Sherman, David Bowie
and Alice Cooper. Not to mention the
several million dollars he would have
in his pocket afterwards.
When the word came out that
Dylan was going to make that tour
and there was all that cloak-and-
dagger bit about ticket drop-offs, I
was one of the thousands of people
who decided that the man was out to
cash in one more time before every-
one forgot about him and they start-
ed selling "The Best of Bob Dylan"
on late-night TV. The cheapo album
Columbia released didn't help either.
I mean, who the hell wants to hear
Dylan sing "Big Yellow Taxi"? But
Christmas is Christmas and you owe
yourself a present, and when some-
body calls and says that for a mere
$9.50 you can buy that extra ticket
and see that man you've been dream-
ing about since seventh grade-how
could I refuse?
SO WE drove to the west side of Chi-
cago, past the cheap liquor stores
and the day labor halls and the flop-
houses to the home of the Black
Hawks and the Bulls where a million
cops were stationed to protect all us
kids in Pontiacs.
In the lobby, it was a shock to see
that, despite what Time magazine
said, there were few "veterans of the
protest movements of the 1960's for
which Dylan's early songs had been
the anthems." In fact, almost every-
one there was younger than me. Since
I was 10 when "Blowin" in the Wind"
was composed and 14 when Dylan
toured for the last time, it occurred
to me that I was in the wrong place.
But no-the faces were the right
faces. I immediately liked everyone in
the crowd, for they were the young-
er brothers and sisters of the folkies
who watched Hootenanny circa 1961,
Now once these 20,000 earnest peo-
ple have been lured into the arena
by the returning knight errant, some-
thing is supposed to happen, right?
But as soon as the lights went down
and Dylan and the Band struck up
the music you could tell, you could

song to start the things off right. He
played a blues that nobody's ever
heard before and nobody will ever
hear again, a blues to which you
couldn't even hear the words, for
The blues died down and the crowd
got quiet. It was clearly time for talk
and explanations. Dylan must have
felt it, too. His answer was to play
"Lay Lady Lay." Or, rather, a paro-
dy of "Lay Lady Lay." From where I
was sitting it sounded like barrel-
house music. I've heard Robert Gou-
let sing it better, and with more feel-
The applause was deafening.
THE BAND played then, proving
that they could match their re-
cords note for note. They were good,
as good as ever, maybe better because
they were playing only the best songs
from their five albums. But when a

really going on than when they ar-
After intermission Dylan strode
resolutely onstage to satisfy every-
one's desire to mainline nostalgia.
Playing acoustic guitar unaccompani-
ed, he growled out "The Times They
are A'Changin"', "Song to Woody",
"The Lonesome Death of Hattie Car-
roll." The crowd went nuts, of course.
We were back in a Greenwich Village
coffeehouse in 1963, only it was a lit-
tle crowded in there because there
were 20,000 of us. Dylan then played a
new song, a good one, and without
pausing for breath went into "It's All
Right, Ma." He was angry and it was
impressive. He sang the line about
"sometimes even the President of the
United States must stand naked" with
a sort of a verbal wink and every-
body ate it up. He slapped the guitar
when it was over and stomped off to
overwhelming applause.
Then a most impressive thing hap-
jened. One by one people all over the
stadium lit matches and held them
aloft so that the entire place glowed
eerily with lights floating in the air.
It was like standing on Venus watch-
ing the stars come out. I'd only seen
that once before, at Woodstock, and
it bowled me over. It was a perfect
moment, not only for the wonderful
people in the crowd but also for Dy-
lan, for he had indeed played well. It
wasn't until later that I found out
that Chicago crowds pull that trick
for everyone who comes to town.
DYLAN AND THE Band played the
rest of the set together. The most not-
able thing was "Like A Rolling
Stone." Dylan forgot the words to the
first verse again, as he did at the Isle
of Wight, but everyone sang along as
if to make up for the mistake. It
wasn't the same song you heard on
the radio in 1965; it was nostalgia
road and no doubt about it. The Dy-
lan onstage in 1974 was not the same
fellow who wrote those songs in the
1960's. I was sure he was thinking it
strange to have arrived where he was,
and that he didn't quite know what
to do about it. Dylan's no actor, never
was and never will be, and the fact is
that he can't and doesn't seem to
want to put over his old stuff. He's
written a couple of new songs, about
his childhood in: Minnesota and, one
would guess, about his wife. These
he sings well because they come from
the heart, present tense.
But as for the others? When we
cheered him back onstage for an en-

that big Mexican' he told me."
"Thanks Willy, I appreciate your
tellin' him I was back."
"Yea I seen Rocky, and he says to
me, "Candy's back? I gotta get
dressed up, put on my shades and
come by.' He even took a shower-I
Candy turns to a middle-aged man
at the bar, who has been there for
nearly two hours, not once changing
his sullen expression.
"Don't you ever smile?"
"Not on Christmas," he answers.
"Candy, where you been the last
few weeks?" Willy interrupts.
"I was in Springfield. I have to
take a break sometimes. My nerves."
"We missed ya."
"I can't take it. I have to get away."
"I've been to Springfield," Willy
says lazily.
ROCKY DOES exist, and he is stop-
ping by. What's more, he is wear-
ing form-fitting 'shades' and a silver-
grey, thin-lapel suit with a dark tie
and pointed black shoes. He looks
like Ratso Rizzo. The jukebox is play-

you," Candy says, greeting him affec-
"Come on in the back right now
Candy," Rocky replies, unleashing a
grinding motion. "I'll fuck you right
"I don't know what you want
Rocky," Candy taunts him, laughing.
"Ya wanna give me some pussy?"
Rocky asks, pinching a cigarette be-
tween the tips of two fingers and
pacing the floor in an unconscious
parody of Willy, the manager.
"Sure Rocky, I'll give you a Christ-
mas special - $150 - just for you."
Candy breaks up, does a little jig.
A TINY woman with a grizzled face
and a gaping toothless smile
saunters into the bar bundled up
against the winter, holding an old
shopping bag. She signals Rocky, who
is closest by, to her side. Rocky tow-
ers over her, and they are wrapped
up in conversation for what seems
like a long time. She gestures, and he
answers, looking away occasionally to
catch a glimpse of Candy. Finally the
old woman leaves.
Rocky turns to everyone at the bar.
He pauses. "She was hungry. I told
her we didn't have nothin' to eat."

ing 'Sunshiney Day'.
"Fuck fuck fuck you

fuck you fuck

floating pair of binoculars came
around it was Dylan that you looked
at, even while the Band was playing
"King Harvest." Dylan wasn't even
playing; he was just sort of dancing
with his guitar in time to the music.
He was wearing blue jeans, a white
shirt, and a black jacket. His hair was
curly but not too long. It was better
than five pages of pictures in Roll-
ing Stone just having him there. But
what was he up to?
He certainly played some weird
ones that first set. "It Ain't Me Babe"
was bouncy, almost like a jingle for
a television commercial. ("Underarm
problems?" "No, no, no, it ain't me,
babe.") Two new songs were delivered
defiantly, their words unintelligible.
It made you painfully aware that in
a month you would have to trot out

A New
EVERYBODY AT THE old-age home
is talking about Marvin Bennett,
a strong looking, grey haired fellow
with thick horn rim glasses and a
heavy Yiddish accent. His name is the
primary topic of the conversation at
the shuffle board court, the bridge
tables, and in the dining room at the
Schapper Hotel in Long Beach. A
controlled sense of excitement has
crept into this stagnant world of ca-
nasta, bingo and memories. For the
tenants, this is the first New Year's
Eve they have looked forward to in
quite a while.
"I heard that Marvin is going to
play the clarinet," one woman tells
her partners during an afternoon
bridge game.
"I have been here three years and
this is the first time we have actually
had something to do on New Year's,"
adds a man whose arm shows the
warp of chronic arthritis.
AND THAT night, at 9:30 on New
Year's Eve, Marvin Bennett quiet-
ly but proudly watches the meeting
room on the ground floor of the
Schapper fill up. A big smile gives his
ashen face a youthful glow as he ex-
plains, "I found out that last year
they did nothing for New Year's Eve,
so I suggested a narty and they made

did it to get rid of me," Bennett mut-
ters so matter of factly that any ve-
hemence is subliminal. "I was a pain
in the neck but I was also sick."
BUT IT is New Year's Eve, and be-
sides Bennett's story is not
Bennett runs off to check the re-
freshments, the sound system, and to
greet people entering the room. At
ten o'clock he takes the stage an an-
nounces: "This is the first New Year's
party at the Schapper ever." Modest
applause. "I would just like to thank
you for coming."'
The music slips out of the two over
head speakers, a number of couples
get up and dance, others sit idly, some
head for the refreshments.
By ten - thirty the refreshments
have started to dwindle and there is
a steady but gradual exodus from the
meeting room.
"I am not used to these late hours,"
jokes one man as he heads up stairs
to his room.
"I never enjoyed parties," explains
"I had a wonderful time," com-
ments someone else.
By eleven o'clock there are no more
than ten people left in the room. Mar-
vin Bennett appears slightly deflated,
but with the determination and poise
of an old trouper, he mounts the

Year for the old


ing company and
the later years."

entertainment for

"I could accept the quiet and the
rules," Bennett adds, 'but when they

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