Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thanksgiving Greetings 2015!

I know we're all busy this week preparing for the onslaught of family and friends for the annual Thanksgiving feast, but I just wanted to drop in for a moment and say hello. Things are buzzing around here as well, but nothing so glamours or exciting as when the former Missus was here.

The new girlfriend is having a few of her trashy friends in and out during the four-day holiday, including Thanksgiving dinner itself. Compared to the haute couture seen around here in previous years, we're talking off-the-rack cocktail attire, faux furs, and costume jewelry for days! (I could black out just thinking about it!)

Knowing I'm not going to cooperate, she at least had the good sense to hire a caterer to take care of everything, and I'm taking the opportunity to duck out of here for a few days.

In a rare move on my part, I didn't ask but rather announced that I'm going to be with my family this year for Thanksgiving - daring them to rebut. In the six years I've been here I've had only one holiday off a few years back. Other than that I've been here for every holiday event - Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. It's more or less part of the job description to be around for the holidays, and I knew that before I jumped in.

But this déclassé party coming up is too much to bear, and it's about time I had a break. One holiday off every six years isn't too much to ask, is it?

In any case the old man (my teetering employer) seemed to take it well and truth known, the new girlfriend is probably glad to get rid of me anyway. Surely she's weary of me looking down my nose at her and her doltish friends.

I know I'm skating on thin ice and may not have a job when I get back. But so be it. The lack of glamour around here has become boring anyway, and I know I should move on. If there's any blow back at all, I'll just call up the agency and ask them to get me out of here!

All I know right now is that I have four glorious days off - away from them and with my own family! Which allows me to truly and happily say Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope your celebrations go well, and thanks for stopping by tonight,


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Goodbye Hotel Chelsea!

It's no secret the Hotel Chelsea in New York, built in 1883, is under renovation and being turned into a boutique hotel for the rich.

For decades this iconic hotel on West 23rd in Manhattan was home to struggling artists, writers, poets, musicians and other wayward souls seeking refuge within its welcoming doors.

Among the notable writers and poets, Mark Twain, O'Henry, Dylan Thomas, Tennessee Williams, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Boroughs sought shelter or camaraderie within these hallowed walls, taking their meals in the inexpensive El Quijote bar and restaurant on the lobby floor.

Singers from Edith Piaf and Bob Dylan to Pink Floyd and Leonard Cohen frequented the Chelsea. Poet/singer Patti Smith and her photographer boyfriend Robert Mapplethorpe were long-term residents, and Janis Joplin would rent a cheap room there during her New York concerts. Not to mention Andy Warhol's bizarre and wonderful crowd were regular visitors.

All of these people in their various ways were in the forefront of social revolution - most notably beginning with the Beat Generation in the 1950s, throughout the turbulent and revolutionary 1960s, and the total madness of the 1970s and 80s. The Hotel Chelsea, on the National Register of Historic Places since 1977, was a crossroads and mingling place for all of them, and all of us benefit from the extraordinary social changes they set in motion.

But now this island of refuge and inspiration to artists for decades is being renovated - turned into a chic hotel for rich people to come and go as they please.

My question is, don't the rich have enough in this world already? Why do they need the Chelsea for God's sake? The very idea of watching them sashay in and out in their haute couture seems antithetic to the hotel's very history and purpose.

I feel a personal loss in this as well. Some years back I and some buddies rented an apartment on West 22nd, directly behind the Chelsea. When there was nothing else to do at night we'd wander over to the hotel, have a few drinks or dinner in the El Quijote, and observe first hand the amazing characters that still called this place home.

As lamentable as all this might be, life changes and I understand that. Perhaps it's time to graciously let go of the Chelsea - as if we had a choice. The extraordinary efforts and struggles of its residents have come to fruition in so many, many ways over the decades. And the forces of social justice and equal rights set in motion there have become mainstream thinking, right up to present-day.

I just hope rich people checking in at the front desk can somehow appreciate and revere the hard work accomplished within its walls. After all, it was in the vanguard of creating this amazing new world of liberation and freedom in which we all live and thrive - and has allowed them to accumulate their fortunes.

Thanks for stopping by tonight,