Sebastian Piras – Taylor Mead and Allen Ginsberg, 1997 – (ASV #29)

Sebastian Piras’ 1997 footage of Taylor Mead and Allen Ginsberg provides a rare (unique?) glimpse into Allen’s new (13th Street) loft, the one that he spent (sadly and tragically) so little time in, the place where, it turned out, he went to die (see Jonas Mekas’ harrowing last days of Allen Ginsberg documentary and Colin Still’s “No More To Say And Nothing To Weep For” for more from this setting).

Allen arrives in the loft to find Taylor Mead already there:

AG: Hi

TM: Hi Allen. I’m stealing your Dream – your “Rice Dream”!

AG: It’s very good. Have you had some?

TM: Nothin’. Not yet.

AG: Have you had any before,?

TM: I think so

AG: It’s really good. I can’t drink milk, so..

TM: O my word! I drink a half gallon a day.

[Allen acknowledges and waves to the camera]

AG: So, do you like my digs?

TM: Magnificent.

AG: It’s amazing. After the other place I lived in.

TM: I know there were various places.

AG: I was 20 years in that walk-up [437 East 12th Street].

TM: … (..Museum) – It was from July. It was called “I Would Have Shot Andy Warhol”, after I saw the movie, it’s a review of the movie.

AG : Is it any good?

TM: The movie, “I Shot Andy Warhol”?

AG: [taking out his camera to photograph Taylor]: Yeah.

TM: It’s terrific. And the Basquiat movie, did you see that?

AG: No, I missed both of them.

TM: Both of them?

AG: (I) haven’t been going to the movies much.

[Allen begins giving Taylor a tour of the new apartment]

AG: This painting by Gregory Corso, it’s Pearl Harbor Day

TM: Oh yeah.

AG: Here is a painting by Joe Brainard in there.

TM: It looks like Jim Morrison.

[Allen, next, referring to another artwork] (..the rose..and it had that picture at the top, the bottle..)

TM: Well, I remember, Larry Rivers, when I first came to New York in the’40s, he did a Lincoln Center thing of one of his Surrealist works that I really liked

AG: [points to and shows] Keith Haring

TM: Oh my god, It’s a great Keith Haring. Wow!

AG: [referring to Sebastian Piras, the filmmaker] – Has he got the right light?, angle (for the picture)?

TM: That has a plot to it.

AG: He gave me two things. That other thing is Keith’s also. This is a somewhat idealized version of my daydreams – sexual delights.

TM: God!

AG: (It’s) someone in a house.

TM: I love those colors, it’s great!

AG: Yeah. It’s kind of a joke.

TM: Well, I don’t think so. You’re sort of everybody’s…

AG: I thought nobody would treat me like that..

TM: ..the thought of everybody’s Buddha, from going way back..

AG: So this is..(another) area… I was totally knocked out by..

..[Allen previously mentions his admiration for Ron Rice’s “The Flower Thief”, starring Taylor Mead]

TM: But we were inspired, Ron and I (Ron Rice and I) both by “Pull My Daisy”.

AG: Really.

TM: Within a week after we saw “Pull My Daisy”, Ron says.. you know, the spontaneity of “Pull My Daisy”, we were totally influenced by that.

AG: Yep.

TM: ..and we saw..

AG: I’d like to see that again. I haven’t seen that in years.

TM: Well, great film.

AG: Yep, really good film.

TM: Well, but your film cost a couple of thousand, right? Ours cost about 85 bucks! to..

AG: No, ours cost 2500 to…3000!

TM: Oh really? Ours caused maybe… well, Ron forged cheques on his girlfriend’s.. and I had..

AG: So what happened to the later footage he did?

TM: Well the best.. My favorite film is the Queen of Sheba Meets The Atom Man with that great black woman..

AG: Wini

TM: Wini [Winifred] Bryan, yes.

AG: I used to know her years back before that, even, in the ‘40’s..

TM: She died about ten years ago.

AG: But Wini was quite intelligent, but he.. she had a wig.

TM: Very bright, yes. Ron caught her once without her wig (we didn’t see her for weeks after!)

AG: (I was) in this apartment many times for parties. Years ago, it was Karel Appel‘s, the painter..

TM: Oh yes, well I was here when it was a total wreck.

AG: ..then Claes Oldenburg, then Patty Oldenburg, then, for many years, it was Larry Rivers, (the) place where he..

TM: …let his girlfriends…

AG: No, no, he had a.. he stacked his paintings, millions of paintings.

TM: Yeah, yeah, I was just so shocked. It was like a warehouse.

AG: And then I had.. bought it a year-and-a-half ago, and been working on it ever since.

TM: Beautiful.

AG: All the light is great!

TM: Yeah, I remember it as very dark and dingy.

AG: No, it’s heaven! You wake up in the morning and it’s so different from where I rent(ed) for 20 years – and I have (a) cardiac problem..

TM: Oh my god!

AG: …so I can’t climb the steps anymore. (But) This is a great elevator [points to the elevator]. So, I’m fixed up.

TM: I’m up a 5-flight walk-up on Ludlow Street.

AG: Oh god!

TM: It’s become a great block, very interesting.

AG: Yeah. So it’s just a walk up..

TM: Well, I keep telling myself it’s good for my heart, it’s good for.. because I got so..

AG: Well, maybe. My heart problem comes from an overdose of an anti-biotic in the hospital – medical nemesis.

[discussion moves on, to old age and sex]

AG: It’s just that’s a shot in the dark, so – who wants to? If you’ve got somebody you’ve got a heartache for..

TM: If it’s really great, then I don’t think about that, but otherwise, even if it’s good, I get this terrible conscience thing, that lasts for about a week

AG: Well, I get into these heart-throb situations. ..They seem to last for years…as friends.. so, but I can’t cum, by myself, so what I need is somebody to tickle my bottom or put his head on my chest..Somebody…

TM: Well, I never.. I try not to cum. I still have the same number of wet dreams that I had fifty years ago.

AG: Uh-huh.

TM: But I’ve always had a terrible conscience thing, after I cum.

AG: Are you Catholic or something?

TM: No, Presbyterian.

AG: So what’s..

TM: Very severe Wasp [White Anglo-Saxon Protestant] family background.

AG: So what’s the problem?

TM: I’m a Super-Wasp – Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, and Lutheran. It’s something in my conscience.. I can’t…

AG: Well, what does your conscience say?

TM: It’s “la petite mort, it’s “grande mort”!

AG: [reaches over and kisses him] My dear!

TM: Only one year older.

AG: I thought you were somewhere in your 50’s, or something.

TM: I tell people I’m 27 or vice-versa!

AG: I thought you were in your 50’s!, so you’re older than me!

TM: Yeah

AG: Oh daddy-o!

[AG then goes to light incense on his home altar and potter around the apartment]

TM: You know, under the Islamic people that.. (they used to live next door, I think)…

AG: No, but I know, there’s a poet-friend who’s Sufi – Daniel Moore from San Francisco, you remember him? ..And then he went on a Hajj.. and he studied with teachers in Africa, and in Morocco, and is very learned, and is a good poet. City Lights put out some early books (of his) [Dawn Visions (1964) and Burnt Heart (1971)]

TM: Well, the Islamic people scare me. Anti-homosexual.

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