Monday, November 06, 2006




 I get this call about five p.m.  that my sister –in-law LORI was having an opening at the Downtown Gallery in about two hours of her vivid, exotic yet controlled paintings.  But I had the rehearsal for whatever show the combination of three songwriters, one of which is moi, will somehow create for Kulak’s Woodshed and other venues late in the year.


I look in my drawer of small plastic boxes of eyelashes – and just pick some old raggedy ones as I had no time to be clever.  Mascara, gluing on the eyelashes in a false line above my eyes to enlarge them about three times their actual size, eyeliner, a slop of base and much pale pink across huge lips.


Out I run, into the car. Drive fast.  My husband is in the street near Van Ness and Melrose, near his offices at Raleigh Studios, baseball cap covering a balding head, but still, the handsomest face I’ve ever seen –waving his arms to gain my attention.


Downtown L.A. is an original this night and mysterious as ever.  A new town, another city, really.  My husband Stephen and I speak again about coming down here to the Bonaventure Hotel and just taking a vacation, so different from uptown lifestyles that we can just pretend we’re in another distant city somewhere.


The gallery: large white tall rooms with a huge area for Lori’s work.  Wine, crackers- I eat heartily if one can on crackers and cheese, since I haven’t had time for any food at all this evening.  A beautiful child of about five with dusky skin and lavish curls asks and asks and longs to touch some of the work which I thought a sign that the work was truly vivid, and I wished that he could follow his desires.  If the paintings had been mine, I would have put his little fingers against the solid tiny seas of paint for him to understand of what a painting is made the better.


Others mill; one woman has a sort of smile, that kind of-- I -know – better- than -these -other -people -but I’m- politely- (generously)- tolerating -them –anyway sort of  smile.  She interests me as a study and I attempt to do her or I guess to be her, mimic her walk, the pose of her head as she looks up “generously" tolerating my sister-in-law’s work - which she would never be able to attain to. 


Afterward some blocks away alone in the car now,  I stopped at Bogie’s Liquor to get something anything to take with me to rehearsal and finally discovered ham in a package. Ham, being fat free or nearly so is on my wonderful Weight- Watchers core plan diet. ( I’ve lost twenty pounds without realizing it! Until I went back to be weighed.  And it stays off!)  The man behind the counter  knew my name as I’d once lived down the street (Rossmore) when I was wealthy.  He asked after my beautiful son. I told him – more beautiful than ever-


Mark Cote, the first Mark in the group Karen and the 2 Marks has a wonderfully appointed apartment in the Fairfax/ Wilshire area. The other Mark, Mark Salling, hadn’t arrived yet, so I sang with Mark Cote’s accompaniment, my country song for the show. In the U.S.A. from around 1865 to 1895 , cowboys drove cattle up from Texas to the North where they could feed on the green up there or be sold.  What many people don’t realize is that educated men, from the East and even from Europe found this great procedure interesting and came out West, sometimes mistakenly, to experience it for themselves.  This country song, fashioned after the simple plaintiff cowboy songs of the 1920’s, is about a girl, a sister or cousin to one of these adventurers, who was taken along from the Eastern states only  to find herself completely lost and lonely on the open range.  It’s called “Cowgirl”.   My three songs, I assure the reader, though, will not compare with the winsome evocative songs from the 2 Marks, who are each tremendous musicians.