The Outline of my Life
16 years old.
The Chase Park-Plaza days.
My sister JoAnn returns from CA.
I serve 2 weeks in the Juvenile Detention Center for Trespassing at the Chase.
One morning my brother and I were caught laying around in a suite and beat up by the security guards and thrown in jail for trespassing. I learn my lesson: Crime doesn't pay, unless I can sell the screenplay I made about our adventures there one of these days.
Last summer at home, fighting with JoAnn. She loved to fight, and we went at it like savages. I just wanted a peaceful existence, but my poor sister is a genius at making a fight out of the most innocuous possible conversation.
Finished the Movie "Dog's Dream". It had a cast of dozens, and utilized every avant-garde filmaking technique we could think of. Every reel was double and triple exposed. The symbolism was based on my light bulb theories and other ridiculous adolescent affectations. It ended up being about 20 minutes long, and I liked to provide hysterical stream-of-conciousness footnotes to the action while we showed it with King Crimson's "Starless and Bible Black" droning in the background.
I get an entire semester's credit from my English teacher Laura Reck for a 12-page book report on "Finnegan's Wake" and another semester's credit for writing a novella about our adventures at the Chase Park-Plaza.
I show Danny's "Bloody Movies", which I consider masterpieces, at Honors Art. The excessive violence of the movies make my mentor, Signe Schmertz, leave the room in horror.
My first job at some Italian Restaurant on Watson. The strange new sensation of working so fast that you don't have time to think! The stink of the bus pans, with stale beer and soggy cocktail napkins and cigarette ashes. At first I handled the plates and glasses so gingerly, afraid to break them, as the bus pans piled higher and higher. Jeff Beck comforts me from the little tinny radio.
I quit after having to mop the kitchen and not getting home until 3:00 am.
Mom throws me out in the street. It's now unclear why she threw me out, or whether I simply left because I wanted to be free. After all, she'd thrown my brother out not that long before. I remember her telling me I had to have a job by my 17th Birthday or else she wanted me to leave, and that she threw me out after I neglected to wipe off the kitchen table. She doesn't remember any of this.
Started work at Balabans in November, just after my 17th birthday. Herb Balaban hired me after his alcoholic sous chef, Weasel, didn't show up for work one fateful night. I was immediately plunged into the crazy dark side of the restaurant business in the glory days of the Central West End in St. Louis. I remember walking into the kitchen to meet the Chef, Big Jim Edmunson, who was sautéing up a Crepes Balaban, which was chicken livers sautéed in drawn butter and wine. When he shook the pan, flames leapt up spectacularly into the grime-encrusted exhaust fans over the dark stove. I thought I'd entered restaurant Hell.
Move into Clayton & Taylor, my first hippie crash pad. My brother was living there at the time with George Crider and Chip Wood. Soon my brother left and Dominic Shaeffer and Danny Stefacek moved in too. We stayed up late into the nights animating cartoons on scraps of paper and photographing them with Danny's trusty Bell & Howell 8 mm camera for the "Short Subjects" to show before "Dog's Dream".
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