I’ve been dealing with some fairly rich people lately, mostly with regard to film-related projects. And I’ve noticed, not for the first time, a particular vagueness to many of them. As if the amount of money they have overshadows and outweighs them as human beings, making them insubstantial, ghosts in their own lives. When they talk about their projects and plans, the projects seem silly and thin, hobbies rather than occupations. It almost like they understand on some primary level that nothing they can do for good or evil could ever equal the dead weight of money that looms over them.
I’ve been trying to download tracks from a little known Sly Stone album ‘Small Talk’ with no success. However, I did find this review on Amazon which was almost as good.
‘I got two copies of this [Small Talk] on vinyl from a bearded woman that I worked with in the cafeteria of a mental institution when I was 19 years old. She was emptying closets, her husband was ending his career as an amateur party DJ, and I just acquired a turntable from a friend who doesn’t pay back debts in cash (I found out too late). I was initially amazed by the “Mother Beautiful” track, and by the number of rap samples I recognized from the album. This really ushered me out of the east coast suburban metal/rap/punk scene I was into, and if I ever find that bearded woman I’m going to give her a kiss on the mouth.’
At the waterfront at about two a.m. on River Street, they were doing a shoot next to the gas tanks. The model/holy object was obvious among them, inhumanly tall and thin and bedecked in her sacrificial accoutrements.
As I passed the shoot, a white panel truck with the logo of an electronics repair business pulled up to me.
‘Are you making a movie?’ the man in the truck asked.
‘Beats me’ I said.
He had the sidelocks and the black suit of the Hasidim. I kept walking and arrived at the Grand Street waterfront park. There were dozens of Hasidic men gathered at the benches there. A friend had told me that it was a big gay Hasidic pick-up place. I would have been dubious, except I knew that Williamsburg had it’s own late-night alternative Hasidic culture: Hasidic men hustling pool at the Turkey’s Nest, Hasidic men playing midnight baseball in McCarren Park, Hasidic men cruising for prostitutes on Kent Street, and now, Hasidic men ‘making out like mohels’ in parked cars at the park. Another friend had described moving from the Hasidic neighborhood on the southside to the the Puerto Rican neighborhood as ‘going from black and white to color.’ There was always something jarring about the encounter, seeing the bewigged women and the pale men in black, many of them wearing elaborate fur hats even in highest summer.
I crawled under the gap in fence and had the run of the big field bordering the gas tanks. It was my first time there and I was the only person walking on the field, watching the city glow across the river. I turned the corner and a patrol car drifted by on River Street. I froze but the lights didn’t flash and no amplified voice shouted at me to stop. They were probably too busy studying the model.
My limbo return under the fence brought friendly comments from the Hasidim.
‘Are you beating yourself up?’ one shouted.
‘No,’ I said. ‘I’m just looking at the views.’