Remembrance of Things Past or: Everybody's Got a Web Site (Except Frieda)

My friend Miz J, AKA fabulous cartoonist Jennifer Berman, called today to tell me about a dream she dreamt in my honor. She was (in the dream) approaching Paris, and it looked all Impressionist-y , just as Monet and Renoir had painted it and she realized that Paris really did look that way. Then she was in a gallery where cartoonist Nicole Hollander was working. She was making molds of the breasts of women who were about to have mastectomies. This reminded me of Cynthia Plaster Caster, who makes molds of the penises of rock musicians. Similar, but not the same. There's no surgery involved with Ms. Plaster Caster's project. You could argue that there's loss all the same: she had one-night stands with some of these guys. And--this just in--I just found out from her web site that she has also cast a few breasts. Anyway, the dream led to an idea from Miz J. Three people so far (Garry Cooper, my old boss C who is now my new boss C*, and my sister) have suggested I sell advertising space on my head. Miz J suggested I have different artists work on my bare scalp. I said I would reserve her a space. I'll have to have advance warning so I can let the henna fade.

I was thinking I could auction off my scalp to artists and have the proceeds go to Breast Cancer Action. Or have the artists work for free, and sell tickets to watch? I don't know if I would have takers for either. But after all, people pay extra to sit at a table in the kitchen of fancy restaurants so that they can watch. the food artists at work

Years ago, my friend Frieda Dean created a hat gallery. She wore a hat that displayed small canvases she'd painted. Read about the gallery in the Comments section of this post, in an article by Jessica Seigel.

I am so glad I have a decorated scalp. I was in Trader Joe's tonight in the soup-olives-peanut butter aisle and a little girl said something to her father about "funny hair." I said: I don't have any hair. I have designs on my head. You have to choose one or the other, I said, hair or designs.

I didn't feel bad at all. I think I would have felt much more self-conscious if my head was bare.

Frieda was my neighbor on Buckingham Place on the North Side. I coveted her address, 733-1/2. I was plain 733. Frieda moved from Lakeview to Logan Square, where she lived in the brick Art Nouveau apartment where William Paley had lived as a child, and then to Manhattan, near Wall Street. After 9/11 I called her and she said she was having trouble explaining to her dog Butch (a skinny Italian greyhound) why he couldn't go outside. Next time I called her she was gone. I've found her on-line at an art school in Georgia and I sent her a card c/o the place but she didn't write back. When I run into Alex Kotlowitz, who met an ex-girlfriend through Frieda, he asks me about Frieda, and looks at me accusingly when I say I lost her. But I thought you were good friends, he says.

*C was my boss as Well-Regarded University. He is now my boss's boss at Intellectual University, where I also teach part time. His dissertation was on Joseph Roth.