A Semi-Literate Boy Named Bobby

I was a project kid, pretty but hard to make.

Most of the men I let into my life started in pursuit but stayed as teachers.

I was bright and gave my full attention to any man who was willing to teach me about the world of art.

The music I knew was the music of my parents and the other kids in the projects.

From my Father I got Porter Wagoner, Buck Owens, and Skeeter Davis.

From my Mother I got Dinah Shore and Kitty Wells.

From the other kids in the projects I got Motown.

With the music of Motown I learned I could dance and for me dancing is still spiritual.

Everyone said I moved like a black kid, and it was true.

Black folks were my friends and neighbors.

As far as I was concerned I was a Black kid with pale skin.

I figured that Blackness was as much about class as it is about race.

My friend Paul knew I knew my ‘place’ in Charleston’s antiquated class system and that I wanted out.

Paul lived in the rich part of Charleston; the historic district near Battery Park.

He invited me to lunch one especially bright spring day.

He poured tea and showed me a decorative plate that was inlaid with hundreds of shimmering butterfly wings.

Paul liked exquisite objects.

We stepped onto the patio that overlooked his garden and I brought a branch of wisteria to my nose.

Paul said that he wanted me to hear a record.

He said he wanted my opinion.

Then he placed the Beethoven Violin Concerto in D Minor on the turntable.

I heard the needle drop, and then a timpani followed by woodwinds.

I listened as Beethoven told me a story.

I had never heard a story more complex and profound.

It was more beautiful than anything I had ever seen or touched.

And I never stopped listening….

Beethoven Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61

by Yehudi Menuhin, violin Wilhelm Furtwangler, cond Philharmonia Orchestra of London Recorded: 1953

  1. Allegro ma non troppo

Save

Accept the Gift

First posted 12/11/2016 as The Night Bobby Found Christ in an Abandoned Subway Car

I read the Nativity story as the story of a God who decides to incarnate as an outcast among the poor and oppressed people of a barbaric civilization with a static class system.

Life was brutish and short for the poor.

The warrior God of Israel takes flesh as an impoverished Jewish outcast whose
life is in danger from the moment of conception.

It’s a great story!

I wondered how it might look today and saw a homeless youth who finds
the abandoned Christ child in an unused subway car.

Will he accept the burden of this gift?

An avatar that represents an alternate named Bobby is shown finding the Christ child in an abandoned subway car
A homeless youth finds the abandoned Christ child in an unused subway car.

I used VR to make a video of it.

I got the idea for the subway car from Dark Days, a documentary made in the 1990’s about a tribe of homeless people who live in the abandoned subway tunnels of New York.

I use two photo-shopped frames from the documentary as an homage to it.

I first came up with this idea in 2011 but didn’t have the skill I needed
to make it work the way I envisioned it.

I’m going to remake the video for next Christmas.

Merry Christmas to the World!

May we find our way back to the light.

The video is a series high-resolution panels staged and shot in virtual reality and processed in multiple apps.

I cropped a cover of Silent Night  found at the Internet Archives.

To the best of my knowledge the recording is in the public domain.

Bobby: At the Stardust

There was only one queer bar in Charleston.

It was off on a musty alley behind the Old Slave Market.

You had to kiss the doorman the first time you went in to prove you were queer.

There was this narrow strip of stage of stage above and behind the bar where some of us boys would dance when the drag queens weren’t doing a show.

Illustration for Bobby and Miss Queen of Hearts
Bobby and Miss Queen of Hearts

 

The first time I went to the Stardust Momma brought me so I didn’t have
to kiss anyone.

Momma lent me some creamy Peach Cover Girl and a hot pink blouse.

I sipped my Pepsi and watched the queers gawk.

Aretha Franklin was on the jukebox wailing Respect and I
said: “Hey Momma. Let’s dance!”

Well she hauled me up on that stage and we did the dirty dawg.

There was this one dyke named Roxie.

She sometimes worked the door.

She was so butch she could give the kiss test.

She sometimes let me in when I came to the bar alone  but if the cops  stopped in for a ‘bar check’ I’d have to hide in the lady’s room and get “discovered” and throwed out.

Sometimes the cops came and didn’t do a bar check.

Sometimes the cops came and took money and left;

Sometimes the cops came came to watch the ‘dirty little faggots’ play:
Three straight white dudes with mean little smiles on their faces.

One night I was cruising the Battery when this vice cop
stopped me and ordered me into his car.

“Whatcha doin’ out all gussied up?” he asked, “solicitin’?”

“What does that word mean, solicitin’,” I smiled. I had just finished
reading The Little Prince.

“Sellin’ yer ass to the fags!” he replied.

“Oh that ain’t what I’m doin’” I said. “I gotta little Sister at home and Momma
says I gotta set a good example by fucking every girl I see!”

Well, he drove around town, trying to get me to say I was pushin’ drugs. “I bet you’re gonna turn that little Sister of yours into an addict!”

“Oh I wouldn’t do that at all sir! I warn her every day against such wickedness!
God strike me dead if I don’t!”

I guess we wore each other out.

The cop took me home to the projects. “Keep up the good work with yo’ Sistuh!” he sneered.

                                 ***

At the Stardust a boozy ex‑priest named Mother Rachel did the weddings.

 One guy dressed like the bride and the other wore a tuxedo.

 At the Stardust The Miss Queen of Hearts drag show was the major event.

The drag queens trashed every dress shop on King Street.

On the big night the butch dykes wore three-piece suits and their women wore gowns.

Mother Rachel was the emcee and he’d open every show with a report on how safe the Greyhound bus station was to cruise.

The place is jus’ hoppin’ with cops! So ya’all be careful–OK?”

There was this one drag queen who called herself Miss Tillie who always lip synced My Life.

At the end of the song where Shirley Bassey screams,‘ This is myyyy liiiiife,’ Miss Tillie ripped off his wig and thew it into the audience.

Then at the close of the show everyone in the Stardust joined hands
and sang There’s a Place for Us.

Street graffiti that reads 'There should be a Place for us
Street Art by Eclair Bandersnatch

I first wrote ‘The Stardust’ in 1984.

I’ve posted other edits of it to Art by Rob Goldstein
This is the original edit.

At the Stardust and all other artwork (c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved
Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Felique Dupré in the Haunted World: Fellini Characters with Hitchcock Touches

A chill settles over Jamaica Plains as the F Train winds
its way to The Village.

“New Haven. Miss?” sang the conductor.

Persephone sits quietly with an old bag between her knees.

Surely, Hades will ignore the weather and see her; but she has
no guarantees.

Her stomach grumbles as she examines the other passengers.

They look like Fellini characters with Hitchcock touches.

To her left is the slave boy from The Satyricon, but, he also looks like
Grace Kelly: and she’s sure she’s seen that whore in La Dolce Vita
and The Birds.

Animated gif of Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni from Federico Fellini's 'La Dolce Vita'
La Dolce Vita

The E screams to a stop.

“Penn Station. Miss?” sang the conductor.

Persephone quickly rises and says her good-byes.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved

Animated gif found on Giphy

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save