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Artist narrative: SIX DATES with Marlene Dietrich
First- January, London, Dorchester Hotel
Seeing Marlene walking swiftly though the lobby of the hotel, I rush from my seat behind the palm to get closer, perhaps for a scent of her. My forward thrust is foolish, I bump into her, oddly stepping on her toe. She lets out a muffled screech though her cigarette, turns, brushing by, blurts ďYou idiotĒ in a smoky halo. OK, not strictly a date.
Second- Dorchester Hotel, China Tang Bar
Seven that evening, after a day of huffing though cold damp London loitering around department stores for warmth. I return to the hotel, and head for the bar at the rear of the lobby. I want a drink to contemplate my purchase of a pair of costly Italian gloves. I spy Marlene sitting at the bar a few manhattans along it looks like. She gazes up puzzled: A memory of some past connection? She nods and gives a friendly wave. Clearly not recognizing me as the jerk that stepped on her foot hours earlier. I see an opening here. But following three or four sentences between us she seems perturbed, slides off the stool with a wacky forward momentum, heads for the door, her half smoked cigarette smoldering in an ashtray of butts on the bar. I think this must properly be a second date.
Third-Paris Late Spring
I am strolling along the Seine on an ideal spring Paris afternoon. The dining boat ďCapitaine FracasseĒ is sliding past me and Notre Dame cathedral, headed down river. I realize that's Marlene, mid-way towards the stern at a table by the window, of smoke surround her. I run down the left bank waving and yelling Marlene! Marlene! She waves! Or did she throw a cigarette butt out the window. I tripped over a misaligned stone in the walk-way almost taking a plunge in the Seine, saved by a small tree.
Fourth- Hoboken, New Jersey
Biggies Clam Bar Bits of clam, mustard, bread, catsup, fries, wadded napkins, ashtray full of butts, ďStranded in Sinatra landĒ. That's how Marlene described our predicament. After missed train connections to Manhattan.
Fifth- Hamburg, Germany
I returned to my hotel soaked. This date I really canít talk about.
Sixth- Spring, New York, Conrad Hotel
Marlene in a robe, hair up, me in my night silks, lost among the pillows on an extra large king bed. Weíre lounging. Iím tipping down an iced sloe-gin. Marlene puffing a Camel in her usual cat posture. ď30 RockĒ fans, weíre watching the latest on the immense flat screen. Can it get any better? Suddenly Marlene sits up on the edge of the bed, takes a few long drags on her ďCamelĒ, deposits it in the ashtray, heads for the bathroom. 30 Rock had been particularly good that night. Engrossed in Liz Lemonís predicament I hadn't realized Marlene went missing. She was gone clothes and all. I never saw her again. Too busy she twitted from here and there.