Greenwich Village 1960's
It was fall, the little room on West 12th Street in Greenwich Village smelled of lemon soap in decorative apothecary jars. The tiny room was completely cluttered with objects, feathers of all colors, antique bird cages,glass jars, and a large map of Paris with Rue de Rivoli highlighted. I sat on the small single bed with a brass headboard wearing a wide brimmed hat, white tee shirt and Levi’s. Mario, my best friend, had recently come out and we were eager to share our latest adventures. For about a year, we had been meeting every day after I finished working at Pinata Party on MacDougal street. My boss knew everyone in the neighborhood, and visitors often outnumbered customers. I made about forty three dollars every week which was just about sufficient to pay for acting classes at the Herbert Berghof (HB) Studio on Bank From then on we were a pair, making paper roses what we sold bar to bar in the evenings. Scouring the hat district in the West 30’s to find inexpensive unblocked hats that we could decorate and sell. Resourceful was the name of the game. Since Mario and I had no support from home, we were willing to take risks to be creative. When we had a day off, the two of us would take long walks usually to the lower east side and look in the store windows to see what was happening. This time was so creative, and people were not defensive about sharing creative visions. A rebirth of vitality was in the air, and having the privilege to live at that time and place was extraordinary. All you had to do was walk on the street, see a friendly face and that person would say, “We are starting a theater company, want to come?” That being the Open Theater, and the person being Ray Barry who was one of the students in my acting class.