TELEPHONE INTERVIEW — TAPE #24, SIDE #2
Q: Mark Russell Bell
P: Jackie Cohen, Sotheby’s antiquities department
W: Jerry Weist, Sotheby’s in New York
K: Mark Kostabi, artist
P: Hello, Mark Russell. This is Jackie Cohen and I’m calling from the antiquities department at Sotheby’s. We did receive your federal express but the pieces you sent to us are modern pieces and we only take ancient pieces, so your photographs and your information went to the collectibles department. The collectibles department now has your information and they will respond to you as soon as they can. Thank you. Bye-bye.
( . . . )
W: You have reached the robot of Jerry Weist. Leave your message and I will respond quickly. Thank you.
Q: Oh, hi, Jerry. This is Mark Russell. I just wanted to check in with you to see if you got my federal express letter. I did follow through with Richard Keresey and apparently he’s not a believer so I’m going to contact another auction house here in L.A. unless I hear from you in the next few hours. As far as I’m concerned, this is your loss. Not mine. I had another piece too which I think you would find interesting so I have two pieces that Sotheby’s is going to lose out on big time. So, anyway, you had your chance. You still have one for a couple hours. Well, actually, let’s see, I’m going to be here for around an hour, so you have less than an hour to call me. So, anyway, I’ll talk to you later. Bye.
( . . . )
Q: (speaking into tape recorder) Well, I’m in my car. I just went to an open appraisal at Butterfield & Butterfield on Sunset Boulevard and, of course, (“WHAT”) you probably know what happened. I went in there thinking that the appraiser would actually know what he was doing — that he could take one look at the Declaration of Independence and realize that this is, in fact, the original. His name was Greg Shaw and he didn’t even look at it closely. He said, “Oh, it’s just a facsimile. Hundreds of them. Good-bye.” So I said, “Well, no, take a closer look. I mean you can see where an eraser erased certain things and you can see where things were added in ink. There are no printer’s marks or anything. I mean just look at it — you can tell.” No. He wouldn’t even look at it. “There are hundreds. I’ve seen hundreds of these.” (“IT”) He showed it to another associate and he said, “Oh, yeah — no. Nahhhh. Nah.” So I said, “Well, I guess I’ll have to take it to an expert in the field.” And I even told them what the lady I’d spoken to the other day had told me. And he just would not listen. I don’t know what are these people in business for if it’s not to score the big one. So, anyway, I told them not to feel too badly about it because Sotheby’s had also turned it down in a way because they hadn’t followed through on the Ark and I was going to give this one to them too. So, anyway, he recommended me to a rival — Superior Galleries in Beverly Hills at the corner of Beverly and Olympic so I guess I’ll go there later on. I mean it’s ridiculous. Even Forrest Gump could tell what this was. (“UH-HUH”)
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: I AM LISTENING TO “BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S” ON THE CAR RADIO. THE SONG IS FEATURED ON DEEP BLUE SOMETHING’S “HOME” CD.)
Q: Hear that? That’s a Paramount movie too. Anyway, I did as Greg recommended and I called Superior Galleries in Beverly Hills. Andrea didn’t believe it either but she did refer me, at least, to the Huntington Library which is a wonderful idea, so I said, “Well, I’ll remember you for doing that, maybe.” Anyway, we’ll see what happens. (“I’M IN A”) When I get home I’ll give them a call.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE FOLLOWING INTERVIEW IS WITH ARTIST MARK KOSTABI.)
Q: I’m speaking to Mark Kostabi, one of my favorite artists. By the way, I saw Denise today. I went by the gallery because I had an appointment with a psychic friend of mine.
Q: Yeah. So I walk by the gallery. In fact, that’s how I saw the painting to begin with.
Q: Yeah. So it was like (“NO”) I was led to see the painting.
Q: Now, by the way, did you have a chance to see that special? “Ghosts, Mediums, Psychics: Put To The Test.” (“NO”)
K: What? (“OH”)
Q: Oh, I see. (“YOU KNOW”) I had asked —
K: No, I didn’t see it. Where was the special on?
Q: It was on ABC on Thursday. I mentioned it to Hanna. I was hoping that she’d be able to get word to you. (“UM”) Over in the L.A. gallery. Because this is the same family that my book is about. (“YOU KNOW” “IT”) The book is about me and this family living in Oklahoma that have the angel Michael living with us and (“YOU KNOW”) I told a little bit about it to you at the reception. (“HELL”) Wait. Just a moment. I think my listening device isn’t working. (“NO NOT REALLY”) Oh well.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: I USE AN EAR ATTACHMENT TO MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO MALFUNCTIONS; HOWEVER, I THINK DURING THIS INTERVIEW MICHAEL PREVENTED THE EARPIECE FROM FUNCTIONING ALTHOUGH THE INTERVIEW WAS BEING RECORDED WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS.)
K: Well, why are you taping me?
Q: My book is all Q and A.
K: Okay, so now you’re going to interview me.
Q: Well, kind of.
K: Oh, just casual — documented casual conversations.
Q: Did you read The Andy Warhol Diaries?
Q: It’s like that.
K: Oh, do you run your life like that?
Q: No. I’m poor.
K: You’re poor. So why do you tape everything?
Q: I have very middle-class values.
K: But you tape as much as you can of your life. (“WELL”)
Q: Well, especially when I’m dealing with celebrities. (“SO”) To sort of liven things up a little bit. (“UH-HUH”)
Q: You know, because most of the people I interact with are (“YEAH”) health insurance people —
Q: — and just normal day-to-day people.
K: Sometimes you deal with celebrities?
Q: Oh yeah. I was a publicist at Paramount for seven years.
Q: I spoke to just about everyone.
K: Wow. Like who? What celebrities did you interact with?
Q: Well, (“WELL”) just about everyone. (“WELL”) Okay, well, “Lassie” was one of the last films I worked on.
Q: I remember speaking to one of the writers, Elizabeth Anderson, and some of the stars —
K: One of the writers of “Lassie”?
Q: She was one of the writers of “Lassie.”
Q: Usually I end up speaking to the writers because the unit publicist doesn’t interview them as they aren’t often on the set during filming. Like, I’ve spoken to Robert Towne — all these writers over the years. Plus, producers and directors and stars — everyone. (“UH-HUH”)
Q: I’ve worked on more than a hundred Paramount films.
K: Wow. You work on them? As a publicist?
Q: As the press kit editor/writer. For four years I was on staff and then I was freelance for three. (“UH-HUH”)
K: Wow. You’ve had a really interesting life.
Q: Right. And now I’m working on my book. In fact, they invited me to go back to work. (“WHICH”) You know, with the Paramount name — it would be like going back to the mountain for me but right now I’d rather finish the book. (“UH-HUH”)
K: What’s the title of your book?
Q: Testament. (“KIND OF TENTATIVE”)
K: What is your book basically?
Q: It’s kind of a New Age Bible.
K: That’s what you’ve — a ‘New Age Bible.’
Q: It encompasses poltergeists, angels, (“YEAH”) energy sources (“YEAH”) — all kinds of things. I went to see a hypnotherapist on Thursday.
K: You went to see what?
Q: I even had a past life regression last Thursday.
K: You went to a hypnotherapist? Was that interesting?
Q: It was but I’m a little disappointed because I was using a ninety minute tape and it got jammed (“UH-HUH”) because those tapes are very undependable when they’re that long. So I tried to have it transferred to normal cassettes so I could listen to it. (“UH-HUH”)
K: What did you discover about yourself in hypnotherapy?
Q: I ended up talking about some of the characters I’ve written about in earlier screenplays by the names of Julia Pastrana and Catherine Cadiere. (“AND THEN I”) Just at the end — it was only a ninety minute session — I was getting back to biblical times. (“UH-HUH”) You know. (“HUH”)
K: You want to use my painting on the cover of your book?
K: The thing that you bought.
Q: It’s perfect. Well, I haven’t —
K: Did you go out and buy the painting?
Q: No, you see that’s — that’s what I’m so upset about. I put down 20% to buy it. And ever since then I’ve been calling every week saying — well, you know, and (“RIGHT”) I haven’t received the contracts back after I told you at the reception, “Of course, if you want to make any changes, call my attorney.”
K: Wait a second now. Did you buy the painting on contingency that you would get to use it on the cover of your book?
K: Okay. Did you explain that to them when you put down the 20%.
K: Well, then you gave me this contract which I read, you know.
K: And you gave me three copies of it. And I found that contract unsignable.
Q: I’ll be glad to make any changes you want.
K: Because I mean I would love to do your book cover but that particular contract was — did you actually look at it?
Q: Well, no — what I told you when I gave it to you was, (“UH-HUH”) “If you want to make any changes —” Because I had an attorney —
K: Well, wait a minute. I mean, that’s not a matter of any changes. That was like — I mean your book is a bible but I felt like I was selling my soul to the Devil if I had signed that contract. (“JUST”) I mean that I’ve never seen such an extremely lopsided contract.
Q: What can I say? I just have a good attorney. (“UH-HUH”)
K: Yeah, but you should —
Q: I don’t know.
K: — look at whatever your attorney writes before blindly sending it out.
Q: Listen, he’s just a good —
K: If I wasn’t who I am — (“IT DOESN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE”) I know from experience after dealing with attorneys — (“THAT”)
Q: I just thought it was legalese. The normal legalese.
K: Oh no. No. If I wasn’t who I am — if I didn’t have the experience of looking at insulting contracts given by nice people before, which is routine, I would be extremely insulted.
Q: I mean you’re hurting my feelings.
K: Any artist with any sense of self-worth would have looked at that contract, been insulted and then just thrown all three copies in the trash. I threw two copies in the trash —
Q: Oh my gosh.
K: — and kept one because I knew I wouldn’t sign one of them but I knew I needed at least one to work from.
Q: But I must say I did tell (“DID TELL”) everyone if you wanted any changes I’d be glad to make them because —
K: Well, of course, but that’s not a matter of any changes. (“NO”)
Q: But I didn’t know —
K: The whole thing had to be changed.
Q: You know, I’ve never bought a painting in my life before.
K: Bought a painting? (“YEAH”) Oh, I understand. Usually, when an artist sells a painting he or she doesn’t give up the rights to that painting. They just buy the object and the collector can do whatever he or she wants to do with it. But he or she can’t then start reproducing it in ways that a profit is made without further permission.
Q: Well, I just want it to be on the cover of my book and I really like the painting. I like to look at it. I’d like to own it.
K: The contract has some — (“KA”) it would enable you to exploit it (“TIP”) in many other ways.
Q: Oh, no, well see — (“SEE IT WAS A BIT”)
K: It would be giving you the copyright.
Q: I don’t want that. There’s nothing else I want.
K: Okay. Well, if you just want to use it on the cover.
Q: That’s all I want.
Q: That’s all. Period.
K: How many copies of your book are going to be made?
Q: Well, I think it’s (“NO”) going to be a bestseller but I’m still working on it. Even as we speak.
K: So do you have a publisher? (“NO” “PARDON”)
Q: Well, I’ve written a letter to Michael Korda at Simon & Schuster because of the Paramount tie-in. And I wrote a letter to my friend Sherry Lansing. As soon as I finish the book I’ll be in a better position to say but (“UH-UH”) I mean I definitely want it to be — (“UH-HUH”) if it isn’t Simon & Schuster, I’ll probably just publish it myself because that’s how sure I am of it’s worth. (“UH-HUH”)
K: Well, great. Okay, I think this is how we should proceed. When you know how it’s going to be published, then I’ll give you the right to use it in exchange for a fee that we negotiate at that time. If you end up publishing it yourself, I would just want, like, $500 for the right to use it.
Q: How much do painters usually get for book covers?
K: Anywhere between $250 to $5,000 to $10,000. (“OKAY”) I mean I don’t expect to get that much but if it’s with a major publisher I might be looking for more like $1,000, $2,000 or maybe $3,000. It depends. (“RIGHT”) I want to get a sense of how many copies are going to be printed the first time. Whether it (“OH”) becomes a bestseller or not — but if I know that the first printing is going to be enormous then I’d want just a little bit more.
Q: I see.
K: I (“OOHHHHH”) assure you I won’t be greedy and I’ll just do a standard —
Q: Aren’t you a millionaire?
K: Millionaire? What does that mean? Do I have a million dollars in the bank? (“UH-HUH”)
Q: Well, I thought you were — I thought you were, like, a multi-multi-millionaire.
K: No. I run a business. I have twelve employees.
Q: Oh, I see. I think there’s going to be a lot of publicity in this for you. (“DO”)
K: Well I like publicity. I’ll do the book (“RIGHT” “UH-HUH”) but these days I rarely do something just for the publicity.
Q: But I want to look at it too. I mean I do want to own the painting.
K: I know. I want to be on the cover and I would love for you to own the painting. Usually I don’t sell a painting with the contingency that — (“NO”)
Q: Right. Well, okay, well, so right now I think it was going to cost like $4,000 including tax and everything. So if I were just to pay you $5,000 would that be alright? (“NO” “WHAT” “NOT AT THIS”)
K: Buying the painting at this point has nothing (“YES”) to do with — (“NO THE”)
Q: Both combined. How much can I pay you now so I just won’t have to deal with this later?
K: Wait, Mark, what you have to understand is that I no longer own that painting. I sold it to Martin Lawrence. (“UH-HUH”) So to acquire that painting you don’t have to talk to me. In fact, you shouldn’t talk to me. (“UH-HUH”) That’s completely between you and Martin Lawrence.
Q: Well, I’ve been calling them and they haven’t called me back once. (“UH-HUH”)
K: Well, that’s because you’re trying to get something from them that they don’t have any control over. I no longer control that painting but I do control the rights to that painting.
Q: That’s what I’m saying. If I can go ahead and pay you now for the painting, how much money could I pay you for the additional rights?
K: Well, that depends on how many copies of the book are going to be published the first run.
Q: Well, I think it would be a lot. (“A LOT”)
K: Well, then — (“I WOULD CONSIDER THEM A”) do you think it will be with a major publisher?
K: Okay, I’ll tell you what. If it’s a major publisher I will —
Q: Well, I’m hoping for Simon & Schuster.
K: Simon & Schuster. Okay. (“I WOULD”)
Q: I’m going to demand they read it.
K: I was just going to say $2,000 but I’ll do it for $1,500 if it’s a major publisher.
Q: Okay, fine, well —
K: But if you don’t have a publisher yet, I wouldn’t want you to give me the money.
Q: That’s how dedicated I am to this project.
Q: Yeah. I mean I’ll be glad to send you a check for $1,500 and pay for the painting for $4,000 just to get this taken care of.
K: Oh. Well. Okay. (“ALRIGHT I GUESS”)
Q: Aren’t I a charmer? (“HI MARK”)
K: Our agreement will be a contract that says you have the right to use this on the book cover but I’m not giving up the copyright for it.
Q: I wouldn’t expect you to do that.
K: Okay. (“OKAY”)
Q: Now I have done that before — just to let you know. With Guns ‘N Roses. (“YEAH”)
K: You know — that rock band? They bought the painting for $15,000 and then I gave them the right to exploit it in any way they wanted to. I totally gave them the copyright for an additional $35,000. (“THE”)
Q: Okay, well, you know what you do? On your copy of the contract — (“YEAH”) change it. Cross out whatever you don’t like or whatever and then you fax that to my attorney.
K: I think at this point it would be more appropriate (“OKAY FINE”) for you or your attorney to send me a correct contract. It should just be, like, two or three sentences.
Q: Okay, fine.
K: Half a page at the most and just be for the right to use it on the book and the book alone.
Q: Fine. (“YEAH” “TOP”) Okay. I’ll do that. (“AND THEN”)
K: And then I’ll sign it (“DON’T BE MAD”) when I get the check for $1,500.
Q: Aren’t you nice. (“SO”)
K: Aren’t I nice?
Q: By the way, (“FORTEAN”) have you seen the movie —
K: What? (“DID YOU”)
Q: Have you ever seen the movie “Vincent and Theo”?
K: Yeah, I loved it.
Q: Isn’t that great? (“NO”)
Q: Okay. That’s all.
K: That’s all you want to talk about?
Q: No, I just wanted to say (“UH-HUH”) that I love that film.
K: I thought it was fantastic. (“YOU KNOW”)
Q: And he never sold a painting ever in his life. (“UH-HUH” “OH GOD”) I could not believe it.
K: Well, according to the story I heard he didn’t. His brother did sell one of his paintings. (“WALDEN” “YEAH SO YOU’VE BEEN”)
Q: By the way, I love those angels that you’ve been adding to all your paintings.
K: Thanks very much. (“I THINK THAT’S”)
Q: Yeah, I think that’s — I think that we have something in common there. (“NO”)
K: Did you see that new book called Angels in Art? I bought a copy.
Q: No, I haven’t. (“UH-HUH”)
K: It’s called Angels in Art and it’s out on (“AHHH”) Artabras Press. A division of Abbeville.
Q: I’m also trying to get copies of your books.
K: Well, for a while they were out of books at Martin Lawrence but I just restocked them. You should be able to get the Lawrence book Kostabi: The Early Years and the small book: Lost and Found Now.
Q: I especially like the small book because it features my painting before you added the angel.
K: Oh that book. That’s One Hundred+. You have the book?
Q: No, I don’t. (“WAIT”) I’m looking for it.
K: They should have that. The gallery. They publish that themselves.
Q: Okay. Well, when I drop off the check maybe I’ll ask if they’ll give me a copy. (“ALL THREE”)
K: You know the history of that painting.
Q: Yeah, so I’ll tell them I spoke to you and we had a good call (“UH-HUH”) and (“AND I’LL TRY”) try to do what you said. (“YEAH”) Well, nice meeting you. I’m sorry (“UH-HUH”) on the night that I was there at the reception I was sort of rushed because I had a Hotline training class. (“YOU KNOW” “YOU KNOW”) I had to sort of get out of there. But I really enjoyed meeting you. I love your work (“THANK YOU”) and I think you’re great.
K: Oh, well, you sound really interesting yourself. I’m looking forward to learning more about you and (“WELL MY BOOK WA”) reading your book.
Q: My book is sort of a biography as well as a chronicle of the phenomena that this family has experienced. (“UH-HUH” “UH-OH”) It’s really neat.
K: That’s really interesting. You sound like you’re a truly unique person.
Q: Well, you’re from L.A. too, you know.
K: Pardon me?
Q: Aren’t you from Los Angeles?
K: I am. I grew up in Whittier. You know Whittier?
Q: Yeah. (“UH-HUH”)
K: About thirty miles east of L.A. (“UM-HUH UM-HUH”)
Q: So we’re both L.A. boys.
K: Yeah. (“ME TOO”) How old are you?
Q: Thirty-nine. How old are you?
K: I just turned thirty-five.
Q: That’s interesting.
K: Yeah. (“HMM”) Did you try calling me within the past two weeks?
K: Oh, okay, because I was out of town. I just got back.
Q: Oh, well (“SO”) it was good synchronicity.
K: Right. Synchronicity. Yeah.
Q: Your paintings really capture a lot — you see, the Entity, Michael, is an angel, I think. So —
Q: That’s the name of the Entity. (“THE”)
K: Which is the major character in your book?
Q: Yes. (“UH-HUH”)
K: Have you written other books?
Q: I have. I’ve written screenplays (“REMEMBER”) mostly. Nothing you’d know about. (“NO”) But, anyway, the angel Michael is living with me. It’s an interesting story. (“AND YOUR STO” “CAN”) Because it’s sort of like we have cybersex. And a lot of your paintings are about cybersex. You know — mind sex.
Q: Like, for example, the games that they play. I remember seeing one at the gallery where you have on entity playing with another one up around a mouse trap. And the other entity has a little book in front of him. Well, that must be me.
K: (small laugh)
Q: You know? What were you thinking when you made that?
K: I don’t remember. (small laugh)
Q: It was just coming from your subconscious.
Q: And then — (“BECAUSE”) I wouldn’t have been interested in the painting if you hadn’t added the angel. So, it’s interesting how that evolved. You did the original four years ago.
K: Yeah. The angel added a lot, right?
Q: Right. And you did that personally I was told.
K: Yes, I did. (“NO”)
Q: The painting wasn’t right for the cover of my book until you made that final touch.
K: Oh. I’m so glad to hear that. That’s great. You know, I really appreciate your feedback and your encouragement.
Q: Yeah, well, listen —
K: It means a lot to me.
Q: — I’m speaking to today’s Andy Warhol right now. I am. Except you’re not as cheap as he was.
K: (laughs) Wait a minute. You think you would’ve got a book cover for less than $1,500?
Q: That’s what I’m saying. He never would have let it go for that amount. Right? I’m saying he was the cheapest person who has ever lived just about if you’ve read his diary.
K: Oh, right.
Q: And I’m saying you’re not.
K: I’m not cheap.
Q: Exactly. (“NUH-UH”) You’re generous and nice. (“UH-HUH”)
K: Yeah. (“I THINK”)
Q: I think if Andy Warhol was alive — if he had the chance to do it all over again he wouldn’t have been so cheap. I mean, for example, I have some priceless relics which I’m trying to auction and I’m not going to keep a penny for myself. I’m going to give it all to charity.
K: That’s wonderful.
Q: Isn’t it?
Q: So —
K: You mean, for example, if you wanted his painting for a book cover he would have demanded $5,000? Or more? Do you think that’s what would have happened?
Q: Try adding a couple zeros.
K: Yeah, he probably would have. I gave you what I think is a very fair, realistic price.
Q: And you know what? I’m not going to make any money off the book, anyway. (“YOU KNOW”) The family is going to make all the money off of it.
K: Who is? The charity? (“THE”)
Q: I said the family. (“THEY”)
K: The family? (“YOU KNOW THE”) What can you tell me about the family?
Q: I wish I could send you a tape but I only have a couple copies. There are some electronic media monitoring services you can call if you want to get a copy of it. (“NO” “YOU KNOW”)
K: You’ll have to give me one sentence so I know a little bit about the family.
Q: Okay. They think they have a poltergeist — well, no, they don’t think — (“UH-HUH”) the show was about a poltergeist living with a family in Oklahoma.
K: Did you say Michelle?
K: Oh. (“UH-HUH”) What did you say? “The show”?
Q: Right. Whatever. I don’t know. But anyway — okay.
K: First we were talking about your book. Now we’re talking about the show?
Q: The family in Oklahoma. You wanted to know a little bit about the show. Right?
Q: There’s this family living in Oklahoma. (“UH-HUH”) They have an Entity named Michael living with them. ABC made a documentary called “Put It To The Test” and they changed the title. (“THINK”) However, (“THEY”) the family themselves think that there are aliens living with them and not a poltergeist. I went out there after writing a history of talking poltergeists and realized that this isn’t a poltergeist, it’s the angel Michael. And He had been in my life before I went out there but He was just using this — He sort of staged these phenomena to get me to go to Oklahoma soHe could reveal Himself to me. Isn’t that wild?
Q: I mean I wouldn’t have been so creative as to think something like that up. I mean it had to happen. So, anyway, we’re happily living together here in my condo in L.A. across from the Angelus Temple.
K: Angelus Temple?
Q: I was making a joke (“NO”) about it the other day with my (“MONSTER KEEP TALK”) mom. I made a joke. I said, “Well, He’s a lot more gentle with me than Barbara Hershey.” And He slapped me because — I was just kidding but He didn’t want people to think I was being serious.
K: Okay, now who are you living with now?
Q: The angel Michael.
K: Oh. That’s great.
Q: Isn’t it?
K: That’s really great. Yeah. (“UH-HUH” “SO THAT’S WHAT MY”)
Q: That’s what my book is about.
K: I’m looking at an angel right now as we speak. An angel flying in front of a man who’s looking into a manhole.
Q: It must be one of your paintings. (“SO”)
K: Yeah. Exactly. And it’s one of my paintings that has a line drawing of an angel in front of it. (“NO” “GOD”)
Q: By the way, I have to ask about that manhole. (“WHAT”) Why did you add that? Is that a symbol for Hades or —
K: I wasn’t thinking of that consciously. Although that certainly —
Q: Do you know Laurie Anderson?
Q: Laurie Anderson?
K: Oh, of course. Yeah, she’s great.
Q: Didn’t she fall into an open manhole once?
K: Wow. I didn’t know that story.
Q: Oh, I thought maybe she might have mentioned that to you and that’s why you did it or something,
K: Oh no. I don’t know her personally.
Q: I keep running into her. (“I MEAN”)
Q: Well, I once sent her manager my screenplay “Heartbeat City.”
K: Where does she live?
Q: New York. She’s a Postmodernist like you are.
K: And all Postmodernists live in New York? (“UH-HUH”)
Q: That’s right. (“UH-UH”) But there are only two of you left, I think. No, actually there’s me. So there’s three of us. (“YEAH”)
K: But you’re not living in New York.
Q: Well, I just sort of chanced into it. I mean Postmodernism found me.
K: You’re the L.A. (“YEAH”) Postmodernist. (“YEAH”) Where in L.A. do you live?
Q: I live in Echo Park.
K: Oh. Echo Park. I love that. Isn’t there a great song called “Echo Park”?
Q: Is there?
K: That Echo and the Bunnymen did.
Q: Oh, I love Echo and the Bunnymen.
K: They’re great. So I like Echo Park. I’ve driven through a few times. There’s a lake there, right?
Q: I live right above the lake. I have a fabulous (“REALLY”) view of the fountain.
K: Oh, how nice. (“YEAH”) There’s a great fountain there.
K: I bet the weather’s kind of nice right now over the lake.
Q: And they opened up a new church across the lake about a year ago so every hour on the hour the bells chime.
K: Every hour the bells chime.
Q: Yeah, so (“UH-UH”) it’s like (“FINE”) the bells are ironic. Because the family in Oklahoma were named Bell. (“UH-HUH”) It’s interesting. It’s all (“YOU KNOW”) synchronicity. (“NO”)
K: What’s the weather like right now there in Echo Park?
Q: It’s beautiful. Sunny. (“WOW”) A little hazy. It’s been hazy this year.
K: Wow. It’s kind of really cold and dark here in New York right now. But I’m looking out and I see a five-pointed star about thirty feet above the Puck Building.
Q: Is it like a Christmas decoration?
K: I think it’s there all year long but I’m not sure. It’s on a flagpole. A giant star. It’s a white star.
Q: How beautiful.
Q: Okay, well thank you so much. I will do the things you’ve asked.
K: Okay. Great. I’m glad we resolved that and I look forward to getting to know you better.
Q: See what happens when you leave things to attorneys? (“SO”) How they can screw everything up?
K: They sure can. Absolutely. You know, I have made a promise to myself never to pay an attorney ever again. All my attorneys are on trade. I trade them artwork. (“NO”)
Q: Well, frankly, I couldn’t afford most entertainment law attorneys. This one just happened to be a friend of mine who I sort (“OHH”) of lucked into. If not for him, I never would have been able even to get the rights to the story from the family in Oklahoma or anything because there was a competitor. But (“IT”) things seem to be working out alright once (“NO”) I get involved myself.
K: I mean I know he’s a friend and all that but attorneys like to play hardball and it just is not the right formula for success — (“YOU KNOW”) being nice.
Q: Right. Exactly. (“BUT I”)
K: Ever since I stopped (“I KEEP IT”) taking the advice of my attorney regarding how to deal with other people my business has been so much better. They say, “Any time you have an opportunity to get something from the other person (“THAT’S”) you have the right to it. You should claim it and sue if you have to” or whatever. But that’s just not the way. (“YOU DON’T”) You shouldn’t burn your bridges. (“OH YEAH”) One should be nice.
Q: You know, I hope my listening device is working because I never can tell (“NO”) with the Entity. I mean He edits —
K: I love your vocabulary.
Q: I know. It’s really weird. In fact, when I was in there visiting Hanna one day. There were four of your paintings together on the wall. They all came down.
K: That’s because they all sold or do you mean they all fell down?
Q: No. The Entity (“MO”) did it.
K: Oh, the entity made them fall —
Q: The angel.
K: — down. They just fell or did they kind of float to the ground?
Q: They fell.
Q: I know. No one believes it. Hanna doesn’t believe it either.
K: But she wouldn’t.
Q: She thinks it was just gravity. But why did it happen at that exact moment when the two of us were right in front of the paintings?
K: Well, I believe it.
Q: Oh, I’m sure you would. Well, you have all those angels in your paintings. I mean you have to. (“YEAH”) So, anyway, I don’t know (“NO”) if my listening device is working or not. (“BUT”) I hope there’s part of the interview that came out. If not, it was not meant to be included. This is very complicated.
K: Alright. (“WE’LL TALK”) Feel free to call me back whenever and I —
Q: I’ll go ahead and send you the revised contract. (“RIGHT”)
K: Excellent. Thank you.
Q: Okay, bye.
( . . . )
Q: (speaking into tape recorder) So after getting off the phone with Mark, I called the Huntington Library and John Rhodehamel called me back very quickly. He was very nice and I’m going to see him at four o’clock today. I’m just going to call Jonathan to let him know the news and I’m very happy about the way everything is going. I don’t think I will remain anonymous on this one. I think a little bit of publicity wouldn’t hurt. You know? I’m going to try to give my money to the people of Bosnia. So wish me luck. I’ll need it.