TELEPHONE INTERVIEW / INTERVIEW — TAPE #26, SIDE #2
Q: Mark Russell BellB: Michael Paul Russell (my twin brother in California)V: Angel Line phone voiceS: Angel Line SpokesmanW: Angel Line Spokeswoman
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE UNATTRIBUTED SOUND OF A HEARTBEAT BEGINS TO BE HEARD, OVERLAPPING, ON THIS TAPE SIDE AND GRADUALLY FADES.)
Q: (speaking into tape recorder) So here I am at Museum Square. I had a problem with my transcribing machine headphones so I went to see Justine and she gave me a new set and I realized (“THAT”) I’ve been wanting to see this Egypt exhibit at the museum next door so I’m going over there. I had a call just before I left from Mark Kostabi and he didn’t like the new contracts either so I had him just call Jonathan directly. I just mailed the Mc Wethy family Christmas card. Anyway, he asked me to spell Jonathan’s last name and I said, “Handel as in Handel’s ‘The Messiah.'” Thank you, Michael. That was nice of you. (“OKAY”) I guess He thought that I was getting cabin fever, which I was. I needed a break. So that was a nice thing for Michael to do. (“UH”) I recommend when you go to exhibits like this to always get the audio tour cassette because that way you make sure you see all the major exhibits and it’s much more relaxing. You don’t have to read everything. Especially when so little was known about the period, anyway. There’s really no need to read all the details because no one really knows what life was like back then.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE FOLLOWING CONVERSATION IS WITH MY BROTHER.)
Q: So, anyway, today I went to — I’d seen this ad for some T-shirts. (“UH-HUH”) There were three different versions and they each say, “GO T-CELLS GO!” (“YOU KNOW” “ALL FOR”) I saw an ad (“IN”) in a publication. (MEOW) And (“YOU KNOW”) these are for those T-shirts that have the Miripolsky design. So, anyway, there’s a phone number you can call to get them or go to a little place (~ ~) in Glendale, an accounting office. But, anyway, this was (“THIS”) attached to the T-shirt. Let me read it to you real quick. It says:
When Daniel Trent began his battle with the AIDS Virus, he wished that there was something positive that he could do to help others to fight this deadly disease.
As part of his own daily struggle Daniel found himself using one motivational phrase over and over again — “GO, T-CELLS, GO.” He realized that maybe something as simple as this happy little idea could uplift and motivate others in their struggle. “What a great slogan,” he thought. “We can put it on T-shirts and the money raised can go to support the fight against AIDS!”
Daniel’s friend and renowned artist, Andre Miripolsky, has created three images to easily express this simple affirmation. These images have been created using vibrant colors and happy faces.
Now you are helping to make this dream a reality. By wearing this T-shirt, you are helping to spread a positive mental attitude to anyone fighting a life threatening disease, and part of the profit from this T-shirt goes directly to support the fight against AIDS.
Q: So, you know, I plan to wear it for my first day officially on the Hotline. But isn’t that great? Hello?
B: Yeah. (“MARK”)
Q: Yeah, so (“YOU KNOW THEY” they come in small, medium, large and extra large. (“THEY’RE LIKE”) They’re $20 each. You can call . . . to order by phone or just go by there. It’s at . . . (“UH-HUH” “THE”) But isn’t that good? “GO T-CELLS GO!” I mean I think people who have HIV — (“UH-HUH”) by saying that — I mean you hear about these holistic —
B: You believe that?
Q: Yes, I do. Are you kidding? Imagery is one of the major holistic approaches (“UH-HUH”) to disease. I mean (“PRAY”) everyone knows that prayer works.
Q: But so does imagery. (“THE”) So I think it’s very important. You know Andre too, right? He’s very spiritual.
B: Well, yeah. (“HE”)
Q: When’s the last time you saw him?
B: Less than a few years ago.
Q: I keep seeing his work everywhere.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: I AM STILL PRACTICALLY HALF-ASLEEP AS I RECORD THE FOLLOWING.)
Q: (speaking into tape recorder) Well, I just had a really weird dream. In it someone was watching one of those unexplained shows on TV using headphones. The show was about UFOs. And you could still hear the show even though (“THE”) the headphones became disconnected. And that was weird. So they investigated to find out why and there was a voice like one of the spirit voices on my tapes. And it said, “MAYBE WE EACH HAVE ONE OF THEM INSIDE US.” So when we die (“YOU KNOW”) that could be how we get to wherever we’re going. And then there was one other voice — like the voices on the microcassettes, saying,”ENERGIZE” or something. And then I woke up. And then my heater came on.
( . . . )
V: Please hold. Your call is being processed. The cost of this call is $2.33 per minute. The average call is about four minutes. Callers must be eighteen and have parental permission. You will need a press-tone phone for this call. If you want to avoid charges, hang up now. Charges will start after the tone.
S: Welcome to the Angel Line. If this is your first time calling, press one to learn how to use the line. You have a menu with three choices. First choice: high angels or princes. They supervise each angelic category. You will learn the name of the prince of the angelic category that you belong to, the signs that your angels use to show you their presence, and more. Second choice: guardian angels. You will learn the traits and the original sacred name of your angel assigned to you accorded to your birth date. This information is based on ancient scripture. Third choice: messages. You will hear the angelic messages that have been collected through time. You will learn about why it is accorded to the angels. These are the most powerful teachers of the universe. Remember that the angelical voice you will hear is not the real voice of your angel. All messages are relayed in the first person. Good luck in your journey. Now please make your choice. Press one for high angels or princes. Press two for guardian angels. You will now hear the name and traits of your guardian angel or the angelic prince who protects you. Be sure to listen to the entire list. Please enter the month and day you were born. For single digit numbers add a zero before the number. March 2nd for example would be zero three zero two. Enter it now.
W: Rochel. My name is spelled R — O — C as in courage — H — E — L and it is pronounced Rochel (like Toehell). My name means the god of giving and receiving, of exchange of energy. If you are not able to pronounce my name correctly it will not be a problem. Your intention to pronounce it right is what counts. I am a guardian angel who belongs to the class of angels and who receives the support and protection of the high angel Gabriel. You will always be —
Q: Crooks. I want my money back.
( . . . )
Q: Last night I was feeling a little depressed so I decided not to cook at home and I went and made a big mistake. I went to McDonald’s and it’s 3:45 a.m. and I’m paying the price. The only reason why I’m telling you this is because I just want to remind myself. Every time I say, “I won’t go there again.” This always happens. (“WHEN YOU’RE”) Once you go past the age of thirty-five you just can’t eat that stuff. They put all those chemicals in those cows and you just can’t digest it. It always makes me sick. Please remember, Mark — never go to McDonald’s. You’re too old. Your stomach can’t take it. Starving would be better. I just can’t eat meat. I’m allergic to meat. Michael, feel free to talk now because if it’s something else I should know that too. Oh, I don’t feel well. See you in the morning. I hope.
( . . . )
Q: Hello, I’m having lunch with my brother and I just had therapy. I was very upset to find out that Barry Taff apparently had spoken to the producers of LMNO Productions and they say that they still have the rights and that they’ll sue me if I ever do anything with it when, of course, I have the rights and their option expired. But isn’t this typical of them? And not only that but Barry, who I haven’t spoken to in months, is still calling up my shrink and telling her, “Oh, well, you know, he thinks that he almost had sex with his angel.” I mean he’s really making it a goal of his to make me look bad even though I’ve talked to my shrink and told her about this one sexual occasion. It only happened once. It’s not like I’m saying that it happens every day of the week even thought that might be preferable, if you know what I mean. Anyway, I’m here having lunch with my brother, Michael. It looks like the painting for my cover is a done deal after some legal wrangling. You know how that is but I’m very happy. I like Mark Kostabi. I’m just about to transcribe our interview. I’m going to a party at Jonathan’s tomorrow night. I’m very happy. I’m not making myself crazy about anything. Anyway, I just received the file from CPC Alhambra about my case even though I didn’t get the taped interviews that I had asked for. In fact, Michael’s looking through it now. It looks like a prop in a movie. In fact, what do you have there? It says “MEDICAL CONSULTATION/HISTORY & PHYSICAL.” Just read some of it real quick.
B: “IDENTIFYING DATA: The patient is a 39-year-old male admitted here for his first hospitalization here at CPC Alhambra Hospital. MARITAL STATUS: Single. OCCUPATION: Writer. HISTORY OF THE PRESENT ILLNESS: The patient is a 39-year-old male admitted (“MARK”) for his first hospitalization for psychosis. The patient has been having ‘bizarre’ behavior, visual hallucinations, and auditory hallucinations.”
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: NOTE MY ‘HAVING’ BIZARRE BEHAVIOR. THIS ‘HAVING’ MAY REFER TO ALL THE OTHERS AROUND ME. I AM CURIOUS TO FIND OUT WHAT VISUAL AND AUDITORY HALLUCINATIONS THEY ATTRIBUTE TO ME OTHER THAN MY STATEMENT ABOUT THE ALIENS FILMING ME. THAT WASN’T AN HALLUCINATION BECAUSE I NEVER SAW THEM OTHER THAN IN THE PHOTOGRAPH MAXINE SHOWED ME. I DID NOT SLEEP WELL AT CPC ALHAMBRA. MY ‘REVIEW OF SYSTEMS’ AND PHYSICAL EXAMINATION OFFERED NORMAL RESULTS. I CAN’T READ MOST OF THE PROGRESS NOTES BECAUSE HANDWRITING IS INDISTINGUISHABLE.)
B: “The patient has been sleeping well in the last few days. He has been writing a book on Poltergeist (SIC) and has been staying with a family and he then experienced the above behavioral changes. He is admitted here for further psychiatric evaluation and treatment. He denies a prior history of psychiatric hospitalization or treatment. He denies a prior history of alcohol or other recreational drug abuse. PAST MEDICAL AND SURGICAL HISTORY: Denies. FAMILY HISTORY: Noncontributory. SOCIAL HISTORY: The patient is single, no children and works as a writer.”
Q: So, anyway, (“I MEAN”) this alleges that I was psychotic and I never really was. I never wanted to harm myself or anyone else. (“SORRY”) Don’t you agree, Michael? (“WHAT”) You agreed that I never really wanted to harm — kill myself (“NO”) or hurt others.
B: You never did. No.
Q: So why do you think that they say that (“WHAT”) about me? (“HUH”) In the report? (“HUH”)
B: Wuhh. (“WHAT”) At the time (“OH”) you were much more agitated than you are now.
Q: By “agitated” what do you mean?
B: You were (“UPSET”) — you didn’t know where you were. You were disoriented.
Q: No, I knew where I was.
B: But you were just — but you didn’t —
Q: I knew where I was.
B: You were disoriented. (“KEEP IT” “KEEP IT CLEAN”) Do you know what I mean?
Q: No. Disoriented. I was — (“YOU WERE UPSET” “WE” “FORTUNATELY”)
B: If you were — (“I WAS”) the way you — but no —
Q: I was upset. (“NO”) I was upset.
B: No, but — no, I know, but no. But it was more than that. (“NOT EXACTLY”) You weren’t sleeping. (“UH-HUH”) You were confused. (“BEYOND BELIEF”) You were confused. (“WHO ME” “YOU WERE”) You weren’t sure what was going on.
Q: I was tired.
B: No, but — (“I ME” “IT”)
Q: None of us are sure what’s going on. (“RIGHT NOW”)
B: Right now if the gentleman who came that night (“YEAH”) came to you and said, “Do you want to go for the weekend?” You would say, “No.”
B: I mean then you didn’t know what to do or where to go. You were disoriented.
Q: So I signed the papers and I committed myself to a mental institution which Blue Cross would not cover even though when I called them right after I got out they said, “Oh, well, there’s a normal review process for four weeks.” And then here I am. I’m still waiting for anything official in writing — confirmation from Blue Cross. (“NO”) It’s like — (“YOU’RE BORING”)
Q: They say that they’re not going to pay for my stay at CPC Alhambra. What do you think about that?
B: I don’t understand. I don’t know why they would — (“THEY KNOW THEY’RE DAMNED” “LOVE”) They think it was elective treatment, maybe.
Q: Do I pay if it’s an elective treatment? (“YOU KNOW”)
B: I don’t know what the legality is. I don’t know what they consider it.
Q: But it’s not. It wasn’t. There was a review process, meaning they had to reach a decision. And they reached the wrong one. And, if you ask me — (“UH-HUH”)
B: They want to make money. (“MONEY”) Blue Cross. And if they can get away without paying they’ll try. Because they’re a company and they want to make money. (“SSSSSSS”)
Q: So I guess that’s all that needs to be said for right now.
( . . . )
Q: (speaking into tape recorder) So no sooner had I mentioned to my therapist that Michael hadn’t been doing much phenomena recently — even though I guess He has; it’s just that there’s just so much of it it’s impossible to keep track of it. (“ALL”) Anyway, in my brother’s office after lunch, his phone intercom couldn’t work for some strange reason. (“EH”) His secretary came in to tell him this while we were talking and he tried (“DO IT”) to deal with it rationally instead of just realizing that, of course, it was Michael. I mean Michael’s always doing things like that and my brother (“JUST”) doesn’t ever get it. (“ALSO”) When I went to the mall to talk to Hanna at the gallery I stopped by the book store. Well, (“WE”) I was going to that volunteer dinner at APLA so I was going to get some cookies there at the bakery over there at the shopping center in Century City. They needed a few minutes to put together the cookies for me so I went into the bookstore there. (“UH-HUH”) I think it’s Barnes & Noble and the alarm went off as I was going into the store and (“UMMMM”) one of the (“THE”) sales clerks joked about it. But when I left it didn’t go off. (“OFF” “UMMMM”) Anyway, (“AND”) it happens all the time. And alarms. (“UM”) In fact, as we were leaving (“THE”) the second party, (“YEAH”) there was another alarm that went off. The first party at APLA was for the volunteers and everyone (“BRING THEIR OWN”) brings something. It was like pot luck. So I brought the cookies and it was nice. It was in one of (“THE”) the large rooms. (“UH-HUH”) There were some volunteer awards given so I had my picture taken with some of the other members of (“UH-HUH”) class #94 who were there. Faith presented them good-naturedly. That was nice of her (“YOU KNOW TO”) to come in and always put the Hotline first. I think that’s (“YOU KNOW”) really nice of her. (“UH-HUH”) So, let’s see, it was me, Janis, Harold, William and Cedric. At one point Cedric commented that I was the shy one in class and I said, “Well, it’s not so much that I’m shy.” Even though I probably am. “It’s just that I had so much to deal with while I was going to class. My brother invited me to another party after that. So, like an idiot, I raced out of there after getting my certificate — which is sort of rude, I guess. I mean it was a very nice get-together. (“UM” “EVEN”) It was in a nice bright room. Even if you didn’t speak to everybody, you recognized the various people from other parties and everyone is just so nice there. (“UH-HUH”) It’s just (“YOU”) a very loving experience to be amongst other people who are volunteering or working in jobs that really don’t pay a lot to serve the community and work (“YOU KNOW”) with people with HIV. So, anyway, I left because I had an A-list party to go to as my brother’s guest. (“UH-UH”) His friend — gosh, I knew his father too so I always get them confused. His father, I think, is named Mort, who was a friend of Ruth’s and my brother’s friend’s name is Robert Sertner, I think. (“UH-HUH”) That was (“I”) unbelievable because his huge house was lavishly decorated. He has produced dozens of TV movies and you could see how much money was being spent everywhere. (“UH-HUH”) It was like another world. (“UH-HUH”) Lavishly catered. Bartenders everywhere. (“UH-HUH”) Valet parking. (“UH-HUH”) You could have your photo taken with some cute elves. I mean the budget for this party was much bigger than APLA’s big holiday shindig at the Palace that I went to recently and (“IT WAS JUST”) it was just — it was amazing because with all these people and all this money there was really no intimacy. (“YEAH”) I’m sure you say “hello” and you bump into people. (“BUT” “YOU JUST”) You don’t really know who they are. You’re just in your own little shell. (“WORRIED”) You stand in line for the catered turkey and the yams and I don’t know. (“UH-UH”) I mean the first party was much more in the celebration and the spirit of Christmas. (“UH-HUH”) This other one was just — it was just something — (“IT”) I mean it was great (“I MEAN”) to see all these people who have worked hard to get where they are. (“UH-HUH”) It just really surprised me. (“THOUGH”) The difference. In terms of things that you can’t really put into words. I mean as we left each guest was given a mug with the name of the production company filled with Hershey’s kisses. If there had been (“YOU KNOW”) like door prizes at the APLA volunteer party this would have been the major door prize. (“BUT THERE WEREN’T”) There weren’t any, needless to say. And it wouldn’t have been right. The table decorations were (“YOU KNOW”) plastic. (“YOU KNOW”) I mean it was great to get them and they had to go somewhere else the next night (“FROM”) for some Latino group, I guess. (“UH-HUH”) And then to go to the other party where (“I MEAN”) the decorations alone must have been thousands of dollars — it’s just amazing. (“THERE’S NO OTHER WORD”) There’s no other way of expressing it. I guess I’m just one of those rare people who has the opportunity to experience both worlds. (“UH-HUH”) I don’t even remember (“HMM”) — it just seems like me going to be a volunteer at a hotline affiliated with APLA was something really that I had not chosen. I mean (“I HATE”) I knew I wanted to do something on a hotline and (“DO”) I wanted to do some kind of volunteer work. I called around and this was the only place that called me back. And (“I’M GLAD”) — I mean I’m glad. (“IT’S”) It’s great. It’s just — (“IT’S JUST”) I just don’t know anymore in terms of where I belong or where I should be or what I should be doing, what I should be saying. (“MUTTON”) The host of the party came over and said, “Hello.” He’s really more of a friend of my brother’s than me. He’s a very nice guy. Of course, I gave him my business card — (“UH-HUH”) I always do. You know. Sherry Lansing hasn’t called me back or answered my letter so (“YOU KNOW”) I feel like I have to work these A-list parties to try to get my project made if there was a (“NUH-HUH”) chance. (“WHICH”) What am I going to say? I think I did mention that my roommate was an angel but people just laugh and (“YOU KNOW”) think then, “Call in someone with the nets.” (“I MEAN THEY’RE”) They think it’s just small talk or (“OR THEY DON’T KNOW”) they don’t even bother to take it in. So (“UH-HUH”) it will be interesting to see if Michael has anything to say about any of these comments because it just doesn’t seem like any of these things are really book material because I’m not really expressing it very well. What am I saying? (“EXACTLY”) I mean (“IT’S” “THERE ARE”) there are people who have a lot and there are people who don’t have as much and they’re just as happy. (“IT’S”) They’re — (“IF”) I’m sure they’re happier. (“YOU KNOW”) It’s just humbling. I really wish — I don’t understand — my letter to Sherry Lansing was so clear. And she’s had so many bombs recently. And she’s married to William Friedkin. I mean give me a break. She can’t be that busy. I mean I know she’s got a lot of problems with all these turkeys but I mean she owes me. I mean all those press kits for her movies? Well, Michael — (“UHHHH”) if you can work through (“SUB”) people’s subconscious minds, you better go to work on her because I think she’s the one who was meant to really do something about this project. So get busy. (“YEAH”) I’m trying to be nice about this now. Notice I haven’t used any profanity. (“UH-HUH” “AND”) And I didn’t hear from Michael Korda either. (“UH-HUH”) Even though he chases every — I don’t know. (“I JUST”) You read in the columns about some of the people he goes after and (“YOU KNOW”) you just wonder (“WHERE”) where people think a story is. I mean am I doing something wrong? I mean should I be calling these people? (“WOOD”) I mean what’s the point? I (“I SSS”) put it all in the letter for them. I mean if they even got the letter because their assistants usually go through them first and if it isn’t from Jack Nicholson or Robert Towne (“I MEAN”) I imagine that the letters might go into the wastepaper basket; however, on my letter to Sherry I definitely put “personal.” And I don’t know. I just don’t know. Oh, and another thing. In a way, Michael picked out the shirt I was wearing with my ([PHONETIC] “INDIONA”) “Indiana Jones” jacket. (“UH-HUH” “UM”) I couldn’t decide what to wear and something fell down and I realized it was the perfect thing to wear. And, of course, I got lots of compliments about it at the party so Michael has very good taste when it comes to what I should wear. Tomorrow, I’m going to a party at Jonathan’s house. (“SSSS”) So maybe I’ll make some good contacts there. And I think tomorrow I’ll be able to pick up the artwork for my book so I’m very excited about that. (“AND”) I’m probably just killing time because I see that this tape is about to end. So Michael, why don’t you say a few things for the remainder of this side of the tape?
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE ONLY UNATTRIBUTED SOUNDS HEARD FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS TAPE SIDE ARE TWO HEARTBEATS AT THE END.)