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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Memories of Lou Reed

After college and a brief stint substitute teaching, I fled NJ to move to The City. There, I got a job at the now-legendary The Bottom Line. I began as a host, seating people. I was then, after a brief time, promoted to box office. There, I greeted many celebs. Almost all were on my comp list. Bette Midler even wrote me a note on a cocktail napkin after we traded some mutually amusing words. (God, I wish I remembered what they were, but trust me, we briefly made each other giggle!) Her autograph read: "Your b.o. is my b.o." We hung it on the box office bulletin board.

One night, Manhattan Transfer was performing and the club was packed with glitterati. Club owners Stan Snadowsky (who passed away last March at age 70) and Alan Pepper explicitly told me, for reasons still unknown to me, "If Lou Reed shows up, he is not to be comped in!" This made it very awkward for me when the legend showed up. I relayed the news. Mr Reed, who was (to put it kindly) tripping over his own feet, gave me a dour expression and began doling out coins through the b.o. window's slot.
Stanley Snadowski, tough boss who was fond of me

"Is that ok?" he asked.

"Not nearly," I had to tell him. He spun around and stumbled off into the night, leaving me with the chump change, which I put in the Bottom Line cash drawer. I felt sad as it was only a couple of years prior that I saw Lou Reed perform at The Beacon in Boston when he was touring for his Transformer album. He was magnificent on-stage!

As my friend, going to Boston University at the time, was an usher there, I had to wait for her to finish up her business with the theater. (She had comped me in.) Milling about in the lobby, I saw Mr Reed leaving. In sunglasses at night, he approached me, not much taller than I, to shake my hand with a very firm grip. His first words, with a grin, were: "Are you here alone?" I told him I was waiting on a friend, quite starstruck. "Too bad," he said and walked off with his entourage.

After a heroin-related liver transplant earlier this year, Mr Reed died of liver failure, apparently, according to Rolling Stone. That magazine encapsulized: Reed is best known for his work as guitarist, singer and songwriter for the Velvet Underground, and his solo career. Reed had a profound impact on American culture, introducing avant garde rock and pop art to mainstream music.

Reed was born in Brooklyn, raised in Long Island, considered himself bisexual but married performance artist/singer Laurie Anderson in 2008.

As The Who said today: "R.I.P. Lou Reed. Walk on the peaceful side."

Amen. "And the colored girls go ...."

1 comment:

  1. Great remembrance. It humanized him and tenderly mentioned what troubled him.