Several years ago I had occasion to visit the Elk Gallery on Crosby Street.
Jocko Weyland was curating a photography exhibition of lurid bloody vistas of wild Italian youth.
Punk, guns, and drugs with a little nakedness.
A 50 year-old art critic deemed the pictures derivative.
"You are a cynic without any feel for the future or past."
"And you are who?" He sounded like a Harvard boy. They possessed a free pass with bad grammar.
"No one special, but these photos have more of a feel than those at the Diane Arbus show I saw in Paris." I would have only hung one of those pictures on my wall. It was a photo of a movie theater.
"But why?" He wasn't getting it.
"Because I'm an ex-junkie." I never was a junkie, but saying so sounded wicked in these modern times.
"What's your name?" The critic wanted to add me to his enemies list.
"Who I am is unimportant. Really."
I don't lie and walked off to the cheap white wine table.
The artist, a skinny 20 year-old Italian man came over to shake my hand.
Abe Formenti was his name. Jocko liked his work. It reminded me of Danny Lyons or Richard Kern. That was a good thing.
Per niente." That exchange exhausted my Italian.
"I'd like to shoot you injecting heroin." The young artist had overheard my declaration.
"Sure." I thought it out a little more. "Only if you get me the heroin and a needle. I'll provide everything else. Setting and ambiance."
Abe took my number and introduced me to his young girlfriend.
"I like old junkies." She smiled with a missing tooth.
The critic joined us and asked, "Are you trying to be a legend?"
"Who cares?" I've ceased wanting anything more than a couple of beers before I go to sleep, however I wouldn't mind doing a little dope with a couple of near-naked Italian girls. Abe and I left the soiree with the girls. Thankfully they weren't able to score any dope.
Call me square. Never a legend. I've lost my name.