Tinker, Soldier, Taylor Mead

Ann Vriend at Kavehaz

Toward the end of May we were hanging out at d.b.a. (as one will) with Ann Vriend, watching the night get late.

Ann is a friend from this year’s SXSW music conference, where we met on a riverboat barge. To keep the symmetry right we’re going sailing on a different boat soon enough, but there in d.b.a. — as the night gets late, you mind — we’re talking about art and commerce and music, as one will, and looking at Lexi’s portfolio photos, and exploring the limits of Kulmbacher‘s tendentious and rewarding eisbok, EKU 28. There will be a tomorrow, but at the moment it seems remote.

Vriend has a flirty, supple voice, and she mixes the fragile vocal sweetness of one Jones (Rickie Lee) with the husky hominess of another (Norah). She closes with a delightful ramble called “The Only Living Girl in New York,” which may not precisely match the Simon and Garfunkel Boy counterpart but certainly gives it a run for spirit. – from my MusicDish SXSW columns

Poet, actor, Warhol co-conspirator and underground sharpie Taylor Mead is an on-again regular at the bar, and he’s down by the door. Taylor has a lot of moods, many of which involve some yelling. This wears pretty well when you’re 80 years old, which Taylor is. Becalmed perhaps by the growing satisfied buzz of William A. Kirkley’s festival-circuit film Excavating Taylor Mead, he’s relaxed and friendly tonight, and I swear he nearly twinkles. There’s an undeniable respectability conferred when someone makes a documentary about you. He has the air of someone who might start handing out knighthoods any second now.

I nod hello, which is as far as things usually get, and Taylor gives me a roving, theoretical look. On the TV above our heads some late channel is playing Carrie, and on screen Sissy Spacek is just getting to the bug-eyed creepy blood-spattered good part. He gestures at the movie.

“Do you remember,” he asks, “at the end?”

“Totally,” I tell him. He’s not sure how old I’d be, whether this is a real memory or one that came in via reruns on cable. “I saw it when it first came out,” I tell him. “Big De Palma fan. It was so scary that some girl sitting next to me in the theatre screamed and grabbed hold of me when, you know, that.”

“Out of the ground,” he agrees.

“Grabs her. Scared the shit out of me.”

Piper Laurie is being skewered by telekinetically driven knives. We sit for a while, watching Carrie on TV, and the night gets late.

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