THE ART OF THE ORGY
Clement von Franckenstein
The main problem with Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut was that it tried to transport the decadent, bohemian aristocracy of Schnitzler's Vienna in the 1920s to the dull, murky streets of modern New York. As a somewhat decadent, bohemian Austrian aristocrat myself?a difficult thing to sustain in today's revoltingly uptight, moralistic and politically correct climate?I was particularly underwhelmed by the "orgy" sequence. We viewed the film at the British Academy in Los Angeles and, like everyone else in America, were denied the opportunity of seeing "the naughty bits" due to the vile puritans who dictate the censorship in this country, as I am sure they did in Europe before being kicked out 300 years ago.
As a lusty Austrian who admires a big bum, big tits and an adequate-sized brain attached to them, I was particularly unimpressed by the casting of the ladies involved. The only woman possessing what the Americans now hideously refer to as a "good rack" was the girl who overdosed at the start of the film after the Sydney Pollack character had his way with her. When the women standing in a circle at the start of the orgy party finally dropped their cloaks, they all looked like clones of each other. Each had long skinny legs, a tiny bottom, small to medium (mostly manufactured) breasts and the vacant stare of a Barbie doll. It was like going to a restaurant and finding only 12 versions of steak and kidney pie on the menu.
Looking back on the days when I attended orgies during the swinging 60s in London and the semi-swinging 70s in Los Angeles, I remember the female participants as ranging in size from the bovine to the semi-anorexic, with every shape and size in between. I find it hard to understand why Kubrick and his casting director could not have chosen from a broader palate, but then again maybe this was his fantasy of what girls at this type of party should look like.
This brings me to the question of whether the orgy as an art form is dead as we approach the new millennium. I remember being mesmerized in 1968 when Alain Delon's bodyguard was murdered. The French police discovered snapshots he had taken at Paris orgies while accompanying his boss, allegedly featuring no less a cast of players than President and Madame Pompidou and half the French cabinet in flagrante delicto.
Who can forget the orgies at Cliveden and in London during the Christine Keeler/"Randy" Mice-Davies (aka Mandy Rice-Davies)/Stephen Ward era, so unforgettably portrayed in the film Scandal, with the blindfolded butler, naked except for an apron that read "Please beat me if the service is not satisfactory"? Ah, the good old days! In the 60s I lived upstairs at the studio of my late friend Vasco Lazzolo, a brilliant portrait painter who, to his eternal credit, was one of the very few people to give evidence on Ward's behalf, after Bill Astor and all his other so-called friends had deserted him.
The most memorable party of this sort that I attended in Los Angeles was in the early 70s, at a huge mansion in Beverly Hills, given by two wealthy wannabe producers. Stationed upstairs at the doors of the 12 or so bedrooms were some of the most beautiful out-of-work actresses I had ever seen, who had been very well paid to service whichever of the male guests desired their attentions. They hoped to enhance their careers by spreading their limpid loins for the plethora of high-powered producers and directors who were in attendance.
This raises the point as to whether a party is really an orgy if the women involved are paid for their participation. In a perfect world both the men and women joyfully leap into the fray without the lure of remuneration. In fact I have been told that some couples, rather than cheating and sowing their respective wild oats behind each other's back, would rather attend a swing party and do the deed under the same roof, which make a lot of sense. I believe that most men and women are secretly polygamous, and being naughty and living slightly on the edge while indulging your fantasies?or even just watching other people act out theirs?can be a huge turn-on for some people.
Voyeurism has always played a large role in the history of sex parties. It is a primal, animal instinct to be drawn to the sight of fellow members of the species rutting in heat. However, there is some etiquette involved. In my day there were always large community rooms provided with several beds where couples could make love together, involving all sorts of pornographic equations. But there were also private rooms, which I personally always much preferred, where I could be alone with my lady of choice. Sometimes the door could be locked, but often this was not possible, and one's privacy was open to invasion. I am not homophobic, but there were few things more likely to dampen my ardor than to be in the middle of a blissful situation and to suddenly look up and find three or four naked men, breathing heavily, with their meat and veggies only inches from my face, trying to cop a feel of my partner. One then asked them politely to leave, and normally that was all that was required for them to take a hint. Although I remember being with one particularly gorgeous blonde in the 70s and having to grab this "gentleman" of the Arabic persuasion by the throat and bodily throw him out of the room after he'd ignored my increasingly angry requests to cease and desist. (It helped that I had boxed for Eton and my regiment in the British army.)
A friend of mine had an even more unfortunate experience. He was in the throes of passion when he suddenly felt hot breath on his genitals and heard a strange wheezing sound. He and his lady looked up in horror to find this small, bald man wearing very thick spectacles with his nose an inch away from my friend's nuts! It turned out he was a very wealthy, well-known banker, who was totally myopic, and was famous for his proclivity to get up close and personal to watch the action. The host was summoned to lead him away.
The other major point of etiquette at an orgy is the right of anyone, male or female, to say no. This is what divides private parties from those where the women are paid for their services. (Some men like to think of these latter parties as orgies to massage their egos, as they would have very little chance of scoring in private with a girl as good-looking as a $4000-a-night hooker.) It is of utmost importance that this particular etiquette is adhered to: the general ambience at a party of this sort, in spite of all the sex going on, is quite delicate, as the "vibes" have to be mellow for all concerned. I saw a wonderful party come to a screeching halt when a very pretty girl who had not been told by her idiotic date what kind of evening was in store for her completely freaked out as several boorish men forced their unwanted attentions on her. She became utterly hysterical and called the police. I have never seen so many people get dressed and leave rapidly by various escape exits in my life. The host narrowly escaped going to jail. It is a huge no-no for a man to bring a "straight" woman to a party as his "passport," without explaining to her what the evening entails. It is the height of bad manners, incredibly rude and almost criminal behavior.
Then again, I remember dating a very pretty, rather shy girl who begged me for the longest time to take her to a party; it had always been a fantasy of hers, as I am sure it is with a lot a women, but she was very nervous around strangers. I finally relented and took her to this fabulous mansion that I gathered had been built for Zsa Zsa Gabor by one of her lovers in the 50s. It was situated in the Hollywood Hills and was very spacious, with a subterranean swimming pool and many rooms. (This is important, as newcomers are inclined to feel claustrophobic, and plenty of space gives the impression of easy flight if necessary.)
We arrived and I introduced her to the host and hostess; as I thought, she was scared stiff. But after several drinks we ended up alone in the gorgeous heated pool, and then transferred into this amazing special room filled with cushions and wonderful cosmic lights that gently flashed and changed colors in a very subliminally sensual way. Before I knew it, she was making love with a blissful look on her face, and enjoying watching the other three couples in the room. She later thanked me for one of the best evenings of her life.
I think that, my being an actor, the whole theatricality of these parties appealed to me. Usually the host provided food, ice and mixers, and each couple bought their liquor of choice. The first two hours were very much like any other social gathering, with well-dressed couples meeting, conversing and getting to know each other. Yet one knew that most of the women were wearing stockings, garter belts and expensive lingerie under their fashionable cocktail dresses?always arousing to an Englishman!?and that if you met someone you were attracted to and you played your cards right, within an hour you would be naked and making passionate love, along with at least two thirds of the other guests. It was this metamorphosis that was the greatest aphrodisiac.
I fully realize that this is not for everyone, and that all this happened in the 70s before AIDS cast its dark shadow. Still, it's good to think that the orgy is still ongoing?that it has not gone the way of all flesh in the prohibitive 90s.
Taki LE MAÎTRE
A Walk in the Park On Friday, 29th of October, while the Yankees were being feted downtown, I pushed the typewriter aside and went for a walk in the park. As some of you may remember, it was a brilliant day, sunny and about 70 degrees. My wife saw me leaving the house and tagged along. We crossed 5th Ave. on 72nd St. and entered the park.
Suddenly a black man in his late 20s walked up to us and spat right in my wife's face. It was a horrible enormous gob of spit, and poor Alexandra just stood there in disbelief and in distress, saying nothing. Nor did the man. When I screamed at him how dare he do such an awful thing, he turned and started to walk away. I thought I saw him smile. Then he turned once again and sucker punched me right on the nose. Blood squirted out from both nostrils, blinding me for a split second. He got two more punches in, cutting my eye and lower lip.
Mind you, he wasn't very good, because if you can't put someone down after three shots, you shouldn't be in the fighting business. Although stunned, dizzy and partially blind, I managed to grab him and we started to wrestle. He was much stronger than I, but once he got me down I immediately reversed him, put an arm bar on him, and announced to him in a polite manner that if he spat or even said a word?which until then he hadn't?I would break his arm at the elbow. I then began doing just that. He howled to high heaven and started to wimper. When I released the pressure he lay quiet as the proverbial mouse.
Needless to say, an enormous crowd had gathered?alas, an impartial one. I say impartial because no one tried to comfort Alexandra while I was fighting, nor did anyone think of calling a cop. Except for one man who works at Ralph Lauren?I will not give his name for fear of reprisal?who not only ran out on 5th Ave. and stopped a passing police car, he also volunteered to be a witness and gave his name to the fuzz.
When Patrolman Alvarez arrived I was holding down the perp, who by now was covered in blood. Mine. Patrolman Alvarez quickly called for backup, and that is when I told him that before arresting me he should check whose blood we were both covered in, and that I had neutralized the man without having hurt him. "Are you a lawyer?" asked Alvarez.
The predictable followed. When Alvarez and a sergeant put the cuffs on him he screamed why they weren't putting the cuffs on the white man. The sergeant, incidentally, was black. "He attacked me, why aren't you putting the cuffs on him?" he kept repeating. That is when my Polo angel of mercy came up and told his story. The cops eventually took the young man away and asked my wife and me to come down to the precinct next to the reservoir to give a statement.
Except for a very sore and swollen nose, I was okay. More embarrassed actually, because as one of the cops later told me, two women joggers had stopped and asked him, "Is that Taki being arrested?" "What are you, some kind of celebrity?" asked the cop. Alexandra refused to press charges, already feeling sorry for the guy. I was angry that I hadn't broken his arm, something I could easily have done. "You're very lucky you didn't," said Capt. Wynne at the precinct. "Not only would we be obliged to arrest and charge you, but you'd be open to an enormous lawsuit."
I learned quite a lot that day. Alexandra's feeling sorry for the guy is a Christian reaction and a correct one, but left unpunished he's obviously going to do it again. The reason I don't think the man was clinically insane was that he picked on a well-dressed, white, middle-aged couple?I am 63, my wife 52?and punched a man who does not look tough. He was extremely aggressive and violent until I neutralized him and began to put pressure on his arm. Insane or high on drugs, people do not go as quietly as he did. He was just a bully, and a cowardly one at that.
Other useful things I learned were that spitting is disorderly conduct, whereas hitting someone who just spat on you is assault. So feel free to spit on anyone, preferably rich, and if he or his bodyguards hit you, sue for millions. Policemen who shall remain anonymous told me I was lucky to have been on 5th and 72nd. In another neighborhood "we would have been forced to arrest you." (The cop who told me this was black.)
My judo sensei Mr. Matsumura told me that in Japan passersby would have beaten up the man who spat, and then turned him over to the police. I knew that, and it's part of the reason Japan is the country I love most outside my own.
So, what happens if people don't have the mental capacity to comply to society's rules? It is a dilemma, but violent videos, rap music and films are certainly not the answer. I may be reaching, but there's a hell of a lot of spitting in the movies nowadays. As there is more and more violence. The scumbags of Hollywood lack talent and make up for it with blood and gore. Young Americans, including African-Americans, do not read. They watch television and go to the movies. Finally, there are the liberals and lefties like The New York Times who see racism everywhere, and refuse to acknowledge the fact that jury nullification is now the order of the day, and black bigotry has now replaced the old-guard white racism of the South.
Couple of columns ago I predicted that Kendra Webdale's killer Andrew Goldstein would get off. In the supercharged climate of today, where everyone is a victim and there are no guilty, it was obvious there would be a hung jury. Jury nullification worked wonders when Amir Aziz, accused of shooting Capt. Timothy Galvin in the face, got off. Galvin was executing a search warrant for guns. A juror said Galvin got what he deserved.
The Times and other phonies rant against the cops at every opportunity, but is it the cops' fault that drug-addicted babies are born to drug-addicted parents? Danny Glover is complaining because taxis won't pick him up. His case would be more effective if he acknowledged reality and openly said how sad it makes him that poor Bengali taxi drivers have been held at gunpoint by young blacks once too often.
I know how to take care of myself, and I was also lucky. A fragile older person may not have survived such an attack. Why did this man spit at a lady and attack her hubby? Easy. According to the Times it must be society's fault, or perhaps Mayor Giuliani's.