klimt“Noy-ah!, like Goy-ah! I think that’s how you say it.”

His head is freshly shaven so his beard bleeds right into his sideburns. I have never seen him so tidey.

I have a glass of white wine sitting in front of me, and I’m finishing the last of the Chinese green beans. A typical Vancouver evening: it’s raining outside. The street lights reflect off the puddles on the concrete, and when I squint my eyes I feel like I’m living in an impressionist’s masterpiece. We’ve become a staple here at the Shanghai Bistro over the past few years. I’ve learned about Shakespeare, good wine, sexual innuendos…and now, art.

Thanks to him, I have a list of “divine places not to be missed,” in my journal. Before him, I’d never heard anyone use the word divine. It’s now my favorite word.

“Divine.”

I want to be like him when I grow up. Decadent, curious, eternally youthful, yet wise. My mentor, my friend, John Glover.

johnThe Glove of Love is his name on the set of the show we both work on, but I like to call him Big Daddy. He subtly puts me in my place when my head is too big to fit through the door, and he shows me the beauty in all things dirty, messy and downright unkempt.

He once revealed to me that the secret to good acting is that all characters are looking to get laid.

“That’s what every human being wants: to feel good… connection, ya know?”

A true gentleman, he always opens my door and puts his napkin in his lap; but then he launches into conversations that unlock the raw, gritty and spinning humility I’ve been so afraid of exploring.

Both sides of the same coin.

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” — Walt Whitman

He says the most embarrassing things in the most wonderful way, and the natural reddening of my cheeks in his presence has become a reflex. He likes the smell of sweat and his life lessons make me cringe.

Tonight, he is teaching me about art: Egon Schiele, and I would soon discover, a side of myself I never knew existed.

We split the bill, and I go home to pack my bag. I try to picture what it would’ve been like when John was living in his loft in TriBeca, just after the height of the civil rights movement and long before the AIDS crisis. Manhattan was filled with bohemians, bums, and artists. I picture parties, brawls and free love; Woodstock 24/7… at least in my head. I see my Big Daddy hosting dinner parties and rehearsing Brecht. I wish I was there with him now, flowers in my hair, dresses to the floor, hairy legs, bare feet and sun-kissed shoulders.

Finished packing, I take the list scribbled on the back of my Shanghai Bistro napkin, fold it into my journal and slip the whole package carefully into my purse to carry on a Jet Blue red-eye. This is precious cargo.

Wheels touch down as the sun comes up. I arrive just in time.

I jump into an infamous New York City yellow cab and direct the driver to The Gramercy Hotel. The hotel is swankey to say the least. I feel like a little girl in my mom’s high heels. It’s more than I can take in. I need to caffeinate and find a smaller, more enclosed space to wash my face, brush my teeth and prepare myself for the three days I have here. I will see the city a la John and report back. I hope I do a good job.

Once I finish ingesting the most caramely cup of coffee from 71 Irving, I begin my walk.

I walk from 18th and Park South to 86th and 5th Ave. It’s half the island, three and a half miles, and the bottom of my feet feel like they’ve been burned with a branding iron. I refuse to take a taxi or a subway. I want to stay above ground and feel the whole thing. I am getting New York City stamped into my soul.

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 5.41.19 PM When I approach the Neue Galerie — “Noy-ah!, like Goy-ah!” — I am taken aback by the size.

It’s so small.

Once I walk in I see there’s a plaque explaining the collector’s obsession with all things Viennese circa 1890-1910. The whole museum is dedicated to three things: Viennese culture in the turn of the century, Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.

I’d heard of Klimt before and his work was always inspiring. So when I found Schiele in a little room tucked away from the oversize Klimts, I was shocked by the wave of emotion I felt.

Schiele has all the bold lines and porcelain skin of Klimt, but more soul, grit and pain than Klimt could ever share or capture. Schiele’s art had a peculiar freedom due to his poverty. Because he had no dignitaries telling him what he could and couldn’t do or portray, he had no boundaries and no rules. He painted as he saw, he painted what he felt, he just painted.

nakedAnd in that moment, standing in the center of the small room that is considered an off-shoot of the real museum, I embrace the bitter, dirty, sexy and sloppy parts of me. I see beauty in the murky, and I finally understand why John has been pushing me to admit when I am horny or hairy. He, like Schiele, loves the rawness of human beings. I didn’t know what he meant by the “appeal of an untweezed eyebrow” until I was standing in a room of the most gruesome and yet striking portraits of the underbelly of Vienna. Through each canvas I see more of me… I let myself go.

xo,

a

Add yours Comments – 21

  • Paula Mielle

    on March 14, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Loved.

  • Erik Bauer

    on March 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    That was absolutely amazing. That was a stunning journey. And that was SUPERB wordsmithing.

    Mentorship, discovery, time travel, and beautiful art, guest starring John Glover…. Wow. I did not expect all that when I clicked the link to this blog post.

    Damn fine writing, Allison.

  • Maria

    on March 14, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Love this gallery as Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” is my all time favorite piece of art!

  • Zod

    on March 14, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    So you and Lionel are mates now huh

  • Olivia Key

    on March 14, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    I can’t tell you how incredible and enjoying it was to read this! Thank you for sharing such a beautiful piece, and a look into the heart of John Glover! You’re very insightful. I feel like I lived the experience with you, if only for a few moments upon reading this blog post. 🙂

  • Michaela

    on March 14, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    You should visit Vienna!! 🙂 For example: http://www.leopoldmuseum.org/en Greetings from Austria!! 🙂

  • Ksenija @ With An Open Mind

    on March 14, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Hope you will write a whole book one day, I would love to read it!

  • jbrande55

    on March 14, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    John Glover sounds “Like” your Very Own Personal Guardian Angel . He teaches , but doesn’t Sugar Coat . He’s Brutally Honest , but can be Loving , and Caring . He passes on his Knowledge , and Experience . But he wants you to travel your own Path , and learn for yourself , and on your own . A Mentor .

  • artgirltexas

    on March 14, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” — Walt Whitman
    What. a great. quote.

    The older I get, the more I appreciate Schiele. He’s not always pretty, but it depends on your definition of “pretty,” I guess. I feel like I understand how he draws.

  • Jessica

    on March 14, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Love it

  • laura heaton gray

    on March 15, 2014 at 3:43 am

    Allison. This is probably not the place, but I haven’t the slightest clue how to get in touch with you. Id love to chat with you about being a part of an amazing film seeking actors. My treatment has you at the top of the list. Please give us just an ear, and think about it. We’d love to hear from you.
    TTRainbowcasting@gmail.com

  • Mark

    on March 17, 2014 at 5:45 am

    Your flowing words, his usually flowing hair, wine, life, passion, friendship, art. Ask your doctor if Innuendo Italian Suppositories are right for you. And ask John how he can make his hair do absolutely anything imaginable. He shaves? As in bald? Love your writing. Hope you can make time to do some more.

  • Phil Damico

    on March 17, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Raw equals real and can keep you in touch with yourself. Good job on the review Allison.

  • Mark

    on March 20, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Oh yeah Now the armpits!!

  • toxiceye

    on March 21, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    I almost said, “Hey, House. Cool.”

  • Trisharela

    on April 22, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Klimt is an excellent painter “the kiss” is a personal favorite of mine. I personally love a great painting with an amazing back story. Especially one that tells a story and leaves behind a message. “Judith Slaying Holofernes” by Artemisia Gentileschi is my favorite. I think you will enjoy her work. Or if anything you’ll enjoy the story, the power and the courage that went behind it.

  • TengkuPutra

    on May 22, 2014 at 11:34 am

    NICE ! 🙂

  • jamie

    on May 22, 2014 at 11:38 am

    been following u since smallville that’s quite some time innit ? in my head you are the sweetest thing on earth really wish we could meet in person someday lol , best wishes from a distant friend ))

  • Eduardo Canessa

    on May 22, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Hey Allison, I have no clue if you will read this ever or if you are still in NYC, but maybe you will, and maybe you are or will be again. I got a couple of tips of stuff you might want to check out. And if you are asking why you should listen to little old me’s suggestions then ill give you a rather interesting tidbit about me. I live in Guatemala, i have lived here almost all my life, so when i go somewhere i GO SOMEWHERE, i explore, i go crazy, and barely sleep so i can see as much and experience as much as i can. So from a fellow explorer from afar i leave you with these tips:

    Some of the best pizza in New York, but dont bother trying to get a reservation, dont wait for a table, and bring cash and order to go. I ordered a pizza, sat on the curve and watched the line stretch to the end of the curve while i ate, its called Grimalldiis and its in DUMBO.

    For the fashion of the dark, punk, rock, and rebels out there head to St. Marks to a store called Trash and Vaudeville. While you are there you might want to get some good sushi at any of the local and rather inexpensive but amazingly good places there are there.

    For a sight that will take your breath away, go to the Cloisters, especially the park. I swear walking through there took my breath away, alone, in the fall with the leaves blowing, Kodak moment anyone.

    To explore a bit of the underside of humanity, the horny and hairy. The museum of sex to see some history. And the Box (DO get a reservation) for the more modern and party like stuff.

    While in NYC eat the cuisine, maybe go on a food tour. Egg Creams, goulash, moffins, pizza, hot dogs, and Momofuku for some cereal milk icecream and compost cookies (they are WAAAAY better than they sound.

    Finally there is party wherever you go, but that you make on your own. I like the Vodka bars. You get to the nitty gritty of your soul. And for the wandered in you, stand in front of the directory in central park and look at the different things that are there. There are rare, small gems, hidden inside, like Shakespeares Garden. A very small but quaint place to reflect….if you can find it lol. There are little quotes from his books all around the ground.

    Now if you want to venture out a bit, then head to the boardwalk and the original Nathans. Its worth the ride to get to the beach. And if you REALLY want to adventure. Hop on a train and head to White Castle, New York, its not that far, but there lies a small bar that is worth the trip to visit, tis the Korova Milk Bar, in honor of A Clockwork Orange, the molokos are to kill for lol.

    AND ALSO, if you have alot of time, then i place to you this challenge, tis one that i failed but by a hairs breath. You will need, time, good walking shoes, a bag of quarters and pennys. In NYC there are four or five zoos and an aquarium. All of these have make your own penny machines. They sell books to collect these said pennys in some of them. Collect every one!!! If my memory serves i did the Aquarium on the boardwalk, central park zoo, queens zoo, prospect park, and finally the one that defeated me (mostly cause i woke up late and this is the mother of all of these zoos) Bronx zoo, saw only half of it, collected only half. If i ever go back to NYC i have pledged, nay, sworn in blood to complete this challenge!!!!

    On a side note, John Glover is right, you need to get to know the nitty gritty dark and hidden side of you. The side the society tends to push down and indoctrinate you to ignore. The traveler, the rebel, the sex goddess, the musician, the human being. Society tries so hard to make us clones of what is “normal”, tells us what to say, what not to say, what to feel, and not feel. Screw it, just be, find out who you are, the real, unique, unrepeatable, unequalable you. Find the beauty inside, take the journey to your core. When you become blunt and honest and true to yourself you wont blush, you will make others blush, you wont follow, you will lead, you will create your own adventures and become someone like “Glove of Love” lol The greatest adventures are born when you travel outside and simultaneously travel inside.

  • DT Hazelrig

    on August 29, 2014 at 9:25 am

    I remember your friend well from many strong performances, and you make me wish I knew him personally as well. Most of all though, your honest description of him almost makes me proud to be a codger myself… 😉

  • J. Brundige

    on July 22, 2015 at 12:18 am

    Because of the end of civilization, the Clamp Cable Network now leaves the air. We hope you have enjoyed our programming… but, more important, we hope you have enjoyed life.