I was on the Joey Reynolds show Tuesday night promoting my book, Legends of the Chelsea. It was great meeting Joey and his friend Cha Cha, who was on the Sopranos and acted in a couple of Abel Ferrara movies, in addition to owning a restaurant on Mulberry Street. Joey and Cha Cha are two genuine New York characters of a kind that are, unfortunately, a vanishing breed. They just talked about their day-to-day life in New York —about dieting and going to the diner and such--but managed to make it interesting just by the force of their personalities. (A rare quality these days, as they pointed out: the guys on TV talk shows apparently need a team of dozens of writers.) It was a pleasure to watch them work, and I wish I could be as entertaining as they are.
In fact, I guess I was worried about that. In the studio before the show we were talking about the great director (and living Chelsea Legend) Abel Ferrara and his upcoming documentary about the Chelsea Hotel. Joey asked me if I was going to be in the film. “Well,” I said, “He interviewed me for it, so maybe. Though for all I know he may decide I’m too boring and cut my part out of it.”
“Please don’t tell me you’re boring right before I put you on the air,” Joey sagely advised.
My fellow guest was a performance artist named Lilly who was inviting all New Yorkers to gather with her and watch the sunset on Thursday, November 8. Neither Joey nor Cha Cha seemed to be able to quite get on board with this program—in fact I remember them asking Lilly more than once, “What’s the point?” (They asked nicely, however.) But I think Lilly just didn’t want to give away exactly what she was planning to do.
We talked mostly about what it was like to live in a hotel: they wanted to know if I got the sheets changed (definitely not); how it was having a bathroom down the hall (junkies get in, but at least the maid cleans it); and what it’s like having a procession of transients coming in and out (a mixed bag, though some fantastic musicians have stayed in the room next door). Joey said he’d rent me a room for less than I was paying.
Anyway, Joey and Cha Cha’s questioning was great for me, because I didn’t have to make anything up on my own. (I did manage to get in my speil about the injustice that has been done to the Bard family.) But after the interview was over I started thinking that maybe I hadn’t described the book very well. “Did I even remember to mention the title?” I asked the production assistant. “Yeah, don’t worry, you did,” he assured me.
Well, that’s a relief. The next guest after my hour was up was a guy who was going to talk about investing in gold. Thank heavens I didn’t have to go on with him, because I know I can’t compete with that. The gold we have here at the Chelsea may not quite be fool’s gold, but it is somewhat immaterial at best. -- Ed Hamilton