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MM's Window on the World: Taking the Leap with Jim Morrison

I had been thinking about starting a blog, a place where I could speak my mind, fling my arms wide, let my hair ruffle in the winds of time and life. What a gift to be given this haven among writers and lovers of the written word! So much has happened in my life and even my today is often much like a soap opera (or at least that is how it sounds and looks from here, inside my head). Therefore, writing this blog will be MUCH more stress relieving, fun and cathartic than that frontal lobotomy they keep recommending, lol...

The editor, copywriter and well-hidden sensationalist in me (besides the voyeur alter ego) has told me that I need to start this thing talking about the night I met Jim Morrison (lead singer of the Doors, duh... you remember, don't you??). I was young, 19, living in the Big City, aka NYC. The year was 1967. I was on the quest for adventure -- a Midwest girl hitting the lights and sights of the fast lane. I was smart, observant, but also a babe of innocence, ripe for the time, the time of my life.

 I was working s a waitress in a popular British pub on the Upper East side in Manhattan, Churchill's, around 73rd and 3rd Ave. They served Indonesian food and had a dedicated bar clientele. I met all kinds of people there, had a minor crush on the hard-drinking bartender, made good money and had a lot of fun waiting tables and entertaining the guests.

 After work and on my nights off I explored the city and found a small mid-town club called Ondine. For some reason the owner of the club, Brad Pierce, sort of took me under his arm (maybe it was the big boobs, long legs and short minis?? Or was it my mind??) and after a few visits, he would let me in the club for free. I sat with him -- when I could sit still, always a challenge for me -- and friends at his table - where I met and talked to (and was hit on by) such artists as Eric Burden, lead singer of the Animals. Eric was a gentleman, rather quiet, short, good capacity for alcohol and a great laugh. 

 Shortly after I discovered Ondines, Ondines discovered the Doors. Here is a blog entry I found that talks about Ondine's and the scene there, which was the hottest in NY: http://streetsyoucrossed.blogspot.com/2007/10/lets-swim-to-moon-uh-huh.html

 So there I was, this not incredibly beautiful young girl, but with something that attracted and allowed me to fit into the flow of the stars and other artists and creative types at their round table...

 But one look at Jim Morrison and  the only place I had to be, wanted to be was sitting on the floor, right in front of the stage (which was low, less than two feet high), gazing straight up at that tight black leather covered crotch, that sultry, pouting mouth, that angry boy/artist with the curls that fell over his eyes, listening to that mesmerizing powerful voice, that fantastic baroque rock keyboard, that sexual nonchalance with which Jim performed, made love to the microphone. I was crazy for the guy, the band, the music... every night I was there, wiggling between the models to get my place on the floor in front of the stage. The electricity was palpable. Jim was riveting. I don't think I had really recognized the power of sex before I saw him perform. And the music... it was unique. Sucked you in, made you dance, made you fly, made you feel the depths.

At work I was telling some girl about him and she said, "Yeah, a friend of mine went out with him. When she was going to give him a blow job, she said, 'Come on baby, let me light your fire.. He laughed and pulled her head down.'" This stuck in my mind. I hadn't ever given a blow job, but I thought if I ever had the opportunity, he would be the one I would like to give my blow job cherry to. In the meantime, I just listened and watched, knowing that history was being made. Light My Fire started catching the hit parade charts on fire on its incendiary path to the stars. 

I had a guy friend, Robert, whom I had met at Churchill's. He would come to see me and sometimes we would hang out, go check out other bar-restaurants in the area or take long walks all over the city, talk and talk. Likely he was interested in me for more than friendship, but that is where I kept it and he was fine with that. Robert worked at an ad agency, copywriter, if I recall. And sadly, I can't remember his last name or much about him other than he was clean cut, dark hair, nice looking but not really my type (whatever that was -- I was likely leaning more to the bad boy side).  One night I suggested that we go to Ondines. I was a bit reluctant to go there with him as I thought he would cramp my style and I knew I couldn't hang out at Brad's inner circle table if I brought a guy along -- especially such a straight-looking clean-cut guy. But I really wanted my friend Robert to hear the band. I wanted everyone to hear the band. So we grabbed dinner and went.

I had to drink up every note, every word of every song and every set as I did every night. So it was closing time when we left, after 2AM. My friend was going to give me a lift a bit further downtown to my fourth floor walk up sub-let apartment. The streets were deserted and we walked out into the middle of 2nd Ave to try to catch a cab, which were very scarce at that hour -- it was the middle of the week.

 Just as we hailed a cab, opened the door and started to get in, I heard a voice behind me say, "Hey!" I turned around and saw Jim Morrison standing there, looking a bit anxious. "You guys heading downtown?"he asked. We nodded. "Mind if I ride with you? I don't know when the next cab will come by." I glanced at Robert, perfectly ready to dump him and his friendship right then and there if he said no. But he said okay, albeit with a barely perceptible hesitation, just a heartbeat. 

 And MY heart skipped several beats! I kept thinking of that Light My Fire line from the girl at Churchill's -- I was dying to ask him if it was true. But he just slipped in beside me, black leather painted thigh warm against my naked one. I think conversation was almost non-existent -- some mumbled comments about how much we liked the show. My heart was beating so fast I was almost panting -- but I was also trying to be cool.

Pretty soon we were at my place and very reluctantly I got out, Robert too, who handed over our share of the fare to Jim. He mumbled thanks, Robert closed the door and my fantasy lover sped off. Robert saw me to the door I am sure, but after that door closed on Jim Morrison, the rest of that night is a total blur.

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NY Nights

What a great piece of nostalgia this is: for New York in the 60s, for a great young lost icon, for your own new days in the big city…and for my own. In my case, I was 20 and it was a new century, but I’ll never forget working at a NYC club. This one was in the Meatpacking District, and it’s managed to survive the two-year shelf life common to the industry and remain relevant. But they had just opened and the buzz was absurd and being a dramatic girl from California, I loved every second of it. I was paid good money to stand outside with a clipboard, letting in celebrities and beautiful couples and turning away just about everybody else. The thigh-brush I remember, so to speak, also involves a cab….and Joaquin Phoenix.

He had come in that night with Casey Affleck, and this was eight years ago, now, so they weren’t as recognizable as they are today, but they had that mix of youth and talent and beauty bubbling at the brim. When they walked out of the bamboo doors at 4AM to smoke a cigarette, they started talking to my co-doorman, a thin man breaking out from the stress and the pressure and chugging liters of water a night to try to clear up his skin. I guess they knew each other from growing up, and so it was natural to make introductions. I was so nervous, too. We hadn’t said so much as hello, but when a cab pulled up a short time later, Joaquin leaned over and gave me a hug and said something that included the word “lovely.” You think I’d remember the rest, but I remember the hot night air and that he wasn’t very much taller than I was, and that he had that scar on his upper lip. The rest, too, I suppose was a just a lovely blur.

Jennifer Massoni, Red Room

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chills :-)

Your musings about NY and your brush with clubs was soooo alive. I could see the excitement, almost smell the asphalt and patchouli :-) And definitely could see the movie in my mind of your Joaquin hug. A memory to last a lifetime for sure...

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Galaxy 21, NYC 1975

 After I discharged from the service, I stayed in Chicago for a couple
of years, and due to the tremendous recession we were in mid-70's. I
found myself in NYC, working the door, at a 23rd St club, Galaxy 21,
which was the predeccesor to Studio 54. Any celebrity who was a
partier at that time passed through that joint. Cher, Greg Allman,
Mick, Jimmie Page, Joe Namath ect. One night Candice Bergen was
flirting with me at the door (I still love that woman). On one quiet
Sunday night there, I was the boss of the whole place, due to a
co-worker sickness. At about 1am, an entourage of about 10-12 people,
moving as if they were 1 person and led by Keith Richards himself,
entered the room. I was his personal host and found a quiet part of
the club to seat them (3 stories) and then did not bother him again.
My brush with the famous. Upon his departure, he peeled off a few
hundreds of of the biggest hundred roll I have ever seen to tip me. I
declined but did get his autograph on a business card which I have
lost . Lol

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Big guy at the door!

Wow -- definitely fodder for fond memories!! You were the point guy in a very pivotal space -- what an opportunity! And getting hit on by Candice Bergen -- creme de la creme for sure... I love these memories. And wonderful to think that there are truly a million stories (some told, some not) in the Naked City... I hope that more of you will peel off the layers and tell yours too... Thanks, B!

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JIM MORRISON

HE WAS THE LIZARD KING. SOME DISMISS HIM AS A DRUNKEN FILM MAJOR DROPOUT, SOME OF US HELD HIM IN REGARD AS A JADED MUSE. I DEFINITELY FELT DRAWN TO HIS RAW POWER HE WIELDED OVER AN AUDIENCE. I AM A TRANSPLANTED TEXAN FROM EL PASO, COMING TO CALIFORNY IN 1965. SPENT A FEW WEEKS IN EAST LA, HEARING CONSTANT SIRENS. SMELLED BURNING WOOD. MY UNCLE TOLD ME LOS NEGRITOS ARE BURNING DOWN WATTS. I WAS ELEVEN YEARS OLD. WE TOOK A TRIP UP TO THE HALLOWED HAIGHT& ASHBURY, WHERE I SAW MY FIRST HELLS ANGEL AND HIS ''OLD LADY''. A COUPLE OF[ ''HIPPIE KIDS'', MY AGE ] TRIED TO PERSUADE ME TO STEAL MOMS PURSE THAT NIGHT AND JOIN THEM[I.E., SEX DRUGS NO SCHOOL] I SERIOUSLY CONTEMPLATED IT! 

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Can smell the burning...

I haven't heard of the Lizard King before, but it gives me the impression of a bejeweled chameleon - and what better description of the elusive and oh so tantalizing rock star. He did glitter and he did have that raw power as you so eloquently describe. When you talk about your brief time in LA and the smell of burning -- I can smell it too. Can't wait to read more of what you have to tell.. Promises to be spellbinding.. Go for it, Hector... I want to read more!