Saturday, November 20, 2004

Reports from the Field

Pep. To know the man is to love him. Just saying the name makes me smile with many fond and mostly drug-related memories. Pep, is the kind of guy who will happily find another place to stay so that you and your girlfriend (who have just decided to move to Amsterdam for the hell of it) can crash at the apartment where he was housesitting.

On a somewhat related tangent...
It's weird to see some guy in person in L.A. who you're sure that you know, but then you realize that you only know him from having looked through his photoalbumn when you stayed at his place in Amsterdam without his knowledge/consent. Has that ever happened to you?

By Ex-Pat and Humorist and Lover of Trance Music Jon "Pep" Rosenfeld

Most of my American friends either can’t wait to visit or have visited several times. And to the ones that haven’t yet: what’s the matter with you? Why the interest? It ain’t for the gezelligheid. It’s the cool visit cred. People assume – correctly – that Amsterdam is a cool place to visit. People think it’s cool because they think you can get sex and drugs anywhere. They think you can walk into any establishment in town and get sex and drugs. Why? That’s our reputation. That’s the perception. Example: Last week Tony, a friend of mine from New York, was in town for a six hour layover and wanted to get together. Unfortunately, the layover was to be from 6am until noon. I don’t know what your schedule is like, but mine rarely has me socializing at 6am unless it’s Friday night and I’m considering calling a cab to go to Dino’s. But Tony’s the only guy I made friends with during my brief tenure at Saturday Night Live. The reasons why I only made friends with one guy – and how that contributed to my tenure there being so brief – are another story. But suffice to say Tony’s a good guy, and I was happy to drag my ass out of bed – especially since getting off a plane at six means breakfast at 7:30. We made plans to meet at the Marriott – one of the few places I knew I could get a decent breakfast that early. By the way, when I say “decent breakfast” I don’t mean what the Marriott calls an “American Breakfast” of eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, pancakes, eggs… fried chicken, and a Big Mac. I mean cereal and some coffee. I know we Americans have the reputation of being gun-toting fat people who eat enough breakfast for three people every morning. But that’s perception. The reality is that that’s only true of about half of us. So fuck you Marriott menu. And I guess fuck you too to the millions of lard-ass Americans for whom that menu is entirely accurate and who are slowly but surely reversing the process of evolution. But I digress. 7:35 at the Marriot. I arrive and tell the nice people there “I’m waiting for a friend.” Then I sit down to coffee and the newspaper while I wait for Tony. Who’s late. So I’m waiting there when a guy from the hotel comes up to me, Here’s the dialogue: Marriott Guy: Sir, I understand you are looking for a friend? Me: Yeah, is he here? Marriott Guy: There is a gentleman over there who is looking for a friend. And he points. My eyes follow Marriott Guy’s finger. They go from his face to blurry motion to land on where he was pointing. Not at Tony, but rather at a thin, 55 year old pink-faced bald man in a tidy suit and tie. Looks like Pim Fortuyn with a mustache. And he’s holding up his cup of coffee with a slightly-too-friendly face that seemed to say, “Want to be my new friend?” Marriott Guy: Would you like to be his friend? Me: (bewildered) No! I’m looking for my friend. I’m looking for a friend I already have! Marriott Guy: So you are looking for— Me: I’m not looking! I’m waiting! I’m waiting for a friend that I already have! So clearly, the dude thought he was getting a pre-afternoon delight. A couple of questions leap to mind: Did he think it was going to be free, or did he think I was a male prostitute? If the latter, was the restaurant host helping to pimp me? Would he have wanted a cut of my take? And most important: did I look like a male prostitute? It’s certainly not the look I was shooting for, but it was early, and I hadn’t showered. Maybe a long leather coat, Freitag backpack, and unwashed hair say, “I’ll blow a business traveler for money or eggs.” I’ll never know. Bottom line: the perception of Amsterdam is that if you’re looking for an early morning rendezvous with a distinguished looking homosexual gentleman, you could just stroll into a fancy restaurant and boom, you get your wish. Reality? Head to the Marriott, and tell ‘em you’re “looking for a friend.” Tipping the host/pimp is optional.

Pep - Artistic Director Boom Chicago

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