After a festive Chanouka party at Lisa Lipkins house, with delicious latkes + apple sauce and a table full of other fingerlicking goodies it is time to prepare our own Christmas party for friends of any kind of religion: Jewish, non Jewish, atheists, Agnostics, Buddhist etc.
After that, lets get ready for a fun New Years celebration in Amsterdam with a house full of happy Bed and Breakfast guests, champagne and most of all amazing firework all over town, "oliebollen and appelflappen" (Dutch fattening sweet delicious stuff) and lets toast to the New Year. May you all have a better year than this 2012 was. Less mass murderers, catastrophes, but more jobs and money to spend.
Hi dear friends, fans, bed and breakfast guests and visitors to my theatre productions. The last time I reached out for you was with my scary incident in Marbella , where I described what probably was my first tia, a period of time where I had totally lost my marbles-. Ever since, I have been back to "Normal" hallelujah and better news: even my health has improved considerably. While I had suffered severe pain in or near my hip for almost a year, making me fear I would need hip replacement, my adorable and cheerful German Orthopeed Dr. Schmitt in Marbella fixed me once more, where no Dutch Doctor had managed to succeed.
No.. I did not get the advice to lose weight nor start walking an hour a day or change my diet. He simply cured the massive infection I apparently had, by one single shot of trigin 20 and scandicaine (a local anesthetic). This medication can be compared to a cortisone injection. The pain disappeared instantly, but for a week I could hardly sleep and got quite depressed on and off . Apparently these were the side effects of this medication and anyone I told about this, advised me seriously not ever to take more than once or twice a year this injecetion.However to me it was a great relief to be painfree again at last .
After three weeks the pain came back again with a vengeance.. Desperate for another treatment I turned to him for help once more and this time he guaranteed me that if I would take this new electro shock treatment for three sessions, he would guarantee me that I would be pain free for a much longer period of time. And so I agreed. The treatment was called ESWT ( extracorporal shock wave therapy)... Move over ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST! So... his promise came through and I am no longer suffering from these horrid pains
In September after a most successful bed and breakfast episode all spring/summer both in Amsterdam as well as in Spain, Philip and I set off to Marbella where we mounted two great but somewhat unusual one man shows by Richard Fry called SMILER and the BALLAD OF THE UNBEATABLE HEARTS. Somehow my mass mailing system did not work too well and instead of my emails reaching 4000 people I had on my "hitlist" of possible visitors, only about 500 arrived at their destination with the result that out of 4 nights shows we had planned and announced in our home theater only about one night was reasonably filled. When I called a few of my regular visitors and told them by phone what the plays were all about: SMILER.. about a young man with a head injury after getting run over by a drunk driver.. and how he dealt with being cripple from the neck down. --- few people overcame their resistance and showed up. This story being told by Richard Fry, the charismatic actor and writer who also in reality had been the buddy of this victim for 4 years, this was a most emotional event and some people almost could not handle such a heavy subject. Yet they sat and cried at the end and LOVED it.
Then the other show , also not an easy listening story called THE BALLAD OF THE UNBEATABLE HEARTS is about the increasing amount of teenage kids who, when they come out of the closet about being gay, get heavily bullied at school or even on facebook and then commit suicide worldwide . Each day one homosexual boy or girl in the UK commits suicide , so the statistics say. A fabulous story totally based on true facts and many conversations Richard has had over the years with family members of these kids. Bitter sweet and definitely no light weight superficial comedy.
Here too I had the greatest trouble getting people convinced to come and see at least one of these shows. In Spain on our last night when the audience had finally been convinced to show up, they were wildly enthusiastic and asked to see the show the next day, but then it was too late; Richard would by then already be on his way back to England.
A few weeks later in much more tolerant Holland I started immediately to place Facebook messages together with a new great fan of mine Robert Woud, who taught me how to use Facebook and Twitter properly.
All in all we worked our butts off to try and achieve larger audiences this time. The shows were a.o. going to take place in Haarlem, (gay city of Holland). This is a quaint and fun little city , full of artists and colorful friendly people, It is located close to the beach and dunes and yet only a twenty minute ride from Amsterdam. Philip and I have quite a few nice friends, a.o. the trendy hairdressers Paul ten Bosch and his husband Jan Hendrik who exchanged some tickets with us for a fabulous haircut each.
I even acquired the name of QUEEN OF QUEERS, since I promoted the PINK FESTIVALof gay art and culture during 2 days in a row at the Figee Theater,which was also the place where I was allowed to show my documentary during this festival.
My ex lover and still my best friend annettje dia (a well known poetess under the name of Annettje Dia Huiziga in the lesbian circuit of Holland) and I were invited to read from our books. (her poetry and my Happy Hooker) after that, there would be plenty of time to talk about our lives. We had a spacious cozy room assigned to meet our friends and fans. I had flyered and promoted these events for days amongst the one group I so much had hoped would show up at the Ballad performance ...the gays, in other words, those who some people call the DINKS or double income, no kids....after all the subjects of Richards plays were mostly gay as well. Some sweet friends of mine, who were the organizers of this PINK FESTIVAL
all dressed up in the style of Marie Antoinette and Madame de Pompadour and their servants, did indeed come to see my shows in Haarlem,
but not many more gays I had met during the festival. The main excuse was: "Is it in English ? Oh. We don't really have a good command of that language: and that... while everyone in Holland has had lessons of a minimum of three languages at school as of the age of 8. Also the price was met with criticism ... " ah.. that is rather a lot of money. " Little did they know that, if this actor would do the same show on stage in London, they would have to pay double the price to come and see him perform.
Yet the shows in Haarlem were met with great enthusiasm. The two gay owners of the improvised photo studio had rented me this place for a very fair price and my sweetheart friend Herman de Bock
fixed the entire place up as a veritable theater space. He built the stage, arranged perfect lighting and sound system and had borrowed 40 comfortable stylish chairs from the famous Toneelschuur theater for which he had worked for several years in the past and was still on friendly terms with the present staff. The second show we did in Haarlem a few days later, suddenly had filled up almost full. This due to the p.r. the enthiusiastic owners of the studio had done amongst their friends .Instantly the ambiance was warm and the wine they served as well as some snacks in their cozy livingroom were excellent,
In the Hague I had booked a large old theater de Regentenkamer, that smelled of humid mildew when we walked into the door in the afternoon . The building was at first icy cold, but soon, when the heaters were working full blast and the lighting got more cozy, the candles came out in the bar and the audience had warm houselights on, it all felt a lot warmer. It became a friendly and veritable stage with lots of volunteers working there. Our good friends Emie and Jan Lind living in the Hague, had invited us and their habdsone two children to their lovely elegant home before the show started . There they cooked us a great Indonesian meal. My oldest visitor Phien Raket, origonally from Indonesia, showed up as well at the theater in her rollator, aged 80 something and obviously a fan for life. Quite a few expats showed up out of the woodworks and it was good to see some of these people I had not seen since year, here Haarlem is the preferred city of Philip I have my likes for the Hague, which is more stately and formal, but also has more things to do for English speaking ex pats, who usually come and see my shows,
Here Richard even did two shows in one day, an exhausting task but very well received by 2 full audiences. My two great girlfriends Anita and Clare
had arranged the location, convinced their friend the painter Pierre, owner of the PI gallery
to rearrange his artistic living space/atelier into a theater.
He then called in the assistance of his great ladyfriend, who outdid herself with some fine cooking of a.o. a pumpkin soup and other warm and cold snacks for the many visitors. Anita's ex husband and father of her two fine kids Pepijn, came up with a great podium, in particular her sweet teenage daughter helped all day with the serving of drinks and food. Clare invited about 30 people over to her house for a massive dinner in between shows, while I collapsed for an hour in her comfortable big bed to recharge my energy battery. Meanwhile Richard was invited for a long walk on the very windy and wet beach of Bergen by a brilliant older gentleman who had seen both shows that day and felt the actor was in need of a change of scenery. Revitalized, both men came back fit as a fiddle again.
During the day there were Philips sweet parents who don't live far from Bergen and loved the show. We even brought some old friends along from Amsterdam to just taste the artistic atmosphere of this adorable village, near the sea.
Robert Woud and his husband Joost showed up with Roberts darling mother who could easily be taken for his sister... what a charming and stunning youngish woman she was. Some of their other friends were all dressed in sparkling outfits that perfectly matched the colorful art on the walls. Anita and Clare sure had done their best to promote these shows and Clare had even managed to convince the extremely charming young head master of the European school to come along. He surprised us by bringing along 6 of his cleverest pupils who sat and watched mesmerized.
MY FRIEND FROM HIGH SCHOOL DAYS: ARTHUR FRID
One other person worth mentioning is an old schoolchum from my Barlaeus Gymnasium days : Arthur Frid., a cheerful one time well known criminologist. He also lives in Bergen for the last 50 years of his life. Arthur is a bit older than me, but still very active as a( table) tennis player and sport fanatic.even though he lately suffers immensely from his painful hip and walks with a limp. He does in fact urgently need a hip replacement, but as long as he can still move towards the ball and win various matches, he refuses to get operated as that means NEVER to be able to play his favorite games any more. Arthur, whom I remember as quite a charming womanizer is presently still married to his third wife and surprise surprise: they are already together more than 20 years!!.
We occasionally have seen each other over the many years, but there obviously were also periods of quite a few years we did NOT meet .Yet there is always this warm feeling of neshume.. ( jewish for a warm sentimental love between good old chums, usually of Jewish blood). He was at first reluctant to try and convince some friends of his to come, since he had not seen the plays , yet he has made an attempt to no avail..
Here are his own words once he came to see the show about the unbeatable hearts himself :
"Dear Veer.... (My nickname at high school...)
If I may have had any doubts before coming over to see your play tonight , based on your information in your press release or your words about the plays.... I herewith instantly take back those words and thoughts now that I saw the excellent performance of Richard Fry'splay last night. It was a gripping experience: funny at times, made me laugh quite a bit as well as cry towards the end. It was not only very realistic but the storyline had a dream like ambiance. And all these sentiments and emotions seemed interwoven like a finely embroidered tablecloth.
Of course I informed Richard about my feelings and he was most appreciative. Glad to see that many more people had obviously overcome their original reluctant feelings of Not wanting to show up and in the end they did come after all and had, like me a great and unforgettable time. Thanks . with Love your old chum Arthur. And by the way thanks for the fine moments after the show in the back of the atelier. Sitting on that comfortable couch and reminiscing our many get-togethers over the years, our trip on your scooter when you were barely 18, on our way to the Calypso movie theatre and how we never remember what movie we really saw.!! I really wonder how come!! Our time in Spain you don't even seem to remember and that while I was there for a week even.... etc etc. "
In Amsterdam we did three shows in the elegant Apollo first hotel theater,
the van Ostade
which was almost filled totally and it was a sentimental journey for the management of this friendly theater near my house.. as they probably will have to close their doors for more plays due to lack of government subsidy so it was a kind of swan song for the Ostade, a place my actors as well as myself always felt so much at home.
I had high hopes for last night's performance at the big Griffioentheater, but due to their somewhat out of the way location in Amstelveen and beastly stormy and rainy weather a lot of people just did not show up. Yet the performance was excellent.
This last night ended wonderfully because of a very emotional incident. A handsome, young twenty-eight year old Indonesian-Dutch man named Erwin,
came wheeling into the hall in his super fancy wheelchair. Paralyzed from the neck down, which results in a speech impediment, it was as if the main character in the play SMILER was in attendance in the audience! Even with his often contorted facial expressions he has one of the prettiest faces I have ever seen, combined with an awesome personality.
We asked Erwin how he came by his disability. Apparently shortly after his birth he suffered a stroke that resulted in his disability. It turns out that Erwin is extremely bright with a positive attitude and totally self-supporting. Even his parents moved from Amsterdam to Tilburg so he could prove his independence by managing life in Amsterdam on his own. He lives in a specially adapted apartment and is able to get in and out of trains and trams with minimal assistance from other passengers or conductors.Erwin earned a Masters degree in Anthropology and speaks three languages fluently. Presently he is employed and works with foreign expats who want to settle in Holland. Richard immediately spotted this young man in the front row and, as expected, he and Erwin became instant friends. We can all learn from Erwin, this young man , who lives within the constraints of a huge disability, who has achieved so much. Even a simple trip into the city on the tram... one can encounter a whole host of obstacles. Yet, Erwin did travel across the city on his own on a cold, dark and rainy night to attend the theatre. Many of my able-bodied contacts made excuses or couldn't be bothered to attend. He is currently booked to attend the upcoming festivities in Salzburg. Erwin is truly an inspiration and we wish him all the very best that life has to offer. I do hope that I may once again cross paths with this uber charming young man.
On a more cheerful note: a well-known Canadian documentary maker, Barry Avrich came by to stay at our BB with his film crew and they interviewed me for an entire afternoon about... BOB GUCCIONE who had died two years ago. Helas he died broke and emotionally broken as well, penniless, since his Penthouse magazine empire had collapsed round the same time I lost my job with his magazine as a sexologist, which lasted for 35 years. Since I knew him so well all those years I worked for his magazine and had a famous sex advice column : Call Me Madam I had plenty of fun anecdotes about Bob Guccione in his golden years. Barry, a darling and fun film maker with many years as a respectable docu- maker behind him , paid me a handsome fee for my collaboration, which generous amount evened out the loss of my theatre adventure. So all is well that ends well.
Meanwhile our actor Richard Fry had the time of his life both in our house in Spain as well as in Amsterdam. We pampered him like he was our own son. Now he can look forward to a nice Xmas with his Mum and family.
Philip and I for once have no travel plans this winter and can be reached at our Dutch home base in Amsterdam , where hopefully in the New Year our B&B Business will rapidly pick up again.
This is what one of my long time American ex pat friends, and theater visitors Anthony Stone just wrote when I told him I am probably going to stop bringing UK theater shows to Holland:
THANK YOU for all the good theatrical performances you have produced here for so many years. You improved the quality of life for many people, both the performers and the audience. You gave us all good memories. But you're also right; you shouldn't have to be a one-woman subsidy for culture in this country. I thought that Amsterdam was an ideal balance of a city large enough to support a variety of culture without the disadvantages of a megalopolis like NYC or London. Without your plays Amsterdam just became more of a dorp. And that's bad for the whole country too because Amsterdam is the most cosmopolitan city in NL.
If this trend continues we'll all be sitting around by candlelight playing cards and drinking Aldi beer in a couple of years. Everybody is afraid to spend money on anything but food and rent because the predictions for the economy in 2013 are out and they are very gloomy too. So we will all start doing only whatever safely pays the bills and not taking any risks. But it could be worse. It could be wartime. You know more about that than I do.
Anyway, I can't cheer you up or encourage you to change your mind. I can only tell you how much I enjoyed your plays over the years and thank you very much for those good times. (That's not a goodbye; we'll continue to see each other, of course!)
Besame mucho and tribute to Dave Brubeck
I must close this novella with my thoughts of the extremely emotional night I had when I heard the news that one of my all time favorite jazz musicians DAVE BRUBECK had died at a most respectable age. I vividly remember his striking features and great piercing dark eyes with pitch black thick eyebrows. Most of all of course I shall remember his unforgettable music he made with the many odd rhytms. At first I felt sad about this news, but then I cheered up when I began to reminiscence the many fabulous moments I spent with various young friends, while listening to this great musician play Take Five, Blue Moon and Rondo or almost any music he had made. With these memories of moments of closeness in jazz cafes, seeing him perform on stage or making love with my young lovers in my teenage years, while his music was on, I got all sentimental and seeked out some of my favorite tunes and listened to them until the sun came up.
BY THE WAY THIS IS WHAT I AM PLANNING TO DO IN 2013 INSTEAD OF THEATER PRODUCING!
Xaviera Hollander is currently offering her highly acclaimed In-Home Seminar/Workshop at her Amsterdam Happy House Bed & Breakfast. This is available to groups up to twelve. The seminar begins with a Meet n' Greet, followed by a Wine n' Dine and then on to a Workshop.
Starting with introductions so that you are amongst friends, you then share a sumptuous home-cooked meal by none other than her adorable husband, Philip. Afterwards, feeling comfortable and well-fed, the Workshop begins.
The ART OF LOVEMAKING, which literally translates to the DO's and DON'Ts of Sex, will inspire and teach you the intimacy skills required to become a better sexual partner. It is never too late to learn these skills.
Xaviera penned the monthly column, CALL ME MADAM in PENTHOUSE magazine for more than thirty years. Also, one of her many books, THE HAPPY HOOKER'S GUIDE TO SEX: 69 ORGASMIC WAYS TO PLEASURE A WOMAN, affirms her expertise as a sex advisor.
While offering the workshop, Xaviera is temporarily suspending the production of theater shows.
CALL OR EMAIL NOW TO BOOK YOUR GROUP
AND NOW... THIS IS REACHING THE END OF THIS NOVELLA NEW YEARS LETTER with a few words for you and a cheerful little film !
May you be saved from the agony of being in poor shape ( healthwise or financially), may you have or find yourself a loving partner like I did and may you live a long and happy life. And if you happen to be alone... learn to love and look after yourself and make sure you have at least one more great year ahead of you. So take one year at a time, I am not a clairvoyant
Xaviera and Philip
May your Christmas be as merry as the little goats jumping around in this video And may your entire year of 2013 be as happy as they are, too.