Xaviera is getting married!!!
I finally gave up my negative ideas about marriage: "Marriage is an institution; who wants to be institutionalized?" Yes, I am ready to be institutionalized now! Philip, who, after his divorce 5 years ago, swore he would never tie the knot again with anyone, has now obviously also changed his mind. So there you have it in a nutshell. We have been very happily living and traveling together now for almost two years so .
That explains our plans.
It wasn't easy.
Boy, did we ever have to move heaven and earth to get our marriage certificate arranged. Xaviera, being born in Indonesia; and Philip, a Sabra, born in a kibbutz in Israel. Neither of us could find our official birth certificates. Stupidly, when asked if I had ever been married before, I told the official counselor at the City Hall in Amsterdam that indeed I had been married, but that my ex husband Frank Applebaum had died recently. And now the counselor demanded a copy of his legalized death certificate. (Frank was Canadian, and this document had, with great difficulty, to be tracked down via his niece).
All this hassle was quite time consuming…if only I had shut my mouth, and made a little white lie, things would have been a lot easier...
PHILIPS ROAD BACK TO HEALTH
And now the latest news about our escapades, since Philip's near-death experience and the open heart surgery the end of July. Philip recuperated miraculously. I did my best to look after him as good as I could. I gave him all the Tender Loving Care he needed, and though I had to combine this with looking after my own flourishing Bed and Breakfast (www.xavierahollander.com/sleeper ) I think I managed .
This period also proved to both of us how much we love each other. Things sure were not simple, especially the first two months after his operation, when he was still in a lot of pain, suffered from massive depressions, and he was often very weak and tired. Now he is almost back to his NEW self, fit as a fiddle (with only a mild, occasional relapse). When Philip got the Cardiologists green light to travel again, we spent several weeks in Marbella when the weather was still great, and hot enough for Philip to swim 60 laps a day, in order to get his physical condition back.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - A HELL OF A TOWN !
Early October we left for New York. It was Philip's first visit to the Big Apple. He was honestly surprised about the warm welcome, and many great friends I still had in that incredible city.
I could live there happily after any time again. My friend Shannon, a well known TV producer, and her brand new husband Bryan, arranged tickets to several Broadway shows for all of us, like the “THE PRODUCERS” and the “DROWSY CHAPERONE”.
We were astonished about the extremely spectacular stage settings in both plays and superb acting, though the subject matters were a bit dated. It was charming entertainment.
Then there was my dashing gay friend Paul Lucas, who has produced several award winning theatre plays at the Edinburgh Fringe Theatre festival.
We went with him to one of the oldest alternative theatres in the Village, la Mamma, to see a terrific drag performance by Taylor Mac, one of his talented actors. Taylor was a flamboyant downtown New York phenomenon, a chameleon of words, music, and sociopolitical tirades, who employs gender-bending surrealism to explore the human condition and explode contemporary society's adoration of sameness and homogeny.
Oh, and he plays the ukulele. Basically, he is a drag performer, but has nothing to do with the bitchy female impersonators who have dominated the scene for years. He is at once beautiful and ugly and addresses issues of sex and politics from a very personal perspective that is at once funny and moving. Taylor Mac will be touring Europe, the UK, and Australia in the next six months. Where 'The Producers' opulent play cost people up to $ 300, the la Mamma tickets were a mere $ 7.
Both plays had enormous charm and talented actors and, of course, a totally different ambiance. Our host Hugh Loebner, a true maverick and inventor of the Loebner Prize for Artificial Intelligence and alicebot was gracious enough to offer us his flat in Manhattan. He also made it possible to organize this lovely party for us and my 40 something close friends.
Some came from far, like Owen Liebreich who came all the way from Tennessee , Christine Meeusen flew in from Arizona with a Dutch friend, and even my bosom friend Madonna and her darling husband Michael drove in from Toronto for a couple of days. Madonna is most interested in writing a script of my Penthouse letters of the last 35 years, which she wants to serialize for North American television. Let's keep our fingers crossed that this plan will materialize some day,
xx THE FOUR GRACES SEX GODDESSES
During the first week of our stay (of two weeks), we were invited for a luncheon at Veronica Vera's Apartment, where she surprised us, not only with a delicious light weight meal, but also with the presence of two famous sex goddesses from the seventies: Betty Dodson, now 77 years young, and still going strong with her masturbation classes, and Candida Royale still making vanilla sex erotic women-friendly movies; she is also the creator/distributor of many sexual gadgets, and has her own brand.
Veronica herself, like all of us, a good friend of Annie Sprinkle, who now lives out in California, is the founder of the school of 'Boys who wanna be girls'.
She took us during our last night in town, together with our friend Lesley Barany , a Hungarian movie maker, to a well known drag-queen restaurant/club called LIPPS, where an unforgettable act of Dolly Parton cracked us up with laughter. Apart from shopping (until we almost dropped) in various wholesale places, (Century 21 ) our strong Euro and terrific bargain prices really surprised us who inexpensive things were.
xx We also visited some museums. We were most impressed by the gorgeous Frick Museum that was founded by Mr. Frick who built up this amazing art and antique furniture collection in a tranquil impressive mansion in midtown Manhattan.
Of course I had to show Philip various parts of New York. We left Manhattan to go the Bronx where we had luncheon with the latest charming wife of my ex, Clyde; she informed us that unfortunately he could not join us as he had to take his boat out of the water that very day.
Then we went to Chinatown with Owen Liebreich where we had some authentic Chinese food amidst only Chinese clients.
In Harlem, Philip and I found a fabulous leather jacket for almost no money, and boy does he ever look good in it. It was meant to be my Xmas gift for Philip, but he sure has been wearing it quite a bit already.
PARTIES Ruth Lapin ( Miss. Rabbit, in English), a dear friend I have known for years from my winter vacations in Mexico, where she also used to go with her family (meanwhile divorced), graciously hosted a terrific deluxe party at her duplex apartment in Brooklyn.
There was some fun life music, delicious finger food and she even had got a dozen of my books I signed for her friends. Most people there were elegant, Jewish, single, searching for a new partner and in their mid forties and early fifties. There I even met some friends from Amsterdam like Willem Hein Couwenberg, and his charmingly extrovert ex, Hsinya, who lives near New York.
After a week, we were invited to visit Lisa Lipkin's home in the Catskills, which is a two hour drive to the country. It is especially beautiful at this time of the year - with the change of leaves, and the fabulous colors.
Lisa is a well known Jewish story teller who has performed at my home theater shows on several occasions: Things my mother never told me, story of a holocaust survivor. She fell in love with Amsterdam and now has there a great flat there as well. .
THE CATSKILLS was set up by Jewish farmers more than 50 years ago, and when New Yorkers still had no air conditioning, many usually wealthy . religious as well as non religious Jewish people, in their effort to escape the scorching summer heat of the city, settled in this cooler area. Hotels like Grossinger's started to pop up like mushrooms, and the words 'BORSCHT BELT' was invented. Some of America's greatest Jewish entertainers and comedians, like Shelly Berman etc. were discovered during their gigs in the Catskills. You may remember (if you are old enough) the old Jewish Catskill comics of Vaudeville days, viz., Shecky Green, Red Buttons, Totie Fields, Milton Berle, Henny Youngman, and others? Don't you miss their humor? Not one single swear word in their comedy! Here just a few short samples I don't want to deprive you of .
A car hit an elderly Jewish man.
The paramedic says, "Are you comfortable? The man says, "I make a good living." I just got back from a pleasure trip. I took my mother-in-law to the airport. We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops.
The Doctor called Mrs. Cohen saying, "Mrs. Cohen, your check came back." Mrs. Cohen answered, "So did my arthritis!" Patient: "I have a ringing in my ears." Doctor: "Don't answer!" Why don't Jewish mothers drink? Alcohol interferes with their suffering.
A Jewish boy comes home from school and tells his mother he has a part in the play. She asks, "What part is it? The boy says, "I play the part of the Jewish husband." The Mother scowls and says, "Go back and tell the teacher you want a speaking part."
Nowadays the entire Catskill hotel area is utterly desolate and almost ghost-like. Some of the new owners are trying to pump new life in the renovated hotels and promote it as great golf resorts. Lisa's old, but still vivacious intellectual friend, Gerd Stern was our driver and Lisa, who, much like me has several homes in several parts of the world, was proud to present us to some of her redneck friends and neighbors, including her rent-a-husband, a chunky young guy who fixes everything in her house, and even pays rent on top of it.. But Lisa likes to keep things platonic however. She cooked up a storm for us; and even gave up her comfortable bed for Philip and me to sleep in, while she lounged on her air mattress in the living room. Even my life long slave girl Franny
showed up for the weekend. It was great to see and spank her again, as we go back about 30 years now. Franny sure needed some cheering up as she had just spoken at a memorial for her latest mistress Ava Taurel, or Eva Norwind, a Scandinavian dominatrix, once a well known photojournalist in Mexico city, who later on set up her SM business in midtown Manhattan. I had known Eva for many years. She recently drowned while swimming in the Mexican ocean. I was in fact responsible for the introduction of Franny to Eva about in 1986.
An elderly retired Dominatrix, Constance and her friend, who live near Lisa showed up at one of Lisa's get-togethers, and boy those chipper ageless beauties were full of fun stories from the wild past: about fetish
feasts and s-m games. The two of them showed us the surroundings, including the street markets in Liberty, and some highly overpriced antique shops.
During our last day of our stay I was treated to an underwater shiatsu massage in the private heated pool of a neighbor of Lisa. She was a tall very attractive young lady, who gave me an unforgettable hour under water, which reminded me of rebirthing while floating and receiving her massages. She had earlier on in the weekend taken Philip on a ride on her QUAD ( not her twat!)
At Lisa's house, it was a constant coming and going of friendly neighbors, who all brought something to eat with them, mostly fabulously sweet chocolate cakes I must have gained at least 3 kilos in that weekend.
THE RUSSIAN JEWISH TOUR OF MANHATTAN
Back to New York, our last weekend was spent with Joe Beschenko, the Russian Jewish ex of Shannon who knows all the flea markets in town. First he took us to Carnegie, the Jewish deli in town, famous for its marvelous pastrami/corned beef sandwiches with sauerkraut and coleslaw… (getting hungry anyone?)
Then off to the street markets and a huge garage sale. While Joe was trying on jackets and hats, Philip looked for old watches and lighters, and I bought some trinkets like earrings and necklaces at bargain prices. The weather was great, true Indian summer like I used to remember from the days I used to live there myself.
THE MEXICAN CONNECTION
Our last night, we had a great dinner with Allan Gross, at a Spanish restaurant, which was located next to the famous Chelsea Hotel. Allan is an American theatre producer in Mexico, he is partially living in New York and partially in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico.
He has invited us to be his guest in Mexico for a week in exchange for a few lectures and bookreadings in January. After that we shall be heading towards Zihuatenejo. About that. I am sure more news in a couple of months.!
xx PUSSY CATS
When Philip and I left Marbella early October we had just adopted a lovely pair of Siamese kittens, apparently left out on the street in front of our house. Barely 4 weeks old and abandoned. Lovingly, we called them Mini and Maxi (sister and brother), and we got them their own passports.
Now…we are back again in Spain, and took the kittens with us from Amsterdam where they were just getting acclimatized. They love it in Spain, and we had trouble getting them out of the clutches of the adoring stewardesses on the plane.
I once used to travel with my dogs, and now we travel with our cats. Well so much for family extensions.
Be well. Enjoy your winter, and we wish you a merry Christmas, and a Happy, most of all Healthy, New Year.
P.S. Don't worry about our itineraries. We zig-zag between Spain and Amsterdam, New York, and Mexico.
Sure, never a dull moment!
Love from Amsterdam
Xaviera Hollander & Philip
Please check my webpage www.xavierahollander.com/sleeper where you can find both my Dutch B&B which has been booming now for the last few months as well as the virgin Villa we all worked so hard at to give it a total make over .
So looking for a lovely hideaway that sleeps up to 10 people easily, with a private swimming pool where you can all go and frolic around naked, if you wish so?? Do come and look up my Villa in Marbella.