Wednesday, July 05, 2006

My strangest meal

The '80s. Met La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela in Schoenberg Hall at UCLA, then drove them to Clifton's Cafeteria, where we joined the then-90-something Nicolas Slonimsky as guests of Prof. Robert Stevenson (pianist, composer, and musicologist; LY's teacher at UCLA, making Stevenson one of my grand-teachers). Clifton's was (and still is) a pay-by-the-portion buffet with a menu that has not changed substantially since the early 1960's. Meat. Gravy. Scalloped potatoes. Macaroni and cheese. Carrot salad with raisins. Navy bean soup. Saltine crackers, paired in cellophane packages. Choice of Lime or Raspberry JelloTM. Assembling meals to satisfy every member of this party was somewhat difficult, but Stevenson was a patient host and an experienced guide to the mysteries of Clifton's. He recommended the tapioca, I declined and err'd on the side of salads. Stevenson had some pointed questions about the current sexual politics of the composition world. I didn't know what to say. Slonimsky was in fine form and full of questions for LY, in preparation for the next edition of Baker's. He was especially interested in LY and MZs' schedule, based on a day with more than 24 hours, thus continuously moving out of phase with the solar day. As we left Clifton's before the 7:30 pm closing time, I had the feeling that ours was a party out of phase with rather more than just the solar day.


Anonymous said...

Who paid the bill?

Daniel Wolf said...


BTW, La Monte Young was enthusiastic about Stevenson's music. Stevenson has a remarkable biography (studied composition with Hanson and -- for real -- Stravinsky, and piano with Schnabel). Makes me curious to hear some of it.