Looking at my sketch by Peter Max*
I was waiteressing at a restaurant called Columbus which was ironically on Columbus Avenue in New York City. This was probably in the mid to late 1980’s. There were a lot of stars that came to this restaurant.
And as I’m looking up from my writing to you, I’m looking at a sketch that Peter Max did of me in 1986 at that restaurant. I was running around like a lunatic, as it was a very busy place. My hair, which was long at the time, was in a bun with all sorts of wisps flying around my face.
Peter Max was a regular at the restaurant at the time. In fact, I even went up to his studio so he could show me some of his most famous sketches. I don’t know if you recall him, but he did a lot of pop art in the 1970’s and 1980’s. I remember him as being a very nice guy.
I kept telling Peter I was in a hurry and I couldn’t stop and wait for him to sketch me. Obviously, he could work fast. Herman is telling me as I’m writing this to you that he remembers watching a morning news show (like Good Morning America, he isn’t sure which) where in the course of the two hour show, he finished a full sized painting on a large scale. Herman tells me he was amazed at the speed and concentration with which Peter worked.
So anyway, Peter sketched me while I was on the run. It’s interesting looking at the sketch to see where he caught my expression and mood. He even titled it with my name and signed it and then gave it to me as a gift. It was one of the best tips I ever got as a waitress.
I met many such stars at this celebrity restaurant. My greatest hope was to find a theatrical agent while working there. I did meet a director named James Toback who cast me as an extra in The Pick-Up Artist which was produced in 1987.
I met many other actors during the course of this film such as Danny Aiello, Warren Beatty, Harvey Keitel and Dennis Hopper. Dennis was also a regular at Columbus and I had known him from before the film. I’ll talk about my experiences with them in future columns. For now, I’ll continue to gaze at the Peter Max sketch and reminisce.
Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com
*Achievements of Peter Max: Painted five US Presidents (Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton), Official Artist for World Cup USA 1994, Official Artist of the Super Bowl and Grammy Awards in 1995, Official Artist - New Orleans Jazz Festival, Woodstock '94.