Hello from Xaviera Hollander to my dear friends. It has been since December that I last wrote my X-mas newsletter. Time to catch you up again. Read it all or pick the bits that interest you the most.
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I will start with the charming and very talented singer of the French chansons by Jacques Brel and Edith Piaf - Micheline Van Hautem and her charismatic guitar player and magician, Frank de Kleer. They filled our house and the restaurant Tres Amigos in Marbella with their beautiful music.
Micheline brought along her two little boys, Alexander and Max, along with the father of the children, Willem Hein. Willem is also my webmaster and one of my closest friends. I take full credit for being their matchmaker about nine years ago. It seems that they will soon marry! I am not used to having kids around the house as I have raised various pets, not children... I must admit that their children were quite well behaved.
Shortly after our return to Amsterdam, Philip and I wanted a reprieve from the cold of northern Europe. Instead of spending weeks traveling through South America, we realized how homesick we both were for New York where we have made so many wonderful friends over the years.
Little did we know that my co-authoress, Yvonne Dunleavy, of The Happy Hooker. (who will also be involved in our musical) planned a fundraising party for us. On their guest list there were several interested financiers and a producer. We were humbled by this generous gesture. Yvonne and her Dutch husband, Joost, hosted us and about forty theater VIP's in their elegant 5th Avenue apartment. Yvonne even arranged an upright piano for the evening's performance.
Coincidence had it that the composer for the musical, Warren Wills, was in Manhattan exactly when we were there. Such a mitzvah (luck). So... as you might have guessed, Warren and two lovely young female singers performed five of our most beautiful songs at this party. On the wall, Yvonne hung a particularly nice enlarged picture of me in a tiger bikini from my Happy Hooker days. Amazingly, the lead singer, Stephanie Dodd looks exactly like me at that age and has a beautiful voice. She even copied the pageboy hairstyle I used to sport and wore a tiger bikini covered by a lovely thin, white coat.
During a chat after the show, Stephanie confessed to be, again, like me... bisexual. They all received a standing ovation for their performance. Shortly before we left the flat, Stephanie and I shared a passionate kiss. The exciting feeling of her soft and sensual lips left me reeling for quite some time after we said all of our goodbyes.
The upper crust of the entertainment industry attended the party. Even my publisher from the reissue of The Happy Hooker and Child No More was there - Judith Regan . Later in the week, she honored me with a radio interview. There were journalists, and producers from Walt Disney as well as some big financiers. Warren's good friend, Alexis Vogel, flew in from Los Angeles. She offered me a total makeover if ever I visit Hollywood.
Alexis is a renowned makeup artist of stars like Shakira and Pamela Anderson. She is a phenomenal woman with a sweet personality and true allure... fiery red hair and abundant cleavage! Even Philip could barely keep his eyes off her décolleté. The party was truly an elegant affair. Behind the bar were delightful young ladies... and, those wonderful women in the kitchen fed us a delicious array of hors d' oeuvres and continental cuisine, mostly Asian.
When the private concert was over, a person from the front row of the audience approached Warren and me and handed us his business card.
Although I will not reveal his identity here, I will tell you what he said: "I am going to be your producer and will get in touch with you so we all can meet in London in the next few months to do some serious brainstorming. I will need the total script or Book, (as it is called in the musical business), and as many songs that are finished."... and, that was that. More to follow about this later in this newsletter.
Police are already patrolling on Broadway, suspicious about the crowds a Happy Hooker musical could draw?
Finally, someone who did not take us and leave us in the Promised Land, like my documentary agent apparently did to the docu maker Robert Dunlap. Robert has not yet recuperated any money from the documentary about my life, no matter how many awards that film has won. We look forward to the musical being a hit and bringing new life to all the products that represent my tumultuous, but... happy life.
MADONNA AND MICHAEL'S ROOM WITH A VIEW
Madonna, (not the singer, but a script writer), a dear Canadian friend who recently moved from Toronto to New York and her darling husband, Michael, together arranged a big welcome luncheon for us in their new home that offered a spectacular view of the Hudson River and New York .
Her homemade chili con carne and unbelievably tasty cheese casserole were memorable. The party was a cozy affair with about fifteen guests. Michael's dear brother, a talented musician who entertained us and some latecomers for hours with his band and quickly claimed any leftover food (like I said ...memorable!).
Some of my best friends showed up. The famous Sex Goddess from the seventies and, now... owner of the one and only Miss Veronica Vera's Finishing School for Boys Who Want to Be Girls . She came with her darling man, Stue, who sometimes appears as a sexy Britney Spears look-alike at some of the kinky balls to which Veronica is invited. As always, my faithful slave girl during my many visits to New York since my Happy Hooker days, Franny, showed up as well. Tall and lanky, unsure at times... she became less nervous as she mingled with some of the people she had not seen for a long time.
On a more straight-laced level there were Bryan and Shannon (both in the music industry) and their sweet, but well-spirited, little daughter – Freddy. Paul Lucas- theatre producer who I know from my regular visits to the Edinburgh Theater Festival showed up late like my other long time friend, Geoffrey Buttler (who sometimes doubles as our private chauffeur). He is a yearlong house friend of the sons of Bob Guccione - from Penthouse Magazine fame.
Not to forget that we arrived with Hugh Loebner, our eccentric and brilliant Maverick host who, for years, has put us up in his spacious apartment in Manhattan whenever we descend on New York for a week or so.
Then there was an especially emotional encounter with Joanna Dreyfus, who is the daughter of the recently deceased Larry Dreyfus, better known from my book, The Happy Hooker, as the Silver Fox. Larry was my man who guided me through many tempestuous situations as a courtesan and madam. Joanna has known me since she was a child when her dad and I were involved. Her friend, Vicky Unger, a tall, vivacious and vibrant woman who was a close friend of the family accompanied her. We all enjoyed exchanging quite a few anecdotes.Joanne lovingly offered me a beautiful enlarged and framed photograph of Larry towards the end of his life - (age 76)... still looking jolly and debonair, just the way I remembered him. It brought tears to my eyes as I remembered the haunting song Warren and Richard Hansom, the lyricist, wrote about him called SO LONG LARRY. Every time I hear the song, I cry.
I promised to spend more time with Joanna on our next visit as throughout the years that I kept in touch with Larry, who retired in Florida, he talked much about his two daughters. Tragically, one daughter died in a car accident. Franny knew Joanna as well... since it was Larry, with my permission, who deflowered her at the age of twenty-three.Soon after, Franny got more and more interested in women, particularly dominatrixes like me. Michael and Madonna took us home to Manhattan after assuring us that they would join us as often as they could during our week in town. We connected again at the funny musical called Book of Mormons, . My friend, Paul Lucas, who chose this play, accompanied us. Of course, afterward we all went to Warren's gig in the village and enjoyed an hour-long show which ended all too soon. The time went so quickly.
On our last day in New York, Franny collected us and the three of us went to Neue Galerie ("New Gallery").This is a museum of early twentieth-century German and Austrian art and design located at 86th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City.
It is one of the most recent additions to New York City's famed Museum Mile, which runs from 83rd to 105th streets on Fifth Avenue in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The collection of the Neue Galerie is in two sections. The second floor of the museum houses works of fine art and decorative art from early twentieth-century Austria, including paintings by Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, and Egon Schiele and decorative objects by the artisans of the Wiener Werkstaette and their contemporaries. The third floor exhibits various German works from the same era, including art movements such as Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), Die Brücke (The Bridge), and the Bauhaus. Featured artists on this floor include Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Lyonel Feininger, Otto Dix, and George Grosz.
Our last Sunday night we were invited for a fancy dinner at Ruth Lapin's, married to Brant (whose last name I forgot, sorry!) To me, she is Mrs. Rabbit (Lapin translated). Our friendship goes way back as many times we were neighbors during our winter vacations in Zihuatenejo, Mexico.
There we each enjoyed our own lovely romantic bungalow right near the beach. I saw her pregnant with all three of her children. One of them, a gorgeous teenage boy, came to stay at my bed and breakfast in Amsterdam half a year ago. Ruth's charming parents and daughter have also been my guests. Wow, how time does fly.
Ruth, divorced many years ago, fell in love with a big burly Californian businessman, Brant, who now resides with Ruth and her children in her divine Brooklyn apartment. Even Brant's daughter has joined the flock in Brooklyn.
The battle against the bulges according to Annie Sprinkle. As usual, the dinner was delicious and prepared with total consideration for our new healthy diet that we started a few weeks earlier. I call it a kind of astronaut diet, due to the many packages of sawdust look-alike that replace our body's carbohydrate requirements. They do eliminate the feeling of hunger and some of the stuff... like the roesti and imitation omelets even tastes better than the real thing.
It only works if you switch off that button in your head... you know, the button that causes one to binge and eat crap like licorice, milk chocolate, ice-cream and loads of marvellous Dutch cheese.
We also had to give up all things like pasta, bread, rice, sweets, sugar (honey too), and even - fruit, as apparently it contains loads of fruit sugar. Not to forget... no milk, butter, yogurts, wine and beer... the "no nothing" diet. Luckily, I am very fond of veggies; however, giving up cheese and sweets was very hard for me to do. Philip, who did not have to lose as much as I did, well... he simply stopped drinking the three cups of coffee a day with the several cubes of sugar in each cup and switched to black coffee. I still drink two liters of fruity tea a day with ESTEVIA sweetener. I will not touch all the other stuff, as it is full of aspartame (EQUAL) and so are most products that say "low calorie" or "sugar-free" on the label. Almost all of them are full of aspartame, which gives it the sweet flavor but is a questionable food additive.
I am not much of a happy cooker. Luck has it that Philip is not only a loving husband but also... a loving cook! The meals he makes with these sawdust baggies that he mixes with loads of vegetables and hot water actually taste rather nice. It helps me so much that my husband joined me in the battle of the bulges. This brand new diet, after all else failed (i.e. Weight Watchers), was recommended by my great friend, the ex porn star and performing artist, Annie Sprinkle and her wife, Beth. Both of them managed to lose forty pounds in a very short time.
At the dinner, Ruth served heaps of veggies and salads and some fish that had Philip swooning. I settled for the first piece of meat I had touched in weeks and, well... her succulent homemade pastrami. We did not touch any potatoes, rice or desert, of which there was plenty, hand delivered (not made) by our mutual darling friend, Jim Offutt , of Coach bags.
Jim introduced us to his cute and clever new lover, about twenty years his junior. The young student was a lively conversationalist who exuded style and class, as well as his devotion to Jim (who was smitten with this handsome young man). It was great to see these two lovebirds together by my side.
Our bed and breakfast business started to boom around Easter time and has never been better. I think, due to the economic crisis, more and more people stop paying small fortunes to impersonal hotels and prefer to find a cozy "home away from home" bed and breakfast for a much more reasonable price, especially when hosted by such a fun couple as Philip and Xaviera!
Of course, there was my yearly Easter Brunch in the garden. We hosted about sixty people. I required that my guests perform some kind of artistic act (music, dance, storytelling, poetry reciting or cabaret) or bring something interesting to eat. Instead of last year's scores of meatballs, this time... the quiches were favored. Due to our Spartan diet, Philip and I were barely allowed to touch anything on that delicious looking table. About six friends at our party had all started on our same diet. I think we cumulatively had lost 100 kg .What amazed me most was that people came up to me, astonished... "What did you do? A new hairstyle? Did you get your eyes lifted, or a mini facelift? Boy, you sure look great, so what's your secret?
Nobody noticed the fifteen kilos I had already lost but they did notice a difference. Ah well... I suppose I should start wearing bras and slim-lined dresses, but for that... I still have to shed another fifteen kilos. Now, a few months later, I can proudly say that I reached my first goal of a twenty-kilo loss. When I finally tried on a new dress and thought I would be out of the XXL sizes, it turned out I was still an XXL. I was so pissed off. I did not buy a dress but, instead went for a big magnum ice cream. Afterwards, back to the diet... arrrrgh.
At the party there were some new faces... the feisty bright Dutch banker Myriam and the adorable, gutsy Australian-Jewish daughter of Aviva, Rosie - who lives in Australia.
Eddie Woods a long-time friend and performing poet, brought his seventeen-year-old sweet and clever granddaughter, Hannah Woods, to the party. She lives in Germany and they had not seen each other in many years. Seldom have I seen more men of all ages huddle around young ladies like they did around Hannah and Rosie, offering to massage their backs or take them out and about. One older, somewhat tipsy friend of mine even tried to shove his tongue in the girl's throat. This infuriated Grandpa, but since she was seventeen, I believe it was up to little Hanna to tell whomever made that attempt to go to hell!
Clare Tye, a relatively new friend who came to see my holocaust play Westerbork Serenade last year; and, ever since has become my right hand girl when tracking down interesting performances - mostly theater plays enlightened us all with some stories about her own past. (We have been going out quite frequently seeing English language plays in Amsterdam and The Hague.) The one person we all missed the most was the wonderful South African storyteller, Nick Leslie, who... sadly, passed away last year from, I hate to say... obesity. Here a compilation video.
The week before our departure back to Marbella, I felt like visiting an elderly lover of mine that I had not seen for almost thirty years. Her name is Hildegard. She lives in Bingen (not to be confused with the medieval singing nun, Hildegard von Bingen).
In my book, Child No More, I devoted an entire chapter to her recounting the most sensual seduction... of yours truly; and, the love between this much older woman and me that has lasted through all these years. She is now ninety years old and still alive, but in poor physical health. Philip and I decided to look her up in Wiesbaden where she recently moved. Her best friend, Tamara, a Russian concert pianist who lives in her same village, has kept in touch with me over the years keeping me informed about Hildegard's rapidly deteriorating health.
Hildegard broke two toes a year ago. Her toes, recently amputated and gangrenous caused her to be bed ridden and in constant pain, however, her mind is super clear. Tamara, not gay, loves her and looks after all her needs. Hildegard, who was a great friend of my mother many years ago, has the trait of dominance... much like my mother. Tamara, who is patient and kind hearted, adores this feisty old woman with the young mind.
I was in for a real surprise! Crippled as she is now, Hildegard looked absolutely stunning. Hardly a wrinkle in her lovely, cheerful face... still neatly made up and elegantly dressed... some mascara, powder, a touch of perfume, lipstick and long red nails; and, then... there was that turban, same as my mom would sometimes wear on her head, a lovely turquoise cotton wrap-around.
The way she greeted me...so surprised... as if Tamara had not informed her that we would drop by, I will never forget. Suddenly, the years fell off Hildegard, she got that naughty look young girls can have when they fall in love with a boy or in her case, a girl... she held me in her arms, pulled me next to her on her bed and kissed me "zaertlich" – lovingly, on the cheek. I closed my eyes and was amazed at the softness of her skin and the powerful hug she gave me as if we were back in that big warm bed, thirty years ago, in her flat in Spain making passionate love to one another.
Her beautiful hands, with long slender fingers, stroked my hair, and then... she jovially greeted Philip. We all spoke German fluently and soon warmed up to each other. Tamara then took us for a long ride and invited us for a delicious meal in Wiesbaden and the following day we went to Bingen with her.
It was an incredibly emotional weekend, especially for me as I was so glad to see my ex lover still alive and relieved that she was not suffering from dementia. On our own, we visited with Hildegard once more before departing to Holland. I put a lovely framed picture of Philip and me next to her bed. She pointed to the cupboard where she had several small paintings she had painted when she was younger as she was an accomplished artist as well as great singer. She performed on cruise ships where she seduced some of the most beautiful women in the world. She gave her artwork to us to take home. We cherish this remarkable artwork as a memento of her sweet soul and this amazing encounter.
While in Spain a few weeks later on our usual spring holiday, I received several emails from the new producer who kept his word and wanted us all to meet. Warren, Richard, Philip and I rose to the occasion. We quickly booked a flight and hotel in the neighborhood of the Savoy Hotel where the producer was staying. Our first night there, he invited us all, including Warren's girlfriend Anna, (yet another successful matchmaking - I introduced them last year) for a delicious meal at la petite maison .
The conversation flowed and the food was exquisite. The grouping of people was exciting – personal, attractive and international. The noise level was just a bit too high to get into a full gear business chat so we met again the following morning, bright and early at his elegant Savoy Hotel suite. He even arranged for a piano in his suite so that Warren could regale us with some of his latest songs.
Meanwhile, Richard discussed the book, parts of the text that would need altering and revision. Our new producer obviously spent a lot of time reading the text and listening to the compositions. To top it all off, a very handsome butler dressed immaculately in white, assigned to his suite, served us tea and crumpets. The view from this penthouse suite was astounding.
There are plans to produce the musical towards the end of this year as an Off Broadway Show. Depending on the show's success, our producer, who is funding the venture to that point, will then seek more financial backing. Additional funding will allow us to increase the smallish cast and aim for an ON BROADWAY show. I look forward to a smashing success! For those who are not familiar with Warren Wills music style, check out this link - a very interesting website of a musical event he performed two years ago called "Genesis to Broadway".
Adrian Silas (see photo's above), Warren's dear friend, produced this event that was dedicated to the memory ofAdrian and I have since become soul mates of a kind, especially on-line after midnight. Should our musical make it to London, I am sure that this charming and charismatic, multi-talented philosopher who is father to three talented children will put in a 100% effort to make it a smashing success there as well.
Meanwhile, my goal is to look radiant and slender for opening night. I am feeling vibrant and healthy and still very happy with Philip after six years. Our bed and breakfast business in Amsterdam is booming. Life seems to deal us winning hands.
In early October, there will be a new show in my Marbella home theater. A sexy, naughty one-woman show called STRIPPED will be performed from October 4th to 10th in my home theater and restaurant tres amigos in Marbella and same show in Amsterdam and the Hague from November 22nd till 27th. Tickets stripped show for sale online.
To bring this newsletter to a close, I want to share the following narrative that Irecently received. It's about my favorite mime performer from France MARCEL MARCEAU. I want to include this article in my newsletter since everything I write does not have to be directly related to my own life. Ienjoy sharing matters of the heart with my friends.
Marcel Marceau was a Holocaust Hero. He was born Marcel Mangel on March 22, 1923, in Strasbourg, Alsace. His father Charles, was a kosher butcher who loved the arts. Marcel's mother, Anne nee Werzberger, took him to a Chaplin movie when he was five. Marcel was entranced.At the beginning of WWII, he and his brother, Alain, hid their Jewish origins and changed their name from Mangel to Marceau. His father diedin Auschwitz. His mother survived the war.
The French Resistance was headed up by many Jews. Marcel and Alain joined the Resistance in Limoges. The Jewish children had to be protected from both the French police and the Germans. Although he was trilingual, Marcel taught hundreds of Jewish children the art of communicating inmime because it was important for the children to be able to converse silently. The children were brought to safety in Switzerland by Marceau. In 1944, he joined the Free French Forces under General Charles de Gaulleacting as liaison officer to General Patton's army. Marceau entertained thousands of US troops after the liberation of Paris. Marceau was "discovered" by Laurel and Hardy. He spoke only once in a performance. In Mel Brooks' film, "SilentMovie", Marceau said the word "non". His career as an actor, director, teacher, interpreter and public multilingual speaker on five continents lasted over sixty years. He died on Yom Kippur in 2007.
" Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words?"
The following links take you to two of Marcel Marceau's pupils and more footage of the master of mime himself. I spent hours going through these films to find the best to share with you. And, last but not least, this hommage to the silent man
Herewith an interesting picture of myself in my late teens and now... just turned 68. It almost feels like a mother/daughter photograph, but it really is one and the same person, If you ask my opinion, I sure prefer myself now.. more lived in and certainly wiser and happier than when I was a teenager and my face looked like a blank page... Photo by Henk Visser
Last but not least I do not want to deprive you of a whole lot of fun pictures of my 68th Birthday party. Again the weather gods were good to us: it did not rain and the sun was even shining.
Here is a melange of pictures of some good old friends and even a few nice and interesting characters who came into my life not too long ago. enjoy these pictures...
They were having fun at Elsa's jazz cafe on the Middenweg in Amsterdam accompanied by half a dozen male fans and friends of Xaviera and Philip. Of course Candye was delighted and belted out some fabulous blues. She took the crowd by surprise. Never has Philip been in such boobyful heaven ,... ah only once when Annie Sprinkle the other Sex Goddess from California came to visit Xaviera a few years ago.
Shai Shahar a long time friend and well known crooner himself in the style of Frank Sinatra, but also frequently performing as the master of ceremony at various Burlesque acts in Amsterdam sung a duet with La Candye and announced to us that he has just been added to one of the oldest groups of musicians in Holland called the Ramblers... so move over "Buena Vista".. Shai of course is the babe of the band. You can hear him once a month on a Tuesday night at Elsa's jazz bar.
And now... I really have to say goodbye, since it looks like my life at 68 is busier than ever before and I just cannot keep on informing you about all the fun things coming my way for much longer. I don't want to put you to sleep do I?
Have a great summer, remember where to find me , either at the Bed and breakfast in Amsterdam www.xavierahollander.com/sleeper or at my villa caprice in Marbella www.xavierahollander.com/villa-caprice or en route to the Edinburgh Theatre Festival in August