I remember hanging out with my ex-pal Goyte at Franz Werfel’s house which had a spectacular view of the Hollywood Bowl. We loved listening to the performances, but Franz and his wife were always fighting about something. One time he had hocked off a Klimt painting at some pawnshop down in Los Feliz and she kicked us all out.
Now let me tell you, she had been around the block, first married to Gustav Mahler, then Walter Gropius. She kind of reminded of me that girl in that Tom Waits song:
I mean, she’s been married so many times
She’s got rice marks all over her face
Yeah, you know the kind
Anyway, she and Franz fought like cats and dogs. I can’t say I blamed him. How could he live up to Mahler or Gropius? But Franz was a swell guy, great sense of humor and a good card player—such a poker face. Or better, a reverse poker face, like he was about to lose his shit. Guys like that will always kill you at the card table.
I suppose he didn’t like the idea that his wife kept the Mahler in her name, legally referring to herself as Alma Mahler Werfel, one hell of a mouthful. I told Franz not to sweat it. Think how Walt Gropius must feel? Like he was just a someone that she used to know.
Goyte stole my idea. We longer talk.