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• Michael Roloff / Excursus ...

Excursus NY Spring 1971

An Austrian Cultural Package Arrives for a 21 events in 28 days USA marathon...


By the time the Austrian threesome - Handke, Kolleritsch, Libgart Schwarz - arrived in New York in the Spring of 1971 I had been beseeched by Siegfried Unseld, as he does the Left-Handed Woman to become the Suhrkamp agent to replace the fine ex-Berliner Joan Daves, who had her nose full of that representation. See [link]

for a detailed account of what transpired during the two years I endured working for the Obergauner and his Foreign Rights Hyena, Helene Ritzerfeld, also for the relationship with Farrar, Straus + Giroux.


I had managed to put Handke’s work over at Farrar, Straus with support from Susan Sontag – barely: had it not been for Robert Giroux realizing Handke's talent that ass-licking stiletto man Michael DeCapua - as I will memorialize him justly in the annals of literature - would have had his way again and as he would have once more in the future and shot down another of my projects. KASPAR AND OTHER PLAYS had been published, to some fine reviews, of as yet officially unperformed plays. I had given up my own royalties as translator to get two plays finally done, officially, at B.A.M. A clown named Schulz, a clown in every which way in American parlance and a clown suit made for him by his American hippie girl friend Barbara Becker [a.k.a. "Slave girl"] had appeared in my office who wanted to do them, since I had not gotten anywhere in a couple of years I had no reason to say no. [link]

Since Princeton 1966 [see Footnote for Princeton] I had seen Handke once more, in 1969, in Berlin, to discuss my translation of KASPAR ["more abstract, as abstract as possible" had been the author's wish] and my heart had sunk at the prospect of finding the German originals for the quotes from American black mask type novels that DER HAUSIERER contains, I might have asked Handke whether he could help me find them. As it was, GOALIE was substituted for HAUSIERER in the contract I had drawn prior to becoming Suhrkamp agent and thus also Handke's U.S. agent. I had translated GOALIE, too, by then.


 I had already run around town with a wild ex-pat troupe that had re-appeared from San Miguel de Allende with my friend the actor and writer Michael Locascio and a certain JB in whose scrawny arms “the Hammer” – Neil Cassidy - had expired one cold Mexican Tequila night on some railroad tracks - to give a hint of how relatively hardcore down-low hippie precincts we are now in - and will not except for mere mention indicate what the weed they brought with them elicited in me… - and arranged for one shot performances of PUBLIC INSULT and SELF-ACCUSATION at any venue that would have us, me and my trusty Sony tape recorder, weight about 20 pounds those days. I had worked with Herbert Berghof and E.G. Marshall at his HB studio on two two week performances of these plays and of KASPAR. E.G. Marshall! A memorably intelligent actor. NY was a fairly wide open town those days, it would become far more open in the next ten years. [...]


(Shortcut! Full text as PDF-file HERE!)

[Michael Roloff]

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