Being born is one thing. Being born in NYC in 1923 is the best thing! That year has colored my entire life. To be a part of the Broadway scene in 1944 and to dance in the Shubert Theater and walk through stage door 6, nights and matinees. That was living!
Sardi's across the street and the Astor hotel on the corner. The show was Bloomer Girl with Celeste Holm. Agnes DeMille choreography, Harold Arlen music with Yip Harburg lyrics.
Those were Broadway's golden years! No repeats, all originals. You could sense the rumble of McCarthyism and the smell of the black list. Within the company of Bloomer Girl, there were many political activists. Not me, I was a dancer's dancer, bursting with energy. I lived for dance and dance was my life. Fast-forward to 1956 and Los Angeles. The air was breathable, the sky was blue. The climate to a New Yorker was amazing, but the culture and energy was not yet happening. That was yet to come.
New York is a city of speed and energy. Even if you didn't make it, you thought you were making it! No one walks in New York, they run. But the culture on a scale of 10 was a 10 and still is. The theater page in the NY Times is multiple pages. Don't forget coffee and the subway was a nickel.
Los Angeles is not a city of speed. It's a slow moving city. It was years before I found my place in LA. This is a city for self-starters. One doesn't get the push and sense of energy needed to succeed. The difference in LA between 1956 and 2013 culturally and creatively, can knock your socks off! The #1 symphony in the world, first-class opera and the jazz scene is percolating.
And that leads me to the fashion scene in the 60s. LA was considered a beachwear city. NY was the capitol of fashion in the USA, but in the 70s there was a young fashion group of which I was a major part and that group, plus the entire LA fashion scene, escalated into a very sophisticated competitive industry that still exists.
Entering the fashion scene now in 2013 takes youthful fearlessness naïveté and beaucoup bucks. My exit came after 22 years and was timely. I loved every minute of those 22 years and I'm loving all the years that have followed. Even Los Angeles! This is where I dance, make music, face challenges [skydive] and if I may be so bold, know and like who I am. That's taken a few years, but it's not the number. It's simply the time. It's never too late. It's always the beginning.