(Genie the Tailor got her first break when she designed the new Raider costumes, and now she designs for all the top stars.)
This month, Genie takes a break from her usual tales and recalls some of her favorite memories from Groovyland.
It was all about how I met Mark. The sun was shining, the day was beautiful and I had no car, no way to get up the hill. I ran into a nearby store and asked if anyone could give me a ride. Suddenly I saw a very tall, handsome boy with (believe it or not) a ponytail, trying on clothes in front of a mirror. “I’ll take you, little girl,” he said. “I’ve got an old 1952 Ford, but it runs pretty well.” We went outside to the parking lot and there was a beautiful, spanking new Maserati. (This was 1966, remember.) “Some Ford,” I said, as we drove off.
“What is your name?” he asked, and I said, “Genie, what’s yours?” “Mark,” he said and smiled at me. “This is really cool of you, Mark,” I said, “do you live around here?” “Sort of,” he said. “What do you do for a living?” I asked. He looked at me strangely and said, “I’m a singer.” “Fabulous,” I said. “Do you sing on TV or in clubs or what?” “I’m in a group,” he replied. “It’s called Paul Revere and the Raiders.” “Oh, how quaint,” I said. “With a little luck, maybe you’ll make it.” “That’s very sweet of you,” Mark said. “Actually, we have a record out now called ‘Kicks.’” “Oh, really, do you?” I said. “That’s nice.”
One day Ann Moses took me to see Jefferson Airplane (in 1966) and I saw their whole show. “Boy,” I thought to myself, “I’m glad that I have good taste. This whole group wears Levis, tee shirts and denim jackets and they look like a bunch of farmers and freaks, which is the way they should look. I’m glad, as a designer, that if they ever asked me to make clothes for them, I have the good taste to tell them ‘No, you should wear exactly what you are wearing already. Anything else would be wrong.”
Well, two months later I saw them again in San Francisco with Annie and she introduced me to them. They looked really groovy in their denim jackets and levis, but it was hard to tell them apart because they all had hair down to their shoulders and wore dark funny-shaped glasses, and I couldn’t keep the names straight.
The leader, Marty, spoke up and said that they had all heard about me and could I design some costumes. In particular, he wanted a velvet suit. I started to say that they didn’t need costumes, their denim stuff was great, but I got as far as “you see, you look like a bunch of farmers and freaks,” when I stopped, realizing I wasn’t making myself clear. I never did make that velvet suit for Marty, but as you know…
You really ought to know that Phil Volk is a very clean person. He is neat, he is tidy, his hair is always combed, his house is immaculately clean and everything is always in its place. He used to come to my house for fittings and really put me on about the mess and lint and stuff everywhere all the time. In particular, Phil’s clothes are always perfectly pressed, his trousers always have a crease, and he never thinks twice about it.
He is just a really neat person by nature, and, in contrast, by nature I am a clean sloven. Well, anyway, one night Phil came to my house with three pairs of trousers and said that they were going away on tour the next day and could he have the trousers hemmed by morning. I said, of course, and he left. There was a blue, a black and naturally, to my chagrin, a white pair. I got through the first and second okay, but before I started the third, I thought, “Well, Genie, it’s time to have a little snack.” Into the kitchen and the refrigerator and into some beautiful chocolate cake with all kinds of gooey icing and everything I went.
Now, at that time, Twerfie was just a wee little puppy and didn’t know about manners and things like that. She looked at me so soulfully that I gave her a teeny tiny piece of cake for herself, and went back to licking my fingers. After awhile, it was time to get back to work again, and lo and behold, little Twerfie was lying on top of Phil’s nice warm once white trousers licking chocolate icing all over the knees.
It took me an hour to get the stains out of Phil’s white trousers and I never said anything to him about it and he never said anything to me about it so I presumed that he never knew and I wasn’t going to tell and this is the first time I told.
Peter Tork is a pretty funny boy on television and a wonderful actor, but in real life he is beautiful, dreamy, intelligent, and tremendously knowledgeable about everything and very warm and understanding. One day, I was in his house and everybody was in another room. I was all alone in the kitchen. I was starving hungry. In particular, I was starving for something sweet. I looked around and looked around and suddenly I saw something which looked very much like a brownie to me. It was chocolate and really looked good, so I peeped around to see if anybody was there. No one. All alone. Secretively I creeped towards the sweet, and ate it all at once, hoping nobody would see. Nobody did see. Gee, I thought, chocolate is so good. But it sure tastes weird. Really good, though. Good brownie.
As soon as I got home I felt really terrible. “Wow,” I thought, “I don’t feel so good.” I lay down and pondered my misery. What could I have done to get sick? Let’s see, I’m starving hungry, I haven’t eaten anything all day, maybe that’s it. I’ll eat something and feel better.
I got into the kitchen and saw some chocolate cake. I started to eat it, when suddenly I remembered. The brownie! I ran to the phone and called up Peter. “Peter,” I said, “what was in that brownie?” “What brownie, Genie?” said Peter. “The brownie under the shelf near the stove,” I moaned. “That was no brownie, Genie,” said Peter, “that’s just pressed dog food. What’s the matter? Don’t tell me you ate it?”