Ward Schumaker: Shostakovich’s Suits
I’d come down to the waterfront earlier in the evening, to the offices of Walter Landor, advertising man and San Francisco celebrity, a man who carried on his business aboard an old ferryboat, The Klamath, berthed at Pier Five. Landor died recently but his company continues on the boat. Landor had purchased the ferry for a song at auction, had it refitted with offices, a dining room, a bar; and parties have been held here over the years, important parties filled with important names––Princess Margaret, Nureyev, Andy Warhol, The Stones, all kinds of luminaries. Photographs of them appeared the next day in the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner. This wasn’t one of those parties. This was simply a group of guys I’d lunched with daily during an earlier time in my life; one of them works here and arranged for us to use the dining room. I hadn’t wanted to come drink with them, they’d never been my type; they were gregarious, successful and moneyed, while I was the opposite. To them I appear a loser, I’m certain of that. For years, though, I’d held myself above them and their kind by thinking of myself as an artist. But years had groveled by, I hadn’t produced much, few knew of anything of the work I’d created, fewer still cared, and I wondered, would I ever even make it as an unknown?