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Recommended Reading 1

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Black Tie International:
The Piņata Party
The Piņata Party
The Piņata Party
Alan J. Rude
Review by Ward Morehouse III

As someone who has lived with a tribe of Indians on 
a remote tributary of the Amazon River I was especially looking forward to reading Alan J. Rude's book "The Piņata Party." I had retuned from South America with several headdresses and other "trinkets"  as well as having filed stories on the adventure for The  Christian Science Monitor.  
But I was unprepared for the laugh riot I encountered  in many 
of the pages of "The Piņata Party," about Rude's own adventures, or more accurately, misadventures, not in the Amazon, but New York's Greenwich Village. They reminded me of the sheer joy I felt reading James Thurber's classic short story "The Night The Bed Fell." And from the moment Rude ventures into his Greenwich 
 Village store one night one bed after another seems to fall at least figuratively on
Rude and his Ivy League-educated partners.
On the way up darkened stairs to their $100,000 acquisition (which included
 a wear-house as well as a store) they encounter a group 
of shrunken heads from the Shuar tribe in Ecuador; their
entire order of six thousand red and black masks for 
the prestigious Elizabeth Arden cosmetic firm was useless since the
individual masks were supposed to be both red and black - not 
3,000 red and 3,000 black. 
When violent screams are heard from downstairs of The Piņata Party, Rude becomes very worried and is about to call the police. But he relates his landlady told him, "I am in no difficulty as you see. I am conducting a 'Primal Scream Therapy' session. I do this often as a therapeutic, psychological procedure."      
Then there's a visit from the Peruvian secret police who want
to horn in on Piņata's operations which by 1968 are becoming 
quite successful with additional storefronts in Manhattan, Long Island,
Connecticut and New Jersey.
It should be noted that with the serious accounting skills 
of Rude and his partners the late 1960's was a time when colorful "hippie"
fashions were all the rage which the youthful colleagues 
took full economic advantage of.
If "The Piņata Party" was merely a host of highly-amusing anecdotes 
it would stand securely on its humorous own. But it's also a highly
readable capsule history of a time and place, Greenwich Village
in the 1960s when talented writers and painters were achieving
their first glimpses of lasting success. 
It was also a time when highly promising politicians such as New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay we're bringing a new energy and idealism to the city as short-lived
 as it turned out to be.
Ward Morehouse III's latest book is "The Bear Who Lived at The Plaza." 


Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/

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