Glowing Memories Of Genghis Cohen
July 29, 2006
Back in P.S.55, when I wasn’t running from the guys with switch-blades and zip guns I would sit and draw. I learned how to make 3-D comics, you know the kind where you needed red and blue glasses. This peculiar talent got me in to New York’s High School of Music and Art. Although I never became the Picasso of 3-D, I developed the love of images that challenge the eye and the imagination.
In 1983, my friend and sometime business partner Allan Rinde decided to exit the music business and open a Chinese Restaurant in a Jewish neighborhood in Hollywood. I came up with a name for him, Genghis Cohen! The place was an immediate hit. Soon after, Allan asked me to take some of the burden off his shoulders and become night host. It was about this time that I had begun working with fabric paint and decided to create a unique look for myself by creating my own outfits. The first night I wore one of shirts to work, I sold it off of my back for $125.00…and I knew that I had something
Soon I had all sorts of people buying my clothes including, Robert Downey, Jr., J.D. Nicholas of the Commodores, Pam Tillis, Patti Dahlstrom, Sammy Davis, Jr. James Caan, Val Garay, Steve Cropper and Luther VanDross.
When I did a couple of jackets for ERTE….the father of Art Deco….I didn’t know who he was….when I found out I doubled my prices and landed a one man show at Bobbi Leonard’s gallery in Santa Monica. It wasn’t long before I was selling my clothing out of Fred Segals, Robinsons & Leather Force on Melrose and in Beverly Hills.
Once Sarah Jessica Parker was trying on one of my creations in the wine room at Genghis Cohen…..She dresses and flicks off the light switch….but it’s NOT the switch for the closet it’s the switch for the ENTIRE restaurant …. *#!!%……Allan throws open the door….turns the darkened restaurant lights back on and GLARES at me….Sarah confesses….and Allan smiles…after all, who can get mad at Sarah Jessica Parker?
When I started using glow-in-the-dark paint on my creations, I would dim the lights then go into the kitchen and get a blast of flourescent light. I’d walk back into the restaurant, hand out fortune cookies and sell the glowing jacket right off my back!
copyright 2012 by Artie Wayne