IN THE LONG hot summer of 1969 Kirk Douglas, Yul Brynner, Claude Drouot, Fernando Rey and Samantha Eggar arrived in the sleepy Spanish village of Cadaqués to star in The Light at the Edge of the World, the film of Jules Verne's novel produced by Alexander Salkind.
The Life Of Salvador Dali
In September 2004 to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Salvador Dali, the critically-acclaimed Sex, Surrealism, Dali and Me ' the story of Carlos Lozano's long association with the painter, was republished in a new edition by Tethered Camel as The Sex Life of Salvador Dali. In the following excerpt, Carlos Lozano describes his first brush with Hollywood stars, the room with the glass floor and how the great surrealist charmed his guests out of their clothes.
Apart from the narrow winding streets of the old town and the picturesque bay dotted with fishing boats, the main attraction was the proximity of Salvador Dalì at his surreal house clinging to the hillside above Port Lligat.
Prior to their arrival in Cadaqués, the Hollywood stars had been indulged to a superlative display of Dalì genius at a lunch party at the Restaurant Gare de Lyon in Paris. With them that day were various members of Dalì's Divine Court: Gala, his muse, coiffed and rouged like a ventriloquist's dummy; Prince Dado Ruspoli, famed as having the largest penis in Europe; Princess Nanita Kalaschnikoff, with her celebrated Louis XIV profile; the collector Sir Edward James; painter Léonor Fini and the unimaginably gorgeous Amanda Lear who, like Léonor, could not paint, as Kirk Douglas learned from his host, because genius is only found in the balls.
'Paint is about time, space and balls. And Amanda doesn't have any,' said Dalì, bringing his palms together as if in them he held two bricks.
Kirk, nonetheless, kept his hand buried in the mysterious dark places below Amanda's mini-skirt and Léonor Fini, magnificent in a sorcerer's robes sewed with magic symbols, stood with arms raised:
'Genius,' she screamed. 'Is in the slit.'
'Who is that woman?' asked Yul Brynner.
'Léonor Fini,' whispered Sir Edward.
Yul shrugged. 'She can sit on my face whenever she wants''
It was routine for the Divine Court, but a mesmerising if dangerous world for Carlos Lozano, a 20 year old dancer in the musical Hair who would spend the next twenty-five years as a confidante of Salvador Dalì.
That day, when lunch was over, Carlos joined Dalì on the journey to Spain, and the film stars were forgotten. As Carlos was to learn, Dalì, a blatant egoist, was aware that the narcissism that made movie stars what they were left little tolerance for repetition or ennui. Having floored his audience at the Restaurant Gare de Lyon, he buried himself in his Cadaqués studio and got on with what he did best: painting.
The brief luncheon soon became legend and the talented young Samantha Eggar felt miffed at having missed the experience. When she learned that Carlos had a special place in the affections of the el Maestro, she appeared one night at his hotel room and with the moon captured in silver ripples across the bay of Port Lligat explained that she would do anything, just anything to meet the great Salvador Dalì.
Carlos Lozano continues the story:
By Carlos Lozano
It was the beginning of what was to become my career as Dalì's procurer. In the morning I went to the studio where he was working on a large canvas with Isador Bea, his assistant. Bea did all the tedious background work and the master added the details. 'A canvas needs only one touch from the hand of the Divine and it is sufficient to make it a Dalì,' he explained.
Dalì could read minds and placed his hands on his hips to wait with mock patience for me to spill out my tasty little morsel of gossip. After I'd told him everything that had happened with Samantha Eggar, he asked me to bring her to the house at five that afternoon.
She was filming on the volcanic rocks of Cabo de Creus and we tore back around the serpentine roads in a rattling old truck belonging to the lighting department and only just made it. Dalì hated unpunctuality. He never wore a watch, but he always knew the exact time.
He was waiting behind the stuffed bear at the entrance and led us through to the egg room.
'Is it true that American women do not fart?' he asked.
I thought for a moment she was going to explain that she was in fact English but Samantha realised that Dalì would not have appreciated the correction. She smiled instead and went along with the game.
'I love to fart,' she replied. 'But only in private.'
'No, no, no, no, no. It is something chèr ami Salamander you should share. I am writing a book on farts. It is a Catholic pastime despised by Protestants. I have documentary evidence that Popes are selected by the Archbishops for their ability to fart. When the Pope stands at that little balcony in the Vatican and raises his hand to the crowds in St Peter's Square, what he is doing at that moment is letting go with an enormous fart.'
"There was once a female Pope and do you know how she was discovered? She was a bad farter. Everyone knew and they had to burn her at the stake. Farting is the male preserve, just as making embryos is the role of the female."
There is so much to see. And to smell. There used to be a famous brothel in Venice where the whores ate perfumed food prepared by an alchemist. Their speciality was farting in the faces of their clients. The gentlemen would choose different fragrances. C'est colossal?'
On the table there was also a copy of Dalì's licentious play which he gave Samantha and she read the obscene text while he squirmed in his chair. The tragedy in three acts, which he carried around the world locked in a trunk, was about a beautiful princess in love with both a despot and a priest. It contained long passionate soliloquies on Dalì's habitual preoccupations: autoeroticism, sodomy and coprophilia. 'My tongue yearns for the taste of his pure white seed. I crave only to fill myself full with his angry sword. My body is a pit of desire. Bring me his faeces on a silver platter. Warm me and heal me with your golden rain.'
Dalì had gone through the same ritual with Isabelle Adjani, Catherine Deneuve, Brigitte Bardot and others, but it was Samantha Eggar who won the Academy Award for appreciating Dalì's sense of humour.
Rosa the maid, dress in pink, naturally, appeared with a bottle of the best French champagne. It was a sign.
We drank and giggled. Dalì was disarming, charming, roguish, brilliant. He talked about flies and masturbation. 'In Arabia the man being buggered has broken the laws of Mahomet, while the buggerer has not. It is very curious. I believe only women should be buggered. They have openings designed for being pierced. Jack Kennedy's greatest pleasure was his trips Around the World'you haven't had a women, he told me, until you've had her in the mouth, in that place where they make embryos, and up the ass.' He pantomimed the positions for us. 'It is the masculine rite of passage,' he continued. 'Jack was more than a politician, poor dear, he was a true artist.'
He poured more champagne and left the room for a moment to call for another bottle.
We went on a tour of the house, something women adored. He showed Samantha his rhinoceros horn and talked about aphrodisiacs. Then, he produced his phalluses and pornographic photographs. 'Did you know Walt Disney? He was a very good friend of mine; he visited me here, you know. How marvellous that the man who made all those cartoons for children had the largest collection of erotic pictures in the world.'
We came to the room with the glass floor. The entrance was shaped like a vagina with bulging plastic lips that seemed to suck you into the warm interior. Inside, spread out like a strange snake, was a red tube about ten feet long. It was made of canvas with a skeleton of thin metal hoops, each with a diameter no bigger than the width of my shoulders. The setting sun made the room dark pink and shadowy. 'Sex turns on the light. When you have an orgasm, the light shines and your soul merges with the universe.'
We were lulled by Dalì's voice, drugged by his obsessions. 'Salamander. It is a wonderful name, a mythical creature. Take your clothes off. You can take part in an important experiment.'
He looked at Samantha Eggar and he looked at the red tube and his eyes rolled and I was amazed that she did as he asked without hesitation. She had an exquisite body blessed by the Cadaqués sun and wasn't at all shy, as I had discovered the previous night in my hotel room.
'You must crawl through the tube very slowly, and when you get to the other end, go even slower,' he said, and she entered the red snake, bending over and wriggling beautifully.
It was a prolonged process and she emerged bathed in sweat and smiling like an angel. She went through again and again and each time Dalì grew more excited and the actress more abandoned. 'You are a baby born from Dalì's uterus. You are my love child.'
He was rubbing his hand up and down his walking cane but his limousine ' as Dalì called his penis - remained in the garage. I was wondering what my role was going to be and, as the thought entered my mind, Dalì intercepted it.
'Now it is your turn, Carlos,' he said, and he pulled at my shirt.
I undressed and eased my way into the snake. It was harder for me, being larger than Samantha, and I emerged almost suffocated. Dalì laughed and she laughed and then he told us to sit on the floor.
'I need some angel's wings. I must have them. I'm desperate,' he said.
We sat and he vanished to the room below where he took photographs of our remote parts pressed against the glass floor. Samantha covered her face and giggled. We were naked and hot and sweaty. It was fun.
That night, Dalì and Gala took the film people out to dinner at El Barroco and one of Salvador Dalì's infamous angel's wings became a painting that now hangs in the Vatican. He was a monster. But Divine.