When I posted about John Cage's appearance on I've Got a Secret, Rodney Lister wrote in to say that he recalls seeing the show live and also remembers a second appearance by Cage in 1963, in the wake of his epic nineteen-hour production of Erik Satie's Vexations. On that occasion Cage brought with him the one audience member who had stayed for the entire duration of the program—and thereby received a full refund. (Customers got a five-cent refund for every twenty minutes they spent in the theater.) I mention this very patient gentleman in my book. In the New York Times his name was given as Karl Schenzer, his profession as off-Broadway actor. I wonder if he was in fact Karl Schanzer, an actor who appeared in Francis Coppola's unpromising debut films, the nudie Western Tonight For Sure and the low-rent horror flick Dementia 13, and who later co-edited the book American Screenwriters. If anyone happens to know a way of getting in touch with Mr. Schenzer/Schanzer, I would be interested to know if he has any piquant memories of the event itself and of I've Got a Secret.
Update: Frank Oteri writes in with the information that it was in fact John Cale who appeared on I've Got a Secret in the wake of the Vexations spectacle. Frank showed a DVD of the show as part of an eight-hour "pianoless Vexations" that he co-curated last year — an event that included everyone from Randy Nordschow and Margaret Leng Tan to Stephin Merritt and Rick Moody. (How did I miss that? You can listen to archived MP3s at UbuWeb.) Cale was one of the team of pianists who executed Vexations at the Pocket Theater in 1963. (David Del Tredici, incidentally, was another.) The young Welsh avant-gardist had just spent the summer at Tanglewood studying with Copland and Xenakis, among others; in his autobiography, the fascinating What's Welsh for Zen, he reports that he came to New York in Xenakis's car — one of my favorite details in twentieth-century music history. He soon joined La Monte Young's Theater of Eternal Music, which led him in turn, by various twists, to the Velvet Underground and arcane rock eminence.
Here is my 1993 report on the thirtieth-anniversary Vexations marathon at Roulette.