Ira Joel Haber


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I would like to kill this guy but I can’t. I’m tied up and I think my chances of getting through this are 50-50. That’s when the life flashing thing starts. I see my mother pushing me down the street in a stroller, and then the front page of the New York Times comes up like a montage in an old Hollywood movie. I see my obit on the front page. Wow not bad I think. “Young artist murdered”. This is not the way I want to get in The New York Times. Then I see my mother crying and I’m jolted back to reality by them pulling stuff from drawers, and making a mess all over the place. God I wish they would just leave.

I mean he just went around the corner to get a sandwich, but I don’t really give it much thought as I get undressed for sleep. My bedroom opens into the kitchen and there is a door in the kitchen that leads to a long hallway and the large metal door that leads to the world outside the loft. I hear Scott’s key in the door, and I wait for him to come in, so he can piddle around in the kitchen before I turn out the lights. His bedroom is through another door that leads to the rest of the loft including the living room and my studio. I’m expecting only Scott but as he enters I see that there are two large African American men standing along side of him.

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I was in big trouble, and I was really in for it. Its 1958 and I’m home from school because I’m sick with a cold and fever. I was in my bedroom that I share with my older brother who would soon be getting married. It’s early evening and my mother has just left for the luncheonette to begin her night shift and my father is on his way home. Suddenly I hear my sister scream out my name. She is 6 years older, and at 17 she is very pretty but still a bitch to me.

Did you write these dirty words, and drawings?” She asked. Well did you?” Well of course I did it. I thought to myself. You fucking bitch, I hate you so much that this was how I could show my anger and hatred towards you. I broke open your diary and wrote every curse word my little 11 year old self knew and I knew quite a few. I also drew big dicks and cunts all over the pages, and scribbled pornographic drawings on the photos of you and your boyfriends that were laid in the book, yes I did it, and as God is my witness I would do it all over again if I had the chance. “No of course not I didn’t do it” I lied with a straight face.”

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The story line goes something like this. A tough hard broad (read Prostitute) is riding the subway one hot summer day, and gets her Pocketbook picked (or to use pickpocket slang “dipped) by Skip McCoy. What Skip (and the dame) don’t realize is that she is also carrying some microfilm to be passed to commie spies. This opening shot without dialogue, and mostly in tight close-ups is a beaut, and is but one of the many close-ups that Fuller uses throughout the movie.

One day in the spring of 1974 I found that I couldn’t get out of bed. I felt a shooting pain down my leg, and my back was killing me. I just lay there. I finally moved and slowly got up from the foam mattress that rested on the wooden platform bed that “M” had built for us when we first moved into the loft. The pain in my left leg caused by sciatica almost took my breath away and I could barely straighten up.

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It was spring in New York I was single, 27 and I felt like shit. The pain didn’t diminish so I started the doctor journey which lasted from the spring until early fall with me finally spending two weeks in August in traction at Lenox Hill Hospital. I hated it there and they hated me there. I was a terrible patient, cranky and and always complaining.

I carried on so, that at night they would move me to any available space just to shut me up and this included bedding me down in a storage closet. At least I slept. The nurses all bitched me behind my back, and you know that the 1st rule when in a hospital is never complain and always be good because those in control will get revenge for sure. They ignored my calls and rings and pleadings for more painkillers. They gave me Tylenol. I had an orthopedic surgeon and and neurologist. The orthopedic guy, said I would always have back problems, nothing to be done. They had more tests to run including the dreaded Mylogram sometimes known as a spinal tap.
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Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, writer, book dealer, photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows both in the USA and Europe and he has had 9 one man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum Of American Art, New York University, The Guggenheim Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum & The Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Since 2007 His paintings, drawings, photographs and collages have been published in over 195 on line and print magazines.

Ira Joel updates this blog regularly. 

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