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Gary Baseman, Vincent Gallo, and the Curse of Numerology

I have a confession to make - I sat next to the rather famous LA artist Gary Baseman on Saturday night and I had no clue who he was. He mentioned his Emmy's, BAFTAs and all kinds of fun stuff and I still didn't catch on - I mean, after a while in LA you start to tune out to peoples' awards and stuff. It's like, if you don't have an Emmy, then what the fuck's wrong with you?

Anyway - I had just been to the opening night of the Friends Like Us exhibit at the Merry Karnowsky gallery on La Brea. Friends Like Us are two Miami-based artists who create fine art and plush toys that look like a cross between voodoo totems and Japanese anime characters - very spooky and totally great. Afterwards, the gallery owner Merry invited some guests for dinner at the nearby Amalfi restaurant. Among the group were jewelry designer Tarina Tarantino and her partner Alfonso Campos, (complete with reality show camera crew that is following them around for the next six weeks), Richard Colman, the brilliant artist who warned me he was a "fucking weirdo" and Gary Baseman, who was seated to my left. I asked him his name and he pulled out a little postcard bearing his work. On the back he wrote a message reading "To Caroline, Toby Loves You". Toby is a little clown-dog character who regularly appears in his work. Baseman had drawn Toby and a character looking suspiciously like me, naked, in the Jennifer Aniston Rolling Stone cover pose. Cute. I showed it to my artsy friend sitting across from me and she started having convulsions.

Gary Baseman, Vincent Gallo, and the Curse of Numerology

"Where did you get that?!! Oh my god it's Gary Baseman!" and I said "yeah I know it's Gary Baseman, that's him sitting next to me". The whole table lit up with excitement. I still had no idea who he was, but was starting to figure out that he was someone pretty popular. (As if to further highlight my ignorance, Tarina Tarantino's film crew started asking me questions about the British fashion scene (I havent been home in two years), luckily I managed to pull a couple of Oswald Boateng references out of the bag...Phew-ee.)

I turned back to Gary and told him about the book I am reading, called The Black Arts. It's all about magick, spells, alchemy, astrology and contains a very interesting chapter on numerology. Each one of us has a special magic number which you can figure out using a chart in the book. I am a three ("charming, lucky, overanxious for popularity") and Gary asked me to find out what his number was. That night when I got home, I did. He is a seven, "the number of the scholar, the philosopher, the mystic and the occultist". Sevens are also "likely to be deeply unhappy people". Bummer. I emailed him this information and he didnt seem too impressed. I should have known better, thanks to my recent numerology fuck-up with Vincent Gallo.

I emailed Mr Gallo a few weeks ago after watching The Brown Bunny on DVD. Gallo wrote, produced, directed and starred in the movie (his penis co-starred, encased mainly in Chloe Sevigny's mouth) and I was actually very moved by it (it's all about lost love, and I had just split up with someone I loved very much). I went to his website and there is a section where you can email him. So I did, thanking him for creating a beautiful piece of art. Gallo specifically requests that all emailers attach a photo of themselves, which I did. He wrote back saying "you look pretty and nice". I was surprised and flattered that he responded and wrote back "do you want to be friends" (OK, so I'm a big flirt). He wrote back "where do you live". I responded "Hollywood", and he replied "Me too". At this point, having tired somewhat with the two word answers, and excited at having a new movie star pen pal, I wrote an eloquent and sweet letter, and even gave him a free numerology reading based on his name. Unfortunately, the numbers were not fortuitous. Mr Gallo is an 8, and therefore "hard, materialistic, selfish, sometimes tyrannical and unscrupulous". According to the book, they are "not very attractive characters and they may be keenly aware of that. They have the capacity for massive success, but constantly face the possibility of resounding failure". Unsurprisngly, I never heard back from Mr. Gallo after that one. DOH! There goes my movie star neighbor/pen pal.

Moral of the story? Numerology - DON'T.

Posted by Caroline Ryder