Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Robert Shaw had settled down into a bourgeois existence in the Austin area, but after talking to him for a while he agreed to show me some videos. In his youth he had been on the whorehouse circuit, playing the piano in the lobby where visitors came to pick out one of the girls. After the doors were closed and it was time for the music to stop two or more of the girls would fight over who got to sleep with Robert for the rest of the night. He asked me to be careful about what I wrote because he was now living a respected life. I told him we would send him to Washington, D.C. to represent a part of Texas life on the mall there. It was Shaw who told me about night life in Kansas City. "This would be an eight story building," he said. On the first floor you could walk in and buy a beer and look around for a girl." As you went higher up you had to be recommended in order to enter. The top floor was really exclusive. Shaw played me some of his music. It was not at all rowdy, it was sort of dreamy. Shaw went on up the circuit, from Texas to Chicago, paying his way by playing the piano. Finally he came back to Austin and settled down. He was the only man I ever met who really did play the piano in a whorehouse.