Archive for the ‘Artristry’ Category

In the Church they were holding communion. and of course being important people they had their reclinatorio which is a kneeling chair made of fine wood and covered in velvet, to kneel on. I was in the pew behind them with the rest of their family.  It seemed like they all where looking at me, wondering “What on earth is this prisoner doing with my parents?”  Of course I just kept praying and thinking “God let me be free of this nightmare,  I did not commit  any crime, why am I here?”

Now I need my 007

Now I need my 007

Wait a minute, did not commit any crime? Oh yes,  I had a half a roach in my pocket (it was not mine, it was my lovers, but nevertheless it was on my person) and seeds of Marijuana. It did not matter if I smoked it or not? I had them in my possession, but for 30 seeds, came on! Give me a break! It had been almost a month and a half and I was still a prisoner!

When the service was over, we walked over to the corner where there was a dinner place. The

rest of the family left, so the Licenciado, his wife and I sat down  in this restaurant “Maria’s” and between some food (glory be to God!), real food, we talked and I told them my story. They must have had a son who was on drugs or alcohol or something, because they were very sympathetic towards me and very gentle. I could read in her eyes tears wanting to come out, while he was concerned and gallantly containing his  emotions. Then he said I will try to help, and ask me don’t you have a lawyer?  Well, no and yes.. if you could give me permission to make some long distance calls to Caracas? I thought, maybe I can get someone to help me?…..

Smoking my dreams away

Smoking my dreams away

In  a few words, I understood that he would give me Monday the number of an abogado (Licenciado)  that was a very good friend of his– Lic. Lawyer Public Defender  Morales– to see if he could talk to the judge, they played golf together, to see about my case and when I would be going to court to finish this matter. The only thing I could say was GRACIAS, with tears in my eyes which I did not try to hide.

And when we were in the Cadillac,  I dared to ask if was also possible to allow me to use the phone with their permission to call my mother and my ex-husband? They said it would be OK.,  just that I have to ask his secretary for permission and not  to tell any other inmates,.

(I could spend many pages describing how moved they were  about my situation, but at the same time they could not show it, after all, I was their prisoner– yes, with some unheard of privileges).

They were holding back their laughter and smiles over this stupid incident, but the law is the law! They were so cute,  like seeing  that is exactly what they would havce been doing when they were younger, doing these crazy things that they never did, but would have  liked to have done!

Then when we got to the reten it was unusually quiet,  there were some men on the other side of the street, smoking and talking,  but my friendly cops were not there ,so  I went straight  to my hammock with my kitty and went to sleep with dreams of getting out of  Maracaibo and being back in the elegant parts of Caracas.


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The black van raced along at great speed. “Where are they taking me?” Oh I know, to the American Consulate, of course!  That’s why he didn’t speak to me this morning when I shouted at him through the iron bars in jail. Or maybe even straight to the Aeropuerto de Maracaibo? I was feeling a little better thinking that as soon I get to Caracas to change planes I will call Walter in San Francisco, and tell him I am having a great time seeing Maracaibo! I would love to stay in the same hotel where we stayed! Sweet memories: we danced in the disco club until the wee hours of the morning. But I have to go to Canaima too, my brother is waiting for me. Walter’s memories are haunting me, and my love for him after all those years still makes my heart jump!

Guajiara India woman in a every day dress and I had one too

Guajiara Indian woman in an everyday dress and I had one too

All this made me feel nostalgic suddenly, and I was not very happy about Tad abandoning me. What a coward with a capital C! Walter would never do that– or would he? or did he? I will tell him how much I still really love him, no matter how many lovers or husbands I have had over the years!

The van kept moving, I think we went past the aeropuerto. “Now where are we going?” I dared to ask, but no answer. I need to open these dark windows to see, but of course they were sealed,  so I could only see a little bit, from where the driver and his companion looked through their big window, which of course was not tinted. I really would like to see and get some air, it’s an inferno in here! The temperature must be over 100F and the air conditioner does not reach back here. But I just shut up and said nothing at all. The AC seems to work only in the front cabin, far away, separated by bars. Of course the windows were sealed and the bars were locked.

Now I realized I was the only one in the baucan (van) wherever it was, with these two jailers, and they were staring at me, which did not look very good to me! “Oh not, not that, my dear God. They’re not going to do something like rape me!”

Finally they stopped the van and the doors were open and these two guys stepped out and closed the doors– what now?  I guessed they were buying cigarettes, liquor, rum, and then they would take me to a remote place, rape me and may be even kill me and no one would ever find me, oh dear God please help me!

They took their time in the store, in the meantime I could try to see where we were. It just looked like the street of a colonial old style suburb, but I could only see half of the store. I couldn’t see the whole picture because of the way the windows were blacked out, with my nerves on fire and my mind spinning thinking of hundreds of scenarios, none of them very good! At least I had the faith that always took me through life unharmed. My thoughts were interrupted by the guards getting back in the van and shouting “Vamonos!” I yelled at one of them, “What’s going on?” No answer.

After what seemed an eternity, I heard voices and another car and lots of commotion going on, but I couldn’t see from my seat. I was still handcuffed. Then the van came to a stop, voices and cars noises, and finally they opened the side door that gave me access to get out, “Out,” one of the jailers said, “out! afuera!”

It was a nice street in a very old colonial area, the sky was blue and clear with fluffy clouds dancing to a soft breeze and the temperature over 100 F, but I did not care!

At least I could breathe fresh air, not the putrefying odor of that jail! There was a big corner house, very old Spanish style, with those old windows I liked so much and some big wooden doors; it was painted a blue grayish color with white borders all around the entire house. There were women with children coming out of the right far door, and from the center door there were men in suits that looked like lawyers, going in and out.

Through the left door they escorted me, and we went inside to a big sala with a beautiful old wooden desk with lots of papers piled up, and many people coming and going, so I stood there while some policemen came in and took their handcuffs off me.

My guards pointed to a long bench down the room and left me, saying “Stay there.” So I sat there, immobile, I dared not move or even ask where the bathroom was. This was okay, I thought. The interior of this mansion was very elegant, a good place to be on this day.

I could see through an open door. There was a large inside patio with rooms around the square, and men sitting and talking. Some were shaving, talking, or drinking coffee. Oh I really wanted something to drink! They all looked like regular people. I felt like God was smiling down and I just sat and enjoyed the comings and goings of so many different people. What a welcome distraction! On the far end of the room, opposite me, there was what looked like a very private office. Only a few people went in. I could hear telephones ringing everywhere, but behind doors that were closed all the time.

I sat and sat until around 4 pm, I could see a big clock in the wall, that was visible to all. There were typewriters click clacking and the constant sound of a busy office. I thought, this big old casona must have been very expensive, maybe it belonged to some hacendados, a rich Spanish or Venezuelan family, maybe some big oil money from the black gold!

What A difference in dresses before and now

What A difference in dresses before and now

The private door to that big office came open and a very pleasant pretty young lady looked at me and said politely, “Please follow me.” What now!

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Charlton Heston   scratching his shoulder and Jessica Walters in front of Ludmila

Ludmila on the set with Charlton Heston and Jessica Walters: “Ready for your closeup, Miss Alexanova?”

In Caracas, once upon a time, I remember seeing a film with Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg called “La Dolce Vita.” Well, that movie exactly portrayed my life back then, even when I was working: In and out of love, a life of romance, sex, cocaine, alcohol, even orgies– just like the movie. It was not just a dream: The modeling jobs, parties, commercials, shows and more parties, photographers and yet more parties. My life was “La Dolce Vita” back and forth from New York to Hawaii to Europe to South America to USA– my life was not boring for a second. I did not know what boredom was, nor do I know it to this day. Life was just a big non-stop party.

My dreams in that Porlamar swing, where I spent hours when I was allowed, sometimes until the night, inventing the world, touching the skies with the height of the swing, higher and higher– creating and shaping my dream into reality. My inquisitive eyes drew the world of my desires, bringing thousands of questions into my mind. I was sure the answers were there in Hollywood, so far away that it seemed my dreams were hiding from me, too far to reach from there in my swing, but inside me the dreams were real.

Bill Cosby and Ludmila

I dreamed that someday, with a hidden treasure inside of me, I will be there, I will show them that I am a star, so brilliant, because I was born with the grace that God gave me,and I will reach the other stars of Hollywood.

My hope was fed by those dreams that seemed so real to me, in a secret compartment of my heart, knowing that my destiny was closer than those stars shining over my head. When I finally traced my destiny to Hollywood, I was given a role in a film called “Number One,” starring Charlton Heston, my dear! He was a big big star! How many times had I seen him on the big screen, playing biblical roles and other parts. He flirted with me, but that was all, he seemed to be faithful to his wife, even though she was not there in the studio spying on him, like some of the other actors’ wives did.

As we were shooting, in came the great actress, Jessica Walters. She played a big role in the film. Later, Bill Cosby, the comedian, came onto the set, but I did not like him too much. He was pretentious and very arrogant, not funny at all, but at that time he was very good looking and had good manners.
I did not have to name the stars in the sky anymore, and I did not need to sit on a swing to try to reach them and give them names: They were all here in Hollywood! The unreachable stars were within the reach of my hand! I don’t remember exactly what went through my mind, but I know that I felt my wings stretch out and that I flew like a bird again.  It’s true that my part was small, but my star was growing bigger and bigger, as I had always known it would.

I was in and out of the Beverly Hills Hotel for cocktails, dancing at Halloween balls in great costumes that some of the studios were kind enough to lend or rent to us. These costume parties were almost as good as the Oscars parties at that time is what I imagine.

I had lunch at the Brown Derby with Peter and Joan Graves. To be honest, I don’t remember if we even ate, but I know that we drank and drank until we ended up at his trailer in the studio where all three of us had fun together, and of course more drinks. Now, looking back all those fantastic different men, there are only two that I remember as having been good lovers.

The next Christmas, I was invited to Dean Martin’s house. I just loved him ever since he and Jerry Lewis made all those great road trip movies, very funny films. Dean was a straight man and Jerry the real damie, funny indeed, something like Bob Hope on “The Road to Hong Kong” with Dorothy Lamour. I had always dreamt of meeting all of them, and eventually I did, sooner or later, through close friends or  acquaintances from parties. I think Dorothy was already gone by the 1960s when I arrived to Hollywood.

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Saying  asta pronto Agustin Lara, foto by the paparazzi

Saying hasta pronto to Agustin Lara, photo by the paparazzi

This is how I became a high fashion model.

My desire to savor life was like a flickering light that I may never see again: to feel satisfaction instead of anger, to laugh instead of crying, to be courageous instead of hiding, to face the world, to not fear anyone, and with a new curiosity to respect only death, which then was so far away.  Life! What a magic gift from God. But I was abusing it, and then I became a selfish, self centered person.

No one could tell me what to do, or when, or how.  My father was gone but I possessed some inner elegance, with the pride of my blood, a charismatic charm and the courage to enjoy life, that gift from my Creator.  That made it possible for many men to love me… or did they?  I had no one to back me, except my God.

After the show mama called me at the Channel 2 studio and was very excited: “calm down!” I said, “What’s going on? who died?” Of course that was a joke! When we arrived at the apartment mama was at the door. El Maestro knelt in front of her and kissed her hand, then asked her if he could take me out to dinner and dancing… When he left, I ran to see the dozens of roses of all colors and read the gift card  (which I still have and cherish). It said “These roses will die of envy, with devotion, Agustin Lara.”
My glamorous life continued, of course: T.V. Shows, commercials, presentations, social and charitable events, polo matches, scuba diving, night clubs, cabarets (this was something from the past, especially in Latin countries, where there were cabaret shows of “rumberas” like the most famous Tanco Lely, with striptease but in the most beautiful settings, finely decorated and very artistic, sensual and romantic). We all stayed until sunrise then went on to the Cafe Paris for onion soup, then home, or for some of us to work!

My Italian hairdresser one day offered me a deal: let me cut your long hair and make it very blond and then turquoise with a gigantic oyster shell with pearls in it, for a world hairdressers competition, and you will not have to pay me for your treatments in my salon as long as you live!  I said okay, but not until tomorrow, I am going to the aeropuerto to see off el maestro, mi “esqueleto perfumado”– the perfumed skeleton– Agustin Lara is going back to Mexico.

At the plane side there were photographers (we only start calling them paparazzi after seeing “La Dolce Vita”).  The very next day a telegram arrived: “Missing you terribly, tickets ordered, pick them up when you can. Agustin.” In that time the only fast way to communicate was by telegrams.

My hairdresser won the first prize! I remember my first step on a runway (today they call it catwalk), I moved with a breeze, it was after sunset and the stars were peeking out. The music of the orchestra was playing a sexy, languid gentle rhythm, with violins. I wore my chiffon silk white dress with big handmade black roses on it, oh how vividly I remember that dress! I had black silk high heel sandals on, and the big oyster pearl on my undulating hair was turquoise blue. My make up was shining like a pearl and the dress looked like the waves of the sea.

The applause…That applause, was sweet and addictive, and it went to my head! I was floating on a cloud with no pain, no worries, everything was just fine and good. I had my drink from the chalice of the nectar of the gods.

Horacio came by to bring mama a present for the coming holidays, candelabras (candlesticks) from the house of Cartier, pure silver, each about a foot tall.  How sweet of him, usually the presents are for me! That weekend we did not go to Puerto Cabello with Oscar and the others from the Polo game. Instead, I went down to the Avenue Miranda shopping with Maruza my best friend. There we saw Horacio with his houseboy and maid coming out of Edificio Galipan with lots of presents for everybody. In that time it was a most expensive, elegant little shopping center down on street label, the upper floors had very exclusive apartments. Well, it was the 13th of December and Walter was out of town. He had told me to go out and “don’t feel bad”, since I was young and he was too old for me he would say, “you must enjoy life while you can.”

When I met Horacio, he said “there is a group of my friends going to a private beach, would you like to come with me?” He had been courting me for a while by this time, and so I said yes!
On that Friday we rode in two Cadillacs with two couples in each. We arrived early and unpacked, everyone was very happy and full of joy. Our boutique bedroom was decorated with candles, a table with a bucket of ice for the champagne and crystal glasses, palm plants and fans, like Casablanca! It was private with big windows to see the Beach, what a view! Then we all went swimming and afterward we got into some comfortable clothes. We had lots of cocktails and an exquisite dinner. Afterward one couple went horseback riding by the sea, others went in their room, while we went for a evening walk.
The moon was rising at the horizon of the beautiful tropical beach. As we walked, the waves were breaking under our feet, then rolling back, and we could see the moon reflecting upon the wet sand.
We listened to the surf and admired the view, feeling on our warm bodies the tropical breeze, slightly hot but soft, caressing our skin.

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Exposure in Carcas Country Club

Exposure in Carcas Country Club


Now I was working with all these incredible people at Canal 5- Casica Maria Luisa, and especially the Show de Renni. His wife was Renne, his first daughter was Ronna, and the last one would have been Ranna expect that in Spanish that means “frook.” Being on the Show de Renni” was very good for me, it was the most successful program in Venezuela, with celebrity guests from Hollywood. I loved being on his list of friends and working with him; I met so many famous people, like Pedro Infante, with whom I danced at a party.

I had lost my virginity to the biggest con artist I will ever meet; it was not enjoyable, in fact unpleasant, and to top it off he left me waiting in his condo while he was in another town getting married! What a dog! This was humiliating and painful to say the least, so I did not tell my sister or my mother, much less my father. I did not anyone to see my pain, so I only told Marley, the lady who had taught me to read and love books. She was very understanding and sweet- if she had not come into my life, I would never have started writing poems and learning how to find the passion in my life. My sister and my mama did not have time for me, my sister thought they were immoral and my mama was always working.

Still, more invitations came to me every day, and I was still young and hopeful, so I said to myself,!” NO ME LA PIERDO” ! ( I will not miss this one!). And now, at Christmas, I had a chance to get on board the the biggest yacht in Venezuela and to go out to a most infamous private island , belonging to none other than the great dictator, General Marcos Perez Jimenez! happy memories come back to my mind the love for islands (Porlamar) , the trip was so interesting and exciting. We left the very next day, in the afternoon, watching the sunset from the yacht. We embarked on Christmas Holidays 1956, heading somewhere out near the Islas de la Tortugas, and sailing along with his four Alicanes representing the heads of the four armed forces: the navy, army, air force and marines, they were his bodyguards, he was never alone or unprotected, I did not realize this at that time.

On board, the general himself was playing dominos with his male guests, prime ministers and other elite types. Soon I had drunk to much and I had to rush over to the side, there to lose my exquisite dinner and cocktails to the sea! Even today, I still tend to overdo everything!, I was bent over the side being sick, when I felt a strong cool hand on my forehead, and turned and saw the most handsome of the four alicanes, in white uniform, very tall with azabache black hair. All I could think was, it was no fun having this gorgeous man see me vomiting! I would prefer dancing with him to that romantic music that the live orchestra was playing– I will never forget the song, Bahia terra del… ah memories!.

We arrived at the island without any further adventures, although one of the kind ministers in particular acted like he cared for me (in a fatherly way, escorted me to my guartes, good night.) Nest morning, after breakfast, I went up to help the girls to decorate the big Christmas tree, and then went down to the beach to watch the men racing their speed boats lanchas,. It seemed the General’s favorite thing besides women was racing speedboats, and guess what? I was invited to go with him on his lancha! I don’t remember too much, to tell the truth, because I was petrified, but I do know that he won that race (as always). I think the same kind man (I wish I remembered his name) took me in his arms out of the boat. After a siesta came dinner. I imagine everyone had one of those Cuban rumberas, singers, dancers, on their rooms? not mien . . Dinner was formal, dancing music and than a show, It was the most fantastique rumba, mambo, Brazilian, singing, dancer’ s show, right in front of us, live orchestra and all with the moon full and that tropical breeze, if you never been on the tropical night , you have not experience the most sensual breeze, then you don’t know what you have mis.

This island was the talk of Venezuela and the whole world news , infamous for the scandals and orgies, but I did not see anything out of this world. Still, I was only 16 years old and it was an inolvidable (unforgettable) experience– what a life!

Finally it was time to go back to Macuto, after four days of a feast of everything fun games , dinners that almost went all night with shows and lots of game and fun, for all of us, but especially for man, the few young ladies and women were just like a filler, providing ambience for the trip, so the press would say look they have the whole family, it look very decent and farmles.. Buy now, it was time quit the Canal 5 ballerina show on the government channel that had given me the first of so many opportunities in my life. I was on deemed as a High Fashion model and ballerina. .

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Polo Field in Caracas, with Oscar Urreiztietta.

Polo Field in Caracas, with Oscar Urreiztietta.

Walking home one evening from the house of the Cacique Maria Luisa Escobar, I stopped for an ice cream with an Italian friend, and in walks in Juan Carlos Blaky. My heart just fell to the floor at his feet. Juan Carlos was the same man in the elevator of the hotel at Porlamar years earlier. I had been sending anonymous notes to him, asking to meet him at the movie theatre, but I was shy and lied to him about what I would be wearing. He would look for me but I never seemed to be there. But now he noticed me everywhere in town, it turned out, and he confessed to me that he had always suspected I was the one who sent those notes. He was intrigued by this little mocosa as he called me, and soon we were dating– going to movies, holding hands and kissing, just a like a dream come true.

One evening, after my midday show with Renny Ottolina, he was telling me after dinner how happy and lucky we were to have each other. He was going to Porlamar for a week on business, he said, but when he got back we wanted to talk to me seriously. At the time I had a very busy social life, as an actress, as a model, and now as a ballerina on my own television show! Part of my work involved being Miss Seagrams VO, where I would go to private clubs and liquor stores to promote the firm’s products and demonstrate how to make cocktails. I actually became very knowledgeable about mixing drinks, to the point that they sent me to the most competitive liquor store, owned by Walter. He marketed his own line of beverages, from Dundee Scotch to Beefeater gin,but I was instructed to put our product on display and promote them aggressively. At the time it was legal to give away cocktail samples and talk with the store’s customers.

Soon Walter invited me to dinner at a nearby restaurant, a cozy candle-lit place, out of the way (so his wife wouldn’t know- and I didn’t know he had a wife!). I thought of myself as a good girl, with high moral standards, so how come I was dating these men and behaving promiscuously? Perhaps I thought that life was too short, and I should move like a butterfly from flower to flower. I certainly was not thinking about the future, trying to hurt or take money from anyone, or wanting to be bad. I was just trying to enjoy life to the fullest and I found all these men fascinating. One was proposing marriage to me; another was my pygmalion father figure; another was a high society polo player. I liked them all, and I thought I loved them– did I know what love was?

My life became a non-stop busy schedule of work and play, and I would go dancing, fishing, playing polo, stopping off in nightclubs, with these men, none of whom knew about the others. they were writing poems, and composing songs for me, giving me presents, taking me to country clubs and even to the president’s house. At the end of the day, however, I always went home alone to mama and the family. Looking back on the busy life of this sixteen year old, I even think that I envy myself– how is that possible?

In the midst of all these activities, one day I was going to a private home by the private airport of General Marcos Jimenez, the ruler of the country. It was a big party with Cuban dancers, a Brazilian singer, and there I would meet the generalissimo. He was a short, fat man with a buddha smile- I thought to myself, this man cannot be the great dictator. But it was all very polite and harmless, and afterwards his social secretary Victor Matute took me home.

The next day I had a show with Cacique Maria Luisa Escobar, a kind of Venezuelan Indian dancing and folklore presentation. My friend Marussa, a girl who worked in the same office building where I had worked, invited me to go to a big polo match between Venezuela and Argentina. So after my 12 noon show with Renny Ottolina, I went to the 2 pm polo match at the Country Club. It was up in a little valley in the nearby mountains, about 20 minutes from the Tamanaco hotel. The polo players were all attractive– what a bunch of handsome men, I thought– but I only had eyes for one, a Venezuelan player with big eyes and rich brown hair flowing down. He was very good looking and proud, this man was Oscar Urreiztieta. After the game, I somehow wound up with his group of people as we went to the Polo Club bar, where I met his friends Howard Boulton (the son of Lord Boulton), Dr. Enrique Machado, and Enrique Villarreal, who was married to the daughter of the president.

As I sat and drank with this group of powerful and attractive men, I thought to myself, I like this high life! Even in high society, there is another level of society even higher, and this was a group of very fine men- one was from Harvard University in the US, another from Cambridge in the UK. And here I was, with no education at all!

One day, Juan Carlos suddenly proposed to me and put a beautiful ring on my finger. I did not say yes, only maybe- I had no idea what the future held! Then he had to go off again for the Hilton hotel business meetings, so I just continued going out to nightclubs and living my life minute to minute. At home, Father was getting more and more depressed, drinking vodka like it was water, straight from a glass without ice or soda. This was about the time that we moved to the Italian neighborhood…..

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