Richard's Building


I thought that I was working on rotenone sensitivity in yeast, back then, around 1970.


But this is a picture of me measuring NADH fluorescence, in a very live culture of yeast, just as in vivo as one can get. Absolute fluorescence, in fact. You can't see the yeast, they're in a one liter ungraduated cylinder underneath that black cloth, the one with the tape patching over a hole. I'll bet that hole was about the size of a pinhead, and I'll bet I spent an hour finding it the hard way. The rudeness of the patch is highly representational here: You couldn't see the yeast anyway. Hell, man, they're microscopic. Even the hole is too small for a camera.


But that camera captured everything else about it. This is a portrait of Research. Out in the hallway at the Richards Building at Penn, the world famous Richards Building by the world famous architect Louis I. Kahn.


Some graduate student named Gary at the Johnson Foundation one day told me the Theory of the Building. He said that the hallways were wide, while the labs proper were cramped, so the scientists would get to meet each other and collaborate and problemsolve. Furthermore, the guts of the building were exposed: All the vents and pipes and ducts and concrete honeycombs were totally exposed, like an anatomy lesson.


Somebody is quoted in Nathaniel Kahn's movie My Architect saying that the temperature isn't constant in the Richards Building that his Dad drew up. Listen up: That's what the white cabinet in the picture is for. It's a constant temperature cabinet. It's a refrigerator that's modified, routinely, to do that. The one in the picture is set for thirty degrees centigrade. No more and no less. Same with the legend about the scientist who put aluminum foil on the windows to protect his chemicals from the sunlight that Lou wanted let in at that point: Listen up -- that's exactly why God created metal lockers. According to legend, Lou saw the aluminum and ripped it down. Lou no doubt knew all about the availability of metal cabinets for lab chemicals. You're supposed to close them and keep them closed; lock'em up, sometimes. Depends on what you've got stored in them, and that wasn't Lou's department.


So how did all that theory work out for Lou's building?


I don't know how it worked out for everybody else. For me, the picture speaks for itself. I heard all that theory and when the time came to strike out on my own scientifically, I set up shop in a hallway. From the vantage point of thirty some years later, I can't believe I did that. That picture is simply unbelievable, like somebody set it up Hollywood style to act out Lou's point. But that picture is real. This is some kid, an undergraduate at Penn, during the days when the kids were rebelling against everything. That kid there went to the Draft Board and flunked the physical by mutilating his left calf muscles.* It was like Johnny, the Marlon Brando character in The Wild One who is the leader of the Black Rebels Motorcycle Club; when asked by a townsperson, in 1954, "Hey, Johnny, what're you rebellin' against?" Brando says, "Whaddya got?" I had lots of kibitzers stop by, out there in the hallway; they were on their way to the elevators, or to the bathroom. I got a lot of good advice that way. Good people. Scientists.


I did strike out, on my own, at first. I could no sooner solve the problem than could the other fifteen people worldwide who ran whole labs trying to solve that problem. Then one day I listened to Lou's building. "It's the environment, kid" was what it said to me. That's what's important. And it turned out that it didn't matter what you did with those yeast, the ONLY thing that mattered was whether they were growing or not; actively dividing or not; you know, having babies. They only have babies at a rapid clip when their environment is optimal, like saturated, with a plentiful supply of a complete set of nutrients (and believe me, yeast are almost totally selfsufficient; I mean, yeast synthetic medium is about as rudimentary as you can get) and the right temperature (not too hot, not cold) and --- as it turned out, and this is The Big One --- enough oxygen. How much is enough? Anything. Anything over one percent. Anything probably over a tenth of a percent. God gave us twenty percent. Now THERE is a margin of error for you.


Listen up real good to this part: It turns out that to THIS DAY, the microbiologists and molecular biologists of this world do not give a shit about how much oxygen their yeast have. They grow their yeast mostly in shakeflasks. The concentration of dissolved oxygen in a shakeflask of yeast at even a moderate population density is zero. It's zero, if you measure it; and these geniuses and gene jockeys don't measure it. They do all kinds of cool experiments, real secret-of-life type stuff, and they strike out at step one because they don't measure the oxygen when they grow their cells.


Yeah, I can prove that.**


Lou's building. The Richards Building. For me, that was Richard's building. And it was building Richard, too. You want to know what the subtext of that picture is? This guy in the picture is intense as hell; you can't GET any more intense than that. Hell, he's the reincarnation of Louis Pasteur. (Seriously; and the last chapter hasn't even been written about THAT yet; maybe we're writing it write now [the remarks supra, and in the footnote infra, about oxygen are directly descended from the researches of Pasteur, starting with Pasteur going down to the brewery with a microscope, and then confronting his nemesis von Liebig year after year to no avail, and finally being vindicated by Biochemistry, which proved that yeast are indeed alive, respiring or fermenting, and having babies. The gene jockeys seem to be in a fog about that; they think that yeast come from a shaker the way milk comes from a supermarket.])


And you know what? The real subtext of the picture --- the backstory --- is that there's a woman, a beautiful young woman as luscious as a tree ripened peach, who an hour ago called him on the phone and said, with longing in her voice, "Richie, when are you coming home?"




So just a few years after this picture was taken (by Ken the Graphic Artist at the Johnson Foundation, in 1969 or 1970) the guy in the picture was in Penn Station in New York City, going to see his dad, Eddie Katz. (Eddie also fucked up a major portion of his life by not getting the women part of it right, but that's another story; maybe some day I'll write that one up too, but suffice it to say, that there was a LOT of difference between New Jersey and South Jersey; the twain met only because of the War, and the War had all kinds of casualties.) Penn Station was a nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to live there; you wouldn't even want to go to the bathroom there, literally. You avoided the bathrooms; you would no sooner go into a men's room in Penn Station than you 'd go to any dark secluded corner of the Big Apple, without a gun. You hold it until you get on the train, or buy a cup of coffee in a restaurant and use the bathroom there. You can wait, believe me. But on that day that Lou Kahn died, in Penn Station in NYC, the guy in that picture who had worked in Lou Kahn's building, went by that men's room and went in the door. I don't accurately remember what I saw in there; I remember some of what I saw, but I can't remember it clearly. I can't remember if the two characters that were in there besides Lou were cops or criminals. I remember Lou's face, but I didn't know who it was, because I'd never laid eyes on him or a picture of him. I only found out later who it was, when I saw Lou's obituary in the Times. That was three days later, at Eddie's apartment in Paterson. I read the obituary standing in the apartment building that Eddie's dad, my grandfather Harry, had built with his bare hands and his crew of carpenters, in the Thirties: Harry Katz, who killed himself during the darkest days of the Depression to get the money to pay the mortgage on the building at 555 E 27th Street, Paterson, New Jersey. USA. Welcome to America.


I gotta stop here for a miinute. I have to stop for a minute, put on a hat, and say Kaddish.


Okay, I said it.


God bless you, Harry and Eddie. I love you very much.


And Lou too.


I went in there, and whatever I did, it didn't save Lou. Sorry, Nathaniel, I fucked up I guess, I don't know, you know that if they were criminals, it just means that I would have been dead too perhaps. No, not likely, Lou died of a heart attack; they weren't murderers, only robbers. My friend Al Rice, the guy I built the big sculpture with, he got "involved". That was out here in California; Al died from it, because the luck of the draw was that the guy he tangled with was wanted for murder in Arizona. He was a murderer already. These guys? Who knows? Muggers. But we all know that Attica is full of them, and none of them meant to kill the guy.


That's too bad. Nathaniel was only eleven when Lou died; after all, Lou was already old when he knocked up Nathaniel's mom, the woman who Nathaniel browbeats in his movie ("So, Ma, you're telling me that the reason Lou crossed out his address on his passport was that he was leaving Esther and he was going to move in with you? You really believe that?") Doesn't matter. A few more years, Nathaniel would have been old enough to take the train to Center City and go to Lou's office by himself, and Lou would walk him back to the train station later, and Lou would tell him, "Listen to me, Nathaniel, don't go in the men's room at the train station. They're dangerous places. Okay?"


I know that's what would have happened. My kid Abe came looking for me, when he was eighteen.


Let me kibitz you just a little bit, Nathaniel: I'm not saying you should change anything, CERTAINLY not for the film festivals. But, when it goes into the theaters, like the Castro here, the audience is harsher, word of mouth is harder to come by. Put it this way: You took all the footage you shot of me and you sculpted from it a portrait that works for Lou. Somewhere between my part and the Dhaka part, there's maybe a couple chips of marble you should get out the chisel for. Just a suggestion.***



*That's not as weird as it sounds; the muscles were damaged in a motorcycle accident as a sophomore, and a couple years later all I had to do was run a fingernail a couple times across the purplish skin that God grew over the muscles of the ripped up lower leg. When the Army doctor saw this mess at the preinduction physical, I was excused from going to Viet Nam to kill women and babies and Viet Cong.


**It only takes one to prove it: Check out


Characterization of the mitochondrial respiratory pathways in Candida albicans:

Eva J. Helmerhorst (a,b,*), Michael P. Murphy b, Robert F. Troxler a, Frank G. Oppenheim a;

a=Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Boston University, 100 East Newton Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA;

b=MRC, Dunn Human Nutrition Unit, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 2XY, United Kingdom;

Received 29 May 2002;

received in revised form 30 July 2002;

accepted 1 August 2002

Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1556 (2002) 73- 80


* Corresponding author. Department of Periodontology and Oral Biology, Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Boston University, 700 Albany Street, 100 East Newton Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA. Tel.: +1- 617-638-4916; fax: +1-617-638-4924. E-mail address: (E.J. Helmerhorst).


Dr Helmerhorst's article is about thrush (awful disease, a yeast infection in your mouth instead of your vagina, ironically brought to everybody's attention during the AIDS crisis when so many individuals who lacked a proper vagina [gay men] came down with it. Turned out they had AIDS, and died by the dozen.)


I'm not picking on Eva Helmerhorst; I've got lots of these exempla. Well, maybe I am picking on her; I certainly picked her. I liked the way she answered my email and said, quite straightforwardly,

> I did not measure oxygen consumption in the

> flasks. Mitochondria from these two cultures did not

> differ in their sensitivity to rotenone.

and it was as if she had said to me, "And there you have it; there it is."


*** And the NADH? I'm still working on that. You see, this experiment was experimental indeed. The CCD used to measure fluorescence was totally new at the time, for example. After the Director, Dr Britton Chance, got it calibrated, he pedaled off on his bicycle, saying over his shoulder a cheery tally ho of "Beware the speculars!" What a guy!


And the oxystat used to maintain the dissolved oxygen concentration in the culture vessel (the ungraduated glass cylinder under the tarp) was a neat servometric gizmo conceived by me, designed by Britton Chance, and executed by the shops, right there at the Johnson Foundation. A right cunning piece of work.


The Jewish Lone Ranger

On the Death of Lou Kahn -- Afterthoughts on richards.html

(also on the web as richards2.html)

I'm on screen in My Architect for a good two minutes. That was my first surprise; the first time I saw the movie, each second I kept thinking that my performance was about to be over, so I wasn't paying that close attention to anything besides the visuals (I was surprised at how good I looked, since I was expecting the worst.)


But the second time I screened it, I heard the dialogue a little better, and that was even more surprising. I was telling Nathaniel Kahn, Lou Kahn's son who had made the movie, what I saw in the downstairs men's room at Penn Station in New York City on the day his dad Louis I. Kahn the World Famous Architect died there. And I tell him, "... there's a policeman over here, and another policeman over there. And there's your dad." Something like that. (When it comes out on DVD I'll know exactly what's said in the movie.)


And then Nathaniel tells me that Lou died of a heart attack.


Seems like I already knew that he died "without any identification, only a passport with the address crossed out." That information was in the newspaper, way back then, and that information is in the movie too.


So it turns out that Lou was probably mugged. What I saw sounds like a holdup. The wallet was gone. And he died of a heart attack.


What's surprising to me, is that when I look at the picture in my mind's eye, I don't see any badges. And I don't see any faces of those two guys. They're big guys, and they have dark clothes, and they look like New York City cops, but no badges and no policemen's pointy hats. And they don't want their faces to be seen.


There's a TV show that's pretty popular right now called Cold Case, which is set in Philadelphia. This show reexamines old homicides from twenty and thirty, even forty years ago, that happened in Philly. Pretty good show, in my opinion; but what it really accomplishes is that it sets your mind to thinking about things that happened long ago, in a particular evidence-driven way. So it really gets to me that these two guys didn't have any badges, at least any badges that I could see. But what gets me is the look that the old man gave me. The Look. For thirty years I have never been able to explain that look. It's always bothered me.


I guess I now have an explanation for that look. Here I was, walking along in Penn Station, and for no good reason I go into the forbidding interior of that men's room, a place which as I've explained (supra) is no place you'd want to set foot into. Near as I can tell, the only reason I go in there is because there's a little old Jewish guy in there who needs help, and it's a guy who designed a building I spent years in. So when I set foot inside there, inside this God-forsaken men's room, and this little old Jewish guy sees me come in, the look he gives me is, "It's the Jewish Lone Ranger." That's the Look I got. That's the look I see. Back then I habitually wore cowboy boots, Nocona's usually. And, just as I do now, I would have been wearing a broadbrimmed hat, usually black, whenever I would be outdoors, anywhere except in the house. I was raised Orthodox, and while I don't have the excess baggage of pinning a yarmulke to my hair or anything like that (but believe me, I can still mumbojumbo with the best of them) I guess I "believe" to this day that God will strike me dead if I'm not wearing a hat outside. So big hat, cowboy boots and all, Lou might have seen it that way: "The Jewish Lone Ranger, and he's here to save me. I'm as good as saved. "


There's another possibility, that the look I got was the old man trying to tell me to get the hell out of there, that I shouldn't get hurt too. That sounds like the Reform version.


One thing they definitely communicate with that TV show, Cold Case, is the sense of closure when you finally put one of these mysteries to rest. I'm getting closer with this one. I'm not trying to feel better about anything; hell, it never really bothered me that much anyway. It was always one of those "that's how the cookie crumbles" things, for the most part, to me. But that look always bothered me, and now at least I have some idea why. Any day now I 'm going to stop thinking about what I saw, and what I think I saw; maybe what really happened was that I came in that room, went out, and came back in just a little later, and by that time the two holdup men were replaced by two cops; but naaah, that's not it; I got that look, and you never forget a face.


Afterthought after the Afterthoughts


The only person who ever called me up to tell me that they saw me on the big screen -- so far -- is Laura Accinelli. She's a good writer and was a customer at Frog's Rentacomputer; she's written lots of stuff, but the one I read way back when was a piece about Fiona Apple that was real good. So Laura calls up. leaves a message, I call her back, and she saw My Architect, and we talk about it a little, maybe she'll write a piece about it, if nothing else we'll certainly have a cup of coffee about it, like, tomorrow. Fine. This is maybe five or six months after the movie came out in the Mill Valley Film Festival, and it's been a couple years at least since I was in front of the camera with Nathaniel, and it's been at least a month since the movie was nominated for an Oscar in Feature Documentary; but only a couple weeks after the movie opened and closed in San Rafael and Berkeley and San Francisco. If Laura and I don't meet, that's okay too, because one thing about movies is that you don't expect nothin'. You better not hope for nothin', you'll be disappointed. Just take what comes. Keep your hand in, if you're interested. They don't need you. And I think I mentioned already, that if you get two minutes of screentime, where you look pretty good, maybe even like a movie star kind of, you better quit while you're ahead. But who does that? You let somebody write about you and your two minutes on the big screen, guess what? You're gonna end up looking like and sounding like, an idiot. Maybe not, but maybe.


Doesn't matter. Laura told me her theory on the Look, and it sounds right on the money to me. Something like this: Here's this guy, Lou Kahn, and he's a real prick. He treats these two (really three) women like dirt; and they end up leading pathetic lives because of him, Laura says. And I'm thinking, yeah, and he didn't treat his kids so good; and his workers, he got them to work their asses off always telling them "Next year, next year, next year is gonna be GREAT." I know the type. They had some stock footage ("archival footage", which is like custom stock footage) of Lou Kahn teaching a seminar course at Penn, around 1971, just about the time I was a student there working in his Richards Building (one year later, to be exact.) He comes across as kind of a bullshit artist, at least in that clip, holding forth about the nature of brick; he and Ian McHarg definitely had the guru thing going, which was pretty fashionable around that time, being a guru. But it looks weird, the way the kids are hanging on his every word; and it looks particularly weird, that there is ONE women in that shot. One woman in a class of at least thirty kids)


This was only two or three years before Lou died in the men's room of Penn Station. And here we are, thirty years later or more, and Laura is saying that if you just stop and think about it, yeah, Lou Kahn was a real prick. And it hits me, like a ton of bricks: When God wants to fuck with you, you will definitely find yourself being fucked with real good. If you think it's bad, you have no idea how bad it can get.


So here's this guy, Lou Kahn the World Famous Architect, and it looks like he's going to be dying an ignominious death in a men's room in a train station, BUT Here comes The Jewish Lone Ranger, ridin' over the ridge, to save the old man's Jewish ass. The door opens, in strides the Jewish Cowboy just like Lou figured his script would read. And then he looks around, this Jewish Lone Ranger, doesn't see anything much (for some reason) and rides off into the sunset. You know how that must feel, to Lou Kahn? Can you imagine that? That is when you feel not just abandoned by your God, the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob; you feel positively fucked with. You have been fucked with by the Lord. I'll check with Laura, when she comes around to have that cup of coffee. See if that's what she had in mind.

Oh yeah, my sister-in-law Eileen Brown rang me up, after she saw the movie. She advanced the theory that what Nathaniel put on the screen is what HE wanted to see, like, he had had the movie cut so it seemed that Richard Katz had practically cradled old Lou in his arms and Lou, with his dying breath, had said words to the effect that "Give Nathaniel my love, and the reason I crossed out the address on the passport is that I was moving in with him and his mom, my true love." Yeah, movies are like that. Hollywood. Storytelling. Academy Awards for the best Storytelling. One way or the other.

Well, listen up: That's where we part company. I make movies too; that's what this FrogOJT website is all about. And the purpose -- the Function, if you will -- of FrogOJT movies is not so much to tell the story, as to Tell the Truth.

In this case, the truth was stranger than fiction, and it sure is a strange story.


Richard Katz

GetSkilz Inc

Berkeley California © 2003







Charles Kahn standing on the walkway to the Graduate Theological Union Library in Berkeley, California, overlooking a "three-bridge view" of beautiful San Francisco Bay. CLOSE IN on Charles ONESHOT; classic drop dead gorgeous Hollywood cinematography; classic news/documentary genre talking head, VERY BRIEF.


Hello. I'm Charles Kahn, Architect. This is the Graduate Theological Union Library. The concept was by Louis Kahn (no relation.)


CAMERA STEADICAMS around corner toward ripped up plants, etc. where building leaks.


This building leaks. What's going on here is ...

[Charles Kahn explains, functionally, about the leaking building. It's interesting shoptalk. Between details, CAMERA keeps wandering away to the orange trees in their pots, and to the spectacular view of San Francisco Bay.]




STEADICAM from tranquil biopond behind (south of) the Richards Building, to under the Richards Building, and then west along Hamilton Walk far enough away to get a good view of the entrance plaza of the Richards Building and the full height of the building. Mount the camera and CONTINUE THE SHOT with an ARCHING PAN of the building south and west until the shot is centered on the upper western corner of the building.


Hi folks, I'm Richard Katz. And this is the Richards Building, in Philadelphia -- the Alfred North Richards Medical Research Laboratories, designed by the world famous architect Louis I Kahn. Lou was a Professor here at the University of Pennsylvania, back in 1970.



Back then, you'd see a gaggle of architecture students on the plaza down there, every day, with cameras and notebooks. So I -- Richard Katz -- worked in this building, the Richards Building, by Lou Kahn, for a year or so when I was an undergraduate, here at Penn. You know, the late Sixties. Men on the Moon. Viet Nam.


STEADICAM westward down the hallway toward the elevator. Turn one-eighty, taking up the ANGLE of the camera in RichardMadSci2.jpg.


This building is in a movie, about Lou Kahn. I'm in the movie. Lou's kid, Nathaniel, made the movie, about Lou, his Dad. "My Architect", the kid called it. Cute. Came in second for the Academy Award in Featurelength Documentary. Did good at the box, too --- in the millions. For a documentary, that's a hit. Nothing like the 9/11 movie, of course; that was a BIG hit. For Documentary, the 9/11 movie was a BLOCKBUSTER.

ARCHIVE STILLs. RichardMadSci.jpg then RichardMadSci2.jpg


I could've worked on the problem I was working on here in this lab for another century, and I never would've figured it out. Rotenone sensitivity in mitochondria; something about Parkinson's Disease. But one day, I was sitting at my desk


CAMERA reanimates RichardMadSci2.jpg then Steadicams a few feet westward into the bathroom, brief SHOT OF MIRROR depicting how thirty years have passed, then back into the capacious hallway and eastward down the hall.


sitting here at my desk, staring at the ceiling, but ... there's no ceiling here.

SHOOT the ceiling.


There's stuff up there, but it's not a ceiling. It's the guts of the building. Pipes, ducts, cables, all the stuffing, it's out there. First building in the world to do that. Lou drew it that way. The plumbing, the electricity, the ENVIRONMENT. So I noticed that, and I saw, or it hit me, that it was the growth conditions that really matter. Like the oxygen concentration. Stuff that everybody always ignores. Lou got me to think about that.

PEEK inside a lab, very cramped little square spaces.

ARCHIVE STILL RotenoneSensitivityinYeast.jpg [a GRAPH of rotenone sensitivity vs time, on a growth curve of a Candida yeast culture.)


You're looking at nothing less than the reversible biogenesis of mitochondrial Complex I. Yessirreebob.


PAN of the Richards Building exterior shot from the south, looking up from the biopond and ending with a shot of the biopond itself.


I read somewhere on the internet where Lou Kahn said that scientists were, unfortunately, guys who ate lunch at the desk. That's why those labs are cramped, but the hallways are huge -- to encourage bullshitting. You know, cogitatin' amongst the scientists.


Richard Katz talking head.


It's not logical. It's science -- you can't go looking for something you don't even know exists.

But you can DISCOVER things.

Lou drew up a building where you could discover things, sort of by accident -- where chance favors the prepared mind.



Establishing shot of a standalone Noah's Bagels store, morning.


I designed Noah's Bagels first store. The blue tile ...


STEADICAM TOUR of Noah's elements spoken of in Charles's FUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS.


That's what architects do -- they draw up spaces where ...


Noah's was a huge success. A hit.



Workstation environment with a twenty inch or so monitor displaying "My Architect" by Nathaniel Kahn.


So in the movie, Lou's kid, Nathaniel, asks me what happened to Lou, and I tell him. Watch.

FOOTAGE from "My Architect".


Richard Katz is a talking head both on the screen in the movie "My Architect" and in This Movie.


Now if Nathaniel, Lou's kid, had said, "Hey, Mr Katz, wait a minute, how'd you know they were cops?" I woulda said, "Uuuuuuuuuh, they weren't." I can look again at the picture in my head -- that picture's thirty years old but it hasn't faded a bit, and it's very clear -- and I don't see any badges, or pointy hats, or blue coats. No New York City cops. No NYPD.


A reenactment of the scene in Penn Station when Lou Kahn was apparently mugged and died of a heart attack, in 1974.


Turns out Lou died of a heart attack. I never knew that. I found that out from the movie; from helping these guys make the movie, from the process of making the movie, thirty years later.

YOUNG RICHARD KATZ wearing a black hat walks in to the mensroom.


I walked in on a mugging, a New York City mugging. I guess I was supposed to save Lou Kahn from those two guys, two guys who acted like cops who weren't cops.

One of the MUGGERS, three quarters or so facing the CAMERA, makes a gesture of "Move on, come along, move on there you."

Maybe what Lou thought, when I walked in to that bathroom in Penn Station --- It's the Jewish Lone Ranger.


Richard Katz in classic talking head mode with computer monitor.


I walked in there, I don't know why I walked in there, I didn't have to piss, they're dangerous places, those men's rooms, you could get killed in there, God forbid. So bad, parents'd tell their kids, "Stay out of those bathrooms, you don't have to go so bad, believe me, you can hold it.


Replay reenactment, different CAMERA ANGLE.


Hey, I walked in, I saw this scene, with Lou (who I didn't know was Lou, I'd never seen his picture, even though I worked in the lab he designed that was world famous and all that), and these two guys, I'm sorry I should have to say this, but I didn't really get the picture. So I just stood around like some kind of schmuck, you know? baffled; and left. Some Lone Ranger, let me tell you. I'll never forget the way Lou looked at me, this little old Jewish guy.

HOLD on Lou, one foot in the grave one foot on a banana peel, held up (literally and figuratively) by two big robbers.


Too bad he didn't ask for help. I guess he was scared half to death. Aaaah, who the hell knows about stuff like this? God only knows.



STEADICAM from parking space on Scenic Avenue through doors into GTU Library, go directly downstairs, directly to ripped up water-damaged wall etc. of corner of interior under repair.


Thirty years after that Jewish Lone Ranger incident in the bathroom in Penn Station in New York City, I'm driving along Scenic Avenue, here in Berkeley, and there it is: A parking space, right in front of Lou's library.

Of course there's a car parked there now. This is just a movie.

This building.

So I park, right? and I go in, and ... it's deja vu all over again. For the second time in my life, I'm in a strange place, and I don't know why I'm there, and I'm just looking around.

STEADICAM should be on the stairs or thereabouts by this point.


All these people in the library, they're looking up, one at a time, to stare at me; "Who the fuck are you? WhaddaYOU want?" They're still here, so to speak.

CAMERA approaching the bottom corner of the building, under repairs.


And I've got that feeling, all over again. "Why am I here?" And the music is playing in my head, again, "You know there's something happening here, but you don't know what it is. Do you, Mr Jones?"

CAMERA examines the ripped up corner of the building.


I just wandered around this building until I found this mess. Fucking tragedy, man!

STEADICAMMING around the interior of the GTU Library, showing orange trees if possible, but mostly books.


Remember those planters up there? Those big planters with the orange trees growing in them? Lou spec'd out terra cotta planters. Big sumbitches. You know a terra cotta planter, that big, from Mission Clay products, down in Niles? costs a thousand bucks, or thereabouts. You order enough of'em to go all the way around a big building like this library here -- twice, in fact -- this floor here, and the floor just above it, too -- you're talking a few bucks.

For what? Why in the hell would you want that? Why on earth would you need that? For Lou. Lou says, this libary needs terra cotta planters. With orange trees.


Workstation environment with computer monitor displaying "My Architect" scene of Lou Kahn teaching a class.


Brick says, "I need an arch."


STEADICAMMING toward stacks; stacks open up with big wheel, at the Z section where the library's lone issue of Architectural Record is kept.


This library, with books about stuff all the way back to Babylon, needs orange trees in terra cotta. That's what Lou said. But whaddaya got here? You got fake concrete planters here, and it leaks, and who knows if Lou had lived a couple more years, maybe we wouldn't have a leaky building.

Architectural Record is picked up and displayed for the CAMERA.


Says here that sixteen architects pitched for this job, by invitation. Lou won the commission, and, it says here, not by bringing in some dopey model, or "presentation", like everybody else. Says here, Lou just came in and rapped to'em -- to the Committee -- about books.

He must have guru'd to'em and charisma'd 'em about books, and libraries, and learning, and wisdom, and made it sound like Elvis Presley croonin' to a teenage girl in nineteen fifty nine.

He wasn't trying to buffalo anybody either. Hell, this was the Gee Tee You. Graduate Theological Union! This wasn't just some bullshit Ecumenical Conference, some interfaith get together. This was the Graduate Theological Union Library.

Lou was a Jew, so he knew, that the only thing that makes you a decent Godfearing person is having a book, with the LAW in it. You write it down, now you've got the LAW, you've got a culture. No books, what have you got? Nothing. Gornisht, you're savages.

STEADICAM picks up a book in Hebrew, in the oversize section near the leaky corner.


You want culture? You want God? Here, have a book. Have a whole library fer Chrissake. God is over there, under Torah. The rest is commentary.

STEADICAM randomly and in an artsy videographic manner around the building through CREDITS ROLL.

You know, they ended up building this thing in two stages. They built the basement and the floor above it; then, when they raised some more money, they raised the roof higher, like a trailer park. All because Lou died, and that made it tough to raise money.

Some people even cancelled their pledges. Maybe they were right.

Richard Katz comes into view, buttoned down but quarter screen in apparent size.

That about ties up all the loose ends for me though. Thirty years.

Richard Katz goes out of view.

Maybe if I'd saved him, if I'd saved Lou Kahn, this building wouldn't leak.

ROLL CREDITS over artsy videography of building.