I’ve been meaning to have coffee with Rick for years, it so happens I’m in Paris, Le Select is open--it's always open-- and Rick is ready to meet. Well not exactly, we're disturbing his ritual of a 3pm jaunt to the café but he's nevertheless agreed to meet us for a morning coffee. Le Select is one of those famous Paris eateries in Montparnasse whose clientle reads like a Who's Who of twentieth-century arts. Hemingway, Bunuel, Brassaï, Giacometti, Picasso, Beckett, Picasso, Noguchi, de Beauvoir, Satie, Poulenc, Baldwin, and Godard all took their place there. Rick goes every day to sketch the newcomers and the regulars, in fact a compilation of his drawings Paris: The Select Crowd was published in 2007 and featured on the CBS Sunday Morning Show.
Rick and his wife left Brooklyn once they turned 40 and haven’t looked back. Neither speak a lot of French he says but he’s finding more and more people are speaking English. He does admit that the language has turned his English inside out, he now catches himself translating French into English when speaking and writing, which he has to laugh at. Rick’s a funny guy, he spent a lot of years at Mad Magazine and still contributes from time to time. He’s a comics-nut, and adds that the French are more passionate about it than even we Americans.
After our coffee and conversation we headed off to our next meeting, Rick simply changed his seat to his favorite spot and took out his sketchbook and returned to his daily routine.