Swelter

As he becomes an inevitable presence, Osterweil actually winds up being invited places, but manages to remain an outsider, an artist: "Everyone came to Roy Cohn's funeral, just because they wanted to make sure he was really dead.... Judy Peabody is an icon to me, the first time I saw her it was like: Who is that? What is that? Why is that?.... An interesting frisson develops when you stand next to a celebrity, trying to get photographed.... Sometimes I think my mind is like a roach motel -- facts enter, but they don't leave."

Aside from everything else, Osterweil coming across as that ultimate rarity, a truly happy man: "How much different would my life be if I were rich? I already read all day now, paint all night, and have dinner at Brooke Astor's house." Producer Sara Sackner, a former neighbor of Osterweil's in the Lower East Side, still finding that contentment both infectious and inspiring: "I've been to fancy parties before, and they're usually kind of boring. But Richard tells stories so well, in such a pre-edited visual way, that it's actually better to hear about the parties.... I think he wanted to get it all down on record because he was afraid to wait. Aside from being a hypochondriac, Richard believes in this crazy English thing called spontaneous human combustion -- you know, where people suddenly explode and leave only their feet behind.... He seems to be enjoying the celebrity, but he says he might be a recluse in the next phase." Retiring from the fray, the final stage for any social animal.

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