Monday, March 30, 1992

Letter to Chris

It's been awhile since I've heard from you so I thought I'd drop you a line and check in. Kali must be turning more and more into a little person, what's she like. I would think that if Inger is the confessor she would take another tack. Does Inger do the confessing for everybody? (I guess that would make her the tattler) How do they get along. How is the Belgian winter?

I went home for Christmas and did a quick hit. I went in Christmas eve and was gone by Christmas day. I spent most of the time at Danny's with his in—laws. We had the usual completely fake celebration at my mothers house. I didn't see any of the old gang. I think they put this holiday at the end of the year when the sun is disappearing and the weather is getting bleaker because they figure it can't get any worse so they might as well get it over with now.

Dawn Clements came down to New York in January. She had an opening at the Drawing Center in SoHo. Most of her family came down also. So I saw the entire clan, except for Steven. It was pretty successful for her and in the 3 weeks the show was up she sold two pieces.

Dianne wrote me a letter and says she is living in Belmont with her new boyfriend and taking drawing classes.

I havn't heard a thing from Scott but there is a child pornography case pending in federal appeals court with a frighteningly familiar modus operandi.

Most recently I was in Florida for a week. A friend of mine Jim, was playing violin in the Sarasota Opera. They rented a little house for him, which he had to share with another musician, Dan, a bass player. They had a living room with a big couch and you know what that means. Cheap vacation! The first day it rained. So, I saw an Opera. The Barber Of Seville. It was O.K. but the conductor was lousy. The musicians didn't even follow him because they knew he was giving them the wrong cues, so they just came in when they were supposed to. We hung out at the house and watched T.V. There are a lot of tangerine trees on the dead end where the house is. The air was very pungent with the smell. In the mornings I was able to pick them fresh and make juice for breakfast. At the end of the street there is a gator pond. But I never saw any, despite frequent visits. I saw ducks though. What I really wanted to see was a huge pair of jaws rise up out of the green slime and snap up a bird before it had a chance to unfurl it's wings. No such luck.

More rain the second day, and cold. Now I was starting to get depressed. I hung out on the couch flipping channels. Finally I got motivated. What the hell. I had a car. I had cash. The world was mine. I went to the front desk and started checking out the millions of brochures that gather like swallows in motel lobbies. Excellent. The Salvadore Dali museum in St. Petersburg. It features “The worlds largest collection of Dalis on display”. Hey, it's America, big is good. So I was on the road again. Jim is like a demagnetized compass when it comes to directions so I got instructions from Dan (a master mechanic and general car freak) before we left. That allowed Jim the pleasure of cranking the one casette I had brought "Led Zeppelin Box #1" while mouthing the lyrics and performing on air guitar.

The museum contained much beauty. There were several enormous pieces on the far wall including the magnificent Columbus Discovering America. The collection spans his entire career and includes many masterpieces.

The next day the sun came out. Florida's flat tropical landscape and brightly painted horizontal architecture is at it's best when flooded with abundant sunshine. I drove out to Siesta Key for the afternoon, lugging my guitar to the shore. The sand down here is a warm white powder. The ocean, a sapphire pool. Let me tell you about the latest in beach—ware “The Thong”, (made strictly illegal by the withered retirement majority). The babe density in this region is about six to one (mostly southern college girls), with the fitness craze, now into it's second decade, paying off huge dividends. A nymph walks by. Her lithe brown body swaggering with the confidence only a sola—flex can give. She flashes you a smile as luminescent as pearls. As she passes, her naked bum, glistening with mysterious tanning oils, floats by, her cheeks dimpling and swelling to an ancient rhythm. She gives you one last backward glance to make sure you are mesmerized by her tribal call. I played my guitar, singing to the sirens. A Zep Head came by and gave me a beer saying if I wanted any more to come back to the red cooler, “over where by the cop is standing”.

Day four started out a little cloudy so I hit the road in my red Geo Storm. A good looking but painfully unremarkable car, (zero pick—up). I tooled on out to Myakka State park. 45 square miles of Floridian wilderness. I saw a crock as big as a canoe drifting in the river (still no savagery, except I did see a heron swallow a frog whole, he took his time too). Dozens of hawks circled overhead and armadillos dug the earth everywhere. I talked to people from Canada and Germany. Walked out into the middle of the plain and generally enjoyed the clean fragrant air and sunshine. On the way back I passed a carnival and went to one of those all you can eat catfish and fried okra things.

The night before we heard some music by John Sierre while we were cruising around. It was written for a production called “Aniara”, that is by this famous swedish poet who's name I forget. It is about this ship that gets set adrift in space. They were doing a mixed media presentation of the piece at the Bishop Planetarium which is nearby in Bradenton. I went out there and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately the audience was small. Afterwards I went up to the roof to look out the telescope. The guy who ran it was nice and we were joking around, like when he would turn on the motor to rotate the observatory I would say “Rotate the pod please Hal”. We quizzed each other on sci-fi trivia with questions like; Where were the Robinsons going before the evil Dr. Smith sabotaged them? and What was the message that Patrica McNeil had to deliver to the robot in “The Day The Earth Stood Still”?

Day five. I took Jim to Thoroughbred Music to buy a guitar. They had a huge selection and we played just about every axe on the rack. What do you think of the fender signature series. Are they worth the 1000+ price? I was thinking of splurging and getting something like that and a Mesa Boogie amp. Let me know. I'm willing to spend about 2 grand total on everything including picks. Later I was at Bare Bum Beach again. I met some girls from The University of West Virginia. They wanted to hear Hotel California but I couldn't remember the words. So I sang them some other stuff. I played paddle ball with Holly, long, full, tangled chestnut hair, black eyes, brown skin. A physical therapy major and tennis hobbyist. We got some good volleys going. When they left we made plans to meet later at Cha Cha Coconuts to hear a Reaggae band.

I went to the Opera that night and saw a production of Simon Bocanegra. The artistic director, Victor Delorenza, conducted. The sets and costumes were still a little cheezy and the acting a little hammy but the orchestra sounded great. They filled the hall to the brim with a booming sound.

After I went to Cha Cha's to look for the UWV'ers. I noticed this woman at the bar who kept looking over at me. She had one of those great wide mouths with full lips, auburn hair, big doe—like blue eyes and freckles spattered across her nose. She was giving me —the smile. I said hi, my name's René and she said "Oh, you ahre franch?" Her name was Anne—Laure. She was from Paris. She smelled incredible. She introduced me to her cousin Stephanie, another Parisian and her friend Monica, a big Norwegian girl. They kept buying me beers and we laughed and laughed. Monica and Anne—Laure worked at the Epcot center which, the way they described it, is like working in a concentration camp run by born again Christians. We went to another club when Cha Cha's closed and danced until three in the morning.

The next day Jim and I met Stephanie, Anne—Laure and Monica at their hotel and went to a town park beach. It was more secluded than Bare Bum and had more flora and fauna. There are Pelicans and Herons who have figured out what a fishing pole is, so whenever you see someone fishing you always see at least one of those birds just hanging out, watching. We looked for seashells and played paddle ball, swam. These girls were great. They requested Bob Dylan songs. They knew who Salvadore Dali was and could talk intelligently about art and they looked excellent in bikinis. A winning combination. We had to leave so I could take Jim to visit his cousin. That night the girls came over for dinner. I made fetticini al carbonara, and everyone cleaned their plates. Jim and Dan tried to play the blues but Dan didn't have a clue. But the girls clapped anyways. They liked it best when I sang and Jim accompanied. Anne—Laure kept saying “You are too good. You should do this for a living.” Then we had coffee and played some more while Monica videotaped us. We all exchanged addresses and kissed good-by as they drove off to Orlando.

After they left Jim and I drove out to the beach for one last walk around. I caught a flight back to New York early the next morning.

So, now I'm back in New York and even though it's supposed to be spring we are getting pummeled by snow. I am doing freelance computer work which is OK., the pay is really good so I can take time and travel. My partner and I, J.P., have developed five scripts now between us. We are calling ourselves Demi—monde films. We have a meeting in Washington D.C. tomorrow. Circle films is interested in two of our scripts. We have also attached some talent to one project. A very well respected and pretty well known actor here in the U.S., named Ray Aranha. He was featured in John Sayles' City of Hope. He loves one of our projects and his agent has sent us a letter of commitment to help with financing. Beyond that all is well. Hope things are good with you. Drop me a line.