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Posts Tagged ‘Sacramento’

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On a warm morning in May of1980 I was living in Sacramento, California. My kids were 11 and 9 at the time. (The same ages Sam and Cj are now.) Because I considered it a prime duty to raise them right, I kept them out of school, knowing the experience gained that day would resonate for decades longer than a lesson in long division.

 

The day grew hotter as we stood in a very long line for a very long time, but we’d prepared well, had plenty of water and no shortage of amusement in the queue.

 

The venue was the Century Complex. The event, the first showing of “The Empire Strikes Back”.

 

The film, of course, was brilliant. It introduced us to Yoda and we exited with our heads full of deep meaning, confusion and lines that within days had been grafted on to daily conversation.

 

“THAT is why you fail.”

 

“There is no try.”

 

“Luke! It’s a trap!”

 

“I love you.” “I know.”

 

My brother was in New York, so had seen the movie a few hours before the time had come on the west coast. He’s a ‘no spoiler’ kind of guy, so kept mum, but was chomping at the bit to share the experience and waiting by the phone for a call from us to rehash what we’d just seen.

 

New York audiences, being a bit more elaborate in their reactions, were not holding back, and my bro was most impressed with the reaction to the penultimate scene:

 

<Darth Vader: No, I am your father.

 

NYC audience: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

 

There was about an hour of long distance back-and-forth over what various plot twists and hints might mean for the next installment … Who did Yoda mean when he told what was left of Obi Wan, “… there is another”? Was Vader lying? Would Lando and Chewy find Han? Would they someday be making “Han Solo-incased-in-carbonite coffee tables”?</a> (Okay, that one didn’t occur to any of us until decades later.)

 

Yes, all those questions were answered in a follow-up that included Ewoks, but it took some time for that to happen. In between that then and the then that was walking out of the movie on that day in May made movie-making history and changed the culture of imagination forever.

 

That is why on this day, I say:

May the 4th be with you …

 

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I seem to be focusing a lot of my writing here on men these days … Gee! Go figure … and continue to be in the mood to do so.

So …

For NaNoWriMo, I’m working on a semi-autographical novel … to be tied to the one Stan is writing when November is over, if I manage the deadline, which I’m doubting … and in the process of constructing the bones of the book I’ve come to the point in my life, in my early 20s, where I worked as a roadie for a rock band in California.

Spider Kelly was a talented collection of smart, bitingly witty … for the most part … beautiful men, with whom I lived and worked and traveled for the good part of the 70s: Michael, John, Tony, Kit and Dusty … and to a later and lesser degree, Jeff.

With my well-known prodigious memory, I have no problem conjuring accurate images from the time … conversations, addresses, names of pets and girlfriends, clubs we played, insults we slung like grenades (all HiLarryUS!), lyrics and bass riffs and the heft of a Hammond B3 and its companion, the Leslie.

For additional inspiration, I pulled out a DVD sent to me by one of the guys a few years ago of a reunion they had, and I missed, dammit, back in 2004.

Wow.

I’d not watched the thing in at least 2 years, but was once again transported to the days of my misspent youth. At more than an arm’s length past 50, John still swings his bass and crouches above the mic just like he did at 20-something, and underplays his tremendous astuteness with the same shy-guy shade of a smile. Michael steps up to his vocals with the same sexy casual swagger and belts out those familiar words with every bit as much heart. Tony’s fingers haven’t slowed down one bit, and his “concentration face” … and smart-ass comment look … still flickers with the bloom of youth. Jeff still can’t remember the words to songs (and he’s the lead singer). Dusty, finally in ear protection, stretches between songs with the same arms-to-the-heavens reach and misses about all of the banter … due to lack of said ear protection back when it would have made a difference.

Prompted by this trip down musical lane, I wandered back to their website, gazed at photos from another life, listened to songs I haven’t heard for yonks and signed the guestbook.

I have, over the years, been in touch with Dusty and Tony by email, but lost all my addies in the latest ‘puter crash, so was right pleased when I thought to look up my boys on facebook and, lo and behold, found Dusty.

Amazingly … and I’m so far past doubting the fates that I’m more pleasantly surprised than actually amazed … Dusty had joined up just that morning! Of course, I friended him, and we’ve been catching up. (He actually emailed me, too, AS I was watching the DVD! How much do I love the times we live in?)

Michael, bless him, emailed me the same day, and to be sharing life details with him again is just too wonderful for words.

We’re all getting old now, but still rockin’ … and, more importantly, still friends, and how great is that?

I am now, and always have been, one lucky girl with the great proportion of men in my life. Sure, I’ve had my share of assholes and heartbreak, but weighed against the lifelong connection to so many wonderful friends of the male persuasion? I win, time after time after time.

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