photo by charlotte dean
6/26/01 3:40 a.m.
Now where was I?
So much stuff has happened. Since whenever. My class ended. I've pretty much finished the website I was staying up all night for. Father's Day happened. I've had some good luck with my photography. I've made some good friends.
My daughter and I... have I named her? Charlotte. I get tired of typing the "aught" combination. Charlotte and I went out for a little ceremonial observance of father's day. I never used to understand why father's day made my father so upset. I remember once when we were kids. Driving in the car somewhere. And I was talking about father's day and I could tell he didn't like it. So I asked him why he didn't like father's day. And he turned back and looked at me and said "Because I don't have a father." I was confused. I didn't get it. His mom and dad were Florence and Floyd. We went over there all the time. They were nice. They took us to the race track and played Scrabble with us and we had Christmas with them. My mom later explained that Floyd was Dad's stepfather. His mother had married after Dad's real father had died. Floyd wasn't his real dad.
My entire life, my father never liked father's day. He never wanted to celebrate it, never wanted us to celebrate it. He never wanted anything as a gift. But then, he never wanted anything for his birthday or Christmas, either. However, if you got him somethng good, he'd eventually cop to liking it. And if you didn't get him something... Recently, I sent my mother flowers for Mother's Day, and my father's response was "You never send me flowers." Which of course he would have-- I don't know. He would have hated flowers. I think. Hell if I know. I spent my life trying to figure the guy out.
I do know a couple of places he liked in Los Angeles. Venice Beach, he loved the crowd there and the performers. Maybe it was the closest thing still around that reminded him of Riverview and the sideshow. He took us to Riverview on the last day it was open. A Chicago landmark. Huge rollercoaster, a rifle target-shooting booth (where I shot out the flame on gas jet after gas jet). And the freakshow. We saw Flipper, whose hands grew out of his shoulders. He joked about "huggin' the girls" and showed us how he shaved. There was Popeye, who could pop his eyeballs out of his sockets. Not all of the way, at least not for half a buck. There was the guy who could twist his entire body around with his feet planted firmly on the floor. A bearded lady. My Dad was also a big fan of Ripley's Believe It Or Not. So, maybe the fire-eaters and chainsaw jugglers and other fast-talking conmen on the Venice boardwalk brought him back to his youth.
Another favorite place of his was the Farmer's Market. And the Farmer's Daughter (aught) Motel across the street. I guess the motel people had been friendly the couple of times he had stayed there. Back in the old days, when I was married and living in a small house. He and my mom liked to stay there and walk over to the Farmer's Market for breakfast or lunch. He used to like Kokomo's. He'd always get their andouille (sp?) sausage. And pay the price afterwards. Some tastes are worth the indigestion.
So. On Father's Day, inspired by my brother and sisters, Charlotte and I went out and visited those places. I have to say that my daughter was particularly supportive and comforting. And she even saved the life of some asshole who walked in front of my car against the light. I hadn't seen him through my tears.
Earlier in the day, I divided up my dad's ashes. Someting I had not been looking forward to. His ashes have remained in the baggy they traveled back to L.A. in. But I needed to deal with them. As I was sorting them, I found a piece of something. I was reminded of the time I found a bolt in a bag of Frito's. Had something fallen into the remains from the incinerator? Were these really his ashes, or was this a bag of something else? I hesitantly picked up the small piece. It was metal, about an inch long. It looked twisted, at first. What the fuck was this? As the ashes fell off, it's shape became clearer. It was shaped like a tooth. This was a piece of his bridgework. I dropped it back into the big bag and sealed it. Nothing like a dose of reality.
After our journey, Charlotte took me out to dinner and then to see "Moulin Rouge." An amazing visual movie. A real treat. And a great day as a father.
My class ended last week. Nine students. All of them fearless. Ready for any assignment thrown their way. They are all great.
Remember the botched polaroid slide experiment? Well, I suggested to the head of the department that he rent a new building in Westwood and create a gallery to show the slides. Didn't seem feasible, but he did like the slides. He asked if the graphics department could use some of them for a brochure they were taking to Siggraph (a big graphics show at the L.A. Convention Center). Sure.
And then, I was asked to shoot the cover for an advanced registration brochure the department puts out. A whole cover. Again, as a result of the accidental polaroid art. So, I invited my class to partake in the shoot, since they had played a big part in the creation of the polaroids. A couple of students showed up. And I invited Charlotte. As camera assistant and creative consultant. The results were interesting. I eventually put together a collage using some of the photos and some e-mails from a student. The e-mails were deemed a little "strong," so I blacked out the "offensive parts." As in show biz, nothing is final, but it is in the pipeline.
And I have a client who is very cool and a joy to hang with. And she knows what she wants.
Sometimes things go right.
photo by charlotte dean
photo by charlotte dean