"How Squalid Everything Will Be"

I love meeting new people, and I especially love meeting people that condone and agree with my philosophy that Life doesn't imitate Art, Life is Art. In Ventura, I was used to people dressing and carrying themselves like they are a canvas that demonstrates for the world who they are at their creative best. From Lucy-in-the-Sky, a friend who owns a trippy children's hair salon, to Captain Cookie, who owned City Bakery, to Maestro Salazar, who was an expert in the lifestyle, I mingled with colorful characters who believed that whether we are hairdressers, bakers, or classical musicians, we're all artists when it comes to how we live our lives...

I ran around dressed like a modern Amadeus, sporting a floor-length black wool cape, poet shirt, and dressage boots. If I miss any one thing about California, it's that. Maybe it's because Ventura is only 45 minutes north of Hollywood, but we all grew up living as if there was an invisible movie camera following us around. Reality TV? That concept isn't at all new to us. We were born to it!

Last Sunday evening we were invited to our neighbor's house for a small dinner party. I say small because there were only five of us, but the house was full-to-bursting with larger-than-life personalities.

There was Nettl and I, of course, writers and musicians, nut cases to a lot people in the world. There was the host, Matt, who's a director, voice coach, and professor in the OSU theater department, and who loves to surround himself with strong characters, then watch them interact. He also loves to cook and his food is 5-star restaurant quality. It should be. His father was a chef.

A couple of his students were there, too. One, Lucy (not the one mention at the beginning of this post), was a rude, spoiled rotten, narcissistic young woman with a razor fence around herself, and the other was Justin, a gentle guy who reminded me a lot of my character, Gordon. And then there was Allie, a drama major at the university who'd stepped right out of  a Fellini film. Dressed in a vintage black lace cocktail dress, her platinum hair styled like Brigit Bardot (with makeup to match), she was the jewel in the evening's crown.

Matt's table is always casual, with miss-matched chairs and never enough spoons, but it never fails to generate fascinating conversation and ideas. We all drank, ate and smoked too much, but it was a night that could have inspired Dylan himself. From telling Lucy where to get off to discussing everything under the sun, we had a great time. Even the music was perfect; Dylan's Visions of Johanna played more than once, setting the mood.

Sometimes Stillwater surprises me. Once in a while it coughs up people I don't expect, people who know how to live Life as Art.
"Salvation doesn't lie within four walls. I'm too serious to be a dilettante and too much a dabbler to be a professional. Even the most miserable life is better than a sheltered existence in an organized society where everything is calculated and perfected." (From La Dolce Vita)