BOSTON, 1980 – When most people write or wax rhapsodic about the shit in their lives that happened long ago it’s a fair certainty that some language lodged in that remembrance will harbor the old chestnut “looking back, I had no idea how much those days/events/drugs would mean to me as I got older.”
It is kind of sad how the things that shape so many folks recollections are not enjoyed at that meteoric moment of conception but only gain heft, significance, and portent as their lives draw to a close.
When the body is strong, when the bones and internal organs are youthful and new, the brain can withstand multitudes of contradictions, magnificent amounts of chemicals and possesses’ the stamina of a thousand, young marmosets looking to procreate.
Those are not the times, nor the feelings that you recall as your curtain falls and you desperately look back to re-capture that which you think you have lost.
They are more often than not the times that you will struggle to recollect as you lay dying, alone and bitter because death is orgasmic and you can’t remember much besides how you never came as hard as you wanted to.
Like the French say, “Le petite morte.”
The third death experienced during the 20th birthday week of your humble narrator was perpetrated by Gurl Fifteen, Eugenie Diserio.
She was mysterious in the way of Audrey Hepburn and Tilda Swinton. She was spooky like Frida Kahlo and Diane Arbus. She swayed like a moonbeam and danced like Salome.
She was a witch who could tell you your future by the stars above and her hello below. She came to the Underground that night in a band called simply The Dance.
Like her first big song stated, Yes! Yes there was something she had that we wanted. Something to dance to. Something to think at. Something to feed the soul and something to mess fuck with your earholes.
Her band was an amazing collection of New York art toughs and street-wise hustlers.
Joined by her husband, the now-famous fine artist Steven Alexander along with 16 year-old wunderkind Fred Maher (fresh off a tour with Daved Allen’s Gong) – before he became Lou Reed’s drummer and producer- and to complete this guerillas-behind-the-lines outfit of soul commandos…the funky maestro of their thunder-stick profoundo, Louis W.
The Dance were more sophisto than most of their peers, making music that oozed from the Lower East Side and they embodied, at that time, a complete and self-propelled synthesis of what made NYC such an amazing place circa 1980.
Habituates of the Underground were spent. Exhausted by day after day of that Birthday week of 09/15/1980 which featured, one-after-the-other incredible performances by Delta 5, Bound and Gagged, Bush Tetras and finally, on Saturday…The Dance.
The Dance rose from the ashes of a combo called the Model Citizens who treadled that same joyous amalgam of kitsch and chaos that the B-52s pioneered and Debbie Harry made a life out of.
When they hit the stage, from that first salvo of slappy bass, hard beats and skittered keyboards everyone knew that this was nothing like the Model Citizens we were expecting and nothing we were prepared for.
After the show, in the loft that we were all staying in, Eugenie would not stop staring at your humble narrator.
Lacking the finely-tuned pick-up antenna that he would hone and fully form by the time Los Angeles rolled around it was abundantly clear and as certain as the mole on Cindy Crawford’s face that at that moment she was not shooting sexy eyes nor any other type eye contact previously encountered. Notwithstanding that one
Notwithstanding that one time a moray was stared down on a scuba trip in the waters off Kauai.
Eugenie’s eyes were more like the ones that Penelope would’ve shot Odysseus if they never got married and he never sailed for Troy. Like soul searching kinda orbs. Like using rods and cones to peer beyond the callow husk of the man smoking pot before her into a greater good.
She sidled over and asked for a birth date. She then removed a sheaf of papers, some colored pencils, some sort of measuring devices and a map of the cosmos.
She would hunch over and scribble like some crazy lady in the throes of a horrible bout of hypergraphia. Every so often she would touch my belly and murmur “chakra, mmmmm.”
A time or two her eyes rolled back in her head like a teenager on a ketamine bender. Then, she would snap to! Her writing taking on an ever furious pace.
After what seemed like hours she made me kneel in front of her and proceeded to tell me what my life would be like from then onward.
She was right. Scary right. Except for the part about losing weight.
Music was not her calling. She became a world famous astrologer under the name Astronet. She has helped millions.
Luckily, being her virgin of sorts I never had to pay the price that gods seem to require.
“Ms. Diserio was a struggling painter and a singer, songwriter and recording artist who traveled the world. After gigs, she would relax in the wee hours of the morning by reading horoscopes and doing charts by hand for others, sometimes earning a few dollars. She left the music business nearly 10 years ago and joined a start up marketing/licensing firm, learning the ins and outs of business.“
Eugenie opened my eyes to see things that are not there and to believe in things I cannot touch. She helped me on my way and I thank her.
As she said “If there is something you want, you want it.” And the stars aligned for Eugenie Diserio.
No stars moved into Uranus while writing this piece.
Your humble narrator Hughie Green is the main character of “One Hand Clapping” and is known mostly for his photographic memory, his sorta clairvoyance and his devotion to interesting woman.
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