David Lynch’s The Elephant Man just opened at the Stockton Royal movie theater. Because you are a cool kid, and know about these things, you tell me that David Bowie played the part on stage. We love Bowie. We play your new Scary Monsters album as often as we can get away with it whenever I visit you at your home.
When asked about his directorial styling, David Lynch has more than once quoted the Beach Boys, saying, “Be true to your school.”
In 1968 Charles Manson and his followers moved from San Francisco down to LA. There, while hitchhiking, a couple of the Manson girls met Beach Boy Dennis Wilson. Wilson took them to his home, and then went to the recording studio. When he returned at three p.m., the entire family had moved into his home. There were roughly a dozen, mostly women, and this small, charismatic, bearded man named Charlie. Later Charlie and the girls would move to their most famous residence, a dilapidated western movie set called Spahn Ranch.
When Manson was moved to Folsom Prison in 1972, Lynette Fromme, who you tell me was sometimes called “Squeaky,” followed and lived in a home in Stockton, with five post-trial Family-member recruits on Flora Street.
Me (finishing my milkshake): “Why was she called Squeaky?”
You: “George Spahn, the elderly and blind owner of Spahn Ranch, gave her the nickname because of a sound she would make when he touched her. Isn’t that gross?”
Abraham Cruzvillegas was born in Mexico City in 1968. About this artist, Haegue Yang says: “[His] works grow out of fertile ground, from his being in this world, which requires a temporal engagement different from that of being in the studio. His thinking process accumulates depth while it takes inefficient, nonlinear paths. Yet the making of his works occurs in a miraculously swift and decisive manner — their graceful execution is full of wit and demonstrates respect for their materials’ origin.”
At fifteen, I am hyperaware of myself, yet simultaneously out of control: in the world, but not harmonious, and certainly not graceful. I tell this to you, my best friend: “I am getting A’s in half my classes, and D’s and F’s in the rest. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I practice with the water polo team, act in Drama Club, rehearse for speech tournaments, and volunteer at the county mental institution. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I walk to my friend Roger’s home to watch four to five hours of whatever is on television (MASH reruns, etc.) till his dad comes home, then I walk home and do nothing. I have no middle ground.”
We step out of the Hong Kong Diner into the shock of bright midday. Central Valley sunlight bakes the pavement. In front of the brick church across the street are the preparations for a parade: tall hats, clown hair, children in leotards in a decorated cart hooked to two decorated horses. The horse costumes match a drawing in a joke book we looked at yesterday at the downtown used bookstore. A trumpet player is warming up by playing “Wild Honey.” One of the floats has “Kennedy’s Real Estate” spelled out on the side in tissue roses. The whole moment is screaming with desire to be called significant, the intersection we’ve been waiting for, which I have to assume is a joke being played on me. Even you are in on the gag with your chestnut-colored hair, belt, and fingernails.
I turn to you, but I am speaking to this moment, and to other such moments that have been occurring too often lately, “Please, tone down the matching, it’s giving me a headache.”
We cross Fremont Square, a small park reputed to be a homosexual cruise spot, and yet in spite of great effort to catch evidence of this, I never see even a hint of gay there.
We walk up Flora, past where Squeaky used to live. Some stocky guy who looks maybe Indian is washing his car in the driveway.