I watched the movie ‘Grease’ for the first time. I posted this in November. When I got that letter from Rena, I thought it was on……… ‘Love Dance’.
Walking with Marilyn after school weeks after we met, a menacing chopped-Mercury pulls into the gas station where we are walking, right next to us. It’s eighteen year old Danny, who has been in love with Marilyn since she was thirteen. He’s got his arm hanging out the window, with t-shirt. He is showing off his gun, his biceps. We made eye-contact. Marilyn looked nervous. There was a chance Danny would fight me, something he was good at. I was sixteen. I gave him the look back. Growing up in Oakland this was the norm. We had gangs in school, the Esquires and Cavaliers. My brother and I were not invited to join a gang because everyone heard about our fights. Vic raised his sons to be tough – for real.
Rosemary bought Bill a car that he turned into a hot-rod in our garage. While Bill is drooling over his Hot Rod magazines, I’m at the Teen Dance fine-tuning the Romanian Kemit sisters, Tenya and Zania, who took turns slow-dancing with me.
It was a matter of being erect, but no too erect. Allowing them to press their young breasts against my chest while our hips pressed closer, was teen-age legend.
They would not speak to me, which was great, because it allowed all the heat to come to the surface. If their parents knew what we were doing, they would have me arrested for stalking their daughters. But, when I walked in the door, I knew they were waiting for me. It was a tag-team.
I asked Marilyn if she danced. She told me she was too shy. Too bad! I was a great dancer. To watch John Travolta was to watch me at a dance. I had an image of a young Rena and I dancing – at high school – and added that in my letter. Is this what got me in trouble? How about the use of the term “Adult-Children of Alcoholics” where I could appear to celebrate my parents disease if you didn’t know what that meant.
MUSIC&DANCE go together. It was the signature of my generation. Christine taught me how to peg my pants. I ironed everything. My clothes had to be just right. Note my white sox, and Danny’s sox. This dancing is not about sex. It is about a highly structured social order that was invented by teenagers. I invented dancing without a partner. This is to say, you did your own things with another.
I was very protective of Christine because she was shattered. One day she told me this guy who was in the club ‘The Knights’ was calling her a slut. After she pointed him out after school, I walked up to him and slapped him so hard I knocked him to the ground.
“That slap comes from my sister. The next time I am going to pound you to the ground with my fists.”
Grease was shot at Venice High School down the road from the Venice Pier where I looked in the water one night, and asked; Where are you?”
Rena comes out of the doorway a minute later. “Here I am!” And Love Dance is under way – till this very day! Playing hard to get is big in these dramas. We should have danced when she emerged on the quad in her cape. Then she would have got all the attention – she demands!
The strange movie ‘Billy’ was shot at Marilyn’s and my high school. It could be the Ellen DeGeneres, Billy Jean King story. Shot in 1965 this may have been an attempt to channel all that hot pent-up grease energy away from hippies dancing at the Fillmore. Dig the coach on bongos! Harvard Professor Timothy Leary is taking his students – HIGHER!
Rena Red-Neck, puts her foot down……..and busts the Leader of the Bohemian Pack. I thought she would be hot to trot now that she was back in the states, she determined to get back the fire Bollywood stole from us. But, I got it wrong. Rena is too chicken-shit to get on a real dance floor. It’s easier for her to pretend she is a cowgirl, herding her doggies, and cowering from the big bad wolf, in the snow.
“You better shape up!”
It is not unusual to see Western pop and pure classical dance numbers side by side in a Bollywood film. The international appeal of Bollywood dancing is something that has been in the making for many decades. Originally it was found only in places that had a significant consumption of Indian films. But today it is rising in popularity in the US, Canada and Europe. With the success of films such as the Oscar winning movie “Slumdog Millionaire”, Bollywood films and dance have taken the world by storm & has now come into the global spotlight. Much of this is due to the ever expanding Indian diaspora, but a significant proportion also comes from non-Indians who are fascinated by the exotic, larger than life qualities inherent in it. Be it their lavish sets, production value, or extravagant costumes, stars like Madonna, Shakira & Britney Spears have incorporated the Bollywood style of dance or music into their songs, videos and stage shows.
P.S.S. Rena, I can’t sleep. I am so excited! We were in our tent and I was telling you I was a great dancer when I was when I was 13 to seventeen years old. I used to dance in front of a big mirror a half hour before I went to school, and a half hour when I came home. I choreographed my own moves. I invented dancing without a partner at Oakland High School in 1962, when I was sixteen. Fifty of my schoolmates would surround me and my partner as I did a solo ten feet away from her. I would go into a trance. When Marilyn turned sixteen, I danced the Bolero for her with my shirt off. Lucky girl!
When I heard you had become a dancer, I was thrilled out of my whits because, this proves you were ‘The One’. You see, I have been jealous of the world since I met you. – before I met you, I was utterly jealous that we never got to dance together, that the world got to see you dance – on your beautiful stage. When did you get into dancing, and why?
When I was young, and before we met, I had a dream about you almost every day. You were my invisible dance partner. Was that our destiny that we missed? Was that the big chance of our lifetime? What a dance team we would have made. They would know us at the ‘The Kiss of Eternal Fire’, or ‘The Fiery Kiss of Eternity’
“They loved each other better afar, than near. And when they came together, they did the Fandango!”
We are playing with fire, Aries woman. Playing with fire! Right here – and so very far away!
I mean, my God, I read about your hip replacement, and we are in a movie, based upon a book, that I am writing, and……are we really going to spend the last days of our life together wondering how many eggs the chickens laid today!
I will take care of you when the needs arises.
And as for our dance – may I take your hand and lead you to the floor?
Over a year ago I began a painting of you. One night after I lie down to go to sleep, you lie down next to me. You were seventeen again. I jumped out of bed. For a month you appear by my side as I walked. When I went to a movie, I was not quite alone. I told my friends I have a very friendly – and beautiful ghost.