On our second date Marilyn took me to see ‘Black Orpheus’ at the Nuart theater on Santa Monica Blvd. M thinks it was the Tivoli. When I see Mia drive by the Rialto theater, I start to choke. My ‘It Girl’ put her hand on my arm, to comfort me.
“Are you all right?”
“No! I’m having an attack of dejevue!
When we emerged from the theater, M asked me what I thought.
“I think I am a black man trapped in a white man’s body!”
Marilyn looked at me, perturbed. I didn’t know it then that she was setting me up for the greatest White vs. Black Culture Clash – of all time!
“I can dance! Really dance! I stole a LP from Rexall drug store when I was fourteen. I still have it. I used to dance to ‘African Drums’ before I went to school, and after, to relieve the tension. I hate school!”
I am sure Marilyn told Kenny Reed about the black soul lurking inside, me, and that’s why I am the only white man he hates in the Emerald Valley.
Being a Poor White-Black Person, with no money to take M on our first date. Rosemary suggested we go see Wurthering Heights at UCLA, where she went for two years. It was my first date. I tried not to show I was nervous. We did not hold hands, or touch one another inside the movie house. I knew she was waiting for The Kiss. I wanted a really grand kiss! A real movie kiss!
It was nighttime. As we walked the brick path, all of a sudden, I grabbed Marilyn’s hand and, cried!
“Let’s see if we can get to the top of that tower!”
We ran as hard as we could, we bothing laughing! The door was unlocked. There was no one anywhere as we bounded up the stairs! We found the door to the balcony, and looked down on the city lights. We were fifteen and sixteen. I shouted;
“Let’s go to the top of that tower!”
And down the stairs we ran! We conquered both towers! We owned La La Land!
We had people to run from. My best friend, Mark Owen, said this to me;
“I’m going to destroy you. I’m going to take Marilyn from you!”
Mark became Marilyn’s best friend’s lover.
Then, there was Jeff Pasternak, the movie producer’s son, who approached us at school. There was a dark jealousy deep inside. He had a crush on M before I came along. He did not respond to any the e-mails you have read in this blog. He was rich. M and her family were so poor. I was poor. We began to fret over money so we could fund our True Romance. M’s mother was really on my case! Mia’s phone call with her mother – ruined them, ruined the…………
‘The Greatest Love Story Ever Told!’
We never considering cashing in, because our story kept getting bigger and better. M’s half-brother took us to see Dizzy Gillespie at the Lighthouse in Hermosa beach. We would never be the same!
If La La Land resembles any movie, it is Black Orpheus, who was the greatest musician of all time. He was a married man. Mia and Sebastian, did not get married – yet!
Orpheus did not take his lyre into Hades to retrieve his beautiful wife, who had been captured by Death, and his minion of the underworld!
Do you see what Marilyn is holding in her hand? It looks like a Black Oscar. It is the black doll her sister, Shauna gave her. S married Ron Jeffers, Les MaCann’s drummer. She told me she would stay at her sister’s house in Watts. S & M would walk down the street together, in this Black Ghetto. No one fucked with them. M told me they walked past the Watts Towers on the way to Jazz clubs no white man ever entered. When I saw the Watts towers in La La Land, I knew it was A RIP!
Before M married Kenny, she told me not to anyone J.J. Johns kiss her on the couch after he made dinner for her in his apartment in Watts. He wanted to go all they way.
“I’m only fifteen!” she said. But, I think she lied.
What M is holding in her hand, is the Oscar not offered to all the Black Jazz Artists, who created a scene that was the Soul of the City of Angels. It is something else. It is M’s Oscar for the Best Love Story – of all time!
I begged my daughter, and my beautiful muses, to not give up on The Story………
“For all is well, that ends well!”
Everyone thought I was mad when I told them there is so much Illusion and Fakery, that I am compelled to give all I have – for free! For I have seen a Greater Reality. I have beheld, the Great Art. And, this is what we fought over, M and I. I told my love I was corrupting my Creative Soul – by even dwelling in La La Land! I’m sixteen years old having these incredible esoteric conversation up at the Mormon Temple, where we looked down on the city lights. It was our constant stage!
Mia booked out of there after her little stage, with the painted Eifel Tower, failed her. She was destined for The Real Thing!
“Vivien Leigh was my heroine,” Elizabeth once said. “She was innocence on the verge of decadence, always there to be saved.”
On our first date, Marilyn Godfrey and I went to see ‘Withering Heights’ in an auditorium on the grounds of the University of California at Los Angeles. Not having any money, and our mothers being poor, this love story was chosen because it being shown for free. Our father’s were absent from the home. We got no help from them in launching our fifty-five year friendship that began with the deep consideration as to how this agreement between two teenagers was going to go. Would I make it to first base, or, will we make excuses as to why we have to hurry home?
“My mother just got another calling from God. I feel it in my bones. I must rush home to be by her side.”
“My mother has just finished off a gallon of Pisano and his pulling my sister;s hair out by the root. I can feel her pain. I must rush home to protect her. See ya sometime!”
I was fifteen. I had never been on a date, and thus did not know what a bad date looked or felt like. I was at the mercy of Marilyn who had gone on several dates. She had kissed – how many of them? I kissed my childhood friend Nancy when we were both twelve. I assumed she was a good kisser. I had not kissed a girl hence. This kiss was waiting in the wing, as Heathcliffe made his famous haunted pledge. I include most of his commitment to love, because, at the end of our long bond, I receive a death threat from Marilyn’s black husband, and, a Cease and Desist from the black Director of the Gospel Choir Marilyn is the President of. For the moment, we are studying how White Folks love, in Merry Ol England made famous for this tale of woe.
‘May she wake in torment!‘ he cried, with frightful vehemence, stamping his foot, and groaning in a sudden paroxysm of ungovernable passion. ‘Why, she’s a liar to the end! Where is she? Not there—not in heaven—not perished—where? Oh! you said you cared nothing for my sufferings! And I pray one prayer—I repeat it till my tongue stiffens—Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you—haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot die without my soul!’
Wow! So this is – love! You can’t even share anything that resembles this in a AA meeting without being accused of being selfish, and on a dry drunk. But, at fifteen Marilyn and I would give it a go. However, this was not our only blue print. M had a master plan that I still have not seen the whole of! Women are Secret Lovers. They play their cards very close to their vest, to their most Secret Heart. So, on our second date she took me to see Black Orpheus. She paid our way. From that day on, I was her puppet on a string.
Chazelle wrote the screenplay in 2010 but did not find a studio willing to finance the production without changes to his design. Following the success of his 2014 film Whiplash, the project was picked up by Summit Entertainment. La La Land premiered at the Venice Film Festival on August 31, 2016, and was released in the United States on December 9, 2016. It has grossed $370 million worldwide on a production budget of $30 million.