JUNE 2, Saturday
Kristin and I stayed Friday, Saturday and Sunday with Lisa and Don. Lisa is an old friend from Dallas whom I met when she was an anchorwoman at Channel 8 and I was an up and coming musician. We hit it off immediately, and have been friends ever since. When she was the overnite anchor on “World News Now”, Gregori Paul (designer/painter/big smile/mischievous/dear friend) and I went to visit her in New York and stayed at her wonderful flat. She brought us over to see the ABC set, where Peter Jennings sat, and we got to witness the robotics of television cameras. Since Gregori is a stellar designer, we, of course, had gone down to the fashion district during our stay, and that was a lot of fun, too. Anyhoo, then Lisa moved on to “Good Morning America” which she hosted with Charles Gibson for a year (or two?). I’ll never forget one morning when I was sipping hot tea, fuzzy slippers on my feet, watching Shawn Colvin be interviewed by Lisa, when all of a sudden Lisa said, “So, you live in Austin?” and Shawn said, “Yes…” and Lisa said, “Oh, do you know my good friend, musician Sara Hickman?” to which I spit my tea out all over my robe in disbelief that she had mentioned my NAME on television…! Friends ROCK!
So, now Lisa has two terrific kids and is married to Don, (President of United Artists/kind heart/dad/interesting family history/new friend), and staying at their home was exquisite. Kristin and I had our own chateau (that is what we were calling it!), stocked full of food in the fridge, the pantry, assorted teas and a French press, which made Kristin very happy! We each had our own bedrooms….really, it felt like we were Snow White and had stumbled on a very happy land that supplied our every whim….so, Saturday morning, I got up and made fresh scrambled eggs with feta and tomatoes and
biscuits and coffee and our friend, Robert Peters (actor/director/great guy) came over and we sat around the table and laughed and enjoyed ourselves very much. Later, Kristin and I went inside and had a tour of the home, and it was full of such amazing history….the original house was built in 1900, and the “barn”, now the “chateau”, was built in 1910. Lisa told us about the rooms and the servants quarters and then we saw the tennis court and the additional, smaller house out next to that. We met a wonderful woman named Consuela, who had the best ,genuine smile, and we talked about God and church and the kids. She is graduating from college and plays basketball….I would guess she was AT LEAST six feet tall. She helps with the kids during the day, and wow! I wish I could have spent more time talking with her. She just radiated love….Later, Don, Lisa and I went and saw “Knocked Up”, and I laughed so hard, cried a lot, loved the movie to pieces. It completely captures the essence of men, women, relationships, unexpected surprises, life, dialogue and the joy of babies! I would venture to say this is a pro-baby movie, too, because of all the positive reinforcement and wonder that is the creation of a child. I have already seen it since with Lance, and loved it all over again. I give this movie 4 stars, and I asked Don why it couldn’t win an Academy award….but, he said, comedies don’t usually win for best picture, and especially ones this honest (lots of graphic language and shows a vagina, although I say you want people to be pro-vagina and supportive of women as complex creatures instead of just bumbling, giggling sexual objects, give this movie an Academy Award. There’s my two cents worth.)
Later in the day, I went over to check in with my friends, Jim Dunlap (angel/film accountant/tall dude/dear friend) and Shawn Hlookoff (musician/great hair/new pal), and to catch up with my friend, Stevo, whom I have not seen in person in 13 years, although he and I communicate by email regularly. Stevo has been homeless for six years, living out of his van with his little dog, Amelia. I was waiting in the lobby and saw Stevo and Amelia walking back out, and I chased after him, out into the parking lot, and cried, “Stevo! Is that you?” and he turned, and I said, “It’s me….Sara…” And we walked very quickly into each other’s arms and just stood there, holding one another, trying not to cry, but tears of happiness welling up. What can stop happiness?
We went inside to room #106. Jim, the great angel that he is, had bought me a room for the night, not knowing my friend, Lisa, had offered her home for the weekend, and so I had asked Jim if I could let Stevo have the room to shower, to rest, and Jim said “of course!” without any hesitation….So, Stevo and I went in and spoke quietly for an hour or more, catching up on each other’s lives, laughing, reaching out (“Is this REAL?” we asked), smiling, staring at each other without words, just happy to see one another again. He told me of his journey from editor for Dan Rather to his life now, and how he has chosen to stay where he is, living out of his van, making music at the farmer’s market, music for kids at skateparks, doing gardening for others…He feels America has become evil, and distracted by it’s own wealth…It is shallow…and he told me how he had gone to cover the Columbine shootings, called the CBS office in New York to tell them about what he had seen, what he had witnessed, and everyone over the phone was laughing, having a party, too distracted to hear the anguish of this horrible day, and he felt like that was it for him.
His van is chock full of an array of necessities (clothing, food, shoes, soap) and oddities (driftwood, papers, photos, musical instruments made out of recycled boxes….) and he sleeps behind the steering wheel, sitting up I suppose. His joy was apparent, and his heart is full of much love.
But seeing the immense wealth of one friend, and seeing the immense “poverty” of another was very emotional for me. I’m not sure if I can express it. It was all good, it was all weird.
Saturday night, we hooked up with Debbie (she used to sing back-ups with me, co-wrote “I Couldn’t Help Myself”/piano teacher/sweetheart/dear friend), and she is still so bright and sweet. We all met at Genghis Cohen, the club: me, Debbie, Kristin, Robert, Jim, his brother, Ron, Shawn, and two more friends of Jim’s that I can’t recall at the moment (but who were hilarious and fun….one worked for Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and one was an actor from Canada…David, was his name, I think!) We were there to eat dinner and hear Shawn perform. He sounded great, but the keyboard was distorting. We had fun; I had a Cosmopolitan. Ay yi yi! Tasty. And, I must say, the food at Genghis is really, really good, too!
JUNE 3, Sunday
Meanwhile, I had been playing phone tag with another of my dearest friends, Brian (camp creator/artist/sound designer/Tiki God/heartfriend forever), whom I have known since 1995…He is one of the smartest people I know, and his eyes are like liquid, burning chocolate goo. We finally connected at met up with his wife, Stacey, at a diner over in Santa Monica for breakfast. AND….I got our journal back! Brian and I keep a journal together, so I was thrilled it is back in my hands and now I can add some drawings/thoughts/stupid, silly, funny stuff….The food was EXCELLENT…Oh, what is the name of that diner…hmm….This was a great morning…we talked of what we’ve been up to, had waaaaaaaaaaaay too much cream in our tea/coffee (mmm), and discussed Idaho, where Brian and Stacey will most likely move, to start a family and be close to family and to enjoy a less stressful environment. Ok, if we ever leave Austin, Idaho sounds A-OK!
Later that afternoon, Lisa and Don had luncheon, in which they invited their friend, Ralph (music supervisor/record label magnate/lots of curly hair/mysterious, enigmatic smile/big heart) and his wife and children (all super lovely and smart, more in a second!) and Lisa’s writing partner, whose name escapes me but I WILL put it in here cuz she was a plethora of facts, wow!, and her child and another charming woman whose name I will ALSO remember…who ALSO had a lovely child!…and after lunch of paninis and coos-coos and veggies and fruit and salad and mozzarella with tomatoes/basil, we all went to the third floor where I performed a children’s show in the playroom. That was a HOOT!
The room is magical…so childcentric and colorful and I could live there easily! Toys and bright windows of cheery sunlight, filtered through the trees, so not too hot, just right…Everyone on the upper level of the room, hanging out on the carpeted floor, snuggling, while I was below looking up, and around, singing and encouraging everyone to interact.
Later still, Kristin and I headed off for the hills, where we were performing at an event for music/television supervisors to hear talent, and we were on the bill. Oh, everyone was tall and leggy and hip and beautiful and Kristin and I felt very “Austin”, but we had some food (what?! MORE food? yes, ok, we did. We had MORE food…IT was there! It was tasty and delicious, made by the seven chefs in the walk through kitchen, so what could we do?) and a drink (um….mine was pink, fruity and had something like vodka, maybe?) and then we sang out by the pool, under the sunset, overlooking the valley below, palm trees our waving backups behind….The house was one of those all glass, long and rectangular and the pool looked like glass. I started with Amy Rigby’s “Are We Ever Gonna Have Sex Again” to get everyone’s attention. We went from there!
Robert went with us to this event, too, and then afterwards:
Kristin, Robert and myself ska-doodled back to Lisa’s, where Kevin Howard (actor/florist/casting director/bon vivant/best friend/fairy godfather of Lily) met up with all of us, Lisa included, and we sat up into the wee hours (1 am), reliving moments from long ago, laughing, talking about our happiest moments in life to date, so we shared stories about Warren Beatty (Lisa knows him, Robert had worked for him, I love “Reds”: one of my all time favorite films), Patricia Neal, Gregory Peck, Hollywood, “Good Morning America”, each other,
our parents, our lives, our hopes and dreams. Kristin and I drifted off into happiness and soft sheets after goodbyes….
JUNE 4, Monday
Groggy, got up early, had to take the rental back early, Kristin and I checked our bags, flew home. All day affair.
Got home to hugs and kisses, and caught up on artwork, tales of the weekend, whose party who had gone to, kisses with Lance, unpacking, still listening, trying to catch up on email after everyone was asleep…Walk around the house, kiss people on their sleeping foreheads….
The darkness is calm and settles my soul….
JUNE 5, Tuesday
Spent the morning taking the girls to their art classes, caught up with office stuff, repacked, got in the car and headed to Kerrville.
JUNE 6, Wed
Taught songwriting all day with Connie Mims (singer/songwriter/mom/fellow Governor on the Recording Academy Board/new friend), where we worked, primarily, with teachers who teach music. I’d guess there were about 30-40 people. It was an excellent day of people breaking though, utilizing the exercises I brought to create new songs, new ways of thinking, creative play for their students, and Connie’s fine
ability to break down the crucial, and most widely used, aspects of the song. Saw and chatted with: Bradley Kopp (guitarist/producer/brother in song and comittment, friend and loyal human being), Glenn Kawamoto (bassist/smiley man/sings the Hawaiian song on “Toddler”/friend), Richard Bowden (fiddle player/humanitarian/social activitst/friend), Paul Pearcy (drummer/magic man/Nina’s boyfriend/lifelong pal), and Eric Schwarz (I am a huge fan of this songwriter so I will not gush here)…..then got in the van and headed home….