Saw a close up of your pretty face

The guard waved at me in a stop-now-you-fucking-idiot sort of way. I guessed off-duty police officer. His arms were ripped. I stopped the Jeep, rolled down the window and parroted the magic words. He asked me for my driver?s license and copied a bunch of data. A red light turned green and gate #4 slid up.

I parked directly at the foot of the water tower. There’s a cartoon called Animaniacs in which the principal characters were imprisoned in this water tower for eighty years. Bungalows, low offices, clean but used.

I walked past the museum and found studio number 6. The front door was locked. The side door was locked. The back door was locked. The other back door was ajar. There was a low ramp, and a table with a tray coffee and donuts and fruit. Inside I could hear the sounds of musicians tuning their instruments. A sign said: EASTWOOD SCORING STAGE.

For almost eighty years, all the best music in movies has come out of this room. The room was originally built in 1929 and rededicated to Clint in 1999. Today, it held about forty orchestral musicians: a dozen brass, a dozen strings, a dozen woodwinds, a full rock kit, two drummers in soundproof booths, with a hundred microphones swinging and pointing and angling in every direction. Musicians fingered and fretted and buzzed, with freshly-printed Finale orchestral scores.

Damn, but it felt like coming home.

When they’re recording, the red light goes ON and nobody breathes. I listened to an hour of live music on the studio floor, and then I went into the booth to listen from there. We can’t appreciate the difference between highly compressed mix-down predigested music and the live direct-to-your-ears variety until we can hear the difference side by side.

A password got me into the Blue Room, a secret, small four-star restaurant on the Warner Brothers lot. We joked a lot about blowjobs. All theater and movie people are dirty minded fucks back in San Francisco — it was reassuring to find them thus in the heart of Mecca. I got a lot of business cards of people who I really should not have access to.

Three more hours of recording. I snuck out during a flubbed take. In the space of a few hundred feet, cities fell and rose before me. I walked through River City, Iowa, but the seventy-six trombones were long gone. I also walked through Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Bugsy, Casablanca, Blade Runner, The Big Sleep, and downtown Hazzard from The Dukes of Hazzard. Ghosts, ghosts, ghosts everywhere.

I’m in!

0 thoughts on “Saw a close up of your pretty face

  1. You crack me up. Sigh, maybe, just MAYBE they won’t take your soul. MAYBE, you might actually be able to stay good old John and create some great Art. Fingers crossed and breath held for you dear. I may have to check in though and make sure you are being sucked in too deep!

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