Tonight I went to the usual Christmas party at the Pinckert girls place on St. Marks – somehow I find myself there every year, regardless of where I actually live in the country. Liz Mann accompanied me, and it was really good to have her there. Under no circumstances could I have waltzed in there solo and felt like staying for more than a nanosecond – with her, at least, one can comment on the silliness afoot without plunging into useless solipsism. And while I didn’t know very many people there to begin with, the second we put our coats on to leave, a bevy of old friends paraded through the door: Celeste, Diane, the nutty Brandy, and even Alex Yong and Wendy. Original Pink House resident Tom Holden was there as well, and in a flash, I realized how long it had been since actually being at a party with the old crowd. Probably not since my own party exactly a year ago tonight.
I was put back into the mood by a website I found today, cobbled together by a guy named Gus who befriended a group of girls in Charlottesville in the early 90s and ended up living in this house they called Big Fun. The place eventually grew into central Virginia’s cultural metaphor, a Gen X hangout/commune that housed a bunch of folks vaguely peripheral to the UVA scene. There is a glossary online at:
that is deeply analogous to the scene we created in Chapel Hill (albeit without the heroin and Robitussin abuse) and temporarily made me long for the days when I was surrounded those incredible people for so many years. I do pretty well not to romanticize the decade or so I spent in Chapel Hill, and I think I have a pretty healthy understanding of the mess we were in back then. But the swirling scene of the early to mid-90s provided more creative petrol than most people experience in a lifetime. Im sad for the folks that are still stuck there (indeed, the Charlottesville “Big Fun” scene seemed to disintegrate under the corrosive blend of phone bills, gas companies and untrustworthy housemates as well) but we part of something really great, and unless I write a glossary myself, really unsung.
Perhaps thats what the Pink House movie is all about, but I doubt it. Entire swaths of that experience were lost in the translation, and what we have now is something vastly different. Movies don’t capture “scenes” very well, at least the word in its most cliquish, zeitgeist-sense. If you weren’t there, you don’t get it, and a movie won’t give it to you. Any attempt to recreate it will seem “twee” at best and “nauseously self-involved” at worst. I can only hope the movie we made about the Pink House makes people laugh, and any resemblance to the “scene” where I lived will be accidental, tertiary, and a delightful surprise.
Speaking of the Pink House and tertiary accidents, C was at the party tonight. I took Liz up into the sequestered room where C and E were chatting, knowing full well C wanted nothing more than to escape my presence. As usual, I stormed in there, asking her questions, being a simple, swell dude. Coming down the stairs, Liz asked “Was somebody making someone uncomfortable up there?” I said, “It was me, baby, all me.”