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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gerard Damiano's Surprise Birthday Party

Sunday, August 3, 2008: Annie Sprinkle, Veronica Vera, Gerard Damiano, and yours truly pause in our revelry to pose for a camera held by one of the 70 plus guests that gathered at the best Italian restaurant in Ft. Myers, Florida to surprise Gerard on his 80th birthday. His former wife (and still good friend) Barbara, their daughter, Christar, and their son, G Rock threw the best birthday bash I've been to since my Italian Mother-in-law's 90th back in 1993. There were many similarities - and not just in the dress and accent of a majority of the guests. I felt right at home.

Another similarity: the lavish anti-pasta and open bar that kept us all busy until Himself was spotted approaching the front door. An obedient hush descended in short order. When the lights came up and we all yelled "Surprise," I feared my favorite director was going to bolt. He later said, "I haven't been that surprised since I was arrested."

He just couldn't believe his loving former performers and pals had traveled from New York and California just to nuzzle and hug and kiss him to pieces. As much as I HATE to fly, and spending an unanticipated 27 hours in the Charlotte, NC airport on the way home didn't do much to change that, I wouldn't have missed it for anything. They invited John, too, of course, but he felt he must stay home to take care of our ancient pussy cat, Buck, who's gotten too frail to be left with a sitter.

As soon as Jerry was able to say hello and hug everyone, Barbara shooed us all into the dining room of the restaurant where we were served fabulous bread, salads, and our choice of an Epicurean entree. I had the scampi. Annie, seated to my right, chose the lasagna. Naturally we swapped bites, so I can report with authority that all the food was top drawer. As was the slide show, put together my Gerard Damiano the son (G Rock) It brought tears of nostalgia to more eyes than just mine.
After dinner, we danced, we sang, we reluctantly parted best of friends - all 70 or so that were there.

The next morning Annie hosted a breakfast for just the Damiano clan, her "Bosom Buddy" Veronica, and your blogger. I gave everyone copies of my book (The Devil Made Me Do It). Annie gave us copies of her Love-Art Catalog (be sure and follow my link to her site and look at all the wonderful art and books she has produced) and Veronica promised to send me a copy of her book, "MIss Vera's Finishing School for Boys Who Want to Be Girls." It just arrived and I had to force myself to put it down and get this written - as I promised I would do by today! Boy, can that lady WRITE. Never much interested in fashion myself, I find myself becoming a believer as I follow the "herstories" of some of her students achieving satisfaction in a Louis Vuitton scarf. Yes, I highly recommend it.

Now I got to go find some breathtaking passages from my book to read to a hopeful multitude at the LA landmark, Book Soup,
Wednesday, August 20th - 7 until 9pm - 8818 Sunset (between Holloway and Larabee) - in case you live in L.A. and are interested. Yes, of course I'll be signing books and chit-chatting, and taking questions from the floor and all that. It's my first time. I hope they'll be gentle.

Oh, if you do come because of having read this - PLEASE LET ME KNOW.