CANDLES OF THE MOUNTAIN PART 3
“Ahh Nico! Come meet LouLou.”
A young man with cha-cha rhythm danced in and kissed me on both cheeks. He and Chantal are speaking at a galloping speed in French, embossed with the wildest sort of laughter, and then another man, Speedy, a leading Parisian graffiti artist walks in, and addresses me without movement; just eyes that seem to sum me up speedily. Behind him is Nathan, a man of composed attentiveness. Then came Fabien, although we met a few days later, I include him now because creative nonfiction allows poetic license of time and place. Fabien is a Frenchman who owns a progressive gallery in Culver city, Castanier Gallery, and shows Speedy.
If the address is Malibu on the mailbox, it is not inside the house. This party began as they all crossed the threshold. The ooh la la’s, kisses, hugs, gifts, and food that joined the beef, chicken and my guacamole was an appetite odyssey.
The evening began as some sort of theatrical reenactment of a French film. I have longed to return to Europe; instead I found it in Chanel’s home. You must meet Bibi, and Bruce. I coined Bibi, Joplin, because when she danced on the dining table, with her flowing blond hair and abandonment to free spirit she reminded me of Janis. Bruce, her husband wears a flag of acceptance for human imperfection and relished a young Walter Matthew. He is highly educated and so grounded in realism his wife’s antics do not astound him as some husbands may disapprove of such a blooming spirit. There was a Swedish beauty and her friend Shawn, a British theater actor, who inflamed the party with the grandest authentication of the English language in conversation, and joking that turned everyone into belly aching laugher. We were also joined by two Brits from London; superbly mannered and educated professionals, Rebecca and James, and then a French woman with delicate features and European charm.
“Let us have a toast.” Shawn raised his glass in the light of candles and softly sliding sunlight. I suggested everyone join in with their own toast. When it came to my turn I said,
“ L’ chaim”
“Oh, you are Jewish?” someone called out.
“Yes. Can I stay?” I said with a smile to encourage laughter and not the awkwardness of being the only Jew. I’d rather people know so they don’t trip up and provoke my Jewish temper.
To be myself amongst strangers is rarely so effortless for me. Like the new moon rising over the mountains; the time for full powered laughter and elation had captured all of us. I felt that we were ravenous for a few hours of relief from the catastrophic state of world affairs that we are not personally suffering. There is very little discussion of current events in public places; and I have not seen many people reading the news. My gratitude for the freedom to luxuriate in a pampered and nourishing environment enlarged every time I watch the news.
The fog today has brushed the mountains with a thick white mist almost like a snow mass; yet the temperature is warm and humid and my pores feel moisturized. The wilderness holds my attention to reflection as the natural beauty of eucalyptus trees fanning the wind and wild flowers feeding hummingbirds surpasses the perfection of model bodies and designer outfits of 92065 residents.
Malibu is not all celebrities and rock stars as you may think. There is an abundance of families that flock to the beach, and live the art of hanging out around the Malibu Mart. The community offers weekend festivals, and fund-raisers tied to the care of the ocean, landscape and horses. They offer child and adult surf classes, book readings, hiking clubs, and even have their own Malibu Playhouse and a Movie Theater. The Santa Monica Mountains open into a hikers paradise, and full suited black leather BMW bikers are everywhere you look .
The night life begins at Sunset when a litter of limo guests enter the driveway of Geoffreys Restaurant for glistening views and cocktails. Down at the Malibu Pier the plank boards are as weathered as I remember as a teenager; only now the restaurants are uppity scaled organic. My favorite restaurant, Malibu Seafood, is still sitting on the shoulder of Pacific Coast highway and as the locals know, you don’t get tossed for another reservation. You can bring your own wine, sit on a deck overlooking the Pacific and taste the freshest fish in California.
What I found most entertaining in a writers way, was the night Chantel and I visited NOBU; “No One Beats Us.” To be continued….