Thursday, March 08, 2007

Cinequest - Day 8 - Treaty of Nepenthe

Versailles. Potsdam. Camp David. The geography of truce knows no boundaries when leaders join together for peace. The West Coast Brunes and I, the East Coast Brunes's ambassador, along with our moderator, Adam P.(pictured at left with a gift from Dan and Christy) visited coastal California in hopes of carving out a common ground on the divisive issues which have plagued our family since it crossed the Atlantic so many years ago. Our first stop on the peace trip was the bohemian city of Santa Cruz, home to the film The Lost Boys and the banana slug. We kissed the mollusk's image on the t-shirt in keeping with the Northern California legend that it brings good luck. We broke bread together before venturing off down the coast, first stopping at the home of the West Coast Brunes.

There were several family heirlooms in their home and also the gun that fired the shot that the Brunes heard 'round the world. I guess it's time to explain how the rift started. When the Brunes first immigrated to this country, they brought with them the family dog. It was to be the first in a long line of domesticated animals to serve as anchors to the sanity of the Brune family. This beloved dog was nearly as cherished as the children of our family, an avatar of loyalty, duty, quickness, luck, good nature and iconoclasm. One fateful day in the gently waving grasses of our Kansas plantation, my great-great grandfather was shooting recklessly at a swarm of locusts whilst my great-great uncle was playing nearby with the children and the dog, whose name is either Terrific or Abraham depending on which side of the family you ask. Well, as you can imagine, an errant shot felled the esteemed canine and all tranquility vanished from the Great Plains that day. Words were spoken that cannot be taken back. My side of the Brunes soon ended up on the East Coast, swearing on the good book never to own another pet again. That's the feud's origin and there were many wars and skirmishes in between then and now, but I don't wish to reopen old wounds.

From their home, we drove down the coast of Monterey Bay, watching the waves lap against the rocks. We came upon a peaceful sanctuary with friendly animals that came right up to us. They would have shaken our hands if they knew the custom. Dan was like St. Francis of Assisi with squirrels crawling up his legs. Of course he was feeding them, which the posted signs warned against, but beneath his lawlessness was a plea for conciliation and it was working. Our next stop was the famous 16 or 17 mile drive which spans a good part of Monterey Bay and covers the Pebble Peach area and the city once mayored by the great Clint Eastwood, Carmel. It was also the filming for the movie A Summer Place which I have not seen. We drove around Carmel looking for Clint Eastwood, the man and the memorabilia. We found neither. Apparently, he does not license his image in that fashion. We find locate one memento to the man on the menu of a restaurant he owns or used to own.

It's a little pricey for a meal named after a cop like Dirty Harry. I seem to remember him eating hot dogs all the time. We set off to the beach of Carmel, the sand of which couldn't have been finer. Dan said it reminded him of the sand you find in cigarette butt cans. Just sitting on the beach watching the Pacific, I kept thinking we should put this familial schism behind us. Talks would have been accelerated if Adam, our moderator, wasn't on the phone the entire day. Every time I tried to snap a picture of him with the marvelous coastal vistas behind him, he'd have his Motorola to his ear. Maybe he thought he could hear the ocean if he listened hard enough.

Our final stop was a restaurant 800 feet above sea level on the cliffs of the coast called Nepenthe. It used to be the summer home of Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth. It was a tough place to photograph, but we watched the sunset over the Pacific as we dined outside in the calm, cool air. It was incredibly memorable and over bread, lamb, wine and french fries, we made peace overlooking the Pacific. The Brunes are united again!

Back in San Jose that night, we read the most recent article in the Metro venerating Blood Car. It was a wonderful article and I have no doubt it will help pack out our final engagement on Saturday afternoon. Please check the Blood Car site or FWW site to find a link to that article. The Metro has been so good to us.

But with every piece of good news comes some bad news. We've heard from a few more festivals and our current average has dropped to .250. It's hard to reconcile all the positive press and encouraging personal feedback from audiences we've received here with some of this news. I have a feeling some of these people will come around.

We didn't see any movies on Wednesday(I'm a day behind in the blog.), but our journey was given a cinematic name, mostly due to the exploits at the after parties. It was called Fear and Loathing in San Jose, but please don't let your imaginations get carried away. We didn't have any wide angle lenses on that night.

1 comment:

Christy and Dan Brune said...

Yes the Nepenthe Summit was truly a breakthrough in east-west relations - breaking bread above the clouds was other-worldly - maybe it was the sweet wine, or the sweet potato fritters in curry butter, nothing could spoil the ambiance of a perfect moment in time. Negotiations were almost derailed by Adam's pretentiousness, but Mike's Southern gentlemanly manners saved the day. All's well that ended well with a rousing and heartfelt toast to "Blood Car" without which this reconciliation would never have happened. Thank you "Blood Car" for healing these ancient wounds and bringing us all to a place of "No Sorrow".