Viewing: Dmitri Matheny Memoir - View All Posts
When I was young and asking the big questions, I learned most of what I still believe about loyalty, bravery and morality from the Silver Age superheroes in my comic book collection.
In later years I would travel internationally, study world religions, read classic works of philosophy and ethics, and even pay attention to my father's many lectures. I went to private school, public school, boarding school and the school of hard knocks. I'm an educated cat.
But to this day, when the world tests my mettle or challenges my sense of right and wrong, it's not Spinoza but my inner Green Lantern who shows up for the fight.
I've always been impressionable in this way.
For example, I'm pretty sure I have a goatee because of the way Spock looked in "Mirror, Mirror." I know I started wearing dashikis in high school because of a picture I saw of Elvin Jones in Downbeat. I sport a beret on stage because Dizzy did.
Today, while watching Highlander for the godzillionth time, I noticed something about Christopher Lambert's home. Like so many characters in films of the 1980s and '90s, The Highlander lived in a loft.
It now occurs to me that my interior design preferences and bone-deep love of warehouse loft spaces and mid-century modern furniture are not based on anywhere I've lived or anything I've seen or studied. They don't reflect some sophisticated notion about the aesthetic requirements of an artist's life. They aren't because I need space to rehearse and create.
Nope. I learned about loft living from the movies. Dig:
William Sanderson in Blade Runner (1982). Jennifer Beals in Flashdance (83). Lambert in Highlander (86). Barbara Hershey in Hannah and Her Sisters (86). Mickey Rourke in 9-1/2 Weeks (86). Tom Hanks in Big (88). Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally (89). Rosanna Arquette in New York Stories (89). Nancy Travis in So I Married An Axe Murderer (93). James Caan in Bottle Rocket (96). Ethan Hawke in Great Expectations (98). Julianne Moore in The Big Lebowski (98). Adam Sandler in Big Daddy (99). Christian Bale in American Psycho (00). Owen Wilson in Zoolander (01). Olivier Martinez in Unfaithful (02).
I want their cribs!
(Sure hope this flugelhorn thing works out.)
Across the plaza from Civic Space Park (where guitarist Stan Sorenson and I played a noontime concert today) stands one of the most interesting and historic buildings in downtown Phoenix: the Westward Ho.
Upon its grand opening in 1928, the neo-Renaissance Westward Ho was the tallest structure in the area (16 stories!) and one of the most elegant hotels in the west, with vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows and beautiful tiled floors.
Over the years, the hotel accumulated its share of fame.
Jack Benny broadcast radio shows from the Westward Ho during World War II.
Elizabeth Taylor kept a suite at the hotel and dined in its restaurant, Top of the Ho.
Paul Newman filmed a scene for the 1972 movie Pocket Money there.
Robert Wagner married Natalie Wood on the hotel patio.
Marilyn Monroe filmed the parade scene in Bus Stop (1956) on Central Avenue in front of the Westward Ho and is said to have gone for a moonlight swim (without a suit!) in the hotel pool.
Some of the Ho's other famous guests include John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Rogers, Jackie Gleason, Myrna Loy, Amelia Earhart, Esther Williams, Danny Thomas, Gary Cooper, Lucille Ball, Clark Gable, Henry Fonda, Bob Hope, Liberace, Lee Marvin, Tyrone Power, Eleanor Roosevelt, Shirley Temple, Al Capone, Spencer Tracy and John Wayne.
Contrary to popular belief, the Westward Ho does not appear in the opening sequence of the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho, but is featured in the 1998 Gus Van Sant remake.
A 280-foot television broadcast antenna, added to the hotel's rooftop in 1949, is now used as a cell phone tower.
In 1980, after 52 years, the Westward Ho hotel closed for business and was converted to subsidized housing for the elderly and mobility impaired.
The building is now recognized on the National Register of Historic Places.