The Dame, A Coyote & An Almost Cardiac ArrestMonday, January 18, 2010
In 1987 Globe and Mail arts writer John Lekich and I had an appointment with American actor Peter Coyote at a movie set that was that old restaurant in Gastown that featured bad food serve by waiters dressed in monk’s habits.
While waiting for Coyote to show up a tall blonde woman appeared wearing a very tight silver satin dress, high heels shoes and a Ninotchka hat. She sat down in the chair you see here, lit up a cigarette and calmly stared at us. She looked like a woman that Humphrey Bogart would have called a dame. I managed to get some nerve and asked her if she would pose for me telling her, “We are waiting for Mr. Coyote and my lights are all set up.” She agreed and posed. I could see the Lekich licking his lips. She was, indeed a dame.
Coyote finally appeared and sat down for his photograph and Lekich did his interview. After what had been a pleasant afternoon I decided to pull a trick on Lekich as I was packing my stuff. At the time I had been having problems with my Mamiya film backs so I kept an old roll of film in my bag to test the system. I took it out and told John, “Here are her pictures,” and I proceeded, with great drama to unroll the film in a flourish and expose it to light. Lekich almost had a cardiac arrest. I explained my joke. He relaxed.
It was when I got home that I realized that I had exposed the real roll of film, the one of the dame.
Yesterday I dropped off film at The Lab. I was to take 12 rolls. Four were from a job for the Salmon Marketing Council and the other 8 were portraits of the new NDP MP for Coquitlam/New Westminster, Fin Donnelly. I counted the rolls. There were 13!
When I picked up the film I realized upon seeing the pictures of Rebecca and of our fall garden that somehow the roll had remained in a corner of my bag, unnoticed.
The surprise made me think of the Coyote incident and how, while the picture of Rebecca is not one of my best of her it still is a surprise. Perhaps I will be around when she indeed will become a dame and dress in satin, heels and a Ninotchka hat. If that happens I will make sure I get my shot.
The fall picture of the garden features (at the bottom) Hosta ‘Northwest Textures’ and, above, Kirengeshoma koreana.