Echo Remembered - Suicide AvertedSunday, July 12, 2015
Sometime in the mid 80s I worked as artist/teacher for the then named Emily Car College of Art in a program that was called Outreach. Photographers, sculptors, printmakers and painters were assigned to give weekend seminars in remote Northern communities of British Columbia. This took me to places like Atlin, Kyukuot, Fort Nelson, Cassiar and Prince George. Our students were usually connected to or the teaching premises were in Northern Lights Colleges.
I would usually fly on a Friday night and come back Monday morning. In those heady days of the 80s no small Northern BC town would be satisfied to be just that. They wanted the prestige of having a weekend bar that features strippers. I played a personal game of trying to find my airplane passenger who would be an exotic. One Friday in particular there was a lovely woman wearing red pumps sitting on a box. I asked her what was in the inside of the box as it had a mesh window. I supposed a cat or a dog. That was not the case. She said, “It is a snake. It is part of my act.”
My session in Prince George was in the dead of winter. My hotel had a bar with strippers and I was housed in it because it was walking distance to the Northern Lights campus. That Friday night I looked out of my window and I saw the highway shrouded in white as wind churned the falling snow. I could see tractor trailers on it and I could hear their sound. I could also hear the loud music coming from the bar below.
I was suddenly depressed. I felt alone in a bleak city. I must admit that I thought about suicide for a microsecond. I wondered how those strippers could handle being in that bar downstairs and keep up with their spirits.
I turned on the TV.
I was saved by Clint Eastwood, an orang-utan and Ruth Gordon. There was a crew of tough looking bikers called the Black Widows. I laughed and laughed and my depression was forgotten. This was James Fargo’s 1978 Every Which Way But Loose.
One of the actresses was a protagonist called Echo. She was hippy looking. She was plain and wore no makeup. I quickly forgot her and never knew who she was until sometime later when I saw the film again on Turner Classics Channel.
This time around Echo was familiar. When the film was finished I was astounded to find out that the plain looking woman was Beverly D’Angelo whom I photographed a few years before. It was in 1989 that she and Martin Sheen came to Vancouver to promote Allan A. Goldstein’s Cold Front which was about an American cop who teams up with a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman and together they uncover a plot to hide international terrorists in Vancouver.
I photographed both of them (but separately) on a narrow hotel corridor but I did bring my Hollywood lights.
D’Angelo was charming and breathtakingly beautiful. On my second viewing of Every Which Way But Loose, Echo, too was a charmer.