Finally, on our journey down to Malibu, our Zeitgeist Safari into John Fante' was still not complete. We were unsuccessful in capturing Fante's phantom on film, at least in any of his other L.A. haunts.
Where was America's Most Famous Unknown Author? Well, knowing that John Fante, spent his last years slowly decomposing; (being taken apart one piece at a time due to debilitating diabetes), we sought the muse in Malibu.
After a cheap lunch ($85.00) at the new Malibu Inn) Robert Eringer saw the other older Malibu Inn, Bar and Restaurant across the street. It appeared to be under construction, looking like a boarded up brothel. Peeping through the papered-up windows I could see a few men inside, laboring to finish before Tuesday's Re-Opening.
Brushing past a workman, standing idle in the doorway, and acting as if I owned the place, I sauntered inside, snapping two photos. My camera; flashing like a lure, caught the eye and immediate ire of the Mexican foreman who began shouting at me.
Apparently, I was trespassing (again). The foreman bolted across the floor shouting at me in Spanglish. He exclaimed that I wasn't suppose to be there! (The thought crossed my mind, wondering where he was from and whether or not he was to be there)
Speaking 'no comprende' (crap), thanked him for his work, (using my best Spanglish), and slipped out the door into the winter rain. Eringer and I schlepped, heading next to Fante's former home on Pt. Dume.
As Eringer sped off, I searched my camera for the orbvious evidence; And that's when I found him. Fante (we feel) showed up for an orb portrait, (or Porbtrait) in a round-a-bout way. In the center of the photo, looking round and transparent, relaxing in the rafters, John's orb made an appearance.
This was a fulfilling moment on our short but happy quest.
According to his son, Dan Fante', John's final years were spent enjoying country western music, whiskey and rose' wine, here at the Malibu Inn, in fact this is where he had his final drink. There was a "feel" of a Western Saloon; with the long bar, Old Fashioned Chandeliers, and Western Wagons wagging from the ceiling.
Eringer and I concurred this is where he took a liking to country and western music; when listening to the many live cowboy bands that would have played there in the 70's and 80's.
Within a couple of days, everything had come together quickly, and nicely for this trip.
Now, on to Fante's former domain.