Monday, September 19, 2005

Having a Wonderful Time; Wish You Were Here

I didn’t take the picture of Dirty Jack’s Theater that appears at the top of this blog. I found it on the Internet several years ago and copied it to my local drive.

Whoever took the picture perfectly captured Dirty Jack’s Theater. It is evidently a long exposure, with the brake lights of cars moving north along Cache Street creating a red horizontal slash.

The long exposure obliterates the name on the marquee, and I don’t know what year this photo was taken. I am willing to bet it was 1976 or ’79 because the image is just so perfectly parallel to my memories of the place.

The structure to the left of the theater is the entrance to the Chuck Wagon Restaurant that provided the bland meals the actors survived upon. Mikey was responsible for all those light bulbs, replacing any that burned out. Sean practiced his trumpet daily in a small room behind the third window from the left on the second floor. Prudence counted money from ticket sales in the room behind the window nearest the marquee. Local girls worked as ticket agents in the sidewalk-level window on the right edge of the theater, hawking the show to tourists with traveler’s checks. It looks like a van is parked right in front of the theater in the photo, and one night right before the show in 1976 we spotted a van with out-of-state plates gently rocking in that exact spot.

Many times I stood in the exact spot from which this photo was taken: a large green yard perfect for craft fairs in the day and dope smoking in the night. The view of the theater at night was cool, and I know why the photographer put his camera on his tripod and took this long exposure.

I have used sophisticated software to closely examine this photo, blowing it up to enormous proportions to try to read the marquee, or even identify the model year of the cars. I wanted badly to verify that this picture was taken when I was working at Dirty Jack’s. If I magnify the photo to the limits of its resolution and focus on the batwing doors on the entrance to the lobby, I can see the fuzzy image of a tall, slender man inside the theater. He appears to be waving. I like to imagine it is me, signaling a message to myself across an ocean of time.