When I was fifteen and back in Pasadena, California, my then-boyfriend Carlos and I drove 25 miles to a theatre on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills to see an art-house movie we’d read about, a strange foreign thing entitled El Topo by Alejandro Jodorowsky, in Spanish and poorly subtitled. We drove in a 1950-something Dodge Dart my lovely fool had gotten for his birthday, a white car with rusted chrome and aqua upholstery. It had buttons instead of a stick shift for changing gears and sounded ready to give up the ghost, but it ran. We’d gotten as far as Wilshire and Sepulveda and, parking at a gas station to buy low-lead for the car and Cokes for us, we saw the car’s dirty red transmission fluid spreading out beneath her like blood pooling under a murder victim’s head on the station’s concrete island. We pushed the car to a parking space along a brick wall, told the attendant we’d be back for it, and caught the next bus to the theater. We got there in time to miss the previews, but I remember that it was 9:49 p.m. when the theatre went dark and the world lit up.
It was 1972 and I knew then and there what I wanted to be.
A Zen cowgirl.
We of course never saw the Dodge Dart again, and one month and three fistfights later Carlos and I were history too. Four years after that I was walking up Fifty-Fifth Street in New York City, heading towards the St. Regis Hotel to meet Jodorowsky himself.
From the Novel MY DINNER WITH JODOROWSKY, by Gabriel S. de Anda