Saturday, June 16, 2007

i was living in iowa, and had the itch to leave iowa city again; it seemed like i was spinning my wheels, getting nowhere. i had a friend, a kind of hustler, who i'll call s., who claimed that he had gotten a job in the movie fist, with sylvester stallone, which was being filmed in dubuque. he invited me to come up there one day, and i took him up on it.

i'd been to dubuque- a hilly river town, with an incline, and old brick buildings, a kind of 50's feel, and it reminded me of pittsburgh pa and the towns i'd grown up in. i actually was considering moving up there, so i thought i'd go along with s. and see what the town looked like from his viewpoint. he claimed that he knew sylvester stallone- as a personal friend. but s. was kind of a hustler- i figured, i'd believe it when i saw it.

we got up there, and the first place we went to was the set- a row of old warehouse buildings down by the river. the interesting thing was, they were filming the movie at the time. and, the extras were hanging around, smoking, talking to each other- and all wearing period costumes (1920's? 1930's?) it had an uncanny realistic feel to it. it was like i was set back in time.

s. was not for hanging around, though i could have browsed the movie company's free old-clothing stock. they apparently had hired all the extras they could use, and whatever s.'s angle was, people didn't seem to be entirely familiar with him. we headed uptown to a fancy coffee shop called the red stone inn, set in an old red brick mansion up against the bluff. i knew coffee would be a couple of bucks here and you should probably get cheesecake, but hey, i was a visitor, and had to figure the place out. the minute we got in the door, there he was: sylvester stallone- taking coffee back to a back table. as he turned around, he was looking right at me. he was shorter than i was, but strong, healthy, wide-awake, coffee in hand, and looking me in the eye.

i stumbled for words, but i said something to the effect of, aren't you sylvester stallone? and he laughed a little and said, yes. well, welcome to iowa, i said (after all, i lived there, all the time, whereas he was just visiting for the movie)...thanks, he said, and headed for the back room. it was over in a minute. my friend s. was nowhere in sight. I was left there to order my coffee.

in fact, i'm not sure where or when i finally caught up with him; maybe i hitchhiked home. seems he must have owed stallone money or something; he'd disappeared in thin air.

dubuque in general turned out to be a bust- not many jobs, not especially welcoming to a young unemployed traveller...but, it was a pretty place, hilly, wooded, lots of brick. years later i rented the movie 'fist' - again, s. was nowhere to be found. i'm not sure what happened to him.


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