Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Remembering Lou Macaluso

If you've read Unseen for any amount of time you've heard me talk about my friend Lou. Lou was one of my two best friends in the world, my longest surviving friend (30 plus years) and one hell of a guy.  Earlier today I received word that Lou had passed on. The original plan for today was to post a piece on home video and a long lost half remembered movie serial but instead I'm going to remember my friend Lou.

I met Lou when I worked at Video Quest back in the 1980's. He was a customer and I was the guy behind the counter. Somewhere along the way a conversation about film started that lasted three decades.

At first we'd talk in the store about films. Eventually we talked on the phone for hours and then we started to go to films. The first one we ever went to was CAMILLE CLAUDEL staring Isabelle Adjani it was all down hill from there.

Lou drove us both to our first New York Film Festival to see Peter Greenaway appear with PROSPERO'S BOOKS. A couple of years back he went with me to the Park Avenue Armory to see Greenaway speak and to see his Sistine Chapel installation.

Other memories of the New York Film Festival with Lou include the above picture taken between seeing LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and HYDE PARK ON HUDSON. We sat outside Alice Tully Hall and ate food from the halal cart that seems rooted there. Another was going to see Oliver Stone present his History of the United States series.

Mostly it was long conversations about films and trading films on VHS or DVD. Making crazed calls to each other to see if we were home so that we could drop off a great film we just saw - the two that pop right to mind are OLD BOY and OPEN RANGE. Both of those films rocked his world and became touchstones that he'd revisit and we'd discuss endlessly. Even as Lou got sick over the last two years the exchanges kept up so long as he was home.

As a person Lou was a pip. One of the most well read, most intelligent people I've ever met he knew more than most college professors.He could discuss philosophy for days, and had a keen interest in Buddhism. He was in many ways a walking encyclopedia. He could be incredibly generous and giving...

...and he could be a real SOB when angry or frightened. Our friendship of thirty years fractured back in December when Lou's illness kept him in the hospital and out of his comfort zone. He fired broadsides at every one and every thing, including myself. I walked away. This isn't to lessen Lou, its only to say he could be difficult.  Hell I love the guy deeply. His friend Rich and I had some conversations recently about my returning to the fold. I hadn't spoken to Lou in three months (that's forever considering Lou and I spoke pretty much every day for the previous thirty years). I wanted to reconnect, but I wasn't sure it was possible,

Sadly it wasn't to be. Lou passed away a few days ago.

While I am sad at the loss, he went out in the home he loved (he said the only way he would ever leave was when he died) surrounded by the things he loved. I'd love to think that somewhere in the great beyond he's talking to Orson Welles or perhaps trading pith helemts wit Captain Spaulding, Groucho Marx.

On the other hand maybe he's sitting in a comfy chair stoogie in  hand as he finally makes it to the end of the Sherlock Holmes film THE HOUSE OF FEAR,-a film so comfortable to him that  he'd fall asleep as before the narration ended. " a grim old house pitched high on a cliff...."

Sleep well my friend sleep well.

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