Sep 01, 2023, 06:31AM

Enzo Late Again

The director nearly misses his appearance at the Fangoria convention, January 1996.

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Giuseppe banged on Enzo’s door at the Hotel Pennsylvania until the director was jolted out of a deep sleep, suddenly vertical and unbalanced, convinced the world was ending. “THE BOMB IS HERE!” Enzo shouted at the top of his lungs as he struggled to recapture any sense of stability. The room spun around him as he attempted not to fall and split his head open. Giuseppe tried forcing the door handle, sliding multiple credit cards through the lock to no avail. Enzo finally fell on the bed as Kennedy was announcing the premiere of the video by The Smashing Pumpkins, “1979.” Enzo tied his bathrobe and walked to the door as Billy Corgan sang about being young and carefree.

Enzo opened the door to a red-faced Giuseppe. He didn’t say anything, just raised his eyebrows and waited for his longtime manager to come up with something. “Where have you been?” He bleated. “Giuseppe, you woke me out of the soundest sleep I’ve had in years. I saw many people and wonderful things I hadn’t thought about it in years. And then you woke me up just as it was going south. Thank you.” Giuseppe began to retaliate, but it took a few moments for him to understand what his boss was saying. “I forgive you for waking me up,” Enzo said as he put his hand on Giuseppe’s shoulder.

The man warmed up but he was still mad. “You have to be downstairs and dressed in 10 minutes for local press. That won’t take long. Then you have the fan magazines. That’s hour one and two—two is optional, by the way. Then we have the general appearance and Q&A. That should last about three hours.” Enzo looked at Giuseppe like he was mad. “It’s already nearly eight p.m. Are we in a different time zone than I thought? This is New York, right? YOU HAVEN’T KIDNAPPED ME LIKE LAST YEAR, RIGHT!” Enzo grabbed Giuseppe by the collar and relented after a moment. Giuseppe looked at the floor. “That was different. We were trying to finance a film. It happens.”

Enzo took Giuseppe into his room and told him to sit on the bed. As Enzo dressed himself in the bathroom, Giuseppe watched MTV and studied the “VJ” known as Kennedy. He thought she’d make a perfect Hannah Arendt in his academic horror movie project Darling Hannah. It would be set at a university, he supposed whichever one she lectured at in New York, thought about looking for it during a research trip the next day when Enzo would be passed out and pilled-up, when the “VJ” known as Kennedy introduced a song. “And here we have an encore presentation of the world premiere of the brand new single from The Smashing Pumpkins, ‘1979.’” Giuseppe noted the directors’ names—a man and a woman?—and watched in amazement. Unable to understand Corgan’s lyrics, he still felt the song and its video’s euphoric celebration of youth and looking back at the past with gratitude and fondness, not nostalgia—no pain, no mistakes or regrets. He ran to Enzo desk and grabbed a piece of hotel stationary to write down the names of the directors: “FARIS & DAYTON — 1979.”

Enzo emerged from the bathroom in a three-piece suit. He looked 20 years younger. Giuseppe put the note in his pocket and led his director out the door, ready to greet the throng of fans waiting downstairs. The TV stayed on in Enzo’s room, and Billy Corgan finished singing his song to no one.

—Follow Monica Quibbits on Twitter: @MonicaQuibbits


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