Thursday, October 05, 2006
The Ghost of Steve Chase 2
The short bio in "Interior Design" magazine's Hall of Fame Entry for Steve Chase relates the following:
"Known for their contemporary elegance and comfort, Steve Chase's residential interiors embody the casual yet opulent style of California's affluent. Natural elements such as wood, granite, and leather prevail in his sensuous designs, often enhanced by subtle lighting. Preferring to work closely with each project's architect, Mr. Chase deftly blends all the elements of design to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts."
"Realizing his talents earlier than most, Steve Chase began shaping his career and his distinctive style at the age seventeen when he joined the design firm of La Tienda in Los Angeles. A fourteen-year affiliation with Arthur Elrod Associates followed, ending in 1980 with the founding of his namesake firm, Steve Chase Associates. With a staff of more than twenty based in Rancho Mirage, California, Mr. Chase's projects extend beyond his signature residential work to include aircraft, yachts and homes in such far-off lands as Singapore and Germany. In addition, Mr. Chase has designed the Bob Hope Cultural Center, the Behring Auto Museum and several West Coast country clubs."
I met Steven Chase on Beto's Beach in Acapulco in the late 1970s where the scene was mostly elderly gay gringos who were flirting with younger Mexican beach boys, most of whom who were casually bisexual.
Though Steve wasn't all that much older than myself, he was one of those people who was probably born an old queen, which must have been discouraging when he was younger and hoping to be sexually desirable.
I knew nothing more about him other than the fact that he was extraordinarily intelligent, thoughtful and funny.
He invited me to visit his home in Palm Springs from San Francisco, and though I should have known better, I had no idea that I was being invited as his "twink" for the weekend to share his bed.
This shouldn't have been a problem because I would have sex with just about anybody during my early twenties. It was all interesting. However, Steve figured a marijuana brownie and a number of margaritas would make me a bit more pliable. Instead, it just made the room spin around and I pleaded for my own bed before passing out.
The next day Steve pretended he didn't know who I was.
There was another guest for the weekend, the famous fashion designer for Republican First Ladies, James Galanos, and he had invited his own "twink" for the weekend, a very silly young man from San Francisco who was trying to make it in the fashion biz by sleeping with older designers. Because Galanos had gone to visit his old friend Betty Ford for lunch, I was stuck with the fellow-twink all afternoon who insisted we get on roller-blades, which had just come into fashion during the brief and horrendous "roller-disco" period.
Reluctantly, I got on a pair of rollerblades and then watched a phone repairman who was heavily bejeweled with silver and turquoise trip while trying to repair a short, and he somehow set off the loud Westinghouse alarm for Steve's gargantuan estate. The repairman shrugged his shoulders in a "What, Me Worry?" gesture and fled while I stood on the front sidewalk wondering what the hell to do. At this moment, Steve drove by in his yellow Jeep, slowed down, looked at me, raised his eyebrows to the top of his forehead, and kept driving.
I went back inside the house and called a cab to the Greyhound bus station, and while waiting, Steve returned. He looked quite startled when I told him I was leaving, as if twinks being treated like nonexistent entities was a routine occurrence. To his credit, he apologized and made an attempt to be a polite host for the next 24 hours, but any chance of friendship on the part of either one of us had vanished.