NYU Black Renaissance Noire Fall 2015 Volume 15.2 - Page 149

BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE He turned out to be very reasonable. It was agreed that once payment for the purloined items had been made, then the matter would be dropped. I gladly forked over the paltry sum of money and Nawana was promptly released. After profusely thanking the manager, I, the detoured film maker, and my companions made a bee line to the parking lot. I hoped there would still be enough light at the location to shoot. Paris Earl was responsible for bringing the great black actor William Marshall to the w orkshop. Mr. Marshall (Bill) instructed the young poets to literally act out their works; he formed a troupe called Murmurs of Muntu, which included Paris Earl, myself, and some thespians from the workshop. The format of the troupe was modeled on the old minstrel show. One of the famous venues the Murmurs of Muntu performed at was the Hollywood Bowl. Bill lived at the Montecito Hotel in Hollywood, on Franklin Boulevard; he stayed on the third floor. On the ground floor of the hotel, adjacent to the lobby, was an apartment rented by a dancer named Faith Dane, who was a comrade of William Marshall and a friend of mine. From out of the blue, Faith approached me one day and and invited me to her pad. She said she had something I had to see for myself to believe it. I promptly jetted up to Hollywood and when I got to Faith’s apartment, she took me straight to the elevator and pressed the button for the third floor. As we got off, she put her index finger to her lips, signaling to be silent while creeping up to a door at the end of a long corridor. Faith found a plastic cup in a trash basket we passed on the way to the door. Reaching the door, Faith put the cup on the door and put her ear to the bottom of it, turning it into some type of improvised stethoscope. After listening for a minute she turned to me and motioned me to listen at the door. I bent over and jutted out my chin as I placed my ear on the plastic cup. What I heard really blew my mind. William Marshall was in his hotel suite practicing how to blow poetry the way I did. It was unmistakable. My opulent, John Coltrane jazz style of blowing poetry was unique. Hearing Marshall mimic me so effectively made me feel a sense of pride that I had not known before. I kept it to myself. 147 We split up, hoping this would expedite finding Nawana. We looked all over the store, but could not find Nawana. As we questioned the cashier, we saw in our peripheral vision how Nawana was being escorted, in handcuffs, by two burly store detectives. I was outraged when I saw the lead actor in the clutches of the store’s security squad. I jumped into the fray and demanded an explanation. A clerk informed me that Nawana had been caught shoplifting; that’s why she was being detained. I could not believe Nawana would do anything like that so I demanded to speak to the manager. The manager was a jovial dude and had a very nice manner about him. As we trotted out to the parking lot, we saw the cameraman sprinting past us, yelling, “Hey come back here, you little punks!” While we had been in the store, pleading with the manager for Nawana’s release, the two kids on the hobby horse had exited and jumped into the cameraman’s Mustang, which had all of the cameras and equipment in it. Despite the seriousness of the moment, it was still quite funny to see the cameraman running like Jesse Owens around the parking lot trying to catch his purloined Mustang. To make things worse, the kids were toying with the desperate cameraman by slowing down almost enough for him to catch them. When he got in close proximity to the car, the kids sped up laughing like a couple of hyenas. To the cameraman’s credit he did not give up the chase; in fact, it was the kids who got tired of driving around the parking lot in a circle. They jumped out of the car and darted from the scene on foot. A smiling and heavy breathing cameraman was happy as a cat with canary feathers in its mouth when he saw all of his equipment still intact. Eventually we got back into our cars and struck out for the shooting location.