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A night at the Heart
A Night at the Heart - If you went to the Heart of Darkness bar in Phnom Penh on a packed Friday night in late 1996 or early 1997, this is about what you would see. The collage was made by Sophie Barry and others. Thanks to Samnang, the best bartender in town, for lending it to me, and Mark Turgesen of Design Group in Phnom Penh for scanning it in. Click on the image or here to make the scene and scroll around... (308k image)

Friends' homepages:

Kevin Turbitt is a friend I still have from high school in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. One of my oldest friends is Ann Goulder, who went to summer day camp with me. Now she's a casting director in New York; here are her credits from the Internet Movie Database and her nomination for the "casting Oscar" for Todd Solondz' Happiness. Bill Barta, also from Providence, presents his excellent Yankee's Guide to Dallas, Texas as well as helpful tips on adultery, hosted by the good Methodists at SMU, where Bill studies such things.

Christina Cantrill, Dave Hill and Sarah Nachmias are friends from Philadelphia (where I lived for what seemed like over a decade, but was actually a mere eleven years). Check out Christina's work at the National Writing Project, Dave's impressive and morbid Ain't No Way to Go site, and Tunde's photos. Sara Davis has been writing a column for the Chronicle of Higher Education, including this one about returning to Philadelphia from Yunnan, China--a good look at culture shock. Also look into Harvey Weinreich's Harveyworld, which is full of art, photography and, uh, kitties. Eric Umansky used to be the editor of MoJo Wire, and now is at Slate. Meanwhile, Pete Shell is in Pittsburgh, monkeywrenching.

Sara Weaver, lead singer and songwriter of the fabulous Swisher, was a close friend for many years of West Philadelphia freedom.

Just as Swisher's second CD, Over Nothing, was released, Sara was diagnosed with acute leukemia. She fought it, with her closest friends and her family at her side, for almost two years, through a bone marrow transplant and the unrelenting assaults of 'graft vs. host' disease. She died on June 7, 2002, and I'll miss her forever. She leaves behind both a great big hole and enough love to fill it.

Throughout her battle, she and her friends maintained an extraordinary website, The Weave Report, with interviews, photos and recipes and a wonderful guestbook.

Leave town for a couple of years and your friends start releasing CDs.
Beth Case is half of She-Haw and played Lilith Fair (which used the same write-up as the Phila. City Paper, by the way).
The abovementioned Kevin Turbitt has a band up in Boston called Swizzle. They put out a six-song disc you can't get any more and now (years later --ed.) a full-length CD (a CD's worth of songs, that is. It's 2008! --ed).
My senior prom date Beth Gray, turns out be fronting a band in Chicago, Candywatchesrazorblades.
And hepcat Mike Villers has produced an excellent compilation double CD of Jim Carroll tunes recorded by Philadelphia bands, Put Your Tongue to the Rail (check this site as well). It all makes me wish Spank had made it into the studio.

Some friends I met in Phnom Penh also have sites. Patrick Hawley is a grad student at MIT; his site features photos from a trip we took to Pailin, in northwestern Cambodia. Tinker Ready was a science reporter in Raleigh, North Carolina, worked at The Cambodia Daily in 1995 and 1996 and now lives in Boston with Roy, raising Truman and free-lance writing. Sophal Ear is now living in the US; his site has lots of writings, especially on development issues. Richard Ehrlich features his book Hello, My Big Big Honey. Phnom Penh axeman Ian Taylor, former business manager of The Cambodia Daily, has lots of excellent photos of Cambodia and other places on his site. Garry Ray, who helped set up Cambodia's first Internet server, also has plenty of pictures of Cambodia and his travels there and elsewhere.

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