I feel so sad that I took Dean for granted. You just never think something like this will happen to a friend.
My earliest memory of Dean is of my band Hermie the Dentist sharing the bill at Squeezebox with what I believe was the 1st Velvet Mafia gig. My bass player was 45 minutes late to the gig and we lost our spot. Dean was understanding and a bit of a bitch at the same time.
Over the years I'd hang out at his parties, or my 2nd band, sir, would play Homocorps. We also pursued other avenues of generating revenue - some more nefarious than others. The last was a couple years ago, going to Logo to pitch an idea for a TV show Dean had. We managed to convince him not to go into the meeting with us because we were afraid he'd tell them to fuck off the minute they suggested something he didn't like!
After 20 years in NYC, I got civil unioned this summer and now live in Asbury Park, NJ, 60 miles south of Manhattan, in a big, old Victoria house that's 9 blocks from the ocean. I invited Dean to the wedding, but he wasn't able to make it. I don't know if that was true, or if he just couldn't bear the thought of watching me take the ultimate suburban step of conformity.
We all grow older, but we don't all "grow up," and I don't say that judgmentally. Over time, the fire of unorthodoxy and rebellion cools for most of us. It never did for Dean, and it makes me feel sorry for him and love & applaud him all at the same time. That fire may very well have been his undoing - and yet, it was also the driving force that made him so unique and so loved and so ALIVE.
I lost my best friend from high school to cancer when he was 18. As painful as his death was at the time, I sometimes get even more overwhelmed now when I think about him. It's only as I'm entering middle age that I truly understand what he's missed. It makes me so sad to think that as much living as Dean had done, there was potentially so much more for him to experience and do. Someone will fill the void his death has left on the NYC scene, but no one will fill his shoes in the world.
I'm so glad I knew you Dean. It's people like you that I moved to NYC to get to know. And I'm sorry I never gave you a hug to thank you for that, and to let you know I cared about you.
You fucker... you're making me cry...