Remembering Carmella

A year ago I was informed of the loss of my friend Carmella: “we spoke of was and when” . . . and then she was gone. Here is the only obituary I could find. For a little glimpse into the wild rock ‘n roll world that Carmella inhabited in the glory days of Boz’ career see some extracts (below) from the recent Jann Wenner bio. Carmella’s last twenty years were (after her profound loss) very much more sedate, highly sensitive to the demands of friendships, her son and grandchildren. We have the fondest memories of us glugging champers on a hot evening on the patio of her glorious Russian Hill house, and then heading down to the bowels of the house, the kitchen, where the food and booze kept on flowing. Carmella’s house was the epitome of good taste with the most imaginably fine attention to detail in domestic decor that I’ve ever seen. And the amazing thing was that it was still very homey and not at all “museumy”. Carmella had an incredibly attuned cultural-artistic bandwidth and could speak authoritatively on classical art as well as the moderns and, of course, popular culture. I loved the way she took to the streets of San Francisco in her Mercedes, driving as if she owned the city, offering up the most scathing of commentary as we past some of the compounds of the political and showbiz denizens of Pacific Heights. She knew them all and had an endless supply of delicious stories especially concerning the heyday of Haight-Ashbury. Through the lens of Carmella’s fine aesthetic sensibility, one could see why she thought that San Francisco and Seattle had gone to seed: indeed she seemed quite angry about it. Carmella loved her food and wine and was a most generous hostess. She took us to some of her favourite SF haunts: when Carmella turned up to a restaurant, the maître d’hôtel ushered us into the standby “VIP” booth/table. Thanks for the trust and friendship dearest Carmella.


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