Sunday, April 1, 2012

CHANCE ENCOUNTER: Steve D'Aquisto in Rome

"Que binario a Fiumicino" was the burning question buried within the noisy,  hectic scene (sempre lo stesso) in Rome's Stazione Termini.  Amid this confusion,  a towering presence (especially in a country where most people are relatively diminutive in physical stature) made itself plainly heard in aggitated italian. My wife and I were on our way back to New York after another great Roman adventure,  and this was an imperfect start to that mammouth journey.  True to form,  the track number was being constantly changed by an italian work force torn between hedonism and confusion.  The trains may have actually run on time,  but the track we needed was another matter completely.  Exasperated,  we struck up a conversation with "the figure".  He introduced himself as Steve D'Aquisto (1953-2001),  and that he was a music producer and DJ from Manhattan.  I'd never heard of him (strange,  mostly because I had been invloved in some small way in the downtown art and music scene), but he certainly seemed like an affable,  interesting guy. We spoke of our mutual love of the quirks and curiosities of Rome,  and he mentioned that he was fighting cancer (it turned out to be a brain tumor),  and that the Eternal City brought him to life and made him feel so much better.  It was now the three of us against public employees,  pensioners,  and tourists (we were all actually "explorers",  as our Roman friend Sergio called us),  bad odds,  but all the more fun for us.  We exchanged addresses,  phone numbers,  and email addys,  but sadly never met again.  That sadness was deepened when we later found out that Steve has passed away.  He is best remembered for his production work, DJing,  and collaborations with composer Arthur Russell. I remember him as another artist in love with Rome.

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