Aug 6, 2010

the pope of Broadway...

He has been always a member of the family we love and respect. I remember everybody at home talking about him like we knew him very well. He was one of my father's closest friends reminding him his childhood he left years ago in Xanthi, Greece as Alexis Zorba. My mother knew him as her closest friend's husband Theo Tomasis they like to gossip about. My grandmother was literally in love with him. He was the handsome, macho, distant relative Jesus Sanchez who made her cry with his heartbreaking, unfortunate life story. For my grandfather he has been always Hamza. He trusted him without questioning. So like I said he was a part of my family and I loved him like one of my adventurous uncles: Colonel Andrea Stavros.

That's why I was almost in tears when I first saw him some years ago in downtown LA, on South Broadway between W 2nd and W 1st streets. There he was, 70 feet tall, with outstretched arms, slightly bent knees and head tilted to one side, in a pose like Zorba or maybe like Jesus with crosses under his elbows. He made me almost cry like he was doing with his every visit.

Now whenever I am in LA I go and visit him. It always felt good to see him. He is bringing back so many good memories; me laying down on the big wool carpet of our living room in front of the old black and white TV set with my parents and my grandparents watching him telling us his stories. It's snowing outside. We have a kettle of hot tea, a plate of roasted chestnuts and a box of tissues on the coffee table.

"The Pope of Broadway" (A Tribute to Anthony Quinn)
by Eloy Torrez, 1985, acrylic on masonry, 70' h X 55' w