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Harrington and Toberoff were not happy with Quick's work. "We had a difference as to how the film should be developed," Harrington says. "I don't think this was a case on our side of wanting to restrain his creativity or supplant his creative ideas with ours, but rather a desire on our part to let him know that if people were going to see his work, there were some general guidelines he should be thinking about to rewrite the script and make it a marketable commodity."
They might as well have asked for the entire script in Swahili. "I had no idea what it was like to collaborate with people," Quick says. "I had no idea what it was like to work in a structured environment. They wanted to make a completely different film, and I wasn't a very good listener. These were people with whom I really didn't share a sensibility. So I pretty much" -- he pauses, shifts in his chair -- "I pretty much slammed the door in this man's face. I left him a note on his answering machine saying, 'Go back to the oil business. You're not cut out for this.'"
Harrington says he was "disappointed," but took Quick's departure in stride. "I sort of chalked it up to . . . I don't want to say petulance, but it was sort of a petulant reaction. I figured it was highly presumptuous of me to assume that a guy who had to struggle along to see his creative vision come about would be able to think through things in a calm and intelligent manner."
Ultimately, says Harrington, who hasn't spoken with Quick in years, the experience was "illuminating about human nature." His work with Quick was his lone foray into Hollywood. "I set my bar of expectations far lower about people after that."
I'm bullshitting as fast as I can.
WHEN THE HIGH LIFE DIDN'T PAN OUT, QUICK retreated to his bus. "I went back to the street and to all my family and friends in this homeless village with all these gypsy street people, and I was their hero," he says. "I had turned my back on Hollywood itself. I was the most organized homeless person. I had a cell phone. I had a satellite hookup. During this time, I became a helicopter pilot."
A helicopter pilot? How can someone who can't read learn to fly? "Well, you know, I had a lot of help," he says. "By the time I was 25, when I learned how to fly, I could write. But I met a lot of extremely patient, forgiving people. People who devoted a decade of their lives. People who took an interest in me and treated me with respect." When asked to produce his pilot's license, he says he doesn't have one. But he insists he's logged "about 80 hours" in the air, most of them with random sympathetic pilots he met at the airstrip in Van Nuys. None of these pilots seem to be around anymore. At some point during this time, Quick says, a friend at Paramount allowed him to park his bus on the lot and live in it. It's another one of those stories that's difficult to pin down. The woman he says helped him at Paramount is long gone.
Soon after he returned to the street, Quick embarked on another adventure. He met Phillip Duff, a â 30-something businessman who had made some money launching a surf company in Hawaii and liked the idea of associating with an up-and-coming filmmaker. Duff paid the lease on a warehouse off Hollywood Boulevard, which had formerly been a telemarketing center for Frederick's of Hollywood, and he and Quick moved in. They parked the bus inside and, as Duff says, "We started to do crazy art projects and throw parties. It was just a cool thing."
Duff got city permits for a café, and Quick installed lifesize sculptures, a mini-planetarium, an Orbitron ride and lots of artwork and toys. "I was just a crazy, restless guy," Quick says, "who roller-skated in this giant, roller-rink-size place." He sold sandwiches and lattes, kept the place open late and christened it Young Moguls, Inc., or YMI. It was an instant hit. MTV called it "the Disneyland of coffeehouses," and Detour magazine enthused over the café's "abundance of sensual stimuli."
One night, Quick says, Francis Ford Coppola dropped in. "He came at 3 o'clock in the morning while making Dracula, because he had heard about me from a friend of his who had bought one of my line drawings. I had just seen the movie of the making of Apocalypse Now, and I had used portions of his soundtrack in one of my pieces. So he was a bigger-than-life character, and I definitely saw myself in him. You know, he was a helicopter pilot and I was learning, and he just looked like my dad."
For a while, the good times rolled. But then the bills started coming due. "I was stressing over the money," Duff says. "Beeaje was basically living there and having a good time. He was the front man. He does give a wacky environment, but that wasn't enough to pay the rent." Over Quick's objections, Duff got a liquor license and began renting the space out for raves. But "you can't have a rave in a gallery," Duff says. "You destroy things."
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