rip :: Prince

A hero to so many and one of the most unique individuals on the planet, we are so lucky he chose to share his great gifts with us - thank you Prince. If you are like me, from Minnesota and at a certain age we felt that Prince was our secret - we didn't really know that the world knew so much about him or was going to know so much about him. He owned our local dance joint - First Avenue and brought great acts there and occasionally showed up to play himself if we were lucky.

I feel compelled, as so many do today, to tell my Prince stories - I have a few, we loved him - but I also didn't feel cool enough myself to be a real groupie. When I was in my first year at college in Minneapolis a girlfriend and I skipped school for at least a week and signed up as extras for a movie called Purple Rain, we dressed up like nightlife Prince groupies - a bit Madonna a bit Prince - and showed up at 5am to sign in as 'extras'. Dancing all day, it was so exciting, but we honestly thought... "I'm not so sure about this movie..." we were just happy to be with the music and dance! (and we got paid something like $100/day) and the song Purple Rain, we just loved that song the moment we heard it, by the end of shooting we knew every word and we would sing it to each other constantly (while waving our hands in the air like we were supposed to during the movie shoot!). I got to be in a scene with him and Morris Day, I was so electrified by Prince I was almost immovable. I don't remember much about what I did in school that year but I will never forget that week.

If we weren't at First Avenue we were at Graffiti's a small dance-pit place that was previously a bank, with tall ceilings and graffiti painted everywhere, it had all of this ornate stone architecture. There was a Mezzanine where nobody really sat, except for Prince - every once in a while he would stop in. This night was Halloween and I was dressed as A Prince (not THE Prince), I was asked by his guards to come and sit at his table and as I stumbled to try to tell him that I was not trying to dress like him, I was really just dressed as a random Prince in a fairy tale... I actually got a smile from him, that never happened, but it did... to me!

In later years I saw him in an elevator, I drove into his driveway - his home was near my sisters house so we used to smoke pot and then say to each other... "let's go look at Princes house" seemed like a good idea at the time... haha...

He was a signpost for us quiet and shy Minnesota folk, the way he stayed in Minnesota, the way he could have done anything but he stayed there and just painted his house purple. Be your own guide to your unique future and let it take you where it will.  I am shocked to know that he was only six years older than I was, when he made Purple Rain he was 24 years old! Just march to your own beat and keep your integrity. Prince will forever live in my heart and represent a unique future that we all can cultivate of our own.

rip - prince