Tuesday, March 23rd, 2004 | Film

Last night while watching the remake of Dawn of the Dead, I thought of Charo. I was thinking of what a beloved presence she once was in popular culture. Her persona was that of a jiggly big-haired bimbo–remember her “cuchi-cuchi”?–but she spoke something like 6 languages and was a brilliant classical guitarist, a former student of Segovia’s. I love her, and that combination of genius and airhead. Where is she? When I was studying in China, a girl in my group, Wendy, reminded me of her. She was in a rock group and had really big blonde Charo hair, a guitar over her shoulder, and a cigarette always dangling from her lips. The Chinese loved and feared her. Everywhere we went a crowd formed around her, and she’d belt out a mournful tune. When her bike was stolen–this was the day after she lost her wallet–one of our Chinese friends took her by the shoulders and said “Wendy, Wendy, you lost your money, you lost your bike–don’t LOST your mind.” Anyway, the remake wasn’t so hot. But thank heavens for Charlie Kaufman–what an inventive and keen observer of experience. Hi ho, hi ho, off to work I go.

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