Shone down on me
Nos 20 anos de sua morte, o lendário Raul Seixas é lembrado em depoimentos inéditos por seus primeiros colaboradores e amigos de infância como uma alma consagrada ao rock’n’roll.
Estamos onde, de fato, tudo começou - há 64 anos atrás (sic). No centro antigo de Salvador, capital da Bahia, a Praça da Piedade oculta vicejantes episódios da ancestralidade e da modernidade nacional. Um dos mais antigos logradouros, no período monárquico, a "Piedade" era sítio usado para execuções públicas. No século 20, converteu-se numa espécie de parque de diversões da classe média. E, de outro flanco, no ambiente que agremiava o Centro Popular Comunista (CPC), o qual alistava uma fração da inteligência baiana. Promissores nomes, como Waly Salomão, Tom Zé, Gilberto Gil e Caetano Veloso, labutaram no CPC. A principal avenida que serve a velha Piedade é a Sete de Setembro - primeiro endereço do personagem mais emblemático do rock brasileiro: Raul Santos Seixas, filho de Dona Maria Eugenia e do engenheiro Raul Varella Seixas.
"Apresentei as drogas a Raul, as sociedades secretas e essas coisas todas. Será que fiz bem? Raul entrou de cabeça nisso tudo", afirma Paulo Coelho em texto exclusivo. Leia aqui.
Antes de metamorfosear-se Raul Seixas, ele era Raulzito. "É apelido de família. Meu avô se chamava Raulzão, meu pai Raulzinho. Eu tinha que ser Raulzito, menor ainda. Meu filho vai ser Raulzitinho, no mínimo", contou o próprio em uma gravação do raro LP Let Me Sing My Rock and Roll. Aparado nas mãos de uma parteira, Raul Seixas nasceu às 8h da manhã do dia 28 de junho de 1945. Partiu para outra dimensão às 7h da manhã de 21 de agosto de 1989, aos 44 anos. Foi encontrado morto em seu apartamento, na capital paulista, pela empregada Dalva Borges. Causa mortis: pancreatite aguda causada pelo excesso de álcool. A brevidade de sua vida, porém, é abissal contraponto frente à poderosa mitologia que incendiou em volta de si.
Guiado pelo amigo de infância de Raulzito, o infatigável Thildo Gama - no alto de seus 65 anos -, percorremos os principais pontos de Salvador, onde essa história flamejou suas primeiras chamas. Thildo e Raulzito se conheceram em 1959, nos tempos do Colégio Ipiranga. Três anos depois formaram seu primeiro grupo, Os Relâmpagos do Rock, embrião do conjunto Os Panteras. "Lembro-me de Raul matando aula e chegando em minha casa todos os dias, às 7h da manhã. Acordava com ele ao lado da minha cama, com um violão, cantando rocks dos discos importados que ganhava de seus amigos estrangeiros", conta Thildo, enquanto cruzamos a Piedade em direção à Sete de Setembro.
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This has all been observed in many ways in the past, and will be for generations to come. Yet even if it makes a sad sort of sense — a symbol of unity that ends, like the era it centered, in disunity — there will still always be something mysterious about why and how the Beatles came apart the way they did, in so much rancor and avarice. John Lennon always referred to the band's end as "a divorce," but that was simply how he justified his own leave-taking (and clearly, Lennon was no model for how to separate fairly from others, given how he left his first wife, Cynthia).
Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O’Neal were the Angelina and Brad of their day—dazzling sex symbol meets Hollywood hunk—until their stars were tarnished by drugs, infidelity, and family pathology. In the last days of Fawcett’s life, as cancer stripped the masks from an all-too-human drama, contributing editor Leslie Bennetts shared O’Neal’s vigil, learning the true struggles and breakthroughs of their 30-year romance.
For “Beautiful People, Ugly Choices”—one of two cover stories in Vanity Fair’s September 2009 issue (to preview the Michael Jackson cover story, click here)—Bennetts also spoke to dozens of Fawcett’s associates and intimates, from actor George Hamilton and agent Sue Mengers to Fawcett’s best friend, Alana Stewart, and O’Neal’s children Tatum and Griffin. The result is a definitive portrait of Fawcett’s meteoric rise, turbulent second act, and tragic final chapter.
The truth was that Fawcett had always been more complicated than the clichés, the realities of her life far darker than the sunny image she projected. The gap between her public image and private reality was wide: “I’m always more comfortable when I have on hardly any make-up, my hair is brown and I’m very unattractive,” she said.
The work that brought her solace in later years was a love of art that had nothing to do with fame, a private passion that inspired her to sculpt female nudes with an obsessiveness that seemed like an attempt to understand the world’s fascination with her own body. The documentary [Farrah’s World] that became her last appearance violated every rule of Hollywood image-making; no other star had ever exposed herself to a viewing audience while moaning in pain, vomiting, and losing her famous hair to chemotherapy. But Fawcett’s final triumph was to integrate the public and the private at long last, imbuing her death with a larger meaning and finding redemption in baring her head along with her soul.
Fawcett’s private reality was dominated by her three-decade relationship with O’Neal, an Oscar-nominated actor with a well-earned reputation as a Lothario. She and O’Neal met in 1979, split up in 1998, and then reconnected in 2001, when he was diagnosed with leukemia. “We pulled apart, but we never popped loose,” O’Neal told Bennetts.
O’Neal cites several reasons for his breakup with Fawcett, starting with menopause. “I believe Farrah was going through some kind of life change,” he says. “I didn’t have a change of life. I was always a jerk. But they’re hard work, these divas; I was sick of it, and I was unappreciated. I just don’t think she liked me very much. So I excused myself, and I was lucky enough to meet this young girl. She was more a daughter to me than a lover, and my own daughter had flown the coop, so here was this replacement.”
Leslie Stefanson, a beautiful actress less than half his age, may have been a daughter substitute, but she and O’Neal were in bed together at his Malibu home when Fawcett made a surprise Valentine’s Day visit and walked in on them. “It was terrible,” O’Neal says. “I didn’t expect to see her down there. I tried to put my pants on, but I put both legs in one hole.”
While it’s clear that O’Neal is no angel, he’s at least willing to cop to his own flaws. At one point, he describes himself as “a hopeless father” and offers as evidence this anecdote from Fawcett’s funeral:
“I had just put the casket in the hearse and I was watching it drive away when a beautiful blonde woman comes up and embraces me,” Ryan told me. “I said to her, ‘You have a drink on you? You have a car?’ She said, ‘Daddy, it’s me—Tatum!’ I was just trying to be funny with a strange Swedish woman, and it’s my daughter. It’s so sick.”
“That’s our relationship in a nutshell,” Tatum said when I asked her about it. “You make of it what you will.” She sighed. “It had been a few years since we’d seen each other, and he was always a ladies’ man, a bon vivant.”
Leslie Bennetts, who has profiled everyone from Jennifer Aniston to Michelle Obama, offers many more revelations in “Beautiful People, Ugly Choices.” To read the whole story, pick up a copy of the September 2009 issue of Vanity Fair, available on newsstands in New York and Los Angeles on August 5 and nationally on August 11.
Left, photograph by Bruce McBroom/Mptv.net. Right, photograph by Jonathan Becker.