After a Fashion: Dear Francis
A DJ saved my life ...
When I first met you, a thousand years ago it seems (2001? 2002?), I remember thinking, "So this is the great remixer Francis Prève (www.francispreve.com) that I've heard so much about." I was very nervous about meeting you, especially since it was a SXSW music party that was at yours and Seabrook Jones' house, but I'd already met Seabrook and adored him instantly. So, I accepted, albeit nervously. You were incredibly gracious, and I wrote about the party in my column. I'd met Seabrook through my first photographer, the iconic Bob Sherman. Seabrook was assisting him at a Summer Lawson fashion show at Momoko, the bubble-tea emporium by UT. Seabrook was on a ladder setting up lighting, running around in a tank top, with his sweaty, fur-covered shoulders exposed. I laughed, calling him a little monkey. We became close friends.
That spring, he sent me a bunch of photos he'd taken at SXSW and asked if I could use them. Bob had departed to greener pastures, and yes, I could indeed use the photos. And he shot for virtually every week of my column for the next decade. Taking Seabrook to an event with me was an event itself. As I learned his idiosyncrasies and he learned mine, we became a perfect pair. He learned several things right off the bat: I don't like to drive. I never like to arrive anywhere alone. And I like to smoke in the car. Soon, he began to pick me up when we had events to go to, coming to the door, saying hi to my mom and sister, and often having to wait while I finished getting ready. He'd always check his outfit with me; I loved his personal style. He'd walk me to the car, hold the door for me, and wait until I was buckled in. Regardless of whatever foul mood I was in, he always disarmed me entirely before we arrived at our destination. If there was valet parking, he always valet parked, and, when we had to walk more than a block, he always offered to drop me at the door first. His consideration was selfless. He always held the door for me as we arrived, allowing me to make my entrance, and would then spring ahead of me to photograph it. While I worked the crowd, he usually wandered about spreading his good cheer, and would return to me, asking of whom I wanted pictures. Afterward, Seabrook would often take me to dinner or over to his house for a nightcap, which often became an impromptu sleepover where we'd lay in the grass watching the stars, sip wine, and love our lives. I loved his, and he loved mine.
He worked hard, had a coterie of dear friends, and tended to entertain privately at home or attend parties at the homes of others. It was rare that I would happen to run into him out at night. But for his part, he said he'd have no life at all if it wasn't for me taking him to all these cool events and parties. A ridiculous overstatement, to be sure, but indicative of his devotion. Seabrook was a rock, never one to wallow in his own miseries. I'd sometimes have to pry to get him to talk about himself and his past. To him, there never seemed to be much of a past – only a today and a tomorrow, and he was always so positive and sunny, it could be nauseating. I say that in the nicest way possible. When I review emails from him, I always laugh at his signature quote, "Having a positive attitude may not make you more successful ... but it will irritate your adversaries enough to make it worthwhile."
The first time I ever took Seabrook on "assignment" with me was to the opening of the très swank Hotel ZaZa in Houston, at the invitation of dear friend Mark Sullivan. Upon check in, we got to the suite, and Seabrook shucked his clothes and said, "Oh, didn't I tell you I was a naturist?" as he strolled stark naked out onto the balcony, gazing over Houston's Museum District. I was mortified, shrieking, "Get back in here, I'm working!"
Francis, throughout most of my time with Seabrook, the two of you were separated, but devoted nonetheless. When he became ill so quickly, you were there in a heartbeat; the only one really who knew him that well. As he began to disintegrate so quickly, you were an absolute champion, completely managing his care, and he was so deeply lucky to have you. And Seabrook knew it. You did a breathtaking job of managing yourself and only revealing your vulnerabilities to a few of us. Francis, thank you for taking such good care of my friend Seabrook. He loved you dearly, and I love you dearly. In fact, I love you more than ever and look forward to our bond remaining strong and constant.
Memorial for Seabrook
Tuesday, May 14, 6-9pm at Lanai, 422 Congress, 512/653-2546.