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Core Samples

By nature she’s Sagittarian, so, naturally, she is, and always has been, the center of the known universe. You know it from the first time you lay eyes on her. Not that she ever flaunts this aura, it just kind of radiates. It is just soooo obvious. Others, of course, have the same affliction. But her? She’s the poster child! When first encountering her back in the day, she had the look and swagger of a Berkeley co-ed just beginning to take on mountain-girl status. Her bearing was that of the quintessential "outside agitator." She was a walkin’ talkin’ personification of the "free speech movement." She has kept the faith. She practices speech freely to this day. With her, searching for the meaning of life can be a full contact sport. She can be talkin’ to one person, and just by the level of her voice, you know she’s actually talkin’ to someone else. She caroms random thoughts and unpremeditated propositions off one target and onto another. They are usually just glancing blows – nothing more than flesh wounds. She’s as honest as the day is long. Sometimes to a fault. Oftentimes to your face. If challenged, she can be a bit argumentative. Not that you’d notice. Her subtlety is renown – as was Katrina’s. If you find yourself trying to break the ice, politics and religion are always good jumping-off points. Gathering friends for often-obscure rituals has long been her calling. Somewhere along the line she got appointed de facto spokesperson for nearly every organically-social and eccentrically-outlandish organizing committee to have held session near a bar-rag in these parts since Kid Curry knocked over the Oak. One prime example would be that relatively hazy, yet considerably creative, evening when she and a few other locals, while celebrating their good fortune to be born under the very same bad sign, concocted the "Sagittarian Drag Ball." Although it ran but a few years, this wild and sassy soiree became easily the most anticipated event on Main Street’s annual social calendar. They were pleasure thieves in need of absolution. They were bluesy hot-doggers and streakers and grandstanders in need of a stage. As Albert King might have said (and as Booker T. Jones and William Bell did say), they’d been down since they began to crawl, and if it hadn’t been for bad luck, they wouldn’t have had any luck at all. With each passing year, the "Sagittarian Drag Ball" became a bit more kinky and a bit more magical. It morphed from being just another out-of-the-box bash into a communal celebration of the oddball and offbeat. It was far out, man! And it was just one more footprint she left on our town. One year she returned from the indigenous Huichol landscape of Nayarit in Mexico with a gift to a friend of "Damiana" nectar, the mythical aphrodisiac born where mountain jungles caress the sea near the Tropic of Cancer. The recipient, also of the Sagittarian persuasion, offered it up as sacrifice during the next Ball. The ritual jug spent its final hours where it was probably least needed — upon the dance floor at the Handlebar. Not that anyone’s counting, but 30 years ago she and Texas Joe "streaked" the very same friend’s radio show down in Salt Lake. To put a Ginsberg spin on it, they were starving for fun and hysterically naked. Few announcers were ever presented with a more challenging opportunity to hone play-by-play skills. She has long worn her Bay Area pedigree wrapped around her shoulders like a biker jacket. She was of "Sproul Plaza" and "Peoples’s Park" and "The Haight" and continues to carry a torch for the communal ethics of Mario Savio and Emmett Grogan and Peter Coyote. But, unless you’ve got a good bit of time on your hands, don’t get her going on it. She has also cut a wide swath across the entertainment industry – most notably the film biz. Scuttlebutt has it that she got her start as location manager for Charlie Chaplin on "City Lights." Now, with her on set, how they came to call it a "silent movie" is anybody’s guess. You would have to say that she’s always been an "insider." Over the years she has hung out everywhere from Waylon Jennings tour bus to where rivers run and horses whisper. Luminaries from Joe Ely to Selma Hayek have partied at her house. But then again, who hasn’t? It’s never been that tough of a ticket. It’s the kind of place where, on the morning after, the term "body count" comes into play. That’s because she’s "the hostess with the mostest." You might even call her a "social animal." When she gets to jonesin’ for a group grope, it’s a difficult proposition to hold her back. And whoa! Can she lay out a spread! And vise versa! As obnoxious as she is, an invite to her table is one of the true homespun pleasures still available in this town. And, from the very beginning, she has been a large part of Park City’s rugby culture. Dealing with her was often a mandatory component of "rookie orientation." Newly arrived ruggers would have to listen to her post-match analyses as part of their initiation ritual. A few admitted that getting run over by Bill Hart gave rise to less agony. Her camping nickname, bestowed upon her by children of lesser gods, was "Sarge." Not that she ever ordered people around, or anything. It’s just that she usually beheld larger truths than most – axioms she felt duty bound to pass on. Now, there is certainly no reason to panic but, with our sun once again in Sagittarius, storm warnings might be prudent. And not just because Carole Fontana and her flock are loose upon the local tundra with raging hormones and psychotic dispositions. It’s like St. Paddy’s Day or Cinco de Mayo. Everyone feels the urge. And, if the truth were known, over the past 30-some-"odd" years, no one has been more spot-on to the essence of what Park City is really all about than has this Carole Fontana girl. From her digs overlooking Swede Alley, she continues to provide a rudder, a perspective, a bit of noise and a lot of love, to those of us adrift in the sea below.


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