July 28th, 2010

A recent addition to this hotel’s modest but enthusiastic fan club is Cherry Vanilla. No, she’s not an over-exuberant Ben & Jerry’s fan; this was a moniker she chose while protesting the Viet Nam war. She gained fame as a rock & roll groupie and for playing the title-role in Andy Warhol’s only play, PORK, in 1971. From there she moved on to work as David Bowie’s publicist. After that she became a cabaret performer and then formed her own rock band, and often played at the legendary Max’s Kansas City in New York. When she moved to London in 1977, she hired Sting as her bass player and Stewart Copeland as her drummer, before they became famous as the Police. This woman was a mover and shaker throughout the 70’s glam and punk-rock scenes. And though she will never be the household name some of her friends have become, she truly has a place in our cultural history. The last time she was here, I sat watching her, wondering what that feels like.

Thinking about it, though, a lot of you, our guests, do know what that feels like. Or you will. On a day-to-day basis, I think that we here at this hotel take a bit too much for granted that we’re running our little operation in the Silicon Valley. We give you all your breakfast, send you off to a day of abstract “work,” and have a drink waiting for you when you return. But do we really recognize that what many of you are out there doing for eight or more hours a day is changing our modern world? Maybe not. So, this is something I’m really interested in and some of you, my readers, can answer my questions. What does it feel like to have been a part of something that shifted the entire culture? To be a part of what’s changing it now? Does it fill you up with pride everyday, or is it more of an idea to sit peacefully with, just from time to time?

Maybe we humble hotel hands can even get a little bit of vicarious pride for ourselves from this. After all, it’s well documented that a good night’s sleep can affect a day’s productivity. So, it’s maybe just a little bit possible for the providers of said night’s rest to feel that we have our own tiny role in history. And if you want to know more about Cherry Vanilla, she’s got a new book out (Nov. 1), a memoir called LICK ME – How I Became Cherry Vanilla (by way of the Copacabana, Madison Avenue, the Fillmore East, Andy Warhol, David Bowie and the Police).

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