I’ve been a fan of the Christos since Calvin Tompkins 2004 profile of the couple and their efforts to bring the Gates to Central Park. Actually seeing the Gates was one of those experiences where forming a new opinion was impossible. I had been looking forward to the project for a year. I loved it.
So when friends of Over the River emailed (I’m on their email list, of course I’m on their email list) to say that Christo was doing a signing two hours away, I didn’t really have a choice about going, and on Tuesday, I drove down to Cañon City, Colorado, one of the sights for Over the River.
Minus the traffic getting out of Denver, the drive down reminded me of the Salt Lake City to Price, Utah leg of my cross-country journey. We did that stretch at night, and the road was unlit and winding. It was my turn to drive, and I was nervous the whole time. Still, even before we arrived at our motel, I knew I would make it, and I would look back on my time on US-6 as proof that I could get through things, or at least through long drives at night.
The drive down to Cañon City wasn’t as hard as the one down to Price, perhaps because I use a car all the time now. The signing wasn’t crowded, but Christo looked halved without Jeanne-Claude by his side and was not as excited as I was for our exchange.
Afterward, we went to Di Rito’s, an Italian restaurant that will probably do quite well during Over the River. Normally, I wouldn’t eat at a restaurant whose name is so reminiscent of a mass-produced corn chip, but eating there wasn’t entirely ironic. Having a meatball calzone in Cañon City, Colorado made sense in my life, just like visiting the Met to see the exhibit of Christo drawings had made sense in my life in 2004.
However, when I overheard the owner describing his food as good, but not $75 a plate in New York good, I laughed, mostly because if you’re paying $75 a plate for Italian in New York, you’re getting ripped off.