THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – AND I

Foreword by Stan Lerner: “The Phantom Of The Opera – And I” is not only the first blog of the new year 2010 for this writer, but is by definition the first blog of the new decade for this writer as well. To write about a masterpiece such as The Phantom Of The Opera is both a great honor and immense responsibility — I hope dear readers that you find that this writer has done The Phantom Of The Opera justice.

The email went something like: Sorry to bother you Rob, but I’d like to write a piece called “Dinner And A Show” so I’ll need some dinner reservations and tickets….

For better or worse, in the world of business, which I hold in moderate disdain, I am fairly well known for calling anyone. More than a few billionaires have taken my call, some have become close friends. For the record, many men of wealth and power have not taken my call—far more have not, than have, in fact. And I admit to the fact that I am offended by those who decline, for I am of an overly sensitive nature—this too is well known.

So why email such a request to the President of The Venetian Hotel and Casino for what in the grand-scheme of his day is a seemingly trivial matter…To date the vast amount of the words I have penned with respect to Las Vegas are of the 25 to 50-year-old adolescent having a vicescapade, variety. And yes, I did just invent the word vicescapade. Did I choose this voice for my stories of Sin City? No. The voice chose me as there was no serious point of origination, no anchor—stories of drinking, drugs and zombie sex ensued. And make not a mistake, all to the delight of most readers. There is no shortage of appetite for my debauchery among my faithful bibliophiles. But before leaving Las Vegas, this time, I am compelled, by some phantom, to write a story with a soul. And even if this involved only the forwarding of my email to the person in charge of dealing with someone like me—there is a point of origin at the very heart of The Venetian for all else said. The Phantom Of The Writer’s demanded this and now our story may begin…

THE NIGHT BEFORE

The desert’s clear sky insured that it would be a cold, winter night, but regardless of climate I would be cold, for I am always cold, my soul that of a lover of God, yet my blood perpetually chilled by the sins of my flesh. It was my sixtieth, consecutive, twenty- hour day of writing—usually she comes by day forty-five, oh but she is an unfaithful lover. You see there is a phantom assigned to all of the world’s tasks, but it is the Phantom Of The Writers that I am a slave to, she is the siren of sirens as there is nothing more powerful than the craft she presides over. And there is no greater ego than found in those of who practice it…

“I’ve been waiting for you,” I said looking up from the computer—today’s quill.

She walked towards me. And like a virgin experiencing love for the first time my heart trembled, my breath became uneasy. The fragrant scent of her body filled my nostrils, intoxicating she is. Her white skin, close to translucent, as she is the nearest creation to Eve—in Eve’s original state of being, before Adam demanded opaqueness from mankind. Her eyes are smoldering coals. Her lips, perfectly formed, are red and filled with life. And the most beautiful face in the Universe is framed in black hair that shines with a life unto itself. A gentle wisp across my own face is enough to cause one to want to die—happy.

“Tales of Sin City, my love,” she said sitting down in the chair next to my own.

“I think every city should have its own voice, so I’ve given this city…”

“No need to explain, people are entitled to have some fun…” She smiled, which was a more than adequate conclusion to her thought, “How banal the use of the talent I’ve given you.”

“Everything leads to something…I just don’t know what I’m doing here…I’m lonely I miss you…”

Her arms were around me and she whispered these words into my ear. “I made you the world’s best writer, that was our covenant, of course you’re lonely. Must I wax cliché, wordsmith?” She kissed me on the lips. “You don’t eat. You don’t sleep. Maybe I was gone too long?”

“What do I do, I’m in love with a phantom? And nobody in Las Vegas understands my purpose. How do I make them understand that a city without a soul is destined to become dust? I want to give them a soul before it’s too late,” I pleaded, to the sympathetic jury of one.

Her forehead came to rest against my own. “My love, you can offer them a soul, but it is up to them to take it—”

“Will you help me?” I asked, desperate to rid myself of the anxiety of no purpose.

She nodded. And her hair, that beautiful hair, tickled my face. “I will help you. Tomorrow you must arrange to meet a friend of mine—The Phantom Of The Opera.”

“Not that. Not another phantom in my life. No. My soul suffers enough—like a snake shedding its skin every night, I suffer because of you.”

“Not all phantoms are the same. You’re going to love The Phantom Of The Opera. Not the way you love me, but you two have much in common. And he holds the answers to many of your questions, he’ll show you, which path to tread…I promise.”

“I have no money to see such an elaborate show. I’ve heard the theatre alone cost forty million dollars.”

She waved her hand dismissively. “Send a message to the man in charge, he’ll be inclined to help you.”

“Why would he do that? Four hundred thousand people will go to his show this year, what does he care about me?”

“Success is boring, wordsmith. Powerful men love the struggle of the great ones even if it is not there own. I think we should go to bed my love—it’s time for you to rest. You must be rested…”

THE AFTERNOON

“Hi Stan, this is Dawn from The Venetian, Rob Goldstein asked me to give you a call.”

“Hi Dawn…I need some tickets to The Phantom Of The Opera and Jersey Boys…I’m going to write something for the blogs.”

“Can you tell me a little bit more about what you plan to write?”

“No. But not because I don’t want to, I don’t know until I know. The story tells itself to me and I write it down.”

“Okay.”

“And Dawn I haven’t eaten in a while so I’ll need a couple of dinners. The phantom told me I should eat, that I’ll need all of my strength.”

“Stan, I’ll have Ashley Farkas make the arrangements. Let me know if they’re to your liking.”

“Dawn, one more thing. After the show, when all of the patrons and cast have departed, I’ll need to sit alone in the theatre for the rest of the night.”

“Well I guess I can work that out.” Dawn’s voice reverberated with the apprehension of dealing with the out of the ordinary. “Stan, do you mind if I ask you how you know Rob and Mr. Adelson?” Mr. Adelson as in Sheldon Adelson the owner of The Venetian.

“I don’t…But I am the best writer in the world, so the more imperative issue is for them to know me. You see Dawn, only words about a man can preserve the essence of his accomplishments and of his humanity…I am in fact the eulogist of the living!”

On occasion there are those who are discomforted, even angered, by my title of The Best Writer In The World, not because it is in dispute, but rather because I say it. But what choice do I have? Greatness in all endeavors comes from the path of the truth. No writer that has come before me has accomplished the heights of stage, screen, print and the blog as have I. Should I feign humility? Lie and destroy my craft? Acceptance is temptation, but I would lose her that I love and I could not exist without this love in my heart—for it is this love and this love only that holds back the terrible darkness. Yes, the other side of passion is the most horrific of all monsters—it is the sinner before the saint.

THE NIGHT OF THE SHOW

There are several angels to whom I have the good fortune of being able to count as friends and it is they to whom the phantom entrusts the day-to-day wellbeing of I. Four of them are the graphic masters that bring much of my work to its presentable state. And the one of these that understands my passion like few others is the Black Angel—Fred. So it was to Fred that I extended the dinner invitation to Taqueria Canonita a beautiful spot on The Venetian Canal to dine prior to an encounter with The Phantom Of The Opera.

As one could expect we were seated at a table on the Grand Canal—I could have reached out and touched the passing gondolas, occupied by those in loving relationships more simple than my own. “Amore…” echoed from the voice of the tiller wielding tenor. A lovely waitress navigated our food choices, which were numerous delights. The angel known as Fred was particularly delighted by a combination of something created for Cortez called the enchilada. And for my sake there were libations called Margarita and Mojito and these too were good. In fact as good as I’ve ever had and I am very familiar with these nectars of celebration. And finally there was an enchanting nymph called Annaliza who stopped by our table on numerous occasions to our delight, as her conversation was as tasty as the epicurean expose with which our palates were so diligently engaged.

The theatre, the home of The Phantom Of The Opera, does not equate to any form of monetary value. One million, forty million, a billion—cannot put such a place into perspective, it is simply transcendent. Fred, the Black Angel, and myself took our seats seven rows back from the stage center. Curtains went up, everywhere; in places one does not expect curtains. There was brief narration and a chandelier, a magical chandelier, capable of assembling itself with a cyclonic motion never once witnessed before by the Black Angel Fred or I. From the orchestra emanated a majestic sound. And as I am inimitably familiar with the characteristics of royal blood, I can assure you that this sound can only be produced by those confident that they are playing notes pleasing to the King’s ear. These are the notes scattered around the Universe, upon the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem—some now gathered in the House Of The Phantom.

Oh the tragic story, of a love not so dissimilar to my own. The Phantom Of The Opera having disdain for the pretenders to talent rejects the invader who occupies the spotlight of his stage. And in collusion with the mistress of the dark he chooses his student—to her, a beguiling young beauty, he gives the voice of greatness. Such a voice may only be given once in any given century—as a world too abundant with beauty, would cease to be beautiful from lack of juxtaposition, so we learned from sin in the Garden Of Eden. But fate is not always kind to the givers of the world. And that, which the Phantom Of The Opera has imbued with what he loves most, is loved and loves another. Surely he has the power to keep for his own what he has created, but this is the tribulation of mankind and a denial of the ways of God. Be firm in this knowledge dear reader, to be close to the Creator and Giver Of All That Is, one must emulate—one must create and give.

4:00 A.M.

I sat alone and broken hearted that night. Humbled by the greatness I had witnessed, I pondered what it must be like to create an alternative reality for so many millions of people as The Phantom Of The Opera has. I couldn’t help but to think that it is cruel that the genius found in the art can be overshadowed even lost by commercial success as if the two by definition are mutually exclusive—they’re not. It is said that a book all have heard of, but none have read is indeed a classic. I have written many such works. So my heart aches to be overshadowed even lost.

The dark figure with his face half-masked approached—The Phantom Of The Opera. To clarify, I am not speaking of the brilliant, Tony Award winner, previously seen on the most elaborate of stages. I speak now of the actual Phantom Of The Opera, risen from his chamber.

Seated next to me he said these words, “The lover of The Phantom Of The Writers, you are?”

“I am,” I responded, solemnly.

“A tragic state of being you’ve accepted—to be loyal,” his voice lowered to a whisper, “yes to be loyal to the giver of your talent and to not be seduced by those who love you for what is not yours.”

“I can’t live without what I’ve been given, so I am a slave to the giver…”

We sat in silence for some moments—waiting. Because there is a moment every day when there is pure truth in all-of-the world.

“Why does a man as handsome as yourself wear a mask?” I asked The Phantom Of The Opera who is perhaps the most handsome man I have ever laid eyes on.

A tear ran down his cheek, not for himself, but for I. “For the same reason, you great writer cannot look into a mirror. I wear the mask to hide not my face, but the ugliness that dwells in my heart…”

Note: the Las Vegas production that this fictional literary work is based on is titled “Phantom — The Las Vegas spectacular”. This production, while extraordinary, has been modified to a certain degree from the traditional production of the “Phantom Of The Opera”.

I would like to thank Rob Goldstein, Dawn Britt, Ashley Farkas and Rochelle Samilin-Jurani for providing the support that is required for a writer, such as I, to write a work such as this. I would also like to give a special thank you to Sheldon Adelson, for all of his good works and  for building such a place as The Venetian, without which there would be no story at all. 

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Sam Noah was handsome, intelligent, and charismatic. He came from a good family, had the perfect girlfriend, and attended UCLA where he ranked at the top of his class.  Noah could have made anything he wanted to out of his life. But crime came naturally to him.

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“IN DEVELOPMENT”

“In Development” is a hilarious account of a day in the life of Stan Peters—Hollywood’s most powerful and scummiest producer.

The day begins like any other day—a superlative, five-star breakfast at The Peninsula Hotel. However, the shocking news that there has been a change at the very top of the studio means that the perfect world of Stan and his closest associates could come to a sudden end—especially with a movie like “Two Jews and a Blonde Psycho” in development. The subsequent call from Brad, the new studio boss, confirms their greatest fear—their movie is in danger of being put in turn-around. A day of sex, manipulation, lying, betrayal, blackmail, and murder ensues — otherwise known in Hollywood as a happy ending.

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BLAST

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IMPACT

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NINETY- NINE POSTS

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stan Lerner is an award winning-author whose diverse credits include the novels “Stan Lerner’s Criminal”, “Blast”, “In Development,” and the children’s book “Stanley The Elephant.” Stan Lerner is also the creator of the Las Vegas music spectacle “Night Tribe” and the writer, director, producer of the hit motion picture “Meet The Family.” Mr. Lerner was born in Montebello CA and has lived in downtown Los Angeles for the last fifteen years.

For more information about Stan Lerner please visit his author profile at: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/stan

 

One thought on “THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – AND I”

  1. This is the most beautiful piece you have ever written. I’m so happy you saw phantom, I knew you of all people would love it.

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