Back in early January when I was still very new to OS, I sent an e-mail to Lonnie Lazar that simply said:
“You are good people and I wanted you to know that, all fun and BS aside. I like your spirit.
A few minutes later, I received this reply:
“takes one to know one, patricia. i've found in many cases people with strong heart sense and empathy for others have the most fun playing around and keeping it light when that's the game.
and then when it's time to get down to brass tacks and dig in the trenches, those are the people you want by your side. OS has a lot of good people and a few prickly pears; it has from the beginning. i like the ratio and appreciate the rabble rousers, cause if we were all just here blowing smoke up each others asses, it would get pretty boring.
thanks for the note. i hope we'll get to meet in person one day. wear the art jeans.
And thus began my friendship with Lonnie Lazar. There is nothing he conveyed in that very first e-mail exchange that does not reflect exactly who he is or who I have had the honor and pleasure to get to know.
For the nine people those of you who don’t know him, Lonnie was part of the Beta version of OS. He is a total original in more ways than one. He’s a musician, writer, Mac guru, Photoshop King, rebel, rabble rouser, photographer, attorney, loving father, mortgage broker, seeker, Buddhist, traveler, rock ‘n roll dude, resident smart ass (who likes to show his ass off whenever possible with a link from one of his posts), foodie, all around good guy and one that his friends often refer to as “Mr. Lucky” (for reasons too numerous to mention) impresario (if the gig interests him) and most importantly, a kind, decent person, loyal soul and trusted friend. And these are all the qualities he has paid me to tell you about. If you want (or need) to learn anything more, you’ll have to contact him directly to discover the quality human being he is or go back into his archives and read some of his wonderful posts that cover everything from politics and music to getting Freaky and putting the inaugural hat on.
Lonnie has led an extraordinary life. He traipsed through China and Nepal (among other places) back in the mid 80’s (when, argh, some of you had probably not even yet been born) and caused (or got himself into) all sorts of trouble in New Orleans while attending Tulane University.
Fill in the blanks of your own story here
He owned and operated a groovy night club in San Francisco. Before that, he owned a travel agency in Tennessee. He was adopted, raised and loved by two incredible parents and has written posts about losing his mother as a teenager and the powerful force and influence of his father who he fondly refers to El Jefe.
Lonnie has written about the trials and tribulations of reinventing himself and about a beautiful place in Greece where he hopes to grow old where, before too long, he will be headed to celebrate the wedding of one of his oldest, closest friends (no pressure, but we are expecting blog posts from Santorini). Like many other members of the OS community, he has suffered some professional setbacks and written candidly about them. And then he showed up in Las Vegas and proved to be an even better person in person than one could ever imagine. He is as polite, funny, charming, self-effacing, easy going and talented in the flesh as he is in writing, but only more charming, loving and talented than he lets on.
Shortly after I received his first e-mail response, I wrote to him:
“You have been like a cat with nine lives and perhaps that is what made me reach out to you; aren't we all somehow mirrors of ourselves.....
With all that you have on your plate, it is amazing that you continue to inspire and have such positive energy, good humor and fortitude.”
Who can forget his beautiful song/tribute to Dakini Dancer? or when he converted the cover of OS to reflect that Freaky had (finally/rightfully/frightfully) take over? You can learn a lot about (and from) this man in his poignant Father's Day reflection. These are just a few of the aspects of Lonnie that will give you an insight into his bright mind and his kind, beautiful heart.
Ever the comedian, he also has a wild, funny streak that he often expresses in his comments. In case you missed it, Lonnie also ate lunch on Elvis’ grave. Not many people can say that. Fewer do. Lonnie does it all.
There are so many wonderful hidden talents about Lonnie Lazar that we are still discovering.
He can play guitar and sing (at the same time!)
He has that Robert DeNiro thing going for him
He can operate heavy machinery!
(when he's not getting tickets)
Other little known facts about Lonnie:
He loves pork product!
He eats standing up.
He takes longer to get ready than most women. He's a rock star, ya know!
He only sweats on one side of his face when he eats curry/spicy foods!
He attracts sirens (are you surprised?)
His stage name is "Lonnie Lazar".
He is WAY smarter than you think.
The man can cook!
Today is Lonnie’s birthday. He is 49 years young. Almost nine months ago, when I joined Open Salon, I never would have imagined meeting so many wonderful, inspiring members through e-mail exchanges and/or phone calls and eventually having the incredible opportunity to (finally) meet so many of them in the person. I certainly would not have imagined making as beautiful a friend as Lonnie. I have been the fortunate beneficiary of many great friendships that have formed as a result of OS and am proud to call Lonnie a dear, dear friend who I will cherish and value for the rest of my life.
Lonnie, I wish you nothing but health, happiness and prosperity for this and many years to come. You have been an inspiration to so many of us and we love you. As you said,” when it's time to get down to brass tacks and dig in the trenches, those are the people you want by your side’”. I certainly want you by mine. You have continually proven to be one of the most wonderful human beings I have had to the honor of getting to know and I am grateful to have you in my life as a friend.
With all my love, with all OUR love, we wish you a
Very Happy Birthday, Lonnie.
Now, once and for all, if somebody has missed it, here is your ass. Are you over it yet? Cuz, bro, we certainly are (even if we are jealousing a little bit.)
Your Birthday Calls for Cake! But, I’m lazy and tired so all I’m giving you is the art pants, ya hear? Langieppe! Now, go out and party like it’s 1999. And get your own damn cake photo. I’m tired. Here are your art jeans. okay?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LONNIE!
WITH LOVE FROM EVERYONE ON OS!