Inspired by letters with Marta, this is a place to post letters to friends. Simple. Oldschool. Almost. Probably mostly letters from me "to" friends, but friends are also welcome to write letters here.

Linda Hamm Conte

August 14, 2016 in #2016 | | | Share on Google+

Photo of Linda Hamm Conte & Glenn Zucman. Photo by Tanya Ericson Linda & Glenn. Photo by Tanya Ericson.

Hi Linda,

Congratulations on, and thank you for, a truly lovely DEAD Reunion party last night.

It's unbelievable that I haven't seen most of these peeps in 24 years! So crazy how time can fly. Yet somehow everybody looked so great.

Photo of Linda Hamm Conte & Glenn Zucman. Photo by Tanya Ericson Linda & Glenn. Photo by Tanya Ericson.

Because of your intensity and dedication, I know you were disappointed that Mike, or Steven, or various others didn't show up. But it's impossible to ever get all of Group X reassembled again. Maybe recreating a past configuration of people is the real Humpty Dumpty of human life. Now and then I'll have a dozen peeps from a half dozen different countries at my place. I always take a personal moment to appreciate that whether or not I see these peeps individually again, that there's just no chance that this particular constellation of souls will ever be in the same room again.


It's a small thought that always makes me appreciate the specialness of the moment. Certainly DEAD was a special moment. And thanks to You, last night was a special moment. It was so great to see so many great people. I think in the 24 years since I left Disney I've seen you, Chris, Tanya & Jeff, and maybe one or two others. Everybody else I saw last night I haven't seen in 24 years. Please don't be sad, even for a moment, that you "failed" to have even more alumni show up.

Here are a few things I'm certain about:

  1. If I had organized the party instead of you, there wouldn't have been half as many peeps there.
  2. If Al Flores organized a Broadcast Services reunion, they wouldn't have half as many people.
  3. If anyone from my time at CBS, NBC, or JPL organized a reunion, there wouldn't be half as many people.
  4. If the School of Art had a party, ok we actually do have SOA faculty parties sometimes, but they're not alumni, the're current faculty, and while they can be fun, there's also a bit of faculty attitude and jockeying for power. And even if they do have as many peeps there as you had last night, they don't last for half as long. It's put in an appearance and get the hell out.

Please don't think your party was even 1% failure. It was 100% amazing. Please don't think it was even 1% failure because even though you and I actually live pretty close to each other, it'd still be a hassle for me to have to drive up there solely for the purpose of slapping you.

Photo of Linda Hamm Conte & Glenn Zucman. Photo by Tanya Ericson Linda & Glenn. Photo by Tanya Ericson.

IDK if you know this about me, but when I left Disneyland it actually wasn't under ideal circumstances. Maybe it's wrong to let the end of something color 5 amazing years, but the truth is, I've been ambivalent about that experience for 24 years now.

It wasn't until your party last night that I gained a different perspective on my life of a quarter-century ago. Sharing stories with so many great and diverse peeps. Seeing that amazing slide show that you assembled. And thanks BTW for getting a few pix from each of so many peeps, and for yanking that big load out of (missing) Mike.

Hearing Tom talk about how bureaucratic and cubicleized things became post-Clare. Hearing Charlotte talk about how flaky the event crews of recent years could sometimes be. And just all those cray cray pix of another life in some magical place where a million crappy signs were made and ridiculous events large and small were pulled off every day and a most people's lifetime quota of silliness was lived in a single week. Last night made me realize what a rare and magical moment we lived in. I don't think I ever really appreciated that. Not when I left 24 years ago. Not when I started 29 years ago. Not till last night.

Thank you Linda.

Tanya, Jeff & Linda at Disneyland Entertainment Art Department reunion party in Pasadena, CA. Saturday 14 August 2016 Tanya, Jeff & Linda

You should also know that while the slide show was beyond awesome, more of the conversations I had were about life post-1992 than about DEAD in 1992 and before.

A few tid-bits:

  • Steve Nelson's story of putting down US$10,000 to rent a Manhattan apartment on September 1st, 2001, and then getting laid off a few weeks later in the wake of 9/11
  • Charlotte trying to afford their San Diego home in the middle of the 2008-2009 financial crisis
  • Lynn telling me that this very night at your party was her last night in California. That tomorrow, now today, Sunday, she'd walk on a plane to Florida, and on Monday start as an attraction designer for Universal Beijing, working in Florida for the next 2 years, and then moving to Beijing for the 2 years after that

kk, so the 1st 2 are obviously on the bittersweet side, but what vivid pieces of life from so many peeps! So many peeps from our little "family" interesecting with global events, like 9/11, The Financial Crisis, or Global Theme Parkficiation. Who knew that the players in Clare Graham's Chocolate Factory were such real and engaged human beings!?

It wasn't a dream!

Camelot did happen.

Atlantis, I'm not so sure about.

Denise Brown looking through one of the transparencies that Kevin Kidney brought to the DEAD Reunion Denise looking through one of the transparencies that Kevin brought.

Venice Art Walls?

You said that several peeps told you that it'd be cool to do another party next year. And that you were inspired to do it. You asked me what we could do different so it wouldn't be the same thing again?

Here's one thought: what about having it at the Venice Beach Art Walls? It's an amazing place that I take a few of my students to a couple times a year. Unlike all our DEAD geniuses, my students are absolute beginners. They're usually intimidated by all the Scott-Sinclairs-of-Graffiti-Writing out at the walls. The color sometimes drains from their skin when they think about having to go up over someone whose writing is a hundred times better than they can do. I tell them not to think of the Venice Art Walls as an art museum, but as a white board in a classroom, and that you can't learn if you don't erase the good stuff already there and try your own feeble attempts.

Anyway, everybody who goes has a great time. And it seems like every time we go one student gets hooked and winds up going back every week.

If there's anyplace as crazy, and eclectic, and gay! as DEAD was, it has to be Venice! It might be fun to take some food and some paint and go hang out.

Or that's the 1st idea off the top of my head anyway. I'm sure there are lots of other great options. And really, a party in your back yard is pretty unbeatably awesome.

Name Tags?

Here's one more suggestion. A tiny one. I think it'd be cool if we had name tags. I don't really care if the name tags have Mickey Mouse on them or not. I don't even care if they have our names on them or not. But I think it'd be pretty cool if they had the years we worked there on them. Like:


It'd be cool to be able to visualize the relative timelines of our interactions as we talked with different peeps.

I didn't remember that Scott & Denise had both left before I left. Or that Chris & Charlotte were both still there.

No doubt Mike is working on a cool, interactive DEAD Family Tree, you know, like those rock 'n roll charts that show all the different bands Eric Clapton was in? But till he actually finishes it, and, you know, actually lets us look at it, the name tags might be easy and nice.


I just have to say thank you one more time Linda. So great to see you. So great to see everyone. What a wonderful night. Only 8,766 days in the making. Damn! And they say DEAD doesn't work on WDI time scales!


Glenn Zucman's signature, as signed on page 94 of Self Service magazine, Issue #44, Spring/Summer 2016

Chris & Linda Hamm Conte's Disneyland Entertainment Art Department reunion party, Pasadena, CA, Saturday 13 August 2016 Bonnie's husband, Larry, Larry's wife, Your husband, Tanya 'n Jeff, the side of your face

Giant group photo of DEAD Reunion party @Chris 'n Linda's place in Pasadena, CA photo by your husband

August 14, 2016 in #2016 | | | Share on Google+