Transcribing these old pictures of mine brings back so many memories. This one is especially evocative, because it was inspired by one of the most vivid characters I was ever friends with. I will just call her R. I met R. through the science fiction fan community as well as Libertarian fandom. During the late 70s and early 80s I was on the fringes of the Libertarian community in Boston, which had strong connections with science fiction and Ayn Rand fans. This was due to the influence of the Russian expert and her husband and their friends. There is a "movement" of libertarianism in science fiction, especially that of Robert A. Heinlein, Jerry Pournelle, and L. Neil Smith. Even Ayn Rand can be considered a science fiction author of sorts. The movement isn't as popular now as it was then, with Reagan coming to power with a pseudo-libertarian message.
R., who was a professional jazz bass player and played in a swing band, was involved in all of these things. She was also wild about old-time amusement parks and roller coasters. And like my Russian expert friend with the Russian world, R. had built herself an imaginary world based on Robert Heinlein's lunar colonies in his book THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS. The lunar colony was a libertarian haven which made most of its money through tourism and entertainment. As she shared this world with me, I illustrated it. The picture you see above is a scene from her amusement park on the moon's surface, called simply "Luna Park." The corridors, game rooms, pneumatic coaster monorail, and other attractions are all pressurized with breathable atmosphere, and spacesuit-clad taggers have left graffiti on the outer surfaces of the structures.
R. and I visited amusement parks where I drew lots of sketches and she rode the roller coaster. I took notes on her Luna Park world and drew illustrations. She enjoyed role-playing in this world though the era of real role-playing games had only just begun. But R. was a musician and not a writer, so most of the verbal notes for this virtual place were mine and are somewhere in my archives.
In the mid-80s, R. decided to leave Boston and move to Southern California, where she hoped to break into the music business as a studio musician. After her move, I lost contact with her, though I heard through mutual acquaintances that she had not been successful as a musician and had to take other jobs. Many years later, I searched for her and found her phone number. There was some very brief contact, but no more. It turned out that R., who was Jewish though libertarian in religion as well, had "converted" to Orthodox Judaism, repudiated her old life as a science fiction fan, and was living in an ultra-orthodox community somewhere in Southern California.
This picture did not go to California with R. It was sold to some family patrons in New York City, and it may still be just where it was on the wall twenty years ago, in their Fifth Avenue apartment. No one there knows what inspired the picture and its setting.
"Luna Park" was painted in 1980, gouache on illustration board, 13" x 9".