Monday, December 31, 2007


As the hotel's chief of security, Julius endeavors to act in the best interests of the guests and staff--whether the crisis he's dealing with is a lost child, a missing purse, or a drunken brawl. Prior to his stint with the Ticonderoga, Julius was the head of a successful security and investigations agency, from which he retired after the accidental death of his beloved canine comrade, Mojo (whom, incidentally, Julius later had stuffed and mounted.) A cousin of Francis Blum and the son of taxidermists, Julius has always been a lover of animals (living and dead) and manages a sizable collection of stuffed birds and mounted insects, not to mention several aquariums filled with various live arachnidian, reptilian, amphibious and aquatic creatures.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Ignacio came to the country in the back of a truck when he was 17 years old. The distant relatives he arrived with were all captured and deported, but Ignacio traveled further north with an accordion, performing on street corners and occasionally finding work as a day laborer in construction crews, orchards, poultry plants and restaurant kitchens on his way to the city. "Iggy" previously worked with Maria in a small restaurant--when he was slightly more literate than legal--and taught her how to play the guitar while she tutored him to read and write Spanish and English, and (with Jim Battery's help) he obtained a work visa. Today, he dreams of bringing his family safely over the border and opening his own nightclub in the city. He usually spends his evenings off playing traditional corridos with a small conjunto band in various local cantinas, taquerias and subway trains.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Francisco De Nada

A lawyer who secretly published anti-nationalist chapbooks (which inspired an unsuccessful coup against his country's puppet regime) DeNada had always been a target of suspicion for his sympathies; military police agents traced his tracts to a printer and soon afterwards, members of DeNada's family mysteriously vanished. The young revolutionary was arrested and imprisoned for the next 7 years within a secret island labor camp, during which time he composed his epic anti-imperialist manifesto/poem, "El Jaguar"; he was denied writing instruments during the incarceration and memorized the entire 5,000 verse work while toiling in the jungle. Rumors circulated that he'd been executed until a band of comrades infiltrated the island security and aided DeNada in a dramatic escape to the mainland. He spent several years hiding with rebels in the forests of Mexico and small Central American countries until a group of North American editors and publishers helped him to secure amnesty in the US, where he lives and continues writing today.


The Norwegian beauty, Else, arrived as a student in a foreign exchange program and began working as a part-time employee while studying architecture. When she decided to remain in the country and continue attending night classes at the university, the Ticonderoga offered her a full-time position and a staff residence room, which she now shares with Maria. Together, with Nataliya, they comprise the hotel's housekeeping department, but it is Else who maintains the Ticonderoga's infamous "Lost-and-Found" collection. She is quite fond of our security chief, Julius (and if he weren't so self-absorbed, he might actually return her attention.) Meanwhile, Else is the oldest child in her large family and her pangs of homesickness and family affections are occasionally salved by invitations to the cinema from Samson and Sophie.


We know that Benjamin lives in a basement apartment beneath his parents' home. He's punctual, thorough and polite. To our knowledge, nobody on staff has ever held a sustained dialogue with Benjamin for longer than two minutes, but his messages are always succinct and his penmanship is altogether astounding; occasionally he receives messages from a professional cartoonist he worked (works?) as a lettering assistant for. On his days off, he paints hand-lettered signs and windows for various small businesses in his neighborhood, and is often seen studying manuals of typography.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Hope Diaz

The famous Puerto Rican dancer and performer Hope Diaz began working professionally when she was 10 years old, matured in the public eye, and by the time she was 18, had grown weary of her schedule and the limelight. Her mentor introduced her to the Baroness, who advised the young dancer and acrobat to take a professional hiatus and to concentrate on her studies. Hope did this, competing with her university gymnastics team and appearing only once in a university theater production, where she met student filmmaker Vic Vap. 5 years later, she made her acting debut as a minor (though) recurring character in a series of critically-praised (but seldom seen) independent short films directed by then-boyfriend, Vap. She currently works with the Baroness's charity to coordinate productions with her acrobat troupe and various local dance studios.


The son of prominent second generation (and infamously sparring) American journalists and newspaper editors, Emmet recoiled from the hypocrisy and turmoil of the political media spotlight he was raised around and, after dropping out of culinary school, traveled around the continent as the roadie for a number of punk rock bands. He returned home after several years and accepted an editorial assistant position with a local newsweekly before singlehandedly trashing the main newspaper office in a fit of indignant rage over the publication's endorsement of a corrupt state senatorial candidate. Months later, an old classmate, Mary Megan, found Emmet unemployed, drunk and homeless in a local tavern and recommended him for a job with the Troubador, where he masterminds the bistro kitchen menu.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Sylvia is an ambitious and hard-working young woman of action whose dream is to return home to the Phillipines to open her own hotel. There are theories that she was spurned by love or that she escaped from a troubled marriage, but no one knows for certain because she keeps mainly to herself, though she does live in the hotel with many of the staff. She is an attractive young woman, but presents an ambiguous appearance to the world and declines any suggestion of romantic attention (although Louis has noticed Sylvia's longing glances and shyness toward the striking Else.) Sylvia usually has a smile for anyone who comes to the front desk, and while she's just doing her job, we'll mind our own business, knowing how lost the Ticonderoga would be without her.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Samson is a student living with his Uncle Herbert in the hotel while his parents are traveling abroad. He's a sharp, adventurous and talented young man who--when he's not playing soccer or basketball with friends after school--can be found attending (or making) movies with Sophie. Their vast age difference (3 years) is too great for him to "officially" consider her as anything more than a friend. However, a little "unofficial" bird has divulged to us that while Samson is quite popular with the cutest girls in his class--even Alice Strathmore, who smoked her first joint with him--he doesn't think twice about anyone besides Sophie. Meanwhile, he collects records and comic books, too, and Ignacio has been teaching him to play the guitar. Every evening before he hits the books, Samson sits down to eat dinner with his Uncle Herbert, and occasionally they attend basketball games at the local sports coliseum together.

night lines, city light #3

An early Remington Fuller Tate print, donated by the artist.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


It wouldn't be far from the truth to say that Lester Davison tumbled from the backseat of the taxicab he was born in and rolled into the alleyways of The Big Easy, learning to pick pockets and play music as he wound his way up out of the South. Finding himself here in the city, he co-founded the legendary local band, The Bold Saboteurs, and performed with them until he was kicked out (for beating a drunken heckler blind with an accordion.) After being released from jail, Lester busked around the city streets and subways before taking his current ivory-tickling job in the Troubador Lounge, where he can be found on his best behavior every Wednesday thru Sunday evening from 9 PM - close. Covers and originals.


The son of immigrants who fled Algiers amidst a tumultuous uprising, Louis left his new family home behind, determined to make his own way in the world. He has been employed by the hotel since he was 14; first, as a busboy in the Troubador, then as the Ticonderoga's bellhop. Residing in a modest east wing room with his record collection, Louis DJs on his nights off at various nightclubs and events around town. He dreams of founding his own hip-hop recording label someday (but like so many others who call the Ticonderoga home, it is always "someday" for Louis.) Full of charm, wit and enthusiasm, he rolls with the punches and nothing can keep him down. (Go get 'em, Louis!)

Monday, December 17, 2007


Sophie resides in the Ticonderoga with her parents (whom we rarely, if ever, see) and as our resident aspiring photographer, filmmaker and poet, we usually find her exploring the hotel, re-tracing the steps of her favorite writers, bicycling through underground tunnels, or roaming around forgotten corners of the city. Her best friend (and secret crush) is Samson, but she's especially fond of Remington, the Baroness and Louis, too. Her first film, "The Antidote", an experimental narrative short was recently awarded a special jury prize at the city's annual film festival. Every Thursday, Sophie convinces Emmet, the Troubador's cook, to allow her to take Wednesday's leftovers to the neighborhood homeless shelter. Need we say more?


An easygoing widowed Navy veteran, Herbert has been the Ticonderoga's doorman (and occasional driver) since Francis became the general manager. He traveled across the globe in the service and returned home to work in the city's shipyards, until a back injury forced him into early retirement. When his wife died, he grew restless and went to sea again, working as a bartender aboard an ocean cruiseliner. His daughter convinced him to come home soon afterwards, but Herbert knew that he had grown weary of traveling. After taking his current position as doorman with the Ticonderoga, he became the guardian of his nephew, Samson, who attends school nearby.


She might have been spirited away by a lover who represents an unknown future, a new experience whose spell has liberated her from the shackles of an unhappy marriage.
Then again, it is quite possible that she is truly the beloved wife of an ancient god in a tragic myth, departed from this world and cloaked beneath the blind veil of the damned, oblivious to her husband's doomed rescue attempt.
Perhaps the truth is somewhere beyond.
All we know for certain about this mistress of mystery is that she's the current occupant of Room 420.

Remington Fuller Tate

Considered by many critics a seminal figure in the undergound "sham-pop" scene, Mr. Tate is an artist/painter/filmmaker/writer whose work has never penetrated the fringes of the modern art world. His art, cult celebrity status and sexually enigmatic persona were the subjects of a "mockumentary" filmed by a disgruntled triad of former lovers--male and female--who attempted to portray him and his work as fraudulent, but, ironically, only succeeded in bringing his work to a broader audience. Anyhow, forget about what anyone else says; we can assure you that Mr. Remington Fuller Tate is indeed the genuine article.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


She's not cheap, but we hear that she's worth every penny. Simone knows what's what because she's seen it all; she was born with nothing, has lost everything, goes down swinging with grace and always comes back for more with style. There's no heart of gold in this gem; she's an angel whose bell never rings for those wings. She's a porn film star (among other things) who's all business and while there's nothing she won't do--or hasn't done--for a fast buck, she's fiercely loyal to her friends. And that's more than you can say about a lot of people. After everything is said and done, we'd like to believe that Simone secretly believes in love, but we know better.


After studying philosophy and religion at the city university where he was a star basketball player (and where he now occasionally teaches a popular course on the history of theosophy) Angel remains the Troubador's most popular bartender. He strives to maintain a sense of harmony at work, attending with purposeful compassion to the lounge's guests and counting several colleagues and former students among his regulars. Angel has survived everything life has thrown at him, except the failure of his second marriage. Fortunately, his sense of humor and irony remain intact, and he is fond of quoting Camus: "Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present."
(Translation: Don't forget to tip!)

Mary Megan

An uncommon beauty for whom heartbreak has become second nature, Mary Megan is a passionate writer whose articles and fiction examine the social, sexual, political and economic subtexts of working women and champion the rights of minorities in the hospitality industry. She is a bright and volatile spirit with a keen eye and a sharp tongue, assets she puts to good use as the chair of the local chapter of her union. Of course, in addition to all of this, Mary is the hardest working waitress in the entire city, but if she heard us say so, we'd never hear the end of it.

The Baroness Josephine DuMonde

Beatrice Elizabeth Bonner was born into a prosperous Midwestern family who built their fortune in the early days of the oil industry boom. She studied dance at the best schools in Europe, making frequent academic trips to examine the dance customs of Asia and Micronesia, and while visiting Sydney, she fell in love with a young Australian anthropologist. In a strange twist of fate, he abandoned her during an excursion to Pitcairn's Island--where she was subsequently introduced to the Baron DuMonde.
At 23, Beatrice was a wealthy socialite and a serious student of dance, and the Baron was 50, an erudite, educated man of the world, a generous patron of the arts (and a covert financier of the American Communist Party) who had owned the original Troubador and later opened the Troubador Hotel, which eventually became the Hotel Ticonderoga. Beatrice sailed with the Baron to South America and they were married in Buenos Aires (where she was familiar to President and Mrs. Peron as "Josephine".) The DuMondes returned to the US and the Baroness (who was infertile) became involved with several children's charities. After the Baron's assassination by the CIA in 1957, the bereaved Baroness found solace in the arms of her deceased husband's younger half-brother, and a minor media frenzy ensued when they were married. Their union was brief and tragic; Michel St. Gerard was a womanizing, gambling drunkard and a reckless pilot who crashed his small airplane into a mountainside after squandering most of his wife's fortune away on the tables at Monte Carlo. In a state of shock (and mourning both husbands) the Baroness moved into the top floor of the Ticonderoga (one of her few remaining assets) to acquaint herself with the spirit and history the Baron had embraced there. She divested the family petroleum business, established an arts charity league for underpriveleged youth, and is today recognized as one of our city's most beloved patrons.

Bolivia Muse

from publicity still, dated 1935

Gabriel Muse

from publicity still, dated 1935

Juniper Muse

age 12, 1936

Oliver Muse

age 12, 1936

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jim Battery

Wild, mean streets pulsing with adrenaline, amphetamines and pounding hearts. The dark alleyway shadows of crooked cops, switchblade thugs, thieving junkies and murderous bombshells. Hot city nights punctuated by the angry staccato of stuttering gunfire. The desperate grip of blood money clenched in bloodier fists. The petty lives, lusty motives and big nowhere dreams of stupid women and stupider men. The dark world of Jim Battery's relentlessly hard-boiled fiction is fueled by his own nightmares, drunken binges, broken limbs, broken promises and broken heart. What can we say? Jim Battery writes the life he leads.
But probably not for long.

Francis Blum

Francis Blum has been the general manager of the Hotel Ticonderoga for several years. He worked as a doorman while studying ethnobotany at the local city college, but accepted the management position when he was diagnosed with a rare allergy to the flora his thesis work focused upon. He resides at the hotel, remains constantly on-call and despite his intimidating appearance, is a reserved and practical presence. His loyalty, wit and tact are often lauded by the Baroness DuMonde and he is, for all intents and purposes, her right-hand man.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Circa 1944

The Hotel Ticonderoga's current location, circa 1944, prior to renovation, restoration and "new" Troubador addition.