Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Hide Away Exterior

Another location featured in the novel is The Hide Away, a gay bar. The design of this building is based upon a bar never clearly seen in the ‘Back to the Future’ film series during the 1955 visits. The colors have been changed some. In the films a cheerful yellow and green base had been painted over the bricks of the dead-end alley. In my story the alley connects to Grand Avenue (New York Street) and the bricks are red to help the alley remain dark and foreboding.

The bar’s name is significant for a couple of reasons. First, blueprint drawings from ‘Back to the Future’ showed ‘The Hide Away’ as the name for the bar—although the sign is never clearly seen on film. The second reason is for the play on words. Hideaway should be one word when indicating a place or a location. But the action—to hide away—is what my characters are doing and they are using this location to do it in. 

The Alley

I used the Universal Studios backlot from the mid-50s to imagine Michael’s world in my book ‘Second-Story Man.’ But one significant setting did not really exist on the backlot—it was only a note on a blueprint. The note suggested that an alley would later cut through from New York Street to Courthouse Square. I liked the idea of an alley in this location and it served to play an important role in the story as does the dumpster in the foreground.

An interesting addition to this alley is the ceiling above. This makes the alley a bit more of a tunnel—always dark and foreboding.

Michael's Room Again

Here is another view of Michael’s room. His orange desk is next to the bed by the side where Carlos sleeps. The easy chair in the foreground provided Carlos with a comfortable place to read his books and stare out the window to the street below.

Michael's Room

One of the featured locations from my book Second-Story Man is Michael’s room. This location was not inspired by the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot but instead by a hotel where I spent many a long-term business trip. In the story the hotel is set in a converted brownstone building with newly renovated modern rooms.

Here is the interior of Michael’s room. It’s just a small hotel room with a little kitchen. Michael had left his computer on the dresser just below the mirror. That’s where Carlos spotted it in the story.

Brownstone Hotel Revisited

While I was writing Second-Story Man I kept imagining the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot as the home for my characters Carlos and Michael. Carlos has invaded Michael’s World so the reader gets to explore Michael’s World along with Carlos.

The art director in me had to create Michael’s World in SketchUp so that I could better realize it in prose.

This image is of Michael’s Brownstone Hotel. Carlos climbed through the open window just above the segmental pediment. Just like now the street was deserted, but it was late at night when Carlos came sneaking in. This is a view from across the street where, a day later, Carlos stands wondering if he’s made the right decision to return to Michael’s place.

The Hide Away Interior

In the book ‘Second-Story Man’ much of the action occurs inside ‘The Hide Away’ gay bar where Carlos is forced to endure many a night hanging out with the pool boys. Across the bar is where Michael hangs out with his friends over by the far exit door.

My last blog posting is from Michael’s point of view across the bar to where Carlos hangs out.