Three middle-aged friends emerge from a movie cubicle in a postmodern pink stucco cinemadrome, where they have just seen the latest David Lynch film, Wild at Heart. Crossing the Culture Center, they confront twenty-three restaurants and food shops and, after some confusion. sit down at an open-air cafe across from a museum where Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs are on exhibit.
A waitperson introduces himself. The three friends order decaf espressos. One is a suburban yuppie management consultant, with an M.B.A. and a
Porsche; he views movies and art as entertainment. The second is a psychiatrist, good at what he does, interested in art as the play of personality. The third is a liberal critic, intensely concerned with good and bad work, authenticity and wholeness. Once upon a time, these three graduated from Rutgers together, with honors.
Because life has brought them to a mall in California, they sit beneath a swinging sign proclaiming, “Irony Illegal.”...
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