Story and Art by Philip Riley
The Moonglow Lounge and the painting of it emerged under duress. I had walked out on an unsuccessful marriage and slept on the beach for a few weeks until I found a room in a garage in Waipahu. The landlord, Mrs. Macaranus rented me this room with only a week’s security deposit which was about all I could afford.
About a block away on Farrington Highway, a 20 foot sign on the Westgate Shopping Center said “Moonglow Lounge.” Black pupils looked up in the two moon shaped white “o’s of the word “Moonglow.” When I walked into the Moonglow, a band was auditioning. The band members were given bottle caps, redeemable for free beer. First the band members invited me to their table. Then, they silently slid their tokens to me. Before I walked home to my garage, a curious Hawaiian lady, counseled me that I was going to have a big headache the next day.
I painted the painting called “The Moonglow Lounge” during this time. I drew on napkins from many visits and took photos with a cheap portable camera. In the background of the painting I fictionalized the band with violin players. The red and brown tinted light glows on the people’s faces in this bar whose seats were black and whose sparse lighting shone through a dropped colored ceiling tile. A black velvet painting of a semi nude elegant Spanish looking lady hung on one of the nicotine colored walls. The patrons and those who worked there exuded unpretentious rough warmth. Though the bar has changed hands and names and there is no live music, a bond remains . . .