An award-winning screenwriter at international film festivals and labs, Caitlin McCarthy has two projects in development: “Wonder Drug” with director Tom Gilroy (“Spring Forward”); and “Resistance” with director Si Wall (“Marbella Nights”).
**Good news continues to come in for Bret Michaels…
Bret Michaels: The Cruelest Month by Caitlin McCarthy
When I heard on April 22 that Bret Michaels had been rushed to the hospital with a brain hemorrhage, it gave me chills. Exactly twenty-two years earlier – on April 22, 1988 – I had seen Bret’s band Poison open for David Lee Roth at the Worcester Centrum. My BFF in high school, Olga, held onto the back of my Izod as we made our way towards the front row. We were two preppies in a sea of perms and headbanger t-shirts, just begging to get our asses kicked by some pretty scary broads, but we didn’t care. Bret’s energy drew us to him. (No offense to David Lee Roth, but Poison ruled the stage that night.)
I know this may sound crazy to some people who only know Bret from reality shows like “Rock of Love” and “Celebrity Apprentice.” But if you were a teen in the mid to late ‘80s, you know that Bret was a star and sex symbol. Back then, heavy metal dominated radio and MTV (when they still played videos). It was impossible to miss Bret’s teased blond hair and made up face. I may have been preppy, but I liked his androgynous look. (My first celebrity crush on John Taylor of Duran Duran served as a precursor of this.) I also liked that Bret was genuine about entertaining his fans. You have to respect someone who respects the fans and never, ever takes them for granted.
Poison’s first album was released on my sweet sixteen: August 2, 1986. I remember dancing around my bedroom when “Talk Dirty to Me” debuted on the radio. The song is now on my iPod, and I have played it many times with my nephews on Guitar Hero. (Don’t worry: The boys pay more attention to the catchy tune than the lyrics.)
As a sucker for craptacular TV, I watched Bret on “Rock of Love.” Even when surrounded by the world’s most dubious women, Bret continued to strike me as a genuine guy. Sure, he wanted to hook up left and right (and did!), but he was honest about it. Can’t fault him for that.
T.S. Eliot was right: April *is* the cruelest month. Olga, my BFF in high school, died on April 7, 2007, a suicide after her fiancé broke off their engagement right before their wedding. I think of Olga every April. This news about Bret has made me sadder than usual. To me, Bret represents high school, my youth, those days when I didn’t “need nothing but a good time” (to quote one of his lyrics). Those days have long passed.
Bret was just in PEOPLE Magazine the other week, photographed with his two beautiful young daughters. He’s only 47 years old. He shouldn’t be fighting for his life. He should be out living it — on his own terms, as always.
To Bret and his loved ones, my thoughts are with you.