Age six: The youngest boy in the largest choir in the United States.
Tano's dad drove him all around Los Angeles for daily rehearsals because his
mother wanted a musical son. Tano sang in Latin, Hebrew and German. Tano
understood nothing. |
Age eight: Tano asked why his family didn't do holidays. "What are our holidays?" he asked. "We don't have any," his dad said. Tano demanded a birthday. He invited his class, but the kids climbed on the furniture so Tano's parents sent everyone home.
Age eleven: Tano got a scholarship to the most expensive fine arts school in Los Angeles. He took music theory courses with the kids who had parents in the philharmonic. For his recital he did a John Cage piece: Tano sat at the piano silently. Tano said, "The idea of the piece was that the music was the rustling of the audience."
Age fourteen: An Austrian composer took Tano under wing. Tano did not go to pep rallies, dances or parties. He composed. Tano said he was very close to his composition teacher even though the teacher only spoke German, a language Tano didn't know.
Age seventeen: Tano applied to NYU film school. Tano's father said he spent way too much money on music. He's not paying for film school. Tano went to UCLA film school on a scholarship. Tano explained to his dad that Tano could never be a composer because he had nothing new to say.
Age twenty: Tano's student films were shown in art museums all over the world. Sabina, a German exchange student, asked him for his class notes because she had only a small understanding of spoken English. They fell in love.
Age twenty-one: Tano made a documentary about AIDS. He interviewed a dying man and edited the audio so all you could hear was the crying between his sentences.
Age twenty-two: For his final experimental music project Tano darkened the room and gave each person a lighter. Tano told the people flick the lighter at each other to try to communicate.
Age twenty-eight: Tano pulled people off the street to interview them about memories for a documentary. He interviewed me. I tried very hard to be interesting because he was tall, dark and smart-looking. The U.S. government flew Tano to Eastern Europe as the U.S. representative for a summit on documentaries created under stress. When Tano returned from Poland, Madlyn dumped him.
Age twenty-nine: Tano and I went out to dinner with my parents.
Age thirty: The therapist asked us why we came to couples therapy. I said, "Because we can't talk to each other. I do all the talking." The therapist said "Tano, is that true?" Tano said, "I don't know." I said, "What about when I spent twenty minutes telling you why it's gross when you get in bed with sweat balls on your back and you didn't answer." Tano says, "That's a bad example."