Established November 2006 | angel-river.net has no affiliation with the Phoenix Family
Way back in 1990, when I lived in New York (from 1984 to 1994), on a regular workday at my home-office in the East Village, I was told by our main office in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, to get in touch with Heart Phoenix. At the time, I represented Brazilian singer/songwriter/ superstar Milton Nascimento and was an assistant to his manager.
They wanted to meet Milton, after hearing the beautiful song he had written for River (he saw "Stand by Me" - Milton is a major movie fan - and was very impressed with the young actor's performance). We communicated via phone and fax to try to find a date that would be suitable for everyone. River was filming, Milton was on a US tour.
It was finally decided it would be in Atlanta. The day of the concert was July 7th,1990, the place was Piedmont Park and the event the Atlanta Jazz Series. The crowd was of approximately 10.000 people.
Heart drove, with River sleeping in the back seat. His girlfriend was also with them. When they arrived, we met outside the hotel, the Wyndham, on Peachtree Avenue or Street. This photo of the 4 of us is from that moment - River looks definitely sleepy!
When we headed back to the hotel entrance, River asked his mother for some money. It was a really small amount, something like US$5.00. She asked him didn't he want some more and he said that was enough. I thought that was so cute: an internationally acclaimed actor, yet he still acted like a little boy beside his mother!
It was still daylight when the concert started and River, his girlfriend - if I'm not mistaken her name was Susan - Heart and I sat on the grass right in front of the stage, at a fenced-in spot for guests. I have beautiful photos of them from this moment. River in awe as he listened to his song...
After the concert, River invited us out to dinner - the three of them, Milton and I. We went to a restaurant that I can't remember if it was Thai or from what other country, but the table was round and there was this thin bread covering it, and some small bowls with different foods. You were supposed to tear up pieces of the bread and fill them with the food - all with your hands! I had never been to a restaurant like that, it was quite interesting.
We all hit it off right from the start, we talked a lot, it was great. After dinner we went to Milton's suite at the hotel, where he and River played the guitar. At some point, Milton couldn't control himself and told them about me singing with The Beatles. That was it! Try telling a hippie family that someone has met the band? River asked me several questions and I told them the whole story, with details. Their jaws dropped!
I mailed River some photos I took of The Beatles, and apparently he loved them.
(It's no joke, I've spent a long time looking for my 1990 diary and I found EVERY other one but that!)
On April 10, 1991, River left a ticket for me to see Aleka's Attic at Wetlands in New York City. I went, took some photos - had to endure the funny looks by River's young fans who didn't understand what an older woman was doing there so close to the stage taking pictures - and after the show River took me to a table at the back and asked me several questions. He wanted to know what I thought of the concert, the sound, everything.
I met Heart and other family members once again when Milton played a concert in Gainsville, on November 22, 1992. River was out of town.
Another meeting was at a Milton concert in Los Angeles. I am not sure, but it could have been right after the Wetlands gig, in April 1991. I took many photos.
The last time I saw River was here in Rio, at Milton's house, around June 1992. Heart prepared a vegetarian feast and my brother and I were invited. It was a lovely evening, good food and conversation. River took me by the hand and led me upstairs, where he placed the earphones of his Walkman on my ears and played a new song of his for me to listen and give my opinion. Unfortunately, I can't remember the song's name. I was flattered that he wanted to show me the song and hear my opinion.
I also met Heart here in Rio at Eco 92. I came from New York as an interpreter for The Beach Boys.
What I remember about River is him being a very beautiful, caring, sweet and kind young man. It was a privilege to meet this very special family. His death was a shock and a huge sadness, which remains until today when I think of him.
When I find my diary, I will read it and see if there's anything else to tell, something I have forgotten.
And as for the rest of the photos, when my book is done I will have time to look for them and share them with you.
My love to everyone and let's celebrate the enlightened human being that was River Jude Phoenix!
MANY THANKS GO TO LIZZIE FOR HER WONDERFUL STORY - AND ALSO, THANK YOU TO JUAN PABLO DESIDEIRO.
THE REAL RIV
MEETING RIVER AND HIS FAMILY - BY BRAZILIAN LIZZIE BRAVO