During all of its six-and-a-fraction years of life, the Cafe Luna radiated a personality throughout its Summerland, California, environs reminiscent of a karaoke night at a neighborhood tavern and the green room of an engaging, late night TV talk show, each extreme emblematic of the range of persons who came to sample the eclectic menu and contribute, perhaps unintentionally, to the ambience of patrons in earnest pursuit of their morning coffee and those who lingered to argue Wittgenstein versus Hegel with the owners and cleanup crew.
In our minds, Cafe Luna is exemplified by such events as a head chef’s explosive, “It’s like a Monaco casino in this kitchen,” and the Friday night jazz guitarist, Greg LeRoy’s memory of hearing a strange noise while he was starting the second set, only to discover he was being accompanied by another musician, playing that most guttural instrument so dear to the Australian aborigine, the didgeridoo.
Writing of a memorable convention of nineteenth century eccentrics in Boston, the noted essayist, philosopher and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, hit on the most resonant description. “If the assemblage was disorderly,” Emerson wrote, “it was picturesque. Madmen, madwomen, men with beards, Dunkers, Muggletonians, Come-outers, Groaners, Agrarians, Seventh-day Baptists, Quakers, Abolitionists, Calvinists, Unitarians and Philosophers,—all came successively to the top, and seized their moment, if not their hour, wherein to chide, or pray, or preach, or protest.”
Some of us former patrons of Cafe Luna would have given a pretty penny to be at that Chardon Street exposition of 1840, of which Emerson wrote. But in a way, we know the feeling from our mornings, afternoons, and evenings in what was once a private residence facing Lillie Avenue, the main drag of Summerland.
Instead, we have chosen to evoke the sort of reminiscent vigor associated with the reference of Camelot to the early stages of the JFK presidency and the glowing hope of poetic and mythic imagery resident within our contemporary pragmatism.
In launching the Cafe Luna Review, we are essaying the surf of nostalgia, casting a Yeatsian cold eye on the future, listening to the shaman’s tale, and gathering close to hear the stories, speculative essays, and poetry of the sort that always seems to come, just at closing time, when the owner pours another round and bids us tarry a while longer.
Our literary journey, of the spirit, the heart, the printed page, the pixel, and the Internet, will be ever so much nicer with you to join us.