I’d like to remember Russ Symmes today. The Big Kahuna was a fixture in the 80s and 90s ultimate scene in Phoenix. Always ready with a hug and a handsome smile, he brought joy into my life. He developed brain cancer in 1991 and was not expected to live past six months. But he fought through three brain surgeries and kept on going.
In 1997-98 lots of us movie buffs fought hard to prevent the old Cine Capri on 24th and Camelback from being torn down. Progress and land values won over history and a Ralph Haver gem. Russ and I had a good cry, and one night he jumped the demolition site barriers and brought me these two tiles from the building. They are imported Italian green ceramic, and iconic to the old theater and to my friendship with Russ. As I remember my own brain surgery last year, I also remember my good friend and miss him terribly.
He died on 12/11/2002.