Apr 24, 2007

ROME, Italy – "Stay calm," Tim warned me. "The bar Jonathan's Angels closed while you were away."

"Noooooo," I wailed. "That crazy bag lady with the raccoon eyes once grabbed my friend's tackle there. How dare Jonathan deprive the citizenry of such sweet memories?"

Home to the city's most famous toilet, this campy dive was decorated with Jonathan. Jonathan as a Byzantine icon. Jonathan as Bacchus. Jonathan as pope. The modest owner – Jonathan Medros – was formerly a trapeze artist and maintained a healthy appetite for costuming (usually black leather). He even featured in the restroom alongside the fountains and religious kitsch.

I'm still sulking hours later, when mio cugino Alberto says, "I want to take you to a bar I just discovered. I saw this strange man, yeah? And I followed him to this–

"JONATHAN'S ANGELS," I interject.

"How did you know?"

"Everyone knows. It's a landmark. But I heard a nasty rumor it shut down."

"Not as of last week."

Albi and I burrow through the rabbit warren of the Tor di Nona neighborhood, off the Piazza Navona. And, there – yes! – is Jonathan in all his camp glory.

Every city must have its constants, most especially the eternal one.

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