2 April 2021> Gian died 2 days ago. We found out yesterday, evidently they found him in his hotel room in NYC. That's all we know + there doesn't seem to be that much information out there, apparently those in his inner circle are making arrangements + trying to keep it from becoming a social media shitstorm. We're still hoping this is all just a rumor... it's happend before where he ODs + rumors start circulating assuming the worst + then it ends up he's in the hospital + he's OK. Maybe sumthing was said on Facebook, we wouldn't know + cant really see what's on Instagram neither. His last tweet on Mar 28 was about being stood up by sumbody + on Mar 24 he retweeted sum 1 that said: "Drug use is often very rational. What’s the most rational reason you’ve ever taken drugs? I’ll start: because I like them fuck you." + then he posted this screenshot (preseeded by "stop calling my mom and telling her i’m in jail please i know it’s one of you"):
If u know Gian u know this isn't unusual behavior... maybe it's another 1 of his antics + it'll end up he's in jail or in a hospital. Maybe he'll pipe in hear on Life in the Blog of Ghosts + tell us what happend? Maybe he'll join us as a ghostly guest editor?
We're trying to figure out when we 1st met Gian...
we thought maybe it was 2003–04 when we were living in Hell's Kitchen (where he lived) but seems he din't start New York Tyrant magazine til 2006 so must of been when we were living in the UWS + walking or riding our bike down 9th Ave to get to work. New York Tyrant was on our radar + we'd ordered a copy but never received it. There were other small presses + lit zines in NYC back then, but this was the only other 1 based in Manhattan. 1 day we saw a disheveled guy w/ a dolly loaded w/ 3–4 boxes of books that said New York Tyrant on the side. Can't remember if we introduced ourself then or at 1 of the launch parties he'd have at Bar Nine. He was a sorta mythical figure at this point, notorious for OD'ing or going on crazy drug binges. There was a bookfair or 2, can't remember which, maybe AWP 2007 (in Atlanta) or 2008 in New York, or the Brooklyn Bookfair, where we'd go look for the New York Tyrant table + there was just a sign, no books + no 1 behind the table + we later heard he went on a bender or OD'd + had to go to the hospital. This all seemed to be part of the Tyrant packaging, along w/ his love of bears + the covers lifted from classic old '80s movies or Smith's album covers + the "Double Suicide or It Wasn't Love" book totes.
Given our history w/ our dead brother (who Gian reminds us of, as we used to tell him... both mastered the art of simultaneously being both endearing + infuriating), we always distanced ourself from this side of Gian... we was always his "breakfast" friend, the 1 that kept "grandma hours" as he used to tell us. Once a month or so we'd have breakfast + exchange our latest releases + swap literary gossip. And then when we moved to Rome he would visit every time he was in town (he was still living in NYC), which was often. He used to stay up on the hill at the Hilton Cavalieri
+ liked to sit by the pool + drink Pimm's, saying it made him feel like a Roman emperor lording over his subjects below. Chiara (who broke the sad news to us) reminded us that it was thru us she met Gian + we started remembering that night, at this pizza place on viale Trastevere that Romans called "il obitorio" cuz it looked like a morgue. There was this Pakistani street artist "il mago" that would perform magic tricks in front of the restraunt + when we told Gian that this wasn't the real "il mago" but the son capitalizing on his father's notoriety Gian stood up + started heckling the guy as an imposter. Another night we had dinner together + had way too much drink (1 night of many) + he had a flight back to NYC the next morning but then we got a text from him + he was still in Rome + we asked what happend + he said he didn't really remember but woke up in the hospital. After our late night of drinking he went back for a nightcap at the Hilton Cavalieri + started playing piano in the piano bar + next thing he knew he woke up in the hospital + ripped the IV out + left. Or there was the time we had an early morning train to Sanremo (at this point (June 2016) it was Gian that was living in Rome/Sezze + we were nomadic) + Gian kept insisting on taking us to another cool bar in Rome... we made our train, but we were still drunk... it was a miserable train ride, but worth it. Gian had this effect on u. We're searching thru the 5cense.com archive to reminisce on other good times but we didn't always call him by name. There was the time he introduced us to the Ignatius-Reilly panini guy near the pantheon that converted him. Another classic day spent w/ Gian was walking around downtown Rome looking for his motorini that he couldn't remember where he'd parked it the night before, reminding us of how Joe Strummer went on a bender in Madrid + lost his car (as documented in I Need A Dodge), which we undoubtedly talked about as we wandered around searching as we asked G to recount the details of the night before to help us find it.
The last communication we had from Gian a month or 2 ago he said "we shd talk soon" like he had sum news (but he never got back to us) + we thought it was in regards to him acquiring Calamari as an imprint of Tyrant... we've been asking him for years if he'd be intrested in doing this but there was sum legal/financial issues he needed to resolve before he could do this + we figured maybe now he was finally ready). The last time we saw in person was December of 2019 when he was in NYC for the Lutz launch (oh, the days when we actually travelled around + saw ppl)... our typical breakfast date turned into a late lunch/early dinner date... we texted him in the a.m. + he didn't respond until 3 pm, completely out of it. We went down to the Jane to roust him from the crib + try to get some food + water in him + get him to the reading, a routine we were pretty familiar w/ by this point... this had become his modus operandus + in a sense guess we were his enabler. Whenever he was seemingly on a precarious precipice he always seemd to pull thru. As we chronicled in the above post, he was on the verge of throwing up the whole way in the cab (we tried to get him to take the subway but he said that wd be worse) + the driver was really annoyed but Gian had a certain way of putting worried people at ease, let the driver know he wasn't your typcial asshole drunk, politlely said "I'll let u know if i'm gonna throw up" + he meant it. Wasted as he got he always seemed in control of his senses + was always sweet + charming + always remembered everything the next day, he often wd quote us saying sumthing that we din't remember saying. We was always honest w/ him, told him he looked like shit when he looked like shit + we often felt bad cuz as thick-skinned as he seemed he was super-sensitive + took all this to heart, his heart that was so big it seemed to fill his entire body.
We always feared this day would come, but when he fell in love + moved back to Rome we thought he was in a good place. When we were back in Rome together (2018–19) he seemed happier than ever everytime we saw him. He still partied, but it was the lighter stuff + he seemed more in control. His partner Giu doesn't even drink + often when we were out to dinner we'd get stuck between them as a psuedo marriage counselor cuz we could relate to both sides. Like Giu we didn't like when Gian smoked cigarettes in front of us (we usually avoided his place for this reason) or was always looking at his phone or got out of control w/ his partying, but we also knew Giancarlo Ditrapano has always been Giancarlo Ditrapano + surely Giu knew what he was getting into (apparently he didn't). The same was true w/ Chris March (he didn't drink either), Gian sought out such partners to balance out his wild side (he told us once "why would i date sum 1 like me?"), which we thought was a bit unfair to Giu + we let him know this (an evening that probly ended w/ Gian storming off saying we were ganging up against him). Whenever he went to NYC we worried cuz he seemed to go back to his old ways... he had access to harder drugs + there were all these social media friends that wanted to party w/ him (+ his partner not around to nag him). And then covid happened + undoubtedly Gian felt pent up after a year in lockdown in Naples. We're not on social media (tho we browse his twitter feed on occassion) + haven't communicated w/ him much in this past year so we don't know the full story of what happened, but can only imagine this all had a bearing on his mindset when he went to NYC (for whatever reason)... he was probly in a mood to let loose + have a good time + see all his social media friends that he hadn't presumbly seen in the flesh since 2019.
Just when we thought all the death of 2020 was over, this 1 is gonna be the hardest 1 to get over... In honor, we drank prosecco + watched Pretty in Pink last night, followed by The River's Edge (also to go w/ our recent river kick).
Tonight will likely be The Outsiders.
Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold.