Chatsworth Hodgkiss Junior has forgotten how it feels to be broke, starving and only living to make art. Ten years ago he broke from his powerful family and their expectations on an idyllic adventure that took him through garrets and loft studios and hitchhiking journeys and finally the Woodstock festival. There he met a young woman, a painter of great talent. Through three days of the festival they did body painting, painting each other’s skin in fantastical fantasies. Falling desperately in love they took an acid trip together, both having the same experience of flying on the back of an enormous red and green bird, soaring over the festival, swooping down on the stage, glorying in their closeness.
But as the festival was ending they were separated.. They had neglected to exchange names or phone numbers and never found each other again. Later that summer, Chat was captured by a private eye hired by his powerful father and brought back into the fold. He was forced to renounce any more escape attempts and returned to Harvard, got his MBA and settled down to manage the family coat-hanger business, which he despised.
Luz Choob, meanwhile, found herself with child, a daughter, born the following May. Luz herself had been born in Guatemala, father Mayan, mother Brooklynese, a bookkeeper for United Fruit. When the CIA coup erupted in 1954, four year old Luz and her mother were bundled onto a plane and barely escaped with their lives. Her father, an activist and on the wanted list, disappeared.
Luz and baby daughter Quetzal settle down in Manhattan’s SOHO district, in a loft studio she shares with members of the bizarre Fluxus art movement. She takes a job in an art supply store and manages to continue to paint and keep the two of them afloat.
In 1980, ten years after Woodstock, Chat’s father drives his Porsche off the Throgs Neck Bridge and Chat is suddenly in control of the empire. He hires a manager to keep the business going, takes his fortune and opens an art gallery. The desire to create art had long since been beaten out of him but he has the means to collect on a grand scale and he enters into that pastime with enormous energy.
Coincidentally, his new gallery is next door to the Fluxus building. On moving day he goes next door to meet the artists and purchase some art if he finds anything worthy of his nascent collection. He is only able to purchase one painting from an artist named Seven Death. He hangs it in his gallery and, after she departs, promptly dies . Returning to retrieve her portfolio case, she finds him, crawls into her a magical place inside her portfolio and emerges with a huge digital clock. As she puts this around his neck he revives. The clock says he now has seven minutes to live.