Charles "Chuck" Arnett (1928–1988), American artist and dancer, was born on February 15, 1928 in Bogalusa, Louisiana.
He grew up there and in New Orleans, which he would later always claim as his hometown, and danced in the local Ballet successfully for several seasons before moving to New York City in 1951 to better pursue the career he wanted to make for himself in the world of professional Dance.
Arriving with letters of introduction and names of people to contact from his time as a dancer in New Orleans, he quickly settled into the life a traditional class on Manhattan who were proud to refer to themselves as "theatrical gypsies." His next few years his time was divided between the best dance classes he could get enrolled into, practice, auditioning for parts, and (if lucky) rehearsing and then performing on the stage.
The closest thing he would ever experience to knowing what it is like to suddenly be discovered and recognized for his talent and abilities was the day when he went to audition to dance with the National Ballet of Canada. That he was willing to move from Manhattan to relocated in the Canadian Provincial capital of Toronto, Ontario is a good indication of how important this job was to Arnett. The time he spent with the National Ballet was the only full time, permanent employment he would ever hold in his life.
Chuck Arnett was an American artist who worked in a variety of media. His best known work is the Tool Box Mural (1962).
Chuck did some dancing in Las Vegas casinos. He moved to San Francisco where he worked basically in a managerial job at The Tool Box, one of the first "Leather Bars" a gay bar frequented by gay motorcycle clubs. One busy night Rudolf Nureyev came in with several men obviously from the opera house where Rudy was performing. He was seated at the bar and with all eyes upon him, removed the coat he had on, revealing a leather jacket [to considerable applause]. Chuck, who had rushed to serve his idol, brought his drink, a cognac, in the best glass the house could provide, and when he finished it and left, Arnett grabbed that goblet like the holy grail, a prized trophy!
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