Rene was quite proud to have been cast as a dope dealer in Jake Hoffman’s film “Asthma." The moment he got the script he had plenty of ideas on how to tweak the language to turn his character even more real. This was a world he knew only too well. As far as outfits go, he had already thought it all out, so when the stylists came to the apartment he pulled out a gold embroidered cashmere jacket, mixed it with his usual black jeans, a little Hermes neck scarf, a black t-shirt and wore what he called his money shoes: loafers with big gold embroidered dollar signs. It was perfect. He knew how to look fabulous with just a few things. It was agreed on the spot that he had nailed it. The only thing missing was the bling. "A dope dealer has to have bling," he said., so he went about gathering as much bling as he could. The flashy look was important. "Did you ever see a proper dealer without bling?” he insisted. On the day of the shoot he called me a number of times, "You have to come down to the set. It’s so much fun, such nice people." When I got there, a loft in SoHo, Rene was having such a ball, flashing his jewels, showing the white convertible Rolls Royce with red leather seats parked on the sidewalk, telling funny stories and making the actors and crew laugh. And then there were the toy guns, which of course he had to play with, so Jake got to be "arrested" by Rene. Text and photographs by Rita Barros. Rene Ricard was an art critic, poet, artist and legend in New York. He wrote the first major article on Jean-Michel Basquiat, entitled "The Radiant Child." Shortly before his passing in 2014, Ricard played an extravagantly over-the-top drug dealer named Juan in Jake Hoffman's directorial debut Asthma, which is available to watch on Netflix and Amazon. This Saturday, July 23, 2016 would have been Ricard's 70th birthday.