Tag Archives: Larry Harper

Books by Post – Japan Cottage Musings

+ Books by Post / Japan Cottage Musings catch-up riff +

Wearing stolen hotel pyjamas, Dave riffs about: Larry Harper’s “70” variety collection, various Richard Brautigan items (Rick Lupert’s Van Nuys Tokyo Express, William Hjortsberg’s Jubilee Hitchhiker, and “the world’s mightiest hat” gift from Marty and Willis), then onwards to the legendary Joan Anderson letter from Neal Cassady to Jack Kerouac, and Jack Micheline’s poems and ephemera… also riffs about analog and digital creative symbiosis and and namechecks Douglas Coupland and others… plus importantly, Ichiro bathtime, Ryoko’s chainsaws, and the usual postcards. Yowza.

Fondly from Tsuchida Cottage, Okayama, Japan.

Diary: Of Brautigan, Hats, and Hot Springs

Mondays at Tsuchida cottage are rather hectic by my standards… Grocery delivery comes from the co-op, new order form completed, take garbage down to the community collection center, plus the normal routine of taking out the compost, folding laundry, washing dishes, making rice and miso ~ plus trying to stay up on correspondence.

Just feeling a little bit behind because there’s so many things that I wanted to tell you about – really wonderful things, despite the challenges of my illness – including various treasures arriving via post, i.e.:

* The legendary beat culture literary legend “the Joanne Andersen letter“ Neal Cassidy wrote to Jack Kerouac

* A biography about Richard Brautigan that is bigger than a midsize city’s phonebook (quite literally starts with a bang)

* Another poet’s poetic homage to Richard Brautigan, the Tokyo Van Nuys Expressway. Really enjoyable poetry and also great book production quality worth emulating.

* A magnificent hat > handmade in Springville, Utah with the hat band in scribed by a phrase from “in watermelon sugar”, plus another rare book & various ID cards, posters, stickers, letters, momentos and other treasures. This new hat means I’ve now stopped collecting hats, I’ve reached the pinnacle. Thanks Willis and Marty so very much.

* A hand written card by the all-time postcard champion Nick Bantock, author of the Griffin and Sabine series and many other works of epistolary literature, ephemera and fine art. His words were so unbelievably appreciated “You’ve traveled so far to find home, well done“ ~ as his *story* inadvertently intertwined with mine, in a way that his fictional characters deal with one another.

* An ink stamp assortment for postcards including a sort of stamping “jig” and variety pack of delicious papers from Lydia Fiedler / Already used extensively (I would foreshadow about our upcoming festive cards but don’t want to put any more pressure to “get stuff done“, but hint: #TimeTraveler)

* Won an auction for some various treasures from, and also a way to support, the Beat Museum in San Francisco… One stash is going to my brother the commander on Diego Garcia, another to friends in Pacifica for safekeeping until I can be connected to the rare Bukowski & Ginsberg riffs

* A handmade card from a great correspondent in California Jeremiah Jacobs who, besides inky stamps and typewritten words, included specific fragrance in his card. #NextLevel (he’s got a new single out)

* well-chosen books, in English, for Ichiro / we are reading to him in English and Japanese on the regular already, including some of my childhood favorites and others that were gifted to me decades ago in an act of foreshadowing I suppose

* A stash of super cute Canadian style (meaning warm and rugged) baby clothes… All that stuff that you hear about babies growing out of their clothes super quick is well, super true. This goes along with Japan *really actually* having “4 seasons“ and the temperature seems to change right on cue

* Finally, the long-awaited literary collection by my dear sensei Larry Harper / “70” sparked from a riff during a time of recovery for him and distress for me, where we both did our best thinking in Hot Springs and made plans for the future. He’s got three out of three checked and I dug an entirely new foundation and build a completely different life. It all starts with Hot Springs my friends, Hot Springs.

OK, back to the domestic tasks, very grateful to hear whenever cards and letters arrive in your post boxes.

Oh wait… Did I even mention the great exhibit, well by my estimation anyway, of four of my post box paintings at the goat farm? Pleasant conversations, poetry, paintings and post and pals. All of it, all of it. Especially grateful for Mac Kobayashi’s kind words (mostly :-)) and father/mother-in-law‘s assistance.

Right now, Ryoko is at Mae Maes band rehearsal (safe &
all of that) with the increasingly (if that’s even possible) adorable Ichiro Stanley, there’s another stack of letters and dossiers and postcards to go to the post office tomorrow, I’m going to finish these dishes, make the rice, make the miso, make the pickles & vinegar and be grateful for all of it.

Fondly, dvo

PS  Connected with the photographer Steve Rapport who took the “Joe Strummer running a marathon” in London photos you might have seen floating around and he also has David Bowie in 1983… Want to buy prints.

Also, the umeboshi started in June or opened and sampled and very worthy of acclaim

Note: Above is Ichiro with Larry’s book / it’s so cool it doesn’t even have an ISBN #Renegade

PS 12.10 Several of these topics (the books and hats) are riffed in a recent Japan Cottage Musings video dispatch, dig in

Poster: Creepers and Chums (by Marty Kendall), 2017

Poster: Creepers and Chums (by Marty Kendall), 2017

Created by mixed media renegade artist Marty Kendall for memorial party/late wake for my Mom Lauralee and our pal Rod Ash.

The event featured musical performances by Mikael Lewis, Twillo, Larry Harper and me reading poetry and doing various ceremonies, plus Adam Burningham reading and other tributes and goodness / all at “Camp Dane” in Little Cottonwood canyon – Also video dispatches from various musical artist scattered around the world.

Bonus: Original art for “Creepers and Chums” (by Marty Kendall), 2017

I made invitation art collage as well.

Was fantastically well attended in person as well as through video simulcast.. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Marty wasn’t able to attend to deliver the posters in person, but I’m very pleased to have a beautiful print of this glorious piece in Japan.

See also: Creepers and Chums: global musiciansCreepers and Chums: memorial party livestream, part 1 (video), 2017Creepers and Chums: memorial party livestream, part 2 (video)Creepers and Chums: meet some fine artists, 2017

Invite / letter: “Far Far West Party” – 1994 / Logan, UT

Invite / letter: “Far Far West Party” – 1994 / Logan, UT / layout version, outsider

Somehow, somewhere between my first couple trips to Japan (frankly it’s a little bit foggy after a plan to go to Mexico and live on the beach didn’t materialize, hemp fests, Dead concerts, flower sticks & hemp bag selling), I was in Logan, Utah (where i had spruced-up my Volkswagen bus “the Earthship” only to abandon it) where my Mom rented a rambling old polygamist house in the shadow of the LDS temple which she rented as a boarding house for various students plus a few randoms living in the backyard in a sort of tent/van village.

Logan isn’t my favourite place (so many cops and rules!) but, here I was and as such, I put together a party to reunite with old friends, share stories, collect lent items, play some music and hit up hot springs.

Invite / letter: “Far Far West Party” – 1994 / Logan, UT / layout version, inside

I designed this “aerogramme-inspired” invitation (meaning the paper was both an envelope and a letter), including various snippets of haiku art, doodles, maps and intentions, and floated them out into the world. The party was called “Far Far West” in homage to a Gary Snyder poem about going to Japan and my westward facing, Pacific centric geographic mindset.

Wasn’t sure what to make of it all as addresses were stale, friends were transient, memory scare, but, as it goes, worked out just wonderful as dozens of people came throughout a few days with folks camping out in the backyard to the chagrin of the neighbours who tried to poison the dogs (seriously!) as well as called the police who stealthed into our backyard campfire while we were singing along to Larry’s autoharp and Marty Kendall’s ceramic drums and, surprisingly, the police were rather chill about everything / they asked us to play a song, we did, they told us to have a good night, they left, we laughed and we sparked up another one and kept on going.

As it goes, there was a *loaves and fishes* vibes as my wonderful Mother put on big pots of curry and different stews with ingredients folks brought along, and we kept pots of coffee and exotic teas going in a truly freeform fun for all couple of days.

Sensei Larry Harper and Dave at some derelict hot springs nears Tremonton, Utah during the “far far west” part weekend, 1994 (?)

I recall the 2nd day included a trip out to a derelict hot spring on the side of a forgotten highway which had sort of been roughed in by a dangerous assortment of bricks. Nevertheless, we soaked, we played banjo music… and I have a photo of me and Sensei Larry to prove it (somewhere in the boxes there might be a few more snapshots).

Invite / letter: “Far Far West Party” – 1994 / Logan, UT / production version, inside

I will say that I was surprised to see this invitation – both the original layout as well as a production copy printed on 50% post consumer recycled “redrock” paper and dutifully printed with some copywriting that somehow makes me smile still. (Note: included the layout and production versions for posterity and archiving).

Invite / letter: “Far Far West Party” – 1994 / Logan, UT / production version, outside

Note: poetry snippets from “January in Hot Springs” series

Publication: “MUD 201-H” literature fanzine, UVCC, 1989 (w/ excerpts)

“MUD 201-H” literature fanzine, UVCC, 1989, cover

A “literary fanzine” produced as a project at Utah Valley Community College (formerly Utah Technical College, later Utah Valley State College > Utah Valley University) for Larry Harper’s inaugural “creative writing hono(u)rs” program (course number 201H – hence the title).

At this time, I was working the night shift at the college library and had access to copy machines so, the final product was produced in one weird night. Design and layout by frequent collaborator Brandon G Kiggins and me, while Larry’s miraculous Army-trained typing speed banged out tuned-up text as needed. Assembled in classic “scissors and glue” style with magazine clippings, ephemera and oddities as design elements. 

My contributed story, “What I thought in Sweetgrass” is included below in full, along with Brandon’s sudden story, and a short poem by Larry – the rest is (probably) available upon request/permission by the creators.

A few other “meta pages” ergo: preface; table of contents; a section of “obituaries” as author bios; and a signature page – are included for historical record.

“MUD 201-H” literature fanzine, UVCC, 1989, flyleaf & table of contents
“MUD 201-H” literature fanzine, UVCC, 1989, preface by Brent H. Bateman
“MUD 201-H” literature fanzine, UVCC, 1989, “The Rail Yard” by Brandon K. Kiggins, p. 1
“MUD 201-H” literature fanzine, UVCC, 1989, “What i Thought in Sweetgrass” by Dave Olson, p. 1
“MUD 201-H” literature fanzine, UVCC, 1989, “What i Thought in Sweetgrass” by Dave Olson, p. 2-3
“MUD 201-H” literature fanzine, UVCC, 1989, “What i Thought in Sweetgrass” by Dave Olson, p. 4-5 + “The Soft Wing” by L. S. H-B
“MUD 201-H” literature fanzine, UVCC, 1989, “Obituaries” author bios)
“MUD 201-H” literature fanzine, UVCC, 1989, signatures
“MUD 201-H” literature fanzine, UVCC, 1989, back cover

See also: “What I Thought In Sweetgrass” story

Grateful Dead rambles / “family photos” (with renegade pals & VWs)

Eugene, Oregon, 1990 – the first “gathering of my tribes” meaning Utah pals and BC crew meeting for first time and forging lifelong relationship, in front of my beloved 1974 VW “turtletop” the Earthship (now a sauna)

Back in the days of rambling around to Grateful Dead shows with pals in various (usually Volkswagen) vehicles, cameras weren’t really part of the kit. Usually, ticket(s) if possible, contraband if practical, maybe extra clothes to accommodate climates, hopefully a few bucks.

However, as part of my documentary instincts, i hauled along a tripod and a 35mm Alpa camera for taking “family photos” in which i would cajole (with much whingeing usually) the assembled renegades to pose, i’d hit the timer and run back (as such usually right in front) and take 1 and only 1 shot. Years later these would usually get developed.

Many are lost to the fog, however, some are gathered here for posterity and memorial. 

near St George, Utah on way away form Las Vegas shows, 1992 i think? again the Utah and BC clans combining for some wild times in front of Willis’ VW Thing, Chris’ green VW bus. Great folks here (and at least one who is passed on, rip JJ)

Continue reading Grateful Dead rambles / “family photos” (with renegade pals & VWs)

Damn the Dam – essay about Colorado River and Lake Powell, 1988-9

“Damn the Dam” By Dave Olson, 1988-9

Photos by Johnny Adolphson (links below)

Originally written for a Creative Writing class at Utah Valley Community College (now Utah State University) taught by Larry Harper. Photos by Johnny Adolphson.

Once upon a time, there was a river, a river and a canyon. Everyone who saw this river in this canyon really liked it. Some lived for it, some died for it, many fought for it, no one hated it. Or admitted they did. All in all though, everyone agreed about its spectacularity. “Every one of these almost innumerable gorges is a world of beauty in itself…. Yet all these canyons unite to form one Grand Canyon, the most sublime spectacle on earth.” This is what John Wesley Powell said about the Colorado River and the canyons it gave life to.

The canyons Friar Francisco Garces described as “…the most profound canyons which ever onward continue.” Powell and Garces knew the Colorado a long time ago; they explored area, an area that is now very different and yet changing even now.

Up until a few years back, people took care of the river, and it took care of them. A relationship that worked well until someone decided that the river could be better used running air conditioners and so they built a dam. No one noticed much then; it was back when few knew much about the wonders this area held. Anyway, there was more than enough of this hostile, rugged area to go around. Dams were built everywhere, lots of them. It was an easy fix for the energy junkies.

“Man has flung down a great barrier in the path of the turbulent Colorado,” proclaimed the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation during the 1960’s. “It has tamed the wild river-made it a servant to man’s will.” The bureau was boasting of Glen Canyon Dam, a 710-foot high monument to technological prowess, but it could have been talking about any dam in the country (Davis 26). Now, the cliffs, the canyons, the plants and birds and rocks and things, and the river is gone.

The Colorado is no longer there as it was. Such dams back up the Colorado that still flows relatively freely and make the canyon a sluiceway between dry hills” (MacDougall 54).

So why do they do it? Why do they try? Electricity and water mostly. People generally need them. A lot of them. Too much? Any alternatives? Sure.

The flood gates should be opened, the river unleashed and the damage repaired. Let Nature reign again. Yee hah and Hieghty ho.

THE RIVER IN QUESTION

Photos by Johnny Adolphson (links below)

Today the Colorado has been rightly compared to hundreds of miles of plumbing system (Sunset 104).

Continue reading Damn the Dam – essay about Colorado River and Lake Powell, 1988-9

Sensei Larry’s Wisdom – Postcard #80

Sensei Larry’s Wisdom

Upon turning 70 years old, Dave’s dear sensei (since a teenage Utah community college stint), Larry Harper (among various monikers) curated 70 items of advice (at request of Annie Dandelion).

As such, between licks by Grateful Dead and master potter Marty Kendall, he riffs the list – ranging from practical to mystical to almost comical, many including nudity and space. Oh, also includes his ethereal autoharp songs (rescued from a ca. 1991 Zzyxz Rd cassette).

Gather some wisdom with:  Sensei Larry’s Wisdom – Postcard #80
(45MB, 32:59, 192k mp3)

Continue reading Sensei Larry’s Wisdom – Postcard #80

Uncle Weed’s Redrock Adventure – a storybook (part 31)

Uncle Weed's Redrock Adventure – part 31

Bob and Otto ran up to Uncle Weed shouting, “Wow, you could probably get a ten count against Jimmy Superfly Snuka!”

“Is he as great a wrestler as Gene Kiniski?” Uncle Weed asked, arching an eyebrow but enjoying the boys’ compliment. “Ah, stop it guys,” he shrugged sheepishly.

Then continued brightly, “Hey, go gather up a bunch of survey stakes and three long, skinny branches,” he instructed, then in passing added, “And,… maybe you should let me explain what happened to your parents myself.”

The boys wondered what the big deal about telling their parents, they had fun and weren’t injured or scared, plus they learned a lot about methods of protecting nature.

Then, following the instructions, gathered up armloads of discarded survey stakes before helping Uncle Weed arrange them in a rock-ringed fire-pit.

Then, under a sliver of moon, the three compadres sat around a little fire, eating creamsicles, roasting marshmallows, and talking. Talking about what they had seen, heard, smelled, touched, tasted, and thought that day.

It was a good night, indeed a good night for just about anything.

Uncle Weed’s Redrock Adventure – a storybook (part 30)

Uncle Weed's Redrock Adventure – part 30

Inside the modified shipping container trailer, he propped the security man’s exhausted body up against the refrigerator and duct-taped him securely to it, snug, but still allowing ample space to breathe.

“Well that ought to hold you for the night you silly civil servant,” said Uncle Weed.

“MmmmMMMmmm,” struggled the man. Then, opening the freezer, Uncle Weed selected a variety of creamsicles, fudgesicles and drumsticks. From the cupboard, he borrowed a handful of popcorn kernels and half a bag of marshmallows.

“Listen, my misguided captive,” said Uncle Weed, “I would think twice before I pursued this further. I’d be quite embarrassed if I was you, being defeated by a skinny longhaired,… what did you call me…weirdo hippie? Yeah, think of what your buddies will say when you and your gun were brought down by the likes of me! Ha, I can just see the court-hearing now, even the Judge will get a chuckle I’m sure. They might even put you back on garbage patrol on account of this slacking. I would sure hate to see that happen, for your sake that is. Well, goodnight and cheerio!”

Then Uncle Weed stepped out the door, leaving $3 on the counter for the snacks.

“Oh one more thing,” popping his bearded face back into the fluorescent-lit trailer, your bulldozer might have a hard time starting tomorrow, you might want to consider giving it a good cleaning before firing it up, and probably invest in locking gas tank caps. As old Ed would often say, ‘sand works better than sugar!’”

“MmmmMMMmm,” mumbled the gagged man.

He tipped his hat, walked out and secured the outside door handle with the barrel of the gun.

Uncle Weed’s Redrock Adventure – a storybook (part 29)

Uncle Weed's Redrock Adventure – part 29

The man continued blasting off his blunderbuss, shouting with wheezing lungs, “Gosh dang it, you terrorists! Thieves! Bad guys! Criminals! Justice obstructers! Malcontents! You won’t get away!”

Uncle Weed crept up behind him and leapt into action, quickly tackling him to the ground, grabbing his weapon, and tossing it safely away. They wrestled, kicked, yelled and worked up a furious cloud of dust.

“C’mon Uncle Weed!” Bob and Otto cheered, “Give him a wedgie! Pile drive him!”

“How am I doing guys?” Uncle Weed called back while in the midst of showing off his wrestling moves learned during his time on the community college, junior varsity team, “Should I pile drive him? Or maybe a supplex?”

“Arghh!” the man said, “You won’t get away, let go of me! Don’t hurt me! I’m just following orders from my superiors at the head office,” the man huffed and puffed.

“Hey, don’t worry fella, I mean you no harm,” said Uncle Weed as he hauled his struggling body into the government issue, corrugated-steel trailer.

Uncle Weed’s Redrock Adventure – a storybook (part 28)

Uncle Weed's Redrock Adventure – part 28

“Holy smokes,” said the boys, looking down from their hiding place, “Did he just shoot Uncle Weed?”

“Calm down, no panic needed… Uncle Weed is juuuust fine,” a voice said.

Bob and Otto turned around to see an exhausted Uncle Weed crouched down right behind them. “Shh, stay quiet and don’t move. Be back in a flash.”

Then, he took off again into the night, briskly and quietly galloping into the shadows.