Asides

Plotting paths of poets and painters past

Plotting paths of poets past, noting inter-disciplinarianism is key to creating context to encapsulate your content (as it were).

Write letters, fill sketch books, scrapbooks of ephemera, journals of nothings, tear sheets from magazines, pilfer coasters and brochures, collect the uncollectible, document the mundane. Look down, crawl and fall. Photograph your tears.

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Van Gogh’s travels informed the works we revere today.
By Gina Barton via Vox.com

 

A Lunch with the Future, Contextualized

Marshall McLuhan in San Francisco 1965

Re: academic soothsayer Marshall McLuhan… in this case, a lunch in San Francisco 1965, introduced thusly (note recently deceased Tom Wolfe namecheck):

“Hot on the trail of this titan, I thought to myself, “Where is the last place in town you’d expect to see Marshall McLuhan?” and that’s where we I found him–at Off-Broadway in North Beach, lunching amid the topless waitresses with Writer Tom Wolfe, Adman Howard Gossage and Dr. Gerald Feigen.”

More… 

 

Support Wandering Artists, who wander well

A reminder to support the pursuits of your local wandering artists. Oft quoted, “Not all who wander are lost…” {but some of us are, intentionally}.

Ergo: Not running away from something but strolling towards something, maybe noted upon finding. Maybe not. Wander on, document, create, share. Good shoes are a bonus, but don’t let them fool you into stopping. Beware imposters, the self-proclaimed et al. #drifton

Looking for a Direction

Vincent at the age of nineteen

Schoolboy, junior clerk at an art firm, teacher, bookseller, student and preacher: Vincent van Gogh was all of these before he decided at the age of 27 to become an artist. That decision would change the history of art forever.

‘I heard from Pa that you’ve already been sending me money without my knowing it, and in doing so are effectively helping me to get along. For this accept my heartfelt thanks.’

Vincent to Theo, Brussels, 2 April 1881

Longform Jouralism: Hiroshima via The New Yorker (originally published 1946)

Hiroshima

A hundred thousand people were killed by the atomic bomb. Survivors wonder why they lived when so many others died. Photograph from Rolls Press / Popperfoto / Getty (Note: shared here for educational purposes)

Note: exceptional piece of longform writing, crafted in the aftermath of the Hiroshima / Nagasaki 1945 and published a year afterwards. hyber-personal character storytelling in the wake of calamity.

Originally published By now available in full in The New Yorker

Discovery: The letter Jack Kerouac described as ‘The greatest piece of writing I ever saw’

Discovery: The letter Jack Kerouac described as ‘The greatest piece of writing I ever saw’

Considered ‘lost’ for 66 years, Neal Cassady’s visionary ‘Joan Anderson letter’ is a foundational document of the Beat era and the inspiration for Kerouac’s literary revolutions, beginning withOn the Road

Neal Cassady’s long-lost letter to Jack Kerouac, dated 17 December 1950, has permeated virtually every conversation about the Beat era. Referenced not only by Kerouac but by Allen Ginsberg, Laurence Ferlinghetti, Herbert Hunke, and a host of their contemporaries, Cassady’s fluid, incantatory, and deeply revealing prose influenced the entire generation of Beat writers.

The letter was written on a three-day Benzedrine high, Cassady later confessed. It contained, by Kerouac’s first calculation, at least 13,000 words and ran to 40 pages, offering a compelling, unaffected and discursive account of Cassady’s frenetic love life in 1946, particularly with Joan Anderson (whom he visited in a hospital after a failed suicide), and ‘Cherry Mary’, recounting an acrobatic escape through a bathroom window when they were surprised by Mary’s aunt. The uninhibited, non-literary narrative pointed the way to the free, truthful style to which Kerouac aspired.

Overwhelmed by what he read, Kerouac wrote ecstatically to Cassady on 27 December: ‘I thought it ranked among the best things ever written in America… it was almost as good as the unbelievably good ‘Notes from the Underground’ of Dostoevsky… You gather together all the best styles… of Joyce, Céline, Dosy… and utilize them in the muscular rush of your own narrative style & excitement. I say truly, no Dreiser, no Wolfe has come close to it; Melville was never truer.’

Cassady, Neal (1926-1968). Typed letter completed in autograph and with autograph additions, corrections, and deletions in pencil and pen, to Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), Denver, 17 December 1950. 18 pages, comprising nearly 16,000 words, some pale browning and minor marginal chipping. Estimate $400,000-600,000. This lot is offered in the Books & Manuscripts sale on 16 June at Christie’s

Cassady, Neal (1926-1968). Typed letter completed in autograph and with autograph additions, corrections, and deletions in pencil and pen, to Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), Denver, 17 December 1950. 18 pages, comprising nearly 16,000 words, some pale browning and minor marginal chipping. Estimate: $400,000-600,000. This lot is offered in the Books & Manuscripts sale on 16 June at Christie’s New York. © Cathy Sylvia Cassady, Jami Cassady and John Cassady

© Cathy Sylvia Cassady, Jami Cassady and John Cassady
© Cathy Sylvia Cassady, Jami Cassady and John Cassady

In an interview published in the Summer 1968 issue of The Paris Review, Kerouac famously hailed the letter’s impact: ‘I got the idea for the spontaneous style of On the Road from seeing how good old Neal Cassady wrote his letters to me, all first person, fast, mad, confessional, completely serious, all detailed, with real names in his case, however (being letters).’

Nearly everyone who knew Cassady was struck by his natural verbal virtuosity as a monologist. Kerouac’s first wife, Joan Haverty Kerouac, recounted his tales of ‘cares and escapades, jail memories and women and nights and blues’, though she was certain that no writing ‘could… capture the vitality and intensity of the voice I now heard, describing everything in such a way that lived it just by listening.’

Never read, or merely neglected, the letter remained untended until its discovery in 2012

As with many documents of the era, the ‘Joan Anderson’ letter travelled a complex path through many hands, and for the majority of the last 66 years was considered lost. After being entranced by it and responding, Kerouac gave the letter to Allen Ginsberg to read and offer to publishers.

Ginsberg then took the letter to his friend Gerd Stern, who was living in Sausalito in California on a houseboat and working as a West Coast rep for Ace Books. Within the tight Beat nexus, Ginsberg and Stern formed a bond after meeting at the mental facility where they were both introduced to (Howl-dedicatee) Carl Solomon. Solomon’s uncle owned Ace Books, and it was Ace that had published William S. Burroughs’ Junkie in 1953.

Despite their enthusiasm, Ace rejected publication of Cassady’s typescript and it was returned by Stern to Ginsberg. The letter then went missing and the story was born — perpetuated most emphatically by Kerouac — that it had been lost over the side of Stern’s boat.

In fact, Cassady’s letter had been preserved in the files of the Golden Goose Press. Owned by Ginsberg and Stern’s friend R.W. ‘Dick’ Emerson, the Golden Goose Press was known for publishing some of the finest poets of the period, and for making audio recordings of their readings. Emerson placed the envelope containing the letter on his ‘to read’ pile. Never read, or merely neglected, it remained untended until its discovery in 2012 by Jean Spinosa.

No records of any sales are recorded in the online databases for any Cassady material, let alone for material of this literary consequence

Ginsberg later had no memory of giving the Joan Anderson Letter to Stern, and when Emerson closed the Golden Goose Press the letter was packed further into obscurity. It may have been lost for ever had not John ‘Jack’ Spinosa, Emerson’s officemate at 40 Gold Street in San Francisco, insisted on preserving the press’s archives when they were forced to vacate their rental space.

Spinosa recognized that literary history was preserved in those files, and saved them from being thrown away as Emerson cleared the office. The boxes remained with Spinosa and his wife Kathleen Cohan until after his death on 29 November 2011. On the following 15 May, Jack’s daughter Jean discovered this long-lost treasure of post-war American literature, buried among the files of the Golden Goose Press.

Only a fragment of the letter has ever been published — 14 years after it was written, and after the great works it influenced had come out. A portion of the letter, apparently copied by Kerouac before he passed it on to Ginsberg, was published in 1964 by John Bryan in his Notes from Underground #1, where it was called ‘The First Third’. Bryan claimed that Cassady himself came to help print it, while the title suggests that Cassady was by this time considering it as the first portion of his ongoing autobiography.

The same extract was published by City Lights in 1971 as an addendum to Cassady’s book The First Third, and later formed the basis of the 1997 film The Last Time I Committed Suicide, directed by Stephen T. Kay, and starring Thomas Jane and Keanu Reeves.

It is an understatement to remark that Neal Cassady material is scarce at auction: it is unprecedented. No records of any sales are recorded in the online databases for any Cassady material, let alone for material of this literary significance. The circumstances of its preservation and appearance at auction constitute a unique opportunity to acquire a foundational post-war literary manuscript that transcends its humble origins as a ‘letter’.

The complete extant archive of the Golden Goose Press, in which was discovered Neal Cassady’s groundbreaking ‘Joan Anderson Letter.’ Sausalito, California, 1950s-60s. Together nearly 200 pamphlets, letters, pieces of ephemera, and related material. A complete list is available on request. Estimate $10,000-15,000. This lot is offered in the Books & Manuscripts sale on 16 June

Mendocino setting the standard for medical marijuana access

Mendocino Supes Add Measure G to County Code

Dear Friends,

Living in Mendocino is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. People here are different and living here is like living in the future of your wildest dreams.  Just take a look at what we’ve persuaded the County Board of Supervisors to adopt as law:

“Neither the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, nor the Sheriff, nor the District Attorney shall spend or authorize the expenditure of any public funds for the investigation, arrest, or prosecution of any

person, or the seizure of any property in any single case involving

25 or fewer adult flowering female marijuana plants or the equivalent

in dried marijuana, nor shall the Auditor Controller or the

Treasurer- Tax Collector approve any such requests for such expenditures of public funds, or authorize or approve the issuance of any form of payment should such expenditures be made.”

Below is a press release that just went out to explain what has happened here.  Don’t look for any media play now, because we are probably too far in the future for them to understand, but here in

Mendocino, the future is NOW!

Let freedom grow,

Steve

————–

Release Date:

April 19, 2007

Contacts:

Steve Kubby, National Director

The American Medical Marijuana Association (AMMA)

http://www.americanmarijuana.org/

707-964-7743

Board of Supervisors Office

bos@co.mendocino.ca.us

(707) 463-4221

(707) 463-4245 Fax

Mendocino Supes Add Measure G to County Code

UKIAH — Six years after the voters of Mendocino County passed Measure G with a whopping 60% landslide, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors have finally taken the first steps to add Measure G to the County Code.

The American Medical Marijuana Association applauds this historic action by the Board and salutes those who helped make this victory a reality, including Dr. William Courtney, Jim and Trelanie Hill, Rob Garzini, Dane Wilkins, Dale Gieringer, Pebbles Trippet, Kristen Peskuski, Ralf Laguna, Paula Deeter, Edie Lerman, Dr. Michael Baldwin, and advisors John Gilmore and Tom Knapp.

Special recognition should also be given to Richard Johnson, the author of Measure G and head of the Mendocino Green Party.  Thanks Richard for this historic victory!

Measure G is to be incorporated into Chapter 9 of the Code as Section

9.36.010-090.

Below is the full text of Mendocino’s new Ordinance:

Section 9.36.10: FINDINGS

The People of Mendocino County find as follows:

A)  Cannabis sativa (marijuana) is a beneficial plant with a respectable heritage and hundreds of well-known industrial, medicinal and recreational uses;

B)  Two decades of marijuana law enforcement in Mendocino County has not stopped cultivation here but has unnecessarily marginalized a large number of otherwise law abiding citizens who grow and use marijuana;

C)  Those who grow for personal use are not responsible for violent incidents sometimes associated with marijuana cultivation, but are vulnerable to theft;

D)  The Institute of Medicine has found that marijuana has bona fide medical uses and is not a gateway to hard drug addiction;

E)  Law enforcement has carried out investigations, confiscations, and arrests against persons cultivating and using medical marijuana under Proposition 215 in Mendocino County;

F)  The cities of Berkeley and San Francisco have longstanding ordinances which instruct police to minimize the priority of marijuana enforcement.

Section 9.36.20: PURPOSE

The Ordinance codified in this Chapter will:

A. Instruct the county government to support all efforts toward the decriminalization of marijuana;

B. Instruct the county sheriff and district attorney to make marijuana enforcement their lowest priority with respect to other crimes;

C. Establish a maximum limit of plants and weight for cultivation and possession of marijuana for personal use in Mendocino County, and prohibit the expenditure of public funds for enforcement of marijuana laws against cultivators and users in possession of quantities below that limit.

D. Remove the fear of prosecution and the stigma of criminality from people who harmlessly cultivate and/or use marijuana for personal medical or recreational purposes.

E. Extend police protection to those growing or possessing marijuana for personal use;

F. Provide for the continued enforcement of marijuana laws against those who cultivate, transport and possess marijuana for sale.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish Cannabis enforcement policy for Mendocino County.

Section 9.36.30: DECRIMINALIZATION OF CANNABIS IN CALIFORNIA

It is the desire of the people of Mendocino County that the cultivation for personal use of Cannabis be decriminalized in

California. In this context, the board of supervisors is directed to lobby state and federal governments for the immediate decriminalization of the personal use of Cannabis, specifically by repealing Sections 11357, (possession), 11358, (transportation), and

– 11359, (cultivation), of the California Health and Safety Code. The people also urge the Sheriff and District Attorney to publicly support such decriminalization.

Section 9.36.40: LAW ENFORCEMENT PRIORITY OF CANNABIS

Through its budgetary authority, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors shall seek to ensure that the Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney give lowest priority to the enforcement and prosecution of marijuana laws.

Section 9.36.50: SHERIFF OFFICE ARRESTS AND CITATIONS

The Board of Supervisors shall use its budgetary authority to ensure that the Sheriff’s Office makes no arrests and issues no citations for violations of the above state Health and Safety Code sections in any single case involving 25 or fewer adult flowering female marijuana plant or the equivalent in dried marijuana.

Section 9.36.60: DISTRICT ATTORNEY PROSECUTIONS

The Board of Supervisors shall use its funding authority to ensure that the District Attorney shall not prosecute any violations of the above state Health and Safety Code sections nor seize any property in any single case involving 25 or fewer adult flowering female marijuana plants or the equivalent in dried marijuana.

Section 9.36.70: EXPENDITURE OF FUNDS FOR CANNABIS ENFORCEMENT

Neither the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, nor the Sheriff, nor the District Attorney shall spend or authorize the expenditure of any public funds for the investigation, arrest, or prosecution of any person, or the seizure of any property in any single case involving 25 or fewer adult flowering female marijuana plants or the equivalent in dried marijuana, nor shall the Auditor Controller or the

Treasurer- Tax Collector approve any such requests for such expenditures of public funds, or authorize or approve the issuance of any form of payment should such expenditures be made.

Section 9.36.80: REPORTING

The Board of Supervisors shall instruct the Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney to report on December 1 of each year regarding marijuana law enforcement and prosecution activities engaged in by themselves and by state, federal, and/or other law enforcement agencies within the County of Mendocino.

Section 9.36.90: SERVERABILITY

The people of Mendocino County intend that in case a court of competent jurisdiction should find one or more of the above Sections illegal, the remaining Sections remain in full force and effect.

I saw a great movie…

I saw a great movie last night with exceptional acting, pacing, dialogue and nuanced geo-political intrigue.

Called “Hyde Park on Hudson” starring Bill Murray who disappears into the role of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (also possibly my favorite US president).

Yep, I like my movies slow – with pleasant scenes of conversation and countryside drives. Also, stuttering awkward kings, hot dogs, mistresses, and custom modified cars.

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Annotations:

Also, I’m fascinated by the life and times of the short raining King Edward (real name David) who abdicated give mean way to his younger dorkier brother George. David was a true rockstar king, beloved by the masses, oozing charisma and charm, whose later life tied up an intrigue and golf games with the world elite, accompanied by his controversial American wife. Where is the biopic about this mysterious elusive Royal?

Chris Graham Of course you are forgetting his friendship with Hitler and his Nazi sympathies. Although he had some good points, and was initially popular, his ‘unsuitable’ relationship gave a viable reason to ease him out of the picture. This world might have been a very different place otherwise. His German friend had plans to re-instate him to the throne if the Nazis’ planned invasion of Britain had been successful. Yes he was a fascinating character, but not for the romantic reasons most people might think.

Dave Olson Yes, the German connection makes the story even more fascinating, especially in light that the entire British royal family is German descent (Aside from a few other European royal inbreeding inputs etc.). I am not pro or con his “politics” but I am fascinated by the narrative arc of his story. Also, I am a complete non-royalist, the thought that people inherit privilege due to their “birthright” is abhorrent to me. Also, the Germanic connection was hardly a secret but more people then we realize weren’t sure of the outcome of the war and were hedging their bets in one way or another.

Chris Graham Quite true Dave. I agree about the ‘birthright’ bit, though they don’t have any real influence on government these days. They’re simply titular, and a bit of pomp and ceremony to entertain tourists and locals alike. At least they (generally) behave a lot better than many ‘celebrities’ these days.

Dave Olson (2018) Noting that the popular series “the crown” unpacked the Nazi connection quite a while I think. I guess they were listening to our banter 🙂