Robertson, Basirico, Carpio work in progress, Palo Alto, June, 2020

Black Lives Matter mural, artists at work, a week ago:


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Preview of Crocker Museum auction, 8 works

This gallery contains 16 photos.

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As with The Hand in the Glove, Stout makes a play for social justice, this time confronting segregation. Unsurprisingly, the scenes with the Black waiters at the Spa haven’t aged well. However, even after all these years, one point of tension still has bite: the narrator (Archie) is considerably more backward than the hero (Wolfe). I don’t want to give Stout too much credit, but this casual positioning of disparate ethics within the framework of the family unit suggests the long crawl to equality, and therefore grates less than other older books that try to fix structural racism with a single teachable moment.

I want to mention that although I lift that verbatim from Ethan’s blog, I applied Plastic Alto style rules when referencing people from the African diaspora, upstyle.

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Samora Pinderhughes mentions

SAMORA PINDERHUGHES’S ‘VENUS’ at Le Poisson Rouge (July 19, 8 p.m.). Mr. Pinderhughes, a pianist and vocalist, grabbed attention in 2016 with his politically incisive “Transformations Suite.” At Le Poisson Rouge he returns with a new set of material, “Venus,” which like “Transformations” speaks in personal, openhearted tones while insisting on wholesale social change. The new music, which he teased in April on WBGO’s “The Checkout,” has the brooding interiority of a singer-songwriter confessional and the frothy abundance of improvised music. He’ll perform “Venus” with Elena Pinderhughes on flute, Maya Kronfeld on keyboards, Andrew Renfroe on guitar, Josh Hari on electric bass and Jack DeBoe on drums and electronics. The concert, which is presented by “The Checkout,” will also feature D.J. sets from J.Period.

Samora Pinderhughes was mentioned exactly two years ago in The Times then two hours ago by Dayna Stephens, via phone, Dayna is in New York but from East Bay. Samora likewise.

Hmmm. Maya Kronfeld his pianist back in 2018 at LPR I met more recently.

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Anita Wheeler Raiderette Fan Club Page

The amazing Anita Wheeler

I made a weird reference to Raiderette Anita Wheeler – -in a post about horse racing, me making fun of already weird names — about nine months ago and someone today wrote me back claiming to be Anita, from the 1975 Raiders. Her return address was at Raiders dot org or com. So I don’t know for sure if it was her.
But I will repeat the story: when I was 10 in 1974 and we lived in Saratoga, CA south bay not Peninsula my dad took me to Raiders games. We sat on the twenty but second deck, first row. I used to wait in the players’ parking to get autographs, maybe 30 of them: Blanda, Stabler, Branch, Tatum, Biletnikoff. I have them on Baron Wolman’s book.

I recall that my dad and I would often have binoculars and some guys in their twenties asked to borrow the binocs specifically to look at the cheerleaders. One guy said pretty loud, not to her but not to himself:


PS I sent a note back to that address asking for an interview. How have you been, these last 40 years? Did you marry the guy who yelled “I LOVE YOU”?
I’d love to see a photo.

I have a riff about a realtor named Coco Tan (not Silvia Black) selling a house or condo in our hood, north Palo Alto. The space is at 251 Middlefield, at Everett, half mile from here. I want to know if she would be offended, Coco Tan, if I said her name makes her sound colored. In Menlo Park a few weeks ago my classmate Karen Grove got the chief of police to quit or retire early for telling him it was racist to say that Shrimp Boy Chow sounded like a food group. I want to tie in some stuff about Math: types of primes, 251.

Coco Tan (not Sylvia Black)

Also, Mateo Romero, he is a Cochiti from Berkeley who went to Dartmouth, sent a Daughter to Dartmouth, played football for Berkeley High, joined an other wise all black Alpha Phi at Dartmouth and is the plaintiff in the case against the Washington football team –we are suggesting Caribou or Carybads — a little rodent — or about 1.6 million other ideas — talking or texting about Sonny Sixkiller of Washington Huskies also briefly being a Raider. Also, Bret Baird last weekend, with Hans Delannoy, rang the bell of Paly grad Larry Bailey to try to identify the custodian who recorded the 1968 historic Monk concert. Larry played one game in the NFL, for the Falcons and 12 games in the WFL for the Southern Cal team, where his teammates were Darryl Lamonica, Pat Haden, JK McKay and future NFL Palo Altan Art Kuehn.

Anyhow, go Anita!. How about the Washington Santa Anita’s Football Club of Maryland or Virginia For Lovers? Now that’s a horse of a different color.


And 1: I heard an NPR radio show about synanon the drug treatment cult and I wanted to read more or see the movie about raider Art Tatum or Warren Wells — look for the edit, soon enough — whose life was ruined not by the drugs but by the treatment. I’d also like to see the David Shields beast-mode movie. 

Andand: I have a photo of myself with 12 49ers Gold Rush, from about a year ago.

Andandand: Sonny 6 never played for the Raiders but he did suit for the Rams in Berkeley against the Raiders on August 18, 1973 and then a bit in the WFL: this is Blanda 

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Indian mounds vs monster house, 2551 Webster at Middlefield


Do monsters live there or just flipper the talking dolphin?

I swung the car into Webster when I spotted the site of the plaque regarding Indian mounds of the Ohlone or coast to knowing that we’re here in 1769 when Portola arrived.  But I couldn’t find parking so I detoured into the cul-de-sac where I found the 9000 square-foot home being built on the lot that previously had a 1900 square-foot home.  I guess the workers cars gave away the monster home.

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Plastic Alto welcomes Robert Syrett pop up flash art flash menagerie and suite

Rob Syrett, 2009 untitled ink and watercolor on board: a variation of his Bark on Bite or Bite on Bark series — like Tom and Jerry — this was a comp for a poster design,

Robert made a couple posters for Earthwise, back when he worked for Gil.

Then one day he was evicted from his apartment and I agreed to take on a suite of works on paper, that I imagined selling out of the trunk of my car. We got two gallery shows out of it, and a trickle of sales.  These have meanwhile been in storage at PS Storage. And now I just woke up and realized that there is room for them on the internet. Rob also sent me a music file and a link ot something he did for a Matmos video. Enjoy:

interlude: it’s 7:30 on a Tuesday morning and Terry my wife just left for work and when I went back up stairs to find my specs i noticed Duffy the dog still curled up on the otherwise empty bed but also his blanket — it literally says “Duffy” — that his previous partner got him — the widow of a Stanford biology professor — the blanket is curled up in such a shape that i mistook the blanket for Duffy’s head. There’s a word for that, when something looks like a face. I am mistakenly believing that the ball of blanket was in the shape of a dog’s face.

I’ll go back and shoo t that after a couple of Rob’s creatures roam the plane here. 

These are mostly 11 years ago, 2009. 

Rob Syrett, untitled unsigned circa 2009 ink and watercolor on card or paper: sort of a color scheme plus a codex riff, with a character a mouse with three eyes, somewhat unfinished

Detail of above: meanwhile Duffy ran downstairs for a minute but hopefully went back so I can get that hallucination face thingy. 

Here are some real humanish faces by Rob, not sure what the numbers mean, almost like a deck of cards or game of chance:

Set of 5 boy by rob but I don’t know his name, numbered, water color on paper

Endless Shame ink on ruled paper, 2010:

Very Sorry ink on ruled paper, 2010:

I’d say he drew these rather than painted, right? I’m only at this 36 minutes its 8:06 now, still on a Tuesday am but I’m kind of fucking with you in that besides the faux naivete of letting my shadow encroach here you see my bathrobe and protruding middle aged guy belly — I was a young guy when Rob assigned me this work. This looks like a study in color and a mixture of paint and ink and I think i am foreshadowing but not foreshortening something else about Matmos and balloons. The article peeping out is something about an Ethiopian musician and activist who was shot in Nairobi or the dateline by Adbi Latif Dahir of the Times is Kenya but the story, the killing of Hachalu Hundessa was in Addis Ababa late Monday night. Probably deserves it’s own post. But I was also thinking about Gumby where there was some live action mixed with animation and you can see the creator’s hand. I was also, if you excuse the digression, thinking this morning about Stanford’s battery of camera’s catching a horse, Muybridge, Shrek, PDI, Ants, Jennifer Yu, Jessica Yu, Darger, Naive Art Magazine not its real name maybe Raw Vision about Darger, Perry and Miner or Niner the mules of Bol Park, Smashmouth, Tim and Greg, Steve and Greg, Covid 19, my wife’s installation USA WEAR YOUR MASK!. 

Steve Staiger showed me a book about a guy who walked from San Diego to San Francisco in honor of Portola 1769, 2019 and it reminded me but I forgot to mention until now “Sherman’s March” film about a guy going to Atlanta in honor of Civil War history but also looking to find a bride or girlfriend. It’s as much about him as about history. His story. It’s a hybrid, post-modern David Shields’ Reality Hunger lyric essay thing: when I write about or merely flash Rob Syrett of course I am writing about myself. Henry Butler my late client used to say you could take a little bit of him home with you  — if you buy his cd, which was called “The Game Has Just Begun” as compared to the book I bought yesterday or day before, Sunday, “Begin Again” — and Fire Next Time. I am subtly working in here that if you want these objects and images (Rob retains all copyrights) hit me and for reasonable amount of cash they can be yours to hang, fondle or spill coffee over. Eighty eight percent of the proceeds goes to Rob and 12 percent goes to pay WordPress for another year of Plastic Alto. I think its $20 unframed for the little guys and $100 bucks for bigger ones – the Matmos suite (Infinite Balloon) is $500 but you have to sing the head of their biggest hit. 


rob and robe

The dog interlude thing makes more sense if more of the above were critters and not boys or balloons.

Rob Syrett unsigned undated watercolor on card Man and Balloon.

Rob Syrett study anthropomorphic veggies — set of four, $40

Black ink on card stock 2008 signed geometric doodle with camera ode to Muybridge?:

Dude by Rob brown and black watercolor on card circa 2010 unsigned:

definitely not wallace stegner

I’m taking a break here because it’s been about an hour and Duffy still needs to poop, minus a brief exchange with the curator Scott Shields of Crocker, about pueblo pottery but a bit about their cool Huffman piece — I’m sending him this. The Matmos thing I’ll get to later this am. So if you follow my math you can have everything above for $360 cash money and the Matmos Infinite Balloon sketches for an additional $500 or I’ll go $800 flat if you go all in. Six eighty if you go blind and reach me before I’ve even posted the rest — which is $500 plus $180 which is half off plus the “chai” thing — Hebew glyph or numerology for “life”. Makes you a Rob Syrett Rob S1W lifer. 

The Gallery shows by the way were at Caffe Centro in South Park and Public Works in the Mission a group show on critters or creatures curated by the Spaniard Betty Bigass, not to be confused by Big Bootay from the Buckaroo Banzai movie which somehow leapt to mind I think the writer was a Dartmouth guy. And gratuitous plug to Terry Abrahamsom conjuring in the minds eye magic of radio or podcast Jerry Falwell in an outhouse kicking out the goat to have sex with his mother. It was his grandmother, the story goes, but Larry Flynt in real life and not the Woody Harrelson version said he is fond of his grandmother, so change the gag — a parody Compari ad based on a Jill St. John ad in Playboy — from sex with his grandmother to sex with his mother. Just kidding, y’all. Have a nice day. Coming soon, so to speak, Matmos suite by Rob Syrett at Plastic Alto flash — maybe I can sign Rob to Lions with Wings (whose logo is by Sara D, who I call Queen Sara Saturday). 

edit to add, four hours later, after the trip to the dog park, the poop, borrowing a dog bag from a stranger, a couple phone calls, chatting up a neighbor of brand new acquaintance, In and Out Burger and sniffing out a hunch on another possible story — plus a post about Indian Mounds and Monster Houses, I realize that the Matmos Supreme Balloon suite of art work is not where I thought it was, but I have a lesser somewhat related suite of 8 works on card fancy paper, in their own envelope, like studies of earth tone jelly beans, the eight of which have two figures, a roller derby guy and a wine bottle guy. I’d go $50 for the set, jest for the revenue cash flow. I’m selling them for Rob to you, dear reader, not buying them from Rob for that price. 

But I will have to watch some tv for a while, shower, make another phone meeting before I am back to Rob. (That, plus the phone is charging, and I fed the d o g)

So I counted ahead and there’s 26 more pieces and two more suites, including the matmos Supreme Balloon set. The other set is a called, I think, “ABSTRACTIONS: SUPRA” and has five elements, although we have to keep one since it has a dog. The Matmos thing has TK pieces and there’s two sketches on the cover of the envelope or portfolio. 

The Matmos thing has a handwritten but normal list of songs (“Rainbow Flag, Polychords….The Spiral Slice…Matador Records…2008..”NO MICROPHONES WERE USED ON THIS ALBUM”. Twelve elements. Plus one of a kind I think Bear and Bird greeting card samples — I think these are hand-colored reprints or multiples or unlimited, though I don’t think Rob went very far with selling them. I think I bought these from Accent Arts for retail $9.95 each — or the employee discount, let’s call it six. I’m throwing it in with the Matmos set as a lagniappe. And there’s a doo-hickey creature, buckets with legs, conjoined bucket with legs, and mailbox that were stored for whatever reason with Matmos so you get that too. All for the very very low price today only or while supplies or the internet lasts of four ninenty nine ninety nine. Five franklins, I think. 

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Baldwin, Baldwin, Baldwin


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Maybe the ‘60s ended about the time it was no longer possible to be the only student in the dorm with the first album by Van Morrison and ‘Them;’ to be the only freak in your small town; to have been one of the 400,000 at Woodstock. Even by that time, everyone had been to at least one Woodstock, everyone owned a pair of hiking boots (albeit not Austrian-made), and almost everyone had climbed Everest

Again, not sure where I am or how I got here.

Return of the naked guy



Something about Hunter S Thompson transcript

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Did I miss last call? By about 8 years?

I have no idea what I’m doing here, or whether this is real or a weird dream. Don James? Tyrone Willingham? Do you mean Bill Graham the rocker or Bill Graham the holy roller?

Chris Strausser came to my bar mitzvah 43 years ago and is now a line coach for the county I mean the Colts; he was in Washington the state for many years with coach Peterson or Pedersen — the one from Boise. Did Willingham really go 0 for 12? Was he still on the Stanford payroll at the time? I presume Hunter is HST, especially since you mention Aspen. I wil have to go to Chapter 3 next. Transcript! I have Smokey and The Bandit paused at minute 19 – hey, nineteen, that’s six plus seven or who’s counting? I will have to go back and find the NyT story about Petraeus. I also like the one about the guy who says make your bed. Then don’t lie about it. Peace out. Truscott. Will have to remember that. Thank you for your service!

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This guy is semi-naked

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Petra Haden tribute to Morricone VS Stew apropos of Lincoln Memorial

The news feed mentions that the composer Ennio Morricone died and naturally I go to look for famous covers of “Fistful of Dollars” and I land on Petra Haden, from “Petra Goes To The Movies”.
Which sends me back, second post in a row, to Mark Stewart pka Stew. I don’t know if Stew digs the Haden sisters but it is totally true that I gave a copy of The Negro Problem tape — yes, a tape – to Tanya Haden because she had told me she wanted to learn accordion. There was a performer named Jill Meschke on accordion on the early TNP. (Por ejemplo, “Birdcage”).
I also think that Tanya told me that she was part black and part Jewish. Maybe she said that she went to high school with Jack Black and intended to have his baby. Mazel tov.

But the Stew song, a very obscure piece, is interesting to me today not just because I remember that the title of the obscure cd “Something deeper than these changes” comes from James Baldwin “The Fire Next Time” but that the song deals with a monument or something with a sword.

Stew’s a prophet, yo.

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