Kathi Kamen transition

I did not know Kathi Kamen also known as Kathi Kamen Goldmark, although I recall meeting her at least twice and am pretty sure I have her old business card in my box that stores such. Maybe in the storage space that stores such boxes.

I am pretty sure I met Kathi Kamen at Cody’s in Berkeley, around 1990. I am pretty sure she was the driver or literary escort for Seth Morgan, who was reading “Homeboy”. Seth signed a copy for me, and it included something about the barker, George, at the strip club on Broadway. I lived up the hill, at Montgomery and Vallejo and then told this George that Seth said hi.

I had never heard of literary escorts before.

Then I am pretty sure I met her again at West Coast Live, the day that both Jim Brunberg and David Jacobs Strain were in the show, at The Exploratorium. I had remembered the name, plus had certainly read in the meantime about her famous band — the world’s greatest vanity project — the Rock Bottom Remainders, featuring famous writers like Amy Tan and Stephen King.

She was married to Joe Goldmark, who I am pretty sure I met with Stephen Yerkey when they played The Cub, and who once looked over my portfolio of concert poster samples, at Amoeba. He is a steel guitar player.

I saw Sedge Thomson of WCL recently in Mountain View, and wrote about he and his wife, my classmate Syliva Brownrigg.

I read about the passing of Kathi Kamen Goldmark in Leah Garchik’s column.

I am on my bike today, downtown at Coupa, and as a tribute of sorts to KKG, will sign off here and write direct to Palo Alto Main library, to seek out the May 27 Chronicle and the page one article “above the fold.”

Even if I barely knew Kathi, as a concert promoter, book clerk and radio host she surely had an influence on me.

Actually what got me back to this post is that Rebecca Wallace mentions a kazoo in her article about Palo Alto’s upcoming street music event — I linked to a minute ago, below — and I recall reading last week that Kathi gave Leah Garchik and others a kazoo at some event. As further tribute, I will try to conjure from my pile of somewhat meaningless things — I think it is in the first or second drawer of the desk in my bed room — a kazoo from the ones I passed out at the Pinetop Perkins show, a few years ago. Maybe Pine and Kathi are now in a band together.

I hope it is more good than bad that my humble in the sense of scant recollection of Kathi Kamen Goldmark includes digressions into mentions of Seth Morgan, George (the Barker), Jim Brunberg, David Jacobs Strain, Amy Tan, Stephen King, Joe Goldmark, Stephen Yerkey, Sedge Thomson, Sylvia Brownrigg, Leah Garchik, Rebecca Wallace and Pinetop Perkins.

There is also enduring and endearing this:


edit to add, five minutes later: ok, it turns out that I had also met her a third time when WCL played the JCC about one year ago and got her autograph on my program, and asked her whether her band had played SXSW!!!! Bang, bang and god be with ye! self pasting from that:

Besides Shields, I got autographs (I like the ritual of asking, post-event) of Thomson, Cassie Gay (box office stalwart), Stewart, author Thor Hansen (who drew a feather) and producer Kathi Kamen Goldmark who I had met years earlier when she was a driver or escort for authors and also says she still plays in a rock band mostly covers (she steals material from songwriters rather than bothering to write her own material, which I mean to talk to her about, to suggest they try to write their own stuff) called The Rock Bottom Remainders. I asked if she has played the music festival SXSW and she said no only book festivals. (From “Shields and Yarns”, Weiss, 2011)

edit to add, 90 minutes later:


I am back at my perch, at Palo Alto’s famous Coupa Cafe, with my trusty Remington I mean Trendy 1’s and 0’s machine; a man at the nearby table chews a wheat crepe while talking about “opportunities in Brazil” and I am treating myself to Soup of The Day, of vegetables, well-chopped and salty broth. My order was #42 which I took as an omen, although I forgot to wave a towel last week for author Douglas Adams.

I did log off to search for an eight-day old newspaper, as promised. To myself and my 26 readers(!)*. When I got to my bike, parked in one of our nifty “bike corrals” I noticed I, like the character in a famous Ray Bradbury story, had missed a rare June rain.  I left trusty post-Remington with Phyllis, of the famous Phyllis Store, who asked about my dear old mum.

When I got to Palo Alto Main, after first verifying that Palo Alto Downtown was taking the day off (“no shit” said homelessish guy camped hopefullyishly in its alcove, as I said “Gee, library closed.”), I waited with what became about four others until noon opening bell. I read my Shields — chapter “Q: autobio” from “Reality Hunger”– who I met at West Coast Live Co-Produced by Kathi Kamen Goldmark; Shields in this chapter explains that when I write of Kamen I write of Mark Weiss — “no shit”. I could not stop myself, during the 30 minute rain delay between arrival and Opens, to chat up a 16-year-old with a very heavy looking Crimson colored book-sack. I pedantically explained “ve ri tas” — as I saw it at least; she wore a Harvard sweatshirt, as did the bear dangling from the backpack. I gave a bad account of the statue of “three lies” — one, the date should say 1637 but doesn’t; two, that’s not actually John Harvard, three, beats me, give me a minute, give me a year.

Anyhoo the actual mission took about five minutes, while I fantasized about arguing copyright with an imagined-overly-zealous SEIU regular.

The obit was not actually above the fold, but there was a teaser above the mast! Or, as David Shields might say, it was above the fold in a lyrical poetic way.

I noticed a discrepancy between the actual head and what is listed online as the head; she is better known as Kathi Kamen as I have it or Kathi Kamen Goldmark, than Kathi Goldmark.

I quickly if gratuitously sussed “photo by Robert Foothorap” who appears to have been here since 1969 and shoots authors.

On the way back into Coupa I said hello to Linda who I had met a couple times at St. Michael’s Alley; I recalled to myself at least that I have in one of my notebooks a draft of a potential “oral communications” for City of Palo Alto Council meeting from last fall-never delivered, or previously published, noting the passings of Vernon Gates, Philip Kirkeby and Hannah Scher, all of whom were contributors to the cultural scene here, and are missed. Maybe I could rewrite same and amend to “Vernon Gates, Philip Kirkeby, Hannah Scher AND Kathi Kamen Goldmark” albeit a slight “stretcher” geographic-wise, as Mark Twain might have said, he whose obituary was “greatly exaggerated” or so them say.

*Another stretcher, asterisk as I asm, is my “26 readers.” That’s all day, since midnight, all 421 posts. Only 4 or so so far have read “Karen Kamen transition” per se, I admit.

I’m here all week. Try the soup.

Ms. Kamen shared a birthday with my nephew Aaron Thomas Lipinski.

The WCL site says the May 26, 2012 show featured a tribute to her.

Kathi Kamen Goldmark, literary impressario, co-producer, musician, wife, ex-wife and mom, died last month in San Francisco, according to the Sunday Chronicle

Among the other potential edits, the wheat-crepe guy should say “with his mouth open, while chewing”; he is chewing his lunch and blabbing on about “opportunities in Brazil” with his mouth open, or was. Talking with his mouth open. I mean, talking while chewing. As I turned my head to see if they are still there, I realize he has switched seats and now is less than 12 inches from me. I guess I was checking to see if the plate that once held the crepe was still there, fact-checking or reality-checking or reality-hungering for the plate if it holds a clue, to the rest of the story. Also, “write” for “ride” or vice versa. I rode to library not merely wrote myself there. Et cetera. The words, the songs, they remain, remain the same, even as we players and singers and tap tap tap on the keyboarders may strut and split. Adieu.

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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