Burden of D.R.E.A.Ms


Speaking of “bonfire of the vanities” (Frank was, at 1:40, above), I would like to eventually get to, as Steve Cohen reports he already has, the new Tom Wolfe book. Meanwhile, Terry Acebo Davis and I –okay, three of us, me and the two lovely Davis divas, including “Mom” — Maggie Davis — were in Books Inc on Park Street in Alameda, doing a little pre-holiday pre-shopping — “We Wish You a Merry Isthmus” — and I annoyed the clerk — or two of them — by conflating them — all those bearded young dudes look the same to me — by picking his brain, moving a bunch of books around, then replacing them on the wrong shelves: the Greil Marcus book about history of the U.S. thru literature; a David Foster Wallace set of essays — I had ingested about 50 pages of the new one about the I.R.S via Palo Alto libraries, recently — a book about the history of “balls” — a set of essays for only $12.95 by Wallace Shawn (“he was in ‘The Princess Bride'” I was told, as compared to the Painted Bride, but I am getting head of myself), a set of travel writing edited by William T. Vollman. I was proud of passing — in deference to the 100 or so books on my shelf that are relatively untouched so far; at the very least I should pull every book from one of my two new book cases, the in-box in-cases, and crack their spines, if I don’t ever get a few thousand spare hours actually to read them. But then  (back to Alameda, back to yesterday, nostalgicly) we celebrated our self-control by eating single-scoop sugar-cones at Tucker’s — what is that Fil-Am word for “baby cocoanuts”? We also on Park saw a poster for an art gallery called Bridgestone on Blanding and eventually found our way there, thanks to gallery manager the photographer Chuck DiGuida, who reeled us in by phone. The show there was curated by Ed Holm, who I saw in SF Mime Troupe’s 2011 show at Mitchell Park in Palo Alto. His wife runs the nearby Rhythm Gallery, that is hosting a Josh Kornbluth event on New Years Eve. Josh Kornbluth who I missed at Stanford because I was watching Anand Patwardhan’s film “Jai Bhim Comrade”. (I found a link to when Anand was at UC which reminds me that I am supposed to send a link or memo about him to Les Blank).

The new Wolfe is called “Back To Blood” and came out in October and combines Miami, Cuba and Yale in that inimitable style. (Reminds that I want to re-read “Man in Full” apropos of “the developers”).


Cafe Zoe in Menalto corners graciously hosts me and a borrowed laptop computer as I ingest literally a sesame bagel (or so says me) and shlep a book bag chocked with objects and artifacts I hardly knew.

Frank Turner “Last Minutes and Lost Evenings” on Epitaph, I only recently discovered on Conan O’Brien and was pleasantly surprised to see his log of more than 1,000 gigs including at BOTH and The Fillmore. When Eric Fanali helped my Jonah Matranga show Tuesday Nov. 6 at Lytton Plaza he said he had booked Frank once (and Jonah 10 times or more). Makes me want to think they produced the Olympics in London just to contextualize a Frank Turner hit properly (that, and for the opportunity for Lisa Simpson to express her true feelings towards Bart).

Track 9, “Reasons Not To Be an Idiot” “You’re not as messed up as you think you are/…Deep down your just like everybody else”. Track 1: “I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous”. Track 6: “Nashville Tennessee” for the line “and if I knew anybody who played pedal steel guitar, I’d get them in my band” which reminds me that yesterday I surfed around various Eno covers and re-listened to parts of Doug Hilsinger and Caroleen Beatty (MY FORMER CLIENTS) doing “Fat Lady of Limbourg”. My “history” has me visiting in the internet era sense: Terri Weist, Bhi Bhiman, Robert Christgau, Uni and Her Ukelele, Man Man, Charlyne Yi. Terri Weist I saw in the Chron in an article about real estate and circled back to find her singing alt country and describing her music as a cross between Joanna Newsom and Oxbow (MY FORMER CLIENT). Weist’s name is in my log of musicians and bands phone numbers due to to her work with Swandive and Seesaw, which were in my pantheon of SF indie legends of the day.

edit to add, thirty minutes later: I could not resist ringing Terri Weist whose number is on her web page about creative services for the real estate community, and we caught up via phone. We probably have fifty friends in common although I am not sure we have met, beyond the supposition that she is in my phone log because some of her friends played the Cubberley Sessions back in the day — she says she played Cubberley, although Earthwise Productions was not the exclusive promoter for the rooms. Terri thanked me for calling and claimed that I was like an impetus to push her music a little further, she had been telling herself lately, in between jobs, kids, dual careers and life. Maybe we will see her busking at Lytton Plaza or in front of the fenced off Varsity Theatre courtyard, or, even better, in a proper music venue here some day soon. Personal to TW: you have a standing offer to play here, and sorry we cannot do any better than over-qualified buskers here.

The things in my too heavy book bag the urge to reach out displaced me mentioning here:

October 6, The Economist aobut “the issues shaping America’s election” 20 page section;

Matt Bowling, “Palo Alto Remembered: Stories From A City’s Past” especially pp. 33-37 about the train depot (which might be wiped from the face of the earth by the Arrillaga Office Towers proposal, along with the historic Julia Morgan-designed “Hospitality House” home to MacArthur Park restaurant, equally doomed). Terry Davis and I each have copies of the Bowling book, each signed by Greg Brown, the artist who is pictured painting one of his numerous trompe l’oeil murals downtown on Uni;

SFAQ arts quarterly, issue 10, with information and ideas on: Barry McGee, Pussy Riot, Rena Bransten, Nancy Holt and more;

When I flipped thru SFAQ out popped a clipping from the Chron last week, not of Weist but of Code Pink and Medea Benjamin “STOP KILLER DRONES”, protesting or standing up, or acting up or acting out, in front of Dianne Feinstein’s home, photo by Rashad Sisemore.

Anne Makepeace, “Edward S. Curtis: Coming to Light”, 2002 (reminds that I recently saw a review of presumably another book on Curtis, and that, sadly, I never heard back from another blast from my past, the Columbia professor Elizabeth Hutchinson who I met at Alastair Johnston’s book art class in the late eighties and whose book decries the Indian curios fetish, not to be confused, as is likely here in Plastic Altolandia, with the Dalits).

Zeth Lundy’s 33 1/3 tomb on the very first cd I bought “Songs in the Key of Life”; something about the cd, even in memory, knocks me off my feet. So I should set myself down and dig this tome!

“Building A Champion” Bill Walsh with Glenn Dickey that I recall gifting my father back in 1990 and then retrieved from the discard pile when my parents downsized recently – – I think I pulled it for further review apropos of my Harbaugh-hater comedic monologue which I meanwhile have effectively disavowed thanks to Colin Kapernick taking a knee on the two rather than taking a six;

“The Accidental Masterpiece: On The Art of Life and Vice Versa” by Michael Kimmelman, which I read in entirety two years ago on suggestion of Eric Walczac and then saw Heizer piece at or behind LACMA and then re-read most of the section on Heizer and Nevada, a chapter called “The Art of Pilgrimage” which reminds that a) I have five or six more photos in my cell of LACMA to post and thereby purge and b) I have two or three other books on my shelf on monuments and public art but am jonesing (but putting off) Peter Selz on public or political art, which is calling out for me at the Cantor Museum gift shop;

Sun Ra Arkestra: Live at the Palomino, a 1988 live concert in North Hollywood, by meridianavenue@yahoo.com which I procured who knows where ten-to-forty-months ago and only just viewed, by mistake since I had read in above-mentioned SFAQ about Jim Newman the art and jazz dealer (whose movie is the better and better know “Space is the Place” — which reminds that I wrote above about Stew and Sun Ra months before learning that Stew was actually commissioned to write about Sun Ra; my hypothetical piece is called “South Side Story”);

SFMOMA brochure which tells me that Morton Subotnick appears tonight thereabouts, at 7 (while meanwhiles my high school classmate and fellow Gunn Oracle staffer David Carnoy is closer to home at least, with a new mystery, his second; edit to add, a couple hours later, I talked to Beth Custer who may meet me at SFMOMA for Subotnick, she knows his work and recommends);

Nested brochures and cards from Wednesday excursion: Bridgehead Gallery “Veterans Voices3” with Ed Holmes, Xavier Viramontes, Thomas Dang and more, chapbook by Eric “Doc” Schwartz, “Chieu Hoi: I surrender”, Izzy Sher aka Emil Sher, Live at the Alameda Library series featuring Paula West on 11/17/12; Accordion Babes Encore featuring Renee de La Prade, Tara Linda, Amber Lee Baker and Jet Black Pearl (recalls that in 2009 I got maybe 6 of the 12 babes to sign my calendar — the new crew appears Saturday, Dec. 1 at Rhythmix Cultural Works, 2513 Blanding, Alameda, (510) 865-5060; Josh Kornbluth “Red Diaper Baby”; Lynda Penadas, zumba Saturdays and Mondays at Rhythmix; “Christmas Calabash” upcoming show at Bridgehead curated by Eve Myasaki, which reminds that when we were driving around Alameda looking for Bridgehead and then circled back to re-read the flyer I heard “tire and mirror” (and Bridgestone) rather than “tile and mirror” (for Bridgehead); Mark P. Fisher, at RCW thru Jan. 4, 2013 — and that’s the first time I typed the next year lucky 13.

Howard Zinn, “A People’s History of the United States” from Terry Davis’ shelf which I was visiting regarding labor per se; I am still wondering about my experience running for Palo Alto City Council, getting 4,316 votes, not seeking any endorsements, but being interviewed by COPE labor council and feeling that my anti-developer stance splits organized labor, government SEIU against trades. When I ran in 2009 it had me ringing my former professor Bruce Nelson, although when I more recently tried his number I found a Korean or Chinese new professor interested in history of medicine, happy accident that.

I rescued a Death Cab for Cutie cd from my girlfriend’s car’s sidepanel compartment, “Codes and Keys” 2011, a “kill” gifted to me from Peter Kirkeby who framed my Fritz Scholder “Menlo Park Palm” print, from Scholder printing at Smith-Andersen in the early eighties but staying at what is now Greg Alden’s Stanford Park of Menlo Park, the framer also doing some work for Death Cab’s manager, who gifted him a few copies and a mutual acquaintance, who once had dreds and could dunk a basketball, yet fetch coffee for Smiley and Trouz.

I read six pages of a book about Joseph Beuys on “social sculpture” and hope to write about it and the show at Palo Alto Art Center, and the talk featuring three artists and their three works later last night, after returning from Alameda excursion. The artists were Lava Thomas, Kathy Aoki, mc Margo Knight of Djerassi Center. Truthfully, the Beuys left me confused. I spoke to Lava briefly about the veterans-themed show at Bridgehead in Alameda and especially about the piece that captivated me, the figurines carved by Jim Hardy of his crew in Vietnam, the black grunt with the word PALO ALTO on his helmet. Chuck DiGuida said that Jim Hardy said that he remembered the guy as being from California but it wasn’t until he made the figures years later from the photos that he noticed Palo Alto – now I want to know more about this guy and how he is doing. I snapped these two photos: COMING.

The other thing about Bridgehead is the amazing mural by Isiah Zagar and a crew of local 510 devotees; I didn’t realize until sussing via the search-injuns that of course this is the guy from Philadelphia who did the Painted Bride (a music hall of venerable veneration — I saw Daphnis Prieto there).

Burden of D.R.E.A.M.s the term I started with here – -actually yesterday, before another interruption– references Les Blank and this coined term:

dude reads everything and more.

edit to add, 23 hours later: I heard back from the air talent and graphic designer Melanie Eusebio, to whom I wrote a weird tribute a few weeks ago, and that made me seek the citation to the book I mention above, about the history of balls, and I especially want to suss out (as Bob Marley would say, and he was a fantastic soccer player whose illness presented as turf toe, sadly enough) the assertion that the famous checkerboard soccer ball design came from Buckminster Fuller. Somewhere herein:


2. Not sure where or how we or I found the Edward Curtis book but it merely whets the appetite for a frontlist title on the same dude, by Timothy Egan and reviewed by Deborah Solomon in the Sunday Times, I had recalled seeing if not actually tearing:


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, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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